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Reinventing spaces: May 6 – 12 on openDemocracy

Where will a new Europe come from? From the bottom up, says Etienne Balibar! The worst crisis ever faced by the European construct is, for the French philosopher, exactly the right moment to reinvent what doesn't work.

11 May 2013

Where will a new Europe come from? From the bottom up, says Etienne Balibar! The worst crisis ever faced by the European construct is, for the French philosopher, exactly the right moment to reinvent what doesn't work.

Not so fast, replies Bo Stråth, who agrees Europe must offer alternatives to the variety of citizens across the continent but asks what such a radical paradigm shift – from top-down to bottom-up – would entail for political Europe, social Europe and the European left.

What is certain is that there have never been so many calls to reassert social justice in the European space, from the anti-eviction movement in Spain to the Movimento 5 Stelle in Italy and the networks that campaign for a financial transaction tax in Europe. Similarly, in a new series of videos, contributors to the Oecumene project at the Open University explore citizenship, orientalism and occidentalism in Europe and beyond, including Bela Bhatia who focuses on corruption and change in India.

Talking about reapproatriated spaces, have you ever wondered why so many hip shops, cafés and restaurants look like disaffected industrial zones? In a brilliant Friday Essay, Jonathan Moses explains how brands such as Byron Burgers and Brewdog successfully captured the radical aestheticsdeveloped in anti-capitalist spaces.

The article draws pessimistic conclusions: if even radical aesthetics can be commodified in a neoliberal economy, what hope is left, for example, for the UK National Health Service, where anti-privatisation campaigners recently failed to prevent the opening of the NHS to far more private sector competition?

And although Graham MacPhee warns us against the temptation of an all powerful nation, examples such as the efficiency of the East Coast rail line, one of the last nationalised segments of the UK rail network, show privatisation might not always be the best way to go.

50.50's Fatimah Kelleher explores the role African women will play in digital futures, Manoela Miklos discusses failed cities in openSecurity's Cities in Conflict series, while on oDRussia Mikhail Loginov tells the singular story of Vladimir Surkov, Putin's once-mighty propagandist who has recently been ousted from government.

Around the world, our coverage of events this week examines the patterns of change that became apparent after the recentMalaysian election, the power of religion in Bangladesh and theBoko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.

Finally, don't miss Jamie Mackay's analysis of 'Torture machines',the poetic space of 1970s Italian autonomist collective A/Traverso, and Xander Parish's diary of a British dancer in St Petersburg.

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