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josef k.
09-06-2009, 05:20 PM
The recent success of the right in the Euro elections suggests that this crisis hasn't yielded any gains for the left, which is perhaps understandable, given their lack of real ideas, though less understandable, given the right's lack of the same. Maybe the generally confused values of the former is a decisive factor?

The European left seems animated by self-righteousness and resentment more than anything... this is not translating into political power, for obvious reasons. Germany, where Die Linke is comparatively strong, is somewhat of an exception. Meanwhile the SPD is being destroyed by their own centrism...

The US example suggests that a new kind of politics needs to be developed, though it isn't yet entirely clear how new Obamism really is... but certainly it suggests a different style, and style is nine tenths of the game...

nomadthethird
09-06-2009, 05:52 PM
The recent success of the right in the Euro elections suggests that this crisis hasn't yielded any gains for the left, which is perhaps understandable, given their lack of real ideas, though less understandable, given the right's lack of the same. Maybe the generally confused values of the former is a decisive factor?

The European left seems animated by self-righteousness and resentment more than anything... this is not translating into political power, for obvious reasons. Germany, where Die Linke is comparatively strong, is somewhat of an exception. Meanwhile the SPD is being destroyed by their own centrism...

The US example suggests that a new kind of politics needs to be developed, though it isn't yet entirely clear how new Obamism really is... but certainly it suggests a different style, and style is nine tenths of the game...

There has always been this problem where it's the "Left" that is on the vanguard of "issues" politics (and therefore, usually the first in line at protests and demonstrations), but when it comes to having constructive criticism and ideas for how to build something better than what they criticize, they usually flounder or cede power for the purity and sanctity of last place. (It's easier to be righteous from the bench...)

To me this seems exceptionally sad, in light of the recent crisEs--basically everyone has acknowledged at this point that "growth" economies are bad for the world, and that global warming is the real endgame. The fact that the next stage of capitalist Empire will likely be a Chinese communist one is a historical irony that is hard to ignore, as is the fact that it (like the pre- and post-WWII US) is building this empire on--what else?--highly un-green manufacturing jobs!

At the very moment when people would be most receptive to Leftism, were a global movement to coalesce, instead you have Oprah telling everyone to save money the Suze Orman way, Obama softening on Israel, and now every idiot corporation has gone "green" (which means, you know, they've turned their logo and visual branding green).

padraig (u.s.)
09-06-2009, 05:53 PM
this may sound overly simplistic but -

perhaps when people are afraid & uncertain they tend to lean towards conservatism?

I dunno what's new about "Obamism" also. he seems like a pretty healthy mix of FDR/Adlai Stevenson/JFK etc etc (esp JFK, minus the womanizing & pugnacious younger brother - tho, Michelle). but, yunno, black.

josef k.
09-06-2009, 06:04 PM
SZ's "In Defense of Lost Causes" concludes with four key demands: “strict egalitarian justice”, “terror”, “voluntarism” and “trust in the people.”

Taken on a banal, everyday, almost anarchist level as directions for how to proceed, these aren't necessarily wrong... egalitarian justice: no gods, no masters, terror (think of oblivion) voluntarism (do what you can) trust in the people (uh, a stranger is just a friend you haven't met).... though I am not sure if that is how Z. means them (and then again, there is the question of who these demands are addressed to)...

there is perhaps a problem of leftist organization generally, which is that it seems to feel the compulsive need to set-up authority figures to take orders from... the right has its gurus as well, but they operate a little differently... also, the right is generally better funded...

padraig (u.s.)
09-06-2009, 06:05 PM
(It's easier to be righteous from the bench...)

or, put another way, it's easier to critique than to come up with a coherent alternative.


At the very moment when people would be most receptive to Leftism, were a global movement to coalesce, instead you have Oprah telling everyone to save money the Suze Orman way, Obama softening on Israel, and now every idiot corporation has gone "green" (which means, you know, they've turned their logo and visual branding green).

tho tbf that's something to do w/the push of the Left. as in, taking a more radical position nudges the center of the debate one way or the other, however slightly (i.e. Malcolm X for MLK, or radical environmentalists like Earth First! for groups like the Sierra Club). the counter of course is that it's too little/late, not fast enough, etc. & the Right are IMO far better at that kinda thing - much more willing to bitterly contest every detail while the Left is more inclined towards sweeping ideas/changes & so on.

it also has everything to do with how an issue is framed - in re: "style is 9/10ths".

nomadthethird
09-06-2009, 06:05 PM
this may sound overly simplistic but -

perhaps when people are afraid & uncertain they tend to lean towards conservatism?

