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<nettime> ACT 4 RADICAL EUROPE
Alex Foti on Mon, 15 Jan 2007 15:59:43 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> ACT 4 RADICAL EUROPE


ACT 4 RADICAL EUROPE (A4RE, "ayforee")
manifesto for a transnational political association acting for social
and ecological justice

WAR IS RAGING, DYSTOPIA IS LOOMING

The early 21st century is dark and barbaric, as war, inequality,
irrationality, xenophobia, and ecological collapse spread unchecked
over the planet, and over our troubled region of the world, Europe,
governed by the EU and the nation-states, i.e. by the present
(dis)Union of Euro and non-Euro states, of old and new member
countries.

Bushism and political islamism have reshaped world politics; India and
China have reshaped the global economy. South America has broken free
of the Monroe Doctrine, but political Europe is in shambles: the
French-Dutch no has left it shaken and hollow at its center, while
rising social conflict and disillusion are questioning its viability
as a political entity. Today, the European space is traversed by
powerful capital and migration flows (the former set free by the
Single Market, the latter differentially discriminated and persecuted
as Schengen dictates), which are conservatively managed by a
neoliberal technocracy that has feeble, if not negative, democratic
legitimacy.

The old Spinelli-inspired and Monnet-initiated federalist project of
catholic/socialist orientation has become a spent force in the 21st
century. A new European cosmopolitanism of radical-democratic
(rad-dem) orientation must take its place, with horizontal federalism,
social action, green politics, and gay rights at its core. Otherwise,
the nation-state will rear its ugly head: strong-armed nationalists
and right-wing populists already are a serious threat in many
countries of Europe.

On the other hand, neither the socialdemocratic, nor the communist or
the ecologist parties of the Left have been able to provide democratic
answers to the gigantic challenges posed by economic polarization and
geopolitical instability, the full spread of networking and
digitalization technologies, the rise of biotech with its ethical and
societal consequences, and last but foremost, accelerating climate
change and environmental damage.


SOCIAL STATES OF EUROPE

The spectres of pauperization and exclusion are haunting the people of
Europe. Over the last twenty years, precarity and inequality have
broken the Christian/Social Democratic compromise of the postwar
period on which modern Europe was founded =96 namely, rising incomes for
employees and rising power for their unions, in exchange for
acceptance of the capitalist system =96 and have left in its wake the
rise of immense corporate and private wealth, next to escalating
exclusion and social angst. Acting for radical Europe means first of
all mobilizing decisively against social inequality, labor
precarization, and the arrogance of the elites and their privileges,
as millions have recently done in France and Denmark.

In Europe today, the central struggle against neoliberalism is the
fight against precarity. The conflict of students, and service and
knowledge workers against precarious working and social conditions is
politically explosive. It bespeaks of another Europe, with fundamental
social rights at its core. Income security and cultural autonomy are
to become crucial foundations for a new European welfare system. This
is our interpretation of flexicurity, in marked contrast with the
workfarist proposals that abound in the Green Paper on labor
flexibility and social security recently issued by the European
Commission. To counter the minimal social Europe favored by liberals,
we need to spread freedom of thought and action, promote cultural
subversion and social conflict, so to give rise to the radically
democratic Europe that national oligarchies steadfastly refuse.

Faced with social ebullience and cultural effervescence, national
governments hysterically limit the freedom of expression online and on
the streets, in a climate of state-induced fear and paranoia inviting
ever more draconian regimes of law and order. To fight this
reactionary tendency, libertarian principles in information and
communication have to be constantly asserted online and offline, and
the freedom of movement and protest constantly practiced and defended
against securitarian aggressions.

The persecution of immigrants and refugees at the gates of and within
Europe is a burning shame for all self-respecting democrats:
transnational solidarity and transethnic alliances with migrants are
moral duties for European radicals fighting for an enlarged idea of
Europe, which cannot but include also the people once subjected to
rapacious European imperial rule.

Queer activism is rising in Europe and the rest of the world, but
trans/gender rights are under unprecedented threat by reactionary
religious establishments everywhere. In spite of the achievements of
modern feminism, women are still intimidated, abused and killed in
native and immigrant families alike, and discriminated in the public
sphere and at the workplace. Gender equality and the fight against
homophobia must become top priorities for European radical movements.

Today, Europe's multiethnic youth is economically discriminated and
increasingly alienated. The European younger generation is caught
between unemployment and precarity, and unable to attain basic social
goods (home, higher education, welfare etc). Gerontocracy of the
elites and consequent privileges for the rentier classes are killing
Europe's future by unfairly burdening European young families and
excluding the creative class from economic and political decisions.

