I start from the function in Aegina on 14th June, the most recent episode in a years-long effort for promotion of a pan-European citizens’ initiative with Aegina as its starting point.
The initiative was reinforced by the pre-election visit to Aegina by the SYRIZA parliamentarian Costas Douzinas (as member of a SYRIZA delegation), who agreed to participate in the endeavour to implement this idea.
Of course there is also the effort being made by DiEM25, the pan-European citizens’ movement founded by Yanis Varoufakis and his collaborators.
DiEM25 in turn founded in Greece the political party MERA25, which now has representation in the Greek Parliament.
Perhaps there are alternative scenarios for those who are interested in the idea of a functioning European citizens’ movement aimed at establishing an independent and democratic citizens’ European Union with a social and non-threatening identity.
1) DiEM25. In the past DiEM25 was mixed up with the attempt to found a political party, an objective which has now been achieved, at least in Greece. My position is that this gives the opportunity to DiEM25 to acquire an independent character. This is something that did not exist in the past. In February 2017 Yanis Varoufakis specifically excluded the idea of creating autonomous DiEM25 groups.
But this stance preceded the creation of MERA25 and the securing of a presence in the Greek parliament. The official DIEM25 position now is: “The local groups – DSCs (DiEM25 Spontaneous Collectives) – are completely autonomous in what they do. If there isn’t a group in your city, or if you want to create a second (or third) group with a different focus”, this is possible.
Can this “different focus” be parliamentary or non-parliamentary?
2) The proposal of Costas Douzinas. Costas Douzinas is positively disposed towards Yanis Varoufakis, with the exception of his opposition to SYRIZA. Is such opposition permanent and irrevocable? This is something that some would like to investigate. Others would not.
3) Movimento Europeo. Pier Virgilio Dastoli, former secretary of Altiero Spinelli and president of the Movimento Europeo, has made proposals for collaboration. Do they have the potential to function as a point of departure for us (recipients of this e-mail) also?
4) An independent initiative. Is there any concrete proposal for an independent initiative?
19th July 2019
Post-electoral statement from Costas Douzinas:
“Comrades and friends, almost two weeks have passed since the declaration of electoral victory by the Mitsotakis government, as the “return to the past” dreamt of in New Democracy’s programme becomes a reality: The market is said to be presiding in the policy decisions made for development, education, health, employee rights.
Personages who implemented policies to the detriment of the majority in society in the difficult years of the crisis, with serious deficits in transparency and a serious excess of repression, figures in a ramshackle scenario of male domination which places women in the position of silent supporters of the work of government. Fear-mongering which starts in the Exarcheia, passes through the universities and ends up in our neigbourhoods and – yes – is targeting the way we think and make decisions. The research for which so much was accomplished by the SYRIZA government is now conducted by the Education Ministry, which belongs, together with the universities, to the Minister Mr. Adonis Georgiadis.
The Mitsotakis government is showing us through its first decisions that it has put its engines in full throttle and turning the wheel towards the past. Two more examples: the committee evaluating the Athens Law School in 2013 ruled that the school has failed to achieve the goals of becoming intersectoral and interdisciplinary, in other words that lectures, programmes and teaching materials promote stagnant legal knowledge lacking all consciousness of what is demanded of jurisprudence in the 21st century. It was from this assessment that the endeavour began to create a fourth law school that would place at the centre of its teaching the view that law without justice is like a body without a mind, a law which does not deserve acceptance or compliance from citizens. This is the law that the present government aims to perpetuate. In consequence we have the recognition of Guaido as President of Venezuela. An action in total defiance of international law which transforms our country from “honest broker” in the major conflicts to useless applauder of the views put forward by President Trump.
But it is not as easy as the Mitsotakis people may think. The tools of the past have lost their usefulness. The “continuity” they are attempting to resurrect is leaking from all sides. The “interlude” of the SYRIZA government represents a permanent break. Apart from dealing with the humanitarian crisis, the exit from the Memoranda, the maintenance of social cohesion, the SYRIZA government has extended the rights and the freedoms that we enjoy. It has restored the repute of politics and Democracy, which had taken heavy blows from a corrupted power system since long before the crisis. Today society has turned its attention to a future of proper and just development, of employee protection, of rights. This is what we heard from the citizens of Piraeus and our islands, in one Greece’s most important regions. And this is what we shall continue to struggle for.
As for those who voted for SYRIZA and for me personally, I would like to thank them for their support. I am going to remain in my place, in the neighbourhoods, in open discussions with residents, in collaboration with the people and the organizations of local government in Piraeus and the islands, in the political plans of members and friends of SYRIZA, for the creation of a party of members to meet the needs of the 21st century. We will support the election results with social anchoring and an ideological struggle for leadership. Our rendezvous with history is renewed each day. I hope to continue meeting you there.
Costas Douzinas, 17th July 2019