Like many others, what the movement had in mind for 2020 turned out to be very different to what ended up happening this year. DiEM25 was gearing up for our release of Euroleaks (check out the recordings here!), only for every headline to turn to COVID-19 — the deadly virus making its way across the globe.
Now, everything seems to metaphorically link back to this new virus — ‘Austerity Is the Patient Zero of Coronavirus’.
At DiEM25, we have been fighting the core issues that have lead to the current health, economic and ecological crises
We were met with a multitude of challenges to our grassroots activism and campaign organising, with many local groups struggling to connect with volunteers due to lockdowns and other COVID-19 measures. But the creativity of our members allowed DiEM25 to continue to engage in our many campaigns such as the Green New Deal for Europe and local as well as thematic groups. Our message of democratising the European Union and challenging austerity measures has been more pressing than ever this year. We were also supported by countless activists, organisations, partners and thinkers who helped to make sense — collaboratively — of these challenging times.
Although there were some radical measures taken by governments to support hospitals as well as experiments with solidarity payments, the vast majority of measures seem to have only exacerbated the growing inequality and democratic deficit in Europe.
In response, DiEMers from across Europe took to the streets to challenge the handling of the pandemic, and we have released new projects and campaigns to help us all rethink and engage with this contemporary moment.
We launched our ‘radically hopeful and constructive television programme’ DiEMTV that has hosted more than many guests such as Noam Chomsky, as well as garnered millions of views. Most of all, this series allowed us all to think through this moment in time; from the heightening of surveillance capitalism to the consolidation of corporate oligarchies such as Amazon.
We held our first cycle of our Campaign Accelerator, a new project where we support individual DiEM25 members to design and run targeted campaigns on local issues they feel strongly about. We supported an initiative to block the construction of Yet Another Mall in Porto; an attempt to ensure a sustainable development model for a beautiful area in Northern Greece; and a push to stop arms companies running schools in the UK.
Campaign Accelerator will be opening for new submissions in January – stay tuned!
The Progressive International
The Progressive International, co-founded by DiEM25, launched in May 2020. This global initiative has already begun uniting progressive struggles across the world by supporting workers’ strikes, observing elections, and connecting progressive activists, politicians and thinkers from around the world. In just seven months, the coalition has grown to include unions, parties, and movements representing millions of people around the world.
In its first couple of months, the PI has already: mobilised members to protect democratic institutions in Ecuador, dispatched a delegation of parliamentarians from around the world to observe Bolivia’s first election since the coup of November 2019, and campaigned with Senator Bernie Sanders, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and representatives around the world for total debt forgiveness and an emergency injection of finances to the Global South.
The People’s Gatherings
Just last month, we launched yet another project borne from our reflections on COVID-19 and the state of democracy in Europe — the People’s Gatherings. The citizen engagement project offers all DiEMers the opportunity to become an organiser of local meetings — Gatherings — where Europeans can discuss the future of the politics of their commune, region, and country. It comes at a critical time when new conversations are needed in order to construct, together, a post-capitalist future. We are excited to see how DiEMers engage with the project and all of the Gatherings that will emerge from it in 2021!
This year, we strove to ensure that our movement stays at the forefront of the issues that matter to Europeans and progressives around the world
Our 3 Point Plan released in March offered (and still offers!) a way to urgently respond to the COVID-19 health crisis in a way that also addresses our economic and ecological crises. Our members engaged in the Green New Deal for Europe have been busy re-imagining their cities and focusing on local issues relevant to its policies.
Our members have also contributed to shaping our movement’s campaigns and policies. The member-led housing campaign Rentvolution! has been a main point of focus for many of our members across Europe. Together, they have organised joint protests and campaign efforts in order to address the housing crisis in many European countries such as Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal and the Netherlands. Indeed, the rising risk of eviction of coronavirus measures leave some segments of the population vulnerable.
DiEM25’s Peace and International Policy thematic group has had over 150 members participate in a questionnaire on our policies in this area. With the wealth of principles, ideas and methods they have proposed, the group will draft a green paper that will be presented back to the membership. Our Taskforce for Feminism, Diversity and Disabilities has additionally been hard at work ensuring inclusivity and intersectionality within our movement and connecting with local groups on the issue of domestic violence. We have also continued to push for the issues that are nearest to our hearts, such as the Julian Assange case for which protests have been ongoing.
In 2021, DiEM25 will continue to fight for a just and sustainable transition towards a more equitable world. For a postcapitalist future where ‘socialism for the few and harsh capitalism for the rest’ is just an old phrase. For a truly democratic Europe where the people get the final say on the policies that affect their lives.
As Yanis Varoufakis stated in his New Years message:
“It is up to us to make 2021 a year of radical change in the interests of the many. Everywhere!”
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