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14 December

Attac Europe is re-inventing the wheel

[World Social Forum] 

[From now on, I will put all my English blog-entries into the category 'World Social Forum'. ]

In these days Attac Europe meets in Catania, Sicily, in order to discuss, among other things, an alternative constitutional treaty for the European Union. But that alternative already exists, althought it needs, of course, to be updated to the internet age. The alternative European Constitution is the treaty of Spinelli and the European Parliament from 1984.

Below, two further email messages which I have sent to the list of the European Attacs.


    Dear Catania-goers,

    for a number of reasons, it would be a serious mistake to include a "copyright on the personal genetic code" in a constitution, or constitutional treaty.

    As soon as the genetical code is copyrighted, it becomes a tradable commodity. This is the meaning of copyright. It is a tradable right. In the case of the genetical code, the very concept of the copyright creates a market for the selling and buying of it. You must have noted that some persons are even willing to, or forced to, sell one of their personal kidneys. How much easier is it not to sell one's personal genetical code for money!

    Those who propose a "copyright on the personal genetic code" could soon end up achieving precisely the contrary to what they want. I assume that they want to keep the personal genetical code sacrosanct, which is close to saying that it should not be subsumed under Capitalism. However, theintroduction of the concept of copyright on the genetic code into our political constitution would make the door wide open to the invasion of Capitalism into our genetical constitution. Therefore, I hope that you will agree to drop the "copyright on the personal genetic code" from the envisaged "Ten Principles of a Democratic Europe" of Attac.

    All the best, - Mikael



    Dear Catania-goers, once more

    the material you have sent out is already quite impressive. I am a bit disappointed, though, to see that you have not included the comments which I sent some days ago under the title "Restore Spinelli's Treaty", because those comments were written exprès for the debate within the movement Attac before the Catania-meeting.

    In my notes, I said that the movement Attac is re-inventing the wheel. That technological parallell was actually not very appropriate, because once a technical invention is made it stays, while in the politics, we probably always will have to re-invent old ideas and solutions (and alas, old problems, too).

    Furthermore, there is the risk that we completely lose sight of the valuable ideas that were invented by our predecessors.

    This is what has happened, to an inadmissible degree, with Spinelli, the legacy from Ventotene, and the "Draft Treaty Establishing the European Union" that was adopted by the European parliament 1984.

    Thus Mrs Robert Joumard, Henri Paraton, Michel Christian and Jean-François Escuit start their little historical lesson as follows:

    "Les "pères" de l'Europe que furent Robert Schuman, Jean Monet, Alcide de Gasperi ou Konrad Adenauer tentent de réaliser les États Unis d'Europe par étapes successives, en commençant par des "réalisations concrètes, créant d'abord une solidarité de fait". (See among the Catania-materials: Quelle Europe construire? Les termes du débat p 6).
    But the history of the EU does not start with Schuman, Monnet, de Gasperi and Adenauer. It starts somewhere else. If you dig a little bit deeper you may even re-discover yourself in the mirror of that history. I sincerely wish you a good meeting in Catania,


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