Peter Murry (GPEW rep to CoR) 22/10/2012
1) About 160+ attended. I do not think the GPTU rep (D.Rouxel), London Fed rep (A.Garrett) and G.Left rep (S.Thompson) were able to attend this event, but I met F.Bakht, A. Gray, S.Ennis and R.Phoenix there. There may also have been other Greens who I did not know/see.
2) Video livestream of the event is currently available at http://www.coalitionofresistance.org.uk/2012/10/live-coverage-of-europe-against-conference/
3) The event’s full agenda is published at http://www.coalitionofresistance.org.uk/2012/10/europe-against-austerity-action-conference-sunday-21-october-11am-430pm/
4) It was initially addressed with a welcoming speech from Jimmy Kelly of unite, a speech from Jeremy Corbyn MP on the political importance of the event and opposition to Austerity and a Quebec student leader who described the unrelenting series of student demonstrations mounted by Montreal students against a gov’t imposed fees hike, which, with support from rank and file trade unionists, succeeded in overthrowing a Liberal gov’t.
5) The morning plenary was addressed by Austerity by Durham miners supporting miners in Asturias (Spain).
6) I attended the afternoon session Quebec
a) Austerity were not to blame for it. In particular the stereotyping of some of the southern Europeans (esp., the Greeks?) as “lazy” was an inaccurate slur and evidence was cited to demonstrate this. It was also noted that economic inequality was increasing in
Austerity was presented as economic necessity but was actually an attempt to restructure socio-economically towards a neo-liberal or even an
c) Austerity could be resisted by united action and this has been successful in some cases (esp.
d) In the
, demos were not enough. Some
thought the fact that several TU leaders had called for a general strike at the
UK Hyde Park rally on 20/10 was a step in the
e) Non sectarian unity was repeatedly stressed, most anti Austerity organisations (including Syriza and Bloco), were coalitions of previously disparate parties, unions, the disabled, interest groups.
f) There was little mention of
g) There was little mention of environmental crisis (in the sessions that I attended or in) except for a representative of Hackney Transition who did remind the conference of it. There was some talk of future infrastructural projects as an element in a possible recovery but no mention that these could be used to create a low-carbon economy. (I regret not speaking up about this).
h) Also the possible role of environmental crisis in creating a profits famine and innvestment strike which, some said were causes of the recent economic crash, was not mentioned.