I dunno what's new about "Obamism" also. he seems like a pretty healthy mix of FDR/Adlai Stevenson/JFK etc etc (esp JFK, minus the womanizing & pugnacious younger brother - tho, Michelle). but, yunno, black.

I think when people who live in Europe talk about Obamism being "new", they're really just betraying their ignorance of American politics (no offense).

All American politicians are pragmatists who believe in free market democracy. There are two parties because this helps create the illusion that there are several options, which people in capitalist countries like. (Also, you have to run "against" something, right?

The only recent politician who broke out of the mold was GWB, who was an ideologue from the start. He was more "new" than Obama is, in that he only cared about ideology, not results. He expected the latter to follow from the former. Big mistake.

josef k.
09-06-2009, 06:08 PM
as in, taking a more radical position nudges the center of the debate one way or the other...

This is sometimes unpredictable, however - the appearance of extremism on the margins can be used by hostile spokesmen (Limbaugh) to tar the center by association, and push the debate in the other direction

nomadthethird
09-06-2009, 06:09 PM
tho tbf that's something to do w/the push of the Left. as in, taking a more radical position nudges the center of the debate one way or the other, however slightly (i.e. Malcolm X for MLK, or radical environmentalists like Earth First! for groups like the Sierra Club). the counter of course is that it's too little/late, not fast enough, etc. & the Right are IMO far better at that kinda thing - much more willing to bitterly contest every detail while the Left is more inclined towards sweeping ideas/changes & so on.

it also has everything to do with how an issue is framed - in re: "style is 9/10ths".

It does help push the center closer to the left if people are listening or know about your political presence on the spectrum to begin with...in the U.S. it seems not many people take pro-Palestinian politics very seriously, kuffiyeh trendiness notwithstanding. I don't even think most middle Americans would understand that there's a powerful argument against Israeli occupation of the West Bank, let alone one anti-Zionism.

padraig (u.s.)
09-06-2009, 06:15 PM
He was more "new" than Obama is, in that he only cared about ideology, not results.

definitely agree with this.

really like I said Obama reminds me of a cagier, less earnest (tho these may both have to do more w/the times than the man) JFK.

padraig (u.s.)
09-06-2009, 06:19 PM
This is sometimes unpredictable, however - the appearance of extremism on the margins can be used by hostile spokesmen (Limbaugh) to tar the center by association, and push the debate in the other direction

well every action, equal & opposite reaction, blah blah...I'm not suggesting it as a strategy or strategical approach (tho certainly many people/groups do you use it as such), merely noting that it happens.

having read interviews/talked with a bunch of older heads who were around back in the late 70s/80s (before "environmentalism" really took off), the example of Earth First! is one I always think of, giving mainstream environmentalists some leverage.

nomadthethird
09-06-2009, 06:20 PM
This is sometimes unpredictable, however - the appearance of extremism on the margins can be used by hostile spokesmen (Limbaugh) to tar the center by association, and push the debate in the other direction

This is certainly true, especially when on both ends you have basically the "spectacle" of politics with no real engagement, no new ideas, nothing but bitch slaps for the "enemy" etc. So that you're not "really" a ______ unless you align with the most radical elements.

nomadthethird
09-06-2009, 06:23 PM
Michelle Bachmann comes to mind.

josef k.
09-06-2009, 06:23 PM
I think when people who live in Europe talk about Obamism being "new", they're really just betraying their ignorance of American politics (no offense).

Okay, I grant he had predecessors. But there was something new (or at least, extremely progressive) about his style - his coolness, in particular. Politics is always a politics of media, and Obama's cool treatment of the media was decisive to his success. The European Left tries to be hot, and comes off as internet tough guys...

josef k.
09-06-2009, 06:24 PM
This is certainly true, especially when on both ends you have basically the "spectacle" of politics with no real engagement, no new ideas, nothing but bitch slaps for the "enemy" etc. So that you're not "really" a ______ unless you align with the most radical elements.

