Dispatches from Another Europe National Conference 2021
On 4 December we held our fourth national members conference. We gathered to learn and share about issues around migration, transphobia and climate change and what the role of the radical and progressive pro-European movement should be.Our National Committee had prepared 4 campaign statements that were voted in by the members present. You can read […]16th December 2021
On 4 December we held our fourth national members conference.
We gathered to learn and share about issues around migration, transphobia and climate change and what the role of the radical and progressive pro-European movement should be.
Our National Committee had prepared 4 campaign statements that were voted in by the members present. You can read more about the proposals here: https://www.anothereurope.org/another-europe-campaign-statements-2021-open-to-amendment/
Videos from the panels and workshops will be released on our YouTube channel in the coming weeks.
We would like to thank everyone who took part in our Conference, and to all of you who continue to support and build the organisation. If you’d like to be more involved, we will be sending details about elections to our National Committee.
We closed the National Conference with a speech by Joseph Healy, a socialist, an internationalist and a true comrade. We’d like to thank Joseph for the hard work and insight he’s given the Another Europe is Possible National Committee over the years and we publish his parting speech in full:
I am going today to take a detour to the worlds of art and history. When I recently visited the “Hogarth and Europe” exhibition at Tate Britain I was struck by Hogarth’s painting with the title “The Roast Beef of Old England” or “The Calais Gate”. Hogarth is the most English of painters and probably fits the definition of a Brexiteer the most. The painting, set in Calais, illustrates a portly French friar hungrily eyeing up a haunch of English beef, surrounded by emaciated French soldiers and a starving Jacobite, sitting in the gutter (obviously a survivor of the 1745 rebellion). The painting sums up all the central themes of Brexit – anti French, xenophobic, mocking Catholicism and is the full expression of 18th century English nationalism. What is ironic is that this painting appears in an exhibition showing how Hogarth was influenced by other painters in Europe and how Hogarth influenced them in turn. So it literally illustrates how even then, England could not isolate itself culturally or historically from Europe.
Through the long 19th century, from the end of the Napoleonic Wars to the First World War, Britain sought to build Global Britain, turning away from Europe and concentrating its time and resources on its empire. There is nothing new about the concept of Global Britain. However, Britain was pulled back to Europe by the events of 1914 and afterwards in 1939. I am sure that this Brexit period is an aberration in British history and that soon Britain will return to Europe again with whom it shares deep cultural, historical and economic ties being a part of this continent.
I am an Irish citizen. In the 1960s the saying was that Enoch Powell did not want to deport the Irish along with the Asians and the Caribbeans because every Englishman had an Irish grandmother. Now every Englishman is desperately looking for an Irish grandmother to gain an EU passport! Ireland is the fulcrum on which so much of Brexit turns. It was throughout the years following the referendum at the centre of the debate, though the Brexiteers forgot it existed at all. Now it is again with the Northern Irish Protocol. The North of Ireland is the only region of the UK which has thrived since Brexit and that is why the Brexiteers hate it so much because it illustrates that the only region which was able to trade freely with the Customs Union and Single Market has been the most successful and that for the rest of the UK Brexit has been a disaster. Trade between Ireland (North and South) and the UK has collapsed whereas trade with the EU has leapt up.
AEIP carved out a unique space for the pro-European Left but the spectre of Fascism hangs over Europe again in France and Italy. Last week at the European Forum organised by the European Left, which Seema also attended, we were warned that the new German Finance Minister is from the neoliberal FDP and that the government will continue to support the Stability and Growth Pact which will ensure more austerity in Europe. If that is the case then it will play into the hands of the Far Right. We must remember our title – Another Europe and fight to ensure that it is another Europe, a Europe of the Left!
I have been involved on the National Committee of AEIP almost since the start. I would like to thank Michael Chessum, who led the organisation through several turbulent years. I would also thank Seema who has taken hold of the tiller and the other members of the National Committee with whom I have worked closely. Although I am standing down from the NC I will remain an active member and supporter of Another Europe and wish the organisation success in its campaigns and struggles going forward in what will be a difficult and challenging period.
Joseph Healy, Another Europe is Possible National Committee, 4 December 2021
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