Democracy in Europe Movement 2025
|Formation||9 February 2016|
|Yanis Varoufakis, Srećko Horvat, Lorenzo Marsili, Julian Assange, Noam Chomsky, Brian Eno, Julien Bayou, Jean-Michel Jarre, James K. Galbraith, Susan George, Boris Groys, Ken Loach, Toni Negri, Saskia Sassen, Slavoj Žižek|
The Democracy in Europe Movement 2025, or DiEM25, is a Pan-European political movement launched in 2015 by former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and Croatian Philosopher Srećko Horvat. The movement was officially presented at a ceremonial event held on 9 February 2016 in the Volksbühne theatre in Berlin and on the 23 March in Rome. The movement aims to reform the European Union's existing institutions to create a "full-fledged democracy with a sovereign Parliament respecting national self-determination and sharing power with national Parliaments, regional assemblies and municipal councils". The movement is supported by intellectuals, activists such as Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, prominent American linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky, Italian philosopher Antonio Negri, Dutch sociologist Saskia Sassen, American economist James K. Galbraith, former Labour MP Stuart Holland and Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, among others.
The acronym DiEM refers to the Roman carpe diem. They argue that the moment of organising at the continental level should not be wasted today, since they consider that the model of national parties forming fragile alliances in the European Parliament is obsolete and that is necessary a pan-European movement type, capable of facing the great economic, political and social crisis that Europe is facing. In its analysis, this crisis threatens to disintegrate Europe and has characteristics similar to the Great Depression experienced in the 1930s.
To highlight the urgency of democratising Europe before reaching a point of no return, the movement sets the horizon for the year 2025 to draft a democratic constitution that will replace all the European treaties that are in force today. One year after its foundation, DiEM25 declared that it had over 60,000 members from across the EU.
The movement's declared aim is to reinvigorate the idea of Europe as a union of people governed with democratic consent rather than what the movement fears the European Union is heading to: a superstate ruled by technocrats issuing edicts. Europe is experiencing five crises today: debt, banking, poverty, low investment, migration. DiEM25 is proposed as a platform open to all European democrats of any political orientation to develop a common response to these crises. DiEM25 also calls for another fundamental change: EU institutions, which were originally designed to serve the industry, must become fully transparent and responsive to European citizens. The long-term vision of DiEM25 sees European citizens writing the European Union's Democratic Constitution.
In support of this argument they mention eight distinct aspects where governance is by compulsion rather than consent. First among these is "hit-squad inspectorates and the Troika they formed together with unelected ‘technocrats’ from other international and European institutions". The organisation cites the emerging extremist nationalism of some new political parties as well as the so-called Brexit and Grexit state departure initiatives as evidence of this impending European fracture.
In the context of the Brexit referendum, Yanis Varoufakis was a consultant to the British Labour party working alongside party leader Jeremy Corbyn in favour of Britain's stay in the European Union. In a video statement Varoufakis gave to El País during his visit to Madrid this claim was repeated, citing the special concessions granted by the EU to the UK in February 2016 as evidence of this disintegration.
In May 2017, DiEM25 began discussing the formation of the first transnational political party, with the intent of running in the 2019 European Parliament election. Varoufakis stated that in some countries it would cooperate with national parties that agree with the DiEM25 agenda, such as Razem in Poland or The Alternative in Denmark, while in others it might decide to run separately from any existing parties.
The movement supports the petition Transparency in Europe now!, requesting the live broadcasting of the meetings of major European institutions, a comprehensive list of all Brussels lobbyists and the electronic publication of all TTIP negotiating documents.
DiEM25 is led by a Coordinating Collective composed of 12 individuals and overseen by an Advisory Board of well known personalities. On the local level, DiEM25 is represented by the DiEM Spontaneous Collectives (DSCs). The project is funded by crowdfunding.
The Coordinating Collective has several missions, including coordinating the various activities or naming the sub-coordinators. It is composed of twelve members (who can not be simultaneously members of another political party, ministers or parliamentarians still in office) and who meet once a week. Half of the CC's seats are renewed every six months by an electronic vote of all members of DiEM25.
The Advisory Board is made up of well-known personalities from different backgrounds (artistic, political, academic) who are recognised for their expertise in their field. They are intended to advise the DiEM25 on the various decisions to be taken and are elected jointly by the Coordinating Collective and the Validation Council.
