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Europe needs a citizens’ revolution, declare Lafontaine and Mélenchon

The following declaration was yesterday issued by Oskar Lafontainewho has previously been German finance minister, chair of the SPD and co-chair of Die Linke (Left Party), and Jean Luc Mélenchon, the Presidential Candidate for France’s Front du Gauche:

We note with dismay the use made of the European Union as a tool of widespread austerity. It leads nowhere except to a disaster from which no country can escape. These policies discredit the European ideal in leading our people into the impasse of the destruction of the welfare state, economic recession and ecological indifference.

We solemnly warn against incitement to nationalist selfishness that these cruel policies provoke. We all know that democracy itself is at stake when brutal parliamentary procedures are used to impose neoliberal structural adjustment plans on the people.

Deeply conscious of the lessons of the history of our old continent, we want to alert consciences by saying that social deprivation, recession and widespread competition between peoples are always breeding grounds of war and violence.

This threat has begun in Europe!

We regret that European social democracy is not mounting any resistance to the impositions of finance capital, credit rating agencies and the markets. We have seen  George Papandreou in Greece, Zapatero  in Spain and Socrates in Portugal surrender unconditionally. Then we were amazed to see the new French government simply align itself with the treaty written by Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy.

To confront the social destruction of Europe and ensure peace under these conditions, employees must build new left political majorities and increase their capacity to mobilise the citizens. We know the difficulty of mobilizing in such a context where fear for the future and the pressure of unemployment and poverty cripple many forces! We see the extreme right mobilize throughout Europe. But we also see our strengths emerge forcefully to the threshold of power in Greece with SYRIZA.

We strongly believe that the austerity chains constraining the peoples of Europe will break somewhere in one of the martyred countries today, as was the case after the decade of structural adjustment in South America.

Europe needs a citizens’ revolution. The people must be free to formulate the policies they believe is right for them without being subject to undemocratic controls and punishments, such as those imposed by the new European treaties. This demand can be seen in many places in the world. It gave rise to profound changes in South America and North Africa. Nowhere have they taken their final form. But everywhere they express a strong aspiration for social and political democracy.

That is why we have decided to unite in action as individuals to build, with willing progressives in the five continents, common ground and proposals, a Global Forum for a citizens’ revolution.

We are encouraged to see the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) organize actions of workers resistance. We welcome the work of the Party of the European Left to support the cooperation among the parties of the new European left in the peoples’ struggle.

We affirm our confidence in our ability, at the right time, to lead new progressive governments that are needed to change the course of history and avoid disaster!

We call on all progressive consciences to enter this battle.

Translation by Revolting Europe. Jean Luc Mélenchon is visiting Britain on 6 December.


  1. daggi in berlin says:

    Just a bit of clarity: Oskar Lafontaine hasn’t been co-chair of Die Linke since Spring 2010 – at least, not officially. Since then there have been four different co-chairs, two of which (the male co-chairs) are said to be “under his control” or his “puppets” – but regardless of that, Lafontaine isn’t one of them.

    His current partner, Sahra Wagenknecht, is the current co-deputy chair.

    Reminds me of an article on Socialist Unity the other week where it was stated that Gerhard Schröder was the current SPD leader and Chancellor of Germany.

    1. Jon Lansman says:

      Daggi: The word “former” did appear at the beginning. I accept that there is a possible ambiguity but I thought it was sufficiently clear to readers that he certainly couldn’t be chair of the SPD and co-chair of Die Linke (Left Party) at the same time and therefore the word “former” must apply to all three posts. However, I have amended it to avoid any doubt, and thank you for the comment.

  2. iniref says:

    JL writes, “That is why we have decided to unite in action as individuals to build, with willing progressives in the five continents, common ground and proposals, a Global Forum for a citizens’ revolution.”

    How can the citizens’ revolution be brought about? To be realistic, it will be a very long time before left-wing parties with leaders such as Lafontaine or Mélenchon can win election majorities. So, in the meantime, why not assist we the “citizens” to help ourselves? More direct democracy is a way to enable the peoples to take back political power (“sovereignty”). Using tools of democracy such as the citizens’ proposition and the referendum veto of government action, policy in all fields such as finance, banking, welfare, peace etc. could be put into effect. Find more detail via our web site.

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