Corporations not only resort to large-scale outsourcing and
offshoring, as financial markets dictate, but more crucially, they
seek to exploit the cognitive and relational skills of people, as they
enclose the natural and social commons. Today's economy makes
individual life increasingly dependent on the market, which in turns
aggravates social fragmentation and ecological alienation. European
radicalism must challenge the new hierarchies created by European
capitalism and finally break its inegalitarian spell, by fostering
biopolitical creativity and social insurgency. We must fight for new
conceptions of welfare and for new concepts of the common. It is time
for the precarious multitude to shift power away from the elites and
remake the social landscape of Europe.

Financial and corporate power is still formidable in Europe, and
tenaciously defended by monetarist Trichet and freemarketeer Barroso,
but has lost the aura of credibility and indeed invincibility it had
in the 1990s, thanks to the manifold pressures of the global justice
movement. The global movement for social and environmental justice
which developed in Europe with the huge protests
at Prague, Goteborg, Genoa, peaked on Feb 15, 2003 with the truly
giant demonstrations against the invasion of Irak in Europe's major
cities, but has been declining since, although new radical movements
seem to have taken the relay over the course of 2006.

The emergence of a transnational mayday network against the
precarization of youth and persecution of migrants has been a partial
exception to the decline of Europe's movement against corporate and
financial globalization. Disseminated in Europe's major cities, the
movement against precarity represents one of the most potent attempts
to renew the ideals and tactics of political and social dissent in the
EU.

THE IDEA OF RADICAL EUROPE

In an age of intellectual obscurantism and global dimming, we want to
go back to the radical spirit of the Enlightenment and the
revolutionary birth of democracy. In Europe, through the centuries,
the very idea of political philosophy and thus the form the state
should take has been decisively shaped and altered by collective
action and social conflict. Our idea of radical Europe takes
inspiration from the great moments in Europe's history of democratic
mobilization and social liberation, which we summarize here.

First of all, the democratic and radical currents, such as the
Levellers and the Diggers, of the English Revolution, and especially
of the French Revolution, such as the Jacobins and the Sans-Culottes;
later, the secret societies that were sworn enemies of the Holy
Alliance; the Chartist movement pushing for universal suffrage and the
rise of trade unionism; revolutionary 1848 and the idea of a
non-dynastic Young Europe; 1871 and the communards' brave experiment
with a self-governing urban democracy of elected officials; the
1890-1920 period, which saw great hopes and major defeats for the
radical democratic left in a Continent torn by general strikes, rocked
by the women's suffrage movement, sucked dry by the ghastly trenches
of nationalist war, and finally torn by bolshevist revolutions and
reactionary counter-revolutions; the socialist Second International
and revolutionary syndicalism held the scene before the Great War,
replaced after 1917 by the more sectarian communist Third
International and revolutionary Leninism (which soon turned into
totalitarian Stalinism); 1936 was the year of the social and electoral
victory of the French Popular Front and of Franco's aggression against
the republican, socialist and anarchist Spanish Popular Front; it was
also the time when European and international fascism first unleashed
genocidal war in Europe and Asia: only a global popular front could
manage to finally defeat nazis and fascists in 1945, after immense
suffering and through civil wars of liberation. From the ashes of
fascist defeat and the horrors of total war, the political idea of
Europe first emerged out of European resistance movements, whose ideas
where distilled in the Ventotene Manifesto for a federal and peaceful
Europe.

After the war, European economic, and then political, institutions
started to consolidate. 1956 was the decisive starting point, since,
by proclaiming the end of European imperialism at Suez, it accelerated
the birth of European federalism, and, by revealing Stalin's crimes,
in unleashed Eastern Europe's democratic anti-Soviet rebellion. In
1968, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Prague simultaneously rebelled, setting off
the explosion of juvenile rebellion and identity politics in the 70s
(hippies, students, women, gays, punks, oppressed ethnic groups and
peoples), and ultimately defeating the cold-war, two-bloc partition of
Europe with the 1989 democratic uprising in Berlin, prepared by the
antinuclear movements of that decade. The Fall of the Wall eventually
led to the implosion of
Russian communism and its geopolitical bloc, and thus set the stage
for the launch for the Single Currency in Western Europe and
enlargement to the East for the whole of the EU. It also enabled
free-market zealots to cage the political soul of Europe, as
large-scale privatizations and spending cuts ravaged the 1990s. But in
the early 2000s, this nefarious policy scenario is finally coming
apart at the seams.


