After Florence: From Resistance to Revolution

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It is likely that Florence will go down in history as one of the great gatherings of the European left.

A real sense of collective excitement gripped the tens of thousands of activists who attended. That the left across Europe has been able to regroup on such a scale is testimony to all those who have built the movements against war and globalisation.

Everyone I know who went to Florence considered it to be a massive success and step forward for the movement. People came to Florence because of a whole number of issues. I went largely on the basis of the inspiration I have felt through involvement with the Stop the War Coalition, both on 28 September and on the 31 October day of action, when hundreds of us occupied the LSE.

Another world is possible, but how do we get there? Much of the forum was characterised by the debate between reform and revolution. Can we look to the EU as a counterweight to US imperialism, or do we insist on the centrality of war to capitalism and therefore stress the necessity of revolution in order to create a peaceful world? Susan George wrote last month (November SR) that she feared the forum may become 'politically speaking, a tragic waste of time, energy and resources'. In order to avoid this she recommended we all try and focus on one particular issue. However, it seems the level of politics in the movement is simply too high to prevent people from generalising against the system as a whole and seeking its replacement with 'something nicer'!

It is clear that our movement, its successes or failures, hold the key to the future of humanity. The alternative is the barbarism we see Bush and Blair prepared to unleash. Revolution is back on the agenda and it is possible to win whole new generations of people to the ideas of revolutionary socialism.

Tom Whittaker
London