Can Europe make it? https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/9711/all en Free Movement Plus: a third way on the Brexit/migration debate https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/luke-cooper/free-movement-plus-third-way-on-brexitmigration-debate <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>On Brexit and migration, there is an alternative to such a lurch backwards. We call it&nbsp;<strong>free movement+&nbsp;</strong>where the plus refers to a new deal on workers’ rights.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/PA-31598199.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/PA-31598199.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="308" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Shadow Minister for Brexit, Keir Starmer. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>What do football stadiums in Qatar, farms in Canada, and the palatial houses of London’s super rich all have in common? The answer provides a clear and present warning to the UK as it considers its options for a post-Brexit immigration policy with the EU. These places have all seen highly exploitative employment practices that arise from a toxic mix of poor labour standards, unscrupulous employers, and a migrant workforce with no ‘right to remain’ beyond the period specified in their work permit.</p> <p>In our new report published today, <a href="http://www.anothereurope.org/brexit-and-immigration-prioritising-the-rights-of-all-workers/"><em>Brexit and Immigration: Prioritising the Rights of All Workers</em></a><em>, </em>we show how across these case studies a lack of security in immigration status has persistently weakened workers’ ability to challenge exploitative employers.</p> <p>Unfortunately, these issues have become all too relevant to the policy context in the UK where the idea of replacing EU free movement with ‘time-limited’ and ‘employer sponsored’ visas has been repeatedly raised in our immigration debate. When Tony Blair launched the UK points system for non-EEA (European Economic Area) migrants back in 2005 <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/251091/6472.pdf">he promised</a> a system that would allow ‘immigration where it is in the country’s interests and prevent it where it is not’.</p> <p>Typically for Blair this ceded far too much ground to the right and anticipated many of the arguments of the EU referendum. The strict conditions in the system for non-EEA nationals would provide a continuous point of comparison for the pro-Brexit right and give credence to the idea that EU membership had led to a loss of ‘control’ over immigration policy.</p> <p>Fast-forward to today and <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-immigration-tony-blair-new-rules-a7938681.html">Blair’s claim</a> Britain could end free movement while remaining a member of the EU is equally unhelpful. Unfortunately he is far from ploughing a lonely furrow on this crucial issue. Many progressives share his belief that ending free movement and replacing it with a system of greater immigration control can form part of either a reformed membership of the EU or a left Brexit.</p> <p>Too often absent from this debate is the recognition that free movement is a system of conditional rights for all EU citizens. This provides all EU workers with a set of rights when living in another EU state, particularly the right to work and study. Crucially, free movement means they should to not be discriminated against in the labour market on the grounds of their nationality. This is particularly important in the UK due to the fact we have one of the least regulated labour markets in Europe where hyper flexible ‘zero hour’ contracts and artificial forms of ‘self-employment’ are all too common. Decades of free market reform have allowed a ‘race to the bottom’ to emerge in many sectors. When these conditions connected with the downturn following the financial crisis it led to <a href="https://qz.com/854606/wage-growth-in-the-uk-hasnt-been-this-bad-since-the-1860s-adjusted-for-inflation/">the longest period of wage stagnation</a> the British economy has seen since the mid-nineteenth century.</p> <p>Immigration has become a convenient scapegoat that allows politicians to avoid addressing the fundamental causes of this injustice: a broken economic model, a precarious labour market and restrictive anti-union laws. In the current system free movement at least provides EU workers with a dented shield of protections in the face of these wider problems. Specifically, free movement rights ensure that unscrupulous employers cannot use the threat of deportation to erode workers’ bargaining power.&nbsp;</p> <p>By putting these rights at risk Brexit threatens to bring about a ‘worst of both worlds’ system: combining a high level of labour market insecurity due to weak employment standards with a migrant workforce much more vulnerable to super exploitation.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde22/3548/2016/en/">appalling conditions</a> faced by migrants building the Qatar World Cup stadiums offer an extreme example of where this might end up. Workers are recruited overseas and have virtually no political rights when they arrive. The Qatari government coordinates closely with vetted employers and employees have no right to move between workplaces. </p><p>The confiscation of passports and the denial of exit permits to leave the country have been reported, effectively creating a system of indentured servitude. Article 23 of the <a href="http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/">Universal Declaration of Human Rights</a> upholds the principle of a ‘free choice of employment’ and the fact a Gulf country may not be recognising its human rights obligations is perhaps unlikely to cause much of a stir.</p> <p>But visa systems that tie workers to specific employers and provide only very limited right to remain in the country are far from the preserve of the Gulf states. Guest-worker schemes used in West Germany during the post-war period saw migrants consciously brought in to make up for a shortfall in low and unskilled workers. </p><p>Like migrants in Qatar these workers were often housed in on-site army-style barracks and similarly lacked basic political rights, such as freedom of assembly and association, a choice of employment, the right to move within the host country, or a pathway to Germany citizenship. These rights were only won gradually over decades. Canada provides an example of a similar guest worker system in operation today. Its Temporary Foreign Workers Program allows vetted agents to recruit migrants overseas, gives workers only limited freedom to move occupation once in the country, and establishes returns arrangements to ensure workers do not overstay their visa. The Canadian Labor Congress has argued this is a license for exploitation and called for a settled immigration scheme for low skilled workers to replace these temporary visas.&nbsp;</p> <p>When Tony Blair introduced the points system for non-EEA migrants he established a visa category for unskilled temporary workers (referred to as <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/251091/6472.pdf">Tier 3 visa</a>). However, with EU citizens able to fill many of the labour shortages in this part of the workforce the visa was never put into practice and is currently ‘suspended’. But ominously the visa rules are essentially the same as a guest worker system. </p><p>Under Tier 3, migrants would be tied to specific employers that are also responsible for their accommodation and return to their home country. There was also one exception to the ban on unskilled non-EEA migrants: domestic workers in a private household. Under these little known special visas the sponsor was one of London’s super-rich families. And the tying of these workers to these families gave free reign to human rights abuses.</p> <p>Brexit has inevitably led to a renewal <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/may/31/labour-policy-paper-leak-jeremy-corbyn-uncontrolled-migration-theresa-may-daily-mail">in discussion</a> over the use of Tier 3 or other temporary work permits as an alternative to free movement. And the super-exploited migrant workforce this would ultimately create should alarm all workers.&nbsp;</p> <p>There is an alternative to such a lurch backwards. We call it <strong>free movement+ </strong>where the plus refers to a new deal on workers’ rights. This would maintain free movement with the EU but combine it with domestic legislation that strengthens the bargaining power of all workers. </p><p>A key part of this could be a legal position for sector-by-sector agreements negotiated between employers and trade unions to guarantee a minimum rate for the job - and take a big step against race to the bottom economics. With the Tories in crisis, now is the time a bold new approach that prioritises the rights of all workers.&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/fintan-otoole/britain-must-accept-ambiguity-to-survive-brexit">Britain must accept ambiguity to survive Brexit</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/uk/john-weeks/progressive-priority-social-democratic-britain">The progressive priority: a social democratic Britain</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Brexit2016 Luke Cooper Mon, 25 Sep 2017 14:19:43 +0000 Luke Cooper 113620 at https://www.opendemocracy.net G20 – they colonized our future https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/s-ren-altst-dt/g20-they-colonized-our-future <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>G20 forecasting prolongs the infinite growth paradigm into the future, while G20 backcasting draws strategic conclusions for present action leaving the paradigm still intact.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-32652435.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-32652435.jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>German Minister of the Interior, Thomas de Maiziere, visits the memorial site of the State Security Service of former East Germany with school students, to watch a film about the violence at the G20 summit in Hamburg in a seminar on left extremism, Sept.2017. Bernd von Jutrczenka/Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>When Beethoven composed his ‘Ode to Joy’ in 1824 he probably wouldn’t have thought that merely <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aq_kJ3Z5tEc">200 years later the Donald Trumps of this world would listen to it, while the masses are rioting in the streets outside</a>. Actually, not all people became brothers during the G20 summit on July 7 – 8 in Hamburg this year. Three months later fiery public debates about the tremendous violence during the summit days still continue and every day more coverage of police violence against protesters crops up in social media.</p> <p>Apart from that, major media outlets still seem to refuse any coverage on the realistic alternative policy approaches that were framed and discussed e.g. during the <a href="http://solidarity-summit.org/en/">Alternative Summit on July 5–6.</a> So the world has gone back to business as usual and the question “what actually changed with the protests?“ sounds ever-increasingly ironic. But why is that so? As activists are our protests maybe failing to address a crucial aspect of the G20’s power?</p> <h2><strong>Colonizing our futures</strong></h2> <p class="mag-quote-center">The G20 states are not merely colonizing the world economically and geopolitically. They also wield a timesavvy colonization of our futures.</p> <p>One issue completely missing in the agenda of protests and counter-events during the summit is a very peculiar form of colonization that renders all of us alike its subjects. The G20 states are not merely colonizing the world economically and geopolitically. They also wield a timesavvy colonization of our futures. How does that happen?</p> <p>Since the 2011 summit the G20 has eagerly incorporated into its proceedings and policy agendas a specific kind of knowledge through consultations with ‘Think 20’ – a think tank focusing on future scenarios. “What’s the problem with that?” one might ask, because after all scientific consultation in the process of policy-making seems to be a good thing. Yes and no. Scenario building is nothing new. In the 1950s it started out as a military planning tool during the cold war and spread more widely during the 1970s and 1980s in the form of corporate foresight in the economy. After the fall of the iron curtain and from then on, strategic foresight tools were implemented in almost every domain of policy-making and now national and global power bodies (USA, EU, NATO, ASEAN, etc.) incorporate strategic foresight into their decision-making on almost every issue.</p> <p>The two major methods of strategic foresight are forecasting and backcasting. Forecasting is a prognosis of future events grounded in analyses of present trends, while backcasting is a prognosis of desired futures accompanied by strategic guidance on how to get to these particular futures. So these methods refer to probable, possible and preferred future scenarios. </p> <h2><strong>Normative projection</strong></h2> <p>The problem with the future is that it is highly uncertain, meaning there is a profound lack of information about it. Now a rich tradition of organizational studies tells us that whenever social actors lack information to handle a situation they rely on social mechanisms such as power relations, institutions, networks, routines and traditions. However, it is no secret that all the latter are normatively structured as they carry certain social values implicit within them. As a result, strategic foresight is not just about analyzing and calculating but rather about normatively projecting narratives about the future that unavoidably carry the values of those people creating and using them. <span class="mag-quote-center">Strategic foresight is not just about analyzing and calculating but rather about normatively projecting narratives about the future that unavoidably carry the values of those people creating and using them.</span></p> <p>This is seldom reflected in scenario building. So these narratives – treated as objective and rational – are very powerful as they enable actors to manage future uncertainties in the present and act accordingly to bring about preferred futures. </p> <p>Although one might consider future scenarios as fictional, the minute they are regarded as credible they must inform, justify and legitimate decisions. Therefore, they help unfold economic and social processes, which means that they have all too real consequences. </p> <p>Social futures are indeed constructed, and foresight tools now play a major role in this process. But because they require huge amounts of financial, intellectual and social capital, the capacities available to build scenarios are distributed highly unequally.</p> <p>Governance – local, national and global – is not possible to imagine without strategic foresight any longer. But the latter is not at all pluralist and inclusive as of now. At this moment in time, it is at the service of specific economic and political elites. In the context of ‘Think 20’, a minimal and privileged faction of the global population (without any democratic mandate) creates these future narratives, which are then deployed in the process of global governance.</p> <p>In one respect in particular the ‘Think 20’ scenarios could be accurately described as the utilitarian future–making tools of the 1%: they do not go beyond the infinite growth paradigm. <a href="https://www.g20.org/Content/EN/_Anlagen/G20/G20-leaders-declaration.pdf;jsessionid=BD6CD2C087EDDA97104B775C0284C3EB.s32t2?__blob=publicationFile&amp;v=11">This is explicitly reflected in the G20 Leaders’ Declaration 2017.</a> With infinite growth being the foremost reason for social inequality, neo-colonial aggression and climate change, the declaration is a mere charade. However, G20 forecasting prolongs the infinite growth paradigm into the future, while G20 backcasting draws strategic conclusions for present action from a desired future where the infinite growth paradigm is still intact. It is obvious how this process is closely tied to the notion of ‘there is no alternative’.</p> <h2><strong>Moving forward – from making history to making the future</strong></h2> <p class="mag-quote-center">We need to form a progressive international that – apart from its many other capabilities – has its own capacity for strategic foresight.</p> <p>If strategic foresight is an elite tool for executing power by prolonging the status quo into the future – how can we as activists not address this issue? After all, what are political activists if they are not future makers? We struggle for a more socially just, ecologically sustainable and peaceful tomorrow and we know that this is not achievable within the frameworks of infinite growth. </p> <p>Therefore, we need to uncover the power nexus as well as the normative content of these future–making tools, to distribute them more equally, and make future scenarios more pluralist and socially inclusive. Right now every human being’s future is colonized by the powerful future narratives of infinite growth, with the G20 as the major political agency that incorporates and enacts these narratives. </p> <p>Unfortunately, the only future narratives in our hands right now are our so-called ‘utopian visions’, constantly refuted on the grounds that ‘there is no alternative’. </p> <p>Often these utopian visions derive from a materialist conception of history, which is not wrong at all. But we also need to see how modern societies are fundamentally directed and referencing towards the future. So activists need to incorporate this same principle into their action, moving forwards from making history to making the future, thereby reclaiming the ability to construct futures from the global elites. We need to form a progressive international that – apart from its many other capabilities – has its own capacity for strategic foresight that can produce a heavyweight and substantial counter-narrative to the future narrative of infinite growth which the G20 circulates so eagerly. And there is hope.</p> <h2><strong>DiEM25 – radically democratizing European futures</strong></h2> <p>As a European citizen born and raised in Hamburg, Germany I regain hope by engaging in a young and very promising movement called <a href="https://diem25.org/what-is-diem25/">‘Democracy in Europe Movement 2025’</a> – or ‘DiEM25’ for short. DiEM25 was founded in February 2016 as a result of the experience of EU austerity politics in Greece. What became clear with the Greek Referendum on July 5, 2015 was that there is no democracy at the EU level. The sovereign people of Greece declared their rejection of the EU’s austerity policies. Nonetheless, they came into brutal effect, with heavy human costs lasting to the present day.</p> <p>DiEM25 will not accept that. We are convinced that no European people can be free if other people are suppressed and that the European crises cannot be solved by returning to our nation states. And so, until 2025, we struggle to <a href="https://diem25.org/manifesto-long/">create a radical democratic European social state –</a> by bringing into effect a real European constitution that renders all current treaties obsolete. This fully-fledged European democracy, will feature a sovereign Parliament that respects national self-determination and shares power with national parliaments, regional assemblies and municipal councils. It will dismantle the habitual domination of corporate power over the will of citizens and re-politicise the rules that govern our single market and common currency. </p> <p>The democratization of EU institutions and the economy is one major task. Besides that we also have to democratize the sciences, freeing our universities from their dependence on private financing, thus enabling them to make science for social progress and emancipation – not for corporate interests. Such universities are the places for a critical futurology that can reflect its methods properly to make it a social science serving the good of society as a whole. </p> <p>Other examples for truly democratic future making are the <a href="https://transitionnetwork.org/">'Transitions Movement’,</a> <a href="http://www.ineer.org/Events/.../papers/icee2011_submission_135.docx">'Focal Engineering’</a> and <a href="http://fabfoundation.org/index.php/what-is-a-fab-lab/index.html">'Fab Labs’</a>. All these projects revolve around both imagining alternative futures and implementing respective technologies locally. They are community approaches that show how strategic foresight can be made available to all of the people, making it more democratic, pluralist and inclusive. Also, they are deeply related to common goods as they re-embed engineering processes in the public. Interestingly, DiEM25 calls for the provision of basic common goods (e.g. energy) in the ‘European New Deal’. <span class="mag-quote-center">The New Deal can be implemented tomorrow and it is far less utopian than any conceivable claim that current austerity policies will solve the EU crises. </span></p><p>DiEM25 published its <a href="https://diem25.org/end/">‘European New Deal’</a> on March 25 this year. This is a plan to reform current EU economic policies, which would stabilize the EU crises, shift the economy towards engendering social justice and lay the groundwork for a real and solidary political union in Europe. </p> <p>That sounds utopian, right? However, the New Deal can be implemented tomorrow and it is far less utopian than any conceivable claim that current austerity policies will solve the EU crises. So although it sounds utopian, it is realistic, and offers future scenarios that include all of Europe’s people. </p> <p>This is because it was created in a decentralized, radical democratic process, basically including all of our 60,000 members, with the additional help of experts around the world. In my opinion, DiEM25 has the potential to tackle the G20’s future colonization of our lives so let’s join forces to widen this potential of making truly democratic futures! In these days storm clouds are forming on the horizon of change, but they are accompanied by a slight breeze of hope. There is a fresh wind blowing in this world and it is now or never that we progressives shall set sail for future shores! </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/diem25/hamburg-is-transforming-itself-into-orwellian-dystopia-for-g20-summit">Hamburg transformed itself into an Orwellian dystopia for the G20 Summit</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/simin-fadaee/hamburg-g20-protests-and-alternative-futures">Hamburg G20 protests and alternative futures</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/niels-jongerius/what-happened-in-hamburg">What happened in Hamburg?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/krystian-woznicki/violence-from-future-on-logics-of-g20-state-of-emergency">Violence from the future: on the logics of the G20 state of emergency </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ann-mettler/where-do-we-go-from-here-designing-future-of-europe">Where do we go from here? Designing the future of Europe </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Germany </div> <div class="field-item even"> EU </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? EU Germany Sören Altstaedt DiEM25 Sat, 23 Sep 2017 13:28:17 +0000 Sören Altstaedt 113592 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Britain must accept ambiguity to survive Brexit https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/fintan-otoole/britain-must-accept-ambiguity-to-survive-brexit <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Theresa May and Brexiteers both insist on a damaging binary view of the UK and Europe. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="no_name"><a href="https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/brexit"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-32950264.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-32950264.jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>PM Theresa May's speech in Florence, Italy, setting out plans for a transitional period from the formal date of Brexit in March 2019.Jeff J Mitchell/Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Brexit</a> is written in binary code. It is all zeros and ones - out of the <a class="search" href="https://www.irishtimes.com/search/search-7.1213540?tag_organisation=European%20Union&amp;article=true">European Union</a> or in. In his long Telegraph essay last weekend, the British foreign secretary and totem of the Leave campaign <a class="search" href="https://www.irishtimes.com/search/search-7.1213540?tag_person=Boris%20Johnson&amp;article=true">Boris Johnson</a> reiterated the iron imperatives of last year’s referendum: “The choice was binary. The result was decisive. There is simply no way - or no good way - of being 52 per cent out and 48 per cent in.”</p> <p class="no_name">This has an impeccable logic, in the way mad things often do. In her speech in Florence on Friday, Johnson’s supposed boss <a class="search" href="https://www.irishtimes.com/search/search-7.1213540?tag_person=Theresa%20May&amp;article=true">Theresa May</a> was trying, in her own weak way, to tweak that logic, to find some wriggle room in the relentless bind of the binary.</p> <p class="no_name">The concrete content of the speech may be less important than its signal of distress – though whether May is waving or drowning remains an open question. She is edging towards some way to be – however temporarily – at least a little bit in while moving out. <span class="mag-quote-center">She is edging towards some way to be – however temporarily – at least a little bit in while moving out. </span></p> <p>This is what mathematicians call fuzzy logic, the logic of vagueness where there are infinite possible gradations between zero and one. Her problem is that compared with the clean and clear choice that Johnson offers – in or out – the search for a transitional compromise deal is indeed fuzzy. </p><p class="no_name">As she retreats from the confident, if rather ludicrous, tautology of “Brexit means Brexit”, she must wander into a no-man’s-land of ambiguities and uncertainties. May’s compromise offer is slight and tentative but the abandonment of the lofty rhetorical heights of last January is unmistakable.</p> <p class="no_name">Almost a year ago, the president of the <a class="search" href="https://www.irishtimes.com/search/search-7.1213540?tag_organisation=European%20Council&amp;article=true">European Council</a>, <a class="search" href="https://www.irishtimes.com/search/search-7.1213540?tag_person=Donald%20Tusk&amp;article=true">Donald Tusk</a>, prefigured Johnson when he suggested that “the only real alternative to a hard Brexit is no Brexit”. From both sides of the English Channel, the binary view makes sense. </p><p class="no_name">It is easier for the EU if the UK simply departs – a part in/part out arrangement, even for a few years, undermines the clarity of the rules of EU membership. </p><div> <p class="no_name">And, conceptually if not in practice, it is also easier for the Brexiteers. Since, as Johnson claimed, Britain outside the EU will be nothing less than “the greatest country on Earth”, why should it wait around in the anteroom of historic destiny?</p> </div> <div> <p class="no_name">In an essay that was much more interesting than its headline-grabbing mendacities and implied leadership ambitions suggested, Johnson was really delivering a classic break-up speech. And although he didn’t actually use the old “It’s not you, it’s me” line, he came pretty close. </p> </div> <div> <p class="no_name">Cleverly, instead of attacking the EU, he depicted Britain’s membership of the union as just one of those relationships in which the lovers are bad for each other. They don’t mean to be but they are. </p> </div> <div> <p class="no_name">And he suggested that the Brits, unhappy and misplaced, had become impossible to live with: “It is wrong for us to be there - always trying to make things different, always getting in the way, always moaning.”</p> </div> <div> <p class="no_name">Johnson’s tale of the Brits as partners in a doomed marriage has a compelling moral: make a clean break. The couple who were never meant for one another will find a way to be perfectly civil, even friendly, in the future, but only if, to coin a phrase, they consciously uncouple first. </p> </div> <div> <p class="no_name">No sentimental one-night stands, no teary evenings looking at the wedding photos, no possibility that they might, after all, give it another go sometime. </p> </div> <p class="no_name">Theresa May, on the other hand, now finds herself edging towards the suggestion that the couple should share a house for a few years and not finalise the divorce until Britain is ready to occupy the apartment it has not yet begun to build. </p><div> <h2 class="crosshead">Logical Brexiteers</h2> <p class="no_name">The point is not that May is wrong - she isn’t. It’s that the binary logic is all on Johnson’s side. The strangeness of where the Brexit paroxysm has led us is that the hard Brexiteers once characterised by a close ally of <a class="search" href="https://www.irishtimes.com/search/search-7.1213540?tag_person=David%20Cameron&amp;article=true">David Cameron</a> as “swivel-eyed loons” are logical but not rational. </p> </div> <div> <p class="no_name">The sensible compromisers are rational but not logical. The crux of the matter is this: compromise means mirroring the EU as closely as possible so you can still enjoy some of its benefits. Rule Brittania will segue into I Wanna Be Like You.&nbsp;</p> </div> <div> <p class="no_name">And if you’re going to be as like the EU as possible, why not stay in the EU? In Johnson’s metaphor, if you’re going to live in the same house, sleep together and with no one else, pay into a joint bank account and do your share of the domestic chores, why get divorced at all?</p> </div> <div> <p class="no_name">The answer, of course, is that you’re trying to make the best of a very bad job. And that best is inevitably second best – Johnson was not entirely wrong to characterise the compromise position of staying in the single market and/or the customs union as one in which Britain is “turned into a vassal state - taking direction from the EU, but with no power to influence the EU’s decisions”. </p> </div> <div> <p class="no_name">If, as May signalled on Friday, the UK is moving away from the clean break she called for last January, the nation is indeed going to be, for some as yet undefined period, not the glorious British sun but a satellite locked into the EU’s gravitational pull and palely reflecting its light. It is an oddly humiliating overture to what May still insists will be a heroic grand opera.</p> </div> <p class="no_name">The underlying problem is with binary thinking itself. Where May and Johnson do not differ is in their insistence that people can belong to one thing or the other, but not to both. They can be British or European; they can be with us or against us. May, in the hubris before her general election nemesis, characterised pro-Europeans as “citizens of nowhere”. <span class="mag-quote-center">Underlying the whole mad project is the idea of belonging and sovereignty as zero sum games - it is either/or, not both/and.</span></p><div> <p class="no_name">Johnson, in his essay, declared himself “troubled with the thought that people [in Britain] are beginning to have genuinely split allegiances” - with Brexit as the cure that will restore the binary choice between Britishness and Europeanness. Underlying the whole mad project is the idea of belonging and sovereignty as zero sum games - it is either/or, not both/and.</p> </div> <div> <p class="no_name">The British problem is that all the rationality is on the side of both/and, but all the emotional clarity is with either/or. If it is to avoid disaster, Britain needs to accept messy ambiguities. But it is still led by a party that allowed itself to be captured by the stirring simplicities of a stark choice between national failure and impending glory. </p> </div> <div> <p class="no_name">The question after May’s speech is the same as it was before it: who has the authority to invest a painful climbdown with the emotional potency of a patriotic imperative?</p><p class="no_name"><em>Thanks go to the author and </em>The<em> </em>Irish Times <em>for permission to republish this piece <a href="https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/fintan-o-toole-britain-must-accept-ambiguity-to-survive-brexit-1.3230569?mode=amp">originally published here</a>, on September, 23, 2017.</em></p></div><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> UK </div> <div class="field-item even"> EU </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? uk EU UK Civil society Conflict Culture Democracy and government Ideas International politics Brexit2016 Fintan O’Toole Sat, 23 Sep 2017 12:09:43 +0000 Fintan O’Toole 113590 at https://www.opendemocracy.net A (weak) homage to democracy in Catalonia https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/manuel-nunes-ramires-serrano/weak-homage-to-democracy-in-catalonia <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The images of a half-empty parliament during the referendum law vote illustrate how Democracy and Catalonia have gone their separate ways. Democracy is not the law of the majority, but the protection of the minority. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/manuel-nunes-ramires-serrano/lo-que-queda-de-la-democracia-en-catalu">Español</a>&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/manuel-nunes-ramires-serrano/uma-fraca-homenagem-democracia-na-catalunha">Português</a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-32923036.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-32923036.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Hundreds of Catalan separatists gather to protest in front of the Catalan Economy Ministry. September 20, 2017. Barcelona, Spain. Matthias Oesterle/Zuma Press/PA Images. All rights reserved. </span></span></span></p><p>“Being in a minority, even in a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.”</p> <p>- George Orwell, 1984</p> <p>Catalonia may be closer than ever to being independent, but it is increasingly far from embodying the democratic evolution that many of its supporters would have us believe. The secessionists have used a slim majority to approve the referendum and transition law, without any regard for legal safeguards, reports from their own legal services, the constitutional order and standard democratic norms. The images of a <a href="https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/09/06/inenglish/1504711550_720781.html">half-empty parliament during the votes</a>, while a MP <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-41177428">removed the Spanish flags</a> left behind by members of the opposition as a sign of protest, illustrates how the secessionist movement and democracy have gone their separate ways. </p> <p>With the full support of the <a href="https://twitter.com/forcadellcarme?lang=es">president of the Parliament</a>, which should be impartial but acts as another member of the cabinet and finds it difficult to put behind her past as a secessionist activist, they opened the door to convene a unilateral referendum to ratify their project of secession. Mariano Rajoy´s government affirms that, after what was determined by the Constitutional Court, it will not allow for the referendum to be held. But as the 1 October nears and appeals for dialogue make no progress, we appear to be witnessing a train wreck, or rather, a train crashing against the wall of democratic legality. </p> <p><strong>Just ends can never justify unjust means</strong></p> <p>It is important to recognize that nationalism often emerges from the perception of a historical humiliation suffered by those who feel strongly about their belonging to a <em>homeland</em>. But the sense of humiliation alone cannot explain the sharp increase in support for independence in Catalonia – <a href="https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/07/21/inenglish/1500633835_182589.html">from 15% in 2009 to 41% in 2017</a>. A severe economic crisis, some obvious mistakes from the Spanish government, a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/19/temperature-climbs-in-spain-as-catalan-question-comes-to-a-head">populist narrative</a> blaming Madrid for every failure and a <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-24/the-propaganda-army-fighting-to-wrest-catalonia-away-from-spain">well-oiled propaganda machine</a> offers a better – and &nbsp;more plausible – explanation.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Catalonia may be closer than ever to being independent, but it is increasingly far from embodying the democratic revolution that many of its supporters would have us believe.</p> <p>The nationalists have actively sought a sufficient majority to declare themselves independent. But they didn’t attain it in 2012, <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-19564640">when thousands of citizens demanded a nation of their own</a> and its president came forward, stating that he had heard the voice of the people and called for new elections, to guide them as a messiah towards freedom. But they lost 12 seats. Nor did they obtained a majority in 2014, when they organized a referendum, declared illegal and turned unofficial, as only <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/09/catalans-vote-symbolic-referendum-independence-catalonia-madrid">33% of the electoral census participated</a>. Neither did they achieved their electoral objectives in September 2015, after the thirds elections in five years, although instead of recognizing it, they decided that less than 48% of the votes were more than enough to open the doors for independence.</p> <p>Although <a href="https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/05/24/inenglish/1495609585_875590.html">61% of Catalan are against a unilateral referendum</a> and only 41% want Catalonia to be independent, nothing seems to dampen the secessionists from going to the last instances to impose their will. Ramming the referendum and transition law through Parliament may have successfully provoked Madrid and opened the floor for populist manipulations of what <em>democracy</em> is and what it isn’t. But this new and definitive mistake has also deprived the secessionist movement from <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/06/spanish-government-condemns-catalonia-over-independence-referendum">any legitimacy it may have ever had</a>. For in democracies, ends, however righteous they may be, can never justify unjust means.</p> <p><strong>Perverting democracy</strong></p> <p>A half-empty Parliament is the perfect representation of what is happening in Catalonia. It´s true that the secessionists have 72 seats – majority stands at 66 – but it is also true that they have less than 48% of the votes. With this parliamentary majority they can legislate, approve budgets, debate and win motions, and, if they fail to please their constituency, after their term citizens can decide again which majorities and minorities they want. But those decisions that are irreversible, those that affect the future of a country – and the future of millions of citizens – for many generations to come cannot be imposed by less than half of the electorate. Even so, in this legislature it became clear that the Catalan authorities only seem interested in <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/political-science/2016/oct/06/why-referendums-are-problematic-yet-more-popular-than-ever">putting a stamp of popular</a> approval through demonstrations in the street on a secession that they have decided on, without taking into account what the majority of its citizens have expressed in the polls.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">For in democracies, ends, however righteous they may be, can never justify unjust means.</p> <p>Referendums are not a democratic tool per se. They can be easily manipulated, they are asymmetric and end up falsifying the multipolar reality that conforms society. If their promoters win, the result is irreversible. If they lose, we´ll vote again. You only have to look at what happened in Scotland and what the nationalists want to do. They lost the referendum, but if they had won, there would be no reversal or another referendum, even if the majority were to change, as often does in free and democratic countries. </p> <p>Thus, not every decision reached by a majority rule is necessarily democratic. Checks and balances and separation of power exist for many reasons: one being to avoid that decisions that can negatively affect minorities are approved. That´s why the procedure to reform the Constitution, the law of laws, requires a qualified majority and differs from the procedure required to pass a simple bill. That doesn’t make it <em>less democratic</em>. It makes it <em>democratic</em>.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-32685305_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-32685305_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Pro-independentist members of the Catalonia Parliament celebrate at the end of the parliamentary session. September 6, 2017. Barcelona, Spain. Jordi Boixareu/Zuma Press/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>Celebrating a unilateral and unconstitutional self-determination referendum, in these circumstances, would be to go against what <a href="https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/09/07/inenglish/1504783504_230561.html">parliamentary democracies and legal and agreed referendums represent</a>. It would <a href="https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/09/06/inenglish/1504696098_919491.html">violate international law</a>, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/09/catalonia-calls-independence-referendum-for-october-spain">international principles</a>, domestic law and even autonomic law. If it doesn’t meet the formal requirements required by a <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-spain-politics-catalonia/catalonia-parliament-votes-for-oct-1-referendum-on-split-from-spain-idUSKCN1BH0QS">serious consultation</a>, how can we speak of a democratic referendum?</p> <p><strong>A political solution must place reality above emotions</strong></p> <p>The polarization that surrounds this process raises many questions, but asserts one thing: this process will leave a very ugly scar, a divided society, winners and losers.</p> <p>Mr. Rajoy should resist the urge to suspend Catalonia´s autonomy by <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/09/tensions-grow-spain-catalonia-independence-referendum-confirmed/">applying article 155</a> of the Constitution. This would fall right into the secessionists plan, fueling the misinformed notion that Catalonia is being repressed and feeding the narrative that the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/23/opinion/catalonias-challenge-to-spain.html">blame was, is and it will always be in Madrid</a>.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">The polarization that surrounds this process raises many questions, but asserts one thing: this process will leave a very ugly scar, a divided society, winners and losers.</p> <p>But, although this is not the what many believe, the reality is that Catalonia is a free society. Emotion and reality do not always go hand in hand. But Catalonia manages its education policy, its hospitals and its public services. It has its own police, its own media. <a href="https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/09/06/inenglish/1504696098_919491.html">Catalonia is not Kosovo</a>; it´s not exiting a war. And it has not been invaded by a foreign army; like Ukraine.</p> <p>Spain, contrary to what has been voiced by Mr. Puigdemont – Catalonia’s current president – it´s a <a href="https://elpais.com/ccaa/2017/09/20/catalunya/1505901592_985134.html">democratic state</a>. Being one requires you to safeguard the coexistence between all members of society and protect the freedom of every citizen. Not just those that think like you. His government has ruled only on behalf of half of Catalans, which he considers his own. But what is at stake is the coexistence between Spaniards. And between all Catalans. The voice of a Catalan citizens waving the Spanish flag is just as important as the voice of the Catalan <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-spain-catalonia/catalans-rally-in-support-of-independence-from-spain-idUSKCN11H0L2">citizen waving the Estelada</a> – the secessionist flag – yet, one will be classified as Catalan, even a good Catalan, while the other will be classified as a bad Catalan, or not even as a Catalan.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">The voice of a Catalan citizen waving the Spanish flag is just as important as the voice of the Catalan&nbsp;citizen waving the Estelada.</p> <p>Fortunately, far more unites us than divides us. The <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2017/aug/17/barcelona-attack-van-driven-into-crowd-in-las-ramblas-district">terrible attacks this summer in Barcelona</a> should serve to remind us that we live in open, fairly inclusive and free societies. That we want to live in peace and, that, we will oppose those who want to impose their <em>reason</em> over us. Is in these societies where we want to keep on living. Catalans should be allowed to vote, but within the law, not like this. In fact, they have voted 38 times since the restoration of democracy. Laws and electoral procedures exist to protect citizens from arbitrariness.</p> <p>Spain is not attempting to gag 7.5 million people by force, <a href="https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/854281/wikipedia-julian-assange-catalonia-referendum-censorship-protect-spain">as Mr. Assange suggested in Twitter</a>. And it’s certainly not afraid to hear what they have to say. What the Spanish government is afraid, like everyone that believes in Democracy, is of those that claim to champion freedom, human rights and the rule of law, while they undermine it and twist it in their favour. Democracy, wrote Albert Camus, is not the law of the majority, but the protection of the minority.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/joan-costa-alegret/catalonia-s-de-facto-independence">Catalonia’s de facto independence</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/joan-subirats/catalonia-recognition-and-dignity">Catalonia: recognition and dignity</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Spain </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Spain Civil society Conflict Democracy and government Ideas International politics Catalonia Manuel Nunes Ramires Serrano Fri, 22 Sep 2017 14:43:51 +0000 Manuel Nunes Ramires Serrano 113565 at https://www.opendemocracy.net On the eve of the German elections, Alternative für Deutschland prevails on Twitter https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/giovanni-pagano-francesca-arcostanzo/on-eve-of-german-elections-alternative-f-r-deutschland-prevails <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Populist parties have a higher capacity to exploit digital arenas to boost and propagate their slogans and influence the political agenda. This should not be underestimated by mainstream political forces.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="selectionshareable"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-32868376.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-32868376.jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Election poster of (Alternative for Germany, AfD) party in the district of Lichtenberg in Berlin, Germany on September 15, 2017. NurPhote/Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>It is a bit puzzling how, after a year in which populist forces have threatened the political order of countries all over Europe, Germany so far has managed to have itself a normal – many would say boring – electoral campaign.</p> <p class="selectionshareable">Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is likely to be the largest party in the new Bundestag, as polls show its likely share of vote to be between 36% and 37%, at least 15 or so points ahead of Martin Schulz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD). However, given Germany has a proportional system, the CDU will most likely be unable to govern by itself, so all eyes are on the battle for the third place, which will have an effect on which party will be Merkel’s coalition partner. </p><p class="selectionshareable">The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), with its eurosceptic and anti-immigration programme, will most probably win parliamentary seats for the first time. This will perhaps be the most important development of this election. Moreover, according to the latest polls AfD is leading the “race within the race” for the third place with 11-12%, maintaining a slight lead over its main competitors – the Left Party (<em>Die Linke</em>), the Liberal Democrats (FDP) and the Green Party – all lagging behind at 7% to 10%.</p> <p class="selectionshareable">Recently in Europe we have witnessed a steep rise in so-called populist parties, alongside with a significant wave of innovation in political communication, especially in times of electoral campaigning. When new political actors walk into the scene, they often show innovative communication strategies, such as the widespread use of online channels, a highly engaged network of supporters, and a general inclination towards negative campaigning.</p> <p class="selectionshareable">At <a href="http://www.euvisions.eu">EuVisions</a>, we have recently followed two weeks of the German electoral campaign on Twitter, collecting more than 200,000 tweets. We monitored the online activity of six main parties, following all candidates and collecting citizens’ reactions – in the form of retweets and replies – to candidates’ tweets. Special attention has been dedicated to the electoral campaign of Alternative for Germany. As it is often the case with non-traditional political actors, AfD emerges as a party in which digital activism, both on the candidates’ and supporters’ side, plays a major role.</p><p class="selectionshareable"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/2_.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/2_.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span>As Figure 1 shows, AfD candidates have proven to be by far the most prolific on Twitter: the average AfD candidate tweets six times a day, roughly twice as much as other parties’ candidates. At the same time, they are the most able to engage their electoral base: on average, AfD tweets are retweeted seven times, whereas tweets by other parties’ candidates only resonate (on average) 1,66 &nbsp;times (see Figure 2). At the other end of the spectrum we find candidates of Merkel’s CDU, who are retweeted less than once per tweet, on average. </p><p class="selectionshareable">Interestingly, analogous results emerged from a previous <em>EuVisions</em> which compared the online behaviour of supporters of the UKIP and mainstream British parties at the time of the Brexit referendum.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/1__0.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/1__0.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span>There’s a second aspect worth noting in AfD’s digital campaign, which this party shares with the SPD: in both cases, online campaigns are highly personalised, revolving to a great extent around&nbsp;<em>spitzenkandidaten</em>&nbsp;(see Figure 3).</p> <p class="selectionshareable"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/3__0.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/3__0.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span>Most of SPD-related tweets, however, talk about the party candidate Martin Schulz, who is mentioned in one out of three tweets. This is not the case for AfD, whose tweets are only in small part centered on the two party leaders, Alice Weidel and Alexander Gauland. On the other hand, the party and its supporters make large use of negative campaigning against AfD’s competitors, in the first place, unsurprisingly, Angela Merkel.</p> <p class="selectionshareable">These results show how the social media battlefield in the German electoral campaign largely departs from current polls. Thanks to an effective use of social media strategies by their candidates, and a highly motivated action on the part of supporters,&nbsp;<em>Alternative für Deutschland </em>seems to be dominating the scene on Twitter. The extent to which elections can be won or lost on social media is still an open question. However, it seems by now quite a solid finding that populist parties have a higher capacity to exploit digital arenas in order to boost and propagate their slogans and influence the political agenda. This should not be underestimated by mainstream political forces.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/diem25/german-elections-2017-8-proposals-for-germanys-progressives">German elections 2017: 8 proposals for Germany&#039;s progressives</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Germany </div> <div class="field-item even"> EU </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> <div class="field-item even"> Internet </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? EU Germany Civil society Democracy and government International politics Internet Francesca Arcostanzo Giovanni Pagano Fri, 22 Sep 2017 10:47:15 +0000 Giovanni Pagano and Francesca Arcostanzo 113566 at https://www.opendemocracy.net We just want to stop pleading https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/simona-levi/we-just-want-to-stop-pleading <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>A call to the people of Spain, because the Catalan independence referendum on October 1 is about rather more than that.<strong><em>&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/simona-levy/simplemente-queremos-dejar-de-rogar">Español</a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-32926368.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-32926368.jpg" alt="lead " title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>September 20, 2017. Flowers and a banner reading ' I want to vote' on the floor as Spanish Guardia Civil police officers stand guard close to Catalan Governance Ministry in Barcelona. Jordi Boixareu/Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><blockquote><p><em>When the Spanish Government overturned the Catalan Statute of Autonomy in 2010, even after it had been approved by an ample majority of voters in a referendum that had actually been permitted by the state, I said nothing because I wasn’t Catalan; when the Catalans then asked the state to engage in talks on federalism and the state refused, I said nothing because I wasn’t Catalan; when they asked for a new referendum and were told “we will never even talk about this”, I said nothing because I wasn’t Catalan; when the state denied Catalans any possibility for being listened to, sabotaged their security and taxes, undermined their schools and administration in order to use these as arguments to cover up their own corruption and play the victim, I said nothing because I wasn’t Catalan; when the state throttled their freedom of expression, intercepted their mail and shut down their economy, when uniformed men entered their political organizations and their media, when it confiscated publications, closed websites and arrested mayors, I said nothing because I didn’t read this press and hadn’t voted for those mayors. I even believed they deserved it for complaining so much and hoped they’d be silenced.</em></p><p><em><br /></em></p><p><em>So when they broke my community’s rules of coexistence, violated my right to control my administration, betrayed my security and used me as cannon fodder I responded but, by then, irrationality had pervaded everything. They only had to say “that’s illegal” and everyone kowtowed.</em></p></blockquote> <p>The official media has harped on and on, hammering into people’s heads, all around Spain, the notion that what large numbers of Catalans are asking for is illegal and evil. Prime Minister Rajoy has even said that “what is illegal is antidemocratic”, conveniently forgetting that it used to be precisely the opposite: it’s the power of the people that turns the illegal into the democratic. And if this isn’t so, go and tell the women whose right to vote was denied until very recently, go and tell homosexuals, divorcees, conscientious objectors and other people whose way of life was, for one reason or another, prohibited not so long ago. </p><p>They’ve instilled the idea that a good part of Catalonia’s population deserves to be crushed, bloodily if necessary, that it deserves police searches, arrests, and outrageous situations such as might be expected of Turkey, or China, or some despicable dictatorship. </p><p>“<em>They</em> deserve it”: people speak as if these things, these grotesque scenes, were not part and parcel of this Spain which they so fervently desire to see united.</p> <p>I understand. It may look as if Catalonia’s trying to wreck something sacred, namely Unity, something which all the maxims declare is the only recipe for Strength. “Unity is strength”, they say, and may anyone who speaks out against unity burn in hell. </p><p>But if we think back a bit, the myth of Unity is truly a horror story.</p> <p>History aside, one only has to remember how many lives were destroyed by the indissoluble union of marriage. We now think of this as barbaric. </p> <p>It’s not union that makes strength and, still less, forced union.</p> <p>I’ve spent many years of my life saying that democracy is anything but unity. Unity is coexistence with differences among separate, free, consenting adult individuals, which is to say among people who are autonomous and responsible for themselves.</p> <p>Catalonia’s not going anywhere.</p> <p>Catalonia’s only fighting for its rights in its own way.</p> <p>It just wants to stop pleading.</p> <p>It’s truly unsustainable that there’s no way of having a referendum in Spain. I’m not just referring to this one. I mean any referendum. The law decrees that it’s the government that decides whether there can be a referendum or not. And, naturally, the government of Spain always says no. If this isn’t so, go and tell the PAH (Platform for People Affected by Mortgages) which collected one and a half million signatures in a popular legislative initiative (ILP) to change Spain’s foreclosure law and, though an ILP only needs 500,000 signatures in order to be put before parliament, the Government refused to discuss the issue. </p><p>The bottom line is that, according to Spanish law, any referendum is illegal.</p> <p>But perhaps it might be more accurate to say that certain approaches to governance in Spain are barbaric.&nbsp; </p><p>The point is not that Catalans can’t have a referendum because the Constitution doesn’t give them this power. It’s that no Spanish people can have a referendum. Not about independence and not about any other matter. Negotiated or not negotiated. Full stop.</p> <h2>Not just for Catalonia </h2> <p>So what Catalonia is asking for is not just for Catalonia. It’s because the centralism of the powers-that-be in Madrid, and of all the parties that egg them on with the chumminess of parliamentary rituals, ignores the peoples of Spain, using them merely as raw material to extract what they can, regarding them as colonies and even, as we have seen lately with certain questions of security, as cannon fodder (note: the Government excluded the Catalan police from Europol and the Catalan police are not receiving all the information about jihadi terrorists in Catalonian territory). Once more all this is about covering up their own privileges, abuse, and corruption, or simply protecting the patronage networks of each and every party.</p> <p>The enemies aren’t the Catalans who want independence. The enemies are a government and political parties implacable and bull-headed that asphyxiate and trample all over the rest of us.</p> <p>This is why I’ll be one more person voting in and defending the ballot on 1 October. It won’t just be for Catalonia but also for the organised, non-delegated voice that people everywhere should have; I have fought for this all my life.</p> <p>The defence of unity as ideology terrifies me. Old and new parties are founded on the fallacy of ideological unity. They are very unlikely to be the ones who will get us out of this mess if there is no solidarity among people from one end of the country to the other. </p><p>For years I have been advocating a new kind of politics, one that’s not based on faith and ideology but on people coming together strategically and temporarily to solve the problems they share. People can’t really be together in the name of unity. This can only happen when, respecting the freedom of each and every person, they have interests in common. The peoples of Spain have blood ties and their prosperity and democracy are naturally united. An independent Catalonia isn’t going anywhere, but will only gain the manoeuverability which it has for so long been denied.</p> <p>The central government thinks in terms of subordination. It can’t envisage free people who are able to advance by themselves. I could give a thousand examples but the clearest one is the fact that we are prevented from communicating. There is no Mediterranean corridor and no Atlantic corridor (the roads connections in the circumference of the country, everything must go through Madrid.) This is a preposterous situation which can only be explained by archaic centralism with imperialist predilections. </p> <p>The freedom Catalonia is asking for isn’t a Catalan question.</p> <p>It’s about the freedom deserved by all of Spain’s people.</p> <p>That’s why I’m going to vote on 1 October, and I’m going to vote Yes.</p> <p>I ask, I hope and it’s my fervent desire that, on October 1, the people of Spain won’t revel in state repression, but that they’ll proactively prevent that repression from being executed in their name; that they’ll feel proud of the courage, optimism and the peaceful, orderly vision of the future of their fellow citizens who are carrying out their duty to change the unjust, inflexible laws which are trapping us all.</p><p>____</p><p>The Spanish original of this article was first published in<a href="http://blogs.publico.es/dominiopublico/24288/simplemente-queremos-dejar-de-rogar/"> Público</a></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/joan-costa-alegret/catalonia-s-de-facto-independence">Catalonia’s de facto independence</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/joan-subirats/catalonia-recognition-and-dignity">Catalonia: recognition and dignity</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/manuel-nunes-ramires-serrano/weak-homage-to-democracy-in-catalonia">A (weak) homage to democracy in Catalonia</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Spain </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Spain Civil society Conflict Democracy and government International politics Catalonia Simona Levi Fri, 22 Sep 2017 07:19:59 +0000 Simona Levi 113550 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Catalonia: recognition and dignity https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/joan-subirats/catalonia-recognition-and-dignity <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>On October 2, it will be necessary to find a way out that does not imply the total defeat of the other and that enables us to recognize Spain’s national diversity. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/joan-subirats/catalu-reconocimiento-y-dignidad">Español</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-32892836.