WE, EUROPEAN RADICALS

We are proud inheritors of the history of radical Europe and of
Europe's global justice movements. We have absorbed Europe's
traditions of democratic politics and critical philosophy. We are
descendants of the secular approach to reason and nature, of all the
strands in socialist thinking and progressive politics that have
invariably opposed all forms of authoritarianism
and totalitarianism. We are the children of ecological and
post-patriarchal Europe and it is from this radical heritage that we
want to build a shared rad-dem political culture that can make people
experience meaning and purpose back again in their lives and environments.

We declare ourselves radical Europeans. We want to fight to assert the
fundamental human, civil, social, gender, information rights of the
multitudes living in or coming to Europe. We will work toward a
rebirth of the European project on principles of radical democratic
participation: from intellectual dissent to social protest, from civil
disobedience to labor picketing, from consumer boycott to media
campaigning. We declare nationalism, clericalism and fundamentalism
our foes and enemies. We denounce political neoconservatism and
economic neoliberalism as untenable and immoral philosophies and ways
of government.

We are the generation the tore down Berlin's wall and went underground
when Thatcher, Wojtyla and Reagan tried to restore family values. We
are the harbingers of the Internet revolution and socioeconomic
globalization. We are the low-wage/low-cost generation, still
dominated by elites inherited from the cold war, who would rather turn
Europe into a giant Switzerland, where shady dictators and mafia
bosses can safely put their money, while immigrants, even those born
in Europe, are excluded from citizenship.

We are Europe's creative class. We are fierce enemies of private
monopoly in technology and knowledge industries and are enraged by
unprecedented levels of economic concentration in all sectors of the
economy. The freedom of circulation of knowledge demands the end of
authoritarian enforcement of copyright law, which has been
strengthened over the last decade to protect the vested interests of
media conglomerates. Today, intellectual property stands in the way of
cultural freedom and economic innovation. Radical europeans demand the
abolition of the patent system, particularly on pharmaceuticals: the
profits of Big Pharma stand in the way of the survival of millions in
the South of the world.

The right of copying and sharing must be guaranteed for all
individuals acting without a profit motive. Similarly, filesharing and
p2p networks must be freed from police harassment and persecution.
With the excuse of global terrorism, freedom of communication on the
Net is being drastically curtailed by increased state monitoring and
surveillance. Just as we denounce state intrusion over the Web, we
oppose the systematic use of camera surveillance, which does nothing
to prevent crime, but violates our privacy and makes all of us
potential suspects.

Since the 1990s, we have been uncompromising anticorporate activists
mounting all kinds of actions and campaigns to fight social
discrimination and environmental destruction. We strenuously oppose
and denounce the economic interests that are accomplices in the
reactionary and ecocidal turn the world has taken. But capitalism is
not an unchanging social relation; in our view, history is progressive
or regressive according to the periodically shifting balance of social
and ideological forces among capital and labor, state and society. The
magnitude of the historical challenge before us --staving off
environmental and social disaster-- is such, and the risk of malignant
social mutations and political bifurcations is so great, that we need
not only to further the social and political demands of the
creative/service class of which we are expression, but also to engage
the progressive sectors of the European middle classes.

We are not a political party and we are not a union, although some of
our members could run for office or be union delegates. We intend to
be a Pan-European association giving expression to a demoradical
social and political movement. We want to go beyond the limits of
anarchist spontaneity and communist nostalgia. Horizontalism and
egalitarianism are not sectarian totems, but ideals than need to be
transformed into common practice and legal protection. On the other
hand, queer, ecologist, cyber subjectivities need to find a larger
social and political horizon to truly challenge established state and
corporate power. We will not be above putting pressure on all
progressives, socialists, environmentalists in the European Parliament
to advance socially and ecologically radical solutions to the current
European impasse. But our social action and political advocacy will be
fiercely independent, based as they will be on non-violent direct
action and autonomous intellectual elaboration. Most of all, we will
be free of any reverence (rather, full of irreverence) with respect to
any parties or unions, churches or lobbies.

Against the liberal-democratic, or worse national-democratic, policies
for Europe that promote inequality and subservience to US militarism,
we propose a new radical horizon for Europe capable of creating a new
political culture and social landscape. We proclaim ourselves wobbly
and queer, peace-loving, tree-hugging and computer-savvy,
democratically active radicals of Europe.



WHAT'S NEEDED TO BUILD RADICAL EUROPE:
A sociopolitical organization that uses all possible resources+tactics
to enforce political and cultural liberty, social and ecological
justice across Europe!

OUR BASIC AIMS

To create a peer-to-peer radical and ecological democracy in Europe.
To put the energy of wind and sun, and the collective power of
knowledge at the service of expanding social activation and economic
transformation.
To affirm the secular, feminist, solidaristic identity of Europe.
To open the borders of Europe to all cultures and peoples.
To promote stronger European political integration and horizontal
federalism and regionalism around these values.
To seek transnational partnerships and cooperate in global
mobilizations with like-minded radical democratic movements in the
rest of the world.

