Can Europe Make It?

A Europe that isn’t any more and isn’t yet

Lotta Tenhunen Adrià Rodriguez
17 January 2014

Hello! Let us introduce ourselves: Adrià from Barcelona and Lotta from Tampere, living in Madrid. We met for the first time over skype in June 2013, but then we realised we already knew each other from the online organising of Agora99, a meeting of groups engaged in various social struggles that aspires to serve as an organisational tool from below at a European level.

Since then we have met several times for political reasons in Barcelona, Madrid and Rome, and are sure to meet many more times throughout the continent. We both participate in the post-15M struggles, mainly within the nodes of the Fundación de los Comunes network. We both also work on political videomaking – (these are our latest projects: Project Kairos and Movement of the Multitude). Between now and the European elections, we will be posting on several topics: battlefield Europe, emerging political conflicts and the challenges posed by the hypothesis of a demos-multitude of the 99%. To kick off, this is our story….

Starters. A story of confluences

Master scene: Titanpad. Two young Europeans writing from different vantage points in Battlefield Europe.

Subscene 1. A skype call Helsinki–Barcelona

Tut-turu... tu-ruru...

A: Do you remember our first skype? When was it?

L: It was in June 2013. I was in Finland and I wanted to participate somehow in the #15MP2P seminar in Barcelona, so I started translating tweets coming out of the event. When you outlined the Project Kairós I wrote to you right away because it was exactly the same thing I'd been doing the previous summer. We had drifted through the post-Arab Spring-Europe, the post-15M-Europe mapping its social movements. We called the collection the Movement of the Multitude and put it up on Youtube.

A: I remember... I remember your email explaining that to me. Then we realised that we already knew each other from the process of organising the Agora99 meeting. We arranged to skype: it was weird, like talking with an old friend that you don't know yet. An internet era phenomenon...

L: Exactly, a matter of being already connected through processes of thinking together without knowing each other personally. I believe we are not the only ones...

Subscene 2. The Barcelona encounter

A: We met for the first time AFK in the HubMeeting in Barcelona in September 2013, right?

L: Sure, talking about a metropolitan strike in the occupied hotel La Dispersa. I was starting a piece of work on the anti-eviction movement La PAH and you offered to help me. The interviews we shot were a clear example of how guilt and shame can make us think our problems are individual, so that we stay at home and nothing changes. Or it changes for the worse: "Don't stay at home, or they will take it away from you."

A: I would say La PAH is the most important political movement in Spain – or even in Europe. It has been able to build up a solid and distributed process of self organisation with more than 200 nodes all around the country. Do you remember that we went to the Obras Sociales, the housing blocks occupied by La PAH? That's one of the things they do, besides fighting to stop evictions, and claiming a retroactive datio in solutum and the provision of social housing.

Subscene 3. All paths really do lead to Rome

A: Then we met in Rome for the second Agora99 meeting. For me, it has been the most important gathering of European struggles ever.

L: Within Agora99 the central challenge concerned a Europe that isn't any more and isn't yet. EU: real democracy and social rights? That's not how I would portray it. I think a strong neoliberal regime of debt control is a more precise description. So now we're trying to invent new ways of relating ourselves to each other on a continental level. I mean, what are the social and political institutions we want to have in the future?

A: That's definitely not an easy question to answer. The role of the nation states in restraining the transnationalization of subjectivity and conflict is a big problem, but not the only one. Networks such as Agora99 are fundamental for confronting it, because the European space is fundamental too.

L: That brings to mind one motto of the 15M: "There are more things that unite us than ones that separate us". I think that's also the case in Europe.

Subscene 4. Hacking the European elections

A: The next time we met was in the plenary meeting of the Fundación de los Comunes in Madrid. In that plenary there wasn't much time to be frank for discussing the European issue, but I think that the New Abduction of Europe meeting in February will be a great opportunity to advance these debates further. Will you be in Madrid for that meeting?

L: For sure, I wouldn't miss it for anything.

A: In that case, see you there, very soon!

***

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