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<nettime> act 4 radical europe: rejoinder
Alex Foti on Mon, 22 Jan 2007 18:35:57 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> act 4 radical europe: rejoinder


Thanks to Nico and Marcelo and everybody else for taking the time to
read and discuss the document. Nico says that a noborder approach is
incompatible with a european strategy. In very abstract terms that
might be true, but don't you think there can be wide convergence among
european radicals of different stripes to finally shut down detention
centers and overhaul schengen? Otherwise the call for no borders would
crash against a reinforcement of border policing and increased
persecution of migrants.

On the unfeasibility of demands and conflicts for new welfare
entitlements, I would conversely argue that today high-welfare
european capitalism is the most competitive in the world: in an
informational economy, protests that seek new social rights are not
going to suffer from the same political countereffects which
undermined the established rights of the fordist era.

But before continuing, lemme point out one thing: the document is just
a preliminary draft; it's an invitation to discuss it in Milano with
the neurogreen mailing list, collectif flexblues, belgique (prix
droits de l'homme avec bob le pr=E9caire) and consorted flexactivists &
pirates from denmark:

BRAINSTORM 4 RADICAL EUROPE
saturday, february 17
from 10am to 8pm
(with lunch on the premises; introduction and small groups in the
morning; plenary session in the afternoon; concluding aperitivo;
accommodation is provided)

OLINDA (ex Ospedale Psichiatrico Paolo Pini)
via Ippocrate 45, 20161 Milano
www.olinda.org

Getting back to the discussion here, two premises are fundamental to
understand the document and criticize it for what it attempts to do:

i) Is the generation that actually did stuff in Prague, Goteborg,
Genoa interested in doing something to confront European power while
it's weak and divided?

ii) Is the European political space, as it's been structured over the
last 50 years, a meaningful and strategic arena of conflict?

It seems to us that the great radical potential for change of the
enormous acts of mass disobedience and revolt we have participated in
or media-witnessed is being squandered, either because not aimed at
the real nerves of global power, or because remain confined within
national states, thus not hitting at the real nodes of european
governance (take france and denmark rebelling for social rights or the
present italian refusal of US bases and so on; these struggles stay
unconnected, they don't reach a critical mass transnationally).

But I guess the real issue is anticapitalism today, two decades after
the failure of state socialism and leninist ideology. To us, calls for
widespread anticorporate action (whoever fucks up; google included;)
are more effective, in the sense that they appeal to more people, than
simply saying capitalism must be abolished. And sure, there is posh
youth, ghetto youth, nerd youth, but we'll strive to develop a new
approach to activism in blighted neighborhoods, which compensates for
the present almost non-existence of leftist politics in inner/outer
cities.

Marcelo cogently argues that you need a succession of radical reforms
to get a revolution and that ideological orthodoxy too often stands in
the way of actual, participated radicalism. I think we've all read
karl marx's communist manifesto, the standard for political manifestos
ever since (not that a4re comes even a mile close). Well the guy was a
revolutionary, but the manifesto ends with demands that seem
socialdemocratic: the 8-hour day, public education for kids, mass
suffrage etc. So, those who try to excommunicate a4re by focusing on
its preliminary short-term demands ("our basic aims") are really
judging the head by looking at the tail.

Most of us have grown up under anarchopunk influences and have
developed --thru ideology and praxis-- an
anarchist-communist-autonomist hybrid subculture. As a result, we hate
power but tend not to confront it decisively, in the sense of
drastically lessening it by moving antagonistically and strategically
at its contemporary rapid speeds and changes of direction. (I'm of
course talking of the power of the global and regional elites on how
our city, country, continent, planet is run.) There seems to be either
a puritanical fear of contagion when dealing with actual power in
non-symbolic ways (but we won the symbolic battle already!) or it is
as if the inertia of the late 90s still guided our actions (seattle
multisubject anticapitalism vs wto imf worldbank g8 as real centers of
power, and they were back then; no longer).

Clearly what differentiates a4re from normal radical positions on
europe is that we want to twist or break the arm of brussels, but we
don't pray for the eu to disappear into space. Even those among us who
voted no to the constitutional treaty want more Europe and less
nation-state, not less Europe and more nation-state. We think there's
a crucial strategic void for antiglobalization movements acting in
Europe to be filled. That of challenging EU power. For instance,
stopping barroso and trichet and almunia and merkel to fuck with
people, their rights, work, environment, when it's clear they have no
popular support whatsoever.

Nobody is yelling at them "Get the fuck out you exploiters, you
hypocrites, you liquidators of Europe!". Because only the european
people (meaning at the very least everybody born here) can decide on
their constitution, and since we already consider european fundamental
rights valid here and now and everywhere (including the right to
strike and picket --the one gordon brown would like to see pulled
out-- and other kool tools of protest) we are going to use them to try
to bring the neoliberal house down and put something else in its
place, something social and libertarian, greener and pinker. More
realistically, we are gonna put all the pressure that we can on the
various levels of european power to achieve tangible results on what
we care about: ending the persecution of immigrants and minorities,
building new social rights and cultural possibilities, expanding
informational freedoms (by the way, just before the weekend, the
Italian high court stated that mp3 dowloading is legal if done with no
profit motive:)

If you think that the european noglobal movement should act decisively
against the euro elites in Berlin on march 24-25, the mega eu summit
of government and state that will try to rescue elitist europe from
any leftist interference from below, then we have to talk. The summit
also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the european community. In
Brussels and Rome celebrations will also be held. The discussion
around Act 4 Radical Europe is about how preventing euro friends of
nato and market conservatism from kidnapping europeans.

Everything will be up for discussion in milan on Feb 17. We'd like to
start building a radical, recognizable, transnational, social
opposition to EU government, similar to the social opposition that
movements have developed against their national governments. It seems
incredible to us that in spite of being defeated twice in france and
holland, euro elites want to still dispose of europe as if it were
their own thing.

The g8 is a symbolic target, the eu is for real.

ciao, lx


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