Ahead of our annual conference on 4th December 2021, our National Committee has agreed the following campaign statements.
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Another Europe is Possible
Campaign statements for discussion and amendment
National conference 2021
What kind of relationship with the EU? And what path to re-join? A progressive vision and strategy
- This is the first Another Europe Is Possible conference to have taken place after the end of the transitional period. So now, for the first time, we can identify and measure the effects of the ‘hard Brexit’ that the UK government has chosen.
- We can already see how many of the things that we warned of have come to pass. These include the loss of freedom of movement rights for UK citizens in the EU (and vice versa), labour shortages and supply chain issues in the economy (compounded further by COVID-19), threats to environmental regulation and standards, and numerous examples of authoritarianism and racism in policy making (from rejecting international refugee law, to restricting judicial review, threatening independent electoral regulation and the placing of partisan right-wingers in public roles).
- Every aspect of this represents a politics we profoundly reject – and will resist. We support international solidarity, not ethnic nationalism. We want a democratically run, well-funded public sector and economy, not crony capitalism. And we recognise that the major problems of the 21st century require regional and global cooperation.
- These values inform our strategy. Our starting point is to recognise that the UK needs to rebuild a stable relationship with the EU based on a progressive trade and cooperation agreement. This should include a range of policies that together would restore citizen rights, protect our environment and social rights, and allow for radical economic change to address the burning injustices and inequalities of the UK.
- The problems with the current deal are clear and the window of opportunity to change it will come in 2024 when the existing treaty needs to be renewed. This is a chance to pursue a close, progressive trade and cooperation deal that ensures:
a. A mutual rights agreement for UK and EU citizens. Restore the rights of UK citizens to work and study in the EU (and vice versa) as a key priority.
b. Harmonisation without downgrading. Replace the flawed level playing-field commitments with a legal commitment to align with minimum EU standards.
c. Re-join EU programmes on the basis of common interest, including close cooperation in research, science, education and innovation.
d. Support and build the changing European economic consensus, including reform of state aid and fiscal rules as necessary to support a democratic, transformative economic system with robust protections against corruption.
e. Close cooperation in foreign and security policy but without accepting ‘fortress Europe’ and the securitisation of the migration issue. Our conception of a common European foreign policy collaboration would involve robust defence of human rights globally without being pulled into militaristic adventurism (for example, see the UK’s naval flotilla in the South China Sea). We also want to see a solidaristic and humanitarian approach to development policies – including pushing support for UNCTAD and the G77 proposals on a just transition amongst European governments and the wider global north.
- Is there a path to re-join? We believe the best relationship the UK could have with the EU is returning to its membership (i.e., ‘re-join’). However, the UK as such cannot move straight from a very hard Brexit to fully re-joining the European Union for the simple reason that the EU side would not accept this – and a UK application would need to be unanimously supported by all EU member states. The trust basis for the UK’s EU membership has to be rebuilt through restoring close cooperation and mutual rights. This means a ‘soft Brexit’ / EEA-like agreement is a critical stage on the path to re-join. We have to reach this stage, in order for a re-join campaign to be viable.
- However, we recognize that the path to re-joining may well be different for the constituent parts of the UK: for the north of Ireland, by re-joining the EU as part of a united Ireland; for Scotland, Wales, and England by re-joining as independent states, no doubt at different speeds. While Another Europe does not take a position on the desirability of the break-up of Britain, we fully support the right to self-determination and commit ourselves, as a predominantly England-based movement, to work with allies in the other nations of the U.K. and to recognise the increasing salience of the national question in all our campaigning and media output. We particularly support the Good Friday / Belfast Agreement, the principle of an open land border, and commit to giving visibility to the new debates around the concept of a ‘shared island’ taking place across the island of Ireland.
- At the same time, UK public opinion overall continues to be divided about 50/50 between the pro-EU and pro-Brexit sides – though the trend of opinion is currently in favour of the ‘re-join’ side over ‘stay out’, and demographic change strongly favours the pro-EU position overtime. In addition, the situation of public opinion in Scotland and Northern Ireland is clearly very different to the rest of the UK.
