The idea for this for this tour came out of Glasgow Coalition of Resistance meeting. Overall CoR has been a brilliant experience – one of the best left organisations that I have been in. It has quite a diversity in terms of political participation, but also with a high participation of women, Black, disabled and young activists. This diversity means is that there is a general feeling is that there is tentacles beyond the people who actually participate in CoR that there is a large constituency behind them. This is not to say that they are acting as representatives in any way, but simply that their involvement in other areas brings an insight both politically and personally.
The meeting in question followed a visit to Athens by a delegation from the pan-UK CoR, which our Chair had been part of. The first part of the meeting was an overview of the economic situation throughout Europe, followed by feedback about what had been experienced on the visit. One striking feature that she mentioned was the visibility of austerity on the streets of Athens with boarded up areas and increased destitution. She also mentioned the strength of the opposition there was to opposing the measures that were being imposed on them, as well as the force that was being unleashed in response.
The pan-UK CoR has just established a Greek Solidarity Campaign with an initial call. While as a group we supported the aims, there was a general feeling that the structures were not sufficient to give us the kind of close connections to the struggle that we would have liked, and considered establishing our own Scottish Greek Solidarity Network , which could affiliate to the pan-UK organisation.
Further discussion, particularly with our Greek and Spanish comrades established that we also needed to link up with other organisations across Europe looking to offer solidarity to Greece. What we then looked at was then building a pan-EU network which could provide reciprocal support and solidarity together with improving communications with a view to learning the lessons from other countries and and also sharing techniques of resistance. The conclusion of the meeting was for us all to contact our respective contacts in other EU countries, particularly the PIIGS or who may have contacts and look to establishing a Skye call at the end of April and to meet to discuss progress the following week.That night, I was dead excited about this – and started dreaming of meeting those activists, and ….looking into flights.
After a few conversations of reassurance, and well aware that the prices on the budget airlines I was relying on went higher by the day, I booked. The Second Council House of Virgo is going on tour. And I’m dead excited, and thinking of the pan-European solidarity movement that has grown since the revolutionary wave of the 1840s, the International Brigades, those who went to fight fascists in the second world war, those who have supported the Irish in their struggle for liberation as well as Orwell’s reports from the streets of Paris and Catalonia.
If you have read about this blog, you will know that I left my job and am in the fortuitous position of having both time and a little bit of cash to do this. I do however have no income, so if you would like to contribute, you are more than welcome. I’ve put a handy little button just below. Suggested donation is £5. Dont feel obliged – either to contribute or to limit yourself to a fiver. But it would be awful nice of you (…err, to contribute that is, not to limit yourself)
If anyone has contacts in respective countries, that could put me in touch with activists, I would be really grateful and can be emailed at mhairimcalpine35ATgmail.com. Any good hints and tips about these countries (like the best way to et from the airport to civilisation) would be equally welcome, as would any offers of places to stay, suggestions of places to visit or any preparatory reading.
While the idea for the tour came from a meeting of CoR, I’m not going on any kind of representative or official capacity, but I’d hope that anything I learn could feed back into the solidarity network that CoR is trying to build. I’m representative of no-one but myself, but am happy to tell people about the situation in Scotland, what is happening the UK and the struggles that we have had in the past few years, on my way round.
So far the dates of the tour are:
Athens 29th April – 2nd May
Dublin 4th May – 9th May
Paris – 11th May – 14th May
Barcelona 19th -22nd May
(yes, yes, I know its not strictly Spain, but Madrid was too expensive)
Rome 26th -29th May
Lisbon tba (hopefully)
I’ll be blogging my way round as much as I can, no guarantees of regular posts, and I’m no Orwell, but will do my best. Anything I write is likely to be dreadfully lopsided to fit with my interests, skewed by what contact’s I’ve made in the respective places and influenced by the particular time that I visit the country, and I suspect I’m going to be totally knackered at the end of it, but hell it’ll be great fun.