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The European Magazine was born in 2013, with the collaboration of six nonprofit organizations from Greece, Hungary, Italy and Romania. Since then, we organized six transnational workshops with the goals of: training citizens on European values, collecting their needs in terms of communication; making citizens more active in the European life; fostering a constructive collaboration.
AUTHOR: Federico Lo Bianco
On the 14th of November 2014 the first European social strike took place. The initiative was promoted by several political subjects (movements, trade unions, parties, etc.) to protest against austerity policies and to propose a way out of the crisis in opposition to the neoliberal dogma adopted by traditional right and left wing parties all over Europe.
The strike was most powerful in Italy, with protests against the Expo in Milan and against the Job Act and school reform of Italian Prime Minister Renzi’s government in several cities, and France, with the occupation of the seat of OECD in Paris and initiatives in other cities to protest against Holland’s cuts to unemployment funds; other protests took place in Berlin and Brussels.
The strikers protested in particular against the precarization of work and life in general, the progressive destruction of the welfare state and the privatization of common goods; they requested the actuation and extension of rights, the introduction of a European minimal wage and, more ambitiously, of a base income for all European citizens, and in general a new model of democracy “from below”.
The strike was unique in the sense that it tried to reach a great amount of people that do not usually take part in strikes: besides private and public employees, also self-employed and unemployed people, students, and the galaxy of precarious workers. So it was not a strike in the strict sense, but rather a general protest, that everyone realized in a particular way, the common target being to deny a part of oneself, of one’s abilities, relationships, time or energy to work: for example email strike, going to work badly or cross-dressed, etc. On a more organized level, the strikers blocked several symbolic targets.
The social strike is also a step forward in the integration to a European level of several no-austerity national or local movements, who realize the centrality of the EU in the definition of the policies of each country.
Photo credits: http://crisisandchange.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/14n1.jpg