- In order for re-join to become a credible proposition, there would need to be a substantial, sustainable majority for it. We are not therefore aiming for another 48/52 split, but a higher level of support to give genuine stability to EU membership. An EU that is sceptical about a UK membership application would need to be convinced that this was a sustainable initiative with significant public support. In this respect, we have to be honest that re-joining is a lot harder than deciding to leave.
- We must further acknowledge that we will re-join the EU ‘as it is’ not ‘as it was’. A UK rebate is extremely unlikely, opting out of Schengen might be easier due to the fact not all EU members are in it (similarly for the single currency). These are clearly points that will be heavily plugged by a ‘stay out’ side in a referendum. The UK would also face pressure for institutional change during the membership talks, including on rule of law and democracy compliance – but as domestic democratic reform is likely to go hand-in-hand with a successful re-join movement, this might not be an issue.
- All in all, this will not be easy. As the twenty-first century rumbles on with its broken economic system, unprecedented environmental threats, and rising nationalism and authoritarianism, the trend lines are to disruption and crisis. But our response to these huge problems and challenges has to be robust, principled and in line with our values: global solidarity and anti-racism, economic justice and ecological sustainability. We cannot credibly fight our domestic authoritarians without challenging the project, Brexit, that they draw legitimacy from – and our vision for making ‘another Europe’ and ‘another world possible’ is internationalist in its essence. Our challenge is to combine this ‘big vision’ with issues-by-issues grassroots campaigning and solidarity work. We need to monitor, scrutinise and challenge specific problems with Brexit as they arise, turning these into rapid-fire campaigns.
- To pursue this, we will prioritise our Brexit Spotlight project as:
- A public resource of blogs seeking meaningful scrutiny and accountability of Brexit, which can be turned into rapid campaigning responses.
- A regular series of briefings for members (“The Brexit Spotlight 60-minute Briefing Series”) in the form of webinars with experts and campaigners.
- A medium to outline our holistic and radical alternative to Tory Brexit.
- We will also build support for our approach (especially individual policies that arise from it, like freedom of movement) amongst UK political parties in the run-in to the next general election. And continue to work with progressive movements and political parties on the international stage, including European Alternatives.
 Referring to the ‘Loss and Damage Facility’ proposed by G77+China at COP26 (representing 130 nations and 85% of the world’s population) to establish an institutional body responsible for allocation and distribution of funds for losses and damage cause by climate change in vulnerable and poor countries. The proposal was rejected by countries in the rich world.
 Some constituent parts of the UK have a different route back to membership. On this, see footnote 6.
 On this see, ‘Do voters want to reverse Brexit?’ 16th November 2021, https://www.brexitspotlight.org/do-voters-really-want-to-reverse-brexit/.
 At our first democratic national conference in 2018, Another Europe Is Possible committed to, “support the self-determination of the Scottish and Irish peoples, by supporting their right to a referendum on independence and unification respectively.” We re-affirmed this position at the 2019 conference and most recently made a further NC statement on these lines after the 2021 Scottish elections: https://www.anothereurope.org/the-scottish-people-must-have-the-right-to-self-determination/
System Change, Not Climate Change!
Years of an unrestrained global economy, driven by the capitalism and industry of the world’s wealthiest countries, have squandered the right for future generations around the world to live on a healthy, bio-diverse planet.
In our immediate future, larger, ever more frequent and extreme climate events will continue to put pressure on our economic, social and political structures. Meanwhile autocracy and nationalistic populism is growing, often with climate sceptics at the forefront. The challenges of our changing climate highlight the lack of climate justice and its geographic and racial inequalities. The global south is yet again being sacrificed, and we, in Europe, have to own our colonial past, our greed, our unfettered consumerism and our responsibility in this current and growing disaster, and ensure reparations.
We must also increase our fight for the rights of refugees and migrants fleeing not only conflict and persecution but increasingly, climate and economic crisis. All climate policy going forward needs to take into account that there is no climate justice without social justice. The climate crisis is also a crisis of racism.
We believe that the changes outlined here must be urgently implemented. We commit to working with our allies across Europe (and the world) to campaign and to amplify a unified call for change:
- To hold our governments accountable to end support for fossil fuels, divest from current projects and fund a just transition to renewable energy. We demand Zero Carbon policies, not Net Zero.