The pathology, incidentally, which is currently destroying the Republican Party, who have now largely turned on themselves.

padraig (u.s.)
09-06-2009, 06:24 PM
It does help push the center closer to the left if people are listening or know about your political presence on the spectrum to begin with...

that's always been a problem tho - getting your message out & when you do fighting against it being warped by the soundbite, the headline, etc. now it seems more a problem of getting your message - your particular data - to stick out somehow from the flow, all the white noise. but it's the same problem, really.

& I'm not talking about direct pressure so much as filtering down into the DNA of political discourse...I hate this word, but memes. having an effect on the debate w/o actually impacting it in any concrete way.

nomadthethird
09-06-2009, 06:27 PM
Okay, I grant he had predecessors. But there was something new (or at least, extremely progressive) about his style - his coolness, in particular. Politics is always a politics of media, and Obama's cool treatment of the media was decisive to his success. The European Left tries to be hot, and comes off as internet tough guys...

There's no doubt whatsoever that Obama harnassed new media to his advantage. His campaign was extremely, almost scarily new media savvy. He bought ad space in video games, ffs.

GWB won his first term by using the latest in target marketing techniques. Their target? Nascar dads. This meant a lot of ground pounding in middle America but also advertising at Ford dealerships, strip malls, sporting events, etc. By his second term, new media had outpaced this strategy.

At that point, democrats were still a mess, they had nowhere to go. Then out of nowhere comes this guy who BEATS REPUBLICANS AT THEIR OWN GAME! It really was something to watch.

padraig (u.s.)
09-06-2009, 06:28 PM
Okay, I grant he had predecessors. But there was something new (or at least, extremely progressive) about his style - his coolness, in particular.

not to be a broken record, but again

it's Kennedy, swapping television for the Internet. JFK had hella progressive style, was hella cool vs. the interminable stodginess of Nixon (McCain).

if there's a difference it's in the medium-is-the-message (tho not even that, really - MoveOn.org & all that was huge back in '04) rather than anything fundamentally new about Obama himself.

nomadthethird
09-06-2009, 06:40 PM
Really, what I think people don't understand is how cyclical American politics are, and how there are only a few archetypes that everyone goes back to.

Conservatives like the good old fatherly, military type of man's man.

Democrats like the bon vivant.

Ok that's two archetypes.

Then there's the uptight "lesbian" "feminazi" ballbuster introduced via Hillary Clinton.

josef k.
09-06-2009, 06:43 PM
not to be a broken record, but again

it's Kennedy, swapping television for the Internet. JFK had hella progressive style, was hella cool vs. the interminable stodginess of Nixon (McCain).

if there's a difference it's in the medium-is-the-message (tho not even that, really - MoveOn.org & all that was huge back in '04) rather than anything fundamentally new about Obama himself.

And swapping Catholicism for blackness...

But yeah, Obama is a medium, like all political leaders... political power derives from successfully placing yourself at the cross-roads, absolutely in the middle... of course, there are different ways of doing this. the karl rove wedge strategy (he isn't like you, he doesn't understand you, don't trust him) is one method: a logic of identification. Obama had a logic of transcendence/universalism: "we" are greater than ourselves. The Euro Left has totally lost this plot... it remains basically in a kind of defensive/reactionary blackhole: against capitalism, for nothing... even in the discourses that make a play for universalism can't seem to avoid leaning on the figure of the Enemy (some broken feature of the contemporary world, or contemporary culture) which they now propose to solve... Obama didn't really do this...

I think the point of Obama for me is not so much whether he is new or not, but that he won, and that is something to think about.... practical politics is more creative and inventive than political theory.

padraig (u.s.)
09-06-2009, 06:51 PM
Then there's the uptight "lesbian" "feminazi" ballbuster introduced via Hillary Clinton.

except she didn't introduce it. as a presidential candidate, yeah. but

Dianne Feinstein & Barbara Boxer (yo let's hear it for the Jewish lady senators from California)
the glorious Ann Richards

& for the other team (tho I dunno if she was a feminist, but definitely a ballbuster)

Jeane Kirkpatrick

nomadthethird
09-06-2009, 06:54 PM
I'm completely on board with being anti-capitalism, but at this point, I can admit that it's such a well-trod rhetorical path that without also at the same time being for some alternative, without having some sort of concrete plan regarding how to start changing things, it really does seem tired and like so many empty threats.