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-32892836.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Members of the Catalan National Assembly, distribute information through the streets of Barcelona asking for the vote in the referendum of independence of Catalonia on October 1. September 17, 2017. NurPhoto/Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>A reader not familiar with the ins and outs of Spanish and Catalan politics over the last ten years would be surprised at the unusual events happening these days in Catalonia. There is talk of "attacking democracy" and of a "serious breach of constitutional legality", political leaders are being arrested for wanting to organize a referendum, while the police surrounds political parties’ headquarters and searches printing houses and newspapers. All this is happening in Spain, forty years after the recovery of democracy following Franco’s forty-year-long dictatorship, in a country where citizens enjoy by no means negligible levels of economic development and social welfare, the economic and institutional structure of which is fully embedded in the European and global fabric.</p> <p>How did we get here? Let us spare the details. At the risk of being too schematic, we could say that there is a deficit in Spanish democracy regarding the recognition of its national plurality, and also a widespread perception in Catalan society that the Spanish political system has not been treating them with adequate dignity.</p> <p>The political regime established in 1978, which has allowed a fully legal and legitimate functioning of Spanish democracy for several decades, has been losing steam. The stern refusal to reform it&nbsp; – for fear of the economic and political elites represented by the two major parties, the People’s Party (PP) and the Socialist Party (PSOE) – has ended up sounding its death knell. </p> <p>In the agreement that was reached back then, the existence of an internal national plurality was accepted only in part, but in practice a standardized decentralized system was set up, within the unitary and homogeneous framework of Spain’s singular sovereignty.</p> <p>There has been some talk that the Spanish system of "Autonomous Communities" is a very decentralized one if you examine the matters which the autonomous governments can decide on. But in that decentralization there is no symbolic, political recognition of the Catalans’, the Basques’ and the Galician’s’ diverse sense of belonging – of the places where language, culture and historical tradition maintain a continuing belongingness. </p> <p>When three crises coincided in time – the economic one (2007), the political one (the <em>indignados</em>, 2011) and the territorial one (large mobilizations in Catalonia in 2012 after the Constitutional Court’s ruling which overturned what the Catalans had decided in a referendum), the contradictions, cross grievances, and demands for change in the distribution of funding between Autonomous Communities sharpened – and thus provided a favourable ground for the escalation the most salient and complicated stage of which we are now witnessing.</p> <h2><strong>Plurinationality</strong></h2> <p>How is one to explain the People’s Party position of sternly refusing to open up any political dialogue? It is obvious that, faced with the Catalan question, it has been in Mr Rajoy’s and the PP’s interest to position themselves as guarantors of institutional stability, national unity and a constitutional legality which does not admit any change whatsoever. On the basis of this position, Mr Rajoy has managed to turn the PP and the government into the axis of the defence of institutional legality, leaving little breathing space to other parties, namely the Citizens’ and the Socialist Party. For Rajoy, the matter is not political but simply legal. </p> <p>Only Podemos has positioned itself differently, accepting the plurinationality of the Spanish state and proposing that a constituent process be opened to address the serious problem that has been gestated.</p> <p>From the perspective of Catalan sovereignists, the repeated refusal to consider the possibility of resolving the conflict through a referendum similar to those held in Quebec or Scotland, led to a Catalan parliamentary election in 2014 that was presented as a plebiscite. Its outcome, however, did not help to clarify the situation. Since then, the need to hold a referendum has been repeated incessantly, but this has not found any echo in either Mr. Rajoy’s government or the parliamentary majority in Spanish institutions. Mr. Rajoy has insisted on the idea that there is no democracy outside legality, refusing to accept the view that a democracy is stronger the more dissent it is able to contain, and has offered no alternative to the Catalan sovereignists’ proposal other than they should abide by the established order.</p> <h2><strong>Democracy</strong></h2> <p>At present, there is nothing to suggest that the referendum on October 1 can be held with a minimum of guarantees, since the constant interference of the Spanish government, constitutional justice and subsequent police activity have made it impossible. But this course of action of the Spanish government and judiciary has placed the issue in a cognitive framework and in an axis of conflict that is no longer that of "centralism versus pro-independence", but rather "authoritarianism versus democracy". And this can lead to a mobilization in Catalonia in favour of democracy far beyond the pro-independence support base.</p> <p>On October 2, the problem will still be there. From the point of view of the Catalan sovereignists, the achievement will be that the problem will now be inescapable, that it will stay at the centre of the Spanish political scene and thus will necessarily have to be addressed. </p> <p>From the point of view of Mr Rajoy, the PP and its allies, they will not be able to continue to deny the problem and to respond to it only with legality and repression. </p> <p>This is a scenario in which it will be necessary to look for a way out which will not imply the total defeat of the other – a scenario in which it will be essential to have the capacity to recognize Spain’s national diversity and to treat with due dignity those who seek to deepen the democratic quality of the Spanish political system.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/joan-costa-alegret/catalonia-s-de-facto-independence">Catalonia’s de facto independence</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/simona-levi/we-just-want-to-stop-pleading">We just want to stop pleading </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/manuel-nunes-ramires-serrano/weak-homage-to-democracy-in-catalonia">A (weak) homage to democracy in Catalonia</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Spain </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Spain Civil society Conflict Democracy and government International politics Catalonia Joan Subirats Fri, 22 Sep 2017 07:18:50 +0000 Joan Subirats 113551 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Lexit: defeatism dressed as ambition https://www.opendemocracy.net/looking-at-lexit/julian-sayarer/lexit-defeatism-dressed-as-ambition <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Lexiters are deluded: Brexit is a right-wing project. The future of the UK left is with the European left, in the international struggle. This piece, introducing our <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/looking-at-lexit/julian-sayarer-xavier-buxton/looking-at-lexit-mission-statement">“Looking at Lexit”</a> series, is paired with a <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/looking-at-lexit/xavier-buxton/lexit-looking-forwards-not-backwards">“Lexit” argument </a>by Xavier Buxton.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/FEAA7B0C54004D7C87B16BB02EEBEB8B.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/FEAA7B0C54004D7C87B16BB02EEBEB8B.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Lexiters were on the same side as Nigel Farage and Donald Trump. CC image.</span></span></span>It is perhaps an inevitability of such a broad question as Leave or Remain, in a referendum campaign where those words themselves became only synonyms for Open or Closed, that the debate around the UK’s EU membership, potentially highly complex, has frequently been distilled into simple idioms.</p> <p>In that spirit, and on the idea of “Lexit” – that pet-name given to the left-wing version of Brexit – another one: You cannot polish a turd.</p> <p>Brexit, whatever its nuances, is a right-wing, extremist project. This much is in its blood. Politics should seldom be reduced to such easy heuristics as “their enemy is my friend”, but, if Donald Trump, Stephen <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/21/senior-donald-trump-aide-warns-european-union-can-expect-hostility/">Bannon</a> and <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/isis-brexit-news-eu-referendum-result-praises-response-islamic-state-daesh-political-crisis-crusader-a7109781.html">ISIS</a> were all encouraging the idea of a UK leave vote, it is perhaps safe to assume that any with a leftist, leftish, or vaguely socially-spirited calling might have felt at least trepidation and at most horror at the prospect of helping to launder a project endorsed by some of the world’s most craven, bellicose, and volatile men.</p> <p>There is a tendency within leftist, and perhaps especially anarchist, circles, that is easily animated by the prospect of self-reliance. It is often a very important and admirable tendency; I have only respect for those carpenters I know who set out to Calais in 2015 and constructed buildings that made the refugee camps there more habitable. There is a <em>Swiss Family Robinson</em> romance to the idea of starting anew, but to be dead to the prospect of renewal in politics is no less dangerous than ready excitability at false hope. In the promise of Lexit, we risk setting up a soup kitchen, albeit one built with our own hands, rather than moulding a whole continent towards the ideals we wish for.</p> <p>In numerical terms, if the left believes in solidarity, I cannot understand of a 60million nation representing as much more effectively than a European bloc of 500million. If the left believes in ridding the UK of the Tories, it seems clear that the final burial of their Brexit project, with the help of Tory Cameroons, would have <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/aug/13/hard-brexit-could-split-tory-party-says-anna-soubry">split</a> that party in a fashion far more fatal than we currently see, with Theresa May a zombie Prime Minister still able to hold it cosmetically together, for a while.</p> <p>If the UK left does genuinely believe the EU a nefarious monolith, incapable of reform, then why abandon our European sisters and brothers to as much, rather than using our voting rights, our <a href="http://www.politico.eu/article/european-council-to-bring-rotating-presidency-forward-uk-relinquishes-order-switch/">rotating presidencies</a>, our <a href="https://fullfact.org/europe/our-eu-membership-fee-55-million/">budgets</a>, to advance the causes we would champion? </p><p>If EU member states are so paralysed within the EU monolith, why do Swedes fear the loss of the UK as a fellow advocate of <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-sweden-idUSKBN13O2BN">free trade</a>, to counter the powerful voices of French and German labour? How does even Emmanuel Macron successfully <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jul/27/france-nationalises-strategic-shipyard-emmanuel-macron">nationalise</a> the strategic interests of French ports? How does he find common cause with even Yanis Varoufakis in arguing the EU need to <a href="http://www.france24.com/en/20170502-varoufakis-france-election-macron-greece-troika-marine-lepen">refigure</a> its austere fiscal relations with southern Europe? Self-important Blairite though he may be – if Macron can advocate for the rights of <a href="http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-france-centraleurope/macron-confident-of-posted-workers-deal-after-meeting-romanian-president-idUKKCN1B41QO">posted-workers</a> within the UK, why can’t Jeremy Corbyn and the UK Labour Party? Why do we seriously debate whether the EU prohibits state-owned railways while DeutscheBahn and SNCF operate as just that? There is an intellectual laziness by which many on the left have capitulated to poor information and heady ideals, so that mere mention of “EU state aid rules” is now bandied as if it were in itself a rigorous legal argument.</p> <p>This is not to endorse alliances with David Cameron, George Osborne, the architects of austerity and the men responsible for so much, including Brexit, that has now ravaged UK society and economy. Those of the left, those who truly believe our values strong and visionary enough to win the hearts of all the world, must accept that the ultimate prize in politics is now to have George Osborne voting for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, because he sees it as the only way of maintaining an EU with the UK inside of it.&nbsp;</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/Manifestation_29_janvier_2009_Orléans_06_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/Manifestation_29_janvier_2009_Orléans_06_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>British workers profit from strong labour movements in France and elsewhere, why disconnect? Wikimedia/PD.</span></span></span>In the EU, those of a left-wing perspective for once have a carrot to offer the UK centre in return for their full endorsement of socialism. If “eat your cake and have it” has also been a recurring theme during and since the referendum, some in Labour have taken-in the logic that they must choose, must concede Europe to get socialism, where the reality ought be that we want both and can have just that. The centre ground of UK voters will believe more passionately, for longer, and with greater accuracy, that the EU is a force for good in the UK than dispossessed communities of the UK will continue to believe in the quick, slippery snake-oil promises of Murdoch and Farage. Most agree, meanwhile, that Brexit will only intensify the causes of that dispossession, with the immediate <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/pound-sterling-brexit-vote-crash-chambers-commerce-more-harm-good-dr-adam-marshall-a7934341.html">slide</a> in sterling offering strong supporting evidence.</p> <p>All of the above is only strategic and moral; I reason that I think it is morally right to remain, or politically astute to remain. What this argument so far takes as given is the idea that, once out of the EU, the most recalcitrant and economically right-wing EU nation will somehow become more left than it was within that lefter-leaning confederacy of nations it will have departed. Clearly, this is unlikely. Brexit – of whatever colour – is a shortcut, a firework display, a Falklands, a distraction in that vast tradition that is the delusion of British grandeur.</p> <p>Lexiteers, often fuelled by only the most decent of intentions, are taking to the fallout of Cameron’s referendum cowardice and considering how we might build anew, within a political, legislative and social rubble that everything of the left should compel us to reject. None of this is a defence of the EU in its entirety, so much as a steadfast assertion of two things: 1. The UK can make the EU better and 2. The UK, as is already the case at present (to largely negative effect; witness UK versus EU rules on non-EU <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35552289">spouses</a>), can nevertheless be the country it wants to be inside of that bloc.</p> <p>If the twentieth century taught us anything, it is that socialism in one country does not work, and one spirited election result and a hung parliament for a Corbyn-led Labour does not elevate us to a position whereby the historic strength of the UK right-wing, of UK capital and press barons, is undone at a stroke, so that suddenly we can teach Belgians about equality, Germans about shutting down nuclear lobbyists, Swedes about gender equality.</p> <p>The UK left has a proud tradition, so marginalised and ridiculed within UK culture that it takes a great and conscious effort to remind ourselves and others of the historic and noble tradition of Diggers, Levellers, miners. What Lexit risks doing, however, is to divorce those noble figures of British social justice from their rightful compatriots in Europe. They belong in the same tradition as Rosa Luxembourg, not distinct from it, and should that severance be completed, the Left will only have succumbed to the <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/38223990/theresa-may-we-want-a-red-white-and-blue-brexit">“red, white and blue Brexit”</a> of the Tory Party, albeit with different icons and heroes.</p> <p>Whether or not Brexit must ultimately happen, and what form it should take, might as well be a moot point. After an ugly referendum that antagonised all and informed few, what is now of paramount importance is better information and dialogue that urgently scrutinises, not least of all, the question; does the left need Brexit?</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/looking-at-lexit/julian-sayarer-xavier-buxton/looking-at-lexit-mission-statement">Looking at Lexit: mission statement</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/looking-at-lexit/xavier-buxton/lexit-looking-forwards-not-backwards">Lexit: looking forwards, not backwards</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> UK </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? uk UK Looking at Lexit Brexit2016 Julian Sayarer Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:42:53 +0000 Julian Sayarer 113547 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Lexit: looking forwards, not backwards https://www.opendemocracy.net/looking-at-lexit/xavier-buxton/lexit-looking-forwards-not-backwards <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The EU is riddled with neoliberalism. Brexit has shattered the status quo, and presents an opportunity to the UK left. This piece, introducing our <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/looking-at-lexit/julian-sayarer-xavier-buxton/looking-at-lexit-mission-statement">“Looking at Lexit”</a> series, is paired with a <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/looking-at-lexit/julian-sayarer/lexit-defeatism-dressed-as-ambition">“Lemain” argument</a> by Julian Sayarer.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/PA-15613173.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/PA-15613173.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="305" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>In 1975 Thatcher argued passionately for Common Market membership. PAimages/PAarchive. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>“How’s Lexit treating you?” friends ask, sardonically. “Or is it <a href="https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/the-promise-of-regrexit-by-george-soros-2016-07?barrier=accessreg">Regrexit </a>now?” I have to say that I’m not sure, but this I know: the European Union is no friend of the left. Its origins lie in the European Coal and Steel Community in the 1950s, which eliminated import tariffs within Western Europe; over the years this bloc has expanded its scope, powers, and borders, governing fishing policy, phone charges and asylum rights from Lisbon to Latvia; it has acquired a parliament, a president and a court, a social chapter and even a Charter of Fundamental Rights.</p><p>At its core, however, it remains a trade deal, like <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/thomas-fazi/ttip-we-were-right-all-along">TTIP</a>, with free-market neoliberalism embedded in its institutions. The results of 2016 referendum and the 2017 election present Labour with a historic opportunity to reset our economy, our civil rights, and our relationship with the rest of the world. The arduous pursuit of continued EU membership would, I fear, place all this in jeopardy.</p> <p>The UK left has a long tradition of Euroscepticism. Labour campaigned to leave the Common Market in the 1975 referendum; on the eve of the poll, the Marxist historian EP Thompson colourfully dismissed this “spoof of internationalism” as a bourgeois fantasy of consumption: “a distended stomach, a large organ with various traps, digestive chambers and fiscal acids, assimilating a rich diet of consumer goods.” Far from empowering workers, <a href="https://againstreactionblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/28/going-into-europe-an-essay-by-e-p-thompson-1975/amp/">he argued</a>, it would empower their cosmopolitan bosses, who</p> <p><em>… with their secretaries, their linguistic skills, their massed telephones, their expense-account weekends, their inter-locking euro-directorships, their manipulation of the rules and of the Brussels spouters, will always be smiling at the table, with the agenda cooked, the day before the workers get there.</em></p> <p>He also warned that the Common Market would “distance decision-making from its subject” and “blight what remain[ed] of our active democratic traditions”. And its failure, he predicted, would provoke a “resurgence of bourgeois nationalist rancour of sensational intensity”.</p> <p>Since the 1990s, certainly, Thompson’s complaints have found full voice on the right: the “bloated bureaucracy” and the “greed” of Brussels, the “metropolitan elite”, the “democratic deficit”. On the left, meanwhile, Euroscepticism faded to the fringes.</p> <p>Indeed, since the triumph of Thatcherism in the 1980s, a whole generation of British citizens have grown up to believe that the EU offers a progressive counterpoise to an increasingly conservative England. When <a href="http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/staggers/2016/02/how-one-man-changed-how-british-politicians-felt-about-europe-forever">Jacques Delors</a> spoke of “solidarity” to the TUC in 1988, they chanted “Frere Jacques!”, bringing a tear to the eye of the <em>Président de la Commission</em>. New regulations protected workers from discrimination, guaranteed maternity pay, and safeguarded the environment. Reviled by the Tories and the <a href="http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/665089/Brussels-red-tape-cost-EU-Brexit-Priti-Patel">tabloid press</a>, this “red tape” was the red flag of my millennial generation: these rights were what we stood for and fought for; these were the fruits of a century of labour struggles.</p> <p>But this isn’t the only story of the EU. Many on the left were <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/06/greece-democracy-europe-eu">shocked</a> by the treatment of Greece in 2015. Democracy was shoved aside to impose a brutal programme of austerity aimed more at discipline than deliverance. Yet this was no aberration from the principles of the EU, but rather their logical consequence. Quietly, since <a href="https://www.socialeurope.eu/need-rewrite-maastricht-rules">Maastricht </a>in 1992, the Union has rediscovered its free market foundations. </p><p>In 1997, the Stability and Growth Pact established strict rules for budgetary discipline in Member States; the Pact’s “<a href="http://eur-lex.europa.eu/summary/glossary/excessive_deficit_procedure.html">Excessive Debt Procedures</a>” (EDPs) were reinforced by the “Fiscal Compact” of 2012. Osborne obtained a UK opt-out from this Compact, but the struggling economies of southern Europe are forbidden the tried and tested tools of Keynesian policy: <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/info/business-economy-euro/economic-and-fiscal-policy-coordination/eu-economic-governance-monitoring-prevention-correction/stability-and-growth-pact/corrective-arm-excessive-deficit-procedure/excessive-deficit-procedures-overview_en">any government</a> that borrows more than 3% of its GDP faces economic sanctions. <a href="http://www.delorsinstitut.de/en/publications/qa-excessive-deficit-procedure-without-fines/">Some contend</a> that these EDPs are all bark and no bite, because no fine has ever been paid; but the bark does its coercive work, driving down deficits across the continent even in times of crisis. Austerity is thus written into the treaties of the Union.</p> <p>This neoliberal turn is not confined to fiscal policy. While workers have benefited, on the whole, from tighter regulation, the ECJ has increasingly undermined the rights of trade unions. In 1988, Delors <a href="http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/113686">promised</a> the TUC that “cooperation” would be as important as competition in the new single market, but the ECJ’s <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/legal_service/arrets/05c438_en.pdf">Viking</a> and <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/legal_service/arrets/05c341_en.pdf">Laval</a> judgments <a href="https://www.elaweb.org.uk/resources/ela-briefing/laval-viking-line-and-limited-right-strike">place a company’s freedom to do business above a union’s right to strike</a>. </p><p>And while economists have <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/uk-europe-immigration-brexit-freedom-movement-eu-citizens-low-paid-british-workers-theresa-may-a7846686.html">argued</a> that the downward pressure on wages caused by immigration is “infinitesimally” small, “<a href="http://www.europarl.europa.eu/legislative-train/theme-deeper-and-fairer-internal-market-with-a-strengthened-industrial-base-labour/file-revision-of-the-directive-on-the-posting-of-workers-labour-mobility-package">posted workers</a>” – foreign employees posted to another member state by a foreign employer – have no right to the wider privileges won by unions in the country where they work. The EU, it seems, has no qualms about this two-tier labour market: Cameron’s plan to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/feb/02/eu-renogotiaion-tusk-proposes-migrant-worker-benefit-cap">limit in-work benefits for EU migrants</a> met with little opposition in Brussels. But solidarity is the watchword of the left: no one is protected unless we are all protected.</p> <p>Freedom of movement is perhaps the most polarising of European issues: while the Tory press has fanned the flames of xenophobia, the left has admirably defended the economic and cultural contribution of migrants, and the benefits of open borders. But these borders are only open to a privileged minority: every week, new bodies are washed up on Greek and Italian shores, shameful testimony to the inhumanity of the EU’s frontiers; in Calais and Grand-Synthe, in Ventimiglia and Röszke, desperate refugees from war-torn former colonies are turned back from these “open borders” at gunpoint. </p><p>This year, European liberals denounced Trump’s <a href="http://time.com/4566512/donald-trump-deportation-promise/">plan</a> to round up millions of illegal immigrants and deport them to Mexico without the right to appeal; but the EU announced a similar <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/02/eu-turkey-refugee-plan-could-be-illegal-says-un-official">policy of mass deportation</a> in 2016, sending thousands of unprocessed Syrian asylum seekers back to Turkey, in defiance of its international obligations. The EU’s migration policy is so cruel and destructive that Médecins Sans Frontières have <a href="https://www.msf.ie/www.msf.ie/article/msf-no-longer-take-funds-ireland-and-eu">cut all ties</a>, rejecting any further funding from its institutions and member states. As internationalists on the left, should we too not distance ourselves from this deadly and discriminatory “freedom of movement”?</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/Visit_to_Röszke_and_Tompa,_Hungary.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/Visit_to_Röszke_and_Tompa,_Hungary.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Europe’s open borders are closed to many of the most desperate. Photo by Rebecca Harms. CC.</span></span></span>These arguments have been made before. The question that always comes back is this: “Yes, but what good would leaving do?” It is true that the UK political consensus has long been far to the right of most of Europe. On austerity, on workers’ rights, on immigration, the Tory party, and even New Labour, make Brussels look like radical socialists. In a much-shared article before the referendum, Paul Mason <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/16/brexit-eu-referendum-boris-johnson-greece-tory">argued</a> that the left should campaign for Brexit, but “not now”: a Tory-led Brexit, directed by Gove or Johnson, would see a gutting of workers’ rights, a brutal crackdown on immigration, Britain turned into a “neoliberal fantasy island”, adrift in the Atlantic. And so it seemed for a while, those twelve months between the referendum and the election, when the Lexiteers went very quiet; no Johnson or Gove, but a populist May government bedding down for a perma-Tory decade.</p> <p>It was not to be. The referendum had <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jun/26/brexit-is-the-rejection-of-globalisation">broken the neoliberal consensus</a>, and alerted the establishment to the polling power of the “left behind”. May’s Conservatives tried to position themselves as the party of Brexit, but it was Corbyn’s Labour that channelled the grievances of Leavers and Remainers alike. His success was built partly on a “constructive ambiguity” around Brexit, but the enthusiasm came from a social democratic programme that promised real societal change. A left-led Brexit, such as Mason sought, has become a very real possibility.</p> <p>The election result seemed to confirm the views of many Remainers: that Brexit was a <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/data-robots-automation-ippr-brexit-is-distracting-a7869261.html">distraction </a>from the problems of globalisation, not its solution. At root, <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tony-blair-brexit-can-be-stopped-if-british-leaders-eu-is-prepared-to-meet-us-halfway-a7841816.html">some said</a>, the referendum was a rejection of Tory austerity, not the “internationalism” and “progressive” politics of the EU. This has much truth in it. But the left should be cautious of this logic, for two reasons.</p> <p>The first is that Corbyn’s policy platform, the <a href="http://www.labour.org.uk/page/-/Images/manifesto-2017/Labour%20Manifesto%202017.pdf">manifesto</a> that won him the largest point gain for a party since the war, and that many believe is a blueprint for tweny first century social democracy, could be obstructed by EU membership. As has been pointed out by others, Corbyn’s plans to renationalise rail, mail, and energy <a href="https://theconversation.com/fact-check-do-new-eu-rules-make-it-impossible-to-renationalise-railways-61180">may fall foul of EU competition rules</a>; at the very least, a Labour government would face <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Costa_v_ENEL">challenges</a> in the European courts. </p><p>State aid for British businesses faces <a href="http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-11-1210_en.htm?locale=en">similar obstacles</a>. Some say these <a href="https://labourlist.org/2017/08/tuc-it-is-government-choices-not-eu-rules-that-are-limiting-state-intervention/">obstacles can be circumvented</a>; others dismiss state aid as as re-heated Seventies socialism, the sooner abandoned the better. But Labour’s most innovative policies would also be threatened by EU membership. The use of public procurement to encourage responsible corporate behaviour and state backing for the co-operative ownership: the case law of the ECJ <a href="http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:62013CJ0549&amp;from=EN%22,%22http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:62013CJ0549&amp;from=EN%22)">suggests</a> <a href="http://www.wikipreneurship.eu/index.php/Marcora_Law">both</a> of these will be opposed in Brussels. We have waited forty years for a renewal of the left-wing policy innovation: we cannot afford to be checking every reform package against hostile EU regulations.</p> <p>The second reason is strategic. Varoufakis <a href="http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/brexit/2017/09/i-warned-jeremy-corbyn-about-brexit-now-labour-must-regain-its-radicalism">recently revealed</a> that he spoke to Corbyn and McDonnell before the referendum campaign, and persuaded them to back Remain. He warned them that the “UK would expend [its] political capital pursuing withdrawal”, leaving no room for their radical reforms. With Article 50 already triggered, I believe the opposite is the case. For Labour now to pursue a second referendum, in the hope of a different result, in order to remain part of a Union dominated by conservatives and reactionaries that may or may not someday transform itself into a socially responsible and democratically accountable superstate: <em>this</em> would be foolish expenditure of Labour’s political capital. </p> <p>This is not an argument to embrace Theresa May’s Brexit, to facilitate the Whitehall power-grab. But nor should Labour seek to block the Brexit process altogether. In opposition, it faces a tough but not impossible task: <a href="http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/brexit/2017/07/lexit-eu-neoliberal-project-so-lets-do-something-different-when-we-leave-it">to shape Brexit into Lexit</a>. It should fight to keep the Charter of Fundamental Rights, to guarantee the rights of EU citizens; it should seek maximum access to European markets, while maintaining the independence of its governmental spending; it should seek continued cooperation on nuclear energy and membership of academic research programmes. Britain should control its own immigration policy, and Labour should work to make that as open, fair and inclusive as possible, for the mutual benefit of migrants from around the world and of a new thriving British economy, fuelled by the largest <a href="http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/economy/2017/05/labours-investment-bank-plan-could-help-fix-our-damaging-financial-system">stimulus programme</a> in our post-war history. This is a platform that Labour MPs, Labour members, and the UK as a whole can unite behind.</p> <p>In 1975, EP Thompson perceived Britain to be on the point of momentous change. In the midst of a capitalist crisis, with a united British labour movement, he “glimpsed the possibility that we could effect here a peaceful transition … to a democratic socialist society … where our traditions and organizations cease to be defensive and become affirmative forces”. The Common Market was capitalism’s last throw of the die. An independent socialist state, Thompson thought, would be best gift Britain could offer to its European neighbours. Only later could “a true idea of Europe … return: as a cautious federation of socialist states.” We stand, I think, at a similar crossroads. We must be bold enough to take the revolutionary turn.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/PA-31892056.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/PA-31892056.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Labour has popular momentum after the 2017 election. How can it best be spent? PAimages/Ben Mitchell. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/looking-at-lexit/julian-sayarer-xavier-buxton/looking-at-lexit-mission-statement">Looking at Lexit: mission statement</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/looking-at-lexit/julian-sayarer/lexit-defeatism-dressed-as-ambition">Lexit: defeatism dressed as ambition</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> UK </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? uk UK Looking at Lexit Brexit2016 Xavier Buxton Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:41:12 +0000 Xavier Buxton 113545 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Looking at Lexit: mission statement https://www.opendemocracy.net/looking-at-lexit/julian-sayarer-xavier-buxton/looking-at-lexit-mission-statement <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Should Labour fight Brexit, or embrace it? Julian Sayarer and Xavier Buxton introduce a new project on openDemocracy, exploring the possibilities and limitations of “Lexit”.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/PA-26771150.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/PA-26771150.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="290" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Many progressives want Corbyn’s Labour to fight back against Brexit. PAimages/Jonathan Brady. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>One year after the EU referendum, in which Labour all but unanimously campaigned for Remain, the party finds itself unexpectedly in a position to obstruct government legislation. With Parliament hung, Brussels bullish, and Tory rebels in the wings, the stage is set for a massive Brexit showdown. Jeremy Corbyn, many progressives argue, could and should lead a Remain revolt, campaign for a second referendum, and reverse the national blunder of 2016.</p> <p>Why does he not? Where is this showdown? Some point to Labour’s fragile majorities in the north, vulnerable to Ukip and Tory surges at the slightest sign of Brexit backsliding. But many others suspect that Corbyn and McDonnell, in the Bennite tradition, have no great love for the EU, and see in Brexit an opportunity for the Left.</p> <p>In our age of contractions and limited characters, it is no surprise that this “left-wing Brexit” is now “Lexit”, but while the term arouses strong feeling amongst a few exceptionally close observers of UK politics, it remains unused and largely unknown amongst the wider public.</p> <p>Despite this limited resonance, there is reason to believe that the idea holds some sway within the Labour Party. Indeed, Labour-supporting Leave voters may also have been motivated by similar concerns, without recourse to the ideological framework of “Lexit”. And now the idea of a Brexit process presided over by a left-wing party, previously fantastical, has become plausible. Now people are asking whether a left-wing manifesto, recently so hypothetical, can be delivered within the very same EU institutions that right-wing Leave campaigners denounced.</p> <p>The bustle of competing arguments is diverse. Gross simplifications abound: some see an EU “controlled by bankers”; some regard UK politics within the bloc as de facto unchangeable; for much of the Remain rump on the other side, the EU is wholly synonymous with progressive values and the common good. We believe the left would be well served by a more careful and critical appraisal both of the European institutions, and of the Lexit position.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/PA-2321073_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/PA-2321073_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="295" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Anti-Common Market campaigners in 1975 included Labour heavyweights Michael Foot, Tony Benn, Peter Shore, and Barbara Castle. PAimages/PAarchive. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>Committed to a belief that the 2017 Labour manifesto charts a path in the British national interest, and eager to avoid the wormholes and many shades of “soft” or “hard” Brexit, of Single Market or no, we settled on a simple, guiding statement by which the rationality of this “Lexit” could be drawn into the light.</p><p><strong>To find out if leaving the EU is necessary to delivering the 2017 Labour manifesto.</strong></p> <p>The series will be run by a mixture of editors and writers who voted for both leave and remain, but all of whom would identify their political home amongst ideas generally regarded “left”. It will assess various practical and theoretical issues surrounding the left-wing case for leaving the EU. At its core, however, are the following questions: </p> <p>- Would EU membership obstruct Corbyn’s manifesto objectives, specifically on nationalisations, procurement, and public investment?</p> <p>&nbsp;- Are there circumstances in which retaining EU membership could instead facilitate these objectives?</p> <p>&nbsp;- What should be the overall aim and position, in the UK and abroad, of the UK left during and after Brexit? </p> <p>In a spirit of openness, and based on the assumption that – undeclared or otherwise – journalists and media organisations have an agenda and goals, we state ours to be loosely, with a twist of Bentham and a pinch of salt, “the greatest socialism for the greatest number”.</p> <p>In this we hope to avoid the dogma that can be associated with “Socialism”, and this project simply seeks in good faith the principles of a socially-spirited politics, avoiding the tribalism and name-calling that has characterised much of the Brexit debate. We aim to be resolutely international in these principles, and will, later in the series, take a broader view of socialist interests in Europe and beyond.</p> <p>&nbsp;“Lexit” remains a new and ill-defined term, largely foreign to mainstream discourse. For this reason, we have decided to publish an opening salvo of opposing views: <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/looking-at-lexit/xavier-buxton/lexit-looking-forwards-not-backwards">a case for Lexit</a>, and <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/looking-at-lexit/julian-sayarer/lexit-defeatism-dressed-as-ambition">a case against</a>. Over the next few weeks, we will focus on particular Lexit concerns, from trains to immigration, commissioning responses from academics, politicians and lawyers. </p><p>Alongside these articles, we will be hosting a mini-series by 'everyday Lexiteers', asking left-identifying people who voted for Brexit why they did so, and what might make them change their mind. These investigations, we hope, will clarify where the ideas behind Lexit could and should take the UK left.</p> <p>There is already a sense of urgency at large. Theresa May has cultivated a reputation for tenacity: as Home Secretary, she demonstrated a dogged determination to pursue the impossible, and to fail resolutely. The Article 50 starting gun has already been fired, leaving us to ask: which track for the Left?</p> <p>In the words of the call centre operative, sincerely we ask: please bear with us.&nbsp;</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/PA-31330374.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/PA-31330374.jpg" alt="" title="" width="363" height="511" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Is Corbyn’s manifesto deliverable inside the EU? PAimages/Danny Lawson. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/looking-at-lexit/xavier-buxton/lexit-looking-forwards-not-backwards">Lexit: looking forwards, not backwards</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/looking-at-lexit/julian-sayarer/lexit-defeatism-dressed-as-ambition">Lexit: defeatism dressed as ambition</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> UK </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? uk UK Brexit2016 Looking at Lexit Xavier Buxton Julian Sayarer Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:39:28 +0000 Julian Sayarer and Xavier Buxton 113507 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Catalonia’s de facto independence https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/joan-costa-alegret/catalonia-s-de-facto-independence <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Catalonia is trying to hold a referendum, to provoke a reaction from the State that would boost massive protests and deliver a majority which, so far, has proven elusive. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/joan-costa-alegret/catalu-se-declara-de-facto-independiente">Español</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-32868218.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-32868218.jpg" alt="lead " title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Catalan Independence supporters wave Esteladas (Catalan pro-independence flag) during a demonstration of Catalan Mayors backing Independence Referendum on September 16, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain. NurPhoto/Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>It is hard to be an internationalist in the age of nationalism. It is hard to believe in individual rights in times when group rights are supposed to prevail. It is hard to believe in citizenship when all that seems to count is nationality. It is hard, in short, to be cosmopolitan in an age of parochialism and identity politics.&nbsp; </p><p>And it is also hard, on the eve of a referendum/mobilisation due to take place on October 1 in Catalonia, to stay calm and moderate when facing a confrontation of two narratives that carry with them at least in part, some of the cleavages separating the two logics mentioned above.&nbsp; </p><h2><strong>Two narratives</strong></h2> <p>The hegemonic narrative will tell you that Catalonia has been oppressed by a central state for centuries, a state that treats it as a colony. That it is time for the nation to rise and free itself from this secular abuse which now comes in the form of an authoritarian Spanish regime that is heir to the centralist, authoritarian ideology of Franco times. It will tell you that, no matter how Catalan politicians have been willing to negotiate a better relationship to achieve greater autonomy, the Spanish government has shown its willingness to destroy it. And last, but not least, it will tell you that, because so many attempts at such a negotiation have failed, including a reformed statute of autonomy approved by the Congress and voted in a referendum that was then partially limited by the Constitutional Court after having been appealed by the Popular Party, there is now no alternative other than to unilaterally secede and re-conquer the sovereignty lost to Spain by the force of the facts.&nbsp; </p><p>Yet there is another narrative that tells you that Spain is a fully-fledged western liberal democracy and one of the most decentralised states in the hemisphere. That Catalonia enjoys more freedom and effective self-government than at any time in modern history, that its culture is thriving, its language ubiquitous and healthy, its institutions powerful, its economy robust, its people moderately happy and reasonably wealthy (with the exception, that is, of the many that have been left behind by the neoliberal recipes prescribed for the recent economic crisis, quite a few of them eagerly applied by the Catalan right-wing nationalist governments). The Catalan authorities have used all the power in their hands to build a functional proto-state. Spanish authorities have been quite compliant with this – partly because they needed Catalan nationalist votes in Madrid’s Parliament – until the 2008 crisis hit. Then, they started a recentralisation process, particularly in the administration of economic resources, happily following instructions from Brussels on deficit control. </p> <p>Whichever narrative suits you best, the fact is that today, led by Mr Puigdemont (president of the Catalan autonomous government) and Mr Junqueras (vice-president) – two fervent Catholics – the current majority in the Catalan parliament has completed a ‘coup’ against the Spanish constitutional order. They have done so by passing, during some infamous parliamentary sessions on September 6 and 7, a bill that sets up a 'new legality' under which a referendum on auto-determination is to be held on October 1. This is no less than a <em>de facto</em> unilateral declaration of independence for Catalonia. Political science describes this as a state of insurgency (which happens when a part of a state does not recognise the authority of the state any more). And it leads to secession.</p> <h2><strong>Why are we here?</strong></h2> <p>Three years ago, the Catalan nationalists in power tried a similar path: they called a referendum that was declared unconstitutional by the central government and ended up being a remarkable civic mobilisation on November 9, 2014. Yet, at that time, they fell short of their target, as less than 1.9 million people, out of a census of almost 6 million, voted in favour of secession. But instead of acknowledging this fact, they declared the vote to be a historical achievement demonstrating the overwhelming will for independence of the Catalan people. </p> <p>One year later, they tried again by calling an early regional election (on September 27, 2015) that was supposed to be a plebiscite election. <em>The vote of your life</em> ! <em>Voting for Us means Yes, voting for Them means No</em>, ran the propaganda. A coalition of nationalist parties asked for 'an indestructible majority' and, yet again, fell short of it. If it really was supposed to be a plebiscite, they should have counted votes and not seats, but since they lost the popular vote (47.74 %), they switched to the majority of seats, trying to find in their parliamentary majority the legitimacy they did not get at the polls. </p> <p>They refused to concede defeat at the plebiscite and went on to declare victory. Their programme at the campaign having been to take a short cut and accelerate the implementation of the independence agenda, they then managed to swear in a government to carry on the secession plan, which they described as a 'road map to independence in 18 months'. </p> <p>And finally, almost 24 months after that defeat-turned-into-victory, they have now called for a unilateral secession referendum – which is something that was not contemplated in the original road map they had been campaigning on at the elections. Nationalists are fully aware that this constitutes an ultimate provocation to the Spanish state, which has little or no alternative but to defend the constitutional order and react to ensure the prevalence of the rule of law. </p> <p>Seeing this coming, the Spanish government could have opened a political dialogue to discuss, maybe not a referendum, but some sort of reform that would have “accommodated” that strong and vocal part of the Catalan population – albeit not a majority – that wanted so much to secede. But it stayed put and showed no intention to take any initiative to tackle this major political problem for Spain.</p> <h2><strong>Either a referendum or a referendum</strong></h2> <p>Knowing, as they know (and as all the opinion polls reflect so-far), that there is not a sufficient popular majority in favour of their agenda, the nationalists’ plan is to provoke an array of central government’s legal actions to prevent the unconstitutional referendum from taking place and call it 'repression', in the hope that the state reaction will feed the anger of voters – both nationalists and non-nationalists – and make them turn up massively to the polls (or, alternatively, in the streets) in protest.</p> <p>‘Either a referendum or a referendum’, has been the mantra of the Catalan president so far. And as they knew this was a non-starter, the Catalan ruling authorities ended up declaring that they no longer comply with the Spanish law, as they have now one of their own. Now, how is the Spanish government supposed to react?</p> <p>The referendum is, in short, nothing but a strategy to try to win over the will of the people who, logically upset by a potentially high-handed reaction by the state, would then stick with their government and support the idea that it all boils down to a matter of democracy. The Nationalists’ slogan “they do not want us to vote” is, indeed, very effective.</p> <p>This seems to be the underlying logic: to carry on and impose the will of a minority, not least because this majoritarian minority considers itself to be the genuine ‘Us’, the Catalan people. ‘Them’, the others – their unspeakable deep identity feeling goes – are not real Catalans after all.</p> <p>Their plan is no other than to bend the protest vote into a pro-independence vote. And sadly, events unfolding at this very moment in the streets of Barcelona may be proving its planners right.</p> <h2><strong>Us and them revisited</strong></h2> <p>Looking from the distance of my long self-imposed exile across the Ocean, I can only say that this is a very sad moment in the history of Catalonia. A minority is imposing its narrative and its agenda over the other half of its own people, over its fellow citizens in Spain and over many other European democrats. </p> <p>Many will say that all this happened because the Spanish authorities were unable to assume the possibility of Spain being a pluri-national state and many will blame Mr Rajoy for his inaction. But all in all, for very many reasons – including the costs of globalisation in terms of national sovereignty and uncertainty about the future, endangering the viability of old and deep identities in the age of migration, the fact is that nationalism is once again thriving in a very toxic way, from East to West, from Europe to America, and beyond. </p> <p>To some Europeans like me, when we see hundreds or thousands of identical flags marching on through our cities’ avenues under a national spell and people chanting warmongering national anthems, we recall the image of our ancestors cheering their youngsters on their way to being slaughtered in some far-away front, all in the name of patriotism and to defend the dignity of a nation. It was Marx who famously said that history repeats itself first as a tragedy, and then as a farce. I sincerely hope that what we will end up seeing in Catalonia is the latter. And that the farce will not last long and that it will be swiftly followed by regional elections.</p> <p>This is, unfortunately, just another example of the old story of 'Us' versus 'Them', now being revisited&nbsp; – be it under the guise of Scots versus English, British versus Europeans, Americans versus Mexicans, Catalans versus Spaniards. And in this very blue mood, as I glimpse through the window the yellows and reds of this early autumn spread through the trees in the distance, I can only recall an old Pink Floyd song that says: 'Us, and Them / And after all we're only ordinary men'.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/joan-costa-alegret/catalan-anxieties">Catalan anxieties</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/joan-costa-alegret/independence-at-eleventh-hour-rise-and-rise-of-catalan-indepen">Independence at the eleventh hour: the rise and rise of the Catalan independence movement</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Spain </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Spain Civil society Conflict Culture Democracy and government International politics Joan Costa Alegret Wed, 20 Sep 2017 22:36:30 +0000 Joan Costa Alegret 113527 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Persecuted beyond borders: why Italy needs LGBT refugee shelters https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/claudia-torrisi/persecuted-beyond-borders-italy-lgbt-refugees <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>LGBT refugees fleeing torture, violence and discrimination often find persecution has followed them to Europe. Reception centres are beginning to respond to urgent needs.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/CT col IMG-20170624-WA0003_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Amani Zreba (right)."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/CT col IMG-20170624-WA0003_0.jpg" alt="Amani Zreba (right)." title="Amani Zreba (right)." width="460" height="347" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Amani Zreba (right). Photo: courtesy of Amani Zreba. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Amani Zreba, 36, was forced to flee Tripoli six years ago because of her sexuality. “I had a girlfriend from Egypt, and the whole society was hostile to us. At first I went to Egypt with her. I stayed there for a year, but I had to move even from there,” she told me.</p><p dir="ltr">Zreba now lives in Milan, and is a volunteer for <a href="http://www.arcigaymilano.org/Web/io/">Immigrazione e Omosessualita,</a> an association supporting LGBT refugees. “I came here as asylum seeker," she said. "It was not easy, but after six months I got my status as a political refugee."</p><p dir="ltr">Today she wouldn't even consider going back to Libya. “I am scared," she explained. "And now the situation in the country is really dangerous.”</p><p dir="ltr">Her organisation is hoping to open a reception centre specifically for LGBT asylum seekers in Milan, to provide shelter from sometimes vicious homophobic violence, experienced throughout their journeys towards official refugee status. </p><h2 dir="ltr">‘Isolated and fearful’</h2><p dir="ltr"><a href="https://archive.org/details/LibyanPenalCodeenglish">Libya’s 1953 criminal code </a>criminalised homosexuality, with penalties of up to <a href="https://archive.org/details/LibyanPenalCodeenglish">five years in prison</a>. The fall of Muammar Gaddafi has not improved things; in 2012 a Libyan official <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2101210/New-Libyan-rulers-tell-United-Nations-Gays-threaten-continuation-human-race.html">shocked the UN</a> by proclaiming that “gay people threaten the future of the human race”. </p><p dir="ltr">According to the <a href="http://ilga.org/downloads/2017/ILGA_State_Sponsored_Homophobia_2017_WEB.pdf">International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association</a>, Libya is one of 72 countries that criminalise people based on their sexual orientation. In at least eight of these states, those convicted under anti-LGBT laws can be executed. In 19 countries, homophobia is state-sanctioned under “morality” laws that “actively target public promotion or expression of same-sex and trans realities.”</p><p dir="ltr">When Zreba arrived in Italy, she was sent to a reception centre where she felt intimidated by other asylum seekers because of her sexuality. “I was told that there was a guard from Libya in the centre. I was afraid that he or others could find out the reason of my asylum request and my sexual orientation,” she said.</p><p dir="ltr">Zreba recalls being “isolated and fearful for the whole time” she was in the centre waiting for her application to be accepted: “It was intolerable. I was afraid for my family in Libya because of the war, but I was worried about my situation too. It was the toughest human experience I ever lived.”</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/IMG-20160625-WA0011.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Amani Zreba."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/IMG-20160625-WA0011.jpg" alt="Amani Zreba." title="Amani Zreba." width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Amani Zreba. Photo: courtesy of Amani Zreba. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>In Italy, eight of the top 10 countries that asylum seekers flee from <a href="http://www.libertaciviliimmigrazione.dlci.interno.gov.it/sites/default/files/allegati/riepilogo_dati_2015_2016_0.pdf">have harsh anti-LGBT legislation</a>: Nigeria, Pakistan, Gambia, Senegal, Eritrea, Bangladesh, Guinea and Ghana.</p><p dir="ltr">Compiling data on LGBT asylum seekers however is difficult work; often this data is simply not collected or recorded. <a href="http://ilga.org/downloads/2017/ILGA_State_Sponsored_Homophobia_2017_WEB.pdf">In 2013 researchers found that, </a>globally, LGBT asylum applicants originate from “at least 104 countries in the world”, but they said “it is not possible to quantify their numbers”. </p><p dir="ltr">They described conditions for LGBT asylum seekers across Europe that resonate with Zreba's story, with individuals “frequently confronted with homophobic and transphobic behaviour, ranging from discrimination to abuse and violence.”</p><p dir="ltr">Abusers may be other asylum seekers in reception centres. They may also be reception staff or other authorities in the asylum system. Gabriella Friso from rights group <a href="http://www.certidiritti.org/staff-view/gabriella-friso-2/">Certi Diritti</a> told me about a young gay man from Nigeria who was abused in a reception centre near Milan.</p><p dir="ltr">“We had to move him to another centre because he risked being beaten by other migrants," she said. "He was completely isolated: the community from Nigeria inside the centre ignored him...On the other hand, the staff didn’t know how to handle the situation.” </p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“frequently confronted with homophobic and transphobic behaviour, ranging from discrimination to abuse and violence”</p><p>It’s impossible to accurately count the number of asylum seekers who have been persecuted because of their sexuality. Some choose to remain silent about their experience; some are granted asylum on non-LGBT related grounds; others live without legal status.</p><p dir="ltr">Most LGBT asylum seekers in Italy come from north Africa and the Middle East, but “some of them arrive from Russia and the former Soviet Union too, a few from South America”, said Friso. She said most of these individuals are men, as women "generally remain under the control of men: fathers and then husbands. Many girls are forced to marry and hide their homosexuality.” </p><p dir="ltr">Individuals persecuted based on their sexual orientation and gender identity qualify for refugee status under the 1951 <a href="http://www.unhcr.org/3b66c2aa10">UN Geneva Convention</a> which states that anyone unwilling to return to their country of origin due to a “well-founded fear” of being persecuted for “reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group” can claim refugee status. An <a href="http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32011L0095&amp;from=EN">EU directive</a> specifies that sexual orientation falls within the definition of a “social group”. </p><p dir="ltr">But in reality asylum authorities are often unable to effectively protect those fleeing such persecution from further harm. Livio Neri, a lawyer who has worked with LGBT asylum seekers, said that authorities often lack sufficient understanding of the cultural senstivities of this issue.</p><p dir="ltr">Or they may "demand an awareness of sexual orientation that the [asylum] applicant may or may not have,” Neri added. For some LGBT asylum seekers, the lawyer said, “coming out as gay is taboo even to themselves.”</p><h2 dir="ltr">Affronts on dignity</h2><p dir="ltr">In at <a href="https://www.coc.nl/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Fleeing-Homophobia-report-EN_tcm22-232205.pdf">least two EU countries</a> a controversial, invasive procedure used to identify and treat paedophiles known as phallometric testing was also previously used on asylum applicants to “prove” their sexuality, if their claim was based on sexual orientation. </p><p dir="ltr">The test worked by measuring physical reactions <span class="_Tgc">–</span> penis growth or vulva blood flow <span class="_Tgc">–</span> to pornographic images. Outcry led to the suspension of the tests in 2009. It's understood that they have not been used since, but officials may still ask brutally intimate details in confusing and distressing asylum interviews. </p><p dir="ltr">In 2012, in response to horror stories collected by LGBT rights activists, the UN <a href="http://www.unhcr.org/509136ca9.pdf">published new guidelines</a> for reception centre staff, specifying that they should avoid “excessively detailed personal questioning” or practices that “violate human dignity”. Two years later a series of <a href="http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?docid=160244&amp;doclang=en">decisions made by the EU Court of Justice</a> banned some of the lines of questioning that had been used. </p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“it is not easy to tell our personal stories or what happen in our countries" </p><p dir="ltr">Claims from <a href="http://www.ilgiornale.it/news/cronache/ora-i-migranti-sono-tutti-gay-iscritti-allarci-avere-asilo-1303827.html">right-wing</a> commentators, that LGBT asylum applicants 'fake' their sexuality to more easily get refugee status, are groundless, says Friso. “It's the opposite: for many communities being gay is [seen as] an aberration. Refugees are afraid even to meet rights groups, because if their sexuality comes up there could be problems for them or for their families.”