European conference against austerity

Call for a European Conference against Austerity, Cuts and Privatisation and in Defence of the Welfare State

A new movement has risen in Europe.

In Greece in May a series of general strikes shook the government. In France last autumn, millions went on strike and took to the streets to oppose the increase in pension age. There have been general strikes in Spain, Italy and Portugal. In Britain, a new student movement has taken to the streets against the dismantling of universal education. Ireland has seen its biggest trade union march for a generation and there have been large protests in Germany, Romania, Iceland and elsewhere.

The peoples of Europe face a common enemy. The current debt problem is the latest stage of a long-running crisis of capitalism which is now impacting on virtually every aspect of our lives. But rather than dealing with the fundamental problems, governments, the European Commission and European Central Bank are trying to make the people pay – through public spending cuts, austerity measures, privatization and deregulation of the labour market. We stand for an alternative to the neo-liberal Europe and resistance to this destruction.
In each country in Europe, all the social gains of the post war period are now threatened. The unelected European Central Bank is providing loans to countries like Greece on condition of dramatic cuts in public services, wages and pensions which will lead to massive impoverishment.

2011 will be a vital year – we must work to ensure that this new movement grows in strength and begins to challenge the power of the financial markets. The situation is urgent. The economic crisis continues to deepen, threatening to plunge Europe into a depression.

In Britain we have established a Coalition of Resistance at a conference in November which drew together more than 1200 activists and trade union militants. We are committed to opposing all cuts and privatisation and defending the welfare state. We are encouraging all organisations to work together for a mass campaign of action in local communities and in support of industrial action by trade-unions.

This is already an international movement. But we need to learn from each others’ experiences and work towards a co-ordinated resistance across Europe and beyond.

We therefore call for a European Conference against Austerity, to take place in London provisionally on Saturday 1st October, with delegations and representatives from trade-unions, social movements and progressive organisations across Europe. We hope that this conference will be a step towards co-ordinating the resistance by agreeing to a European-wide day of action against Austerity, Cuts and Privatisation and in Defence of our Welfare State.

Conference supporters:

Pan-European & other
Joint Social Conference

Belgique / België / Belgium
Centrale Nationale des Employés (CNE)
ATTAC Wallonie Bruxelles

Ken Loach
John McDonnell MP
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Caroline Lucas MP
Kate Hudson
Tony Benn, President Coalition of Resistance
Imran Khan, the People’s Charter
Andrew Burgin, Secretary Coalition of Resistance
Bill Greenshields, Chair Communist Party of Britain
Lindsey German, Convenor Stop the War
Paul Mackney, former UCU General Secretary
Clare Solomon, President ULU Students Union
Hilary Wainwright, Red Pepper
Lee Jasper, BARAC
Len McCluskey, Unite General Secretary
Bob Crow, RMT General Secretary
Jeremy Dear, NUJ General Secretary

Ceská republika / Czech Republic
Martin Mikula, New Anticapitalist Left

Éire / Ireland
Sinn Fein
Richard Boyd-Barrett TD (United Left Alliance)
Joan Collins TD (United Left Alliance)
Séamus Healy TD (United Left Alliance)

ATTAC France
Union syndicale Solidaires
CGT, FSU & Solidaires du “Havre de Greve”
Fondation Copernic
Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste

Deutschland / Germany
Attac Germany

Committee Against the Debt
Costas Lapavitsas
Yannis Almpanis, Network for Political and Social Rights

Italia / Italy

Asbjørn Wahl, Campaign for the Welfare State,Norway

Polska / Poland
Boguslaw Zietek (WZZ “Sierpie? 80?, Free TU “August 80?, leader)
Elzbieta Fornalczyk (WZZ “Sierpie? 80? Tesco, Free TU “August 80? Tesco)
Krzysztof Labadz (WZZ “Sierpie? 80? Budryku, Free TU “August 80? Budryk coal mine)
Zbigniew Zdónek (PPP, Polish Labour Party, defence of public health service)
Franciszek Gierot (WZZ “Sierpie? 80? Fiat, Free TU “August 80?, Fiat Poland)
Zbigniew Pietras (WZZ Sierpie? 80 Opel Polska, Free TU “August 80?, Opel-Poland)
Przemyslaw Skupin (WZZ “Sierpie? 80? górnictwo, Free TU “August 80?, Mines)
Tatiana Michalik (Stowarzyszenie osób poszkodowanych przez sieci handlowe, Association of supermarkets victims)
Grzegorz Kulczycki (Organizacja emerytów i rencistów, Organisation of pensioners)
Zbigniew Kowalewski (PPP, Polish Labour Party)

Attac Portugal

España / Spain
Plataforma pels Drets Socials de Valencia
Izquerdia Anticapitalista
Mesas Ciudadanas de Convergencia y Acción
Entrepobles/ Entrepueblos/Entrepobos/Herriarte

Sverige / Sweden
Psykologi Utan Gränser – Sverige/ (Psychology Without Borders – Sweden)
Stockholms Antiracist Cultural Association (STARK)

Schweiz / Suisse / Switzerland

The conference will take place in London on October 1, 2011see for more information


  1. Quite why anyone thinks Sinn Fein have any right to be at an anti-cuts conference is a bit of a mystery. Forget about their rhetoric in the recent 26 counties election and look at what they are doing in the north.

    There they sit in coalition government with the hard right Democratic Unionist Party. They are supporting a proposal to cut corporation tax; they are overseeing £4bn in cuts jointly with the DUP of whom Martin Mc Guinness says there is “not a blade of grass” between their economic policies; their education minister Catriona Ruane is transferring pre-school provision to the private sector in the face of oppostion from all the northern education unions. The motive for this is a bit of pork barrel politics for the Sinn Fein grantocracy.

    It would make much more sense politically to have the Irish anti-cuts movement represented by the United Left Alliance which now has five members in the southern parliament elected on a clear programme of oppostion to all cuts.

    And no one who lives there calls the place “Éire”.

    • There is an old saying which still rings true – this is their contradiction not ours. United Left Alliance TDs are also sponsoring so that experience will be represented – and I agree has some useful lessons for us in Britain

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