Anybody can look at the world and see problems. Some people are more creative with this (Zizek) than others (Limbaugh). I just wish that somehow there could be a meaningful unity along the lines of these very important issues (anti-growth economics, anti-globalism, pro-waste reduction) rather than pat dismissals without alternatives.

vimothy
09-06-2009, 07:03 PM
anti-growth economics

And anti-poverty?

vimothy
09-06-2009, 07:05 PM
The recent success of the right in the Euro elections suggests that this crisis hasn't yielded any gains for the left

But what does this actually mean?

nomadthethird
09-06-2009, 07:06 PM
Poverty's a relative term.

I'd be happy if everyone ate whatever they could grow and had some kind of shelter. I'd also be thrilled if our distribution networks suddenly snapped closed and everyone had to fend for themselves.

Also, stock up on water and batteries.

josef k.
09-06-2009, 07:10 PM
I'm completely on board with being anti-capitalism...

I think anti-capitalism cannot be a successful political program, for the reason that is a) abstract, and b) the left surely has to be universalist, if it is anything, and universalism transcends capitalism (and then, in theory, modulates it).


But what does this actually mean?

Several possibilities:

1) The left (in its current form) is dead.

2) People are afraid, and clinging bitterly to conservatives.

3) The right tends to benefit disproportionately from smaller electoral turnouts.

vimothy
09-06-2009, 07:19 PM
Poverty's a relative term.

Perhaps in a sense that's true, but you can measure both absolute and relative levels of poverty. The data are clear that productivity is essential to poverty reduction. And absent reaching the developmental tipping point, in the long term a Malthusian logic holds where increases in resources provoke population increases, and so everyone maintains at the same equilibrium of deprivation.


I'd be happy if everyone ate whatever they could grow and had some kind of shelter.

Is this possible?

vimothy
09-06-2009, 07:22 PM
I suppose I'm not really sure who or what the right and left are. I've not been paying enough attention to read this, really...

vimothy
09-06-2009, 07:25 PM
So, who actually won then, who are "the right" in Europe, and what sort of platform did they run on? You say, "European right wing" and I immediately think "Nazis", but that can't be right.

vimothy
09-06-2009, 07:35 PM
the left surely has to be universalist, if it is anything, and universalism transcends capitalism (and then, in theory, modulates it).

Surely this is the way to go forward for the left. Brad DeLong says that the market is productive and necessary for productivity, that's what it does, and the government is there to enable markets and to redistribute the output of those markets, that's what it does. And you need both. And in fact, there are traces of Obama here as well, in the "left-libertarianism (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jan/09/substancenotstyle)" of Austin Goolsbee.

four_five_one
09-06-2009, 08:42 PM
Are you talking about the rise of the far right? Is it also the case, as in the UK, that the former center-left parties have gradually moved further to the right, so that the ideological space that was before occupied only by traditional conservative parties becomes squeezed, and the only opportunities to create (illusory) difference come through rhetoric, not policy?

In the UK, it's not really that the right has made any real gains, it's just that many previous Labour voters didn't bother voting. For anyone. I think they probably would've voted for a popular left-alternative, but there was nowhere to turn. There are something like six or seven very small left-to-far-left parties, usually with very similar names Socialist Party, Socialist Workers Party, Socialist Labour Party (although I note this one did quite well in some areas, if only because it's Scargill's party), The Communist Party, Workers Power! and so on. People have no idea who they are...

The Greens might've been an alternative but I think many working-class people are suspicious of them, there's still an air of puritanism & sacrifice, plus they're probably too middle-class and liberal.

I'm not sure about the BNP (the far right), unfortunately I know two people that voted for them, and they're both middle-class Thatcherite zealots, who probably have close to 0% interaction with ethnic minorities or asylum seekers or Polish immigrants in their day to day lives. What they have in common is that they're both chronologically retarded, both suffer infantile imaginations; and were inspired toward the BNP by a shared belief in pre-literate Nordic folk religion; a romantic fantasy of a bucolic idyll occasionally interrupted by the appearance of Faeries.