</p><p>Friso has found that LGBT asylum seekers may actually hide their sexuality from asylum officials, in fear that disclosure could hurt their application. </p><p>“The majority of LGBT migrants arrive from country that criminalise, incarcerate, torture and sometimes kill these people and some of them don’t even know that in Italy people are not persecuted for their sexual orientation. I had to explain it to them,” she adds.</p><p dir="ltr">“It is not easy to tell our personal stories or what happen in our countries,” says Zreba, and a lack of information and resources can be a problem too. “Some migrants are homosexual but they are afraid to say it. Maybe they need to speak with a psychologist or reach NGOs or associations, but nobody tells them anything about this.” </p><p dir="ltr">So far most EU member states make no special accommodation facilities for LGBT people, “but special measures – such as transfers to single rooms – <a href="http://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2017/march-monthly-migration-focus-lgbti">can often be taken in case of abuse or harassment.”</a></p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“just imagine: you flee from your country because you are persecuted and scared, then you arrive in Italy and you are put in a centre where you are still attacked and scared"</p><p><a href="http://www.schwulenberatungberlin.de/startseite">Schwulenberatung</a>, a German association for LGBT rights, recently <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2016/02/05/berlin_is_opening_a_shelter_for_lgbt_refugees.html">opened a shelter</a> in response to attacks in reception centres in the country. Between September and December 2015 there were at least 95 such attacks; most were committed by other migrants.</p><p dir="ltr">Similar projects have slowly started in Italy. In May, the organisation Arcigay took <a href="http://gazzettadimodena.gelocal.it/modena/cronaca/2017/05/18/news/immigrati-gay-un-rifugio-per-14-persone-1.15358784">an apartment</a> for LGBT asylum seekers in Modena, while a shelter will be opened in Bologna by the <a href="http://www.mit-italia.it/">Movimento identità transessuale</a> (MIT) association that supports trans people. </p><p dir="ltr">“In recent years many trans refugees have told us about episodes of violence in reception centres,” MIT’s vice president Cathy La Torre <a href="http://espresso.repubblica.it/attualita/2017/02/21/news/i-rifugiati-lgbti-sono-discriminati-tre-volte-perche-crescono-le-strutture-d-accoglienza-1.295805">said earlier this year</a>. </p><p dir="ltr">Zreba’s organisation hopes to open their shelter in Milan in the near future, and is lobbying for separate accommodation and social support for LGBT refugees who arrive in Italy traumatised by their experiences and journeys. </p><p dir="ltr">She is quick to stress that it’s not a matter of giving anyone special privileges: it’s about recognising the right to safety and preventing further violence. </p><p dir="ltr">“Just imagine: you flee from your country because you are persecuted and scared, then you arrive in Italy and you are put in a [reception] centre where you are still attacked and scared," she said. "It’s not special privileges. There is no privilege in being safe.”</p><p dir="ltr"><em><strong><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/author/claudia-torrisi">L’Italia femminista: read more from 50.50 author Claudia Torrisi.</a></strong></em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/zoe-holman/documenta-art-Greece-crisis">What could a multi-million euro arts festival offer struggling communities in Greece?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Italy </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Can Europe make it? Italy sexual identities gendered migration gender 50.50 newsletter Claudia Torrisi Wed, 20 Sep 2017 07:34:13 +0000 Claudia Torrisi 113447 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The folly of men https://www.opendemocracy.net/billy-sawyers/folly-of-men <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Pump, an absurdist take on the classic road movie, is a film of many questions and few answers. What can it tell us about our relationship with the built environment? <em>At the <a href="http://opencitylondon.com/films/pump">Open City Documentary Festival </a>on 9th September 2017.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/558532/pump.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/558532/pump.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Still from Pump, used under Fair Use. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>Modern infrastructure rouses a peculiar romanticism in its human creators. From a dream through to rubble, from idea to abandoned husk, the built environment remains mysterious, fuelling imaginations with its promise of binding human life ever closer together. Perhaps it is a symptom of ‘capitalist realism’ that the most physical symbols of commerce and efficiency –&nbsp;bridges, motorways, skyscrapers –&nbsp;<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/sep/02/pedestrians-enjoy-once-in-a-lifetime-walk-over-queensferry-crossing">command such widespread fascination</a>. Or maybe this sentiment extends naturally from the <a href="http://joelsandersarchitect.com/stud-architectures-of-masculinity/">masculine ambition</a> that pervades the world of architecture and engineering, those boyish desires to build higher, tunnel deeper and dream bigger than ever before.</p><p dir="ltr">Time gives infrastructure another layer of intrigue. Once abandoned, buildings and structures can be repurposed and reclaimed, gaining all kinds of new meanings and functions. A power plant can become a <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tresor">nightclub</a>, a railroad a <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Line">public park</a>, a chapel can become a synagogue before <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brick_Lane_Mosque">ending up as a mosque</a>. The built environment endures even as it is renewed and reimagined. Its roads, tracks and waterways can lead us to multiple temporalities –&nbsp;to both snapshots of the past and visions of the future.</p><p dir="ltr">This interplay of space, time and building forms the context for Pump, a new documentary centred on 11 miles of monorail test track near Orléans in northern France. Atop eight-metre concrete pillars, the disused track plays host to the wanderings of director Joseph David and his companion Andrew Kötting, whose purpose in visiting the viaduct is at the outset unclear.</p><p class="mag-quote-left" dir="ltr">Bertin’s project epitomised the utopian ideals that held sway in architecture and engineering during postwar reconstruction.</p><p dir="ltr">The monorail forms a curious subject for an adventure film that smudges reality with fiction, history with the future. A relic of Europe’s postwar infrastructure boom, it was built in the late 1960s to test <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/4748859/How-the-future-was-cancelled.html">Aérotrain</a>, a mass transit hovertrain designed by engineer Jean Bertin and funded by the French government. An advocate of hovercraft technology, Bertin envisioned a future in which all of France could travel at high speeds across his proposed network, in sleek aluminium carriages that skimmed a cushion of air above tracks of reinforced concrete. His Aérotrain prototypes, propelled by turboshaft engines, were successfully tested on the Orléans monorail at a revolutionary 267 miles per hour.</p><p dir="ltr">Bertin’s project epitomised the utopian ideals that held sway in architecture and engineering during the postwar reconstruction period, when public infrastructure was revitalised by innovative design and high levels of state investment. He had lofty ambitions, seeking to maximise public utility through efficient, low-cost construction and transit speeds unmatched on land.</p><p dir="ltr">But to his great sadness, Bertin’s future was abruptly abandoned in 1975. After a decade of test tracks and hovertrain prototypes, each one beating the speed of the last, Aérotrain ran out of funds and was swiftly replaced by Train à Grande Vitesse, the high speed railway which to this day runs past the Bertin’s test track, as if to be endlessly taunting it for its irrelevance. Nonetheless, the viaduct stands as a striking monument to his vision; Bertin, who died in 1975 just months after his dream did, is today <a href="http://www.jean-bertin.fr/">celebrated as a visionary</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">In what feels like a playful mockery of the Aérotrain project and its dizzying ambitions, Pump’s two filmmaker-protagonists take to Bertin’s monorail with a folly of their own. It is a mission of inverse proportions –&nbsp;in a bespoke pump-car named Albertine, they hope to navigate the lifeless tracks at a fraction of Aérotrain’s intended speed. Fitted with a tarpaulin roof and several camera rigs, Albertine is both living space and performance stage for Joseph and Andrew, who appear perfectly content with her average speed of two miles per hour.</p><p><iframe frameborder="0" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WyAkfhPy4uw" height="259" width="460"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr">Like the handcar driven by the Blind Seer in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pukq_XJmM-k">O Brother, Where Art Thou?</a>, Albertine’s modesty somehow lends a sense of adventure to this perplexing quest. Constrained to the monorail, her direction of travel is unwavering, demanding ceaseless labour from her riders as the environment unfolds slowly around them like a leaf in springtime.</p><p dir="ltr">North-central France isn’t typically stunning, but its restrained charm is expertly captured by Pump’s patient cinematography. Reminiscent of Hans Aarsman’s <a href="http://www.afuk.cz/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/01-afuk-fotoabeceda-Aarsman-Renesse-1988.jpg">Renesse 1988</a>&nbsp;– which shows the hay bales of a pragmatic farmer being stored on an abandoned dual carriageway – the aesthetic of Pump keenly follows in the footsteps of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2010/feb/08/new-topographics-photographs-american-landscapes">New Topographics</a>, a genre of photography that reframes human-altered landscapes by focusing on the banal and the transient. Just like the New Topographers of the 1970s, Pump achieves a sense of continuity by homing in on empty landscapes and everyday objects. Governed by the endless flat plane of the test tracks, the film’s palette is sparse and geometric, featuring contourless farmlands, placid skies and, if you’re lucky, a dusty road or murmuring factory. This is the archetypal nowhere-in-particular of the developed world, where wilderness meets the built environment, where time decelerates and where all encounters are by chance.</p><p class="mag-quote-right" dir="ltr">Excruciatingly slow, man-powered travel sets a rhythmic monotony, with all the colour and intrigue flowing from specific motifs.</p><p dir="ltr">Though it is Joseph David’s film, it’s clear that much of the creative impetus for Pump came from the boisterous Kötting, whose own career as a filmmaker has seen him embark on a number of similar pilgrimages. Swap the Orleans countryside for the waterways of southeast England, exchange Albertine for an even more absurd swan-shaped pedalo and you have 2012’s <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/2012/jul/18/swandown-iain-sinclair-andrew-kotting">Swandown</a>, in which Kötting travels from Hastings to London’s Olympic Park with author and psychogeographer Iain Sinclair. Both films are playfully abstract takes on the road movie. Excruciatingly slow, man-powered travel sets a rhythmic monotony, with all the colour and intrigue flowing from specific motifs: chance meetings with friends and strangers, the obstacles of weather and nature, but also subtle use of archive footage.</p><p dir="ltr">Donning what appear to be the same clothes he wore for four weeks straight in Swandown, Kötting injects a great deal of fun and bravado into Pump, in counterpoint to the more pensive figure cut by David. Between impassioned renditions of ‘You Are My Sunshine’, Kötting pumps vigorously on Albertine, attacking with a handsaw any tree branches that obstruct her path. At night, as the pair smoke and drink mugs of wine, Kötting cooks on a portable stove, serving up the ‘small warzone’ of an English breakfast or ‘motorway pile-up’ of a ratatouille. As with all good adventure films, it’s satisfying simply to watch the protagonists indulge and relax after a day’s hard work.</p><p dir="ltr">That Pump feels like a true adventure in such a monotonous environment is surely its most impressive aspect. Piercing through its layers of emptiness and grey infrastructure are the feelings of endeavour, companionship and mystery that make the best cinematic quests so compelling. Pumping away on the feminised Albertine (a "beautiful" and "refined" machine), David and Kötting exude boyish delight as they settle into a life of concrete and country air, perched eight metres above ground. For this short time, the 11 miles of abandoned monorail is theirs to own. They are seduced by its lost futures; Aérotrain quickly infects their dreams, as signified by the cuts of archive footage that separate night from day in Pump.</p><p dir="ltr">Pump is indeed a highly masculinised adventure, echoing the distinctly male world that Aérotrain was born into – the same ruthless world that saw it fade away in the face of something bigger, faster and more cost-effective. But this doesn’t narrow its appeal. Both absurd and mysterious, it is a memorable film that surprises with its subtle charm and imagination.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/opencitydocs"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OCDF logo BLACK (1).jpg" alt="" /></a></p><p>Browse more of our <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/opencitydocs">Open City Documentary Festival</a> coverage.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ella-milburn/memory-exercises">Memory Exercises</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/opencitydocs/billy-sawyers/winds-of-change">The winds of change</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Open City Docs Fest Billy Sawyers Tue, 19 Sep 2017 15:58:48 +0000 Billy Sawyers 113473 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Portugal’s left-leaning economic recovery https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/jos-luis-malaquias/portugal-s-left-leaning-economic-recovery <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Portugal is making the news for all the right reasons. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/jos-luis-malaquias/recuperaci-n-econ-mica-de-la-izquierda-de-portugal">Español</a> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/jos-luis-malaquias/recupera-o-econ-mica-de-esquerda-de-portugal">Português</a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/costa.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/costa.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="333" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Antonio Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal. CC.</span></span></span></p><p>Portugal has been getting&nbsp;<a href="http://information.tv5monde.com/info/portugal-un-redressement-economique-et-social-qui-prend-bruxelles-contre-pied-190588" target="_blank">noticed</a>&nbsp;for its remarkable recovery in the last two years, defying the doomsayers who&nbsp;<a href="https://www.publico.pt/2016/07/21/politica/noticia/psd-dramatiza-situacao-economica-vem-ai-o-diabo-1739062" target="_blank">predicted the devil was coming</a>&nbsp;the moment that the Troika-prescribed policies were reversed and an expansionary policy was adopted instead.</p><p>The left-wing government that came to power in 2015, ridiculed by the media as a “contraption”, reversed many of the cuts imposed by the previous austerity government, which had tried to go “beyond the Troika” with disastrous consequences. Under Troika policies the deficit limit was always exceeded, public debt rose from 90% to 120% of GDP, and unemployment went through the roof.</p><p>Oddly enough, this left-wing alternative, by reducing austerity, and returning income to the middle-class, managed to make the economy grow, increase the tax revenue, reduce the burden of unemployment benefits, and achieve the lowest deficit in the 43-year old democracy. Public debt is also decreasing for the first time in many years.</p><p>Was this an unexpected outcome? Not so, say most economists who had always claimed countercyclical policies were the way to fight an economic depression, and had dismissed the notion of “expansionary austerity” as absurd. It seems Keynes was right, after all.</p><p>Meanwhile, though, the structural flaws of the Eurozone, that contributed heavily to Portugal’s financial crisis, persist. For concrete proposals on how DiEM25 would resolve them, see our&nbsp;<a rel="noopener" href="http://www.diem25.org/end" target="_blank">European New Deal</a>.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/renato-miguel-do-carmo-andr-barata/contraption-and-future-of-social-democracy-gov">‘The contraption’ and the future of social democracy: the government experiment in Portugal </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/manuel-nunes-ramires-serrano/aristides-de-sousa-mendes-light-in-dark">Aristides de Sousa Mendes: a light in the dark</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Portugal </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Portugal José Luis Malaquias DiEM25 Tue, 19 Sep 2017 12:23:08 +0000 José Luis Malaquias 113461 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Resisting Trumpism https://www.opendemocracy.net/pablo-piccato-federico-finchelstein/resisting-trumpism <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>How best to oppose fascism and populism? A lesson of history is that the left needs unity and democracy in order to win.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/558532/PA-32401416.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/558532/PA-32401416.jpg" alt="lead " title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Unite the Right rally, Charlottesville, VA. USA TODAY Network/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>The Nazi killing of a protester at Charlottesville, and the president’s subsequent equivocation about racist violence, reveal the contrast between Trumpism in power and its predecessors. Such incidents and statements, and there have been many more, raise the question of the resilience of American democracy. How much authoritarian populism can the system withstand without turning into dictatorship? In this article, we suggest that one answer might be found in looking at the nature and history of resistance to fascism and populism in the past.</p><p>New studies show that <a href="http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198730699.001.0001/acprof-9780198730699">fascism</a> and <a href="http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199930241.001.0001/acprof-9780199930241?rskey=05P1AY&amp;result=1">populism</a> in government were successful when relied on their ability to keep support by mixing coercion and demagoguery. But they also succeed when the opposition was divided and the population became apathetic and politically disengaged. Trump fomented such divisions after Charlottesville by distributing blame for violence between the Nazis and the "<a href="http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/565063/antifa-by-mark-bray/9781612197036/">Antifa</a>" movement, and was echoed by others who sought to depict anti-fascism as just another form of totalitarianism. These politicised reactions are not surprising, but they present a genuine challenge: to what extent successful resistance to these governments requires coalitions of political parties, labour movements, and other mass organisations.&nbsp;</p><p>Some would <a href="http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/565063/antifa-by-mark-bray/9781612197036/ ">argue</a> that an approach of this kind is too slow, and that countering the rise of fascism of the kind encouraged by the Trump government should embrace the active resistance and defensive violence that anarchists, communists and punks have long embraced in Europe against neo-Nazis. There is evidence that this combative stance can deter public displays similar to the shameful "tiki-torch" <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/11/us/white-nationalists-rally-charlottesville-virginia.html">march</a> of Charlottesville. But fuller historical evidence casts doubt on this partisan approach.&nbsp;</p><p>For one thing, its emphasis on local struggles neglects the true historical lessons of anti-fascism, when it was the unity of diverse social forces, often leading to electoral coalitions – rather than small and hyper-engaged groups – which confined fascism to the margins. For another, the approach is premised on the idea that <a href="https://law.yale.edu/system/files/documents/pdf/sela/SELA13_Couso_CV_Eng_20130516.pdf">constitutional </a>democracy is inherently powerless in fighting fascism. But there are legacies of struggle, notably in Latin America, which advanced by using legal and public tools rather than counter-violence. The general lesson here is that protest without a political <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/fabian-bosoer-federico-finchelstein/latin-america-populists-vs-people">framework</a> tends to be less effective.</p><p>History can offer a different, less biased lesson. The rise of fascism, its global attacks against democracy and its disastrous military adventures inspired much discussion among liberals and socialists across the world on the origins of fascism since the 1930s until today. There was no easy explanation then for why exactly fascism emerged and all of a sudden reshaped the political landscape. In a few days, Hitler enacted extreme discrimination, abolished civil rights of minorities, and eventually was able to engineer the closing of parliament. In fascist Italy, after the opposition symbolically left parliament in protest of the assassination of an opposition leader, Mussolini soon established a fascist dictatorship.</p><p>While it is not possible to single out one factor that would explain the emergence of white supremacism, neo-Nazism and extreme-right populism in the United States and Europe in recent years, there is an increasing consensus among historians and social scientists that Trump’s political approach shares many <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/interrogation/2016/02/is_donald_trump_a_fascist_an_expert_on_fascism_weighs_in.html">aspects</a> of the language, goals and political logic of populism as well as important connections to the genealogy of populism in fascism. <br /><br />In turn this historical interpretation rests on making connections, both between different historical periods and between fascism and populism, whose <a href="https://www.ucpress.edu/ebook.php?isbn=9780520968042">genealogies</a> are entwined. After 1945, populism reformulated fascism in terms of a new authoritarian and anti-liberal democracy. The presidencies of Brazil's Getulio Vargas and Argentina's Juan Perón are examples, more recently is Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro. The Trump administration's blitzkrieg of decrees in its first year, <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/federico-finchelstein-pablo-piccato/trump-s-macho-populism">breaking</a> with decades-old provisions, betrays a similar political logic.&nbsp;</p><h2><strong>An elusive genealogy</strong></h2><p>In explaining fascism in the first half of the 20th century and populism in the second half, it was necessary to understand their emotional and mythical forms, their language and spectacle, their leadership and ideology, which for a time convinced people in a way that more rational or programmatic choices did not. In many cases, effective anti-fascism contributed to the <a href="//www.versobooks.com/books/2389-fire-and-blood ">creation</a> of a new democratic context.</p><p>In the inter-war years, most leftist parties and other anti-fascist organisations eventually embraced a "popular front" strategy, where electoral, military and labour forces collaborations across ideological divides. This allowed communist parties to enter the political mainstream and influence social policies in, for example, Mexico, Chile, and France. In the United States, the <a href="https://livingnewdeal.org/what-was-the-new-deal/">New Deal </a>incorporated forces and claims long part of the left. Trade unions, with support from governments, were able to negotiate for better salaries and working conditions. <br /><br />By contrast, the failure of popular fronts in Germany, Italy and Spain helped pave the way for fascism's victory, and in Argentina after 1945 allowed Perón's populist <a href="https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781461665779/Ma%C3%B1ana-es-San-Per%C3%B3n-A-Cultural-History-of-Per%C3%B3n%27s-Argentina#">regime</a> to consolidate. In Germany, the massive working-class demonstrations that tried to prevent Hitler’s appointment as chancellor in 1933 failed to alter the course of Weimar’s fragmented political landscape or build a parliamentary coalition that would stop the rise of Nazis. In Italy, the left abandoned parliamentary politics in 1924, facilitating Mussolini’s repression and building of a fascist institutional framework. It was the failure of the left to <a href="http://www.historytoday.com/helen-graham/road-popular-front">form</a> a strong coalition in republican Spain before 1936 that paved the way for Franco’s victory.<br /><br />Popular fronts were always criticised from both left and right, with mutual demonisation (communists vs socialists or anarchists, liberals vs conservatives).The gains of communists seemed short-lived once the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression <a href="https://www.pri.org/stories/2014-08-21/pact-between-hitler-and-stalin-paved-way-world-war-ii-was-signed-75-years-ago">pact</a> of 1939 changed the Soviet Union’s strategy toward Germany, and <a href="https://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520237476">Stalinism</a> forced communist parties to return to the sectarian strategies they had embraced before the popular-front period. <br /><br />The new geopolitics of the cold war created more fractures. In Europe, anti-fascism became a <a href="http://books.openedition.org/ceup/1589?lang=en">myth</a> with little purchase on the present, as liberalism cared little about reaching out to its former left-wing allies. In Latin America, populism <a href="http://www.economist.com/node/6802448">replaced</a> fascism as the enemy of liberals and leftists, but some former anti-fascists supported authoritarian governments and military coups rather than take a democratic route. The Argentine communist party’s tolerance of the 1976 military junta (for <a href="https://www.upress.pitt.edu/BookDetails.aspx?bookId=36069">pro-Soviet</a> reasons), and the Venezuelan’s opposition support for a coup against <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/fabian-bosoer-federico-finchelstein/hugo-chavezs-afterlife-three-scenarios">Hugo Chávez</a> in 2002, are examples.</p><p>If some parts of the emancipatory and anti-racist dimensions of popular-front politics were lost to mainstream political discourse, others survived in a marginal way in various left-wing groups. Spain during the post-Franco <a href="http://www.berghahnbooks.com/title/AguilarMemory">transition </a>to democracy, where resistance to the Falange and European fascism was a source of legitimacy for communists and anarchists rejoining the state, was one instance; Cuba's revolution and socialism after 1959, which linked anti-imperialism with left-wing mobilisation while also recalling the <a href="http://www.sussex-academic.com/sa/titles/history/Revah.htm">bonds</a> between Latin America and the Spanish civil war, was another. A similar nostalgia is present in responses to Trump's administration.&nbsp;</p><p>This history is relevant by underlining how a divided opposition can enable fascist and populist regimes to <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs41111-017-0070-2.pdf">reinforce</a> their power. The old factionalism of liberal and leftist organisations has too often proved counterproductive. The courage of anti-fascist groups today is a reminder that mobilisation and collective imagination are needed to defend democracy. But besides the heroism of small groups in the streets, the importance of the ballot-box and the halls of congress as places of resistance should not be forgotten.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Federico Finchelstein, <a href="https://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520295193"><em>From Fascism to Populism in History</em></a> (University of California Press, 2017)</p><p>Pablo Piccato, <em><a href="https://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520292628">A History of Infamy: Crime, Truth and Justice in Mexico</a> </em>(University of California Press, 2017)</p><p>Enzo Traverso, <a href="https://www.versobooks.com/books/2389-fire-and-blood"><em>Fire and Blood The European Civil War, 1914–1945</em></a> (Verso, 2017) </p><p>Mark Bray, <a href="http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/565063/antifa-by-mark-bray/9781612197036/"><em>Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook</em></a> (Penguin, 2017)</p><p>Jan-Werner Müller, <a href="http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/15615.html"><em>What is Populism?</em></a> (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016)</p><p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/pablo-piccato-fabian-bosoer-federico-finchelstein/why-president-trump-will-target-independent-media">In Trump&#039;s America, the independent press would become the enemy</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/federico-finchesltein/trump-y-el-populismo-machista">Trump y el populismo machista</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/federico-finchelstein-pablo-piccato/trump-s-macho-populism">Trump’s macho populism</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/federico-finchelstein/cleveland-historical-perspective">Cleveland: a historical perspective</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/fabian-bosoer-federico-finchesltein/argentinas-election-what-kind-of-change">Argentina&#039;s election: what kind of change?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/fabian-bosoer-federico-finchelstein/que-tipo-de-mudan-na-argentina">Que tipo de mudança na Argentina?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/fabian-bosoer-federico-finchelstein/latin-america-populists-vs-people">Latin America, the populists vs the people </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/fabian-bosoer-federico-finchelstein/los-populismos-latinoamericanos-pierden-popula">Los populismos latinoamericanos pierden popularidad</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? International politics Federico Finchelstein Pablo Piccato Tue, 19 Sep 2017 06:43:39 +0000 Pablo Piccato and Federico Finchelstein 113435 at https://www.opendemocracy.net German elections 2017: 8 proposals for Germany's progressives https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/diem25/german-elections-2017-8-proposals-for-germanys-progressives <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Germany needs new narratives and policy agendas in order to energise a new politics across Europe – a politics which will reflect the common interest of the majority of Europeans.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><em><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-32821213.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-32821213.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>German elections 2017 - ballot paper. Angela Merkel (CDU) has represented Stralsund in the German parliament since 1990. Stefan Sauer/Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Germany is pivotal. It is, and ought to be, a country central to the European project. But this project is in trouble because of a political failure to align the interests of most Germans with those of most other Europeans. Thus, Germany needs new narratives and policy agendas in order to energise a new politics across Europe – a politics which will reflect the common interest of the majority of Europeans. But who will spread these new narratives and policy agendas? So far, the campaign for the upcoming German elections has not been encouraging in that regard. Ahead of the 2017 German federal elections next September 24, DiEM25 acknowledges the issues at stake and has taken action. Here’s how:</em></p> <p><em>We tabled a proposal for DiEM25’s German Provisional National Committee to circulate among our German collectives. They discussed the document, whenever possible took it to public gatherings, amended it, and most critically, reached out to like-minded Bundestag candidates to endorse and commit to enact if elected. This was in the same spirit as <a href="https://diem25.org/20-candidates-for-french-parliament-endorse-diem25s-principles/">our French members approached their parliamentary elections last June</a>.</em></p> <p><em>DiEM25’s German activists have moved fast and are in the process of confirming a list of candidates willing to adopt DiEM25’s proposed policy agenda for Germany. We will publish the list ahead of the elections. Below you can read our original proposal, “8 proposals for Germany’s Progressives.”</em></p><p>Germany is pivotal. It is, and ought to be, a country central to the European project. But this project is in trouble because of a political failure to align the interests of most Germans with those of most other Europeans. All sentences beginning with “the Germans…”, whether they contain positive or negative evaluations, are misleading, generalising, and end up undermining the common interest of a majority of Europeans and progressive politics in general. We created DiEM25 to provide new narratives and policy agendas that energise a new politics across Europe, which makes visible and gives voice to the common interest of the majority of Europeans. This is why Germany is central to DiEM25’s politics (it was not by accident that DiEM25 was inaugurated in Berlin!). For progressive candidates in the upcoming federal elections in September, DiEM25 has the following eight proposals:</p> <h2>1. On Germany’s social market model</h2> <p>Germany rose to envy-of-the-world status thanks to a social contract that offered the working class strong protection (and seats on the boards of directors of large companies) if it conformed to a flexible rule-bound, free-market environment in which business could get on with it. In conjunction with local banks linked to differently sized industries, and in a positive global environment, the so-called “German economic miracle” unfolded. </p> <p>However, since the creation of the euro and the banking crisis it caused, German economic competitiveness has increasingly been bought at the expense of Germany’s social market model. The casualisation of many workers, the repression of wages, the doubling of the proportion of ‘working poor’ Germans, the Christian Democrats’ increasingly confident attempt to limit social spending and public investment – all these developments are quietly turning Germany’s social market model into an empty shell that only resembles what German social democrats had once thought they had achieved. Moreover, more ‘structural reforms’ that will further reduce the life prospects of millions of Germans are currently being tried and tested elsewhere in the Eurozone.</p> <p><em>We call on progressive candidates in the German elections to: </em><em>&nbsp;</em></p> <p>Explain to the people of Germany that the (limited) achievements of the German model are under serious threat and that, moreover, the developments in the rest of the eurozone are enabling the dismantling of the German social market tradition. <em>Defending and making necessary improvements to Germany’s social democratic institutions and model goes hand in hand with opposing the coalition’s policies in the Eurozone.</em></p> <h2>2. On the euro</h2> <p>Progressive German candidates are already ringing alarm bells across the Federal Republic, to warn voters of a gross and dangerous falsehood: the notion that Germany is doing well out of the euro crisis and that its leaders have shepherded the European flocks well and wisely during it. The reason is simply: precisely the opposite has been the case. Germany is much weaker as a result of the crisis and Europe is at an advanced stage of disintegration as a result of how the German government has mismanaged Europe’s social economy and its resources.</p> <p>Yes, it is true that the crisis has created a large surplus for the federal budget (due to the massive suppression of interest rates charged to roll over Germany’s debt) and a huge influx of capital into the Frankfurt banks (due to capital flight from weaker economies whose citizens fear Grexit, Italexit etc.) But these surpluses are a sign of weakness, not strength. They are the sign of massive current and future hardship for a majority of Germans. To have the German establishment celebrate them as indicators of economic health is to add insult to injury.</p> <p>When a country like Germany reports its lowest level of investment (as a percentage of national income) at a time when investors are paying its government to borrow and savings are at the highest level in the nation’s history… When that country’s elites insist that the various surpluses must be maintained through further wage repression of the squeezed German working class, as a means to undermine the French and Italian working classes and give an excuse to the French and the Italian governments to squeeze their own workers… When in a country like Germany everyone is a saver (governments, families and companies save more than they spend/invest), thus being forced to entrust their hard-earned savings to other countries that they must then control via austerity and threats… When an ageing country that feels a need to save for its future is creating the economic forces that push interest rates below zero, thus depleting its own savings… When all this happens, you know that the country in question is in trouble.</p> <p><em>We call on progressive candidates in the German elections to: </em></p> <p>Make German voters aware of one basic thing: We are all in this together! No country is ring-fenced from the crisis. Germany cannot hide behind its surpluses without crushing its workers and its pension funds. If our monetary union is in the grip of vicious imbalances, misery is shared between the weaker citizens everywhere – whether they live in surplus or in deficit countries.</p> <h2>3. On a European New Deal</h2> <p>It is because we are all in this together, because there can be no solution for Italy’s or Greece’s problems that does not include an end to German mini-jobs, ‘uberisation’, underinvestment, etc., that Germany needs a European New Deal.</p> <p>Now, a majority of Germans have been convinced that a European New Deal means Germany paying for the rest of Europe. They are right to think that Germany is rich, but not that rich. However, they are wrong to believe that a European New Deal means German taxpayers paying more to fund the social welfare, investment projects and banking systems of the rest of Europe. To demonstrate this, and the way forward, DiEM25 has put together its <a href="http://diem25.org/end">European New Deal Policy Paper</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;<em>We call on progressive candidates in the German elections to: </em></p> <p>Initiate a large social, political and cultural debate around the idea of a European New Deal, and use our European New Deal Policy Paper as a framework for this transformation.</p> <h2>4. On European democracy</h2> <p>Most Germans want to be embedded in a democratic Europe. But at the same time, most German citizens fear that the price their country is being asked to pay for a democratic EU is one that Germany, however rich it may be, cannot afford.</p> <p>DiEM25’s European New Deal argues that this is not the case! Indeed, the price a majority of Germans are today paying for the lack of a functioning democracy at EU level is large, and wasted. To move beyond the politics of fear and despair in line with our European New Deal, German progressives should also discuss the idea of a constituent assembly process envisaged by DiEM25’s <a href="https://diem25.org/manifesto-long/">Manifesto</a> that can open a broad social, political and cultural process towards a proper democratic European Constitution.</p> <p><em>We call on progressive candidates in the German elections to: </em></p> <p>Start a debate on the idea of a European constituent assembly process and of a Democratic European Constitution.</p> <h2>5. On the Green Transition</h2> <p>German governments and industry have made great strides in producing and sponsoring renewables, recycling and Green practices. However, the key to the Green Transition that Europe and the planet needs is massive investment. And massive investment in the green technologies and processes of the future is impossible outside the macro-financial framework of a European New Deal agenda as outlined by DiEM25.</p> <p><em>We call on progressive candidates in the German elections to: </em></p> <p>Deepen and expand their commitment to the politics of a democratic social-ecological transformation by putting forward an agenda that combines austerity cancellation, financial sector regulation and green investment-led recovery, and which therefore could serve as a framework for this transformation.</p> <h2>6. On technological sovereignty</h2> <p>German industry prides itself on its technological progress. Nonetheless, when it comes to digital technologies, despite German industry’s expertise, Germany’s companies, society and government rely on Silicon Valley’s platforms in a manner that is harmful to technological sovereignty.</p> <p><em>We call on progressive candidates in the German elections to: </em></p> <p>Demonstrate to voters that Europe’s technological future cannot be left to German and American multinationals. Our economies and, indeed, our democracies depend on developing open source platforms that enhance our productivity and capacity to work together, without being exploited by the world’s latest form of monopoly power.</p> <h2>7. On refugees and migration</h2> <p>Merkel’s initial positive reaction to the influx of Syrian refugees in the summer of 2015 has been vilified and classified as a spontaneous error. Her capitulation to ‘realpolitik’, and her despicable subsequent treaty with the Turkish President, has completed a nationalist and racist turn across Germany’s establishment.</p> <p>But civil society is resisting. Its resistance must be celebrated and reinforced!</p> <p><em>We call on progressive candidates in the German elections to:</em></p> <p>Take Merkel to task for having betrayed her own initial instinct to “let them in”. Put forward tangible policies that are true to the spirit of “let them in” and which spread across Europe a sensible, humanist and realistic approach – not only to refugees but also economic migrants. Aim to <a href="http://diem25.org/stopthedeal">stop the EU-Turkey refugee deal</a>.</p> <h2>8. On maintaining peace</h2> <p>Merkel, after a recent meeting with President Trump, announced that Europe must take its fate in its hands and no longer “rely on the kindness of strangers” for its defence. This is correct. However, progressives should beware: we do not need a European substitute of NATO. We do not want a European pact spreading belligerence and weapons near and far. We do not want another shameful European intervention like in Libya in 2011. We do not want a European threat that gives Putin more excuses to clamp down on Russian democrats.</p> <p><em>We call on progressive candidates in the German elections to:</em></p> <p>Demand blocking the sale of weapons to repressive regimes, as many progressives already do. With worldwide arms sales up 7 per cent to €4.03 billion in the first half of 2016, Germany is responsible for conflicts around the world. With arms sales to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria and others, Germany is directly supporting repressive regimes and wars, which subsequently lead to migration and refugee crises.</p> <p>Fight for an <em>Internationalist Europe</em> that treats non-Europeans as ends-in-themselves. A&nbsp;<em>Peaceful Europe&nbsp;committed to all efforts to </em>de-escalate tensions in its East and in the Mediterranean, acting as a bulwark against the sirens of militarism and expansionism and proving its commitment by blocking the sale of weapons. An <em>Open Europe</em> that is alive to ideas, people and inspiration from all over the world, recognising fences and borders as signs of weakness spreading insecurity in the name of security. A Europe that finally acknowledges its responsibility for the historical crimes of colonialism and imperialism. A <em>Liberated Europe</em> where privilege, prejudice, deprivation and the threat of violence wither, allowing Europeans to be born into fewer stereotypical roles, to enjoy even chances to develop their potential, and to be free to choose more of their partners in life, work and society.</p><p>So far the call has been signed by 83 candidates. Until September 23, their fellow candidates still have an opportunity to support our proposals and take part in our progressive list.</p><p><strong>By signing, progressive politicians commit to working towards the following goals in the next legislature:</strong></p> <p>1. We demand the defense and strengthening of the social market economy and associated social achievements, as the economic model of the future. Therefore this should be promoted further at the European level in order to achieve social conditions for the market forces and a strong social policy.<br />2. We demand a European economic policy that takes into account that a common economic area cannot function if we constantly seek to undercut ourselves with taxes and wages and ‘flexibility’, treating solidarity in terms of self-interest.<br />3. We demand a European New Deal that involves large-scale investment in infrastructure and education, raising the German investment rate and having a pan-European upturn as its goal.<br />4.We demand the democratic elaboration of a European Constitution. A constitution that will strengthen our common democratic values, protecting and promoting freedom of assembly, transparency and solidarity.<br />5. We demand social-ecological transition, as we recognise man-made climate change and insist it is considered in political decision-making.<br />6. We demand a digital economy in Europe, therefore expanding the necessary infrastructure, giving citizens more control over their own data and encouraging open source development.<br />7. We demand a reasonable, humane and realistic migration and refugee policy, as well as an end to the EU-Turkey deal on refugees.<br />8. We demand an open, emancipated and peaceful Europe, which is internationally active for peace and which is conscious of our shared responsibilities to the world. A Europe which won’t export weapons to dictators and war-mongers.</p> <p>NAME&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; PARTY&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; CONSTITUENCY</p> <table> <tr> <td>Corinna Rüffer</td> <td>Bündnis 90/Die Grünen</td> <td>25, Trier</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Peter Meiwald</td> <td>Bündnis 90/Die Grünen</td> <td>27, Oldenburg-Ammerland</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Adrian Gabriel</td> <td>DIE LINKE</td> <td>30, Wiesbaden</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Martina Broschei</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>40, Nienburg II-Schaumburg</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Christian Vey</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>41, Hannover I</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Thomas Ganskow</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>42, Hannover II</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Gerd Posywio</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>47, Hannover Umland II</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Jens Golland</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>49, Salzgitter-Wolfenbüttel</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Kirsten Tackmann</td> <td>DIE LINKE</td> <td>56, Prignitz</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Mathias Täge</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>60, Brandenburg</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Andreas Schramm</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>61, Potsdam</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Gerhard Kalinka</td> <td>Bündnis 90/Die Grünen</td> <td>62, Dahme-Spreewald</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Clemens Rostock</td> <td>Bündnis 90/Die Grünen</td> <td>63, Frankfurt (Oder)</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Stefan Schön</td> <td>Bündnis 90/Die Grünen</td> <td>65, Elbe-Elster</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Steve Rauhut</td> <td>DIE LINKE</td> <td>75, Berlin Mitte</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Alexander Spies</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>81, Berlin-Tempelhof-Schöneberg</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Stefan Kottas</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>102, Wuppertal I</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Kathrin Vogler</td> <td>DIE LINKE</td> <td>128, Steinfurt III</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Sabine Martiny</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>137, Paderborn-Gütersloh</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Katja Kipping</td> <td>DIE LINKE</td> <td>159, Dresden I</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Dr. Martin Schulte-Wissermann</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>160, Dresden II / Bautzen II</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Toni Rotter</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>162, Chemnitz</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Tamina Veit</td> <td>DIE LINKE</td> <td>172, Lahn-Dill</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Nick Papak Amoozegar</td> <td>DIE LINKE</td> <td>174, Fulda</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Dirk Methfessel</td> <td>DIE LINKE</td> <td>175, Main-Kinzig</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Pawel Borodan</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>182, Frankfurt I</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Anke Hofmann-Domke</td> <td>DIE LINKE</td> <td>192, Gotha Ilm-Kreis</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Marie Salm</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>199, Koblenz</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Manuela Holz</td> <td>DIE LINKE</td> <td>201, Bad Kreuznach</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Gerald Unger</td> <td>DIE LINKE</td> <td>207, Ludwigshafen-Frankenthal</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Brigitte Freihold</td> <td>DIE LINKE</td> <td>210, Pirmasens</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Erich Utz</td> <td>DIE LINKE</td> <td>212, Altötting-Mühldorf</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Roland Meier</td> <td>DiE LINKE</td> <td>216, Ingolstadt</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Dominik Lehmann</td> <td>DIE LINKE</td> <td>221, München West/Mitte</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Erkan Dinar</td> <td>DIE LINKE</td> <td>228, Landshut</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Harald Weinberg</td> <td>DIE LINKE</td> <td>241, Ansbach und Weißenburg</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Jonas Schwemmer</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>246, Roth</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Michael Knödler</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>258, Stuttgart I</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Saskia Jürgens</td> <td>DIE LINKE</td> <td>270, Aalen-Heidenheim</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Heiko Eisenbrueckner</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>280, Calw</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Sabin Schumacher</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>282, Lörrach-Müllheim</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Eva-Maria Glathe-Braun</td> <td>DIE LINKE</td> <td>291, Ulm</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Anja Hirschel</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>291, Ulm</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Claudia Haydt</td> <td>DIE LINKE</td> <td>293, Bodensee</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Marilyn Heib</td> <td>DIE LINKE</td> <td>297, Saarlouis</td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="3"><br /></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Sigrid Ott</td> <td>Demokratie in Bewegung</td> <td>Baden-Württemberg, Listenplatz 1</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Dr. Mohammed Sharityar</td> <td>Demokratie in Bewegung</td> <td>Baden-Württemberg, Listenplatz 2</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Sabine Onayli</td> <td>Demokratie in Bewegung</td> <td>Baden-Württemberg, Listenplatz 5</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Anja Hirschel</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>Baden-Württemberg, Listenplatz 1</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Oliver Burkardsmaier</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>Baden-Württemberg, Listenplatz 7</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Philip Köngeter</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>Baden-Württemberg, Listenplatz 8</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Stephanie Lund</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>Baden-Württemberg, Listenplatz 12</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Henrik Eisele</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>Baden-Württemberg, Listenplatz 13</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Maximilian Glasneck</td> <td>Demokratie in Bewegung</td> <td>Bayern, Listenplatz 2</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Gerhard Kalinka</td> <td>Bündnis’90/Die Grünen</td> <td>Brandenburg, Listenplatz 2</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Sara Redolfi</td> <td>Demokratie in Bewegung</td> <td>Berlin, Listenplatz 1</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Benedikt J. Sequeira Gerardo</td> <td>Demokratie in Bewegung</td> <td>Berlin, Listenplatz 2</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Anett Polzin</td> <td>Demokratie in Bewegung</td> <td>Berlin, Listenplatz 4</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Martin Haase</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>Berlin, Listenplatz 1</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Ute Laack</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>Berlin, Listenplatz 2</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Dr. Franz Josef Schmitt</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>Berlin, Listenplatz 3</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Simon Kowalewski</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>Berlin, Listenplatz 4</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Therese Lehnen</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>Berlin, Listenplatz 6</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Beatrice Behrens</td> <td>Demokratie in Bewegung</td> <td>Hamburg, Listenplatz 1</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Sebastian Alscher</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>Hessen, Listenplatz 1</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Pawel Borodan</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>Hessen, Listenplatz 2</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Frank Lerche</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>Hessen, Listenplatz 3</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Joachim Winters</td> <td>Bündnis Grundeinkommen (BGE)</td> <td>Niedersachsen, Listenplatz 5</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Dr. Michael-Tillmann Berndt</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>Niedersachsen, Listenplatz 1</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Thomas Ganskow</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>Niedersachsen, Listenplatz 3</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Nils Ellmers</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>Niedersachsen, Listenplatz 6</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Martina Broschei</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>Niedersachsen, Listenplatz 7</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Lea Brunn</td> <td>Demokratie in Bewegung</td> <td>Nordrhein-Westfalen, Listenplatz 1</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Alexander Plitsch</td> <td>Demokratie in Bewegung</td> <td>Nordrhein-Westfalen, Listenplatz 2</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Michael Hohenadler</td> <td>Demokratie in Bewegung</td> <td>Nordrhein-Westfalen, Listenplatz 3</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Sabine Sedlaczek</td> <td>Demokratie in Bewegung</td> <td>Nordrhein-Westfalen, Listenplatz 8</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Darius Walter</td> <td>Demokratie in Bewegung</td> <td>Nordrhein-Westfalen, Listenplatz 11</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Patrick Schiffer</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>Nordrhein-Westfalen, Listenplatz 1</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Markus Wetzler</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>Nordrhein-Westfalen, Listenplatz 6</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Manfred Schramm</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>Nordrhein-Westfalen, Listenplatz 13 &amp; pol. Geschäftsführer</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Agnes Russo</td> <td>Demokratie in Bewegung</td> <td>Sachsen, Listenplatz 1</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Joe Roesler</td> <td>Demokratie in Bewegung</td> <td>Sachsen, Listenplatz 2</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Katja Kipping</td> <td>DIE LINKE</td> <td>Sachsen, Listenplatz 1</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Tilman Loos</td> <td>DIE LINKE</td> <td>Sachsen, Listenplatz 8</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Robert Lutz</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>Sachsen, Listenplatz 1</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Toni Rotter</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>Sachsen, Listenplatz 2</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Jörg Stefan Smuda</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>Sachsen, Listenplatz 5</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Franka Kretschmer</td> <td>Demokratie in Bewegung</td> <td>Sachsen-Anhalt, Listenplatz 1</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Bernd Schreiner</td> <td>Piratenpartei</td> <td>Thüringen, Listenplatz 1</td> </tr> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Other candidates who wish to be listed are asked to send an email to <a href="mailto:info@diem25.org">info@diem25.org</a> by September 23.</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Germany </div> <div class="field-item even"> EU </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? EU Germany Democracy and government Economics Ideas International politics DiEM25 DiEM25 Fri, 15 Sep 2017 16:43:49 +0000 DiEM25 113405 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Power relations in New Turkey and the naked truth https://www.opendemocracy.net/turkey/nil-mutluer-philipp-schwartz/power-relations-in-new-turkey-and-naked-truth <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="BodyA">The power holders have almost unrestricted control over people’s freedoms and lives, as well as over how they perceive reality.<strong></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="BodyA"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/640px-SilivriPrison01.JPG" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/640px-SilivriPrison01.JPG" alt="lead " title="" width="460" height="304" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A view of Silivri Prison, near Istanbul,Turkey, 2014. Wikicommons/CeeGee. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>When the anti-terror squad raided the hotel on the island of Büyükada near Istanbul in the morning of July 5, the door of the meeting room was open. It was the fourth day of a training workshop, in which eight Turkish activists and two trainers from Germany participated. They were all arrested in the conference room of the hotel for their alleged association with an unspecified terrorist organization. The eight activists were Günal Kurşun (IHGD, Human Rights Agenda Association), İdil Eser (Amnesty International), İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition), Nalan Erkem (hYd, Citizens’ Assembly), Nejat Taştan (Association for Monitoring Equal Rights), Özlem Dalkıran (hYd, Citizens’ Assembly), Şeyhmus Özbekli (Rights Initiative) and Veli Acu (IHGD, Human Rights Agenda Association). </p> <p class="BodyA">In addition, the two trainers Ali Ghavari and Peter Steudner were also taken into custody. The workshop was organized by IHOP (Joint Platform of Human Rights NGOs). The aim of the workshop was to increase awareness about the risks and threats that human rights defenders face, including information security and high-stress, and to develop the skills necessary to deal with them.