To promote a new global trade system, in alliance with the progressive
forces in South America and India.
To get Europe out of NATO, so that it can project its international
weight for just peace and international justice, such as the
protection of people from genocide.
To protest against all human rights violations, and promote solidarity
with democratic movements facing repression worldwide.
To expand the role for public health, public education, public space.
To protect immigrants from persecution and discrimination.
To secure a European basic income as the keystone a truly European
welfare system.
To set a European minimum wage, uphold unionization rights and the
right to strike, as the only re-equalizing forces on the European
labor market today.

To ensure freedom of expression and communication and protect the free
exchange of information, knowledge, culture online and offline.
To ensure neurochemical freedom against state intrusion and obtain the
legalization of THC.
To assert gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights, such as the
right to display queer pride and spread non-heterosexual culture, and
not be discriminated in any sphere of life, including the right to
marry and adopt children.
To reassert the rights of all unmarried couples to family life and
social benefits.

To work toward greener, kid-friendly, bike-oriented, car-hostile
cities, by adopting alternatives to fossil fuels in heating,
transportation, energy production.
To plant trees and re-grow forests in the urbanized lands of Europe.
To end factory farming, unsustainable fishing and intensive
agriculture in Europe, and promote organic agriculture through a
complete reversal of the tenets of the Common Agricultural Policy,
whose funds need to be diverted to finance European welfare measures.
To promote informed and democratic discussion around science and
technology, in order to build a strong demoradical position on
bioethics and other scientific issues affecting society.
To reduce carbon emissions by half, so to drastically decrease the
fossil energy content of consumption and wealth and limit global
warming, which is the only viable way to survive as a cosmopolitan,
digital civilization on a planet with limited land and water
resources, fast-heating atmosphere and oceans, and rapid biodiversity
loss.

To give the European Commission a new role: that of European
Government, expression of the European Parliament, accountable to and
petitionable by the European Public.
To promote pan-European referenda on constitutional issues, EU
directives and legislation.
To reform the European Court, so that it can be directly addressed in
lieu of national justice in case of the violation of European
fundamental rights.
To levy a European corporate tax and a European carbon tax.
To return to keynesian, expansionary fiscal and monetary policies,
thus abrogating the Stability Pact and its provisions.
To drastically reform European monetary policy =96 the euro is rightly
unpopular: it has cut the purchasing power of  the majority, and has
further worsened European income distribution =96 by changing the
statutes and policies of the European Central Bank, and by promoting
the diffusion of alternative local currencies, which can fund
localized basic income and wealth creation, through interest-free
loans facilitating the emergence of sustainable regional economies.


A POSSIBLE ARCHITECTURE FOR ACT 4 RADICAL EUROPE (A4RE)

To achieve these aims, Act 4 Radical Europe (A4RE) is a federal,
transnational, umbrella organization operating at the urban and
European levels, taking the form of a card-carrying, fee-charging
European association composed of four autonomous but networked
departments, coordinated by electronically electable and removable
delegates to be drawn from the association's constituency. New depts
can be added at will, mirroring new radical issues and subjects
emerging in European society. Any city in Europe and the Mediterranean
can join A4RE: it will be considered a subhub, if features any or some
of the following 4 departments, and a hub if it hosts them all. Hubs
and subhubs contribute federal delegates and resources to A4RE for its
actions of political and social pressures at the European level, while
networking autonomously on metropolitan and
transnational projects of their choosing.

These could be A4RE's initial four deparments/subnetworks:

THE PRECARIOUS SYNDICATE "the syndicate": a social advocacy and media
subvertising group assisting temp workers and part-timers, pink
collars and networkers, in their struggles against governments and
corporations. Also provides legal counseling and political lobbying
against precarity at the Union and state levels.

EUROPEAN FUNDAMENTALS "the fundamentals": a civic and legal advocacy
group defending, before the courts and public opinion, the right to
protest and civil disobedience, the rights of first-generation
Europeans and migrants, queer and women's rights, the cyber rights of
free speech on
the Web and the cell phone.

ECOACTIVE CONSPIRACY "the conspiracy": a network of direct action
collectives practicing urban ecology, permaculture, barefoot
economics, guerrilla gardening, environmental hacks and protests, and
the like.

FUCK YOUR THINK TANK: a hub of intellectual discussion and social
science research around demoradical europe: movements, subcultures,
conflicts, policies, borders, cartographies and realities of power,
geopolitics, transnational alliances, creative+service class, and
other politically relevant issues and questions.


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