Both these people thought the BNP were a much bigger party than they actually were. Which is unsurpising given the disproportionate attention the media allowed them. But it's also possible that many people are actually racist. And what's also laughable... With a consistent media agenda of fear, fear of Islam, fear of being 'swamped' by 500million Polish Turkish muslims, fear of bogus illegal asylum seekers that eat babies, added to the normal fears that recession brings - it's not surprising that when the same newspapers who've pushed this agenda day after day - when they tell people that the BNP are dangerous fascists for wanting to do some about these things (which is what they've pushed in their campaigns), it's not surprising that they're ignored... most people can at least see the incongruence.

four_five_one
09-06-2009, 09:20 PM
The main problem for the left is, of course: commonsense. The recession did provide a point of rupture, a chance to inject a dose of radical egalitarian serum into a cognitive space awaiting its next wave of commonsensical antibodies... Still perhaps it'll form like an autoimmune disease; insidious, patient and all consuming, slowly forcing the body to destroy itself. But I suspect the hypodermic needle was discarded long ago.

Yes, it's time to stop and think. To reread Hegel, be resolute, and redouble our efforts, much strength is necessary at times like these, we must continue our difficult investigation of theory, and proceed with further interrogation of Marx. Then, let the debate begin... !

four_five_one
09-06-2009, 09:22 PM
I'd be happy if everyone ate whatever they could grow and had some kind of shelter. I'd also be thrilled if our distribution networks suddenly snapped closed and everyone had to fend for themselves.


That would suck if you lived in Siberia, especially in winter. I'm still holding out for a Technological Singularity. I usually read Kurzweil when I feel down. It's a great affirmative read.

padraig (u.s.)
09-06-2009, 09:51 PM
I'm still holding out for a Technological Singularity. I usually read Kurzweil when I feel down. It's a great affirmative read.

nah, not me. can't imagine anything more abhorrent, loathsome. oh yeah, that's something to look forward to, the whole universe becoming a giant supercomputer.

it also strikes me as one those ideas that is so incredibly stupid that only incredibly smart people could take it seriously. it also strikes me as more utopian nonsense, technocrat edition.

can't stand Kurzweil either - aging dude wants to live forever bullshit, same old story. when I read that he wants to construct a clone of his dead father, or worse, call death unnatural, claim that we will "conquer" it or "transcend" it or whatever, ugh. just ugh. an eternal Purgatory of transhumanism hanging out w/Ray Kurzweil & his dad. count me out, thanks.

droid
09-06-2009, 10:11 PM
1) The left (in its current form) is dead.

2) People are afraid, and clinging bitterly to conservatives.

3) The right tends to benefit disproportionately from smaller electoral turnouts.

Or simply that sitting Governments were in the main trashed by oppositions, which is why the centre-right government here were beaten by the centre/centre left and socialist/left independents.

scottdisco
10-06-2009, 12:15 AM
Or simply that sitting Governments were in the main trashed by oppositions, which is why the centre-right government here were beaten by the centre/centre left and socialist/left independents.

think Droid has a bit of a point here

far-right successes and the low turnout are the two big stories across the continent, and these things need to be kept at the centre of this issue

nomadthethird
10-06-2009, 02:59 AM
The main problem for the left is, of course: commonsense. The recession did provide a point of rupture, a chance to inject a dose of radical egalitarian serum into a cognitive space awaiting its next wave of commonsensical antibodies... Still perhaps it'll form like an autoimmune disease; insidious, patient and all consuming, slowly forcing the body to destroy itself. But I suspect the hypodermic needle was discarded long ago.

Yes, it's time to stop and think. To reread Hegel, be resolute, and redouble our efforts, much strength is necessary at times like these, we must continue our difficult investigation of theory, and proceed with further interrogation of Marx. Then, let the debate begin... !

Maybe the time has come to finally stop making silly oppositional binaries where none need exist for the sake of the furtherance of claims that do not need metaphysical grounding in God or other forms of divinity/mysticism (like positivist historical kinds) but that stand up quite well on their own two feet. Perhaps people will finally look at what is going wrong and figure some shit out, instead of lapping up the latest in bourgie commodity fetish ideological must-haves.

Hegel? Really? Further interrogation of Marx? Why not just flay his corpse until it's a soup of sanguinated tissues and insist that this, like communion, will feed all of humanity until the end of time.

four_five_one
10-06-2009, 03:14 AM
Maybe the time has come to finally stop making silly oppositional binaries where none need exist for the sake of the furtherance of claims that do not need metaphysical grounding in God or other forms of divinity/mysticism (like positivist historical kinds) but that stand up quite well on their own two feet. Perhaps people will finally look at what is going wrong and figure some shit out, instead of lapping up the latest in bourgie commodity fetish ideological must-haves.