<a href="#_ftn1">[1]</a></p> <p class="BodyA">The case reflects the sort of power relations and the particular conception of morality that dominate the so-called ‘New Turkey’– that is to say Turkey as it is re-constructed under Erdogan’s ‘strong-willed’ leadership. In this ‘New Turkey’ a form of violence that disregards human rights, even including the right to life and the manipulation of reality and morality to suit the interests of power holders, are part and parcel of everyday life. </p> <p class="BodyA">Nowadays the power holders of Turkey don’t need to go to great lengths to fabricate evidence or elaborate legal justifications to be able to arrest people, hold them in prolonged periods of pretrial detention, or even deprive them of their right to life. The power holders have almost unrestricted control over people’s freedoms and lives, as well as over how they perceive reality – for almost all media outlets with an oppositional stance have been driven into virtual non-existence. </p> <h2 class="BodyA"><strong>An international conspiracy on Büyükada</strong></h2> <p class="BodyA">This mass media-driven obscurity notwithstanding, however, for those whose compass is calibrated by a quest for truth, the reality has never been this obvious. And it is because of this clarity that different actors in the mainstream, pro-government media as well as in the judicial establishment are forced to approach the matter in different ways reflecting their different styles of ingratiating themselves with the powers-that-be. </p> <p class="BodyA">Thus for example, in the pro-government media the training workshop in question was initially presented as a meeting of international <em>coup </em>plotters and the fact that the arrests took place just days before the first anniversary of the failed <em>coup </em>attempt of July 15, 2016 allowed them to concoct a new `glorious` history in which yet another sinister international conspiracy against the nation has been thwarted by heroic public authorities. There was, however, no shred of evidence to support such wild allegations and this absence of evidence soon became obvious even to those who have no wish to see the truth. </p> <p class="BodyA">Hence, after a while, even some pro-government columnists and AKP politicians started to question the arrests, this time suggesting that, perhaps, it was not the arrested human rights activists who were involved in an anti-government conspiracy after all, but the officials who decided to detain them on such flimsy grounds! In the television program Media Critic broadcast on TV channel TGRT on August 18, 2017, embedded journalists Cem Kucuk and Fuat Ugur made comments to that effect. Unfortunately, in the New Turkey, even a truth that is obvious for anyone to see, does not guarantee that justice will be done. Thus, 8 of the 10 human rights activists are still in jail and all motions to release them on bail are still being denied.&nbsp; </p> <p class="BodyA">This is why these arrests give us an excellent opportunity to analyze power relations in contemporary Turkey. First – a closer look at the process of the arrests themselves.</p> <h2 class="BodyA"><strong>The police found no evidence</strong> </h2> <p class="BodyA">The fact that the activists were arrested in the morning was discovered only in the evening of July 5; in the meantime they were all denied access to their families and lawyers. The official report of the arrests was prepared hours after the raid and since the police could not find any evidence against them in the first seven days in which they were held in custody, the period of custody was extended to 13 days. </p> <p class="BodyA">During that period, the police went to a fishing expedition searching their houses and going over their computers with a toothcomb in an attempt to find the slightest shred of evidence that can remotely justify their arrests. None was found, yet on the 13th day of their custody a court committed four activists and their two trainers to pretrial detention on suspicion of alleged association with unspecified terrorist organizations!&nbsp; The court initially released Ilknur Ustun, Nalan Erkem, Nejat Tastan and Seyhmus Ozbekli, on bail pending trial.</p> <p class="BodyA">But the injustice of this court order was not the end of the story. It was only the beginning. </p> <p class="BodyA">Later on, on the objection of the public prosecutor, two more activists, Ilknur Ustun and Nalan Erkem too were remanded, and thus now eight activists are in detention pending trial for an unspecified time, and the indictment against them has not yet been prepared. Ilknur Ustun is held in Sincan Prison near Ankara. The remaining seven activists were sent to Silivri prison near Istanbul, which, since its opening in 2008, has become famous for its political inmates. </p> <p class="BodyA">All activists have been subjected to at least one day of solitary confinement. Ali Gharavi, Gunal Kursun, Peter Steudner and Veli Acu, for their part, remained for longer periods in solitary confinement, so much so that there were worries about their health. Meanwhile, Nalan Erkem has not been provided with the necessary medication for her health condition, and was brought for medical examination in handcuffs; and Idil Eser, who was under observation for a suspected cancer diagnosis, has not been examined properly. Veli Acu, who lives with a medical implant that needs to be cleaned every two days, was denied that opportunity for 20 days. </p> <p class="BodyA">Later, it turns out that the initial arrests were based on information probably received from one of the interpreters employed for the workshop. It transpires that this person harbored nationalistic sentiments and was repeatedly pulled up by the English-speaking participants of the workshop for making false translations and asking manipulative and provocative questions. Other evidence used to justify the decision to detain the eight activists includes a childish map drawn by one of the participants in an exercise designed to reflect the most pressing issues that stress her out, and correspondence regarding the “No” campaign in the presidential referendum of April 16, 2017. </p> <p class="BodyA">So there is no reasonable motive for arresting the participants. There is no evidence to justify their detention. And there is no indictment yet. But the clock of their time in jail is still ticking. </p> <h2 class="BodyA"><strong>New values of the ‘New Turkey’: bad times for human rights and civil society</strong></h2> <p class="BodyA">IHOP (Human Rights Joint Platform) consisting of hYd (Citizens’ Assembly), IHD (Human Rights Association), IHGD (Human Rights Agenda Association) and Amnesty International, are all specialized organizations in the field of human rights advocacy, with longstanding experience in promoting democratization, equality, freedom, feminism and lgbti rights. Similarly, the participants of the workshop are all well-known and well-respected for their work in the field of human rights, and each of them represent their respective prestigious institutions.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p class="BodyA">The fact that the participants are all reputable human rights activists, well known for their contributions to the promotion of democracy and democratization both inside and outside Turkey, gave the power holders an excellent opportunity to make an international showcase of what they deem to be the new `local and national` values of what they call the new `New Turkey.` </p> <p class="BodyA">It allowed them not only to stage a glorious celebration of the anniversary of the failed coup, but also to divert public attention away from the 24-day Justice March from Ankara to Istanbul organized by the main opposition party, CHP, which took between June 15 and July 9, 2017. The march was a protest against the arrest of CHP MP Enis Berberoglu. In addition to CHP supporters, many civil organizations and other opposition party members, including the Kurdish ones, participated in the march and the march ended with a big rally of more than 1 million people in Maltepe, Istanbul. Of course the accusations have no foundation in reality. But it is very important for Erdogan to keep what he calls “local and national” sentiments aroused, until at least the 2019 presidential elections.&nbsp; </p> <h2 class="BodyA"><strong>Due process</strong></h2> <p class="BodyA">At this point, not only 10 human rights activists, but also a very large number of other Turkish and International rights advocates and journalists, including such international names as Deniz Yucel, are held in jail as hostages. The most recent executive decree which allows the government to exchange international inmates in Turkish prisons for Turkish political refugees abroad, is the clearest manifestation of this approach of using judicial processes as a means to political ends.&nbsp; </p> <p class="BodyA">Meanwhile Erdogan is aware of the need to keep transnational economic relations as relaxed as possible. Thus for example, the Turkish National Intelligence Agency’s alleged list of German companies supporting terrorism precipitated an international crises and formal protest from Germany, upon which Turkey gave the huge bid for renewable energy to a consortium including the German giant, Siemens.&nbsp; </p> <p class="BodyA">While Erdogan’s responsibility in all this is undeniable, it would be a mistake to think of him as the sole perpetrator. The German media in particular signals him out as the real culprit, but this hides the fact that he has secular-nationalist partners within the state bureaucracy in devising and implementing his hardline policies. And it is impossible to understand Turkey without understanding this relationship which has its roots in an almost century-old statist tradition. </p> <p class="BodyA">Presenting Erdogan as the only perpetrator also allows Europe in general and Germany in particular to hide the indirect support they gave to Erdogan through such political acts as Merkel's pre-election visit to Turkey on November 1, 2015 or doubling the number of arms sold to Turkey in recent years, or the shady refugee deal Merkel struck with Erdogan.</p> <p class="BodyA">To summarize, then, while human rights activists, journalists and Kurdish politicians are held as hostages, and the tension between democracy and authoritarianism is translated into an international tension between Turkey and the European Union, the economic necessities of the neoliberal world are still met. And this allows the naked truth to be seen by those who have eyes to see. </p> <hr size="1" /> <p class="Standard"><a href="#_ftnref1">[1]</a> More information about the raid can be found in http://www.ihop.org.tr/en/.</p><p class="Standard">&nbsp;</p><p class="BodyA"><em><span><em>A German version of this article has been published in Südlink 181 www.suedlink.de.</em></span></em><span>&nbsp;</span></p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Turkey </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? North-Africa West-Asia Turkey Civil society Conflict Democracy and government International politics Turkish Dawn Nil Mutluer Fri, 15 Sep 2017 16:23:50 +0000 Nil Mutluer 113403 at https://www.opendemocracy.net DiEM25: A historic moment for the international progressive movement? https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/shawn-buckles/diem25-historic-moment-for-international-progressive-movement <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>DiEM25 needs to create a Janus-faced, progressive union out of the cooperation of every individual – individuals who in turn need to willingly relax their egos for the bigger cause. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/IMG_4019.JPG" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/IMG_4019.JPG" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>DiEM25 workshop in progress opposite Bozar, September 9, 2017, Brussels. Anja Schurman. All rights reserved. </span></span></span>What is the purpose of a movement such as DiEM25? A question not to be taken lightly; a very fundamental question indeed, and impossible to answer quickly – certainly not within a meagre five hours. But in this room many brave people are present, and precisely this question was submitted to a delegation of over a hundred members last Saturday, during DiEM25’s first World Café, where more than eighteen nationalities are represented. </p> <p>The workshop, presented as a series of mixed-table-discussions, is the start of an ongoing dialogue about DiEM25’s purpose and values; and more practical questions such as, how can we communicate our intentions to a broader audience, and how do we organise ourselves in a sustainable manner? <span class="mag-quote-center">Here we find people trying to understand one another, to develop constructive debate, to take into consideration the full scope of modern politics.</span></p> <p>But by far the most pressing item on the agenda proved the most basic: what could be the purpose of DiEM25? In dealing with this tangled issue, more questions arose: is giving power back to the people the final goal, when power to the people can ostensibly backfire, as in the recent cases of Poland and the UK? So can we trust ourselves? Or do we need to solidify around a set of values? </p> <p>The goal should not be merely to prod people into reacting (through referenda or propaganda), as this can lead to emptiness, meaninglessness, and fascism; but to present people with a vision for Europe and themselves that’s truly radical; that’s not a mere reaction to populist politics; one that frightens politicians across Europe, for this is the sign of a truly revolutionary proposal. </p> <p>But who will implement this vision? Is it possible to challenge politicians from <em>within</em> the system? Furthermore: will creating a European consciousness be enough to prevent (civil) war, and the torture of countries such as Greece and Ireland by the ECB?</p> <p>How these questions should be asked, answered, and <em>by</em> <em>whom</em> they should be answered – all is up for debate. Democracy is a phenomenally intricate process, as is soon shown by this workshop. Nonetheless here we find people trying to understand one another, to develop constructive debate, to take into consideration the full scope of modern politics.</p> <h2><strong>Divisions</strong></h2> <p>Within the main discussion, there is one visible division. On one end we see the pragmatist, who wants to handle the situation practically; on the other side we see the idealist, who clings to absolute values and wants to protect the organisation’s purity. Both are justified and both are important in accomplishing DiEM25’s mission: to democratise Europe by 2025.</p> <p>The pragmatists think of DiEM25 as a practising political organisation, and therefore wish to support policies and parties that already have acquired wider support — in the way <em>Momentum</em> has supported Jeremy Corbyn lately, DiEM25 should for example advocate a reconsideration of Brexit. In addition, they would prefer to develop concrete policies such as the European New Deal, and they want to take these policies to the ballot box themselves, or even better: get politicians elected to implement them. <span class="mag-quote-center">Without such a visible electoral politics, DiEM25 would be exclusively confined to exerting its influence through a European demos, or populace, which does not yet seem to exist.</span></p> <p>For some members however, this is a bridge too far. They wish DiEM25 to support certain policies, but their implementation should be left to others, because the acquisition of the necessary political power for their implementation would most likely corrupt the organisation.&nbsp;</p> <p>The undiluted idealist regards any form of politicisation as dangerous; attaining political power on a ‘you are with us or against us basis’ will become DiEM25’s main objective, and certain political groups will be excluded. But without such a visible and tangible electoral politics, DiEM25 would be exclusively confined to exerting its influence through a European demos, or populace, which does not yet seem to exist or is at best emergent; their main objective being the creation of this demos. </p> <p>This internal division perfectly exemplifies the apparent dilemma that the left needs to overcome, and manifests itself most strongly in questions around whether DiEM25 should remain solely a movement, or develop electoral politics as a major tool in its arsenal, via an electoral wing. As a movement, DiEM25 has the opportunity to solidify around a set of radical values, transcending traditional classification, which encourages people with different political backgrounds either to join or join forces with us. But how does one influence policy without participating in the system? On the other hand, how does one develop a sustainable and innovative vision whilst being part of the system? The answer must be some version of a dual approach: to become both party and movement.</p> <p>The politician is subject to popularity (which is a market force) and therefore populist tendencies. With all purely political manifestations, one risks creating a power base without a vision to structure the use of this power: precisely this situation creates the conditions for electoral discontent and fascism. To be merely a political party will lead to internal division, classification, and therefore polarisation. It will also encourage rivalry with political strands and traditions that we may need as closely collaborating allies to isolate the most dangerous and powerful forces that currently hold sway. The idealist on the other hand is bound to his moral territory, and therefore lacks the mobility or praxis to undertake any concrete and swift action when necessary. Decisiveness is the realm of the politician; vision that of the idealist. They need each other to succeed. DiEM25 is capable of supplying both sides of this equation. The left needs to become pragmatic, whilst at the same time nurturing its idealism.</p> <h2><strong>Ambiguity</strong></h2> <p>But how? By allowing for ambiguity to exist. If the left is sincere in its critique of the polarising right, it should first and foremost stop polarising its own peoples and policies. DiEM25 should withdraw itself from all market forces, and should focus on creating an elastic system that will allow for an ambiguous, and both sentimental and rational vision for Europe. One needs the idealists’ values to create a strong vision; a vision that’s not merely a reaction to the right agenda; a vision that transcends such partisanship. One needs also the political decisiveness and agility — and the power that comes with it — to implement and influence policies directly. <span class="mag-quote-center">If the left is sincere in its critique of the polarising right, it should first and foremost stop polarising its own peoples and policies. </span></p> <p>DiEM25 carries within it the unique potential to create such a two-faced, transnational and progressive union: but to do so, it will need the cooperation of every individual it aims to unite. These individuals in turn need to be willing to relax their ego, to suspend the ongoing debate that derives from this ego, and to sacrifice themselves to a bigger cause. </p> <p>We need to allow for ambiguity to exist. When we agree by and large, we must move forward. When we have no severe objections, we must align. This is without a doubt one strength of the&nbsp; Nationalist International. </p> <p>Progressives must plan to be members of the masses. They must be willing to say: ‘I agree by and large with this plan, and will therefore devote myself to the advancement of this cause. I will set aside my personal trivialities and opinions, for I acknowledge the importance of a strong and united progressive international.’</p> <p>The crucial question that now needs to be answered by DiEM25 is:<em> how to connect those who do not wish to be bound?</em> DiEM25 needs to respond to some of the most difficult political questions ever: how to persuade people who despise boundaries to form activist groups? How to unite those who do not wish to be classified? How to take a stand alongside those who cherish their own detailed views so much? How to politicise people who refuse to take a stand when the time is right?</p> <p>The start of an answer was given by ways of this workshop, where its organisation received a gesture of good faith from over a hundred members. The organisation is willing, its plans are solid and there’s a visible, vibrant longing for change. Whether or not this is a historic moment will depend on its membership: it will depend on their ability to overcome their pride, and their ability to unite.</p> <p>But I too am in danger of losing myself in trifling reflection. We should consider the general situation here — and it is surely most promising. The European left has started the process of its unification, and preparations were made here, in Brussels, on September 9, 2017, in a chamber afflicted by terrible accoustics. But that was of no consequence. Those who attended had already said everything by means of their presence: ‘we are prepared to overcome our pride; we <em>are </em>the European demos.’</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 17.41.45_0.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 17.41.45_0.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Screenshot: DiEM25 workshop in preparation opposite Bozar, September 9, 2017, Brussels. </span></span></span></p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> EU </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? EU Civil society Democracy and government Ideas International politics Shawn Buckles DiEM25 Thu, 14 Sep 2017 17:02:02 +0000 Shawn Buckles 113367 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The importance of Europeans sticking together to achieve a progressive Europe https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/rosemary-bechler/importance-of-europeans-sticking-together-to-achieve-progressive <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Thoughts arising from Brexit for the DiEM25 September event in the Bozar in Brussels on the ‘Real State of the European Union’. (<em>speech</em>)</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 08.27.54.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 08.27.54.png" alt="lead lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Screenshot: Bozar Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels, Saturday, September 9.</span></span></span>You don’t need me to tell you BREXIT is a dangerous mess. Ever since Theresa May ­­– in that common sense tone which is a sure sign of ideology in Britain – uttered the fateful words “BREXIT means BREXIT!” – we have been trapped on a roller-coaster of unknowing. Grim rumours that the UK might become “the tax haven of Europe” or the “hostile environment” apparently preferred by the Home Office, come and go and come again like flashes of lightning over our benighted landscape. The process hitherto seems designed to show us and everyone else just how deeply polarized but also poorly represented we are as a people, and how broken our democratic system. </p> <p>On the eve of the EU referendum, I happened to<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/opencitydocs/rosemary-bechler/democracy-call-to-arms"> find myself in a showing</a> in London of David Bernet’s quintessentially European film, ‘<em>Democracy</em>’, about the heroic struggle within the European Parliament to secure key digital laws protecting citizens and consumers from big data mining. Katarzyna from whom we heard earlier, stars in this epic tale, alongside the heroic German Greens Jan Philipp Albrecht and Ralph Bendrath and Joe McNamee, Director of European Digital Rights. This David and Goliath story is actually a rare, gripping account in all its multilayered complexity, of a triumphant democratic law-making process. </p> <p>Remember that Dr. Schauble mantra from the Eurogroup meeting that Yanis quotes – that “elections cannot be allowed to change an economic programme of a nation state”? Well for those who haven’t seen the film, Albrecht’s mission as rapporteur is the direct opposite. He argues, “99% of the lobbying in Brussels is by companies…&nbsp; but millions of citizens have their interests too… No one has the right to claim their interests are worth more than that of the citizens.” </p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/03_jan_philipp_albrecht_und_sein_mitarbeiter_ralf_bendrath_c_indi_film_-_marcus_winterbauer.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/03_jan_philipp_albrecht_und_sein_mitarbeiter_ralf_bendrath_c_indi_film_-_marcus_winterbauer.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>"Democracy", David Bernet, 2015. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Asked to raise our hands at the end if this film gave us more confidence or less in the EU that night, a large majority of that London audience said yes. I wanted everyone I knew and didn’t know to see it. Indeed there could be no better introduction to what is worth fighting for as Europeans. Not because, for Brits reared on tabloid anti-EU propaganda, it was brilliant counter-propaganda. Let’s be clear – the picture it paints is of a democratic process in deep jeopardy from giant vested interests. Yet exactly because it was such an unflinching record of the odds we are up against and the space for a political alternative that really exists – here was everything that was missing from our BREXIT debate, and everything that we Europeans must be doing over the next two years, leading into the 2019 elections and beyond. </p><p>Why the urgency? Because all over Europe there are people like the British majority who voted for BREXIT, who need to know what is possible in politics and that they can do something about it, people who associate the threat to their jobs, security and daily lives with the European institutions, simply because, for far too long, we have been told over and over again what is not possible, due to the out-of control forces that we are encouraged to believe are all the more irresistible at the transnational level.&nbsp; </p> <p>“Take back control” was the message of the 2016 Brexit referendum, seized on at the first opportunity, to express how fed up people were at the lack of accountable agency, the lack of empathy, the technocratic disavowal of responsibility before the socio-economic forces of austerity. As if on cue, only days after Theresa May lost her majority, in June, Grenfell Tower in the country’s richest borough of Kensington and Chelsea, went up in flames ­– its blackening hulk an instant monument to the gulf between the authorities’ shameless neoliberal negligeance, and a disenfranchised global working class who could get no-one to listen to or do anything for them.</p> <p>This rejection of impotence that was BREXIT, might have remained at the level of a finger towards a world where all is said to be inevitable, had it not been for the snap elections in June. Here, not only did the Labour party come up with one of the most progressive social democratic manifestos in living memory, but their new cohorts of activists launched a process of large-scale engagement with local publics, complemented by a wave of party and non-party grassroots supporters of an emerging progressive alliance politics. Ordinary people stopping other ordinary voters in the street to talk about politics is not something many have seen before in much of the UK. But now we too had a glimpse of the energies unleashed in the Scottish independence referendum, or emerging out of the 2011 social movements into frontline innovative politics in Ada Colau’s international network of fearless cities. Watching the Grenfell Tower survivors organise their fightback for political and existential recognition was another lesson in dignity and democracy for us all.</p> <p>Labour and their progressive allies, using their initiative to salvage a recognisable, bottom up ‘politics’, have given Britain a chance to pose a supremely political question: what is the room for manoeuvre for advancing social justice, turning the tide against the worst effects of the financial crash and its extractive neoliberal aftermath? </p> <p>One key factor in this room for manoeuvre we are beginning to understand better has only emerged in recent months. <a href="http://billmoyers.com/story/future-democracy-read-media-bias-report/">Research</a> on both sides of the Atlantic shows <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/07/the-great-british-brexit-robbery-hijacked-democracy">how susceptible</a> our mainstream press has been to an alliance of big data, billionaire friends of Donald Trump and <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/dup-dark-money">the disparate forces</a> of the Leave campaign in both the US elections and the BREXIT referendum, and how fear-mongering over immigration and Islam, targeting different parts of the population with their radical right messaging, was successfully fomented on a major scale by some of the most sophisticated communicators of our era. </p> <p>What are these people up to we might ask? As has been pointed out, among others by <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/alan-finlayson">Alan Finlayson</a> in a <a href="https://www.lrb.co.uk/v39/n10/alan-finlayson/brexitism">groundbreaking essay</a> in the London Review of Books, much of the political content of Brexit demands – ethnicised nationalism, economic protection – is in flat contradiction to their political outlook. They are globalists through and through. Take Arron Banks, the insurance millionaire who funded Leave.EU, who describes his as a “very simple agenda: to destroy the professional politician”. The politics of continuing referendums and recalls they advocate aims at stalling action by elected politicians and public service professionals alike, “draining the swamp” to leave the way clear for a new kind of nihilistic governmentality, where the ebb and flow of mood and opinion in big data can be surfed and any useful wave amplified and capitalized upon. In this <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/andries-du-toit/hyper-political-anti-politics">hyper-political anti-politics</a>, politics reduces to perpetual theatre. </p> <p>For them, Brexit will make it easier to remove legal and political obstacles to the establishment of this new regime, through an increase in the power to win support of those who own the data. (Can we be sure that a Ukipised Tory Government <a href="https://theconversation.com/yanis-varoufakis-a-progressive-brexit-transition-can-be-built-on-both-sides-of-the-channel-83469">intent on hijacking</a> the Brexit binary referendum choice for a ‘hard Brexit’, will scruple to misuse the inordinate powers they have given themselves to amend EU laws as they are converted into UK law, for example, on the retention, processing and sale of our personal data? Will we see those <em>Democracy </em>digital rights agreed in 2016, coming into effect across Europe in 2018, in full force in the UK? This vulnerability of 40 years’ worth of lawmaking is at the centre of <a href="https://repealbill.org/">this week’s key battle over parliamentary scrutiny</a> of the ‘Repeal Bill’.)</p> <p>My point is this. The anti-politics I’m talking about is predicated on one key assumption about the relationship between people and knowledge. That in this digitalised world, the people do not need to know and understand about their own conditions of existence, as they are the thing to be known about and manipulated accordingly! </p> <p>If this is the enemy, then a politics dedicated to what people as agents of their own fate can make possible together, overcoming the barriers of fearmongering and hatred, is what I believe DiEM25, ably led by that generator of political alternatives, Yanis Varoufakis, wishes to serve. So I am here to ask, can the BREXIT rebuff to the mainstream political agenda in Britain and Europe be turned into an opening for the transformation that we all so urgently need?</p> <p>We in DiEM25 are glad that recommendations for a substantial transitional post-Brexit referendum period, backed by our movement’s entire membership from London to Warsaw, have been embraced by key players in Britain’s political class, starting with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party. </p> <p>Can’t we take this new opportunity for adequate democratic process and scrutiny far further in generating European alternatives and the experience of democracy in action? The UK must play a key role in the open-sourced, democratic, transparent and radical transformation that Europe needs.</p> <p>Will we succeed? I'm not sure. But I am sure that what is possible, including a referendum on a transformed UK rejoining a transformed democratic EU, will only come about if we are in this fight together.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://repealbill.org/">Fix the Bill</a> on the UK's Repeal Bill</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>DiEM25's <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTpoiuNLKRA">Real State of the Union event</a>. (<em> three hour video </em>)</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/brexit2016">Brexit2017</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/andries-du-toit/hyper-political-anti-politics">Hyper-political anti-politics</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/opencitydocs/rosemary-bechler/democracy-call-to-arms">Democracy – a call to arms</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/yanis-varoufakis-rosemary-bechler-alex-sakalis-anthony-barnet/democratising-europ">Democratising Europe – a transnational project?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/sol-trumbo-vila/bail-out-industry-finds-its-new-crisis-opportunity-brexit">The bail out industry finds its new crisis opportunity: Brexit</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sam-hufton/treatise-on-european-government-constitution">A Treatise on European Government: on a constitution and the transnational </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sam-hufton/treatise-on-european-government-international">A Treatise on European Government: on the international and the problems of the treaties</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/kate-shea-baird/new-international-municipalist-movement-is-on-rise-from-small-vic">A new international municipalist movement is on the rise – from small victories to global alternatives</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/uk/nick-mahony/no-seat-is-unwinnable-how-labour-activists-set-out-to-reclaim-tory-strongholds-and-defi">No seat is unwinnable: how Labour activists set out to reclaim Tory strongholds and defy predictions</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> UK </div> <div class="field-item even"> EU </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> <div class="field-item even"> Internet </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? EU UK Civil society Conflict Democracy and government Economics International politics Internet Rosemary Bechler DiEM25 Mon, 11 Sep 2017 07:55:28 +0000 Rosemary Bechler 113280 at https://www.opendemocracy.net DiEM25 anti-austerity campaign France 2017 https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/diem25/diem25-anti-austerity-campaign-france-2017 <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>We promised Macron that if he “becomes merely another functionary of Europe’s deep establishment we will oppose him... ” Now the time has come to do exactly that.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="Standard"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/PA-31326012.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/PA-31326012.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Julien Mattia/Zuma Press/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p class="Standard">When France was heading the presidential election, DiEM25 published a statement related to Macrons candidacy. We promised to <em>“mobilize fully to help</em>” him defeating Marine le Pen. But there was also another part to our promise to Macron: if he <em>“becomes merely another functionary of Europe’s deep establishment we <strong>will oppose him no less energetically than we are – or should be – opposing Le Pen now</strong>.”</em></p> <p class="Standard"><strong>Now the time has come to do exactly that!</strong></p> <p class="Standard">The overall thrust of Macron's labour reforms is to continue the process of “ultra-liberalizing” of the labour market. Governments have been working on weakening workers' rights and protections for at least a decade, in particular during the Hollande presidency. The attempted labour reforms of the Valls government were attenuated in parliament after strong opposition in the streets. Macron is now pushing to get labour reform done this year, going much further than Hollande/Valls tried to go. He has proceeded by passing legislation which enables the government to rewrite the labour law.</p> <p class="Standard">We - as members of DiEM25 - want to oppose these reforms and founded a task force related to it. Members of the French Provisional National Committee (PNC) are working right now on an analysis of the neoliberal reforms in France. In the long term, we want to put these reforms in the context of similar reforms which have taking place in other European countries and creating a chronicle of neoliberalism in Europe.</p> <p class="Standard"><strong>But we wouldn’t be a movement for democracy in Europe if we were just working on papers and not using actions to oppose these kinds of tendencies in France and elsewhere!&nbsp; </strong></p> <p class="Standard">That’s why we are informing you today of our plan to take action and start a solidarity campaign for the people and their protest in France. What we imagine is to show our solidarity on a European wide scale and for this we collected the following recommendations of how you - as member of DiEM25 or member of a local DSC - can participate. </p> <p class="Standard">The start of the campaign will be the <strong>12th of September 2017</strong>, the day the worker unions begin to strike in France. Simultaneously we want to send them our solidarity. The task for the DSCs will be to organize local actions. <strong>These actions can be, for example:</strong></p> <p class="Listenabsatz">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; a small demonstration in front of the French embassy or another symbolic place which is typical for your location with signs and banners</p> <p class="Listenabsatz">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; paint the ground of a public space in your town or city with statements, wishes or greetings to the French protesters</p> <p class="Listenabsatz">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; share pamphlets or flyers to passers and inform them about the issue and try to put this in the context of neoliberal reforms in your own country</p> <p class="Listenabsatz">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; organize an information booth</p> <p class="Listenabsatz">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; or maybe you have even better and more creative ideas than our recommendations, it is up to you!&nbsp;&nbsp; </p> <p class="Standard"><strong>Please take pictures or videos of your actions and share it with the public and with us!</strong> If you have connections to other political groups or parties on your local level, invite them to join you. It doesn’t matter if you are 10,000 people or 2 people. It is important to show that we are here and stand up with the people of France.</p> <p class="Standard"><strong>Make solidarity great again!</strong></p><p> Signed by DSC Leipzig, PNC France, DSC Lyon, DSC Paris, DSC Copenhagen, DSC Berlin</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> France </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? France DiEM25 DSC's DiEM25 Thu, 07 Sep 2017 15:20:11 +0000 DiEM25 DSC's 113243 at https://www.opendemocracy.net A Treatise on European Government: on a constitution and the transnational https://www.opendemocracy.net/sam-hufton/treatise-on-european-government-constitution <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This treatise on constitutional European government is linked to t<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/sam-hufton/treatise-on-european-government-part-ii">he first on the EU treaties</a>: outlining the foundations for a transnational constitution as the keystone for a 'second Reformation of Europe'. <em>(Long - 13,000 words)</em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><em><span><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-20029213.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-20029213.jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>The Altiero Spinelli Building, European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium. Sojka Libor/Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>With Europe’s current order in the spectacular <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/sam-hufton/treatise-on-european-government-part-ii">débâcle </a>that it is, a return to basics is in order to rethink the supranational construct, and the underlying </span><em>idée européenne, </em><span>from the ground up. For this, consideration must be given to the antecedents of the current European Project, particularly in Europe’s intellectual history, as well as some of the earlier suggestions for a </span><em>political</em><span> and, it is assumed, </span><em>democratic</em><span>, Europe. Furthermore, the concepts which make up the European idea need to be redefined and reconsidered. What I aim to argue is that Europe does not need a revolution, in the sense of the complete replacement of the very foundations of the European idea, but a </span><em><em>reformation&nbsp;</em><a href="#_ftn1"><strong>[1]</strong></a></em><span>. We are not here to destroy Europe, but to reaffirm our belief in it, through challenging the core articles of faith, dismantling the redundant pillars of the construct, and regenerating them into something new. For a truly </span><em>transnational </em><span>Europe, there must be a Second Reformation; a real constitution lies at the heart of this.</span>&nbsp;Here is my contribution to DiEM25's Constitutional pillar.</em></p><h2><em>Back to basics: preliminary considerations &amp; suggestions</em></h2> <p>At its core, the European idea in itself is revolutionary; a revolution against the nation-state and the European state-system, which has characterised the continent since the fall of the Pax Romana. It is the idea that our vision, our terms of reference and our assumptions should not be limited to any national or ethnic boundaries, but should cross them. For much of its history Europe poorly fitted what today is our understanding of the international system; Spanish kings elected as Holy Roman emperors, Dutch Stadtholders being gifted the English throne, royal unions between Saxony, Poland and Lithuania. There have always been many cultures and ethnicities in Europe, but not until the eighteenth&nbsp;century at earliest can we say they matched at all closely the alignment of the European state-system. Even Rome itself, in its republican days, though a single <em>imperium</em>, had a level of cultural variation and diversity that we would recognise in Europe today, both because Rome lacked the administrative capacity and the interest to attempt full-scale homogenisation<a href="#_ftn2">[2]</a>. </p><p>The nation-states have changed this, so that within each state, cultural and ethnic homogeneity has come to be expected; the <em>inter</em>national reigns, where within borders, life is integrated, and <em>between </em>them, there is a void in which negotiation is conducted and relations established. But nothing goes <em>across </em>those borders, considered as high walls separating the isolated national communities. One might think that the existence of the international community repudiates some of these assumptions within nationalism; however, internationalism still rests on the idea of <em>inter, </em>that we are all in our separate national communities, and sometimes agree to cooperate, or discuss things with one another at high-minded summits and conferences. We might visit each other, but being truly integrated at the social level is beyond the conceptual ability of this understanding of the world. <span class="mag-quote-center">The&nbsp;international reigns, where within borders, life is integrated, and&nbsp;between&nbsp;them, there is a void in which negotiation is conducted and relations established. But nothing goes&nbsp;across&nbsp;those borders...</span></p> <p>In this way, we see the revolutionary potential of establishing a ‘<em>free and united’ </em>Europe. This was the phrase used by Altiero Spinelli, the Italian former communist and federalist, and Ernesto Rossi, a radical liberal, in the Ventotene Manifesto, written in 1941 when both were imprisoned by Mussolini’s fascist regime. This text is the product of over a century of revolutionary thought on European unification, from Giuseppe Mazzini and Victor Hugo all the way to Karl Kautsky and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon; it is ‘the most powerful vision of continental unity to emerge from the European resistance’<a href="#_ftn3">[3]</a>. The manifesto is divided into three parts, addressing the crisis of modern European civilisation at the height of what can be described as Europe’s ‘Second Thirty Years’ War’<a href="#_ftn4">[4]</a>, post-war duties on the subject of European Unity, and post-war duties on the subject of social reform. In the second section on European Unity, Spinelli and Rossi preface their agenda with the fact that at the end of the war, there will come a revolutionary moment when the initiative can be seized to rebuild Europe on their radical agenda, which includes wealth redistribution, the abolition and defeat of the old ruling classes and aristocracies, a reconfiguration of the bounds of private property (though not its abolition, communist doctrine was rejected as statist and bureaucratic), and the creation of a European Federation; a state around which will grow “the new, genuine democracy”, free of the reactionary influences and foundations of the old national state-system<a href="#_ftn5">[5]</a>. </p> <p>The question arises as to why a new oligarchic ruling class would not grow also around this new state, along with all the other trappings of the nation-states, including militarism, cartelism and monopoly, xenophobia towards outsiders, and an introverted and ultimately servile social mentality. However, it is clear there are several reasons. First of all, there is the fact that Spinelli and Rossi’s European Federation is predicated on and deeply informed by the necessary crushing defeat of the old, reactionary ruling elite, which are integrally wedded to the national structures of power: ethnic homogeneity, blood and soil, monopoly of national resources, national symbols of identity and locality, the nexus of aristocratic landownership, capital, and military leadership, all of which controlled and guaranteed nation-state power – even in republican states which had created their own aristocracies. </p><p>This not only took centuries to build, in societies that were much more servile and uninformed than that which emerged from Europe’s ashes in 1945, but also relied on actually existing relics from history. This does not exist for Europe as a whole. There has never been European ethnic homogeneity, nor a nobility, nor glory to embody. European history would have to be completely rewritten for that, which national histories were not; they were written selectively<a href="#_ftn6">[6]</a>. You might say ‘new structures can be created, as in the Soviet Union’. Indeed, there is that possibility; of the creation of a faceless, all-powerful bureaucracy utterly disconnected from Europe. However, Spinelli and Rossi explicitly argued that the society which founds the Europe Federation cannot be ‘servile’. In this term, I understand to mean and characterise national identity, for clear reasons. National identities, though founded on historical relics, were all created, they didn’t exist organically. Within them, though also the ideas of enlightenment and modernity, were those of power and obedience, particularly in states which pre-existed their nations, where the state-elites forged their nations<a href="#_ftn7">[7]</a>. Even non-state national movements fixated on the attainment of sovereign, state power – take Germany and Italy as clear examples – especially for ethnicities which had a history of state power (Hungary and Poland). The nation must have state-power by right, before any other potential reason. Due to this, obedience, uncritical acceptance, deference to authority and submission were all wrapped up in national society; the nation “brought with it, however, the seeds of capitalist imperialism which our own generation has seen expand to the point of forming totalitarian states and to the unleashing of world wars.” However, while Spinelli and Rossi hence prescribe a society that is not servile, they do not indicate the components of an identity that would facilitate such a society.</p> <p>The strength of vision in this manifesto is without a doubt leaps and bounds ahead of any of the political calibre that we see in our contemporary Europe, after 60 years of integration. This is due to the intellectual architecture fundamentally: the two other traditions of thought on European unification have collaborated to form the construct that exists today – the conservative tradition, and the technocratic tradition. The idea that Europe’s nation-states should guide Europe collectively, and the idea that the political should be transcended and instead government should consist of technical management. So here is the first wall we knock through: the political ideas found in the Ventotene Manifesto should be the foundation of the Europe we wish to see, and shall act as the foundation of what follows; for at its core, as with DiEM25, is radicalism and democracy. </p> <p>There are nevertheless two major gaps in the manifesto, and one obstacle; the first gap is, while there is much dedicated to economic and social questions – which are certainly relevant to the wider question of a just and cohesive society – there is little dedicated to constitutional questions. They readily admit that given the uncertain nature of the future, they do not know the exact constitutional forms and can only prescribe that which we already know: representative bodies, the formation of law, independent magistracies and freedom of expression and association. They also argued for secularism; the clear separation of Church and State which the Mussolini regime had reneged on in order to gain the support of the church and his religious countrymen. &nbsp;One area they are clear on which links constitutional questions with socioeconomic questions is the theory of corporatism. Spinelli and Rossi’s European Federation has a strong democratic element at its very core, “giving the solid stamp of liberty to political life, imbuing it with a strong sense of social solidarity”; this is not compatible in their reckoning with corporatism, experience with which they have from Mussolini’s fascist regime in Italy. They do not believe corporatism can be salvaged for democracy, being a key element of fascism’s “house of cards”; representatives of the various sectors of the economy, even if sincerely representative, are not qualified to handle questions of government policy, for they become organs of the accumulation of power and privilege depending on who has better representation – and hence, access to government. This is very reminiscent of business-lobbying today, where corporations aim to bypass the parliamentary process to gain direct access to government, which they are able to do, and more effectively than other sectors of the economy (especially labour) thanks to their wealth and connections with the political class. Unfortunately, this is the model that technocratic Europe has chosen to base its ‘representative’ government on, which I believe links back to a liberal-individualist conception of democracy<a href="#_ftn8">[8]</a> and ‘Roman’ strategy of legitimacy<a href="#_ftn9">[9]</a>. Through corporatist methods, the wants of the people are determined and then technocrats can fashion policies to satisfy those wants; it is a hollow form of democracy, stripped of all normative value or potential. The manifesto tells us the end result: “This would create a kind of feudal anarchy in the economic life of the country, leading to renewed political despotism.” We see it now, different fiefs – banks, industrial manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies etc. - vying for power and influence over the centre, completely disregarding other interests, the common interest and the greater good of the whole, their influence based entirely on who has the most slick and effective representation, rather than equal representation of all. </p><p>By contrast, Spinelli and Rossi want a holistic approach to <em>democratic</em> politics, which excludes both corporatism and the sectarian vision of communism as they understood it. Citizens must retain freedom and autonomy; society must retain cohesion. Again, this hints at the form of society that is required for the European Federation, but does not provide any clear instructions.</p> <p>The second gap is really the most fundamental question that progressive Europeanists have to answer if they want to justify a European state, federal or otherwise. That is, why Europe? The functionalist liberal David Mitrany put this question to Europeanists in his critique of ‘regionalism’ in 1965<a href="#_ftn10">[10]</a>. In arguing that it would encourage eurocentrism and introversion by undermining the international and reproducing the problems of the national writ large, Mitrany made several assumptions on the nature of identity, internationalism and cosmopolitanism. The manifesto itself addresses the issue to an extent: intergovernmental orders like the League of Nations lack the capacity to actually compel states, which is a problem in Europe in particular because the actions of one state often impact their neighbours. Hence, they wrote, the constitution of each of the single states is a question of vital interest for all the other European nations. The national state-system is effectively anarchy; a Federation would take us from the State of Nature to the State of Peace, guarantee Europe’s peaceful relations with the rest of the world, and transmit its underlying values onto the international stage. Hence, the path to the political unity of the globe would be paved. This is roughly in line chosen by Habermas today, as a stepping stone to a unified humanity<a href="#_ftn11">[11]</a>. The functional response is the creation of international institutions which dismantle full state-sovereignty, placing it within technocratic limitations. As we know from our own experience, the absence of democratic legitimacy in such a system is profound and unacceptable. In the tradition of Ventotene, Marsili and Milanese wrote a pamphlet in 2011 on forming a democratic union, in which they give several arguments why European democracy should be pursued&nbsp;<a href="#_ftn12">[12]</a>. The two key arguments are that Europe is on the scale at which transnational democracy can be most effectively pursued, given the imperative of the current situation, and that Europe is large enough to actually influence the shape and character of global capitalism; in other words, to bring back into Europe’s hands power and justice<a href="#_ftn13">[13]</a>. While there are arguments against both of these, it is on them that I wish to build.</p> <p>The simplest answer to ‘why Europe?’ is because it’s already here. Like the nation-states before it, which existed before they were democratised, the European Union exists and provides an object to tame and influence, rather than starting from scratch. Yanis Varoufakis made a similar point in a meeting in Belfast in 2017; that since the eighteenth&nbsp;century, the Left believed the state, though a bourgeois construct, should be transformed rather than dismantled. So is it for Europe, now it is here. On the question of why it is here, we learn more. Europe’s stories, though varied, have always been intertwined and interlaced with elements from each other. Europe’s cross-border tradition, its highly-enmeshed economy and society; these things have been attacked by national states, but not destroyed, and they provide the ground-work for the current Union. The Union made the crucial step in 1951 then, in breaching ‘the ramparts of national sovereignty’<a href="#_ftn14">[14]</a>, and undermining the national narrative. This must be built on: why not use Europe as a force for transnational society; why not make the first steps across national borders; and why not use the heritage that Europe has, of borders crossed and boundaries blurred? A place which values diversity in its lived experience like nowhere else in the world. Why not begin at a level which is attainable, in terms which can be understood better, in a territory which has already begun the steps towards transnationalism, namely, those breached ramparts? Why not demonstrate that 'beyond-the-national' can be democratised? In response, many would argue that in creating a European state, you would simply create the national writ large, which betrays the very éthos of Europeanism<a href="#_ftn15">[15]</a>. Here we turn to Müller and identity.</p> <p>Müller’s response is to the question of why Europe relies on a level of nuance that nationalism and cosmopolitanism lack, and in so doing connects to the foundations of the European Project. It has been noted that the cold rationality of modernity is very disconcerting for humans – to the point that its height in 1900 preceded its downfall in 1939<a href="#_ftn16">[16]</a>. Hence, reconciling Eros and Civilisation – emotion and reason; the particular and the universal – should be seen as one of the guiding objectives of the European Project<a href="#_ftn17">[17]</a>. Müller provides a framework of how to realise this in constitutional patriotism, a theory which argues for loyalty neither to a national culture nor to the worldwide community of human beings, but instead, the process and institutions of democratic constitutional government, which enable an interpretation of and mediation between universal values and particular traditions<a href="#_ftn18">[18]</a>. This process relies on an identity which rejects the idea of unquestioning pride or homogeneous, unchallenged national narratives about the past, or any single object of identification or historical narrative enforced from above<a href="#_ftn19">[19]</a>. Rather than replacing the national with the post-national, universal in some way replacing particular, a shifting and fluid concept of identity as the outcome of a common discourse between free and equal citizens creates a process of reflection and self-criticism<a href="#_ftn20">[20]</a>. It is the particular <em>conditioned</em> by the universal. </p><p>In this way, it is also not cosmopolitan universalism; primarily in the ties to specific institutions which enable and are moulded by discursive engagement with universal values, and in rejecting the assumption that all humans enjoy the exact same political-moral relationship with one another<a href="#_ftn21">[21]</a>. Hence, the process of self-critical and reflective engagement with one another creates a source of identity, as the sharing of a common political struggle creates attachment not only to the principles of that struggle but also the people who took part in the struggle<a href="#_ftn22">[22]</a>. This connects directly with Spinelli and Rossi’s prefacing of the Federation with a society that is not servile; they criticised the nation for having become a ‘divine entity’, which considers only its own existence, and hence, the identity underpinning such an edifice had to be servile. Müller invites Europe to consider a new identity, which is not as passionate, nor as unquestioning nor possessive as nationality, but nor as cold as rational universalism. Globalisation is not an all-powerful melting pot which obliterates particularity, nor should it be. It has been recognised that postmodern Europe is awash with identities<a href="#_ftn23">[23]</a>; these can be turned into a binding, united identity only in a discursive and critical process forming a <em>civic</em> identity, which would then characterise the state which it built. Moving from the national - particular - to the global - universal - cannot be made all at once. But it must be shown that it can be done, that national boundaries can be superseded; that an identity that is post-national and post-ethnic can be created on the basis of civic, democratic values and processes; that peoples can live in harmony with different cultures, with different languages, with different understandings of history - and that these can be bridged also, through conscious effort and democratic discourse. A dynamic, evolving identity.</p> <p>This civic, rather than ethnic, identity goes deeper, connecting directly with the core of democratic government. Currently, democracy is underpinned across much of the west by ‘liberal nationalism’. If constitutional patriotism enables us to think beyond the national, then perhaps the popular foundation of democracy – the dêmos – can be stripped of its nationality – éthnos. The purpose would be to bind it to a political structure that is also post-national, and enable that political structure to exist without the trappings of national identity and ‘nation-statism’ which Mitrany and others fear. The polity would embody the discussion conducted by a critical and reflective dêmos. An additional binding element, alongside the definition of constitutional and institutional specifics (which would evolve) and discussion of the legacy and meaning of the past, would be the seizing of a common télos - destiny - usually attached to éthnos, but appropriated in the name of democratic government. The dêmos united by its collectively determined télos, a process guaranteed by constitutional structures at the heart of which are universal values. What would define the European sphere is the absence of a single éthnos giving legitimacy to its political structures; these would be legitimised instead through the democratic process undertaken by a dêmos which had defined its own existence on the basis of universal values; as Habermas said, peoples emerge only with their constitutions and states<a href="#_ftn24">[24]</a>. The relation between the dêmos and the European Federation could not be but <em>symbiotic</em>; there would be no ethno-cultural justification for the state. It would embody a common process, a democratic one, rather than a common ethnicity. This has brought us from the simpler <em>why </em>Europe, to the more pressing <em>how </em>Europe.</p><h2><em>Democratic reformation</em></h2> <p>We turn now to the outstanding obstacle: Ventotene was explicitly crafted for the context of a revolutionary moment - specifically, where the authors believed democracy would be ineffective. It is clear that, while Europe may be in crisis, this has not reached a revolutionary moment, and nor should we wish it to. Democratic methods, and related, constitutional structures, are that which we work with, returning to the first gap in the manifesto. As Rousseau said, commonly crafted institutions and laws give character to a people – or peoples united by a single politics.&nbsp; It is important to note that government is not simply the institutions which<em> shape </em>it, but also the constitutional and political culture which <em>informs </em>it. The latter is fundamentally a question of values; these we have defined to an extent, in speaking of universal values. Both Zygmunt Bauman and Wolfgang Münchau have articulated specific universal values which should be at the core of Europe’s raison d’être. </p><p>In 2004, Bauman wrote that justice, rationality, democracy, liberty and the autonomy they produce are all the key values of Europe, and are the source of Europe’s development into the civilisation it is today<a href="#_ftn25">[25]</a>. Justice as the protection of the common good and hence underlying social solidarity; rationality as the justification of actions through reason; democracy as the ability to settle shared human affairs; liberty as the basis of autonomous citizens and their responsibility for the good of society; these together form an autonomous society, the society capable of conducting its own affairs. In 2016, Münchau gave a shorter list as the values of the French Revolution: liberté, égalité, fraternité<a href="#_ftn26">[26]</a>. To liberty, he linked openness and tolerance, to equality, equal opportunity, and to fraternity, the defence of the public good, which could include wealth redistribution and social welfare. In other words, the fundamental tenets of post-war Social Democracy, or as Habermas put it, the <em>Sozialer Rechtsstaat, </em>which he saw as the basis of constitutional patriotism – a state which guarantees the rights and freedoms required for it, and which ensured all citizens could equally participate in the democratic process through wealth redistribution<a href="#_ftn27">[27]</a>. </p><p>In effect, these two elements are those which Spinelli and Rossi advocated should be at the basis of the European Federation, that is, a political life imbued with liberty and solidarity, each occupying a symbiotic relationship with the other, in the sense that the absence of one nullifies the other. Where the post-war settlement failed to meet the manifesto prescriptions however was in the national element; Social Democracy in the above sense, born and grown in national chains, would fail in the revolutionary agenda Ventotene set for it. The guarantee of a Europe free of the reactionary classes which ruled prior to the Second World War, including the capitalist classes which brought about the neoliberal counter-revolution from the 1970s onwards, was absent from the post-war settlement; it was constructed by them on the contrary. Hence, the prescription by Bauman for a social democratic European Union, and the corresponding certainty that Europe’s political classes will not establish this; changing this then is the fundamental priority of the Second Reformation.