Today, DiEM25 has every reason to celebrate. Tomorrow we get down to work, again – message to our magnificent activists

Yanis Varoufakis
29/05/2019, European Spring Program
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Dear DiEM25 members, dear European Spring activists, dear fellow progressive Europeanists,

Today is a day to celebrate, while taking stock of our remarkable achievement.

Today is also a day to lament Europe’s downward spiral, while planning the next phase of our paneuropean effort to bring hope back to the hundreds of millions who have lost it.

When in late 2017 we decided to take our Green New Deal for Europe to a ballot box across Europe, friends feared for us and cynics laughed at us. What neither our worried friends nor the cynics understood was the nature of our collective endeavour.

Our task was not to maximise our seats in this European election. Our task was not to demonstrate that another Europe is possible. No, our task was to show that another Europe is already here – inside a single paneuropean movement dedicated to a single progressive policy agenda for all Europeans.

DiEM25 was born of a radical idea: We are not simply Greeks or Germans or Italians or whatever nationality, ethnicity we carry with us. We are all that but we are also Europeans determined to oppose the internationalism of the bankers and its mirror image: the internationalism of the racists. And to do so with a single, internationalist, European agenda that is realistic, immediately implementable and radical.

We worked long and hard to put together that progressive agenda. We are proud of our Green New Deal for Europe that is the only antidote to the logic that, in this EU, there is no alternative to socialism for the bankers, austerity for the many and catastrophe for the environment. Our Green New Deal for Europe can uniquely bind together Europe’s progressives, as a counterpoint of the nasty xenophobia that binds together the nationalists.

From the outset, we had a choice: We could form coalitions of convenience. For instance, we could have easily gained many seats in these European elections provided we were prepared to run together with existing political actors who were committed to not having an agenda for Europe or who disagreed with our radical Europeanism. Or we could stick to our principles, to our fascinating Green New Deal for Europe, and run on our own – with no funding or institutional backing. We chose the second option not simply because it was hard but because it was the only way we could continue our struggle happily, in good conscience, true to our principles and goals.

Our strategy and our tactic coincided: Stand behind DiEM25’s agenda, nurture our political ethos, do justice to it — and never betray the future generations whose future depends on the implementation of our Green New Deal across Europe, indeed even beyond Europe.

This decision came with a cost — but not an unpredictable one. We always knew that our road would be long and stony. But we also knew that this European Parliament election was about so much more than seats won and lost. It was about putting forward a new vision for Europe, about demanding a Green New Deal, about inspiring people across the continent to think beyond the narrow confines of their nation. It was about demonstrating in practice what another Europe would look like.

And on this, my friends, we have won: We showed Europeans how a common agenda can be put together collaboratively by many political actors coalescing from all over Europe. How a common list of candidates, in support of this common agenda, can emerge. How we can campaign across Europe, together, under the banner of this agenda.

In the months and weeks leading to 26th May, I have had the distinct privilege of campaigning with all of you in Paris, in Brussels, across Italy and the UK, in Denmark, in Portugal and, of course, in Greece and in Germany. In every one of these places I saw the way in which you brought the best out of each other and out of your communities. You led with brilliant ideas, you demonstrated what principled, transnational, humanist politics looks like. You worked tirelessly without optimism but with bundles of hope. You were a joy to behold and to treasure. Your dedication, sense of fun, friendship, wisdom and kindness made everyone around you feel hopeful again about our Europe, its politics, its civilisation.

In the end, the quantity of votes we received fell short of our expectations – even though about 1 million Europeans honoured us at the ballot box and in Greece, the Ground Zero of Europe’s economic and democratic crisis, MeRA25 rose from zero into parliamentary contention – a result that augurs well for the soon-to-come national elections.

Comrades, friends, DiEMers,

We have planted a beautiful, radical idea in the minds of Europeans. Our task is now to help this seed of hope grow. Feel proud for what you have achieved. Rest for a day or two. After that, we shall all get back to work, planning for the next steps that must surely include a paneuropean DiEM25 get-together where we shall spend days and nights mapping out the road ahead.

Carpe DiEM25!

Yanis Varoufakis

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