After months of preparation, the days of action organised by the coalition For a European Spring erupted into life last week. However, here in Brussels the police tried to stop it: first banning a peaceful demonstration and then arbitrarily arresting people after a peaceful occupation of the European Commission’s ‘Austerity HQ’. But despite their efforts, the seeds have now been sown, and the pan-European movement against undemocratic and destructive austerity policies is growing.
For a European Spring, Against Austerity
For a European Spring, a coalition of more than 30 groups from 13 countries, came together to reject the European Union’s consistent response to the economic crisis: austerity. In Northern and Southern Europe, we’re witnessing the dismantling of the welfare state, snowballing unemployment and rapidly falling living standards. That’s why the coalition felt that the EU Spring Summit, where political leaders gather to discuss further austerity measures, was the perfect opportunity to send a loud, clear message from the people of Europe that we reject the undemocratic imposition of austerity.
The coalition declared 13Th March as a day of decentralised action, with marches, seminars, general assemblies, and many other activities taking place across Europe while the 14th was a day of concentrated action in Brussels for all Europeans.
Come on a magical Austeritour
In unison with people in Spain, Italy, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland, Germany, Austria, Slovenia and Greece, in Belgium we organised our own decentralised action: an Austerity Tour of the European institutions as well as the financial and industrial lobbies that have been at the heart of the austerity drive. Accompanied by a samba band and slogan-chanting, the tour weaved through Brussel’s EU quarter, beginning with an action at the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (whose activities were declared a risk to public health and the economy, and therefore quarantined – see pictures). After taking in the European Banking Federation, the Spanish Embassy, the repeatedly-bailed out Belfius Bank and the European Commission, the tour ended at Aquafed, the lobby responsible for pushing water privatisation on behalf of the big water corporates. A staged ‘tug-o-war’ for control of water – between the Troika (the IMF, the Commission and the European Central Bank) and the people – ended in favour of the people. But the real world battle is still far from one, although this short animated videoshows what great campaigning is currently ongoing. A secret ‘unannounced’ stop took everyone on the tour to Business Europe, the city’s biggest lobbying association. There we joined them in celebrating their unbridled success during these austere times. Their members are the main beneficiaries of the Troika’s enforced privatisation. (more…)