The Validation Council (or VC) is responsible for monitoring the good conduct of all members of the DiEM25, making decisions when a choice has to be made urgently and time is lacking to organise a digital referendum and to validate the proposals made by the Coordinating Collective. It is made up of 100 members, anyone can apply and the selection is made by drawing lots. As for the Coordinating Collective, half of the VC's seats are renewed every six months.
The DSCs or Spontaneous Collectives of DiEM25 are self-managed groups, meeting in real or online, composed of members of the DiEM25 according to their affinities and their origin (most are therefore municipal, regional or national committees).
Development, criticism and reception
The launch of the initiative was widely covered by the international press. The leading European media reflected in their reports the following days both the potential of the movement, as the major contradictions it faces. Varoufakis was asked by the press about the relationship between his initiative and the proposals that exist on the part of other leaders of the European left to confront and to handle the so-called "crisis of neoliberalism", namely the position of Oskar Lafontaine in Germany and Jean-Luc Mélenchon in France, for a recovery of sovereignty and a return to national currencies, abandoning the euro. At this point, arguably the most contentious due to the confrontation of opposing positions within the European left, Varoufakis responded in a clear and unequivocal way, rejecting this proposal. On the contrary, the emphasis of its movement would be on the repolitisation of Europe as a unit and on the democratisation of its institutions as a way of dealing with tendencies of separation, fragmentation, competition and isolation.
In an article entitled "Varoufakis' kleine Internationale gegen Kapitalismus" (Varoufakis' small International against capitalism), the conservative German newspaper Die Welt suggested that Varoufakis' proposals "would shatter Europe apart rather than cure it". In its note on the launching of DiEM25, the paper suggests that this initiative was a product of Varoufakis being "embittered" by the rejection of his ideas. According to the article, he could not have been able to accept that his colleagues had not wanted to follow him and, since he had not been able to impose himself at the national level, he would have concluded that he needed international alliances. While in Hungary or Poland the conservative sectors are betting on emancipation, Varoufakis would be trying to form an alliance all across Europe to defend left-wing politics.
National parties associated with DiEM25
This is a list of national political parties that agree with the DiEM25 agenda.
- Yanis Varoufakis (Greece)
- Srećko Horvat (Croatia)
- Lorenzo Marsili (Italy)
- Julian Assange (Australia)
- Noam Chomsky (USA)
- Brian Eno (UK)
- Julien Bayou (France)
- Jean-Michel Jarre (France)
- James K. Galbraith (USA)
- Susan George (USA/France)
- Boris Groys (Germany)
- Ken Loach (UK)
- Toni Negri (Italy)
- Saskia Sassen (USA)
- Mikuláš Peksa (Czech Republic)
- Slavoj Žižek (Slovenia)
- Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk (Poland)
- "Yanis Varoufakis: EU no longer serves the people". The Guardian. 9 February 2016.
- "The EU will be democratised. Or it will disintegrate!" (PDF). Democracy in Europe Movement⋅2025 (Berlin). 2016-02-09. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
- Redacción (9 February 2016). "Varoufakis lanza un movimiento para evitar la desintegración de la UE". AFP (Agence France-Presse). Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- Guardian newspaper 2 February 2016:EU renegotiation: UK wins partial concession on migrant worker benefits
- Varoufakis video, in English published by El País on 22 February 2016
- DiEM25 to form Europe’s first transnational political party - Diem25.org
- „Wir fangen gerade erst an“ - Taz.de
- „Transparency in Europe now!“ - wemove.eu
- „Le sinistre senza guida“ - corriere.it
- Bascetta, Marco; Sandro Mezzadra (10 February 2016). "Varoufakis appeals for democratic awakening". Il Manifesto (global edition). Retrieved 12 February 2016.
- Jan Dams (10 February 2016). "Varoufakis' kleine Internationale gegen Kapitalismus". Die Welt. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
- "Připojení se k manifestu DiEM25 - Pirati.CZ". Pirati.CZ (in Czech). Retrieved 27 November 2017.
- "Piráti koketují s radikální levicí, přihlásili se k hnutí řeckého marxisty Varufakise | Domov". Lidovky.cz. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
- "Razem - DiEM25 - Partia Razem - Inna polityka jest możliwa!". Partia Razem - Inna polityka jest możliwa! (in Polish). 8 May 2016. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
- "Leading activists, artists, scholars and political figures take central role in DiEM25". opendemocracy.net. 5 October 2016. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
- "Piráti koketují s radikální levicí, přihlásili se k hnutí řeckého marxisty Varufakise". Lidovky.cz. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 13 November 2017.