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Draft for a European Kairos Document

"Setting out for a socially just, life-giving and democratic Europe"

To groups, networks, trade unions, NGOs and faith communities in Europe

Dear friends,

Please check the attached draft in the light of the following questions:

  • Does this text help my/our organisation to improve our capacity to build alliances with other sectors of society in order to struggle for a different Europe?

  • Do we want to participate in formulating the final document?

  • Am I/are we ready to sign the final document (to be sent to you for final approval in Mai/June 1998)?

    Hoping for a positive answer,

    Yours sincerely,

    Ulrich Duchrow


  • (Summary November 1997)

    Setting out for a socially just, life-giving and democratic Europe

    We call upon Christian Churches and other religious communities, trade unions, and feminist, social and ecological movements

    to build coalitions

    to work for the liberation of society from the stranglehold of the deregulated globalised economy and its values

    It cannot go on like this in Europe! It doesn't have to be like this in Europe! Let's find the right way forward together:

    Away from: ( the global concentrations of power and wealth

    ( the abuse of working people

    ( tax evasion

    ( economic criminality

    ( forced migration

    ( the neo-liberal policies of deregulation and erosion of the social system and of


    ( the economy as a system of belief

    ( our own striving after consumer goods, wealth and (patriarchal) power

    Towards: ( a socially just, life-giving and democratic Europe

    What can we do?

    ( We can listen carefully to the victims of the misguided developments in the South, East and West who are struggling to survive with dignity

    ( We can say "No" to the present unjust systems of money and property, the industrialisation of agriculture, the disproportionately high commitment to security and to ecological destruction

    ( We can develop small-scale alternatives, in particular strengthen local and regional economies and thereby reduce their dependence on the world market. Also we can form cells of people who are well-informed in a culture of lies, who work cooperatively and constructively in a selfish society

    ( We can work for a consensus among us on alternative policies for Europe and the world, particularly in the realms of work, tax, finance, trade etc.

    We demand here:

    a working week of, at most, 32 hours, with income protection for those on low incomes (possibly with temporary wage subsidies)

    employer contributions for national insurance based on wealth creation and not on the wages of employees

    "Load-sharing" through a special one-off tax on wealth greater than one million pounds, in favour of a "Special fund against mass unemployment" (particularly to create "not for profit" socially useful jobs)

    an appropriate wealth tax

    a Europe wide tax on all profits at their source, in order to eradicate all tax evasion and tax dumping, at least in Europe

    a global tax on financial speculation (Tobin Tax)

    the introduction and step by step expansion of taxes on the use of natural resources and energy, and the development of energy from renewable sources

    measures for the limitation of wealth (including the private ownership productive capital and land)

    an economy that is democratic (particularly joint decision-making and self-ownership in business)

    an end to tax havens and the introduction of a social and ecological framework for world trade.

    Who are we, who make this call?

    We are excluded people, people in insecure work, young people, people newly arrived from the East, people of the middle classes (who have realised that we are also affected) and we are a variety of grassroots groups.

    We will be effective politically only if we bring our individual agendas together.

    We call therefore upon all individuals, communities and organisations who stand for a socially just, life-giving and democratic Europe: Agree and unite!

    ( Grassroots groups

    - self-help groups of those affected by unemployment, displaced people, feminists, homosexuals, lesbians, migrants, victims of racial discrimination, structural violence or natural disasters

    - groups and networks of social activists and those concerned with ecological and one-world issues

    ( Non government organisations (NGOs)

    ( Trade unions

    ( Christian and other faith groups

    Such a declaration and alliance building process was strongly promoted in South Africa in 1985 by means of a Kairos document (Kairos is Greek for: critical time of decision). Similarly, we present the draft for a European Kairos Document. Have these questions in mind as you use it, "What stops us forming alliances with others? How could we be better able to form alliances? With whom should we work together to put Europe on the right track?"

    The next steps:

    ( November 1997 to March 1998

    Discussion of this draft in Kairos Europa groups and supportive networks and organisations.

    ( Up to March 10, 1998

    Submission of suggestions for improvements and names of groups, networks, organisations and individuals prepared to sign the final document.

    ( March 10 to 31, 1998

    In January 1998 a small editorial group will be appointed by the Administrative Committee of Kairos Europa to incorporate the suggestions received into the text. This group should have representation from different movements, different language areas and have journalistic competence.

    ( April 24-26, 1998

    Meeting to adopt the document and information about the ongoing process in Frankfurt/Main. All people who have contributed to the preparation of the document are invited.

    ( May/June 1998

    Publication of the document and of summaries in as many European languages as possible with the signatures of groups, organisations and individuals.

    ( June 1998 until 2000

    Invitation to the various groupings in Europe in order to strengthen the already active alliances or joint actions, and to ensure that the questions that are raised and the suggestions that have been made are discussed and translated.

    ( 1999

    Big meeting of involved groups and social movements on the European level, possibly in connection with an Alternative Summit of that year.

    ( 2000

    Participation in intercontinental meetings, particularly under the umbrella of the WCC programme on globalisation.

    We extend a very warm invitation to you to work with us! Please respond. We ask you to test, improve and sign the document.

    The full text is available from the address above or Kairos UK, c/o David Cowling, 15-17 Chapel Street, GB - Luton LU1 2SE