archivi delle proteste globali
archives of global protests

Neoliberalism in Europe

(Coord. milanesa de soporte a la lucha zapatista - Franco.Romano'

This report is written by the following comrades from Italy: Claudio Molteni (Trade Union - Cgil) Laura Disilvestro (internationalist women and International Civil Service), Marina Merlini, Franco Romanò (Commetee of supporto to zapatista fight of Milan and International Civil Service)


The dogma of Maastricht criteria is creating heavier and heavier social conditions; meanwhile it is pushing European governments in a sort of 'cul de sac'. The choice made by President Chirac to anticipate the general elections and his defeat are the consequence of the struggles carried on in France in 95 and 96, of the movement of the European marches for employment and against all exclusions, to the Renault facts and to the demonstration which was held in Amsterdam on 14th June last. The blows to the project of a European currency are coming from everywhere and even Kohl government is in great difficulty.

The European network against neoliberism is growing in a moment when new and important contradictions may rise, but the most serious problem we aren't still able to resolve is how to give continuity to the struggles, a certain mark of unity ( respecting differences) and synchrony of time.


Some very important movements were born this year in Europe. The feature of this movement which is both nomadic an chaotic is strategically much important as it adheres perfectly to the nature of capitalism that is anarchist in its essence. Thus this movements seems to us a good' translation' of what Che Guevara said 30 years ago, that is 'to create one, a hundred, a thousand Vietnam' that translated could sound like' let's create one, a hundred a thousand social movements'.

Let's now consider its limits:

* European movements tends to be solidaristic with Chiapas more than representing a network of resistance to neoliberism.

* the build of the network of resistence has made many steps forward in communications by Internet, ( which is overestimated in our opinion), less in other types of communication. To speak to sound and living bodies is different than speaking virtually.

* Finally the network of movements does not resolve what may be pointed out a ' general subjectivity', bus simply eludes it. For these reasons its initiative has been fragmentary, scarcely able to involve those who share similar ideas but not exactly the same.

The marches against unemployment and social exclusion and for the reduction of working hours, are an important experience of struggle against neoliberism in Europe and have brought once more on the stage more traditional and class subjects. European marches are an important part of the movement against neoliberism and of that process which should bring to the foundation of the International of Hope. In fact they have been born for the necessity to make the antagonist politics an international one, overcoming national borders, just when the logic of separation and fragmentation can put European workers against each other. Last but not least this movement has immediately seen in Maastricht criteria the heart of neoliberism in Europe.

The possibility of further growth is connected to the dialogue among the different groups and political forces. It is impossible to get rid of the movement of resistance made by workers against the dismantling of industries Europe; meanwhile it is necessary to create bridges, ways of communications between this part of the movement and those who will never or nearly have a job or think that wage-earning work must be refused. The problem, anyway, is to understand that overcoming wage-earning work is incompatible with the existence of a capitalistic system and that many initiatives of the so called third sector or no profit ( as we sometimes name it in Italy), are not examples of self-management of resources but are simply tertiary sector. Anyway, to be against wage-earning work does not mean to be against wage-earners..

The problem of Welfare and the social conflitcts against the dismantling of rights and social services furnished by the state, must be considered in this context. These problems are present in some ' claims without conflict' in Italy and similar claims are present in the people that voted for the left in France: that is a demand for social policies or keynesian one, based on new public investments as a barrier agaisnt the toughness of Maastricht criteria. But the treaty of Maastricht is not a mixture of measure on the economic ground, it is also culture and ideology. Maastricht, is the frame and the reference point for the dismantling of social policies, the necessity of a substantial rescission of the social compromise established at the end of Second World War, the visible hegemony among the ruling classes for an option towards capital when it makes itself as a state ruler getting rid of political mediation. The build of European monetary community makes evident this deep and rooted trend of neoliberism and puts into action dynamics that overcome Maastricht treaty itself.

The nostalgia for a mythical welfare state risk to turn the movements towards policies that have no future in the context of Maastricht, in a situation which is lacking of models as they are searched only in the frame of the liberal tradition.

All social classes, in this occurrence, tend to act out of their political representations and this create in Italy the possibility of a reactionary mass movement like Lega Nord, for instance. On the other hand the antagonist left and that part of the traditional left that may be oriented towards an alternative strategy, are still unable to make the opposition we all need, visible. To build a reference point we think that we have to push on the social non incompatibility of the policies carried on by Governments, claiming for more sociality ( not more traditional Welfare State), more resources for the social policies.

