On Saturday 14th December, in the immediate aftermath of the general election, Another Europe is Possible will hold its national conference. This will be a crucial moment to take stock of what is happening and democratically decide on our strategy together, as well as taking part in interesting workshops and hearing from some great speakers .
We have now released our draft strategy documents, which are open to amendment until 23:59 on Friday 13th December. Members will also be able to raise ideas and initiatives from the floor, but formal amendments should be submitted in writing.
If you’re a member, you can register for the conference here.
If you’re not a member, you can register for the conference here.
10:30 – 11:00 | Registration
11:00 – 12:00 | Opening plenary: what just happened and what does it mean?
- Nadia Whittome, Labour candidate for Nottingham East
- Izzy Warren, Climate striker
- Leading Another Europe activists and trade unionists
12:00 – 13:15 | Workshops:
- A global Green New Deal: what is it and how can we get it? With Asad Rehman (Director of War on Want) and Julie Ward MEP
- Brexit, imperialism and race. With Shaista Aziz (Another Europe, activist and journalist) and Sunny Singh (academic and writer)
- Tearing down Fortress Britain and Fortress Europe. With Ana Oppenheim (Another Europe, Labour Campaign for Free Movement), Chai Patel (Legal Director of JCWI) and Benny Hunter (writer and activist)
- Britain and Ireland: What has Brexit taught us? With Luke Cooper (Another Europe), Joseph Healy (Left Unity) and Jane Wells (Irish activist in London)
13:15 – 13:45 | Lunch (provided)
13:45 – 15:15 | Our strategy and our democracy: proposals from members
15:15 – 16:30 | Workshops:
- Trade deals: what is happening and how do they work? With Nick Dearden (Director of Global Justice Now)
- Organising workers across borders. With Ben Towse (Another Europe), Tyrone (IWGB trade unionist, on the transnational Deliveroo riders’ strikes), and Ellie Clarke (host of the Labour Days podcast)
- Britain’s constitutional crisis: our response. With Sam Fowles (barrister and expert on Brexit legislation), Hilary Wainwright (Red Pepper and Another Europe), and Luke Cooper
16:30 – 17:00 | Elections for the National Committee
17:00 – 17:30 | Closing plenary: the future of our movement
- Lloyd Russell Moyle, Labour candidate for Brighton Kemptown
- Maya Goodfellow, author of Hostile Environment: How Immigrants Became Scapegoats
Timeline and deadlines
Wednesday 4th December: strategy papers and timeline/ processes circulated to the whole membership
Wednesday 11th December at 23:59: deadline for amendments to the constitution (see the constitution here)
Friday 13th December at 23:59: deadline for amendments to the strategy document and other policy proposals
Saturday 14th December at 15:00: deadline for National Committee nominations for NC seats elected at conference (half elected at conference and half by electronic ballot).
Nominations for the online seats on the National Committee will open after conference and close in early January.
DRAFT strategies: Another Europe conference 2019
About this document
Another Europe is Possible is a democratic organisation, and this strategy document is open to amendment by all members of the organisation. If you want to amend any party of it, you just need to email your proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org before 23:59 on Friday 13th December.
Although the conference will be taking place in the immediate aftermath of the election, this document has been drafted some weeks beforehand. There are therefore two sections to it, one which assumes a Conservative majority and one which assumes a majority for a referendum. The existence of these two sections does not constitute a prediction of any kind.
Both the strategy established in December 2018 and the report on it can be viewed in a separate document.
As well as formal amendments, we encourage members to submit analysis of the election campaign and outcome to inform discussion. We will circulate these among the membership.
Strategy 1: a clear majority for a public vote
1. The failure of the Conservatives to win a majority means that there is almost certainly a majority for a public vote, with all Opposition parties now committed to one and the DUP likely to lose a number of seats to the Northern Irish remain alliance.
2. This outcome represents a huge victory for us, the left and the Remain movement – and we will say this loudly. We now have a historic opportunity to invert the Brexit moment: not only to stop the rot it has advanced, but to actively change society and politics for the better. This is not to say that we are complacent about the hugely reactionary effect that Brexit and the rise of the nationalist right has had so far, which we will have to combat.
3. If there is no overall Labour majority, it is very likely that there will be a lot of wrangling about the exact form of the government. We do not tend to get too involved in campaigning around parliamentary tactics, but we do want a left wing government with a radical domestic agenda, as well as a commitment to a public vote. Although this could be achieved with another left leader, we will publicly criticise any refusal by centrist parties to put Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street.
4. We will argue, and campaign internally, for Labour’s deal to reflect its conference policy (which includes free movement). However, our main emphasis will be on winning the referendum, and, within Labour, on winning the party to campaign for Remain. We will push hard to ensure that the extension to the franchise – to all residents 16 or older – happens long before the referendum is held so that there is plenty of time for voter registration.
5. The crucial historic tasks that now faces us is winning the 2020 EU referendum for Remain. Another Europe is the only organisation of the anti-Brexit left. In 2016, we were the only left campaign of any size in the referendum. Having grown substantially since, we must now take responsibility for bringing together a left remain campaign on an altogether different scale.
6. Only a left wing, anti-establishment Remain campaign can really cut through to a substantial proportion of voters who we need to convince. We need to link the fight to stay in the EU with a trashing of the Brexit Establishment, a push against climate catastrophe, a promise of radical policies on housing and jobs, and class politics as the answer to right wing nationalism and racism. Our campaign will elevate the voices of migrants, young people, rank and file trade unionists and grassroots activists.
