The Potato as an Answer to the Crisis – About Urban Gardening in the center of the European Union and the “Back-to-rural-areas” movement in the southern periphery of the European Union, by Roland Kulke, July 2012
The multiple crisis has now reached Europe in full force. The systemic crisis that was first called the crisis of the financial system and was then re-defined as a public debt crisis is enabling Europe’s ruling elites to dismantle the last remains of our welfare states. While the neo-liberalism of the pre-Lehman period was an assault on the welfare state, what is at issue in today’s Europe is the substance of the state as such. Those countries of the Euro Zone which continually achieve export surpluses at the expense of their neighbours are largely identical with the old D-Mark block, i.e. those which had then more or less linked their currencies to the “hard” German mark, particularly Germany, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, Austria and Finland. Their elites have found their “natural” leader in Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel, whose goal, and that of her supporters, is, as it seems, the transformation of what we have hitherto understood as the nature of the state. In recent years, a number of international treaties have been concluded which are increasingly constricting public budgets and will in all probability leading to an institutionalized depression in the peripheral countries of the Euro Zone.
One of the BUKO working group has recently published ten theses of a critique of a green economy. “In the following 10 theses we will show why the Green Economy will have to fail in meeting its claim of greening the economy, which is due to the prevailing capitalist and imperialist conditions as well as the unquestioned faith in progress. Strategies of the Green Economy will not be able to outweigh the social and ecological contradictions of capitalism, at best the strategies are able to revise these contradictions.” The theses are available in English, German and Spanish.
Spain’s Indignados: a nation fights back against crisis management for the benefit of the elite
For three years now, Europe has been in the throes of the worst economic crisis since the end of the Second World War. Especially in the poorer countries of the EU, the crisis has struck with full force. In preparatory obedience, to make sure it would indeed fulfil all the expectations of international speculators, Spain brutally slashed its public budget. Pensions were reduced, workers rights struck down, public investments cut back and taxes raised. The result is a paralyzed country in which 40% of young people are now unemployed.
Free our Seeds! International days of action, Brussels, 17-18 April 2011
The International Seed Action Days will be held on 17/18 of April 2011 in Brussels, with a public debate on the 17 April (Sunday), 16.00 -19.00 (Molenbeek Cultural Centre) on “Access to seeds is a human right” with activists from India, Turkey and several European countries. They will describe the situation concerning seeds in their countries and the consequences of the planned EU laws. There is food offered by a good popular Brussels kitchen after the debate.
From the invitation:Tens of thousands of people throughout Europe are actively demanding that the right to produce seeds remains in the hands of small farmers and gardeners. … The big seed trusts are determined to obtain worldwide control. This has been made clear by genetic engineering, patents on plants and animals, the introduction of seed reproduction fees… We must prevent the very basis of our food supply from becoming a source of profit for multinational companies. …
Ireland is to receive €85 billion from the European Financial Stabilization Facility, a large part of which will be passed on through to the country’s banks. Altogether, this credit line has been stocked up to the tune of €400 billion; on top of that comes €60 billion from the European Commission’s Financial Consolidation Mechanism. The Commission was particularly proud of the latter instrument, since it thought it was getting a tool that might move the Brussels bureaucracy a tiny step towards greater financial autonomy. But their hope that of some day becoming a player on the financial field was soon dashed: Merkel and Sarkozy made it clear that this mechanism will expire in 2013.
These days, world history is being written in Cairo and other North-African cities and countries. But the ten-year old World Social Forum, which took place in mid-February in Dakar, Senegal, has proven itself to be an indispensible transnational space of encounters, for the development of strategy, or for launching campaigns. For many activists, the Forum began already one week before the official opening, with a migration caravan from Bamako, Mali, to Dakar, which sought to both inform people, and learn from and network with them, about the complex interrelationships surrounding the issue of migration. Beyond this one, a number other caravans towards the Senegalese capital had been organised as ways for their participants to highlight their respective issues, and to learn about other conditions and situations.
In December 2010, international academics, civil society activists and lawyers met in Bucharest to discuss in the RLS Seminar “The free movement of Roma as EU citizens” in Bucharest the mobility of Roma in today´s Europe. It was stated that the mass expulsions in France in 2010 have been discriminatory against the Roma and that they have violated the idea of free movement within Europe. On the grounds of EU law and landmark court cases the participants further searched for ideas how to best argue against expulsions and evictions in other European countries. The conference was organised by Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Brussels.