Can Europe Make It?

Creating radically democratic solutions to the financial abduction of Europe

Lotta Tenhunen Adrià Rodriguez
6 March 2014
The New Abduction of Europe seminar. Photo used with permission of

The New Abduction of Europe seminar. Photo used with permission of author.

Last weekend we participated in the European meeting and seminar The New Abduction of Europe -– Debt, War and Democratic Revolutions in Madrid. The meeting, organized by Fundacion de los Comunes in the framework of the network of museums L'Internationale, took place in Museo Reina Sofía and other spaces close by.

The meeting continued the process of putting in common, imagining further and translating into practice, in the form of easily replicable tools and strategies, radically democratic solutions to the current economic, political and social crisis in Europe. The solutions emerge from the social struggles around the continent that faces an abduction – not the one of Zeus, but of its financial logic – designed to transform the organisation of social production through austerity, destruction of the commons and savage competition between regions.

The extended weekend of work in Madrid aimed at contributing to the construction of a strong political agenda to save the continent from the financial dictatorship of the Troika, as well as in disarming the future horrors of a nationalist and fascist nature that the current misery feeds. The challenge is huge and faces the crisis of the multiple European projects from Westphalia to 1789, Yalta and finally Maastricht.

The struggles of today are preconditioned by the multiple scales of the deep history of the continent. As was discussed in Agora99 in Rome last November, the question isn't only one of constructing a network of ongoing struggles, but rather impulsing a process of their expansion to create a new social pact suited to confronting and challenging the violence of financiarisation and debt. The task is to build up new institutions for managing the continuous regeneration of this pact by society itself. There is a need for an ever-open Europe, a new never-finished European project. But what tools and styles of political organisation and what structures, then, are needed to win what is at stake?

Firstly: the solution and the potency to make it real depends on the capacity to create a political space that overcomes the national divisions which enable the logic of competition within the EU. There is no signs of democratic solutions on the national level, only populistic degeneration into xenophobia, conservative agendas of a unified nation, the return of enforced sexual division of labour, and ultimately the risk of war over debt and resources on a divided continent. The crisis works precisely on these geographical differences and inequalites and feeds itself from them.

Secondly: it depends on the capacity of new political practices capable of maintaining processes with a highly heterogenous social composition. It isn't about the movement of the movements, it's about the becoming-constituent-power of a society, and therefore inclusive, mutating, affective and non-ideological practices are needed to find the common ground.

Thirdly: within this composition the strongest common issues are the debt – we are all indebted, let the debt be private or public– and the desire to have a right to effective political participation, born from the deepening separation between the established institutions and the people they claim to represent. We should put into the centre of the political agenda the non-payment of the illegitimate debt and the regeneration of the institutions that have decided on that debt without consulting the people.

Approximately 400 persons participated in the round tables around these themes – listening to the speeches of such thinkers and activists as Ada Colau, Valery Alzaga, Montserrat Galcerán, Ranabir Samaddar, Marina Garçés and Antonio Negri – and some 140 activists, researchers, cultural productors, citizen journalists and hackers worked in the five workshops organized around commons, cultural production, debt, technopolitics and democracy. The workshops had each one a concrete methodology aimed at producing different outputs such as documents, handbooks or manifestos. The round tables were also streamed online and can all be seen on the web page of the museum.

We are looking forward to sharing these results in this blog soon. Adrià is working on a video documentation with interviews shot during the meeting. Lotta participates in writing collectively a manifesto defining technopolitics and offering a small introduction to previous technopolitical campaigns. The next step is about finding a way to keep these discussions alive and feeding the ecosystem of struggles in which the capacity of expanding practices of real democracy is crucial.

We are moving in an unstable and harsh situation. The current Europe is crumbling in the South as well as in the East. The democratic struggles currently confront, from Spain via Greece, Bosnia to Ukraine, institutional blockages,  the reemergence of nationalism, counterrevolutions and even war. The European project is confronting itself. In this context the European elections are a moment for testing the situation with electoral proposals from the south, perhaps strongly enough pushed by the demos as to be forced to invent something beyond old party politics. It is a moment to reinforce the struggles seeking to change the path to which Zeus is abducting the ever-so-young Europe – the Europe of struggle.

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