The Conservative government has imploded. If a general election was held today, polling indicates an unprecedented landslide for Labour. Strikes across all sectors, from train drivers to barristers, are on the rise, not just in the UK but internationally. People across the world are fed up and fighting back against low wages, inflation and authoritarianism. In the UK, voters are increasingly disillusioned with the hard-right Brexit project that brought us here.
Now is the time to call boldly for change. To organise meaningfully with social justice movements across Europe and beyond. To fight for free movement, workers’ rights and a green transformation.
Come to our conference this Saturday 3 December, meet fellow members and activists in person, and organise for a better future. Our time is now.
Location: Birbeck University, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX
10:30am: Registration and refreshments
11am: Brexit and the crisis of the Tory regime: What way forward for internationalists? With Zoe Williams (Chair, The Guardian), Zofia Malisz (Razem International, Poland) & Andrea Pisauro (Another Europe NC)
12.10pm: How can we achieve global freedom of movement? Practical steps and utopian horizons
Zoe Gardner (Chair, Another Europe NC), Munya Radzi (Regularise), Bridget Chapman (Kent-based refugee rights activist), Dan Davidson (Trade unionist, Labour Campaign for Free Movement).
13:30: Peace and Security in Europe and beyond
Professor Mary Kaldor (Chair), Ivanna Khrapko (Ukrainian Federation of Trade Unions), Dmitri Makarov (Moscow Helsinki Group), Mazen Gharibah (Researcher on Conflict in Syria, LSE), Shukria Rezaei (Afghan Refugee Rights Activist).
14:40: Cost of Living Crisis: creating an intersectional, transnational struggle
Michael Chessum (Chair), Claudia Turbet-Delof (UVW, Hackney Labour councillor), Amelia Womack (Green Party), Kahina Saadi (ATTAC France).
15:40: Brainstorming Another Europe strategy in the year ahead
The deadline for submitting motions for debate is Tuesday 29 November. Motions can be submitted to email@example.com.
16:30 Statement & Election of Candidates standing for National Committee
Click here to find out more about how to stand for our national committee.
17:00 Closing Plenary: Actions for the year ahead
The conference will be followed by a social.
Our national conference is primarily a democratic event. If you’re a member of Another Europe, you’ll be able to vote and submit proposals for our campaigns and strategy for the months ahead. You should also have received a registration link via email.
If you’re not a member, join Another Europe now to attend the conference and help build our movement. We need you now more than ever.
These discussion documents were agreed by the Another Europe NC in the run-up to the conference.
The outlines of our campaigning in 2023
Ahead of Another Europe’s 2022 the National Committee reiterates our view that
“Brexit is the UK franchise of a global wave of right wing and far right nationalist movements, from Trump and Bolsonaro to Orban and Le Pen – and it offers us a nastier, less connected, more unequal future. Another Europe Is Possible exists to campaign against this authoritarian nationalism.”
There are signs that the tide may now be turning against this authoritarian nationalist menace. In Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro was defeated, albeit narrowly, by a broad progressive coalition in defence of democracy. In the United States, there was no Republican ‘wave’ in the midterms and a number of far right, Trump-backed candidates went down to defeat. Above all, Ukraine’s extraordinary national resistance has also thrown back the imperialist, ultra-nationalist Russian invasion. But tremendous challenges still remain. Italy now joins Hungary and Poland with openly far-right governments in the EU – and the pushback against this drift from Brussels has been muted and insufficient.
Here in the UK our own ‘illiberal turn’ – Tory Brexit – is in crisis but far from over.
Resistance is needed more than ever.
Our priorities in 2023 will continue to work around several overlapping themes:
· Brexit and its consequences
· Democracy and human rights
· International solidarity
We will prioritise maintaining a focus on these cross-cutting areas. This work will include:
Our work on Brexit: scrutiny, evidence, resistance
Challenging the Brexit process – which we have always understood as a form of authoritarian nationalism – will continue to be at the centre of what we do as a campaign (see separate text on the NC’s assessment).
Important marker points next year for the evolution of the Brexit agenda will be whether the extreme provisions of the Retained EU Revocation and Reform Bill are maintained; if there is a UK-EU agreement over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol; and the government’s move to greater financial deregulation (the Financial Services and Markets Bill), which, if continued, will increase the UK’s divergence from European rules. The outcome of these changes will shape ‘what Brexit looks like’ in the run-in to a 2024 UK General Election and the subsequent review period for the existing UK-EU arrangements. We will also develop (cross-cutting with our migrant rights work) an area of policy advocacy on the UK’s visa scheme for agricultural workers and its role in the exploitation of workers.
Public opinion has moved against Brexit – with a large and growing majority recognising it as a historic error. Our job is to develop and build on this sentiment and open a pathway for the UK to re-join.
In solidarity with Ukraine: building an international progressive movement from below
Building on our work this year in 2023 we will continue to collaborate with Ukrainian activists, the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign, the Institute of Policy Studies (in the US), European Alternatives, the Russian peace movement, and the broader international networks we have started to cohere, to create a global civil society movement resisting authoritarianism, the new imperialism and crony capitalism. At the centre of this collaboration is our belief in peace with justice and not peace at any cost as the basis for ending the war in Ukraine.We will draw on the history of the 1975 Helsinki Accords to advocate a new global agenda based on environmental justice, democracy and human rights and economic transition.
We will continue to develop our programme of anti-Islamophobia research and policy advocacy, as a key dimension of our international solidarity initiatives. With international allies and partners, we will co-create dialogues across Europe and online promoting anti-racist actions, sharing experiences and best practice examples of movement building.