Compulsory nomadism, precariousness, migrations, will be increasing in the near future, surrounding and isolating the isles of legal work. Under this point of view the present debate on Welfare is misunderstanding. One should in fact to hurl again a proposal of social and useful jobs, introducing elements of self-management and claiming for an increased amount of social expenditure, directly ruled by the network still existing (NGO and others). In the meantime, as an eventual and new break in the capitalistic structure of the society couldn't occur following model of the past, in the same way a new society could not have the same features and the same should be for the way of ustilizing the social surplus. Even new compromises following eventual revolutionary breaks, could not follows the same tracks experimented in the past. What is necessary is a new language, also. Welfare state is not a definition for the future.

The limits that we must try to overcome are many. We'll try to show them and suggest some possible proposals. The first concerns the build of the International of Hope. To act as an assembly when we are all together and to be a network when we are separated is not enough. It is necessary to establish common appointments of struggle and utilise other means besides Internet. The first proposal we make is to build a European linkage among the many and different antagonist broadcastings, to build a European editorial staff dedicated to neoliberism. The point is not to build a new broadcasting station, but to create groups inside the editorial staff still existing, especially dedicated to neoliberism, able to diffuse the initivaves that take place everywhere in Europe, ad in the world. One hour of broadcast every week with the same title, everywhere is possible with services, analysis, proposals. Only thanks to the wider circulation of information we'll be able to find common chances for common fights and not simple demonstrations without continuity. As for the contents we see there priorities:

* The active support to the marches for job and against all forms of social exclusion.

* a boycott campaign against banks implied in the 'debt affair', following the example of British group Lamb, which has brought to important results.

* The launch of a campaign of massive occupation of spaces, dismantled area in the cities or in countryside for the control of territory.

Territory, in fact, has become the container of social desease and even the place where the state tend to retire as a provider of services, leaving to criminal powers the rule, or simply abandoning some areas to decay. To control the territory means also organising and experimenting self-management, stemming home speculation which push higher the cost of housing, creating chances for jobs. It is necessary to start from practical situations, to identify specific needs, to give flexible answers to social demand of job, care, medical assistance, culture. Immigrants are surely involved in such a process.

A second step to undertake is sorting out of a mentality which tends to ask for something to someone else. The claims on which a new movement may grow cannot be based on the famous Delors plan. The so called social Europe won't exist. The only Europe existing is Maastricht, there won't be another unless radical changes take place. The recent meeting of governments in Amsterdam has shown how it is impossible to force the frame of this dominant model with some reforms. It is useful, from a tactical point of view, that the contradictions between the build of the monetary unit of Europe and its political and social unity, has come out and has caused many troubles among governments. In fact, the rise of such contradictions may give room and time to an opposition to Maastricht criteria, opposition which is present among wide strata of the European population, probably the majority. Meanwhile it is anyway evident that the reached compromise shows how there are no real chances to correct a system being inside its logic. Everybody has understood, in fact, that the compromise reached is based on the confirmation of criteria and date of the monetary build, and on statements which are merely virtual for what concerns social problems. This is the evidence that the toughness of Maastricht criteria does not allow any manoeuvring independently from the coalition of government which is on power. The difficulties of governments ( in France in particular) must be used and addressed towards radical changes in political choices, and to find out the right way to hit the way of production in its heart.

In this context a particular importance is the self employment.We cannot forget that the huge increasing of the self employment had not occurred in a phase of economic growth, neither as a free choice in a context of different options, but in a situation of lacking and diminishing of job and salary. The great part of self employment is characterised by:

* complete flexibility of time hours.

* salaries a great deal under the minimum established by trade unions (illegal work is another thing).

* complete lacking of rights by the workers.

The real and strategic objective of capital becomes here evident: to state at a constitutional and institutional level that work and workers are mere goods ( as Karl Marx affirmed more than a century ago) and that state interventions must be addressed to support enterprises independently from the fact that such and enterprise matches or not social sustainability.

Another economic compartment to be attacked is the sector based on just in time delivery. Such system may work only if society is globally efficient. The nerve centres are two: the collection of orders with the connected system of communications and transport ( a firm working with this system cannot afford delays exceeding three hours). We must undertake political actions in these two sectors because to put them in crisis means to boycott the whole system and this fact has immediate consequences on profits. To blow the pool of firms which avail of the just in time delivery procedures is possibile and can be managed even by small groups of organized people, blocking transports or other, so as to cause a great damage to entreprises.


The network against neoliberism is improving but we are not still able to link our forces. A proposal to do this, could be a weekly and common broadcast dedicated to initiatives against neoliberism. Welfare State and requests of more sociality and rights are discussed. In the end are taken into considerations some nerve centres of production in neoliberism: self emplyment (often just a disguised wage-earning job), and the just in time delivery system.

To the For Humanity and Against Neo Liberalism index

1st encuentro | 2nd encuentro | |