Saturday 8th of June an important congress organised by the research centre Cestes and by the Piattaforma Sociale Eurostop took place in Milan. The congress had as an object the necessity of constructing a Euro-Mediterranean alternative to the European Union.
Besides the organisers, a number of organisations participated to the congress: CUP from Catalogna, Askapena from the Basque Country, Ensemble Insoumise from France, Annahj Addimocrati from Morocco. Moreover, from Italy also Potere al Popolo, USB, Noi Restiamo, PCI and Rete dei Comunisti participated.
The congress was an occasion for a frank exchange between political organisations and trade unions from Europe and the two sides of the Mediterranean Sea. In the discussion it emerged strongly the necessity of understanding the current phase which the European Union is going through – including the dynamics which have an impact on the ‘Southern shore’ of the Mediterranean – and the necessity of starting to imagine an alternative to the present, which looks to the proposal of an Euro-Mediterranean area as a ‘strategic depth’ where we can situate the perspective of change and the day-to-day political activity.
The EU is indeed in a crucial phase, due to the inter-imperialistic competition which on the one hand forces it to intensify its neo-colonial policies – especially in the Maghreb and the Sub-Saharan area – and from the other hand it forces it to continue with austerity policies, producing an authoritarian shift which, although it becomes evident within the European continent only when it is challenged by a social movement of rupture, it is a reality in the day-to-day activities of the political and social movements which operate on the ‘Southern shore’ of the Mediterranean.
In such context ‘War’ as paradigm of politics is becoming increasingly the core of the projection of power of the EU, and the creation of a war machine adequate to this paradigm one of its priorities.
In the same way, hostility, rather than cooperation, seems to be the way in which European elites would like to see the relationship between the people on the two shores of the Mediterranean. This is in alignment with governance strategies that turn the weak against the weakest in order to perpetuate the current system, and which have in the ‘European patriotism’ their most putrid result.
This is why putting forward the idea of the ‘rupture’ of the EU cage is an unavoidable position to abandon the timid approach – to be euphemistic – which characterised the left cadres, an approach which increasingly alienated our social bloc and was not able to propose as an ally for the generous struggles which the people of the world’s ‘South’ are conducting.
Another important aspect to be stressed is the homogeneity which characterises the area which was at the centre of the debate, and the homogeneity of the contradictions which characterise it, which push towards a greater relationship and a substantial convergence of views among those organisations which could touch with their hands how the EU is a ‘common evil’ which we should get rid of, from which we should be able to leave and to think an adequate alternative which start also from the concreate possibilities of relations which the multipolar world offers.
There is in fact the cage of the EU Treaties against European workers and people, but in these years it was built also a cage of European treaties against the countries and the people of Maghreb and Africa. In some cases, these are bilateral treaties on services and agriculture, in other cases these are multilateral treaties, such as the EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement) known as the Cotonou Agreement, which imposes subalternity and colonial dependence to the Sub-Saharan countries. When we pose the argument of the break with the EU treaties, we have to broaden our view to the entire system of domination which the European elites have built on their and other people.
While the analyses which are done on the EU show both its neoliberal character and its authoritarian shift towards social movements and migration flows, they tend to remove its neo-colonial features and the fact that its structure inherited all the flaws of its member states.
We think that this congress was an excellent starting point, and that the political space that was opened should not be episodic, but it would rather require a continuation of the work, also given the continuous accelerations in the future political agenda which emerged from the various interventions at the congress. This would give a substantial base to the practice of ‘internationalism’ so that it can affirm itself as an ‘exit strategy’ from both an out-of-time Europeanism and from a short-sighted nationalist retreat.