On 6th May 2017 DiEM25 members – joined by Yanis Varoufakis on this special occasion – met at the October Gallery in London to participate in the first Provisional National Committee (PNC) meeting for the UK.
The referendum vote in June 2016 was binary. Many people voted ‘yes’ because they wanted sovereignty to revert to parliament but, undeniably, this very polarised referendum was short on detail of what ‘yes’ might entail in reality. Painfully aware of the many underlying motivations for the referendum result, DiEM25UK members have rallied together to redefine the significance of the movement within a country that voted ‘leave’. While some questioned the collective’s future, DiEM25UK found that membership sign-ups surged and that a call for action became louder and unmistakable.
To deal with the increasing numbers of members across the country, as well as the complex political issues the UK will be facing in the coming years, DiEM25UK assembled a Provisional National Committee to coordinate its UK activities. This was the first major, collective step towards establishing a structured framework to support and organise the movement in this country.
Since the October Gallery meeting, members are now even more enthusiastic and energised than before and in the process of outlining a manifesto, codifying policy, working on a New Deal plan for UK, as well as organising events, etc. The PNC has taken on the myriad tasks of constructing a political movement with its own voice and goals. To comply with the core DiEM25 values of transparency, all DiEM25 members are welcome to join all the conversations being held online in the DiEM25UK team on Slack (diem25uk.slack.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org for an invite link). Here, the PNC and any members that wish to join, discuss concerns, arrange meetings and make decisions to advance the movement into this new political era for the UK, addressing the specific issues affecting this country as it prepares to exit the EU into the unknown.
We fully recognise that democracy has spoken and we will respect the result of the EU Referendum, so our focus will be to move away from the Brexit/Remain dichotomy and more towards working on a New Deal for the UK, as well as on a positive relationship, and solidarity, with our European neighbours.
Yanis Varoufakis spoke to the new UK PNC, fully cognisant of the group’s unusual position as the only DiEM25 branch based in a country which is actively exiting the EU. He reminded us that, nevertheless, this is a movement that is needed in the UK now more than ever and that our collective should aim to rename itself to establish a UK identity.
At its heart, DiEM25 is a movement that is born out of the failure of a globalised system which, paradoxically, depends for its survival on the very citizens it excludes from its constitution. To deny this critical principle would not only be naïve but dangerous. In relation to our present, tenuous, place within the EU, Yanis Varoufakis clearly stated that whatever the result of the negotiations, social, cultural and economic ties with the EU are irreversible. Ignoring this will not only damage the economy and societies of continental Europe but also of the UK.
DiEM25UK’s main focus is now the forthcoming general election on 8th June. In an effort to aid the decision-making process of voters, Yanis Varoufakis suggested that the PNC carry out a rating exercise on a selection of MPs standing, followed by a campaign on social media publicising our recommendations. After discussion, the membership chose to endorse those standing for election based not on their vote (for or against triggering Article 50) but rather their approach to ‘leave’ and their ideological alignment with the aims of DiEM25.