Report of the conference "The Left in front of Europe" in the Basque Country
Adhering to the call of the socialist and independentist organisation Batasuna, numerous organisations of the anti-capitalist left, independence movements and revolutionary groups from other continents were uniting from the 17th to the 19th of June to discuss common perspectives facing the project of the European Constitution. The conference was taking place in Urruña, Basque territory in the French state, as Batasuna was illegalised in Spain in the year 2002 – a severe violation of democratic rights.
The political situation in the Basque Country is characterised by the recent illegalisation of the electoral platform of the Basque left "Herritarren Zerrenda" (HZ) victim of the totalitarian practise of the Spanish state to declare as successors of Batasuna all left wing independentist electoral formations, and thus out-law them immediately. In spite of this, HZ polled 120.000 votes, becoming the second-most voted Basque party (behind the PNV) and coming in on overall fourth place. In Gipuzkoa and Nafarroa HZ took third place.
The call of Batasuna to come together in Urruña to discuss left wing alternatives resulted from the necessity to oppose the recently presented project of an European Constitution, which does not only negate the right of self-determination, but is also consolidating a neo-liberalist, militaristic and anti-democratic regime. Large scale abstention in recent European elections revealed deep alienation of the citizens towards an European project, that is characterised by its assimilation of the Yankee model of political alternance between two parties that represent the very same political-economical project, cultural homogenisation following the model of consumerism and cowardice towards militarist Yankee imperialism.
This framework of widespread discontent with the European Union, could open space and possibilities for an alternative anti-capitalist and antimilitarist European answer to Yankee militarism, EU pseudo-democracy and neo-liberal impositions. The call of Batasuna has come up in a situation of urgency for the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist left which is required to develop an alternative projects on the basis of self-determination, people´s sovereignty, democracy and social justice.
Common debate to develop such an alternative project is of growing and urgent importance, given the fact that the left until now is lacking a proposal of sufficient consistency to become a point of reference. It is running the risk of loosing itself in "social forums" more and more reduced to symbolic events and a pragmatic neo-reformism that is characterising for example the Party of the European Left (composed of the most conformist ex pro-soviet forces: Spanish IU, French PCF, German PDS……)
In the meeting of Urruña were present the Red-Green Alliance of Denmark, the Scottish Socialist Party, militants of Rifundazione Comunista, left wing independentists of Galicia (Nà³s-Unidade Popular), Catalonia (Endavant) and Castilia (Izquierda Castellana), the Anti-Imperialist Camp, the Coordinadora Simà³n Bolàvar of Venezuela, Turkish DHKC, PFLP of Palestine, Bolivian MAS, the Frente de la Revolucià³n of the Domenican Republic, the Congreso Bolivariano de los Pueblos of Argentina and many political, social and cultural organisations of the Basque Country.
Batasuna presented drafts on unionism, national liberation, repression as well as "neo-liberalism and the European Constitution" as well as a platform for common rejection of the European constitution. (all of the mentioned documents can be found at: http://www.ezkerraeuropan.com)
The Anti-Imperialist Camp has welcomed the proposals of Batasuna and expressed its willingness for common action as well as discussion, yet it is obvious that the formation of a political alternative to neo-liberal Europe will require a hard struggle. It is a fact, that the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist left outside the Spanish state has not taken up Batasuna´s proposals with sufficient interest and zeal. In our opinion that is caused by the political reduction of many organisations of resisting social and political attacks, while on the political and strategic level they often remain within the limits of a "Social Europe", which is not able to become expression of popular discontent and opposition.
On the other hand the conditions of struggle are different in every part of the continent. Northern European movements, as well as the Greeks tend to call for their countries immediate withdrawal form EU, without considering a proposal for an alternative Europe necessary. This is by all means a legitimate position.
Nevertheless, as Anti-imperialist Camp we think that a call for an European federation based on peoples and national sovereignty, self-determination and clear opposition towards Yankee hegemonism would be a project of clear rupture with the existing European Union and could serve as a meeting point for different realities of struggle and movements of real opposition.
Thanks to the disposition of Batasuna there will be meetings and debates in the course of the following year to broaden the organisational basis and elaborate a collective course of action to allow for the construction of an antagonist alternative. This will cumulate in an other large scale conference of anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist European organisations in one year, taking place once again in Euskal Herria.
Anti-Imperialist Camp, 21st of June 2004