On Wednesday 21st November 2012, Krytyka Polityczna presented People of Europe, rise up! Deprived of dignity – we are the people of Greece, Spain and Italy in Gdansk
People of Europe, rise up! We are the people!
For much of the last year, Greece, Spain and Italy have been at the centre of most European debates. The social, economic and political situation in Southern Europe seems to have been testing the idea and reality of European unification. On the one hand the three countries are faced with some of the most dangerous aspects of modern life: the domination of financial markets at the expense of the quality of life of the lower classes, the development of increasingly close links between political elites and financial institutions and the general lack of meaningful political representation. All of which evoke a sensation of helplessness and frustration when facing crucial political decisions. The general lack of social solidarity, mutuality and substantial communal bonds in these countries does of course not help particularly. On the other hand these three countries can also show us some of the best ways of moving forward. Their efforts to inform their citizens and to resist the repercussions of the economical and political crisises throughout Europe have in some cases been exemplary. Social movements such as the Spanish Indignados, collectives such as the Italian ESC, even political parties, for example the Greek SYRIZA, are inventing new democratic strategies. Such groups are redifining our understandings in relation to representational practices, in the creation of social bonds and in the development of much needed new perspectives for future economic and political solutions. These new ideas can help generate solidarity between different social groups and help us all work towards constituting a better new European society.
This series of debates discussed the recent social and political events in the three countries in order to find some answers to the big questions surrounding the current problems European societies are experiencing and to contemplate possible ways of enhancing our democratic values and practices in the future. We hope we have been able to inform those attending about the situation in Southern Europe and that we have also been able to share with them the ideas of those pro-democratic campaigners working for better societies. In order not to limit our discussion to perspectives only from EU members, we also invited some Ukrainian representatives to tell us about the political situation in their country following the recent parliamentary elections.
Vasyl Cherepanyn (Political Critique / Visual Culture Research Center, Kiev, Ukraine)
Paolo Do (ESC, Rome, Italy)
Héctor Huerga González (Indignados, Barcelona, Spain)
Maria Klaman (Political Critique, Gdansk, Poland)
Igor Stokfiszewski (Political Critique, Warsaw, Poland).