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Re: <nettime> notes from the DIEM25 launch
Felix Stalder on Sat, 13 Feb 2016 12:19:42 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> notes from the DIEM25 launch

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I was also there at the Volksbühne (though not like Geert during the day).

I completely agree with DiEM25's general analysis that the current
crisis in Europe is a crisis of democracy and not one of money. Europe
still is one of the richest, best resourced regions on the globe.
Consequently, this crisis must be countered with more, not less
democracy, and that this more of democracy has to find expressions
additional to occasional votes.

These, in many ways, are uncontroversial, procedural points. The only
element that distinguishes this from demands for more democracy coming
from the right (inspired, I'm afraid, by far right victories in Swiss
initiatives and referenda), is DiEM25's insistence that this needs
to happened on a European, rather than a national level and that the
retreat into the nation state is one of the drivers of the crisis.

On 2016-02-12 16:12, Nina Temp wrote:

> - It's interesting to see that all men I know are totally fond of
> it, while all women I know are highly unimpressed and couldn't
> help themselves breaking into stunned laughters given the populism
> and emptiness of a lot of the speeches - which were leaving parts
> of the audience behind with the feeling of being taken for dumb,
> uninformed, easily manipulable and therefore to be patronized,
> whereas this movement pretends to intend the opposite goals.

Perhaps it's because I'm male, but I found the top-down element not so
problematic, after all, this was the closing event in theater and much
debates, as Geert has pointed out, had taken place during the day. At
some point, it's good to come out on the stage and state what it is
that you want, that this requires someone to represent the multitude,
I can live with.

But the problem was, to me, that even in this conventional format,
there was very little in terms of demands, short or medium term goals
or proposals, or even ideas, what next steps would be. There was
lots of empty sloganeering, often not even particularly passionate.
In fact it was a dull evening and by the end of it, the theater was
considerably less crowded and at the beginning.

The only concrete demand, or action goal, was to increase transparency
in the ECB and the Eurogroup. This seems very pragmatic, actually
doable, so I would have expected some sense of how to do it: to
collect signatures, to call the all the MPs, block the ECB, march on
Brussels, or what not.

It was surprising, at least to me, that one of the best speeches of
the evening came from Zizek (delivered in a short video) who said
something like: Stick to a every simple demand, but pursue it
vigorously and to end and see how destabilizing this can be!

Given that the only concrete idea was to increase transparency,
this sounded really sensible strategy, something that a diverse
coalition could form around and then formulate more ambitious goals.
But there was no sense at all, how this even this relatively simple
and non-controversial demand could be energized, articulated and
executed beyond being voiced at talk shows.

> I do agree with Jacob Applebaum's call for secure communication,
> but must remind that this will make the bottom-up process yet more 
> difficult.

Here, I really totally disagree. Repressive orders crumble when people
start to loose their fear and act in large numbers, despite being
monitored not because they found ways to evade it. Security, in this
case, comes from social solidarity and collective action, not from

I'm not against encryption as such, of course, there are many
instances where it is vital, but this is not one of them (unless
one follows a kind of Leninist approach). In this case, to focus on
encryption seems more like a form of political procrastination.


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