Ten years ago, Florence hosted the first ever European Social Forum. It constituted an extraordinary moment in the construction of a continent-wide demos, which presented analyses, proposals and solutions which would have avoided Europe crashing into the terrible economic, social and democratic crisis in which it is now mired.
Europe is today pervaded by a need to build, albeit in new forms, a European public space, and by the need to look to the next 10 years with common objectives, agendas and strategies. The crisis and the austerity policies can be beaten, but we are aware that to achieve this we have to get away from fragmentation and the closure of each in their own narrow national dimensions.
The European forum Florence 10+10 will bring together over four days citizens, social movements, trade unions, network and social forces from throughout Europe recognising themselves in the demand for radical European democracy and the necessity of re-building a popular and democratic front of European citizens.
THE ASSEMBLY FOR EUROPEAN DEMOCRACY
Over the last two years the response of European elites to the economic and financial crisis has been marked by an aggressive centralisation of decision-making powers, without any attempt at constructing a transnational democratic space to legitimise these new European processes. The approval of the Fiscal Compact is just the latest step towards the imposition of an ever stricter fiscal discipline, following the European Semester, the Europlus Pact, and the Six-Pack. The attack on the rights of labour and of the welfare state and the privatisation of fundamental services seem to increasingly require the humiliation of democracy, even in its representative forms. The electoral process itself no longer takes place in a normal climate, but rather under the permanent blackmail of the crisis of sovereign debts and the demands of financial markets.
We launch an appeal for the constitution of a vast coailition of social movements, associations, political and trade union forces, but also and especially individual citizens, recognising themselves in the concrete demand for radical European democracy. We propose for such coalition to meet in an Assembly to be held in the context of the Florence 10+10 mobilisations in November 2012.
PRACTICING DEMOCRACY: A NEW PARTICIPATORY METHODOLOGY
We plan the assembly to be truly transnational and democratic in the drafting of the agenda and its conclusions, drawing a large European participation and remembering the centrality of the Central and Eastern European space. To this end the organisation of the assembly will be participatory and will employ the latest participatory software to initiate from September a debate open to all on the themes and proposals that should emerge from the assembly. All information is available by clicking in the “Participate!” tab accessible at the top of this page.
Through an online participatory process and meetings in Milan (12-14 September) and Bucharest (19 October), we want the assembly to reach concrete objetives, and in particular:
1) Building a consensus on a set of demands for the radical democratisation of the European space. These demands and proposals will be the subject of a structured online debate prior to the Assembly.
2) Contributing to the innovation of the political practices of movements, parties, and trade unions in Europe, with the conviction that democracy does not depend only on institutions, but also on the capacity of active citizenship to develop new transnational political practices. The participatory process we want to establish for the construction of the assembly also aims to show that a different model of transnational democratic practices is conceivable and implementable.