</p> <p>It is here that the democratic reformation of the Union is so fundamental; not only as a challenge against the current illegitimacy and constraints of the international order, but also as a challenge to the current mode of globalisation via markets. This is presented by some as the spread of universal values across the world, but is in fact the creation of a global over-class completely free of the restraints of government and the concepts of public, common good. The democratic deficit exists not only in Europe, but is widening everywhere, with governments engaging in localised <em>Standortkonkurrenz </em>while the super-rich pursue their own priorities completely divergent from the average citizenry<a href="#_ftn28">[28]</a>; precisely the threat of corporatist government which Ventotene warned against. This reinforces the imperative of Marsili and Milanese’s argument about Europe challenging the current path of global capitalism. This is something that can only be done through democratisation of the Union, and must be done in the name of confronting the super-rich at their until-now distant vantage point from where they have exercised a monopoly of power, and ending this in favour of democratic government.</p> <p>From this discussion, several elements of the Constitution of the European Federation become clear, as regards what democrats across Europe intend it to be. The first key is diversity. This is a concept which must be treated as a value like liberty, justice and solidarity, for it is at the heart of Europe’s reality. Diversity, as has been made clear, is a natural consequence of splitting dêmos from éthnos, and hence creating a purely civic basis for democratic politics. However, in reconciling Eros and Civilisation, we cannot jettison Eros, that is, emotion, culture and passion. Instead, nations must remain a part of Europe; there can be no trans<em>nationalism </em>without nations themselves; borders are not truly crossed if they are irrelevant or non-existent. But there is also moral value in diversity, which has infused the life of this continent with a sense of dynamism and élan that is unique to Europe. Diversity is not just a matter of cultural norms, but cultural expression – expression which produces a raft of distinct and conflicting opinions, ideas, interpretations and insights into life. This crescendo of expression is not consensual; however, in the realm of words, sounds and images, it is peaceful, contained conflict. Difference which produces even greater and more divergent expression and thought on the human condition; Europe is the “birthplace of a transgressive civilisation”, ‘allergic’ to borders and limits<a href="#_ftn29">[29]</a>. Europe’s differences intermingle, but they do not merge, and hence, it is perfect for the transnational crossing of mental, legal and physical borders. The conflict of this renegade mode of existence nevertheless comes together in the shifting melody of a continent in the process of permanent self-improvement; such a legacy corresponds well with the constitutionally patriotic society, which encourages itself to constantly refine and improve upon its realisation of universal values and understanding of its history, in a ‘struggle for perfection’<a href="#_ftn30">[30]</a>. This evolution requires conflict, in the sense of ‘this can be done differently, and better’, and conflict requires diversity. Such a heritage has to be protected, and not threatened by the rational civic identity held commonly across the federation. It is what Weiler has called a ‘<em>differentity</em>’, a community of others.</p> <p>This leads to the second key; sovereignty. There are many who have argued along the lines I have, in favour of a Europe reconciling eros and civilisation and founding a dêmos which is disconnected from éthnos and culture. However, they usually go on to argue that such a ‘de-centred’ society would be ‘post-sovereign’ ‘post-decision’ or ‘post-state’<a href="#_ftn31">[31]</a>. Here, I fundamentally disagree. Firstly, to take Weiler’s argument head-on, in his description of the idea of differentity, he uses the example of a person as not having a real ‘identity’, in that who they are is made up of multiple, competing influences<a href="#_ftn32">[32]</a>. There is nothing identical about it. However, the argument breaks down when we reach the subject of decision-making; a person, though not uniform, is capable of making single decisions. One can evaluate their competing influences, and reconcile them in taking a course of action. Though I would warn against treating a political community as an individual, here I believe it makes sense to say that differentity within the body politic should not preclude an ability to take sovereign decisions as a single community; this is indeed the purpose of democracy. And this is the crux of the argument: for democracy to be real, for its meanings – autonomous, peaceful and stable self-government, influenced by the equally voices of its citizens (isegoría) – not to be rendered hollow, there must be an authority which has sovereignty, and that authority must be the people (in our case people<em>s</em>). They, through representatives and other means, must be able to install and dismiss governments, and through them, pass whatever legislation they please within the polity and within the constraints determined by their own constitution and values. If they are unable to do this, they are not sovereign, and they are not in a democracy; what has occurred in Europe, and I contend, what the ‘post-sovereign’ conception expects Europeans to accept, is that sovereignty has been taken and placed into a void, replaced by technocrats and councils of national ministers whose only authority has been granted by treaty and is hence illegitimate<a href="#_ftn33">[33]</a>. </p> <p>By contrast, a European democracy would require sovereignty to be reconstituted beyond the nation<a href="#_ftn34">[34]</a>, at the level of Europe, and borne by a single dêmos, united by its common politics (institutions, values, discourse), which is made up of multiple peoples (éthnoi). The fundamental point in this is that there must be an answer to the question of ‘who decides’<a href="#_ftn35">[35]</a>, and the answer in Europe must be the peoples, operating on a plane where they are not divided but acting together. This does not mean, nor does it need, unity in all matters – only in their common political action, in defining (and redefining) their common télos, they must be able to act together and direct their common institutions; in all other matters, diversity takes priority. Hence, we are talking about transcending boundaries, not policing them in a regulated ‘Community’, as some have argued<a href="#_ftn36">[36]</a>; citizens must be able to freely cross them, and operate above them in matters of common politics, while recognising their existence. Some have been very clear: the course we should adopt is to freeze the European construct where it is, as a symbol of postmodern, post-sovereign liberalism – a so-called ‘Liberal Order’<a href="#_ftn37">[37]</a>. The assumptions are that people pursuing different ends cannot be reconciled, and likewise, nations which are different cannot act together – only in some areas can and must they be forced within frameworks established internationally. This is the quintessentially Liberal Nationalist approach – privileging of collective, national identity on the world-stage over the identity of individuals as free citizens, and of ‘national’ interests over reconciled transnational ones. The fact is, such an order would mark the abandoning of all liberal, constitutional precepts of democracy in the age of globalisation; of individuality, of autonomy, of constitutionally legitimised law, of the very belief that democracy can reconcile diverging interests in areas of crucial mutual significance. In short, we cannot accept this view, for that precludes legitimate government from the globalised world, and means accepting unlawful despotism, controlled by the aforementioned over-class with no loyalty to any nation-state or democratic principles. Likewise, we reject the idea that constitutions can only be bestowed <em>octroyé </em>by existing power; legitimate authority can be founded by peoples alone.</p> <p>Through the previous paragraphs I believe I have constructed a distinct interpretation of supranationalism, which might be better defined as Transnationalism, as opposed to Community Internationalism or Liberal Order, pure intergovernmentalism, or a nationalist-statist Europe. My interpretation recognises that all these nationalisms have a tendency towards aggression, xenophobia and absence of solidarity across borders, and offers a method of how to counter this. Transnationalism is certainly constructed <em>in opposition</em> to the supranational technocracy that the Union is today. The fact is, despite Mitrany’s critique of ‘regionalism’, the Union of today represents the exact functional technocracy that he argued should replace the inter-state realpolitik of the inter-war and pre-1914 eras. </p><p>There are, I think, clearly discernible reasons why Mitrany and others like him were opposed to a restoration of nation-state-based international relations; in fact, they may even be similar to the ideas in the Ventotene Manifesto, that such a system is in fact anarchic. Their opposition to democracy<a href="#_ftn38">[38]</a> is also understandable, if misplaced. </p><p>Their belief in bureaucracy however, is sorely problematic. Officials that rule – technocrats – are not performing functions above political decisions, but are governing according to certain assumptions and beliefs. Weber’s ‘ideal type’ of bureaucratic power sheds light on the threat of bureaucracy to autonomous government and self-rule; its hierarchical, oligarchic power structure, demands for obedience, deference to authority and impenetrability<a href="#_ftn39">[39]</a>. Technocrats overruling decisions of democratic governments is just as illegitimate and despotic as the global over-class which can come to power under the Liberal Order. In fact, it is the other side of the coin, and a necessary element of a corporatist undermining of democracy. The interests of big capital can simply sidestep democratic politicians who require a popular mandate, and go straight to the bureaucrats who implement the rules<a href="#_ftn40">[40]</a>. With the inequality of representation inherent in corporatism, the bureaucrats will accept capital’s word as representing the only interests which matter, and will have no qualms about enforcing unpopular decisions. This was the objective of Hayek’s interstate federation; place key elements of public life beyond the reach of citizens and submit them to the homogenising and dehumanising influence of the market unbound<a href="#_ftn41">[41]</a>, its laws decided and maintained by technicians at the service of big capital, its participants stripped of all autonomy or self-determination, states reduced to self-destructive <em>Standortkonkurrenz </em>in the hopes of gaining the favour of the markets and capital. </p> <p>This kind of functionalism has no place for a politics of values – or politics at all. This is most importantly a lie, as technocracy is not apolitical, but despotic, and authoritarian. Technocracy enables there to be an absence of responsibility; on the part of the technocrats, who, though making decisions take no responsibility for the moral or political consequences of their actions; and on the part of the politicians, who take no responsibility for the authority of collective government and political discourse of Europe. </p><p>It is the technocrats’ role to enforce the current architecture; but if the architecture is faulty, it is politicians who must make the difference – and none want or are able to assume the role of deciding and leading in the world of technocracy<a href="#_ftn42">[42]</a>. The whole of the Union is united into a single, monolithic bureaucratic and legal structure, towering above the national level. However, there is no political structure placed on top of that. Normally the technical level is in service to the political level; in Europe, this is not the case. They are completely separate<a href="#_ftn43">[43]</a>. In this way, with technical power concentrated and political power diluted, politics is in service to technocracy. This is how democracy is made absent from Europe. </p><p>Bureaucrats do not wield their power openly, because they cannot - it is power which is not theirs but which they have been loaned by people who do possess mandates. Therefore, they must whisper in the ears of ministers and statesmen, hoping to convince them secretly and then mercilessly execute their supposed orders as if they had no choice. The wielding of such power - pretending to have none beyond following orders while in secret influencing those with authority - is despotic. Crucially, it has seeped into every nook and cranny of the European construct: "The operative maxim of the EU has become Brecht's dictum: in case of setback, the government should dissolve the people and elect a new one."<a href="#_ftn44">[44]</a> It should become clear then, that the imperative to democratise Europe is not just a technical illegitimacy – a trick of constitutional law – but an urgent priority to remove the ‘cartel of elites’<a href="#_ftn45">[45]</a> and their influence over European society, both for the sake of those in Europe, and as a challenge to this mode of rule across the globe. Transnationalism is an alternative to this mode of rule, which has the democratic imperative placed at its very heart, hence making it the keystone of this second Reformation of Europe. <span class="mag-quote-center">Transnationalism is an alternative to this mode of rule, which has the democratic imperative placed at its very heart, hence making it the keystone of this second Reformation of Europe.</span></p> <h2><em>The civic-state; beyond the nation-state</em></h2> <p>We have our alternative articles of faith to inform the Union’s reformation. However we have yet to consider concrete pillars to define its shape. It is to this that I now turn.</p> <p>There are two previous attempts to give tangible form to a political Europe: the Statute of the European Community, 1953; and the Draft Treaty establishing the European Union, in 1984. The former was drafted by an ad-hoc assembly of national parliamentarians from the six founding member-states, including Paul-Henri Spaak and Heinrich von Brentano; the latter was drafted by a committee of federalists led by Altiero Spinelli in the first European Parliament, elected in 1979. </p><p>The Statute of the European Community was Europe’s first attempt at political unification, and yet has been described as one of the most elegant constitutional documents to have been proposed in history, and one that should be a template for future European constitutions<a href="#_ftn46">[46]</a>. The federalist Guy Verhofstadt laments Europe’s failure to have its ‘Philadelphia moment’, when we could have carried the baton of political union over the finishing line and provided answers to the debates we are having in the current Union<a href="#_ftn47">[47]</a>. Monnet did not believe Europe was ready to make this step in 1954, when the Statute was rejected by the French Assemblée Nationale, however, Verhofstadt sees it as Europe’s greatest mistake of the post-war era. Unlike the 2004 constitutional treaty, the Statute was not overwhelmed by legal jargon and was hence compact. Furthermore, its aim was clear: to found a European Federation and a new, supranational sovereignty, underpinned by democratic institutions - recognising the legitimising authority and power of a representative parliament, which Verhofstadt points out, is not recognised in the current Union<a href="#_ftn48">[48]</a>. It provides for the representation of citizens and collective nations; it recognises that the Statute, rather than member-states arbitrarily, confer competences; it ties the supranational executive’s authority directly to the parliament – which has full legislative power - and separates the executive’s members from any corporate entanglements; it restricts the intergovernmental Council of Ministers to a secondary, harmonising role; it establishes a fledgling federal judicial system; it restricts corporatism to a purely advisory role; it prevents an increase in bureaucracy by relying on the established principle of indirect administration; it provides it with spending power under parliamentary control, necessary for a government to enact its agenda; and it establishes an enumeration of powers<a href="#_ftn49">[49]</a>. There is an echo of the Swiss system in this document, along with the German one, courtesy of the influence of von Brentano who was involved in the drafting of the German Grundgesetz<a href="#_ftn50">[50]</a>. </p><p>Turning to Spinelli’s draft treaty, it further introduces the ideas of transnational solidarity and respect for diversity, as well as establishing the principle of subsidiarity in European government; it establishes European citizenship; it introduces territorial boundaries to the Union; it explicitly states the preservation of peace and peaceful, stable coexistence between humans as a core objective of the Union; it establishes a process of judicial review for the Union; it provides a means of Union-coercion of member-states for breach of the treaty; and it provides a more detailed enumeration of powers which has some protections<a href="#_ftn51">[51]</a>. </p><p>It is clear the drafters, including perhaps Spinelli, had been influenced by the Union’s established practices, developed over the course of 30 years, and hence is less federalist and radical than the first. Both documents establish the constitutional idea that no document but this one can be considered as containing the governing norms and procedures of the Union. These are all aspects which relate to the effective functioning of a transnational European democracy.</p> <p>The Statute combined with the Spinelli Treaty offers the basis of what I believe should be the institutional shape of the European government, though there are of course sections we can dispute and alter, and we must bear in mind that no constitution is – or can be - perfect. A number of influences can be determined as to the nature of the construct the drafters of these treaties were trying to build. To these I wish to add further elements based on three further political theories, blending with the already-present influences and together making the European construct more distinct, and ensuring that it serves the transnationalist ends defined above. These theories are: the Kantian pacific federation; republican democracy; and federalism<a href="#_ftn52">[52]</a>; together they will be underpinned by the idea of a civic dêmos with universal values, facilitating a constitutionally patriotic identity which will hold the edifice together. The fundamental precept is that Europe should have a constitution which repeals all of the treaties and replaces them with a document, the legitimate authority of which originates from the European peoples. It is they, not the nation-states, who are the <em>pouvoir constituant</em> of the Union. With this foundation laid, we can turn to the first theory, establishing the Preliminary and Definitive <em>Articles of Perpetual Peace</em> in the European <em>pacific federation</em>. <span class="mag-quote-center">The fundamental precept is that Europe should have a constitution which repeals all of the treaties and replaces them with a document, the legitimate authority of which originates from the European peoples. It is they, not the nation-states, who are the&nbsp;<em>pouvoir constituant</em>&nbsp;of the Union.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>In <em>Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch, </em>Kant gives a series of ‘Articles of Perpetual Peace’, which would end the ‘State of Nature’ between states (which he called the State of War), and bring about the ‘State of Peace’. It is the definitive articles which demand our attention – they are: “<em>The civil constitution of each state shall be republican</em>”; “<em>The law of nations shall be founded on a federation of free states</em>” (the <em>pacific federation</em>); and “<em>The rights of men, as citizens of the world, shall be limited to the conditions of universal hospitality</em>”<a href="#_ftn53">[53]</a>. In the term 'republican', Kant meant that firstly all members of society were recognised as free and equal citizens subject to the same law, that citizens were represented in a government which acted by their consent, and that executive and legislative power were severed from one another in government. The first and second are recognisable today and are part of our modern understanding of democracy. The third Kant believes is in conflict with democracy, as his idea of severed executive and legislative power is that the two must be exercised by different classes of society; citizens may have legislative power but executive power should be exercised by a monarch or aristocracy (which he favoured). A democratic form of sovereignty (‘<em>forma imperii</em>’) is in conflict with a republican form of government (‘<em>forma regiminis</em>’); it is instead a despotic form of government. On the one hand, Kant argues significantly that a small, un-bureaucratic executive must be combined with a ‘real’ representation of the people for republicanism to be fulfilled, and this makes sense to me as well (note, small executive should not be confused with the idea of the minimalist state of Hayek’s imagining; the state should not be passive, for it is a tool the people use to exercise their sovereignty and ensure just, effective government. </p><p>Nevertheless, the state must not have the means to administrate every aspect of its citizens’ lives. However, I believe that our understanding of democracy and the separation of powers<a href="#_ftn54">[54]</a> has developed from 1795, so that our idea of ‘the people’ and their sovereignty can itself be divided – the people dividing their will into executive and legislative (as well as judicial) branches of government. ‘The people’ cannot be considered as a despot if power is effectively separated and limited, and if free citizens are considered as so – distinct individuals rather than a homogeneous mass. Citizens can and should place controls on their own sovereignty, and hence act peacefully and constitutionally, in cooperation with one another. Federalism helps to further develop the idea of a people that are not permanently united but are on several occasions willingly divided, through the concept of the clear enumeration of powers within a constitutional settlement, guaranteed by the courts. Habermas has made the further point that only in the writing of a constitution do the people exercise their will in an ‘undivided way’<a href="#_ftn55">[55]</a>. This relates directly to the role of diversity and the continued existence of European nations in the European Federation, layered on top of which is Kant’s Second Definitive Article: the federation should be composed of these free, autonomous republican states. </p> <p>Kant directly relates his idea of the state and sovereignty to a people or nation, and hence argues that the federation itself cannot be a sovereign ‘state of states’. It must nonetheless be capable of taming the sovereignty of nation-states and prevent them from going to war needlessly, acting as humans did in the state of nature. </p><p>There are two principles at the heart of this design then: that we cannot be frivolous in our treatment of war, as Clausewitz was in suggesting war was a continuation of politics<a href="#_ftn56">[56]</a>; and that the rights and liberty of free people must be protected, and cannot not be forced into a single state or empire. Instead a federation of states should bind them in peace, taming their actions in the state of nature without ending their existence. In the context of the European Federation, the autonomy of the European <em>peoples </em>must be recognised as protected; autonomy evidenced by the existence of separate nation-states prior to the formation of the Federation. The right to existence of Europe’s peoples as nations cannot be revoked, having been established in the creation of nation-states as vehicles not only for diversity, but also constitutional democracy and civic emancipation<a href="#_ftn57">[57]</a>. The Federation must be the reconciliation of the drive for self-government, grounded in European history and the will to diversity, with the desire for peace and contained conflict, and our common will to <em>be able to</em> <em>define </em>a common destiny. <span class="mag-quote-center">The Federation must be the reconciliation of the drive for self-government, grounded in European history and the will to diversity, with the desire for peace and contained conflict, and our common will to&nbsp;be able to&nbsp;define&nbsp;a common destiny..</span>The constitutional mechanics for this process, as a three-stage process, has been suggested by Habermas, whereby “the existence of democratically constituted nation-states is already presupposed”, operating alongside the citizens as <em>pouvoir constituant </em>and constitutional state as <em>pouvoir constitué&nbsp;</em><a href="#_ftn58">[58]</a>. This should be solidified in the establishment of republican states, as understood above, which will be autonomous and guarantee the continued diversity of the European continent.</p><p>There are several manifestations of this line of thought: first, that the fundamental precept of international law, that states are free and equal, must be included within the constitutional structure of the Federation, declaring the republics as manifestations of autonomous, distinct peoples, and hence must be represented equally; second, that the Federation will be constitutionally mandated to protect the diversity of its peoples in the form of peaceful conflict, enriching the diversity of opinion and expression necessary to democracy; third, the right of a republic to secede from the Federation will be guaranteed, as that of an autonomous, free people; finally, there shall be a clear and strict enumeration of powers negotiated in the constitution-writing process and guaranteed by that constitution and the courts, with the aim in mind of preserving as much of Europe’s diversity as possible, without prejudice to the maintenance of peace within the Federation. Thus, the republics shall be autonomous except where their interests or actions would clash, at which point the federation’s law would prevail, and interests would be reconciled and brought into harmony. This is the basis of subsidiarity I believe; where working apart would lead to conflict or self-harmful results – where compromise is necessary to maintain peace and harmony. </p> <p>Protection of such an order would require a sophisticated judicial doctrine which would guard the enumeration of powers laid out in the constitutional settlement. The alteration of that settlement would require constitutional amendment approved by peoples and citizens; hence the so-called <em>Kompetenz-Kompetenz </em>would be shared by the republics and the Federation in effect. An effect I believe important here would be the idea that socially destructive policies could not be implemented at the federal level by some nations on others, as this would provoke dislocation and potentially violent social conflict (as opposed to constructive peaceful conflict). Implementation of such policies, which can be described broadly as neoliberalism, will still be possible at the nation-state level. A final role for this judicial doctrine would be defining the boundaries of peaceful conflict, where the line is crossed from constructive to destructive and provocative; hence, a definition of hate-speech and how to prosecute it would be required, drawing on European traditions of this concept, and lessons from Europe’s collective history. At the foundation of all of this is that the European peoples have a right to self-determination and autonomy, but not independence; the idea that Europe’s peoples are independent is not only untrue but a counter-productive denial of history, and un-European. </p> <p>The creation and protection of this order, including legitimising far-reaching judicial action, requires democratic authority. Such an order is only compatible with democracy if the federation has the sovereign authority to act as it will, granted and directed by a dêmos of free and equal citizens capable of self-government; that can act on a collective plane, through collective institutions, in an attempt to seize control of its collective fate. Democracy legitimises the state-sovereignty required for the above order to act effectively – as autonomous republics where possible and collectively as a federal state where necessary. It will legitimise the critical breach in the ramparts of national sovereignty, achieved by Monnet and Hallstein’s technocratic Europe, but required by both Kant and Spinelli’s idea of the Federation. The federation of states will be constituted by Europe’s nations acting as an undivided dêmos and, on policy enumerated to the federal level in matters which have been determined to effect all within the federal state, that dêmos shall act together. </p><p>On all other matters, they shall act separately. Whether you are a citizen of the Union does not depend on whether you are also a national of a national republic – nationality is for the republics to decide. You acquire citizenship as a member of the united European dêmos, not as a member of an ethnic community. You are recognised in a constitutionally patriotic society nevertheless; an idea which necessarily underpins a political community like this. It removes nations from the foreground of political life, so that they lose the adversarial and violently conflicting nature which the nationalist-statist order had inherent within it. A last note on government form: the result of this complex balance between national autonomy and collective democratic sovereignty is that presidential government is unfit for the European Federation, and that parliamentary representation must directly control executive power. The power of a president with a popular mandate is not necessary, functional or legitimate in the European context. A president is in effect an elected monarch, which leads to bureaucratic centralisation, contrary to peace and harmony across national boundaries. A President is a chief, which will cause confrontation; parliaments are discursive enabling compromise &amp; reconciliation. No single person can embody and represent all of the European peoples. Parliament can instead fulfil this function legitimately. A ceremonial president should thus be chosen by the republics (peoples in diversity), with a cabinet government accountable to Europe’s citizens (peoples in unity) through parliament, and elected by it.</p> <p>With ‘republic’ as the basis of the Federation, Europe must have a thorough understanding of the theory of republican democracy, as the basis of a European federal democracy. At the core of republican democracy are two ideas which define it from the more individualist versions of democracy: ‘Roman Liberty’, understood as freedom from tyranny and domination; and the citizens of a political community uniting to seize control of their common fate, in order to define it themselves<a href="#_ftn59">[59]</a>. The former principle can be understood as Kant’s <em>perpetual peace</em> and freedom from violent conflict and those who would perpetuate it – as well as freedom from the realpolitik concept of ‘the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must’, the <em>inequality </em>of states, and all the injustices of the ‘State of Nature’. The latter can be understood in terms of the <em>civically-defined </em><em>dêmos</em>, the idea of transnational citizenship and a political community which enables diversity and freedom, but also demands common responsibility and solidarity between citizens; this is the symbiotic relationship between rights and duties. The former are hollow and value-less without the latter, for if we are to guarantee the former through our institutions and sovereignty, we must fulfil the latter to ensure a proper commitment to those institutions and society. </p><p>Related to these principles must be the idea of universal, humanist values, which define the European dêmos: we have begun to articulate these values above, and are bound by the idea that free and equal citizens which recognise each other as such have a right to govern themselves to the furthest extent possible. Naturally, all humans can hold these values, but they are defined as European because they come distinctly from the European experience; it is these values alone which define the European identity – that which binds them – more than anything else<a href="#_ftn60">[60]</a>. It is from this idea that Verhofstadt and Varoufakis have both argued that Europeans in truth have more in common than that which divides them, and hence are able to pursue a commonly defined destiny, or télos, as a united dêmos<a href="#_ftn61">[61]</a>; values are at the heart of identity. The natural course is to write these values into the Constitution as the definition of European identity, with the permanent demotion of nationally-defined identity to a passive, background role, rather than the primary justification for common government – the triumph of the ideas of the Enlightenment<a href="#_ftn62">[62]</a>. As the birthplace of these values, Europe must be the first to put them at the heart of its own self-understanding. Alongside these should be diversity, for the reasons articulated above, and for the fact that these values have enabled Europe’s appreciation of diversity, and desire to fight against homogenising, centralising influences. This is also the source, I suspect, of many Europeans’ resistance to today’s ‘Europe of Offices’<a href="#_ftn63">[63]</a>. It is the diversity born of these values which has set Europe on its continuous, unfinished, and hopefully unfinishable adventure, in search of utopia<a href="#_ftn64">[64]</a>; that is, a journey that is unfinishable yet must nonetheless be pursued.</p> <p>In terms of government itself, these values combined with republican-democratic principles leave us with some clear precepts of government: self-government and decentralisation, rather than centralised bureaucratic control, linking directly with the above-stated autonomy of the nation-republics; the strict protection of the enumeration of powers established in the constitutional settlement; and the representation of both citizens and national peoples at the federal level. </p><p>On the other hand, the other key is the sovereignty of the European peoples together as a single dêmos. The dêmos is the source of democratic action; it staffs the institutions of government and directs their actions through free discourse, voting and civil-society action among other means. Despite the attempt of nationalism to bind destiny (télos) with the nation (éthnos), in fact, destiny in a democracy is directly linked to the dêmos, as the entity which defines and controls its fate as free citizens through their government. Dêmos, then, is defined by a common political discourse and institutions, not the ethno-cultural definitions of nation. For these institutions and discourse to mean something, they must have a state and sovereign power. If citizenship can be decoupled from nationality, and dêmos (democracy) from éthnos, then why can the state, and its sovereignty, not be split from the nation? Citizenship, democracy and state-sovereignty are three elements which are eternally bound for any of them to have meaning or legitimacy; democracy must have a dêmos formed of equal citizens. However, those citizens’ rights and duties must be guaranteed by a state; they must be determined democratically and articulated in a constitution, legitimately granting the power of the state, which the citizens are equally subject to<a href="#_ftn65">[65]</a>. That power enables them to engage in the democratic process of determining their fate. The state is a tool of democracy; it is an illegitimate authority without democracy, and democracy is hollow and impotent without the state. This does not mean loyalty to the state, or any static conception of the constitution; this uncritical, submissive attitude to the state is a product of nationalism, and is eschewed by constitutional patriotism, which demands civil disobedience where necessary, in the name of the universal values we have named as those common to us, and facilitates stability where the state serves its purpose. Republican democracy in the Federation demands a critical attitude to authority and the use of power. </p> <p>Such an understanding enables a more nuanced approach to the use of power justified by majority-support. Republican liberty is the idea of freedom from tyranny<a href="#_ftn66">[66]</a>; this, among others, is a value which guides the use of state power by the dêmos. Hence, action by the dêmos cannot be tyrannical, justified by majority-support alone, but instead must be informed by these values for it to be legitimate and democratic. Democracy understood in republican terms is at the service to higher values - isegoría, liberty, solidarity, justice and diversity - defined and redefined collectively through discourse within the enlightened civic dêmos. At the heart of this interpretation is the need of society to reconcile ‘the unison’ with ‘the polyphonic’; that is, plurality with the need for common courses of action. That means the plurality of voices <em>is </em>respected - through the values of isegoría and liberty. Republican democracy demands both freedom from tyranny and the seizure of fate; autonomy on some issues, collectively-exercised sovereignty in others. Crucially, this places a heavy emphasis on the organisation of democratic politics. The current European Union fails miserably in this regard; the void of citizen politics has allowed economic interests to be privileged, exacerbated by the roots of the current institutions as a cartel-administration - hence the cast of the Competition Policy, trade relations, capital markets, the Common Agricultural Policy and emphasis in the eurozone on deregulation and austerity. These emphases are the hallmarks of institutions entirely orientated towards big capital, without any other points within its frame of reference; there are no other objectives and ideals within the agenda of the Brussels institutions. Corporatism intensifies the technocratic structure of the Union institutions: it nullifies the harmonising and pacifying effects of democracy, leading to incoherence, allowing big capital to exercise huge amounts of power over government, and the working classes to be appeased but subordinated. It is thus not surprising that neoliberalism has easily been adopted as the working-ideology of the institutions, as well as the idea that citizens are not still divided by class. This means the impact of the omnipresence of class within the body politic is neglected. By contrast, Spinelli and Rossi invoked us to build a society where we can act as equal citizens; where wealth and power disparities were not so great, where liberty was combined with solidarity, where politics was inclusive, democratic and respectful of the minority, where citizen autonomy and freedom were valued and meaningful across society’s classes. This is the project of the federation. <span class="mag-quote-center">Social justice and solidarity&nbsp;are instead at its core.</span></p> <p>The technocracy and corporatism within institutional politics is one side of a coin, the other being the total failure of political mobilisation and organisation of citizens at the European level, symbolised by the European Parliament as a ‘Merovingian legislature’<a href="#_ftn67">[67]</a>. Republican democracy does not recognise such a distorted attitude towards politics, where low politics is run by technicians and high politics by diplomats; it demands that we choose our fate rather than leaving it to economic forces, influenced as they are by corporations. Social justice and solidarity<strong> </strong>are instead at its core<a href="#_ftn68">[68]</a>. Without these, the sense of cohesion, a common citizenship and political project degenerates, and alternative sources of identity predominate – nationalism. Republican social solidarity combined with constitutional patriotism is then key for a cohesive identity which does not need nationalism to effectively exist. On this understanding, socially destructive economic policies would in any case struggle to be implemented federally, because that would be counter to the general éthos of the Federation. Neoliberalism founders on the bases of civic democracy and stability; it would ignore the imperative of republican self-representation, government and autonomy.</p> <p>These ideas relate to the last definitive article articulated by Kant, that citizens should receive hospitality wherever they go in ‘foreign territory’, which we should understand as territory not belonging to their nation. Already, freedom of movement and the civic rights linked with European Citizenship currently go some way to fulfilling this Article, extending the idea of being a citizen beyond the nation, if not to the whole world. The above articulated theory of republican democracy empowering a civic-state, with a transnational dêmos united by constitutional patriotism enables the idea of ‘citizens of the world’, which are recognised in all states, regardless of their nationality. It also enables a strong, <em>decentralised</em> democracy, privileging neither the centre nor the periphery, which would legitimise a state with the potential to realise both the <em>pacific </em>and <em>European </em>(understood as the universal values above) Federation. It is a more radical attempt at achieving Kant’s vision of bringing about an international ‘State of Peace’ than the tinkering proposed by Weiler, Garton Ash and others that want simply to put nation-states in chains by strengthening international power. These ideas aim to transform European life, the meaning of citizenship, the state, democracy and the dêmos. </p><p>That is a core purpose of the civic-state, to realise the Kantian principles of perpetual peace. To take democracy and make it transnational, spreading across borders; to decouple identity from static images and ethno-cultural blood-based definitions; to create a truly <em>post-national</em> Europe in Hallstein’s words, as an example for the world. Europe gave birth to these ideas and must be the first to truly embrace them. To realise the dissenting, transgressive, renegade nature of Europe which does not accept stasis, and challenges accepted wisdom in all spheres. </p> <p>The idea of ‘post-national’, or more precisely, <em>post-nationalism, </em>is critical to constitutional patriotism as a form of identity<a href="#_ftn69">[69]</a>, which enables us to elaborate on the issue of borders more precisely. In fact, neither Constitutional Patriotism, encouraging the opening of constitutional cultures and the gradual mixing of beliefs through critical self-reflection of them, nor Constitutional Synthesis, Fossum &amp; Menéndez’s theory accounting for the constitutional development of the current Union, integrating several national influences into a single body of law whilst simultaneously constructing a diverse patchwork of institutions, account for political demarcation. </p><p>Why determine ‘Europe’s’ borders anywhere in particular, especially when we have established ‘Europe’s’ identity as defined by its <em>universal </em>values? Here, I believe we must come back to autonomy. Firstly, the civic dêmos forms a state, as an expression of the democratic process, through its constitution, institutions, body of law, political discourse and interpretation of values; these alone cannot demarcate the boundaries of a state, hence there is no territorial element to the civic dêmos, nothing which defines it precisely – it is the subject of an inclusive and ongoing process. Instead, the territorial element of éthnos is required to give geographic expression to the civic-state. </p><p>The autonomy of the sub-continent’s nations must be recognised in their construction of constitutional democratic governments. Only they can have the authority to accede to the European Federation, adopt the principles of, and integrate themselves into the common dêmos. No one has the right to force them. The continued presence of the éthnoi within the Federation determines its boundaries; it itself is a purely civic entity, guided together by a single dêmos. It is given life, shape, direction and boundaries by the ethnic nations which accede to it, and in so doing, accept the opening of their borders, a commonly defined télos, a common discussion of the past (which grows with each éthnos which accedes), and the fundamental idea that these things can and should be shared with ‘others’, in a diversity which strengthens us all. The civic-state thus acts as a vessel – all the components of which make it universal - which needs to be filled by the particular national interpretations and historical experiences to turn it into something which has substance in the real world – to make the universal tangible. </p><p>An éthnos which does not want to join the process the civic-state embodies, will not. It will only if it believes in the values of, and its own ability to contribute to, the post-national entity, and has the consent of those éthnoi already within it. It is the prerogative of free nations to join the common endeavour and secede from it if they so desire. </p> <p>Federalism is the final theoretical component of the civic-state, providing a more sophisticated approach to the Federation and federal government itself and its relationship with the autonomous republics. Federalism attempts primarily to codify relations between the centre and the periphery, so that central power does not overwhelm and dominate the periphery. Decentralisation has historically been achieved by aristocratic, social control over the monarch as Montesquieu noted Britain had achieved, and which had been all but nullified in France by 1789, leading to an immense centralisation of power, the legacy of which, France still lives with today<a href="#_ftn70">[70]</a>. Montesquieu’s thought on the advantages of aristocratic, oligarchic rule over a centralised state clearly has influenced Kant’s thought on state forms in <em>Perpetual Peace</em>. Both believed that the removal of the aristocracy would lead to a despotic state; bureaucratic centralisation as a uniquely modern form of despotism<a href="#_ftn71">[71]</a>. Federalism aimed to replicate the controlling effect of the aristocracy and prevent centralised tyranny, without maintaining oligarchic government. Federalism is fundamentally protective of self-government then, and hence, democratic. It uses the law to protect interests at several levels of society<a href="#_ftn72">[72]</a>; in the civic-state, that is local, regional and national interests, alongside the common interest. Hence, this also entails several layers of state-authority, loyalty (modified as it is by constitutional patriotism), rights and duties; as this is all undertaken through law, the effective execution of judicial review is key to mediating the legitimate exercise of authority<a href="#_ftn73">[73]</a>. The significance of the enumeration of powers and its protection has already been mentioned. It is also significant however, for reconciling Kant’s concepts of democracy and republicanism, for federalism limits sovereignty, by creating separate spheres of authority.&nbsp; Unconstrained sovereignty indeed leads to unlimited power being exercised by a single agent; both constitutionalism and federalism create limits on that authority, enabling a democratic republic, which usefully Greek has reduced to one word: the <em>Dimokratía</em>.</p><h2><em>Contra un-federalist federations</em></h2> <p>From this, we can understand the problems of allocation of power in the current Union and the absence of theoretical understanding, and use federalism to properly critique the Union and plug gaps in the legitimacy of the Federation to be founded in Europe. It is clear, firstly, that the current unity/federal visions of the Union often touted by those pushing for further integration are in fact not truly <em>federalist</em>. Often technocrats in the Commission use the idea of federalism when in fact their objective is a more centralised, bureaucratised union, where the central institutions consume more power without any checks on the extent of their authority<a href="#_ftn74">[74]</a>. This is directly linked to the original design of the Union, which relied heavily on bureaucratic control of economic forces (cartelism), and is related to the French model of the state, which Monnet no doubt channelled as the Union’s chief architect and a member of the French government<a href="#_ftn75">[75]</a>. </p><p>This model has since predominated in the development of the Union’s institutions, where orders are issued from the centre and obeyed by the periphery, the centre necessarily wielding absolute power to advance the interests of the political class<a href="#_ftn76">[76]</a>. Particularly the Commission, as the head of this bureaucracy, and Court, enabling the upward-transfer of power unhindered, are the primary symbols of Brussels fully embracing the French state-model. The Court in particular has not guarded the enumeration of powers at all, propounding the widest interpretation possible of the ‘flexibility clause’ and the extent of the authority of the Council<a href="#_ftn77">[77]</a>. This is not democratic and not federalism. Federalism is not about <em>concentrating</em> power at a higher level, but <em>dividing</em> power effectively, establishing it at several levels to be exercised by several levels of the dêmos. It demands a <em>distinct</em> centre, not an oppressive or overpowering one. If we accept that authority can only be established at several levels with democracy at several levels, then it is clear that federalism demands democratic action across society, something the current form of the Union, and other un-federalist federations, undermine. </p> <p>There can be no bureaucratic government <em>for </em>the people under federalism, for federalism is supposed to counter the centralising, monolithic tendencies of post-feudal government. It must be government <em>by </em>the people<a href="#_ftn78">[78]</a>: republican, not individualist democracy; Greek, not Roman legitimacy. It is a rejuvenation of democracy informed by subsidiarity, judicial review and an active, fluid and dynamic political society. It is against stagnation. It prescribes the state as a tool of diversity, to be used at local, regional and national levels, rather than monopolised by any one vision of society; the institutional realisation of diversity, and guarantee of autonomy at all levels. It prescribes several centres from which the development of constitutional values can be cultivated, autonomy can be protected, government can be engaged in democratically, and conflict can be mediated. This is the vision of a truly <em>federalist</em>, rather than merely <em>federal</em>,<em> </em>European government. Naturally, it must be recognised that federations of all forms have a tendency towards centralisation in the long run<a href="#_ftn79">[79]</a>; this may be due to the mechanisms of bureaucratic government, however there are no doubt other factors. Crucially, federations lose sight of federalism; they lack other elements required to maintain a federalist governmental vision, such as self-government and a judiciary informed by the principle of subsidiarity. There are others in the idea of the civic-state: republican democracy that demands active engagement in government rather than the individualist consumption of bureaucratically-generated goods; a civic identity facilitated by constitutional patriotism, that eschews loyalty to tradition and the nation-state in favour of a critical approach to authority, and a discursive approach to meaning. Both of these ask the citizen to be actively involved in shaping politics and the will of fellow citizens in the dêmos, operating at several levels. The discourse theory of law comes into play here<a href="#_ftn80">[80]</a>, arguing that law is legitimate only by the involvement of citizens in authoring it, which necessarily involves opinion and will-formation. <span class="mag-quote-center">Federalism cannot occur through the back-door, but must be actively chosen&nbsp;– This is where the current approach of the European Project has fundamentally failed, and why there must be a Reformation.</span></p><p>Furthermore, the autonomy inherent in Kant’s vision of the pacific federation, preserving the diversity necessary to counter-act the homogenising tendencies of the metropolis, also supports federalism. This diversity, as the fundamental source of dynamism in the European spirit of transgression &amp; adventure must be built into the constitutional document. Critically, what must be taken from all this is that federalism cannot occur through the back-door, but must be actively chosen<a href="#_ftn81">[81]</a> – it cannot be a matter of systematic integration, to which there is no alternative. This is where the current approach of the European Project has fundamentally failed, and why there must be a Reformation.</p> <p>Some final thoughts are needed on the civic-state. Firstly, on identity, there are those which might argue that such a state with such power could not be sustained by an identity which does not draw on Eros; in other words, that is not national or ethno-cultural. The discussion above was aimed at making it clear why I believe a state which draws on Civilisation much more strongly, without jettisoning Eros completely, is in fact possible. Furthermore, it seems clear that a political community like the civic-state <em>could not</em> be informed or sustained by a national<em>ist </em>identity; that is, an arrogant, unquestioning, exclusive and possessive form of identity. The very spirit and purpose of such a state reject such an identity. The sober, critical process of constitutional patriotism, which is dynamic rather than static, is the source of identity for the new form of state; where people <em>identify</em> with the common project of fair government, rather than defer to a static <em>identity</em>. A project influenced by democracy, civil society, free expression and the spirit of exchange, discovery and enterprise. European identity, so understood, must be fluid and evolving. It can have no canon. The constitution represents a culture and history of evolving understanding of universal values, of our historical legacy, of our future path. It is the guarantee of the ability to conduct those discussions and realise those evolved understandings in society; the real potential for change. </p><p>Like Kadmos in search of Europa, we will not discover something fixed, but must build it ourselves, according to our own design<a href="#_ftn82">[82]</a>. The patriotism of the dêmos is in this <em>process</em>, underpinned by the normative concept of equal and free citizens, guided by the question of how to best live peacefully together, informed by these universal values, rather than in a fixed catalogue of values and enforced interpretations, or pride in the state. The state is a tool and an embodiment of this process, not something that itself commands citizens’ loyalty. Essential among these universal values is diversity – the idea of living in a ‘community of others’ in Weiler’s words. Europe would fight to protect and encourage diversity, as peaceful, contained conflict and difference; influences which intermingle, but do not merge. Transnationalism, as the path to the global, rather than realpolitik-internationalism or technocratic-infranationalism; the idea of crossing the mental, legal and physical borders of the nation, to others and appreciating all that intermingles therefrom. The creation of culture, but not a uniform, homogeneous culture; instead a diverse, conflicting culture which is critical and leads to common self-development. This allows us to transcend the nation in a way not as callous and hollow (or authoritarian) as the Hayekian vision (the Catallaxy), or even as dispassionate as the original conception of the Kantian pacific federation. It is not as unimaginative as the ideas of ‘Liberal Order’ or ‘Community’ Internationalism, which rely on divided sovereignty; ours is radical, democratic, republican and reformative. </p> <p>Finally, a return to Ventotene. In the manifesto, Spinelli and Rossi claim that the new dividing line in politics is no longer between right and left, but between those who seek to conquer the power of the nation-state for traditional ends, and those who seek to use the power of the nation-state as an instrument for achieving international (meaning global) unity. I disagree that this is the only line that matters, though in truth, the dichotomy between nationalism and internationalism is bound up with the dichotomy between the rearguard of old-world privileges, and the vanguard of a more just and progressive world. </p><p>Nevertheless, the civic-state does take the power of the state, previously monopolised by the nation, and uses it as an instrument for achieving a more universalist, humanist vision of mankind, even if we must begin in Europe. Furthermore, the civic-state<strong> </strong>addresses the problems of the three aspects of modern civilisation which, according to the manifesto, have caused its crisis: the sovereign independence of nations, the corruption of democratic government, and the distortion of the spirit of rational criticism. </p><p>The federalist civic-state as outlined above preserves national (and lower) autonomy whilst depriving nations of the sovereignty that makes their relations adversarial, their citizens subjects, and their principles hollow. Republican democracy aims to exorcise the corrupting influences on democratic government, placing social justice, freedom from tyranny and determination of our common fate at the foundation of government. Criticism is restored by constitutional patriotism, which places a critical approach to tradition, loyalty and authority at the heart of identity, making the citizen’s relationship with the state less deferential and more active. </p><p>A European Federation is one of the few objectives which can be a source of rejuvenation for Europe, specifically its values and ideas in the wider world, a source of empowerment for its citizens, and a tool to solve the problems of the post-modern world. However, it will not be these things as a ‘network’, or a post-sovereign confederation, or an enlarged nation-state, or even as ‘the United States of Europe’. It can be these things as a <em>civic-state</em>, which truly embraces Civilisation with Eros, and embeds them in a real constitution. This reformation into a ‘Union of European Nations’ will not be easy to achieve, and will not be perfect once it has been. But it offers us something tangible and different; it offers us democracy in Europe, which we in DiEM25 believe is necessary to save the European idea. Europe will be democratised, or it will disintegrate, and with it, this generation’s hopes for a better world. Here, I provide an alternative.</p> <p><strong><em>Bibliography</em></strong></p> <p>Anderson P. <em>The New Old World. </em>London: Verso. 2011.</p> <p>Bauman Z. <em>Europe: An Unfinished Adventure. </em>Cambridge: Polity Press. 2004.</p> <p>Carchedi G. <em>For Another Europe: A Class Analysis of European Economic Integration. </em>London: Verso. 2001.</p> <p>Garton Ash T. <em>History of the Present: Essays, Sketches and Dispatches from Europe in the 1990s. </em>London: Penguin Books. 2000.</p> <p>Goldsworthy A. <em>Pax Romana: War, Peace and Conquest in the Roman World. </em>London; Weidenfeld &amp; Nicolson. 2016.</p> <p>Habermas J. ‘Reply to Grimm’. <em>The Question of Europe</em> ed. Anderson P &amp; Gowan P. London: Verso. 1997.</p> <p>&nbsp;Habermas J. <em>The Lure of Technocracy. </em>Cambridge: Polity Press. 2015.</p> <p>Hallstein W. <em>Europe in the Making. </em>New York: Norton. 1972.</p> <p>Hayek F.A. ‘The Economic Conditions of Interstate Federalism’, <em>The New Commonwealth Quarterly</em>, 5:2, 131-149, 1939.</p> <p>Holland S. <em>Europe in Question: And what to do about it. </em>Nottingham: Spokesman Books. 2015.</p> <p>Hroch M. <em>European Nations: Explaining their formation. </em>London: Verso. 2015.</p> <p>Kant I. <em>Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch </em>translated Campbell Smith M.<em> </em>London: George Allen &amp; Unwin. 1903 (Original, 1795).<em>&nbsp;</em></p> <p>Marsili L &amp; Milanese N. <em>Towards a transnational democracy for Europe. </em>European Alternatives. 2011.<em>&nbsp;</em></p> <p>Marquand D. <em>The End of the West: The Once and Future of Europe. </em>Woodstock: Princeton University Press. 2012.</p> <p>Mitrany D. ‘The Prospect of Integration: Federal or Functional’. <em>Journal of Common Market Studies. </em>4:2, 119-149. 1965.</p> <p>Monnet J. <em>Memoirs. </em>London: Third Millennium. 2015 (Original, 1978).</p> <p>Müller J.W. <em>Constitutional Patriotism. </em>Woodstock: Princeton University Press. 2007.</p> <p>Münchau W. ‘European values are more important than economics’, <em>Financial Times, </em>19th June 2016.</p> <p>Pettit P. <em>On the People’s Terms: A Republican Theory and Model of Democracy. </em>Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2012.</p> <p>Rossi E &amp; Spinelli A. <em>The Manifesto of Ventotene: For A Free and United Europe. </em>cvce.eu. 1941.</p> <p>Siedentop L. <em>Democracy in Europe. </em>London: Penguin Books. 2001.</p> <p>Spinelli A. <em>The Eurocrats: Conflict and Crisis in the European Community. </em>Baltimore: John Hopkins Press. 1966.</p> <p>Van Middelaar L. <em>The Passage to Europe: How a Continent became a Union. </em>Totton: Yale University Press. 2014.</p> <p>Varoufakis V. <em>Adults in the Room:</em> <em>My Battle With Europe's Deep Establishment. </em>London: The Bodley Head. 2017.</p> <p>Varoufakis V. <em>And the Weak suffer what they must? Europe, Austerity and the threat to global stability. </em>London: The Bodley Head. 2016.</p> <p>Verhofstadt G. <em>Europe’s Last Chance: Why the European States must form a more perfect Union. </em>New York: Basic Books. 2017.</p> <p>Vile M.J.C. <em>Constitutionalism and the Separation of Powers. </em>Indianapolis: Liberty Fund. 1998.</p> <p>&nbsp;Weiler J.H.H. <em>The Constitution for Europe: "Do the New Clothes Have An Emperor? " And Other Essays on European Integration. </em>Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1999.