7. Another Europe will be the core of the 2020 left Remain campaign, and we will not seek to own it on our own. We know that there are many forces on the left and in the labour movement which have not come with us on every step of the journey over the past three years – and who need to feel ownership over any referendum campaign. Fundamentally, what matters in building a campaign that can win the referendum campaign is not adherence to Another Europe’s positions throughout the previous period but a commitment to the project of winning the referendum from the internationalist left.
8. We will therefore reach out immediately to trade unions, political parties, NGOs, grassroots campaigns, social movements, self-organised migrants’ groups, and so on, with a view to bringing as many organisations as possible into a single organisational tent for the purposes of the campaign. Although the National Committee will probably not be the formal leadership of such a campaign, we will ensure that the grassroots of Another Europe is democratically represented, and that the governance of the campaign is not taken over by machine politics. Another Europe will maintain a profile of its own during the campaign, and will judge how much campaigning to do, and what kind, based on how the wider coalition progresses.
9. As well as the messaging and politics of the campaign, we will have to do work thinking about who we are trying to convince. While scientific methods ought to be applied to our actual strategy, we can assume that our campaign may be particularly important for:
- Convincing working class former Leave voters
- Boosting youth turnout and registration
- Boosting migrant turnout and registration
- Energising the base of the Remain movement
10. Last year, we considered at length whether or not we would form part of the designated campaign. Our position this year remains the same, that we do not rule out attempting to form part of the official designated campaign, so long as this does not compromise our ability to campaign clearly and honestly. The central principle guiding this decision should be to secure the arrangement that best enables us to put forward a clear vision for a vote to remain based on a transformative left-wing programme, and to ensure that we are visibly and credibly distinct from those campaigning to remain in order to defend an unacceptable status quo.
11. We will focus our energy on building the grassroots of the referendum campaign, beginning immediately; that means building and growing local groups and street activity up and down the country. Local groups and activists will not just be treated as foot soldiers but empowered to participate in shaping the campaign throughout. We recognise that this means addressing the geographical imbalance of our work and capacity.
12. As the campaigning period approaches, we will draw up a more detailed campaign plan, and keep members thoroughly updated. We expect our February strategy conference to sign off our final plans for the referendum campaign.
Strategy 2: a Conservative majority government
1. If the Conservatives get a majority, we will fight them from day one – in the streets, in parliament and using all democratic means at our disposal. If they do win, they will do so with a minority of the popular vote, and we will point this out relentlessly. A solid majority would make a 31st January exit from the EU likely, but this will only be the beginning of a much deeper process – of trade deals, erosions to rights and freedoms, and a further slide to the nationalist right.
2. Our opposition to Brexit goes further than simply opposing the success of the nationalist right. We have not changed our minds about the need for international institutions and movements to take action on climate change, economic justice and human rights – and about membership of the EU providing the best existing terrain for this, for all the flaws of the institutions themselves.
3. We therefore support in principle Britain’s re-entry into the EU, and will campaign for progressive parties to adopt this position. Logistically, this would be easiest if the Tory government could be brought down before the end of the transition period at the end of 2020, after which we are likely to diverge much more in regulatory terms.
4. While there might yet be an organic surge of support for re-entry, especially if Brexit goes badly in economic terms, we recognise that it may not be an immediate or obvious priority for many of the people we will eventually need to convince. In the aftermath of defeat in 2016, we took the same view on a second referendum when the demand seemed impossible; by December 2019 it had achieved consensus support across the left and centre of politics.
5. Whether or not re-entry gains a critical mass of support, Another Europe has a vital role to play in what is to come.
6. On a level of immediate policy-making, we will continue to fight for democracy and accountability in the trade negotiations; against the rise of the far right; and for Britain to maintain and expand the rights, protections and standards previously guaranteed by EU law.
7. On a deeper level, we will continue our work in cohering the internationalist left in Britain. We stand for solidarity between people and across borders, and we will seek to use this moment of defeat as a wake up call, a means of uniting the left behind a politics which unequically opposes borders, climate change and right wing nationalism. We will proactively build alliances and links between the British left and the left across the EU.
8. The scale of the defensive battle now facing us is hard to overstate. We face perhaps the most right wing government in Britain’s modern history, allied to Donald Trump’s America and actively courting and co-opting the far right. We cannot take anything for granted – basic human rights will be in the crosshairs.
9. The areas which we will seek to campaign around will include:
- Migrants’ rights: unequivocal support for defending and extending free movement; equal voting rights; and transforming the debate around asylum and detention.
- Workers’ rights: defending and expanding rights currently enshrined in EU law, and for a stronger trade union movement and right to strike.
- The environment: for the retention of all EU environmental protections and for a legally binding target of net carbon neutrality by 2030.
- Human rights: raising the alarm about the threats to the European Convention on Human Rights and the threat posed to it by a populist right government
- For food standards, animal rights, and other regulatory frameworks to be maintained and expanded
- Education and Innovation: campaigning for full participation in schemes like Erasmus, and for full access to science and research funding
- Trade deals and Brexit legislation: campaigning for full parliamentary oversight over trade deals, and against deregulation or loss of rights as a part of them
- Fighting the far right and mobilising in opposition to them
- Shifting public opinion around a broader narrative of who is to blame for the crisis.
10. In practice, this will mean
- Campaigning inside political parties to have these policy positions adopted
- Initiating and supporting a social movement in line with our political mission, and supporting and initiating freestanding social movements on key issues. This means mass protests, direct action and the building of new networks and coalitions
- Building and regrouping a movement against Trump and Trumpism
- Supporting the work of other organisations active in the same area (for instance Global Justice Now’s work on trade)
- Building and supporting grassroots networks and initiatives for migrants
- Supporting workers in struggle and building links and campaigns inside trade unions and workplaces
- Working across borders with allies on the left, in labour movement and in social movements to continue our mission to transform the EU
4th December 2019