The UK border regime and rule of law crises
The passing of the Nationality and Borders Act was a bleak moment in Britain’s terrible history of reactionary immigration policy. We will continue to oppose the ‘hostile environment’, work within the social movements resisting the implementation of the government’s latest reactionary measures and support actions promoting an alternative rights-based system based on solidarity and humanity.
The Sunak government presents a softer veneer but is pursuing an authoritarian nationalist agenda that attacks the rule of law and basic human rights. Not only is the government continuing with the shameful Rwanda deportation policy but the threat to the Human Rights Act is back with Dominic Raab’s return to the Justice Ministry. The so-called British Bill of Rights is currently at second reading in the Commons and will go to the Lords in early 2023.
This year we reviewed how we were relating and working with our membership to provide more opportunities to engage with our work. Developing this work further in the year ahead we will: (a) organise members-only Zoom events to be briefed on key political or policy issues; (b) develop more opportunities for members to volunteer for the campaign without standing for the National Committee, e.g., working groups on specific issues; and (c) organise a members survey in the Spring of 2023 to scope views on our future priorities.
The crisis of Brexit in a world of crisis
- The world economy faces its most serious economic/financial crisis of the past 50 years. This is driven partly by the unresolved problems revealed by the 2008 banking turmoil, by slower global economic growth from China and other economic super-powers, by the impact of climate change and by renewed turbulence triggered in the wake of the Ukraine war.
- The UK is far less well equipped to face this new crisis than its major European neighbours – thanks to the long-term chronic weakness of UK economic growth, investment, productivity and competitiveness. Brexit has proven to be a complete failure. Opinion polls are showing that UK-wider opinion is firmly of the view that Brexit was a mistake and that we need a much closer relationship.
- As a result of its political inability to address the social and economic breakdown, in a world in which the major issues and problems of the day cannot be resolved progressively in national isolation, the UK as as an entity faces a profound and likely long-term crisis of governance.
- In the short-term some of the key economic problems are:
- Higher exposure to global inflationary pressures due to weaker pound costly imports;
- Labour shortages, despite falling economic demand with the recession;
- Steep problems in the export industry and stagnant business investment;
- A coming crisis in hospitality and services;
- Cost of living crisis and extraordinary levels of economic inequality;
- Crumbling public services and a severe housing crisis;
- Steep economic divides by age with a ‘lost generation’ of impoverished and super exploited young people.
- The short-lived radical free market experiment of the Truss government has now given way to return of an austerian Conservativism under Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt. After 12 years in government, the Conservatives are out of ideas with no strategic plan. They have nothing to offer except more authoritarian ‘culture wars’.
- The government now fears that pursuing further their hardline Brexit may only add to the UK’s economic woes. Discrete signals are being given that the UK will try to settle the dispute with the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol and the protection of the ‘open border’ and the peace process enshrined by the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement.
- Brexit both triggered and reflected a crisis of legitimacy of political institutions. It revealed fundamental weakness of our democratic system to hostile interferences. From the start it involved Russian ‘dark money’. We have a Conservative UK government captured by elite and sectional interests. Tory Brexit has seen rights to protest curtailed, ‘culture wars’ launched on university campuses and a political offensive against the Human Rights Act.
- In the context of the UK’s steep crisis as a political entity, which potentially brings its very coherence into question, we recognise that the constitutional set up of the UK is both untenable and increasingly dysfunctional for the constituent nations, especially Scotland and Northern Ireland which, of course, voted to remain in the EU. A conversation about democratic and constitutional reform is both necessary and urgent.
- Another Europe Is Possible’s National Committee reiterates its support for UK membership of the single market and customs Union as well as other important EU collaboration programmes such as scientific research, culture and the arts, education, climate change, energy and security.
- We see this not as an alternative to re-joining the European Union, but a vital step in this direction. Above all, we still believe there is a powerful – indeed, politically and economically essential – democratic case for the UK (and/or its constituent nations) participating in the political direction of Europe, something which, in the end, is only possible through membership of the EU. In short, the UK should be a member of the EU and our campaign works for this goal.
- We also reiterate our support for the specific right of Scotland to have a choice, as democratically mandated for by its electorate in the last Scottish elections, to hold a referendum on whether it should remain a part of the UK or pursue EU membership as an independent state.
Pro-European campaigning activity in the year ahead
- We will continue to work cooperatively with the wider pro-European networks, for example through participation in the Grassroots Roundtable. However, our campaign work will continue to prioritise developing and building the audience for our ideas within the ecosystems and networks we are most well placed to influence, such as on the left (broadly defined), the radical social movements and labour movement.
- We should respond to opportunities for developing the ‘pro-European majority’, as they arise – especially where there is a backlash (like on deregulation) against the extreme character of the Brexit agenda. The importance of these backlashes – like, for instance, the recent wave of conservation groups criticising the EU revocation bill – is that they draw on wider constituencies beyond the core of pro-EU campaigners.
- The labour movement and progressive political parties provide another area of work. We should rapidly produce a model resolution for party and trade union conferences to be used across 2023. The resolution will make a positive case for re-joining both the single market and full membership of the EU. We recognise that activists submitting it may, of course, make tactical decisions as to whether it is most likely to win support in their branch/union/etc with the ‘full’ pro-EU position, or whether it is more expedient for them to focus on the single market.
- The goal of our work on the European question should recognise that we need to (a) grow the ‘silent majority’ in society that recognise Brexit was a mistake; (b) develop a practical plan for gradual transition back to the EU, which avoids the so-called ‘yoyo problem’ of a unstable switching back and forth from integration and separation, and (c) highlights the relationship between Brexit as a form of authoritarian nationalism and hyper-neoliberalism, and the global crises of our time. This last point posits the need for solutions that go way beyond simply re-joining the EU and underlines the importance of building Another Europe Is Possible as a radical international solidarity movement.
20th October 2022