</p> <p>Weiler J.H.H. ‘Does Europe need a Constitution? Demos, Telos, Ethos and the Maastricht Decision’. <em>The Question of Europe </em>ed. Anderson P &amp; Gowan P.<em> </em>London: Verso. 1997.</p> <p><strong><em>Notes and references</em></strong></p> <p><a href="#_ftnref1">[1]</a> Weiler, ‘The Reformation of European Constitutionalism’, <em>The Constitution of Europe,</em> p.230</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref2">[2]</a> Goldsworthy, <em>Pax Romana, </em>p.133-40</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref3">[3]</a> Anderson, <em>The New Old World, </em>p.484</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref4">[4]</a> Holland, <em>Europe in Question, </em>p.91-2</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref5">[5]</a> Spinelli &amp; Rossi, <em>A Manifesto for a Free and United Europe, </em>cvce.eu</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref6">[6]</a> Hroch, <em>European Nations, </em>p.39, 50-1</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref7">[7]</a> Ibid.<em> </em>p.50-5, 62-6</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref8">[8]</a> Marquand, <em>The End of the West, </em>p.128-9</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref9">[9]</a> Van Middelaar,<em> The Passage to Europe, </em>p.252-4</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref10">[10]</a> Mitrany, ‘The Prospect of Integration: Federal or Functional’, <em>Journal of Common Market Studies, </em>p.124-6</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref11">[11]</a> Anderson, <em>The New Old World, </em>p.501; Habermas, <em>The Lure of Technocracy, </em>p.30, 51-5</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref12">[12]</a> Marsili &amp; Milanese, <em>Towards a Transnational Democracy for Europe, </em>p.8-9</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref13">[13]</a> Bauman, <em>Europe, </em>p.70</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref14">[14]</a> Monnet, <em>Memoirs, </em>p.296</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref15">[15]</a> Weiler, ‘Fin-de-siècle Europe: do the new clothes have an emperor?’, <em>The Constitution of Europe,</em> p.250</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref16">[16]</a> Weiler, ‘To be a European Citizen: Eros and Civilisation’, <em>The Constitution of Europe, </em>p.330-2</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref17">[17]</a> Ibid. p.347</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref18">[18]</a> Müller, <em>Constitutional Patriotism, </em>p.1-2, 59-60, 65</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref19">[19]</a> Ibid. p.29-30, 63</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref20">[20]</a> Ibid. p.32-4, 66-7</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref21">[21]</a> Ibid. p.68-9</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref22">[22]</a> Ibid. p.65</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref23">[23]</a> Marquand, <em>The End of the West,</em> p.84-5</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref24">[24]</a> Ibid. p.121-2</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref25">[25]</a> Bauman, <em>Europe, </em>p.124-130</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref26">[26]</a> Münchau, ‘European values are more important than economics’</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref27">[27]</a> Müller, <em>Constitutional Patriotism, </em>p.32</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref28">[28]</a> Bauman, <em>Europe, </em>p.60, 77-8</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref29">[29]</a> Ibid. p.7</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref30">[30]</a> Ibid. p.8</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref31">[31]</a> Müller, <em>Constitutional Patriotism, </em>p.126-30, Weiler, <em>The Constitution of Europe,</em> p.269-71, 341-3</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref32">[32]</a> Weiler, ‘To be a European Citizen: Eros and Civilisation’, <em>The Constitution of Europe, </em>p.328-9</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref33">[33]</a> Varoufakis, <em>And the Weak suffer what they must?, </em>p.221-3</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref34">[34]</a> Ibid. p.101-4</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref35">[35]</a> Müller, <em>Constitutional Patriotism, </em>p.126-7</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref36">[36]</a> Weiler, ‘To be a European Citizen: Eros and Civilisation’, <em>The Constitution of Europe, </em>p.339-40</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref37">[37]</a> Garton Ash, <em>History of the Present, </em>p.323-31</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref38">[38]</a> Marquand, <em>The End of the West, </em>p.106</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref39">[39]</a> Holland, <em>Europe in Question, </em>p.36-7</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref40">[40]</a> Carchedi, For Another Europe, p.29-34</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref41">[41]</a> Hayek, ‘The Economic Conditions of Interstate Federalism’, <em>The New Commonwealth Quarterly, </em>Vol.V, No.2<em> </em>p.137</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref42">[42]</a> Varoufakis, <em>Adults in the Room, </em>p.323-8</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref43">[43]</a> Ibid. p.434-5</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref44">[44]</a> Anderson, <em>The New Old World, </em>p.58</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref45">[45]</a> Ibid. p.62</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref46">[46]</a> Monnet, <em>Memoirs, </em>p.394-5</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref47">[47]</a> Verhofstadt, <em>Europe’s Last Chance, </em>p.7</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref48">[48]</a> Ibid. p.28-9</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref49">[49]</a> <em>Draft Treaty embodying the Statute of the European Community, </em>cvce.eu</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref50">[50]</a> Ibid. p.29</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref51">[51]</a> <em>Draft Treaty establishing the European Union, </em>cvce.eu</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref52">[52]</a> Bauman, <em>Europe, </em>p.68-9, Marquand, <em>The End of the West, </em>p. 131-3, Spinelli, <em>The Eurocrats, </em>p.19-20, Hallstein, <em>Europe in the Making, </em>p.292-3</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref53">[53]</a> Kant, <em>Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch, </em>translated M. Campbell Smith, p.120, 128, 147</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref54">[54]</a> Vile, <em>Constitutionalism and the Separation of Powers, </em>p.1-23</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref55">[55]</a> Habermas, ‘European citizens and European Peoples’, <em>The Lure of Technocracy,</em> p.34</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref56">[56]</a> Bauman, <em>Europe, </em>p.40</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref57">[57]</a> Hroch, <em>European Nations, </em>p.89-94</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref58">[58]</a> Habermas, ‘European citizens and European Peoples’, <em>The Lure of Technocracy</em>, p.45</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref59">[59]</a> Marquand, <em>The End of the West, </em>p.131-4</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref60">[60]</a> Bauman, <em>Europe, </em>p.125</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref61">[61]</a> Verhofstadt, <em>Europe’s Last Chance, </em>p.34-5</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref62">[62]</a> Ibid. p.79</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref63">[63]</a> Spinelli, <em>The Eurocrats, </em>p.25, van Middelaar, <em>The Passage to Europe, </em>p.2-6</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref64">[64]</a> Bauman, <em>Europe, </em>p.129</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref65">[65]</a> Siedentop, <em>Democracy in Europe, </em>p.81-5</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref66">[66]</a> Pettit, <em>On the People’s Terms, </em>p.92-4</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref67">[67]</a> Anderson, <em>The New Old World, </em>p.60</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref68">[68]</a> Pettit, <em>On the People’s Terms, </em>p.77-81</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref69">[69]</a> Müller, <em>Constitutional Patriotism, </em>p.63</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref70">[70]</a> Siedentop, <em>Democracy in Europe</em>, p.6, 105</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref71">[71]</a> Ibid. p.2, 6</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref72">[72]</a> Ibid. p.94</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref73">[73]</a> Ibid. p.95-6</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref74">[74]</a> Ibid. p.115-7</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref75">[75]</a> Holland, <em>Europe in Question, </em>p.36-41</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref76">[76]</a> Siedentop, <em>Democracy in Europe, </em>p.107-13</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref77">[77]</a> Weiler, ‘The Transformation of Europe’, <em>The Constitution of Europe, </em>p.39-63</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref78">[78]</a> Siedentop, <em>Democracy in Europe, </em>p.125-8</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref79">[79]</a> Weiler, ‘The external legal relations of non-unitary actors’, <em>The Constitution of Europe, </em>p.130-6</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref80">[80]</a> Habermas, ‘Keywords on a Discourse Theory of Law’, <em>The Lure of Technocracy, </em>p.47-50</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref81">[81]</a> Siedentop, <em>Democracy in Europe, </em>p.80</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref82">[82]</a> Bauman, <em>Europe, </em>p.1-2</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sam-hufton/treatise-on-european-government-international">A Treatise on European Government: on the international and the problems of the treaties</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> EU </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? EU Civil society Democracy and government International politics Sam Hufton DiEM25 Thu, 07 Sep 2017 06:00:00 +0000 Sam Hufton 113158 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Normalising torture https://www.opendemocracy.net/victoria-brittain/normalising-torture <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="Body">On impunity, and the erosion of ethics in International Human Rights Law - from Guantanamo to Yemen.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="Body"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Screen Shot 2017-09-04 at 17.04.54_0.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Screen Shot 2017-09-04 at 17.04.54_0.png" alt="lead " title="" width="460" height="258" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Screen shot of Real News coverage of the Mitchell/Jessen confidential legal settlement.</span></span></span>Ten years ago Murat Kurnaz, a Turk from Bremen, wrote these words, in his book <em>Five Years of My Life, an innocent man in Guantanamo. </em>“We have to describe how the doctors came only to check whether we were dead or could stand to be tortured for a little longer.” The words shocked at the time, but since then the appalling details of US torture practices as part of the ”war on terror” and the involvement of the medical profession are well known – published by the US Senate as well as by several of the men who were subjected to them.</p> <p class="Body">Today everyone knows about US torture. Everyone knows it is unethical, illegal, unconstitutional. But the fight for accountability only inches forward. <span class="mag-quote-center">Today everyone knows about US torture. Everyone knows it is unethical, illegal, unconstitutional. But the fight for accountability only inches forward.</span></p> <p class="Body">Two weeks ago in a landmark case against impunity for torture, two US military psychologists reached a confidential settlement with tortured former prisoners rather than face a jury trial which would have begun this week. <em>(ie Sept.5) </em>For many months lawyers for the two men, Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell, had made multiple attempts to have the case dismissed. </p> <p class="Body">There are British precedents for such payoffs to prevent a trial. Six years ago the UK government came to a confidential agreement with former Guantanamo prisoners to keep MI5 and MI6 documents and personnel out of a court case concerning complicity in torture and rendition. Similarly they later paid a Libyan couple who had been victims of rendition rather than face them in court.</p> <p class="Body">The Mitchell/Jessen case is a sharper focus. The two men designed, oversaw, participated, and trained others to carry out the CIA’s torture programme of men which most notably marked the Bush administration’s attack on International Human Rights Law.&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body">The normalisation of torture, and the demonising of Muslim men are among the terrible legacies of the war on terror. Six Muslim countries – Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen – have been militarily devastated when in fact the terror acts of 9/11 should have had a police and legal response. </p> <p class="Body">Instead doctors, other medical personnel, lawyers, bureaucrats, the military and politicians created a lawless jungle as they flouted international law and their own countries’ laws. </p><p class="Body"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Kurnaz_odg.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Kurnaz_odg.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Murat Kurnaz, former Guantanamo Detainee from Bremen/Germany, 2011. Wikicommons/Oliver Das Gupta. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p><span class="mag-quote-center">The normalisation of torture, and the demonising of Muslim men are among the terrible legacies of the war on terror.</span>Today’s counterterrorism programmes across the world – used almost entirely against Muslims – build on the new norms created by the US and some of its allies. The deeply serious international legal enterprise of Nuremberg and the accompanying UN Conventions 70 years ago, in establishing individual responsibility and accountability for inhuman acts, was to guard us against a degraded world. The <a href="https://www.waterstones.com/book/east-west-street/philippe-sands/9781474601917">spell-binding new book</a> by lawyer Philippe Sands should be required reading for our times.<a href="#_ftn1">[1]</a></p> <h2 class="Body"><strong>Yemen today</strong> </h2> <p class="Body">Yemen today is an example of where we are. For more than two years a Saudi-led coalition, supported by the US, has been bombing and blockading this devastated impoverished country. The uncounted civilian casualties are also suffering from starvation and a rampant cholera epidemic. Thanks to the work of Human Rights Watch, Amnesty and Associated Press we know too that in the name of counterterrorism Yemen today has a network of secret prisons run by United Arab Emirates and Yemeni forces. Torture is routine and US advisers participate in interrogations of suspected Al Qaeda/ISIS prisoners. Some of these men and boys are reportedly interrogated on US ships while others are held in the UAE military base at Assab in Eritrea. </p> <p class="Body">So, we are still in the post-9/11 mode of Muslim men “disappeared” from many countries, held in secret sites across the world, ending up in Guantanamo Bay where some died in hidden CIA torture facilities on that US base. </p> <p class="Body">The Donald Rumsfeld/Dick Cheney/George Bush narrative of “the worst of the worst”….men who “hate our freedoms” ….set a dangerous anti-Muslim tone which has had lasting effects - not least in how the West treats refugees today. The majority of these men had committed no crime against America, as US academic and legal work established more than a decade ago. <span class="mag-quote-center">The majority of these men had committed no crime against America, as US academic and legal work established more than a decade ago.</span></p> <p class="Default">Later this month in a grim victory for the US government’s evolving new counterterrorism practices, a Washington court will hear a case where lawyers have argued unsuccessfully that US constitutional rights were violated. Ahmed Abu Khattala was kidnapped from his home in Libya in 2014 by a secret US Special Forces team and held on board ship for 13 days of interrogation before being charged with 18 counts, including murder in the 2012 attacks in Benghazi that killed US Ambassador Christopher Stevens.</p> <p class="Body">But the Mitchell/Jessen settlement is a landmark precedent. Torturers can be brought some way towards account in the US. The two were paid more than $81 million for their work as contractors to the CIA. They began it in a secret prison in Thailand with a wounded Palestinian, a Saudi citizen. Abu Zubeyda was water boarded 83 times in a month and suffered most of the brutal practices made public in the December 2014 summary of the US Senate report into torture in CIA secret prisons. The Senate report called the practices “brutal and ineffective.”</p> <p class="Body">Zubaydah’s treatment was the template of the “enhanced interrogation techniques” created by Dr Mitchell and Dr Jessen, according to John Rizzo, senior CIA lawyer at the time. Prisoners were kept in small boxes, thrown against walls with a towel round the neck held by the torturer, kept naked with icy water poured over them, forced to hold stress positions, held upright in shackles for days to prevent them sleeping, and worse. None of this was supposed ever to become public knowledge. John Kiriakou, former CIA chief of counterterrorism in Pakistan went to prison for being a whistleblower on waterboarding. Video tapes of the prisoners’ torture, including Abu Zubeydah’s, were ordered destroyed by the CIA’s head of counterterrorism Jose Rodriguez. The Senate report revealed that some of the intelligence officers watching these scenes cried, others left the programme. </p> <p class="Body">Zubeyda had already given important information to the FBI interrogators who stayed with him when he was first captured. The CIA, Mitchell and Jesson were sure there was more to be had, by torture. But Zubeyda had nothing more to tell.</p> <p class="Body">By the end of the year Zubeyda had been shipped to a secret CIA site in Poland. Only years later did the US quietly admit that every charge against Zubaydah was false – he had never been a member of Al Qaeda. FBI officials had known that all along. Astoundingly however today he remains at Guantanamo Bay. The Senate report revealed that Washington had accepted his torturers’ request that if he survived the torture he would never be freed.</p> <p class="Body">Declassified filmed depositions from Jessen and Mitchell, obtained by the NYT and made earlier this year in legal preparations for the case show the men justifying what they did, claiming the experiences in their programme were not painful but “distressing”, “uncomfortable”, “irritating”, “discombobulating”. They claimed too they acted under pressure from CIA counterterrorism boss Jose Rodriquez and others in calls from Washington to keep on pushing for the information which would “keep Americans safe from fresh threats.”&nbsp; The case forced Rodrigues and the CIA lawyer Rizzo also to testify in the depositions.</p> <p>Jessen says on film he was still&nbsp; “very convinced” the programme would cause “no lasting harm” to the subjects. In another video Rodrigues too says the same. Astounding judgments considering one of the men in the case had actually died. Nobody who has read the detail of the Senate summary report, or <em>Guantanamo Diary</em> by the wholly innocent former prisoner Mohamedou Slahi who was tortured to breaking point, could have anything but utter contempt for such assertions. <span class="mag-quote-center">“This twisted logic ­– saying that because i was kidnapped, tortured and held captive for so many years this is the reason to violate my civil rights some more – is just beyond the pale.” </span></p><p class="Body">Video depositions were also made by the two surviving former prisoners in the case, Suleiman Salim from Tanzania and Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, a Libyan. Here are stark pictures of quiet men whose lives have been destroyed. Neither can bear describing the pain they suffered - Mr Salim breaks down at the question. Their faces, body language and lives today show just how deep is the lasting harm. Mr Ben Soud speaks of nightmares that he is still in the prison shackled, and of deep anxiety, while Mr Salim reveals how post-prison he is isolated, cannot manage to be with people, keeps to himself and feels “so weak I can’t do anything.” </p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Mohammedou_Ould_Salahi.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Mohammedou_Ould_Salahi.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="625" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Mohamedou Ould Slahi. Photograph taken by ICRC at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Wikicommons/ International Cttee. of the Red Cross. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>Slahi’s book, written while still in Guantanamo, was a best seller, translated into many languages. His determined lack of bitterness, sense of humour and insight into the politics behind what had happened to him as the Americans shifted him from country to country for torture in a fruitless attempt to link him to the war on terror, has won him a world audience. But today he is stuck at home in Mauritania, denied a passport. A recent email gives a vivid picture of how this clever, curious man, an inveterate traveller and student, has had his life closed down. This is what he wrote to me recently: “To be honest with you i'm really sick and tired of having been punished for so many years because i was born in Africa. And tired of being afraid all the time. This twisted logic ­– saying that because i was kidnapped, tortured and held captive for so many years this is the reason to violate my civil rights some more - is just beyond the pale. At this very moment, my doctor told me that I have to seek medical treatment outside the country. But I have no passport to do so. This is not a game. I was operated on in Gitmo and i'm still suffering excruciating pain which my Mauritanian doctors couldn't figure out.” </p><p class="Default">Many other former Guantanamo prisoners are still denied passports, like Slahi, and thus deprived of family contact, in some cases job opportunities or, like Slahi health treatment.</p> <p class="Body">In these 15 years I have spent a good deal of time with the families of Guantanamo prisoners, and one thing I have heard many times from wives and children - and some of the men – is that noone released from Guantanamo is the same person who was taken there. Nor does the impact ever end – not just psychologically, as anyone can see in the faces of Salim and Ben Soud, but in how the world treats them – as Mohamedou Slahi’s note illustrates. </p> <p class="Body">Jesson and Mitchell were sued by Salim and Ben Soud who survived the psychologists’ “enhanced interrogation techniques” and by the family of the third man, Gul Rahman, who died in Afghanistan in CIA custody in November 2002. </p> <p class="Body">Rahman was interrogated by Jessen personally for 48 hours. Mitchell too participated in one session and also administered a mental health status exam and provided an assessment of interrogation measures. Later one lead CIA staff officer at the secret site codenamed Cobalt told investigators that “Rahman was the responsibility of Jessen.” The psychologist watched the prisoner subjected to a “hard takedown,” where he was “dragged from his cell.” He had his clothes cut off, his hands taped, and a hood was put on his head. He was run up and down a hallway and “sometimes stumbled and was dragged.” He was also “slapped and punched” in the stomach. When the two psychologists left Cobalt, Rahman was on an interrogation plan prepared by Jessen which included subjecting him to freezing temperatures. Six days later Rahman froze to death, shackled and naked from the waist down. The temperature in his cell was 2.2 degrees centigrade, or 36 degrees fahrenheit. His family were not told he had died.</p> <h2 class="Body"><strong>Not responsible</strong></h2> <p class="Body">The former prisoners’ suit was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. The official ACLU statement on the settlement gives a flavour of the hard fight for accountability. It says, “ Drs Mitchell and Jessen assert that the abuses of Mr Salim and Mr Ben Soud occurred without their knowledge or consent and that they were not responsible for those actions. Drs Mitchell and and Jessen also assert that they were not responsible that they were unaware of the specific abuses that ultimately caused Mr Rahman’s death and are also not responsible for those actions.”</p> <p class="Body">The ACLU is one of the many US lawyers groups who have spent the last 15 years in dogged attempts – mostly unsuccessful – to uphold US laws and International Human Rights Law against successive US administrations. British and other European lawyers have also fought against our governments’ role in complicity in torture, kidnapping and denial of human rights law.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/dem15-mj-suleiman-mohammed-soud-bio-1160x864.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/dem15-mj-suleiman-mohammed-soud-bio-1160x864.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="395" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Mohammed Ahmed Ben Soud. ACLU. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>As a result of these lawyers’ work Poland, Canada and the UK have, under pressure, paid damages to a fraction of the ‘war on terror’ prisoners. But none of the other countries which hosted CIA sites, like Afghanistan, Lithuania and Thailand, or which took over US prisoners for torture – Egypt, Morocco and Jordan – have acknowledged, paid compensation or apologised for what these prisoners of the US suffered at their hands. </p><p class="Body">And as for the US, Washington has regularly refused even visitor visas to men, like Murat Kurnaz, the Turkish citizen living in Germany, who was held for five years in Guantanamo, and who they had to admit to having wrongly imprisoned; or Mahar Arar, the Canadian/Syrian telecommunications engineer who the Americans arrested as he changed planes in New York after a holiday and sent to Syria where he spent a year of torture, much of it in a coffin-sized box. Mr Arar was one of the many victims of the Orwellian-sounding practice of “extraordinary rendition”, which was actually state kidnapping.</p><p class="Body"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/View_of_judges_panel_during_testimony_Nuremberg_Trials_1945.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/View_of_judges_panel_during_testimony_Nuremberg_Trials_1945.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="372" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>View of judges panel during testimony at the Nuremberg Trials, 1945.Wikicommons/ United States Army Signal Corps photographer. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span></p> <h2 class="Body"><strong>Nuremberg</strong></h2> <p class="Body">We need a truthful narrative of a dark dark period when America leaders opened a Pandora’s Box called counterterrorism.&nbsp; Many thousands of people were and are complicit in the massive web of deception, illegality, cruelty and Islamophobia touched on here. </p> <p class="Body">The CIA lawyer mentioned above, John Rizzo, is one of 12 Bush administration lawyers and other officials including former president Bush and vice president Cheney named in 2015 by HRW as among those who should be investigated for “conspiracy to torture and other crimes.” Mitchell and Jessen are named as part of the conspiracy.* <a href="#_ftn2">[2]</a></p> <p class="Body">The powerful lawyers and politicians who should be accountable to the world for normalising torture and deliberately dismantling human rights safeguards for us all have been embraced by the power of the establishment into top jobs in legal firms or academia or government and probably feel themselves protected in their impunity. The precedent of the Mitchell/Jessen case should prove them wrong.</p> <p class="Body">What is at stake now is preserving for our common civilisation the international architecture of human rights law – Nuremberg and the UN Declaration of Human Rights, set up in the idealistic chastened aftermath of World War 2 as the basis of a wholly different<strong> </strong>world from the barbarism of that war. The growing barbarism of today is more threatening because no powerful government admits their culpability in it.</p> <hr size="1" /> <p class="Footnote"><a href="#_ftnref1">[1]</a> East-West Street, On the origins of genocide and crimes against humanity, pub Weidenfeld and Nicholson</p> <p class="Footnote"><a href="#_ftnref2">[2]</a> <a href="https://www.hrw.org/report/2015/12/01/no-more-excuses/roadmap-justice-cia-torture#page">https://www.hrw.org/report/2015/12/01/no-more-excuses/roadmap-justice-cia-torture#page</a></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/victoria-brittain/murder-in-guantanamo">Murder in Guantanamo </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/victoria-brittain/dangerous-game-reply-to-gita-sahgal-and-her-supporters">Dangerous game: a reply to Gita Sahgal and her supporters</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openjustice/frances-webber/uk-government-will-be-held-accountable-for-complicity-in-torture-and-rend">UK government will be held accountable for complicity in torture and rendition </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? North-Africa West-Asia uk openJustice Victoria Brittain Tue, 05 Sep 2017 08:15:42 +0000 Victoria Brittain 113175 at https://www.opendemocracy.net A Treatise on European Government: on the international and the problems of the treaties https://www.opendemocracy.net/sam-hufton/treatise-on-european-government-international <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This treatise on constitutional European government has been prepared for a <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/diem25">DiEM25 debate</a>. The argument here for moving beyond the 'international', is based on a critique of the EU treaties. <em>(Long - 6,000 words)</em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-23619390.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-23619390.jpg" alt="lead " title="" width="460" height="295" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>The first senate of the German Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) in Karlsruhe (Baden-Württemberg), 2015. Uli Deck/Press Assocation. All rights reserved.</span></span></span><em>One of the goals in DiEM25’s <a href="https://diem25.org/progressive-agenda-for-europe/">Progressive Agenda for Europe</a> is to initiate a constituent process – to imagine a democratic pan-European constitution and the process that may lead to it. We’re already making good progress in this long enterprise, with the conversation well under way amongst members across Europe. In this two-part series, London DSC member Sam Hufton shares his thoughts on such a constituent process as a contribution to our conversation. Sam looks first at why Europe’s existing treaties are failing its citizens… and then at how the European idea can be saved. Here’s part 1.</em></p> <p>The problem with founding a constitutional order on the basis of treaties has been amply discussed by observers of the European construct for decades, and from the crucial decade of the 1990s in particular. Chief among these concerns is that in reality, treaties are international law. Treaties are drafted by ministers of state and diplomats and not by the people to which they will apply; it is the states rather than their citizens, who are the ‘High Contracting Parties’. </p><p>The result of this is the fact that in our political discourse and in law they do not carry the same weight as a real constitution. In European politics, the treaties are not referred to as the authority defining or guaranteeing our rights and duties to one another, nor as an example of our common involvement in and control over the Union – because they are not. They are creatures of intergovernmental conferences, not citizens’ politics. </p> <p>Related to this is that the treaties lack the democratic legitimacy of constitutional law. By making the member-states the ‘Masters of the Treaties’, the people are explicitly cut out from the pouvoir constituant, having only an indirect influence over the treaties’ content. In theoretical terms, we can say that the treaties effectively fulfil the <em>material</em> role of a constitution, as defined by Fossum and Menéndez<a href="#_ftn1">[1]</a>, but not the <em>formal</em> or <em>normative</em> roles. Specifically, the Union does not have a normative constitution understood as a democratic constitution; the Union and its founding documents do not fulfil or attempt to fulfil the highest standards of democratic legitimacy. Instead, there are a series of legal norms and practices to which reference is made as fundamental in the integration of the political community. These are not <em>formally </em>recognised as a constitution; they nevertheless act in the functional, <em>material</em> sense as a constitution, in that they govern the functioning of the Union. </p> <p>One of the most common assumptions about constitutions is that they are intrinsically linked to states. This could be taken as one reason why the founders of the Union chose to use treaties between states rather than any document written by citizens or democratic representatives of citizens. Even those proposals by such representatives (drafts from 1953, 1984 and 2004) were all proposed as treaties. While on the one hand it doesn’t seem necessary to tie a constitution intrinsically to a state, the link is important, in that a state is a powerful tool of democracy. More importantly, the Community exercises the sovereign power of a state; as Grimm argues<a href="#_ftn2">[2]</a>, rather than the state which exercises it, it is sovereign power itself which requires legalisation and legitimisation by a constitution. </p> <p>In legalising and providing rules governing the Union, the treaties fulfil their role sufficiently. However, they are insufficient as a source of legitimisation for sovereign power, as 1) they are not <em>formally</em> recognised as such (providing legality but not legitimacy), and 2) they are not informed by the <em>norms</em> of our society, particularly democracy, to the extent that they should be (the law has not been established democratically). Democratic legitimacy requires a political community to reconcile its material and formal constitutions so that the latter reflects the former (and continues to do so) – so that the real rules and norms of political life are given <em>formal</em> status in a document. The democratic establishment of law is achieved when there is a ‘master document’<a href="#_ftn3">[3]</a> of which the citizens are authors; authors who determine those rules and norms.</p> <p>A constitution provides legitimacy for the exercise of sovereign power through its <em>democratic </em>legalisation; it is distinct from treaties in that it is formal and informed by the norm of democracy. The key to the legalisation of sovereign power by means of a constitution is that it is citizens who deliberately and actively author the document, rather than their governments, placing the democratic process at the foundation of the governing order. In short, ‘The legitimation of rule by those subject to it’<a href="#_ftn4">[4]</a>; something treaties are explicitly unable to achieve.</p> <p>The basis of the argument is the existence of a constitutional legal order in Europe without any underlying <em>constitutionalism</em><a href="#_ftn5">[5]</a> – a ‘constitutional culture’<a href="#_ftn6">[6]</a>, which stems from the normative constitution. Effectively, the reason for the existence of the European legal order, the basis of the decision to construct one and the process towards that decision, do not exist. There are several elements on which to base a European constitutional order: democracy would be one; transnationalism, another. Treaties are unable to provide the necessary basis for a constitutional culture; they do not recognise citizens as free and equal - the basis of democratic society - but states, which control the drafting of the treaty. The states drafting the treaty is the equivalent of the rulers drafting the constitution, rather than the ruled. Those citizens have not collectively agreed to a process of mutual justification of political action, cooperation in government and the exercise of power. The treaties do not recognise the citizens as the constituent power, and hence, are not and cannot be informed by them and their discussions.</p> <p>To clarify; we are bound by a <em>material</em> constitution (represented by the treaties), which governs the rules and norms of European public life and to some extent national public life. Europeans are subjects of community law as is the case in no other international legal regime, where, as Weiler points out, even the participating states and governments rarely act like subjects of the law. However, this constitution has no status or underlying ethos: the ideals and norms within it firstly do not adequately reflect those ideals and norms within our national constitutional structures, they are not the product of a democratic discourse – hence, democracy is not among them – and they have lastly not been enthroned as the Constitution of Europe. In effect, European citizens are subject to law, the basis of which, they did not authorise or discuss. The result is the absence of legitimacy necessary to underpin such an order.</p> <p>A Europe of treaties has allowed the creation of an entity which none of we citizens recognise as ours. It is characterised by market-fundamentalism, austerity, authoritarian memoranda of understanding, callous refugee deals with Turkey; a complete absence of solidarity. This is Hayek’s Europe of no democratic control and unfettered markets, where all decisions are made beyond the sight and control of citizens, and our enslavement to our economic conditions becomes an immutable fact of life. The undemocratic vision of a soulless ‘<em>interstate federation’</em><a href="#_ftn7">[7]</a> has been established over the heads of citizens and their democratic politics and there is no one there to be held accountable for it. </p><p>Treaties take place outside of democratic politics; they are divorced from it, just as prescribed by the interstate federation. The justifications have been peace and economic prosperity; laudable goals yes, but not when used to distract in a bread-and-circus fashion from the absence of democratic self-government. <span class="mag-quote-center">A Europe of treaties.. is characterised by market-fundamentalism, austerity, authoritarian memoranda of understanding, callous refugee deals with Turkey; a complete absence of solidarity.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>There has been some desperate rearguard action in this regard in an attempt to defend the existing construct without conceding the crucial battle that would suggest its defeat. The judgements of the German Bundesverfassungsgericht on the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties have tried to describe the Union as an international order precisely because of the absence of the democratic process in the drafting of the treaties, and with it, the absence of the democratic norm within them. The argument that there is no European dêmos, and with that, that there can be no European democracy, is supposed to lead us to the conclusion that there can be no constitution and thus the Union is an international construct. The result is that our normal democratic standards need not apply. Some of the Union’s top lawyers have adopted, whilst not the entirety of the Court’s argument, the idea that the democratic standards we hold as fundamental, do not have to apply to the Union, and hence we should ‘try and continue to imagine new and specific democratic controls over the EU’s actions’<a href="#_ftn8">[8]</a>. I think ‘new and specific’ here can clearly be understood as ‘weaker’. </p><p>Another result intended by the Court is that the Union reins in the constitutional construct and with it integration, so that the cracks in the edifice they are desperately trying to cover up do not become too large to ignore. However, this has not happened. Other forces have been allowed to run far ahead of what constitutional courts can control; the aforementioned interstate federation is now progressively infiltrating all aspects of the Union. Comitology and the surrounding ‘infranational’ process takes place outside of democratic controls and has not been addressed after successive treaty-revisions. </p><p>The treaties are not the source of these problems however; they are the enabling apparatus. They give a platform for politics to take place above citizen-led democratic politics and they justify the lack of democratic control over the processes and institutions of the union. They have created a Europe which rules through the abrogation and nullification of democracy. </p> <p>In DiEM25, we are committed to <em>l’idée européenne</em>, and the European ideal. The <em>idea</em> of a united continent where nations once divided by war and borders now coexist within and cooperate on the direction and purpose of a common political community. The <em>ideal</em> of a political community that is democratic; that is peaceful; that is post-national and post-imperial; that truly embodies the universalist values developed in the Enlightenment which spurred our ancestors on to the overthrow of Europe’s ancien régime. One which at the same time preserves, recognises and appreciates the intense levels of diversity and difference which makes Europe distinct from other parts of the globe; where that diversity of culture and opinion is taken as a value in itself to be protected. One which reconciles ‘Eros and Civilisation’<a href="#_ftn9">[9]</a>. </p><p>And yet no <em>international</em> regime has the power or can have the power over citizens that the European Union has. Europe is currently an international regime without a mandate and, with that in mind, the legal order that exists must be <em>constitutionalised</em>, through democracy and a formal and normative document which is our constitution. Ideological mantras cannot be allowed to govern this continent without contestation. The democratic norms which serve as the foundation of our society must be brought into the European constitutional order, through a real constitution as the very bedrock of democratic government. Treaties <em>cannot </em>fulfil this role, the crucial role of the social contract. Treaties are contracts between often unequal powers; a constitution is a contract between equal citizens in the formation of their common government – that is, a common desire to rule themselves. </p> <p>The principle at the heart of the Democracy in Europe Movement is that the European Union needs democracy as one of its fundamental norms in order to survive and be legitimate. Its material and formal constitution must be informed by this normative idea. For this purpose, the treaties are no good. To say that Europe’s citizens are the authors of the treaties because they can veto the result is dishonest; they can neither specify which parts of the Treaties they dislike nor amend them themselves. Instead governments have to interpret their intentions, and without having been given a mandate to do so. It would be foolish to argue governments in Europe are elected on the basis of their stance and negotiating strategy towards the Union. The treaties and the process which creates them therefore must be replaced by something which does symbolise democracy, through existence and process; which is directly informed by it. This is the purpose of a constitution: to overturn this treaty-based international order which has been forced upon us and yet justified by ends we do sympathise with.</p> <h2><em>Problems of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe</em></h2> <p>In essence, the problems of the so-called ‘Constitutional Treaty’ are all the problems of the treaties, however made worse by the deception inherent in the spurious use of the term ‘constitution’. Given the chosen process and stated intent of the European Heads of State and Government who called for the treaty, it seems clear that the word ‘constitution’ to give definition to this document is plainly wrong. </p><p>The combining of the use of the terms ‘Minister’ and ‘laws’ in reference to European legislation (rather than Directive or Regulation), alongside historical imagery of constitutionalism (the ‘Convention’ and Philadelphia) ramps up the extent of the confusion to severe levels, given that transformation from essentially a confederation with a centralised bureaucracy to a real federal union was never even entertained among the objectives of the treaty. Jean-Claude Piris explains this baffling use of terms as a concession to the federalists in the Convention and among the national governments, who wanted the treaty to go further than a mere polishing up of the treaties. He concedes that the use of ‘constitution’ for a document that is plainly not a constitution in the historical normative sense, is confusing and undermined public understanding and acceptance of the document. However, this still doesn’t fully explain the use of ‘constitution’.</p> <p>When looking at the Laeken Declaration, the document calling for a ‘Convention on the Future of Europe’ and a revision of the treaties, it becomes clear that the misuse of the term constitution by the European political classes surfaces from the very beginning, as well as more general misunderstandings of the role, purpose and expectations of the edifice that they had constructed. The Declaration begins with a lot of self-congratulation, talking of the Union’s democratic legitimacy, fair distribution of economic development and general success in maintaining stable peace internally. The first is, as we’ve discussed, plainly false and the second leaves much to be desired. However, it is following from this, that the general divorced perspective of the authors of the Declaration becomes clear. Despite the open talk of democracy, it never arises that the Union itself should actually answer to the citizens. There are lots of changes to the institutions mentioned, but none of them really involves placing the institutions at the service of the citizens, in the name of whom they were supposedly established. </p> <p>Two problems arise from this. The first is that Europe’s political leadership assume that the Union is supposed to satisfy its citizens as a business satisfies its customers; it should divine their needs and wants and use its expertise to provide for them as best as it can, seeking token approval and ratification every so often as a marker as to whether it is doing a good job or not. This is what van Middelaar has termed the ‘Roman Strategy’ of gaining legitimacy; that is, the strategy used by the Roman Empire after it abandoned its republican heritage. </p><p>Instead, it focused on providing goods, social and public or otherwise, to its ‘citizens’, as a replacement for any common identity or democratic government<a href="#_ftn10">[10]</a>. Citizens have called for strategies, they want solutions; they have wants and politicians satisfy them like a marketplace - effectively the liberal-individualist theory of democracy advanced by Schumpeter<a href="#_ftn11">[11]</a>. In other words, the official fin-de-siècle, ‘bread-and-circus’ version of politics, desperately trying to satisfy a deeply unsatisfied and disempowered citizenry<a href="#_ftn12">[12]</a>. This is the language in which the Declaration’s framing of democracy is delivered. </p><p>The second issue is that Europe’s politicians cannot conceive of a democracy that is transnational. In their statements that the Union’s institutions must improve without actually fulfilling the democratic purpose of answering and being directed by the citizens, I see the assumption that democracy can only work with an ethnically-homogeneous <em>national </em>dêmos. This is the interpretation of the Bundesverfassungsgericht in Karlsruhe and is the lesson learnt from the disintegration of Yugoslavia. The idea that a dêmos can be forged through the use of democratic institutions and conduct of the democratic process alone, underpinned by citizens with a respect for real democracy, is alien to them.</p> <p>This is not the only absence of developed understanding, leading us to the question of ‘constitution’. The political classes had a square supposedly to circle; how to bring citizens closer to the Union, without empowering them through creating a real, Europe-wide democracy through a constitution and – supposedly – there founding a “European super-state” which would “inveigle” its way into “every nook and cranny of life.” </p><p>In using the term constitution, therefore, the European elite meant it only in the material, functional sense; how do we codify clearly the procedures and practices of the Union? We might also think they intended to make this a formal arrangement, however, the fact that this is still a ‘Constitutional <em>Treaty</em>’ undermines this; we are still talking in international law. </p><p>Crucially however, in the absence of a reconciled formal and material constitution without a democratic, deliberative process, we are lacking the <em>normative </em>element which makes a constitution legitimate and gives it its <em>legitimising </em>power as the foundation of a sovereign government. Hence, we must also conclude that the convention itself was misnamed, it being a mere advisory rather than decision-making body as in the US, 1787.</p> <p>The aforementioned Piris, legal advisor to the Convention and subsequent Intergovernmental Council, has put forward a comprehensive defence of the treaty and its nature. It rests on a few major elements: that the constitution was not intended to transform the Union into anything notably different from what it is; that a simple constitution is impossible due to the Union’s nature; and finally, a certain understanding of democracy that enables the Union to in large part escape criticism – one that I would thus criticise as unrecognisable to any true democrat. </p><p>On the first point, Piris argues that the real purpose of this exercise, rather than transformation, was rationalisation; that is, rationalisation of the legal morass that is the treaties. To that end, the constitution effectively cuts the 2800 pages of legal language down to around 200 pages in a single document, not including protocols and declarations annexed to the treaty. Theoretically, there would be just one constitutional treaty rather than 17; in addition, the ‘pillar-system’ would be abolished, a single legal personality would replace the previous 3 and the 15 legal instruments used by the Union would be reduced to 6. Given this, Piris concedes it may have been confusing to citizens who saw this as a constitution when in reality it changed little of substance in the document. He writes himself "no fundamental changes are made to the substantive content of the present text of the treaties". Instead we talk of restructuring, simplifying and streamlining; an exercise in legal precision and intricacy. If we look at the Laeken Declaration, this can certainly be discerned, even as the attempt is made to give a sense of momentousness to the event. </p><p>Nevertheless, the glossing over of the false use of ‘constitution’ is unsatisfactory. This is not merely an unfortunate word choice, the one moment when the sophistication and precision slipped, but a deliberate choice to cannibalise a concept which had no place in the process conducted after Laeken. This is worsened by the fact that the attempt to reduce the complexity to comprehensible levels fails to materialise. Piris asserts that a ‘pocket constitution’ like the US or even German constitutions would have been impossible. This he puts down to the unique nature of the European Union as a complex instrument of ‘multi-layered government’ - though certainly <em>not </em>a federation. </p><p>In fact, if the EU were a straightforward federation it could follow the more well-known and better understood precedents of federal government. Instead, Piris is adamant, the EU is totally unique – sui generis – and so it requires a much longer constitutional text, so that the governments can precisely control what the Union institutions can and cannot do. </p> <p>That this assertion does not hold up, and what’s more is damaging to the Union as a whole, ties in with the specific concept of democracy used by Piris and others to absolve Europe of its worst democracy-deficient offences. His understanding rests on the idea that our commonly developed democratic standards, stated in a common European document, the ‘Copenhagen Criteria’, apply to states rather than all governing entities, and hence cannot be applied to the Union<a href="#_ftn13">[13]</a>. Added to this, is the idea that sovereignty, the ability of a government to exercise control over any aspect of public life, according to the rules laid down in the constitution, should be abandoned<a href="#_ftn14">[14]</a>. Finally, we have the embrace of the Roman-esque, bread-and-circus politics, assumed as necessary on the implicit assumption that real democracy as understood at the state-level requires an ethnically homogeneous dêmos. </p> <p>To return to the matter of control of the Union, it is well-documented that the condition of the Union’s control of the boundaries of its competences – enumeration – is notoriously weak. Taking from Weiler<a href="#_ftn15">[15]</a>, the Court of Justice, responding to and urging on the political developments in the Council coming to a head in the 1966 Luxembourg Compromise, has effectively not policed the boundaries of the enumeration of powers between the Union and the member-states since the 1970s, so that almost any competence of national governments is effectively within the scope of Union-reach. This is legally enabled by the so-called ‘flexibility clause’, retained by the constitutional treaty, and built on with the so-called ‘shared competences’, which the Union and the member-states share until the point one legislates in a certain policy-area, after which the other side may not legislate in. The flexibility clause itself states that the Council may decide to legislate in areas not explicitly conferred upon the Union in the interest of ‘attaining the objectives of the Constitution’. </p><p>In the 1970s, the European Court was given the opportunity to better define and perhaps limit this clause of the treaty; it declined, and since, control of the Union’s competences has been in the hands of the national ministers in the Council alone. <span class="mag-quote-center">At the base of this, and of the whole treaty’s take on the Union’s democratic problems, is the idea that a ‘people’s Europe’ should&nbsp;benefit&nbsp;the citizens. Not that it should answer to the people as its citizens, or serve them, or exercise their will.</span></p> <p>This links with the understanding of democracy adopted by Piris and the majority of the Union’s functionaries in several ways. At the base of this, and of the whole treaty’s take on the Union’s democratic problems, is the idea that a ‘people’s Europe’ should <em>benefit </em>the citizens. Not that it should answer to the people as its citizens, or serve them, or exercise their will as determined in democratic debate, public opinion and elections, among other channels, but that it should benefit them. With this in mind, all that matters in the ‘Europe-will-be-judged-by-the-results-it-delivers’ approach, is the efficiency with which the Union delivers results and can demonstrate them. The language of ideas and principles is gone, particularly those of democratic government, which include the separation of powers, the enumeration of powers in a clear, codified federal settlement, and the control of governing institutions by citizens who form a dêmos and intend to govern themselves. </p> <p>According to Piris, it was too difficult to draw up a comprehensive demarcation of competences and instead the exclusive, shared and supporting categories will have to do, throwing the federal idea of an agreed and fixed settlement of power established at different levels, rather than one level (the national) granting and conferring powers as it sees fit, out of the window. This is the language of devolution, where powers are granted by central authority to peripheral institutions so long as this serves the interest of the central authority. Conversely, powers are being devolved up to a central bureaucracy rather than down as they are in Britain. </p><p>The effect on democracy is the same however; citizens do not have real control over the demarcation of powers as in a federation. They cannot rely on power to remain fixed in certain places unless a major effort is made to change the settlement. Power is granted by a single entity, where power resides exclusively, to other areas, without concern for democracy, or subsidiarity, or self-government; but with concern alone for the ability of that single entity – in our case the national governments – to shape the rules of the whole affair to their favour. Thus, the Union is still stuck in its cartel-like administrative origins<a href="#_ftn16">[16]</a>, thinking sectorally and in terms of management and appeasement, rather than openness to citizens and control of power; where not democratic legitimacy but pure efficiency is the sole priority of government; the function of government stripped of its normative content. <span class="mag-quote-center">Thus, the Union is still stuck in its cartel-like administrative origins, thinking sectorally and in terms of management and appeasement, rather than openness to citizens..&nbsp;</span></p> <p>The assumption is made that member-states becoming part of a wider federal entity would necessarily entail a weakening of their national identities and cultures; that a constitutional European federation would amount to “attempting artificially to build an improbable ‘super-nation-state’”<a href="#_ftn17">[17]</a>. This is based on the idea that true a sovereign democracy requires an ethno-culturally homogeneous dêmos in order to function properly, and so if the EU were to become a federal state, it would have to homogenise the member-states in some way. </p><p>This, I believe, is not a truth that Europe must accept. A citizenry that transcends nationality, a dêmos without éthnos, that is truly transnational, is in fact possible. Accepting otherwise, that for democracy to work it must be national and ethnically homogeneous, is both closed-minded and unimaginative, failing to meet our ancestors in envisioning new forms of government, and failing to rise to the occasion of the challenges of our modern world. Ethnic homogeneity is neither something to be desired, nor to be expected in the coming years and decades. A democracy must be capable of going beyond it, that <em>crosses</em> borders in the spirit of <em>trans</em>nationalism rather than <em>inter</em>(between)nationalism. </p> <p>The result is that sufficient control is supposed to be exercised through national ministers in the Council, national parliaments and regional bodies in the Committee of the Regions. On the first, the idea that national ministers are capable of exercising democratic control, effectively over <em>themselves</em>, is ridiculous. Ministers sit in the Council of the EU, a legislative body, as well as their national ministries. In their ministries, they answer to their Heads of State &amp; Government, who sit in the European Council, an executive body, which determines the general direction of the Union. Hence, they both write policy and scrutinise it; executive and legislative power combined, all supported by a single, integrated bureaucracy. Headed by the European Commission but primarily manned by national civil services under the control of national ministers, this machine is totally under the control of a small group of people able to pull all the necessary levers to command an entire continent; something totally impossible at the national level, with all its transparency and parliamentary control. <span class="mag-quote-center">Hence, they both write policy and scrutinise it; executive and legislative power combined, all supported by a single, integrated bureaucracy.</span></p><p>Added to this is the comitology procedure; Piris explains it as effectively the legislation passed by the Council but implemented entirely by the Commission, with the potential for amendment by the Commission<a href="#_ftn18">[18]</a>. Control over this procedure is given to informal committees nominated by the member-state governments; ‘representatives’ who are mid-level national and EU bureaucrats, and an array of ‘private bodies’ – the vast majority corporate lobbyists - with special access to the institutions, neither at the national nor supranational but ‘infranational’ level<a href="#_ftn19">[19]</a>. </p><p>With such weak political mobilisation at the European level, corporate interests have mobilised instead with great ease and to great effect<a href="#_ftn20">[20]</a>, a direct result of cartelism. To think that national parliaments can make up the difference in this enormous chasm of accountability and legitimacy is ludicrous. With no guidelines on how to judge ‘subsidiarity’, no specific legal support or resources for the task and very little time to review the entire EU legislative programme in addition to their national workloads, it seems impossible that national parliaments could do a satisfactory job. And this is putting aside the fact that the Commission isn’t obliged to change its proposals, and the Court of Justice has shown itself unwilling to police enumeration. What goes for national parliaments goes doubly for regional bodies. <span class="mag-quote-center">A citizenry that transcends nationality, a dêmos without éthnos, that is truly transnational, is in fact possible.