- The climate crisis requires immediate political and industry responses and cannot only be left to individual responsibility. We must continue to campaign for climate treaties to be binding, and for countries who do not respect their commitments to face sanctions.
- Agree a ‘Loss and Damage’ facility; the polluter must pay for pollution in a way that ensures the transformation of our economic system away from polluting industries, to ecological justice and sustainability.
- Invest in the development of existing, and new energy technologies and green infrastructure. Invest in research, science and technology, to understand and seek to mitigate current and future aspects of the climate and ecological crisis.
- Preserve the limited resources that we have, and recognize ecocide as a crime against humanity and nature in all its forms. Our planet’s major assets of water, forests and natural habitat, should be in public ownership, and legally protected.
- Respect the knowledge of communities that know how to restore land, revitalize nature and produce food in a sustainable way. Make sure that no one is left behind in the ecological transformation, and that everyone has a voice within it, thereby strengthening participation and democracy.
- Work with our strong and committed youth allies, including in the transformation of education systems from within, decolonising the curriculum and promoting education for sustainability as a statutory requirement with investment in teacher training and the inclusion of indigenous/First Nation knowledge.
- Accountability, responsibility, and transparency should be the driving forces in achieving these goals. We, the people, must now take the political lead and demand to build a better world. As it is now or, literally, never…
Islamophobia has long been a serious problem across British and European society.
The European Court of Justice’s 2021 ruling allowing companies to ban the wearing of headscarves is just one example in a long history of discrimination against Muslim communities.
From centuries’ old orientalist tropes to the recent Leave campaign and mainstream anti-migrant rhetoric, Islamophobia is a hidden but pervasive undercurrent. The far-right across the UK and Europe propagates openly violent anti-Muslim hatred, but Islamophobia is present within liberal and leftwing spaces too.
In the UK, 2017 data showed that 50% of Muslim households are considered to be in poverty, compared with less than 20% in the overall population, whilst Muslim rates of general employment are far lower than that of the overall population, due to structural factors and discrimination from employers.
Dehumanising narratives in politics and the media result in violence and exclusion targeted at Muslim communities. For instance, earlier this year, Arooj Shah, Oldham council’s first female Muslim leader, had her car firebombed.
This conference resolves that Another Europe is Possible will:
- Raise awareness about Islamophobia in the UK and across Europe
- Raise awareness about the link between EU citizens’ rights and the large number of EU citizens who are impacted by Islamophobia
- Work to educate and campaign against Islamophobia in left and progressive spaces
- Recognise Islamophobia as a unique category that manifests as more than generalised ‘racism’, while acknowledging the racialising elements of Islamophobia
- Raise awareness of the intersectionality of Islamophobia, with class, race, gender and sexual orientation
- Challenge Islamophobia as it arises in the media and wider society
- Work with communities and stakeholders with direct lived experience of Islamophobia to build a long term, internationalist campaign of solidarity with all those affected by it
- Draw up specific campaign demands in collaboration with the above groups
Solidarity with the Trans community
Transphobic narratives, often tied to homophobia and misogyny as opposition to “gender ideology”, are being weaponised by the far right across Europe and the world.
Trans people face discrimination in employment (1 in 3 employers openly say they wouldn’t hire a trans person), disproportionate rates of homelessness, poverty, mental health problems, and problems with access to healthcare.
There is, unfortunately, a small but loud minority of people who consider themselves liberal or leftwing but who seek to legitimise transphobic narratives in the name of an exclusionary form of feminism. This only benefits the right and harms some of the most marginalised people.
This conference resolves to:
- actively campaign against transphobia, stand in solidarity with trans people in the UK and abroad, and give platforms to trans activists
- challenge transphobia and anti-trans dog whistles on the left and within the pro-EU movement
Amendment to the Constitution
Add new 3.1.5
“The National Conference may be held in-person or online. The decision on whether to hold the conference as an in-person event or as an online event lies with the National Committee.”
Add new bullet point to 3.2.2 and re-number
“In the event that a National Conference takes place online, rather than in-person, all 16 members will be elected by Single Transferable Vote in an online ballot of all members, with 8 seats reserved for self-defining women.”
22nd November 2021