</span></p> <p>Other criticisms have come thick and fast from other observers of the constitutional treaty. An idea which sums it up in its entirety is Fossum and Menéndez’s charge of ‘octroyé constitutionalism’<a href="#_ftn21">[21]</a>; that is, ‘granted’, in the sense that constitutional questions are answered “in the name of the people but not with them”. You can see this in much of the language of the Declaration, the treaty and Piris’ defence; lots of statements about what should be done or what has been done on the peoples’ behalves, but no recognition of the fact that they were largely absent from the proceedings, or inkling that they should have been present, in order to legitimately call this a constitution. </p><p>In the same vein as this is Weiler’s earlier observation that people in the Union may be subjects of European law but that this does not make them European citizens: citizens are not only <em>subject to</em> the law but are, through our various methods, <em>authors of</em> the law<a href="#_ftn22">[22]</a>. We are not granted rights, but empower institutions to guarantee the rights we determine ourselves. This is not the European reality, and certainly not that envisaged by the octroyé constitutional treaty. Müller notes the double-intent of the European elites, who envisaged a treaty written by them but named ‘constitution’ in order to conjure up legitimacy<a href="#_ftn23">[23]</a> – some sort of magic ‘spirit of Philadelphia’, imbued by the will of ‘we, the people’ in theory if not in reality. The intention was to create the effect of a constitution, simply by being named one, without actually having to undertake a constitutional process that would cede control of the European construct to the citizens from whom they’d kept it for so long. They created “expectations they were neither able nor willing to fulfil”<a href="#_ftn24">[24]</a>. A key element of this misunderstanding was the maintained air of mystique, complexity and open-endedness which left many citizens unable and unwilling to grapple with it. Müller argues that even if the idea of a continuously developing Union could be a good one, making it so indeterminate and complex leaves it distant and incomprehensible to its very citizens, which is a failure in terms of democracy<a href="#_ftn25">[25]</a>. <span class="mag-quote-center">The intention was to create the effect of a constitution, simply by being named one, without actually having to undertake a constitutional process that would cede control of the European construct to the citizens from whom they’d kept it for so long.</span></p> <p>This final criticism brings us back to our initial position; the failure of this document was due to an attempt to write a constitution without democracy, and more fundamentally, without politics at all. Luuk Van Middelaar notes on the first matter that the Spanish government, in their main push for citizenship, had their eye on ‘Roman’ benefits for nationals rather than the creation of ‘Greek’ democratic legitimacy<a href="#_ftn26">[26]</a>; already a poor start. Again, being presented ‘octroyé’ unforeseen new citizenship without consultation or clarification did not improve but if anything undermined the Union’s legitimacy<a href="#_ftn27">[27]</a>. </p><p>When the time came, these citizens were forced in alongside the states in the gap filled by the pouvoir constituent<em>, </em>recognised as citizens but not a people to preserve the illusion. However, they didn’t fit: unbeknownst to them they had constituent power and a new constitution. At this range the illusion of constitution without constitutionalism could not last long. Unease at the new constitution they had no real power over, and its uncertain place alongside the national constitutions, led to a rupture which killed it. With the reversion back to treaty, the citizens were once more stripped of their constituent power; Europe was unprepared for democracy it seemed. At its first attempt at politics, it failed<a href="#_ftn28">[28]</a>. </p><p>One of the keys to this failure as Marquand points out is the total absence of depth, complexity or values from the European political discourse on the Union, and particularly in this instance <a href="#_ftn29">[29]</a>. These concepts had evaporated in the fin-de-siècle euphoria of bread and circuses; the euro, the single market, the Erasmus programme. The related political theory of neofunctionalism, that integration is a functional process advancing systematically from one economic and administrative sector to the next, has no place for political debates or values, and nor did its adherents want them. Ultimately, a constitution in this context serves a purely material purpose – it is a series of rules. This was not the intention of the neofunctionalist <em>méthode Monnet, </em>however as Marquand says, the means have eclipsed the ends&nbsp;<a href="#_ftn30">[30]</a>.</p><h2><em>Eclipsed ends</em></h2> <p>A final key point I will make is on eclipsed ends. One of the principal ends of the European Project was the expulsion of war from the European continent, and with it, I believe, the transformation of relations between the nation-states of Europe into something permanently peaceful. And not only permanently, but ones which value peace not for the sake of commercial benefit but for the moral value of the preservation of peace and the ousting of violent conflict. In other words, the end of realpolitik, of rule-through-strength, of militarism, interventionism and belligerence, and the realisation of the <em>pacific federation </em>from Kant’s <em>Perpetual Peace. </em></p><p>The chosen method of this was economic integration that would ultimately inspire a post-national Europe; not post-identity, or post-particularity or post-diversity, but post-nationality in the sense of the aggressive, ethnically-defined, uncritical form of identity that nationality has embodied. This has been abandoned by the European elite who devised the Constitutional treaty and subsequent Lisbon ‘Reform’ Treaty, in two key ways. First is the extensive effort being made to develop tools for Europe to project its influence throughout the globe, by harmonising its military capability and its coercive means; in other words, Europe’s replication of the American, imperial example of action on the world stage, and the acceptance that Europe is 1) subordinate to America and more dishearteningly 2) unable to produce an alternative to the Hobbesian logic of Realpolitik and ‘realism’. </p> <p>Second, given every opportunity to reject this gloomy vision, instead of accepting in full the principle of the equality of member-states of the Union, it failed to meet that expectation. The principle of the equality of states is established in international law; it was constitutionalised by the American states in the foundation of their federal union, because these are not merely states but <em>peoples</em> of formally independent democracies reconstructing their sovereignty<a href="#_ftn31">[31]</a>. Hence, the realpolitik-concept that the stronger states should be recognised as stronger <em>within</em> the Union is surely out of the question, larger population or not. And yet this confirmation that the peoples of these democracies are equal was too much to ask of the large states. Instead, the Union neither fulfils proportional nor equal representation, and its largest member-states are unwilling to commit to the founding principles of the Union that large states should not be able to wield more power over smaller ones, in realpolitik or in institutionalised form. </p><p>The Kantian ideal of the pacific federation lies discarded; we are not equal participants in this endeavour, the big states lead, and the small ones follow. ‘The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must’. Exactly the ideas the EU was supposed to refute and overturn; they now sit, rotting at the heart of the edifice, here in the legal foundations of the Union. <span class="mag-quote-center">Exactly the ideas the EU was supposed to refute and overturn; they now sit, rotting at the heart of the edifice, here in the legal foundations of the Union. </span></p> <p>Europe’s contradictions are made manifest in this affair – constitution and treaty being forced together. They began in the realisation that a constitutional order had grown from one founded by international treaties. The judgements of the Bundesverfassungsgericht tried to put the genie back in the bottle, by proclaiming the Union an international order because it could never become a true constitutional order. However, the judgment’s short-comings undermined itself. The fact is, we have an order in Europe where law is written and citizens are subject to it, without this order having a democratic, constitutional foundation. </p><p>This has bred some of the worst failures and excesses of the Union, from unaccountable authority, to disregard of democracy and a weak understanding of democratic theory, to an abandonment of its principles in the pursuit of power. Democracy is the only hope for the European Union - its existence as is will only destroy itself. Europe will be democratised, or it will disintegrate, crumbling under the weight of its own failures and illegitimacy. Europe has long needed such a union, to end its eternal destructive conflicts; however, that union cannot exist like this. How it could exist, will be elaborated on in <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/sam-hufton/treatise-on-european-government">another essay</a>. 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London: Verso. 1997.</p> <p>&nbsp;Habermas J. <em>The Lure of Technocracy. </em>Cambridge: Polity Press. 2015.</p> <p>Hayek F.A. ‘The Economic Conditions of Interstate Federalism’, <em>The New Commonwealth Quarterly</em>, 5:2, 131-149, 1939.</p> <p>Marquand D. <em>The End of the West: The Once and Future of Europe. </em>Woodstock: Princeton University Press. 2012.</p> <p>Müller J.W. <em>Constitutional Patriotism. </em>Woodstock: Princeton University Press. 2007.</p> <p>Piris J.C. <em>The Constitution for Europe: A Legal Analysis. </em>Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2006.</p> <p>Van Middelaar L. <em>The Passage to Europe: How a Continent became a Union. </em>Totton: Yale University Press. 2014.</p> <p>Varoufakis V. <em>And the Weak suffer what they must? Europe, Austerity and the threat to global stability. </em>London: The Bodley Head. 2016.</p> <p>Weiler J.H.H. <em>The Constitution for Europe: "Do the New Clothes Have An Emperor? " And Other Essays on European Integration. </em>Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1999.</p> <p>Weiler J.H.H. ‘Does Europe need a Constitution? Demos, Telos, Ethos and the Maastricht Decision’. <em>The Question of Europe </em>ed. Anderson P &amp; Gowan P.<em> </em>London: Verso. 1997.</p> <p><em><strong>Notes and references</strong></em></p> <p><a href="#_ftnref1">[1]</a> Fossum &amp; Menéndez, <em>The Constitution’s Gift, </em>p.20-6</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref2">[2]</a> Grimm, ‘Does Europe need a constitution?’, <em>The Question of Europe, </em>p.246-7</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref3">[3]</a> Fossum &amp; Menéndez, <em>The Constitution’s Gift</em>, p.27</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref4">[4]</a> Grimm, ‘Does Europe need a constitution?’, <em>The Question of Europe, </em>p.249</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref5">[5]</a> Weiler, ‘Does Europe need a constitution?’, <em>The Question of Europe, </em>p.266</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref6">[6]</a> Müller, <em>Constitutional Patriotism, </em>p.56-7, 99</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref7">[7]</a> Hayek, ‘The Economic Conditions of Interstate Federalism’, <em>The New Commonwealth Quarterly, </em>Vol.V, No.2 p.131</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref8">[8]</a> Piris, <em>The Lisbon Treaty, </em>p.143</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref9">[9]</a> Weiler, ‘To be a European Citizen: Eros and Civilisation’, <em>The Constitution of Europe, </em>p.347</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref10">[10]</a> Van Middelaar, <em>The Passage to Europe, </em>p.252-4</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref11">[11]</a> Marquand, <em>The End of the West, </em>p.128-9</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref12">[12]</a> Weiler, ‘To be a European Citizen: Eros and Civilisation’, <em>The Constitution of Europe, </em>p.332-5</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref13">[13]</a> Piris, <em>The Constitution for Europe, </em>p.15-17, 182-3</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref14">[14]</a> Ibid. p.194</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref15">[15]</a> Weiler, ‘The Transformation of Europe’, <em>The Constitution of Europe, </em>p. 39-63<em>&nbsp;</em></p> <p><a href="#_ftnref16">[16]</a> Varoufakis, <em>And the Weak suffer what they must?, </em>p.56-60</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref17">[17]</a> Piris, <em>The Constitution for Europe, </em>p.194</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref18">[18]</a> Ibid. p.73-4</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref19">[19]</a> Weiler, ‘To be a European Citizen: Eros and Civilisation’, <em>The Constitution of Europe, </em>p.349</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref20">[20]</a> Carchedi, <em>For Another Europe, </em>p.29-34</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref21">[21]</a> Fossum &amp; Menéndez, <em>The Constitution’s Gift, </em>p.157-9</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref22">[22]</a> Weiler, ‘To be a European Citizen: Eros and Civilisation’, <em>The Constitution of Europe, </em>p.336-7</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref23">[23]</a> Müller, <em>Constitutional Patriotism, </em>p.98</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref24">[24]</a> Ibid. p.99</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref25">[25]</a> Ibid. p.135-6</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref26">[26]</a> Van Middelaar, <em>The Passage to Europe, </em>p.287</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref27">[27]</a> Ibid. p.288</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref28">[28]</a> Ibid. p.291</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref29">[29]</a> Marquand, <em>The End of the West, </em>p.104</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref30">[30]</a> Ibid. p.106</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref31">[31]</a> Habermas, ‘European Citizens and European Peoples’, <em>The Lure of Technocracy, </em>p.35-7</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sam-hufton/treatise-on-european-government-constitution">A Treatise on European Government: on a constitution and the transnational </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> EU </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? EU Civil society Conflict Democracy and government Ideas International politics Sam Hufton DiEM25 Tue, 05 Sep 2017 06:00:00 +0000 Sam Hufton 113164 at https://www.opendemocracy.net “Life is filled with opportunities for individuals to make a difference” https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/manuel-nunes-ramires-serrano-g-rald-sousa-mendes/save-jews-portugal-holocaust <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Aristides de Sousa Mendes saved 30,000 people during World War II, 12,000 of whom were Jews facing certain death. As Europe faces another refugee crisis, his grandson argues that Sousa Mendes' courage and compassion is needed now more than ever.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="CorpsA"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/ASM-with-family-20.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/ASM-with-family-20.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="279" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Aristides de Sousa Mendes with his family. Sousa Mendes Foundation. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p class="CorpsA"><em>“We have in fact, two kinds of morality, side by side: one which we preach, but do not practice, and another which we practice, but seldom preach.”</em></p> <p class="CorpsA">- Bertrand Russell</p> <p class="CorpsA"><em><strong>Manuel Serrano</strong>: Aristides de Sousa Mendes, your grandfather, saved thousands of refugees during World War Two. Can you explain to our readers how he did it?</em></p> <p class="CorpsA"><strong>Gérald Sousa Mendes</strong>: My grandfather, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, was a Portuguese diplomat, father of 14 children and Consul General of Bordeaux since August 1938. As millions of refugees were struggling to flee the Nazi-German invasion and killings in Europe in May-June 1940, my grandfather was confronted with multitudes of refugees that arrived there from northern France and all over Europe. The population of Bordeaux had tripled in a few days.</p> <p class="CorpsA">My grandfather wanted to deliver visas but there was Circular 14 (issued by Salazar in November 1939) which forbade issuing visas to several classes of populations including Jews, Spanish Republicans, gypsies and other “undesirable” people. But as the situation deteriorated after the fall of France on June 14, he decided to issue visas anyway, in disobedience to Circular 14, in order to save as many people as possible. </p> <p class="CorpsA">Starting on June 16, my grandfather issued several thousand visas from the cities of Bordeaux, Bayonne and Hendaye in the southwest of France, until the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Portugal was informed of his actions and invalidated his visas on June 23. The city of Bordeaux was bombed on June 19. </p> <p class="CorpsA">Those refugees who were able to reach Portugal were treated very well by the Portuguese population.&nbsp; Most of them later emigrated to the Americas, or other safe havens in the world, while Aristides was put on trial by the Portuguese government, and then fired, blacklisted, and financially ruined. Our large family began taking meals at the soup kitchen managed by the Jewish community of Lisbon. This was during my father’s teenage years.</p> <p class="CorpsA">Under this dictatorship, there was no more future in Portugal for Aristides and his children. All of the children, including my father Luis Felipe, had to leave Portugal to rebuild their lives elsewhere, mostly in the United States, but also in the Belgian Congo and (in my father’s case) in Canada. My grandmother Angelina died in 1948 and my grandfather Aristides died in 1954 in great poverty.&nbsp; My father arrived in Canada in 1948 where he met my mother (a French-Canadian girl), and I was born there.</p> <p class="CorpsA"><em><strong>MS</strong>: Your grandfather chose his conscience over his orders, refusing to abandon those fleeing persecution. However, his altruism was overlooked in Portugal for decades. Why do you think that happened?</em></p> <p class="CorpsA"><strong>GS</strong>: Unfortunately, it took decades for the Portuguese government to exonerate my grandfather and honour his memory.&nbsp; Even after the fall of the dictatorship in 1974, many in the Foreign Affairs ministry were claiming that Aristides had to be punished since he had disobeyed orders, although the world had recognized his heroic act to save all these people from Nazi barbarity.&nbsp; </p> <p class="CorpsA"><em><strong>MS</strong>: Aristides de Sousa Mendes is being remembered today as a selfless individual and an example for those standing against injustice and indifference. How has the Sousa Mendes Foundation contributed to spread the word about what he did?</em></p> <p class="CorpsA"><strong>GS</strong>: The Sousa Mendes Foundation was created in 2010 in the United States by members of the Sousa Mendes family and of families that he saved with the mission to document and disseminate the story, and also to raise funds for the rehabilitation of the family home located in Cabanas de Viriato (Portugal).&nbsp; </p> <p class="CorpsA">With the flow of refugees that we see again today, I believe that it’s very important that the memory of my grandfather’s serves the present and the future as well, in order to avoid repeating errors of the past and to find ways to help those people who are leaving everything behind and taking huge risks in order to escape from their home countries at war.</p> <p class="CorpsA"><em><strong>MS</strong>: There are many parallels between stories of refugees of 1940 and those of today. How important it is to learn the lessons of the past?</em></p> <p class="CorpsA"><strong>GS</strong>: Today, millions of refugees are again forced to flee their countries at war.&nbsp; This is why the lessons of the past must be remembered for the present and the future.</p> <p class="CorpsA"><em><strong>MS</strong>: But there is a fundamental difference between learning and applying lessons. The biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War is unfolding in front of our eyes, but many states refuse to accommodate refugees fleeing persecution and war. It´s 1938 all over again?</em></p> <p class="CorpsA"><strong>GS</strong>: Yes, we see many parallels between the situation today and the one of the Second World War.&nbsp; Although people are from different countries and with different languages or religious backgrounds, they are human beings who have to leave everything behind including their homes and often their loved ones in order to run for their lives with unclear destinations and often by taking major risks.&nbsp; Many die on the road or on the seas while others are being blocked by countries who are closing their borders or parked in refugee camps where they are often subject to inhumane living conditions. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p class="CorpsA"><em><strong>MS</strong>: Your grandfather issued visas regardless of nationality, race or religion. Today, there are those who preach the opposite: Mr. Trump in the US, Marine Le Pen in France and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands. How can we fight this xenophobic and dangerous discourse?</em></p> <p class="CorpsA"><strong>GS</strong>: I believe the best way to fight these attitudes is through education in order to remind our host countries of the lessons from the past, and to influence our politicians, our policy makers and decision makers. We know very well what will happen if we do nothing, and also how those who are saved today can contribute positively to our societies of tomorrow. </p> <p class="CorpsA"><em><strong>MS</strong>: “It happened, therefore it can happen again”, said Primo Levi. How can we make sure that the tragedy that unfolded in Auschwitz and Treblinka never happens again? How can your grandfather´s altruism inspire us not only to be better, but to do better? </em></p> <p class="CorpsA"><strong>GS</strong>: Every voice is important to influence our governments. The courage to care leads to improved societies for tomorrow, while ignorance leads to certain self-destruction.&nbsp; Life is filled with opportunities for individuals to make a difference.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/manuel-nunes-ramires-serrano/aristides-de-sousa-mendes-light-in-dark">Aristides de Sousa Mendes: a light in the dark</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Portugal </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Portugal Gérald Sousa Mendes Manuel Nunes Ramires Serrano Mon, 04 Sep 2017 12:00:39 +0000 Manuel Nunes Ramires Serrano and Gérald Sousa Mendes 113167 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Are Barcelona’s ‘superblocks’ a radical challenge to the neoliberal city? https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/massimo-paolini/are-barcelona-s-superblocks-radical-challenge-to-neoliberal-city <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Do superblocks challenge the voracity, inequality and capacity for destruction of the neoliberal city, or simply mitgate its effects? <strong><em><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/massimo-paolini/las-supermanzanas-de-barcelona-un-desaf-o-radical-la-ciudad-neolib">Español</a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><em><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/1024px-Barcelona_-_L’illa_Diagonal_(Avinguda_Diagonal,_579-585)_1.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/1024px-Barcelona_-_L’illa_Diagonal_(Avinguda_Diagonal,_579-585)_1.jpg" alt="lead " title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Barcelona - L’illa Diagonal (Rafael Moneo, 1993, Avinguda Diagonal, 579-585), 2016. Wikicommons/ Zarateman. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>Barcelona has become the focus of international attention due to a proposal for urban transformation in its Eixample district, through the creation of “supermanzanas” (superblocks). Combining nine of the blocks proposed by Ildefons Cerdà in the 1859 plan (very different from those realised) is meant to reduce traffic in the streets and squares inside the superblock’s perimeter,&nbsp;confining it to the perimetral streets, in order to solve serious problems deriving from pollution, the near absence of green areas, and the minimal space for pedestrians caused by the omnipresence of cars.</em></p> <p>The&nbsp;“supermanzanas” (superblocks, literally ‘superapples’)&nbsp;project aims at creating four squares in every superblock, converting the inner part of intersections in areas mostly dedicated to pedestrians. This is a proposal that, if completely fulfilled, will radically change the face of the city.</p> <p>The central issue is the following: is this a change that is going to confirm features of the neo-liberal city, limited to mitigating them with the introduction of – essential and very helpful – measures for the reduction of air and accoustic pollution and for the creation of pedestrian areas? Or is this an opportunity to fundamentally challenge the neo-liberal economy in its urbanism, its processes of production, its voracity, its unfamiliarity with ethics, its inequality and its destruction of the environment?&nbsp;</p> <p>International attention towards the project has been accompanied by recent, and predictable, anger on the part of the residents of the site of the first superblock in Poble Nou, due to the concentration of traffic. This has remained unchanged in its quantity and quality because of the habits of car–users travelling around the city on the perimetral streets, due also to the absence of areas dedicated to the sacred rite of parking. These criticisms should oblige us to slow down and reflect.</p> <h2><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/b1.jpg.650x0_q70_crop-smart-1.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/b1.jpg.650x0_q70_crop-smart-1.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="298" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Urban Mobility Plan of Barcelona / Public Domain </span></span></span></h2><p>Here we are not going to analyse technical issues, the flows of cars, directions, signalling, number of parking areas. On the contrary, we want firstly to focus on the resistance and criticism of the superblocks made by the inhabitants, only then going on to analyse the elements that could turn the “supermanzanas” into a feature for significant change. </p><p>The opposition towards the project can be explained by two elements. The first one, with deep roots, is the cultural educational problem: perhaps the blind rage caused by the offence to the sacred nature of the car reveals an underlying problem in a (mis)education system, whose main prerogative is teaching people to accept the status quo in neo-liberal society without acknowledging or interrogating its foundational premises, thereby silencing any quest for different horizons?</p> <p>The still sacred element of our times – the automobile – despite its obviously destructive impact on city life, is the main issue. This strange God continues to be venerated by the majority of people. Nevertheless, like every God, the automobile limits freedom – even more than the city does – it increases air pollution, threatens our peace with its hypnotic noise, threatens our lives with accidents and with its support to the oil industry, to the pharmaceutical industry, to psychological disorders, to insurance companies, to loans from banking institutions, among other things. It constrains freedom: as has been known for decades – or as it should be compulsory education to teach – the real speed of an automobile is 6 kilometres per hour.</p> <blockquote><p><em>The typical American devotes more than 1600 hours per year to its automobile: sitting in it, in motion or stationary, working for paying it, for paying fuel, tyres, tolls, insurance, infringements and duties for federal highways and communal parking. They devote four hours per day in which they use it, look after or work for it […] But if we ask ourselves how these 1600 hours contribute to its circulation, the situation changes. These 1600 hours serve up to make a 10 000 kilometres ride, that is to say 6 kilometres in one hour. It is the same distance that people that live in countries without transport industry can reach. But, while North Americans dedicate to circulation one quarter of their available social time, in non-motorised societies time allocated for that purpose is between 3 and 8 percent of the social time. What distinguishes the circulation in a rich country and in a poor country is not a greater efficiency, but the obligation to consume in high dose energies related to the transport industry.<br /> </em>Ivan Illich,&nbsp;<em>Energy and equity&nbsp;</em>[1974]</p></blockquote> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/3222197761_b210752b0c_b-1.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/3222197761_b210752b0c_b-1.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="277" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Mural in Poble Nou / Photo by Isabel Rosero (Flickr.) Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>The substitution in cities of the automobile with the bicycle has been an urgent need for decades. The high energy efficiency of a bicycle, its inbuilt critique of the neo-liberal economy, its independence from fossil fuel – i.e. wars and environmental devastation – and from everything related to the automotive industry, are fundamental motivations boosting a radical change in approach to the problems of our times. The issue of the veneration of the automobile could be solved with real educational action opposing the mass-media onslaught in support of the automotive industry, insurance companies, etc., who finance newspapers through advertising and content sponsored by brands. <span class="mag-quote-center">The substitution in cities of the automobile with the bicycle has been an urgent need for decades.</span></p><p>An educational campaign carried out in streets, in parks, courts, social centres, truly independent and critical newspapers could help us to understand many problems of our society, albeit this is a process that requires time and effort. But the &nbsp;disputed “supermanzana” could represent the beginning of the end of automobiles in the city, if it becomes the catalyst of profound cultural change. </p><p>The second element of the protests that we want to highlight is the inadequate sense of ‘taking ownership’of the project by the people who live in that area, due to the low levels of participation throughout its genesis and realisation. In order to feel comfortable in a place – public or private – it is necessary for this to be created, modified, lived, penetrated. The feeling of being subjected to the imposition of a project, or insufficient participation in its creation and fulfilment, will always create direct or indirect opposition. Although there have been moments of conversation with the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, apparently these have not been sufficient, in quantity or in quality.</p> <h2><strong>Urban agriculture</strong></h2> <p>In order to convert “supermanzanas” into an instrument for a deep change, disrupting the structure of the neo-liberal city where people are schooled and submissive towards those in power, and in order to contribute to the establishment of a city that is human, cooperative, supportive, equal and respectful towards the delicate natural equilibrium, we have to take into account a very important element: urban agriculture. </p> <p>We are not talking about organising urban gardens to enhance the image of the city, which would immediately become a&nbsp;<em>sustainable model&nbsp;</em>for other cities; we are not talking about gardens so that “elderly people” – considered to be a problem when it comes to production, instead of being respected and considered repositories of wisdom and memory – keep themselves busy after a life of subordinate employment. We are even less talking of creating a new empty and commodified fashion to feed the neo-liberal economy which consumes everything. </p> <p>We are saying exactly the opposite. Urban agriculture can catalyse a slow and deep transformation of the city overall, in different facets, from food sovereignty and environmental protection to the economy, from a proper education to the retrieval of personal autonomy and mutual peer support, on one condition: that this would be proposed, organised, lived, and actively shared among the people who live the city. <span class="mag-quote-center">The lack of green areas in the Eixample district is serious and requires urgent and energetic action. </span></p><p>Barcelona has 1076 hectares of parks and public gardens (without counting the Collserola), which means an average of 6,64 m² of green areas per inhabitant, much less than what other cities can offer. Prague, for example, has 2650 hectares of urban parks – without counting natural parks and woods – meaning an average of 21.34 m² per inhabitant). In the Eixample district numbers are noticeably lower: 1.85 m² per inhabitant, due to – among other factors – the distortion and denaturalisation, in its most literal sense, of the Plan Cerdà during its implementation. To be sure, speculation was the main cause. The lack of green areas in the Eixample district is serious and requires urgent and energetic action so that people can live in a fair and healthy way.</p> <p>In a city like Barcelona, in which – despite the many and laudable initiatives adopted by the city council to address the problems of the city – the number of people living in serious difficulty is high, the growing of food in the city would, on the one hand, carry a high symbolic value and be an opportunity to overcome the passive acceptance of a devastating system; on the other hand, it would bring about an incredible number of positive effects in the short term and represent an impulse for change in the longterm.&nbsp;</p> <p>Among other factors:&nbsp;</p> <p>– It would offer free food to people – in the program of Barcelona en Comú the intention of&nbsp;<em>“ensuring the right to basic nutrition”&nbsp;</em>is specified.</p> <p>– It would make the quality of air and microclimate better. The presence of thousands of fruit-bearing trees would clear the air – reducing the levels of ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, particular matter PM10 – and would bring important benefits for health, attenuating noise, providing areas of shade, enriching wildlife in the urban perimeter, and reducing levels of carbon dioxide, thereby contributing to the fight against climate change and naturally regulating temperature on the microclimate level, additionally bringing beauty to each season.</p> <p>– It would push for cooperation, social relations, mutual support and peer dialogue in a society in which competition rules on every level, from the cradle to the grave – in school, work, relationships, politics, university, social activities, sport, etc. Using the words of Richard Sennet: “<em>a city obliging people to tell each other what they think and realising from this form a condition of mutual compatibility.”</em></p> <p>– It would enhance personal relationships through nature, its understanding, the culture of biodiversity as opposed to the logic of monoculture imposed by corporations and to the conquest and devastation of nature for profit-making.&nbsp;</p> <p>– Together with the substitution of the car by the bicycle and the commitment to degrowth, urban agriculture would contribute to easing the energy problem, by reducing the consumption of fossil fuels in transporting food between regions and countries – or even continents – as well as diminishing traffic in the city due to the transportation of food.</p> <p>– It would boost vegetarian and vegan philosophies beyond fashion and commodification to reflect on the relationships between human beings and animals and the defence of the rights of the latter – who are not machines in the service of humanity, despite what Descartes thought; to reflect also on ethical and environmental problems, contributing to the fight against climate change –&nbsp; since the production of meat and milk is one of the main causes of global warming and of the processes of destruction of rainforests for the production of animal feed. <span class="mag-quote-center">It is necessary to accord the city its educational role. </span></p><p>– It would contribute to boosting education&nbsp;<em>in&nbsp;</em>and&nbsp;<em>through</em>&nbsp;the city, outside schools, transforming the city into a learning place. The observation of the process of food growing, from seed – defending biodiversity, using traditional patent-free local seeds, recovering traditional wisdom on harvesting, would reverse the strange idea of food as a good coming from a conveyor, packed by unknown distant hands (often) with no rights, in a plastic bag with a barcode, sold by some speculator who harvests the fruits of the work for some other person. </p> <p>The city programme “Huertos escolares” (‘School gardens’), no doubt useful and positive, would be no longer necessary as it would have become part of the city life, without recourse to school. It is necessary to accord the city its own educational role. The organisation of spaces for urban agriculture in the Eixample district would be a catalyst for the de-schooling of the city, for the collapse of a whole system of values that the so-called compulsory education teaches – dressed up as freedom of choice – through the acceptance of neo-liberal society as it is.&nbsp;</p> <p>– It would spread organic cultivation methods, the knowledge of the ecosystem, the understanding of delicate natural balances, a new sensitivity towards life, nowadays unknown.</p> <p>– It would contribute to bringing the city closer to real democracy, nowadays inexistent.</p> <p>The city council would have only the role of presenting, through an honest, deep and detailed briefing the problems, not only on the urban level, but also on a larger scale, to discuss, propose and coordinate the actions of people in a real participatory democracy. <span class="mag-quote-center">The role of urbanism is to contribute to breaking the ties between the city and the markets. </span></p><p>In the context of the weakening democracy that we have been experiencing over recent decades<em>&nbsp;</em>we are&nbsp;<em>de facto</em>&nbsp;living in an oligarchy – the role of urbanism is to contribute to breaking the ties between the city and the markets and to act in order to destabilise the current oppressive system towards the weakest by offering individual and collective tools to realise a participatory democracy, without excluding anyone. </p> <p>The only work that the city council would need to put in place, with a high symbolic value, would be to draw a circle in the middle of each crossroad in the Eixample district and remove the asphalt layer.&nbsp;Before an empty space, in the middle of each crossroad, a place in which market and power are not present, a space that nobody can sell, buy, exploit, rent or use for parking, around this space we should think how to organise the city all together, without exclusion. </p> <p>This would mean taking away the asphalt layer&nbsp;that for decades kept us apart from the land, waterproofing the entire city, waterproofing our sensitivity, and putting at the centre a source of public free quality water, a common good outside of the market, and around the source to grow vegetables and fruits for those who need them, apples that feed indiscriminately. The apple is here, hanging on a tree, a possibility to change into a new era. An apple that is a fruit of the social economy, with no barcode, each apple with a different taste. The apple, fruit of the land, redeemer of the metropolis, feeds people regardless of their passports and bank accounts. This would be a starting point for overcoming the commodification of life and retrieving a relationship with these natural elements in the urban context of the XXI century. Food and beauty for everyone, with no mediation, undertaking a substantial, slow and deepseated change.&nbsp;</p> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/1024px-Vista_de_l&#039;Illa_Diagonal.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/1024px-Vista_de_l&#039;Illa_Diagonal.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Vista de l'Illa Diagonal. Jordiferrer/Wikicommons. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>In the symbolic space where power cannot enter, in the&nbsp;website of the city, one can read&nbsp;that the urban gardens of the city are organised by the city council in collaboration with the&nbsp;<em>Fundació La Caixa,&nbsp;</em>a foundation managed by one of the best-known Spanish banks<em>.&nbsp;</em>Having seen the collusion between banks and political powers, it is necessary to terminate forthwith any relationship between the city and the banks. While the “cooperation with the La Caixa Foundation” is in progress, whatever change is made will automatically convert itself into a simulacrum that cannot really impact on the organisation of the city. But in this space for democratic life, the act of taking away the asphalt and presenting soil and water as a common good represents&nbsp;<em>quite another&nbsp;</em>possibility for a radically different city, endowing it both with symbolic meaning and a crucial practical effect. <span class="mag-quote-center">Introducing urban agriculture and putting at its centre water as a common good means considering the past as a tool to change the present.</span></p> <p>Far from being a step backwards – as if history was a linear process and what comes after is unquestionably called&nbsp;<em>progress –</em>&nbsp;introducing urban agriculture and putting at its centre water as a common good, means considering the past as a tool to change the present.</p><p>From the errors and horrors of the vast majority of urban planning in the XXth century that forgot life, we should quickly learn how to change the fundamentals of the way to live the city, facing economic, feeding, climate, social, environmental, cultural, aesthetic problems in the context of participatory democracy among peers based on social and environmental justice, non-commodified health, food production outside corporations, commons, popular culture, memory, independent thinking, and education as a libertarian process of liberation.&nbsp;</p> <p>The shopping mall&nbsp;<em>Illa Diagonal</em>, designed by&nbsp;Rafael Moneo and Manuel de Solà-Morales in 1993, is located in the Eixample district. The first stone that was placed&nbsp;<em>–</em>&nbsp;as it is said on the website of the mall&nbsp;<em>–</em>&nbsp;contains an insurance policy and a certificate of deposit. The symbols of our era. Real progress, slow and deepseated change, would start by taking away the asphalt layer, going back to the soil and substituting, as symbolic elements of a new era, the insurance policy and the certificate of deposit with seeds and a source of public water.&nbsp;</p> <p>This substitution of elements would benefit the majority of people, maybe everyone except speculators. Orwell once said, “Journalism consists of printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.” Adapted to the neo-liberal city one might say: “Urbanism consists in doing together things someone does not want you to do: everything else is speculation.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Thanks go to the translators, Gianmarco Lalli and Jamie Mackay.</em></p> <p><em>This article was published thanks to the author and </em><em>Political Critique</em><em> where it <a href="http://politicalcritique.org/world/eu/2017/paolini-barcelona-superblocks-neoliberal-city/">appeared on July 3, 2017</a>. </em></p> <p><em>Also published in&nbsp;<a href="http://elpais.com/elpais/2017/03/21/seres_urbanos/1490092544_074460.html">Seres Urbanos | El País</a> and originally in&nbsp;<a href="https://www.perspectivasanomalas.org/2017/03/31/la-revolucion-de-las-manzanas/">Perspectivas anómalas</a>.</em></p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Spain </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Spain Civil society Conflict Culture Democracy and government Ideas International politics Massimo Paolini Sun, 03 Sep 2017 17:40:45 +0000 Massimo Paolini 113154 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Nuclear weapons modernised as nations prepare to ban them https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/tony-robinson/nuclear-weapons-modernised-as-nations-prepare-to-ban-them <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>DiEM25 calls on all European nations to sign the Nuclear Ban Treaty as a matter of human survival.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/1024px-Opening_ceremony_for_Fifth_IPPNW_European_Congress,_Coventry_Wellcome_L0075317.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/1024px-Opening_ceremony_for_Fifth_IPPNW_European_Congress,_Coventry_Wellcome_L0075317.jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Opening ceremony for the fifth IPPNW European Congress,held in Coventry Cathedral in 1990. Wikicommons/ Wellcome images. Some rights rserved. </span></span></span>North Korea's sixth nuclear test, which it apparently conducted <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/03/north-korea-nuclear-test-what-we-know-so-far">today</a>, comes while the world's other nuclear powers are arming up. All nine of the world’s countries with nuclear weapons are investing massively in modernising them, according to <a href="https://www.pressenza.com/2017/08/global-nuclear-weapons-modernization-remains-priority/">a new report</a> out last week by <a href="http://sipri.org/">SIPRI</a>. This is despite a reported 3% reduction of 460 weapons in 2017.</p> <p>The USA and Russia between them hold 93% of the world’s arsenal, with thousands on hair-trigger alert and ready to be launched within seconds of the order being given.&nbsp;According to SIPRI, to take one example, the USA is due to spend up to $1 trillion over the next 30 years.</p> <p>This terrifying statistic stands against another published by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), who are holding their <a href="https://www.medact.org/project/forum-2017/">international congress</a> on September 4 in the UK city of York.&nbsp;Their <a href="http://www.ippnw.org/pdf/nuclear-famine-two-billion-at-risk-2013.pdf">2013 report</a>, prepared for a <a href="https://www.regjeringen.no/en/topics/foreign-affairs/humanitarian-efforts/humimpact_2013/id708603/">conference</a> studying the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons, indicates that a limited nuclear war with the use of 100 warheads dropped on cities would lead to a nuclear winter that could end the lives of up to 2 billion people.</p> <p>These worrying numbers have led civil society campaigns such as <a href="http://www.icanw.org/">ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons</a>, to heavily promote a nuclear weapons ban treaty, bringing nuclear weapons in line with chemical and biological weapons as legally prohibited weapons of mass destruction.</p> <p>After years of promoting efforts to get the UN to agree to such a treaty, this year in June the text of <a href="https://treaties.un.org/doc/Treaties/2017/07/20170707%2003-42%20PM/Ch_XXVI_9.pdf">a treaty was approved</a> after negotiations with over 120 states.The treaty will be opened for signing during the UN General Assembly in September this year. With the signature and ratification of 50 States, the treaty comes into force.</p> <p>DiEM25 believes that nuclear weapons have no place in European security doctrines and that all nuclear weapons should be removed from European territory, be they British, French, American or Russian. We call on all European nations to sign the Ban Treaty as a matter of human survival.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/uk/rebecca-johnson/giant-step-towards-nuclear-free-world-is-in-reach-but-will-it-be-sabotaged-at-las">A giant step towards a nuclear free world is in reach – but will it be sabotaged at the last minute?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> EU </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? EU Conflict Democracy and government International politics Tony Robinson DiEM25 Sun, 03 Sep 2017 16:16:34 +0000 Tony Robinson 113152 at https://www.opendemocracy.net A crack in history? – a conversation between two recent UK Labour party recruits https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/dougald-hine-keith-kahn-harris/crack-in-history-conversation-between-two-recent-uk-labour-party-c <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>We need to find a way to build political movements that make space for difficult questions, for diversity, for ambivalence. But how?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><em><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/32839967754_1eb9a8b5e2_z.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/32839967754_1eb9a8b5e2_z.jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Birmingham Momentum activist day - March, 2017. Flickr/ Gwydion M.Williams. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>Like many of the political events of recent years, the surge in support for Labour under Jeremy Corbyn at the UK general election was supposed to be ‘impossible’ until it happened. Soon after the election, Dougald Hine and Keith Kahn Harris began this exchange, asking whether recent developments vindicate an earlier optimism about the potential of networked political movements – and how the strange renewal of Labour in the UK relates to the situation of new and old political parties elsewhere in Europe. </em></p><p><em>This conversation is published ahead of </em><em><a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-art-of-the-impossible-tickets-37455059090">The Art of the Impossible</a></em><em>, an event which Dougald Hine is hosting at Newspeak House in London on the evening of Monday September, 4.</em></p> <p><strong>Dougald Hine ( DH):</strong> So you and I met in 2011, in that moment just after the Wikileaks embassy papers release, at the height of the student movement in the UK and in the first weeks of the Arab Spring. There was an evening early that year when some friends and I sat in a pub across from the British Museum, talking about it all with this guy from Newsnight, and the next morning he wrote a post listing <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/paulmason/2011/02/twenty_reasons_why_its_kicking.html">Twenty Reasons Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere</a> which went completely viral. It was a time when there was a feeling, firstly, that the ways in which people were using networked technologies had suddenly <em>arrived</em> as a historical force – and, secondly, that this could be a very hopeful development. </p> <p>At the end of that year, at your suggestion, the two of us edited a book together – a quickfire, networky, thrown-together sort of book – called <a href="https://pediapress.com/books/show/07ebb0bdddb0412af5bfc25bc35d2a/"><em>Despatches from the Invisible Revolution</em></a>.</p> <p>To be honest, I’ve tended to look back on that book as the end of a period in which I was optimistic to a degree which seemed embarrassing in hindsight. History has gone on being as weird as it was in 2011, but when I remember the way my Twitter feed surged with enthusiasm for what was happening in North Africa and the Middle East ... well, in retrospect, it’s uncomfortably close to those images of crowds cheering young men off to the Front in the summer of 1914. Speaking of Paul Mason, I was struck by <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/11/mein-kampf-returns-to-germany-world-awash-with-hatred">a column he wrote at the start of 2016</a>, five years on from that original Twenty Reasons post, in which he was deeply pessimistic about how the collision of networks and politics has played out since:</p> <blockquote><p>‘The longer it goes on, the more hatred is exchanged on Twitter, the more irrationalism is stirred up by demagogues, the harder it becomes to see this phase of world history ending with the de-escalation of tension and the reinstallation of multilateral order.’</p></blockquote> <p>So, fast forward to the summer of 2017, and without wanting to wipe away all the grounds for being troubled by the shadow side of network politics, I can’t help feeling a kind of hope in the wake of the UK election which has sent me back to the stuff we were writing in 2011-12. Not least, what makes me hopeful is that <a href="https://medium.com/redrawing-the-maps/the-fall-of-the-murdoch-wall-4f25066aec59">the hold of Rupert Murdoch and Paul Dacre over British politics has been broken</a> and this has a lot to do with the ways in which people are using networks to inform themselves, connect and organise. Then, just after the election, I was flipping back through the book-length version of <em>Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere</em>, looking for a reference – and I came across the bit where Mason quotes your <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/keith-kahn-harris/naming-movement">Naming the Movement</a> article, where you seemed to discern:</p> <blockquote><p>‘A trend, a direction, an idea-virus, a meme, a source of energy that can be traced through a large number of spaces and projects. It is also a way of thinking and acting: an agility, an adaptability, a refusal to accept the world as it is, a refusal to get stuck into fixed patterns of thought.’</p></blockquote> <p>And so I thought it was time to compare notes, because I’m curious how all of this is looking from your point of view?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Keith Kahn-Harris ( KKH)</strong>: How is all this looking from my point of view? In a word: confused.</p> <p>You mentioned Wikileaks. That seems to be an example of the occlusion of hope that some of us have experienced. What seemed to be – and what could have been – a utopian project for radical transparency has degenerated into a monument to the vanity of a nihilist lover of dictators. </p> <p>I’m finding that kind of crushing disappointment almost everywhere I look these days. One example: a radical Jewish activist who I know, someone who has been consistently at the forefront of developing the new forms of activism and community that so inspired me in 2011, recently argued that clickbait leftist sites like <a href="https://www.thecanary.co/">The Canary</a> were a positive development for the left. He didn’t see it as a problem that such sites ape the pseudo-journalism of the right – he thought it was a good thing that the left now had its own Breitbart. I found that heartbreaking.</p> <p>And of course these are just examples from ‘my sort of people’. On the ‘other side’, everywhere I look things have fallen apart: Brexit, Trump, Putin, ISIS, climate change denial … you know the list.</p> <p>Yet I said I was confused, not despairing.</p> <p>What I’m confused about is that hope has not been extinguished and has even been rekindled in the most surprising ways, at the same time as it remains enmeshed in darker tendencies.. </p> <p>And yes, we’re talking the Labour Party here, and maybe to an extent developments in the US Democratic Party, the stubborn persistence of Podemos and similar movements that people like Paul Mason have championed over the years.</p> <p>Leaving aside for the moment the question of Corbyn himself, the movement that propelled him to the Labour leadership and to better-than-expected election results evokes some of the hopes of both Occupy and the earlier anti-globalisation movement: that a diverse multitude (the ‘99%’) imbued with a conviction that ‘another world is possible’ might just bring about radical change. </p> <p>That is heartening and thrilling: that sense that the future might be less crushingly determined than we thought; that the old dictum that ‘politics is the art of the possible’ may mean more than cynical pragmatism and soul-deadening triangulation.</p> <p>Yet I can’t help sensing the darkness penetrating the light. I can’t help seeing the more regressive tendencies within the left of the Labour Party: the lust for purges, the bullying, the blindness towards or open embrace of repressive regimes, the lack of willingness to confront or acknowledge anti-semitism. Certainly, unlike some critics of today’s Labour Party, I don’t see these tendencies as the beginning and end of what the party means today, but they still exist.</p> <p>And over and above all of this, there is a point where hope becomes blindness. I get what it feels like to be part of a movement where it feels like anything is possible. But I can’t discard the need for critical thinking, for hard questions, for reserving judgement. </p> <p>Do you feel any of this too?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>DH:</strong> Well, as you know, I’m one of the founders of <a href="http://www.dark-mountain.net">Dark Mountain</a>, so I’m not exactly inclined to blind optimism. These days it feels like I spend part of my time out on the mountain, which I think of as a place of retreat – in at least two senses of the word – where certain kinds of reflection and perspective become possible, but in order to gain that perspective, you’ve withdrawn from any kind of immediate agency. And then, every so often, I come back in and try to <a href="https://medium.com/redrawing-the-maps">write about how we make sense of what is going on, politically, here and now</a>. And I guess the common thread is that I’m looking for a sense of hope that doesn’t feel like wishful thinking.</p> <p>Now, having said all that, the morning after the election, I joined the Labour party. I hadn’t done it sooner, mainly because I live in Sweden these days and I was hearing such conflicting things from friends back home, which made me hesitate. Like a lot of people, I guess, I’d been in the position of that poster in Mulder’s office in the X-Files: ‘I want to believe’. In what? Not in a heroic leader, but in the possibility that something is happening here that can open ‘a crack in history’, to use that beautiful phrase of Subcomandante Marcos. </p> <p>You quoted the line about politics as ‘the art of the possible’, and a lot of the time that’s the limit of aspiration for parliamentary politics – I’ve met decent people who went into politics who I think saw what they were doing in precisely those terms, attempting to work within the bounds of what is ‘possible’, to limit the damage. For me, the question has always been: how do those bounds get set, how do they change, and can we contribute to their changing?</p> <p>In the years since we did the <em>Invisible Revolution</em> book, so many of the major political developments around the world have been events that were meant to be ‘impossible’ until they happened. The <em>effect</em> of these events is to shake the certainties, to unsettle the bounds of what is understood to be possible&nbsp;– the bounds of history, as Marcos is talking about it – yet, very often, the <em>content</em> of these events is deeply alarming. </p> <p>From the Brexit referendum to the presidential elections in the US and France, we have had a series of binary choices which seemed to boil down to ‘vote for the politics of fear and hate’ or ‘endorse the neoliberal status quo’. (Let me just say, in passing, I think the Brexit vote is more complicated than the other two, but that’s another discussion.) With the UK election, there was actually a choice to vote against neoliberalism, without voting for anything that could be interpreted as the politics of fear and hate – and this ignited the imaginations of enough people to produce a supposedly ‘impossible’ surge in support for Labour.</p> <p>You listed some of the blind-spots of the political tradition that Corbyn is coming out of – and I could probably add to the list. But his leadership is a vehicle for something larger and potentially a lot broader than it’s mostly been painted. There’s a chance here to redefine the boundaries of ‘possibility’, to break out from the kind of realism that has taken hold over recent decades, that accepts not only the economic ideology of neoliberalism – with its devotion to markets and competition and deregulation – but also the idea of what humans <em>are</em> (or ought to be) which lies at the heart of that ideology. </p> <p>Remember that line from Thatcher: ‘Economics are the method: the object is to change the soul’? I don’t think the left has a monopoly on rejecting the spiritual poverty of neoliberalism, the inadequacy of the story it tells about what people are like. Actually, I think it’s a bit like the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, a hegemony with hardly any true believers left. But equally, the example of the fall of the Soviet Union and its aftermath might give us that wariness about how all this could play out which I think you were trying to point to?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>KKH:</strong> I’m not sure that neoliberalism is quite as exhausted as the Soviet Union was in the last years. There are no shortage of true believers who are intensely committed to the free market dogma they spout. Yet the example of the Soviet Union is still an apt one – both 1917 and 1991 raised enormous hopes that were ultimately dashed. That doesn’t mean that those hopes were unwarranted then and can never be warranted in the future; only that hope and wariness always need to be balanced.</p> <p>That need for balanced, hopeful wariness, perhaps relates to another perennial problem with the pursuit of political change: how do you marry reflection, long-term thinking, critical thought and the like with the immediate (and often very messy) realities of day-to-day politics?</p> <p>There is always going to be some kind of ‘gap’ between these two tendencies and that’s fair enough. But one of my concerns about the Labour Party is that, in some cases at least, the gap seems to have got wider and wider. The ‘wanting to believe’ that you identify seems to be so strong that it sometimes overwhelms or smothers the expression of doubt, ambivalence and nuance. It feels like I’ve seen some of the best minds of my generation fall into a morass of clickbait, denunciations of the BBC and petitions to purge the enemy within. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>To a limited extent I empathise with this tendency. Labour activists now scent victory and possible new elections within the next few months. The sense that power may be in their grasp with ‘one more heave’ can make activists disinclined to do anything that may undermine that effort. Before that, the near-constant attacks on Corbyn since his election as Labour leader has meant that even some of the more ambivalent supporters have been reluctant to criticise him in public.</p> <p>But while I can understand this tendency, I can’t help asking the question: if not now, when?</p> <p>The problem is that the suppression of complexity and doubt can become a habit that is hard to break. The temporary putting aside of difficult questions can become extended indefinitely. That was, after all, one of the terrible shortcomings of New Labour: the focus on ‘discipline’ and a unified message was born out of the trauma of the multiple Labour defeats in the 80s as the party tore itself apart. But even after a landslide election victory in 1997, the inability to tolerate debate and difference turned from a temporary strategy to a permanent condition. &nbsp;</p> <p>Like you, I joined the Labour Party since Corbyn became leader. I joined just after the Brexit vote, as Corbyn faced a leadership challenge. I felt that I wanted to be part of the debate. I felt that those of us who were on the left of the Labour Party but had serious reservations about Corbyn needed to speak up. </p> <p>I lasted less than a week before I gave up. I just didn’t see a space for me. There didn’t seem to be a thoughtful penumbra surrounding the cold, hard politics. The logic of ‘with us or against us’ seemed to permeate everything.</p> <p>And yet, and yet… I agree with you that there is an intoxicating sense of possibility here; a moment in which what seemed solid promises to melt into air. It’s just that I think that the Labour Party is an outcome of this moment as much as it brought it about. One of the dangers of hope that has been unleashed is that everything that has happened can retrospectively be portrayed as planned; as though Corbyn saw all this coming and sparked everything off. &nbsp;</p> <p>Indeed the intense focus on Corbyn himself - by both supporters and detractors - really worries me. It seems to reduce what is a complex, multi-layered set of possibilities down to something two-dimensional. This goes back to what I said about the gap between political action and deeper reflection. Ironically perhaps, the tantalising possibility of real political change has caused the tantalising possibilities of real social change embodied in what I called in 2011 'the movement', to wither. This is oddly disempowering - an outsourcing or displacement of hope onto one man and the party he leads.</p> <p>It remains to be seen whether a Corbyn-led movement can birth something genuinely new, whether it can escape the sterile cycle of purge and counter-purge that the Labour Party has often fallen prey to, whether it looks to past models of socialism or can grasp the tremendous (and maybe calamitous) changes we are about to face. </p> <p>It seems to me then that part of the task ahead is to reduce the gap between political action and more reflective kinds of work. We need to find a way to build political movements that make space for difficult questions, for diversity, for ambivalence.</p> <p>Do you share my framing of the task ahead? And, if so, do you have any thoughts on how it might be tackled? </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>DH: </strong>Well, this exchange has been running along slowly, and now it’s late summer. More than two months have gone by since the election. There was the awakening of hope at the unexpected result – and then, while everyone was still processing that, the horror of Grenfell Tower, which we haven’t even touched on here. There’s a line from a piece that Will Davies wrote for the LRB which has been stuck in my head for weeks: ‘The coincidence of the Corbyn surge with the horror of Grenfell Tower has created the conditions – and the demand – for a kind of truth and reconciliation commission on forty years of neoliberalism.’ I think there might be a clue there to the kinds of work that are needed.</p> <p>There’s lots of stuff I could pick up on in your last reply – I think you may be overstating the part about ‘displacement of hope onto one man’, for example. It’s hard to disentangle what’s going on from the stories that get told about what’s going on – including the stories that are being fed by the same elements within the British press that wanted to convince us that Ralph Miliband was ‘the man who hated Britain’. Democracy in the UK has been sabotaged by the likes of Murdoch and Dacre for most of our lifetimes and the BBC, where I used to work, has struggled to perform ‘impartiality’ against a background of systematic bias. Part of the hope right now is that we saw the press do its worst to Corbyn and it failed to destroy him. As <a href="https://medium.com/redrawing-the-maps/the-fall-of-the-murdoch-wall-4f25066aec59">I wrote straight after the election</a>, that’s not just hopeful if you’re a Corbynite, it’s hopeful if you believe in democracy.</p> <p>You’re absolutely right that Corbyn’s Labour is the outcome of a moment, not the author of that moment. It’s been said before, but it’s depressing how rarely analysis of what’s happened with Labour looks beyond the shores of Great Britain to the crisis of social democracy playing out across Europe. You have countries like Greece or even France, where historic parties of the centre left have been obliterated, and that opens the ground for new political forces. Elsewhere, you get a social democratic party that used to count on 30-40% of the vote and that’s slid back to 25-30% – and what you see is stagnation. You bring in a new leader with a fanfare, like Martin Schulz in Germany, and six months later you’re back down at 25%. </p> <p>Now, a FPTP system like the UK’s is basically rigged against the emergence of new political forces – and ordinarily, that sounds like a formula for stagnation. Except that, under current circumstances, it’s forced a cohabitation within the structure of the Labour party which puts it in the strange position of being the one historic social democratic party in Europe that is not asleep at the wheel, but has actually found a way to renew itself. </p> <p>Take Denmark as a comparison: there, the Social Democrats are on 25% and they resemble the mainstream of the Parliamentary Labour Party, and then you have four other national parties with significant numbers of MPs out of which you can build a left-of-centre parliamentary bloc. That includes a couple of established parties to the left of the Social Democrats and it also includes a political start-up like The Alternative which is (as far as I can see) a non-leftist, anti-neoliberal party – very network-oriented and close in spirit to the kind of movement you and I were writing hopefully about in 2011.</p> <p>What’s happening with the Labour party in Britain is that, instead of being spread out across multiple parties, the equivalent elements are having to cohabit within a single party. (This is part of what Jeremy Gilbert is getting at when he writes about Labour as a <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/jeremy-gilbert/epochal-election-welcome-to-era-of-platform-politics">‘platform party’</a>.) It’s not a comfortable arrangement and it’s been far from clear that it could work, but it has the virtue of forcing everyone to wake up. The quality of debate – the amount of room for reflection and self-criticism of the kind you’re looking for&nbsp;– may not be all that could be desired, but compared to the state of left-of-centre politics in much of the rest of Europe, it looks like a renaissance.</p> <p>In the longer run, it’s probably not sustainable – nor is it desirable that it should be sustained, because the FPTP system is a hugely problematic way of running a democracy. So if you’ve not found anywhere to connect to what’s going on within Labour, then I’d suggest looking at some of the other things going on around this landscape: the work that Ronan Harrington and others are doing around ‘Deep Politics’ with <a href="http://alterego.network/">Alter Ego</a>; the work that Compass has done to build the idea of a <a href="http://www.progressivealliance.org.uk/">Progressive Alliance</a> and publishing <a href="http://www.compassonline.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/21C-Party-Is-the-Party-Over-or-is-it-just-kicking-off.pdf">reports like the one Indra Adnan wrote on the future of political parties</a>; or the work that Indra is doing with Pat Kane, Shelagh Wright and others as <a href="https://www.thealternative.org.uk/">The Alternative UK</a>, inspired by the Danish example but operating as a ‘political platform’ rather than a party.</p> <p>Will we be disappointed? Of course, that’s how history works. And if I take a few steps back up the mountain, what I see is an unfolding ecological crisis that is unravelling the foundations of our way of living, that is going to call our assumptions into question – not least, the assumptions that frame our politics – in ways we haven’t begun to get the measure of. I see the best of us blundering around, talking about the Anthropocene as if it marked the latest step in humanity’s conquest of nature, rather than an encounter between hubris and nemesis. </p> <p>Don’t mistake me for an optimist, then. But let’s say I’m right about all that: it still leaves us with choices about how we treat each other, how we make life work together as communities and societies, what stories we tell about what it’s like to be human. It still leaves us with ongoing cruelties which we can accept or confront. And there’s still that need to open a crack in history.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>KKH: </strong>I’m glad you brought up comparisons with the state of the left in other European countries and that you mentioned the problems with the FPTP system. I’ve long felt that one of the basic problems with the Labour Party is that, under our electoral system, irreconcilable factions are ‘condemned to live together’ due to the non-viability of starting new political parties. </p> <p>Yet on further reflection, I wonder if there are not possibilities inherent in a political system in which parties are always fated to be heterogeneous coalitions. All parties in the UK harbour within them multiple think tanks, journals and the like. Much of the intellectual energy within the British political system has been focused around these kinds of institutions. </p> <p>The problem arises when one faction within a party wins big. In both the New Labour era and today, opposing factions are threatened with irrelevance and all the position papers they produce become meaningless. </p> <p>I kind of yearn for the Labour Party of my childhood when party conferences were fractious affairs and no one faction dominated. I know that the Labour left has always intended to devolve power to the conference. I worry though that this will simply lead to a kind of echo chamber – more raucous than the New Labour variety admittedly, but hardly a space of real contention. One of the problems with calls for Labour internal democracy is that they have sometimes been calls for the domination by the left of the party.</p> <p>You mention Compass and I agree that its work on political parties is very promising (I was a member for a while). While I am very much in favour of the Progressive Alliance idea, I can’t help but think that they have missed a trick – Compass is more focused on relationships between parties than within them. </p> <p>It struck me that there is an analogy to be made with another field I am familiar with: interfaith dialogue. There is a lot of good work that has been done to nurture both elite and grassroots dialogue between members of different religions; there has been much less attention to <em>intra</em>faith dialogue. Indeed, some religious leaders find it easier to have dialogue with leaders of other religions than with other denominations within their own. In my own experience in working on dialogue within the UK Jewish community, there is a strange claustrophobic intimacy to the relationship between opposing factions that often makes for intractable conflict.</p> <p>I’m not arguing for a conflict resolution process within the Labour Party, or indeed for dialogue groups. What I am arguing for is a party that sees itself as a coalition that can never be entirely stable. While the desire for electoral success can help to bind this coalition together, no less important is intellectual ferment. Division is not something to be afraid of, it is an inevitability. Let a thousand think tanks bloom!</p> <p>You mention the importance of Corbyn surviving media attempts to destroy him. While I take issue with this to an extent – some of the reports on his dubious past alliances raised troubling question – I do agree that resisting the power of the right-wing media has been an important accomplishment, one that opens up all sorts of political possibilities. I think we need to push this further though. Regardless of the place on the political spectrum, media outlets usually construct divisions within parties as implicitly or explicitly a damaging thing. Parties today have had to construct an image of unity to an extent that was unimaginable a few decades ago. </p> <p>What if Labour – or any other party – refused to play along with this game? What if Corbyn, or figures from any party faction, were to say ‘yes we are divided, we are diverse – and that is our strength’? </p> <p>Now <em>that</em> might open up new possibilities. We need, as you put it, to ‘blunder around’ if we are to find new ways of responding to changing social and political conditions. That is only possible if there is room to disagree, to make mistakes, to be uncertain. Electoral success has been assumed to be antithetical to any of this. What if we were to challenge that assumption?</p> <p>In the book I wrote on <a href="http://www.davidpaulbooks.com/uncivil-war-keith-kahn-harris.shtml">the Israel conflict in the Jewish community</a>, I argued that part of the problem we faced is that ‘politics’ is seen as antithetical to decent intra-communal relations and to civility. </p> <p>What if we were to see the political not as a space of irreconcilable conflict, of zero-sum thinking, but as a space in which we recognise our interdependence and the inevitability of our flawed individual thinking? This isn’t the same as arguing for a blandly polite discourse, a stultifyingly ‘reasonable’ consensus. It requires a certain bravery, an exposure to countervailing currents, a willingness to be exposed.</p> <p>In short, what if we saw politics as opening things up, rather than closing things down? &nbsp;</p><p> <br /> <em>On Monday September 4, Dougald Hine will be hosting </em><a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-art-of-the-impossible-tickets-37455059090"><em>The Art of the Impossible</em></a><em> at Newspeak House, London. Free tickets are available via Eventbrite.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><em>On Monday September 4, Dougald Hine will be hosting </em><a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-art-of-the-impossible-tickets-37455059090"><em>The Art of the Impossible</em></a><em> at Newspeak House, London. Free tickets are available via Eventbrite.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/uk/jeremy-gilbert/epochal-election-welcome-to-era-of-platform-politics"> An epochal election: welcome to the era of platform politics</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/indra-adnan-pat-kane-adam-ramsay-rosemary-bechler-uffe-elbaek-rasmus-nordqvist/in">Exploring two Alternatives</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> UK </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> uk Can Europe make it? uk UK Civil society Conflict Culture Democracy and government Ideas International politics Keith Kahn-Harris Dougald Hine Thu, 31 Aug 2017 22:05:05 +0000 Dougald Hine and Keith Kahn-Harris 113128 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The ongoing march of the EU’s security-industrial complex https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/chris-jones/ongoing-march-of-eu-s-security-industrial-complex <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The reinforcement of pervasive, high-tech security measures has long been the primary consideration for EU security strategists, egged on by private interests. Time for a new direction before it is too late. <a href="https://www.tni.org/en/publication/market-forces-the-development-of-the-eu-security-industrial-complex">New report&nbsp;</a> </p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/5386094252_854a05c369_z.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/5386094252_854a05c369_z.jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>The European Organisation for Security (EOS), the chief lobby group for Europe’s “security industry” in 2011. Flickr/Security Defence Agenda. Some rights reserved. </span></span></span>The EU has hit troubled waters in recent years, but divisions and tensions within the bloc have not halted significant advances in the development and implementation of new security measures aiming to counter terrorism, fight crime, ensure “border management” and protect critical infrastructure at the same time as constructing a European “homeland security” economy able to compete with states such as the USA, Israel and China.</p> <p>Propelled by a healthy dose of corporate influence and assistance, measures already in place or on the way include the EU-wide border surveillance system Eurosur; a new network of ‘Passenger Information Units’ for police profiling of air and, in the future, rail and ferry passengers; biometric databases and recognition and identification systems for public and private use alike; and new data-mining and predictive analysis tools that foresee police forces wielding powers akin to those traditionally reserved for intelligence agencies.</p> <p>Such proposals would be unsavoury at any time – but in the context of governments of all stripes normalising emergency powers, extending the scale and scope of state surveillance, introducing restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly, and cutting back on procedural rights in the criminal justice system – these give particular cause for concern. <span class="mag-quote-center">Such proposals would be unsavoury at any time – but in the context of governments of all stripes normalising emergency powers… these give particular cause for concern.</span></p> <h2><strong>Big ideas, big money</strong></h2> <p><a href="//www.tni.org/en/publication/market-forces-the-development-of-the-eu-security-industrial-complex"><em>Market Forces</em></a>, a new report published by Statewatch and the Transnational Institute (TNI), puts the EU’s security funds and strategies under the microscope, examining in detail the European Security Research Programme (ESRP, worth €1.7 billion) and the Internal Security Fund (ISF, worth €3.8 billion), which sit alongside a host of other budgets that together add up to some €11 billion.</p> <p>It was in the early years of the twenty-first century that the EU first began providing significant funds for the development of new “homeland security” technologies, based on an all-encompassing vision of security seeking to combat a seemingly limitless number of “threats” – from graffiti and petty crime to terrorism and natural disasters – and displaying a marked tendency to treat the entire population (European but especially non-European) as potential objects of suspicion that must be constantly surveilled, monitored, checked and “neutralised” where necessary.</p> <p>One instrumental budget in implementing this vision at the borders was the 2007-13 €1.8 billion External Borders Fund (EBF), which financed the purchase of thousands of vehicles, hundreds of surveillance systems (covering thousands of kilometres of the EU’s borders), thousands of gadgets such as night vision goggles and thermal imaging gear – all in the name of implementing the EU’s “border management” model, with increasingly deadly results for migrants and refugees.</p> <p>The EBF has been followed up with the €2.5 billion Internal Security Fund – Borders and Visas, whose counterpart (Internal Security Fund – Police) is worth just over €1 billion. Under this fund, national programmes were agreed between Member States and the Commission before the legislation was even approved by the European Parliament.</p> <p>It offers novelties such as “data analysis and phishing of web content and social network sites” (Hungary), the purchase of IMSI catchers and internet monitoring systems (Croatia), “gathering information using new IT capabilities” (Romania), and the development of detection and analysis tools with the aim of predicting future crimes (Greece and Malta). Further technologies for use by national and EU authorities are to be developed by the €1.7 billion ESRP.</p> <h2><strong>Suspicious minds</strong></h2> <p>This vision has been heavily influenced by military and security corporations whose profits depend on a world of suspicions, fears and threats – and who have not only been major beneficiaries of EU security spending, but have also been given an unprecedented role in designing the ESRP, from which they have acquired significant funds. <span class="mag-quote-center">This vision has been heavily influenced by military and security corporations whose profits depend on a world of suspicions, fears and threats.</span></p> <p>Major corporate recipients of EU security research funding between 2007 and December 2016 include:</p> <ul><li>French arms giants Thales (€33.1 million, 72 projects) and Airbus (€14.2 million, €3.6 million, 34 projects);</li><li>Spanish companies Indra (€12.3 million for 16 projects) and Atos (€7.6 million ,16 projects)</li><li>Selex, a former subsidiary of Italian weapons producer Finmeccanica (now renamed Leonardo) which received €23.2 million for 54 projects between 2007 and 2013.</li></ul> <p>Leading the way for the UK has been BAE Systems, which has pocketed some €6.2 million for its role in 11 projects. Private companies, large and small alike, have taken over €745.5 million from the security research budget between 2007 and December 2016, some 43% of the total.</p> <p>Major research institutes have also benefited massively from EU security research funding – for example, Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute (almost €66 million for its role in over 100 projects between 2007 and 2016), the Netherlands-based TNO (€33.6 million, 61 projects), the Swedish Defence Research Institute (€33.5 million, 56 projects) and France’s <em>Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives</em> (CEAS, over €22 million, 46 projects).</p> <h2><strong>Sowing and reaping</strong></h2> <p>Both transnational corporations and major research institutes have, alongside representatives of EU and national security agencies, long played a prominent role in the Protection and Security Advisory Group (PASAG), a European Commission advisory group which helps set the priorities for the security research work programmes. </p> <p>Although the group has long played host to representatives from the arms, security and technology industries (Thales, Morpho, Airbus, Finmeccanica, Selex) and research institutes (Fraunhofer, TNO), the Commission is currently working towards ““a slight overall increase of industry representation.” The most significant move so far has been to appoint Alberto de Benedictis, a former senior employee at Finmeccanica and chairman of arms industry lobby group ASD, as PASAG chair.</p> <p>Other paths for corporate influence are also well-trodden. The European Organisation for Security (EOS), the chief lobby group for Europe’s “security industry” has a declared annual lobbying expenditure of hundreds of thousands of euros, and has in recent years ensured continued close contacts between public and private officials in high-level policy forums and through more discreet meetings.</p> <p>Last summer, meanwhile, an EOS-led group, the European Cyber Security Organisation, was awarded significant influence over the design of the EU’s cybersecurity research agenda as part of a “public-private partnership” to which the EU has committed €450 million.</p> <h2><strong>Under the industrial influence</strong></h2> <p>The level of corporate influence over EU security policy-making is no accident: one of the core objectives of EU security policy is to ensure industry profits. As the Commission once put it: “A competitive EU security industry is the <em>conditio sine qua non</em> of any viable European security policy and for economic growth in general.” <span class="mag-quote-center">As the Commission once put it: “A competitive EU security industry is the <em>conditio sine qua non</em> of any viable European security policy and for economic growth in general.”</span></p> <p>And while there is frequent talk of the need to ensure a “true internal market for security” in the EU – amplifying the ability of transnational corporations to sell to multiple governments at once – it seems that a market in the traditional sense is not what is on offer. As a 2014 study for the European Parliament noted with regard to certain public-private collaboration schemes being established through the ESRP:</p> <p><em>“In sharp contrast with the idea of shaping a security market… the underlying idea here seems to be the promotion of a non-market commercial relation between the 'security industry' and public sector customers.</em></p> <p>As EOS itself has highlighted: “security is often in a position of market failure,” where “the allocation of goods and services by a free market is not efficient”. The industry’s dependence on public funds and political support is thus giving rise to some novel governance structures – a boon for the industry, which considers that it should have a far greater role in determining public policy.</p> <p>One clear example of the development of new “governance” structures is in the efforts to ensure total surveillance of the EU’s sea borders. The European Maritime Safety Agency is currently renting drones and data analysis capacity from private companies through a series of multi-million euro contracts. This is precisely the kind of activity that has been advocated by the PASAG (in its previous guise as the Secure Societies Advisory Group, SAG), which called for:</p> <p><em>“new governance models with varied stakeholders. This should help develop security capabilities that would otherwise be unaffordable or impractical… Other models should also be tested to alleviate the acquisition burdens [i.e. equipment, training and personnel costs] of the operators, by transferring the responsibility to acquire and operate capability to the private sector.”</em></p> <h2><strong>From the militarisation of civil security to the militarisation of the EU</strong></h2> <p>The EU’s security project is also deliberately blurring the line between civilian and military technologies. While legal obligations require projects to have “an exclusive focus on civil applications,” the Commission has rendered this meaningless with its intention to “evaluate how the results [of research projects] could benefit also defence and security industrial capabilities,” thus attempting to identify much sought-after “synergies” between civilian and military technologies.</p> <p>These initiatives are being capped with moves towards a dedicated military research budget, with a €90 million “pilot project” currently under way – exactly as was recommended by a high-level ‘Group of Personalities’ convened by the Commission and drawn primarily from the arms industry.</p> <p>The next steps are more ambitious. In June the European Commission proposed a ‘European Defence Fund’ that from 2020 onwards foresees €1.5 billion in annual funding from the EU and Member States for the research and development of new military technologies, in order to enhance Europe’s “strategic autonomy” so that it can “face tomorrow’s threats and… protect its citizens.”</p> <p>This will come alongside a renewed security research programme, and arms industry lobby group ASD is hoping that both are well-financed – it has noted that “one of the main challenges” will be “to avoid that currently envisaged funding for defence research will come along with a reduction of funding for security research.”</p> <h2><strong>Democratic deficit and the demand for new visions of security</strong></h2> <p>Throughout the development of Europe’s security agenda, there has been a consistent pattern of democracy playing catch-up to money, corporate influence and a belief that we can never have too much high-tech “security”. <span class="mag-quote-center">Throughout the development of Europe’s security agenda, there has been a consistent pattern of democracy playing catch-up to money.</span></p> <p>Consider, for example, the development of border surveillance system Eurosur, PNR passenger profiling systems, and the “smart borders” project that will require the fingerprinting of all non-EU citizens. All were helped along by EU funding long before legislation on them was approved or even proposed. Given the far-reaching nature of these projects and the need for a robust discussion on how to prevent human rights being superseded by security objectives, this lack of democratic accountability is deeply disturbing.</p> <p>The need for compliance with fundamental rights, democratic values and ethical standards has long been noted in the multitude of EU documents on security research. Criticisms of the security research agenda that emerged in the early years of the ESRP have led to more stringent ethical checks, alongside increased funding for less technologically-determined, more socially-focused research.</p> <p>Yet these modifications cannot overcome the political environment and objectives by which EU security policy is framed. As argued in a report for the ESRP-funded SURPRISE project:</p> <p><em>“Security policies… have increasingly adopted a conceptual approach to security problems that is strongly solution-driven and tends to neglect the variety and complexity of social, economic, technical and political factors that may have caused those security problems in the first place.”</em></p> <p>This “solution-driven” approach was perhaps best summed-up by a drone manufacturer at an EU conference some years ago: “’You’re quite right’, [they] acknowledged to Statewatch at a drone conference, ‘we don’t actually know what the problem is; we just know that the solution is UAVs’.” <span class="mag-quote-center">“’You’re quite right’, [they] acknowledged to Statewatch at a drone conference, ‘we don’t actually know what the problem is; we just know that the solution is UAVs’.” </span></p> <p>However, despite the money invested so far by the EU, the sought-after “solutions” have not always been forthcoming. For example, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) reported in 2014 that the External Borders Fund had been ineffective, seriously deficient and misspent by national governments, while the formal evaluation of the 2007-2013 ESRP found that very few of the projects looked likely to result in concrete products (only 11% even reported a patent application).</p> <p>At the same time, the ESRP evaluation declared that the most important results of the research programme were to be found in the development of a Europe-wide security research community bringing together state officials, researchers and corporate representatives. It remains to be seen whether the current incarnation of the ESRP (which runs from 2014 to 2020) will see greater deployment of new security “solutions” – but by the time a thorough evaluation has taken place, the next programme (2021-27) will likely be in full swing.</p> <h2><strong>Need for a new approach</strong></h2> <p>It is clear that Europe faces major challenges, from the increase in terrorist attacks to the growing impact of climate change, that require collective responses. The question is whether they require the responses offered so far: extraordinary legal and policy measures combined with the development and deployment of new surveillance and control technologies often based on ideas of hierarchical command-and-control.</p> <p>The staggering advances in computing power, data storage, analytical systems and networked devices in the last two decades offer massive potential to liberate and empower individuals and to democratise societies. At the same time, the possibilities they offer for enhancing the repressive powers of states against those deemed unwanted or undesirable – through biometric identification, predictive policing systems, “less-lethal” weaponry, or the use of drones and other remote technologies – are truly frightening.</p> <p>In July 2017 a wide variety of civil society organisations published an initial position paper on future EU research policy, noting that “the research that is prioritised and funded today will have a decisive impact on the future of our societies and our planet.” In relation to security research, it called for the Commission to ensure that the programme “institutes a meaningful balance between innovative security technologies on the one hand and research into fundamental rights, alternatives and root causes on the other.”</p> <p>However, this is not something that will be achieved simply by asking politely. Billions of euros in research funding is at stake. Discussions on the next research budget (as well as all other EU budgetary proposals) will begin soon – the Commission is currently preparing its proposal for the 2021-27 security research programme, which will be sent to the Council of the EU (national governments) and the European Parliament to reach their positions before entering negotiations. <span class="mag-quote-center">The EU has long been committed to ensuring fundamental rights and civil liberties on paper – there is now a once-in-seven-years opportunity.</span></p> <p>There is thus a significant opportunity for progressive political forces across Europe to demand a new approach to security research (not to mention other research themes) as well as new priorities in the funding of security policies. The EU has long been committed to ensuring fundamental rights and civil liberties on paper – there is now a once-in-seven-years opportunity to ensure that research and policy funds are used to put that commitment into practice.</p><p><em>See the August, 2017 report by Statewatch and TNI, here: </em><a href="https://www.tni.org/en/publication/market-forces-the-development-of-the-eu-security-industrial-complex">Market Forces.</a>&nbsp; <em>Executive summary <a href="https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/marketforces-execsummary-tni-statewatch.pdf">here</a>.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>See the report by Statewatch and TNI, here: <a href="https://www.tni.org/en/publication/market-forces-the-development-of-the-eu-security-industrial-complex">Market Forces.</a> Executive summary <a href="https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/marketforces-execsummary-tni-statewatch.pdf">here</a>. August, 2017.</p><p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Earlier reports:</p><p><a href="http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/neoconopticon-report.pdf">NeoConOpticon:</a> The EU security military-industrial complex. June, 2009.</p><p><a href="http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/bigbrother.pdf">Arming Big Brother:</a> The EU's Security research programme. April 2006. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </p><p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> EU </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Internet </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? digitaLiberties Can Europe make it? EU Conflict Democracy and government Economics International politics Internet Chris Jones Thu, 31 Aug 2017 08:00:46 +0000 Chris Jones 112896 at https://www.opendemocracy.net International law and new wars https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/mary-kaldor/international-law-and-new-wars <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>By failing to address 'new wars' international law has added to insecurity. Is it time for a second generation human security resting upon the laws of humanity?&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/PA-32560946.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/PA-32560946.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. PAimages/Chen Yichen/Xinhua News Agency. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p><b><i>From hybrid peace to human security: rethinking EU strategy toward conflict:</i> the Berlin report of the Human Security Study Group presented to High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs &amp; Security Policy Federica Mogherini ( 24 February, 2016).</b></p><p>This report proposed that the European Union adopts a second generation human security approach to conflicts, as an alternative to Geo-Politics or the War on Terror. Second generation human security takes forward the principles of human security and adapts them to 21st century realities.</p><p>The report argues that the EU is a new type of 21st century political institution in contrast to 20th century nation-states. Twentieth-century nation states were based on a clear distinction between inside and outside. Typical outside instruments were state-to-state diplomacy or economic and military coercion. Typical inside instruments are the rule of law, politics, and policing. In today’s complex, contested and connected world, outside instruments do not work; they backfire and make things worse. Human security is about extending the inside beyond the EU.</p> <p>Hybrid Peace is what happens when 20th century peace-making is applied in contemporary conflicts. Contemporary conflicts have to be understood not as Clausewitzean contests of will between two sides with legitimate goals but as a sort of predatory social condition in which networks of armed groups instrumentalise extremist identities and enrich themselves through violence.</p><p>Up to now, the EU has focused on top-down peace-making, humanitarian assistance and post-conflict reconstruction. These policies can easily be subverted because they can end up entrenching criminalised extremist networks. Second generation human security is about establishing legitimate political authority and legitimate livelihoods to counter this predatory social condition. It encompasses multi-layer, incremental and inclusive peace processes with particular emphasis on support for local ceasefires and civil society; security assistance in establishing safe areas and safe corridors and protecting individuals and their communities; economic measures including justice to undercut the illegal economy. Second generation human security involves continuous engagement so as to combine prevention, early warning, crisis response and reconstruction as intertwined activities, and places emphasis on gender so as to oppose the extreme gender relations that are constructed in contemporary wars.</p><p>The instruments of second generation human security include:</p> <ol> <li>Creative diplomacy at all levels including smart multilateralism</li> <li>An emphasis on justice across the entire spectrum of abuse and criminality prevalent in today’s conflicts</li> <li>The use of smart sanctions where they involve engagement with civil society, impact monitoring, and compliance with international law</li> <li>Conditionality aimed at countering predation, corruption, sectarianism and impunity rather than introducing neo-liberal reforms</li> <li>Civilian-led missions that include some combination of humanitarian workers, human rights monitors, legal experts, police and where needed military forces, and that involve both men and women.</li> </ol> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6qUxRQrWIPw" frameborder="0" height="315" width="460"></iframe></p><p>On June 20, 2017, this panel discussion launched the new book by Christine Chinkin and Mary Kaldor –<a href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/International-Law-Wars-Christine-Chinkin/dp/1316622096"> <i>International Law and New Wars</i></a> – which examines how international law fails to address the contemporary experience of what are known as 'new wars' - instances of armed conflict and violence in places such as Syria, Ukraine, Libya, Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.</p><p> International law, largely constructed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, rests to a great extent on the outmoded concept of war drawn from European experience - inter-state clashes involving battles between regular and identifiable armed forces. The book shows how different approaches are associated with different interpretations of international law, and, in some cases, this has dangerously weakened the legal restraints on war established after 1945.</p> <p>It puts forward a practical case for what it defines as second generation human security and the implications this carries for international law.</p><p><b>Speech times:</b></p><p>Mary Kaldor: 3.50 - 16.18</p><p>Christine Chinkin: 16.20 - 28.40</p><p>Javier Solana: 28.42 - 37.56</p><p><i>Recorded on 21 June 2017 at Old Theatre, Old Building</i></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/mary-kaldor-javier-solana/from-hybrid-peace-to-human-security">From hybrid peace to human security</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/mary-kaldor-alex-sakalis-rosemary-bechler/if-eu-didn-t-exist-we-would-have-to-inv">If the EU didn’t exist, we would have to invent it</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Christine Chinkin Javier Solana Mary Kaldor Tue, 29 Aug 2017 16:51:56 +0000 Mary Kaldor, Javier Solana and Christine Chinkin 113082 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Katja Kipping at DiEM25's "Next Stop 2019?" https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/katja-kipping/katja-kipping-at-diem25s-next-stop-2019 <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>"A Europe that excites people would be one that aims to be a well balanced economy rather than one that's focusing on competition." <em>(Video, &nbsp;9 mins)</em></p> </div> </div> </div> <iframe width="460" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1o48BPzQq84" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><p>"A Europe that excites people would be one that aims to be a well balanced economy rather than one that's focusing on competition. Because the thing about competitiveness is that we understand that - in the whole world - only a few countries can be particularly competitive. The whole world cannot be more competitive than itself."</p><p><em>Video from DiEM25's "Next Stop 2019?" event in Berlin, 25 May 2017.</em></p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Katja Kipping DiEM25 Mon, 28 Aug 2017 21:14:08 +0000 Katja Kipping 113065 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Nessa Childers in Diem25's Ireland Launch Event https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/nessa-childers/nessa-childers-in-diem25s-ireland-launch-event <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>"I listen to endless talk about the existential crisis of socialists and democrats and not very much insight into the fact that they have brought it upon themselves." <em>(Video, 12 mins)</em></p> </div> </div> </div> <iframe width="460" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-p-wGpy2K4w" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><p>"I listen to endless talk about the existential crisis of socialists and democrats and not very much insight into the fact that they have brought it upon themselves. There is a complete avoidance of this and I find it a very uncomfortable position to be in, because I hear this talking all the time about how the 'messaging' is wrong. It's not about the messaging - it;s about the messenger and the policies and not wanting to see the faces of your audience. That's what it's about."</p><p><em>Video from the DiEM25 Ireland launch in Dublin, 27 May 2017.</em></p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Nessa Childers DiEM25 Sat, 26 Aug 2017 14:50:41 +0000 Nessa Childers 113038 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Justice after ISIS: time for judicial triage https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/nadim-houry/justice-after-isis-time-for-judicial-triage <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The overwhelming reliance on a counterterrorism framework is showing its limits. Judges and local officials in Iraq and Syria are realizing that you cannot lock everyone up.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/IMG_9764 (2).jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/IMG_9764 (2).jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Author interviewing local Tabqa residents after ISIS had been pushed out of city (July 2017) © Ole Solvang/Human Rights Watch. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>The Raqqa Civilian Council building was full of people with complaints when I visited in July. The council, based in the Syrian town of `Ayn Issa, was set up in April to govern the areas in Raqqa province that US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are retaking from ISIS. A local sheikh had come to seek the release of a relative who the SDF had detained on suspicion of being an ISIS member. Another local man was upset that the SDF had not arrested his neighbor, who he says had joined ISIS and had used his association with them to confiscate some of the local man’s property.</p> <p>The scene that unfolded before me in rural Syria was not just about predictable local complaints. It illustrated a difficult policy question that runs all the way from the battlefields of Iraq and Syria through key international capitals: what should justice look like after ISIS? In other words, who should be prosecuted, by whom, and for what?</p> <p>The question is a complex one. While the imperative for justice is overwhelming, existing justice mechanisms are underwhelming. Sorting through and properly prosecuting the grave crimes committed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria would be a challenge for any well-resourced and fully functioning judiciary. Some of the challenges include the sheer number and types of crimes, the difficulty gathering evidence for crimes that took place in the chaos of war, and the inevitability of having to conduct these investigations in a highly politicized and polarized environment.</p> <p>For the judiciaries in Iraq and Syria – weak to begin with and now depleted by years of conflict and corruption – it is a nearly impossible task. And to make things worse, each of those countries has different judicial systems operating in various parts of the country that either do not cooperate or are openly hostile toward one another.</p> <h2><strong>Blunt instrument</strong></h2> <p>To face the challenge, the authorities in Iraq and Syria have opted to go with a blunt instrument. For the most part, they have relied on their counterterrorism laws and special counterterrorism courts to prosecute ISIS members as well as their suspected accomplices. An Iraqi judge at the Nineveh governorate’s counterterrorism court, which has jurisdiction over cases from the Mosul area, told Human Rights Watch recently that the court was working through about 2,000 cases involving people suspected of being ISIS members or affiliates. Across the border in Syria, the People’s Protection Court, a local court in charge of terrorism cases in the Democratic Union Party (PYD)-led autonomous administration in northern Syria, has handled more than 700 cases, a local judge told me last month.</p> <p>It is easy to see why counterterrorism laws appeal to prosecutors. They can lock people up for a long time simply by proving membership in ISIS or that someone materially assisted the group or its members, without having to prove they committed specific criminal acts. But these laws and the courts that apply them are too blunt for the challenge at hand. They do not sufficiently distinguish between ISIS members who may have committed rape or executions, and those who simply worked as traffic police. </p> <p>And the definition of assistance is so broad that it has been applied to large swathes of the population that lived under ISIS. For instance, the laws in force could penalize doctors who worked in ISIS-run hospitals, lawyers who participated in ISIS courts, local shop owners who sold food to ISIS or filled their cars with gas. This is not just a hypothetical; in the past two weeks, Iraq has <a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/08/10/iraq-lawyers-arrested-work-isis-courts">issued arrest warrants</a> against at least 15 lawyers, apparently for the “crime” of practicing law in ISIS courts.</p> <h2><strong>Amnesty</strong></h2> <p>The overwhelming reliance on this counterterrorism framework is showing its limits. Judges and local officials in Iraq and Syria are realizing that you cannot lock everyone up. In June, the Raqqa Civilian Council pardoned 83 captured ISIS fighters whom it described as “low-ranking members without blood on their hands.” The council said that it was a goodwill gesture designed to promote stability and reconciliation.</p> <p>Iraq <a href="http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/08/general-amnesty-law-terrorism-national-reconciliation-iraq.html">passed a law in August 2016</a> that offers amnesty to anyone who joined ISIS or another extremist group against their will, and did not commit any serious offense such as torture, killing, or the use of explosives. The head of the Iraqi parliament’s legal committee, Mohsen al-Karkari, told Human Rights Watch during a meeting on February 7 that it was a roundabout way to limit the scope of Iraq’s wide-reaching counterterrorism law. According to the Iraqi Justice Ministry, authorities have <a href="http://www.moj.gov.iq/view.3010/">released 756 prisoners since the law was passed</a>.</p> <p>Amnesties may be a necessary correction to expedited and often flawed trials as well as overflowing prisons, but the overall process is not delivering justice. Several Raqqa residents told me that they feared that those who benefited from the June amnesty were not necessarily those with “clean hands” but rather those who had strong advocates among the key clans that the SDF is trying to accommodate to promote stability. <span class="mag-quote-center">Those who benefited from the June amnesty were not necessarily those with “clean hands” but rather those who had strong advocates among the key clans that the SDF is trying to accommodate to promote stability.</span></p> <p>In Iraq, the amnesty has failed to convince many judges or promote local reconciliation. A judge in the Nineveh counterterrorism court told Human Rights Watch that in his opinion those who supported ISIS even with the simplest actions like cooking, were as culpable as the fighters, and that he had no interest in claims from defendants that they joined the group against their will.</p> <h2><strong>Accountability for specific acts</strong></h2> <p>It is time to recognize that the overreliance on counterterrorism laws and courts to judge acts conducted during ISIS rule is producing a failed outcome. What is needed is to apply the judicial equivalent of medical triage: prioritize the prosecution of serious crimes and explore alternative avenues to address lesser crimes. Authorities in Iraq and Syria should concentrate their limited judicial resources on investigating the gravest crimes committed by ISIS members. They should encourage victims to participate in such proceedings. Terrorism charges can still be relied on when appropriate but it will be essential to investigate and prosecute serious underlying crimes such as rape, execution, and kidnapping, to establish accountability for specific acts, and to provide victims with a sense of justice for the crimes committed against them.</p> <p>Given the scale and nature of crimes committed by ISIS, efforts to introduce international crimes, such as war crimes and crimes against humanity, into Iraqi and Syrian law should be a priority so that these crimes can be properly prosecuted. Without proper international support and political backing, it is doubtful that Iraqi and Syrian courts would be able to successfully prosecute such cases. <span class="mag-quote-center">Authorities in Iraq and Syria should concentrate their limited judicial resources on investigating the gravest crimes committed by ISIS members. They should encourage victims to participate.</span></p> <p>For lesser crimes, notably nonviolent crimes, alternatives to criminal prosecution are needed. The intent is not to sweep certain crimes under the rug but rather to seek alternative ways, such as financial compensation to victims, public apologies, and property restitution to promote victims’ rights and ensure reconciliation. Justice and the notion of triage do not always sit well together but given the actual judicial options and resources available, it would be a vast improvement over the current approach.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/nadim-houry/making-local-ceasefires-work-in-syria">Making local ceasefires work in Syria</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/nadim-houry/breaking-france-s-addiction-to-its-state-of-emergency">Breaking France’s addiction to its state of emergency</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Iraq </div> <div class="field-item even"> Syria </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia Can Europe make it? North-Africa West-Asia Syria Iraq Nadim Houry Fri, 25 Aug 2017 07:04:48 +0000 Nadim Houry 112976 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Saskia Sassen at DiEM25's "Next stop 2019?" https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/saskia-sassen/saskia-sassen-at-diem25s-next-stop-2019 <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>"You don’t need to change everything to bring foundational change." <em>(Video, 5 mins)</em></p> </div> </div> </div> <iframe width="460" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zEw8FPEP0js" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><p>"So it seems to me that one question we might want to ask is: how do complex systems change? So let’s think DiEM. DiEM wants to make a significant change in how things are running, the distribution of the goodies, all of that. Now if it is the case and I think that it is the case, that complex systems change not by changing everything - if you want to change everything you have a major challenge - but if they change by just shifting certain capabilities from one type of organising logic to another type of organising logic - the shift from mass consumption to the current period - then you are dealing with a very different mode from which you can intervene to change a complex system. DiEM then represents one set of strands….you don’t need to change everything to bring foundational change."</p><p><em>Video from DiEM25's "Next Stop 2019?" event in Berlin, 25 May 2017.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/saskia-sassen-richard-sennett/failures-of-liberal-state-and-responses-on-ground">Failures of the Liberal State and responses on the ground</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/saskia-sassen/euus-free-trade-agreement-ttip-giving-rights-to-firms-taking-jobs-f"> The EU-US free trade agreement (TTIP): giving rights to firms, taking jobs from modest communities </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Saskia Sassen DiEM25 Thu, 24 Aug 2017 18:02:16 +0000 Saskia Sassen 113010 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Aral Balkan on an Internet of People from DiEM25's "Next Stop 2019?" event https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/aral-balkan/aral-balkan-on-internet-of-people-from-diem25s-next-stop-2019-event <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>"We are talking about a very different type of social system that we live in. We’re talking about a corporatocracy." <em>(Video, 7 mins)</em></p> </div> </div> </div> <iframe width="460" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AOsC5JCzv98" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><p>"Today whether it is your smart television that you have in your home or whether it’s your smart phone you have or smart watch that you’re wearing or a smart teddy bear that your children are playing with or a smart pill that you swallow that sends information from within you. All these modern technologies work in the same way. They work by gathering data – information about us. And that’s an aspect that were not going to change, that’s a fact of life. The real question is who owns and controls these technologies, and the data and the insight that is being gathered about us?</p><p>Now if we can answer that question with ‘we do, as individuals’ there’s no problem here. We have individual sovereignty. We own and control them and we are getting smarter about ourselves. But if the answer is that corporations own and control these technologies and this data then they are getting smarter about us and by extension if this data is available to governments as we know that it is from the Snowden revelations then we are talking about a very different type of social system that we live in. We’re talking about a corporatocracy."</p><p><em>Video from DiEM25's "Next Stop 2019?" event in Berlin, 25 May 2017.</em></p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Aral Balkan DiEM25 Thu, 24 Aug 2017 15:30:32 +0000 Aral Balkan 113007 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Alice-Mary Higgins on the DiEM25 Manifesto at the DiEM25 launch in Ireland https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/diem25/alice-mary-higgins-on-diem25-manifesto-at-diem25-launch-in-ireland <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>"We need to bridge that new and innovative kind of democratic accountability from the local to the national, to the European and international level. It needs to be remade ground-up and DiEM is an exciting part of that…" <em>(Video, 24 mins)</em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0QITQIJ_llw" frameborder="0" height="315" width="460"></iframe></p><p> “It is good to see people coming to these discussions and being here at a time when trust in institutions is at an all-time low – trust in national institutions and European institutions. We know it not just because we hear it in the conversations we have but because of Europe’s own measurements in the Eurobarometer. For about five or six years now it has been sending warning bells about extraordinary numbers who are falling away from their belief in democracy or the potential even for democracy in Europe. </p><p>We have moved past the point of democratic deficit which was talked about for so many years, into a democratic disconnect where people don’t even see where the path might be and that is a very dangerous moment.</p> <p>Of course that has all been deepened by the crash… and European institutions instead of engaging in dialogue have given us a diagnosis of a one-size-fits all deeply ideological neoliberal prescription for privatisation, for liberalisation and for austerity – polices which have never been shown to work anywhere in the world, and which we knew going into it has never worked anywhere in the world.” </p><p>“Our European institutions and structures are still not getting the message, if we want to save Europe, and I am passionate about having a European future, we need to have it agreed that we need to rebuild credibility and confidence at the very ground level amongst citizens in Europe. We don’t need more deals or another document at the highest level, but something that builds from the base, not another top-down constitution for example, but the kind of ground-up proposals that DiEM is trying to work for. For me we need to bridge that new and innovative kind of democratic accountability from the local to the national, to European and to international level – recognising that we are constantly remaking and expanding a relatively new democracy in the world spectrum and after the millennia of various authoritarian structures. It needs to be remade and DiEM is an exciting part of that…"</p><p>- The question of the need for public investment. Not just a question of resources but also of structures – now states are forced to invent Special Purpose Vehicles that bring a narrative of profit and privatisation to the fore, rather than borrow money to create investment on infrastructure because the dividend is that longterm one of a happier, more productive society. So this about not just giving the money, but allowing the state to invest in this way – allowing states to borrow and invest and to deliver public services. This builds democratic credibility – for it is about the people who access social services also being able to have an opinion about those services, and an outlet to express it and accountability for those services.</p><p>- The EU Parliament needs to be able to initiate legislation – and not simply adjudicate.</p><p>- The Financial Transaction Tax is nearly there and could happen and should happen…</p><p>- There was a very rare positive moment when the European Court of Justice recently ruled against the Commission. It ruled that their wilful refusal to take seriously and act on the European Citizens’ Initiatives (ECI), specifically the CETA CI’s signed by over 3 million citizens across Europe, is unacceptable and in breach of their duty. So we now have a situation where the European Commission has been told that they need to take ECI’s seriously and we need to flood the Commission with ECI’s and to make sure that I they don’t take action on them they know they will face further court cases…</p><p>“Every time the European Commission negotiates a new treaty they have to get a new mandate from the European Council, and I think we need to make sure that the next mandate that is given which will be the mandate to negotiate the trade deal between Europe and the UK is a different kind of mandate.</p><p>There was extraordinary work done in the 1990’s on an alternative trade mandate for Europe at a time when some of us were fighting against the trade agreements that Europe was trying to impose on African nations, including what a trade deal should look like and what kind of transparency it should have. We need to be sending a message to Europe about what the trade mandate needs to be going into those discussions and that those trade deals do not include corporate courts…ECJ ruled that trade deals need to be ratified by all EU parliaments.”</p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; ***</p><p>“Another area which is crucial is peace – the greatest dividend Europe has. But despite this being in the core DNA of Europe, there has been a reckless disregard for peacebuilding in recent years: in the policies imposed on Greece and the social disintegration that has been cultivated, in the language of division and scapegoating which has been used. We know from centuries that this is the stuff that dissolves and disintegrates peace. And even at the same time as we are not minding the peace, we have a new securitisation narrative and a new militarisation around our borders. We have seen companies like Frontex emerge and the new outrageous outsourcing of detention centres to places like Libya. And there will be a push for a common European military force during the same time that we are developing our constitution and we need to be ready to fight it along the way.”</p><p>“The need for solidarity has never been higher. I was lucky enough to be part of the European Women’s Lobby for a number of years. There, we saw the importance of citizen solidarity, of social movement solidarity, of solidarity between women’s movements and other social movements, for example, with civil society in places like Hungary where they are being shut down, where civil society is at the point of detentions, laptops being seized and we are seeing a very hostile active war against civil society engagement… I really welcome that DiEM identifies itself as a feminist movement, strengthening its economic and social policies.”</p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; ***</p><p>“How we do it? – participation and the way we do it does matter. If we really work on making it meaningful participation, the transformation we achieve is going to be more robust. It is going to stand up and it is going to work for everybody. And we need to say when somebody comes from a different experience from us, that that is a useful thing that allows us to see more of the bigger picture. Because oppression is complicated, and patriarchy and capitalism and racial hierarchy – they are all entwined and when we see insights from outside that deeply embedded system from others, we need to welcome it as an opportunity.”</p><p>“Multispeed Europe diverts us into a conversation about speed when we need to have a conversation about direction.”</p><p>“There is an absolute compatibility between nationalism and internationalism and I think the DiEM movement is going to be part of that…”</p><p><em>Video from the DiEM25 Ireland launch in Dublin, 27 May 2017.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>For the whole speech see <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aw7IxTcw5J4">here</a>.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Alice-Mary Higgins DiEM25 Thu, 24 Aug 2017 14:04:09 +0000 Alice-Mary Higgins 112989 at https://www.opendemocracy.net