I quite agree. The only solutions will come from an ideology free zone, a sort of technocratic positivism.

nomadthethird
10-06-2009, 03:20 AM
i quite agree. The only solutions will come from an ideology free zone, a sort of technocratic positivism.

:D i like the sound of that

droid
10-06-2009, 10:13 AM
think Droid has a bit of a point here

far-right successes and the low turnout are the two big stories across the continent, and these things need to be kept at the centre of this issue

It's a shame this guy didn't get in:

http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb140/sammcd84/p.jpg

:D

josef k.
10-06-2009, 12:01 PM
Salute to that guy... hard to act to follow...

In general, let me clarify: the main pattern of the Euro elections was center-right consolidation, combined with increasing support for the extreme right... Die Linke remains the only left-wing party in Europe with genuine mass support... Perry Anderson has a good attempt at interpreting this in the current New Left Review.

I don't know what to make of the rising far-right vote. It seems like the smart thing to do would be to try and figure what it is that these parties are appealing to... towards that end, I think calling it "fascism" and leaving things there is probably unhelpful...

Baudrillard had some good points on Le Pen a while back. (http://www.egs.edu/faculty/baudrillard/baudrillard-a-conjuration-of-imbeciles.html)

Leo
02-07-2015, 04:23 PM
from today's NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/02/opinion/beppe-severgnini-why-im-still-bullish-on-europes-future.html?&moduleDetail=section-news-3&action=click&contentCollection=Opinion&region=Footer&module=MoreInSection&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&configSection=article&isLoggedIn=false&pgtype=Blogs&_r=0


Why I’m Still Bullish on Europe’s Future
by Beppe Severgnini

BRUSSELS — If London is Europe’s New York, Brussels is our Washington, D.C., a small city made globally important by the political institutions centered here, and at the same time, and perhaps for that reason, often unloved by the people who pass through it. In the eyes of jaded Western travelers it is boring, so clogged with international bureaucracy that it has no soul.

They’re wrong. True, Brussels is not dominated by a single, longstanding and widely appealing national culture, like Rome, Paris or Berlin. But that absence has been filled with a vibrant international cosmopolitanism that allows all cultures to feel at home in its diverse array of ethnic restaurants, neighborhoods and assorted entertainments. A fulcrum of power and underrated as a town, Brussels is livelier and prettier than most people think. Only Eurocrats, lobbyists and spies get it. Most other Europeans miss the point.

We miss something else, something that is even more important. Brussels represents a Continent that has come a long way. After centuries of disastrous infighting, over the last 70 years Europeans have seen no more major wars, steadily rising prosperity and a way of life that most of the world would give its eyeteeth for.

You can travel across borders and live more or less where you like. Whether your home is in Lisbon, Warsaw or Palermo, you can take your kids to a hospital when they’re ill and they’ll get looked after. It’s free, most of the time. If you’re stopped by the police, they won’t harass you, beat you up or demand cash. If you don’t like your leaders, you can kick them out (or try, anyway).

Obvious? Of course it is. So obvious that we forget it. Europe’s narrative is controlled by its foes — and there are many, as we know. Every country in the European Union has a political party that built its fortunes on bashing Europe. Even the pro-European parties, many of them in government, can’t resist blaming Brussels for their own failures. The union has become everybody’s punching bag. It’s right there in front of you, and it can’t hit back.

“But of course Europe is collapsing!” I hear you say. “Greece is on the brink of default! The Islamic State is recruiting young Europeans. The Middle East is on fire and the flames are getting closer! Ukraine is hurting and you can’t do anything about it! How can you be high on Europe at a time like this?” Well, this is precisely the right time to be high on it, and to be thankful for what we have before it’s too late.

The European project is not perfect: Look at the recent, embarrassing squabble about refugee quotas, or how long it took to give the elected European Parliament a proper role. But these are relatively minor imperfections in a superstate of 500 million people in 28 countries, 19 of them with the same currency, living, marrying, studying and working together.

Ask Ukrainians whether they prefer living by the rule of law or by the mood of Vladimir V. Putin. Ask migrants and refugees why they risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean to get to Italy, or try to enter Greece, Hungary or Britain clinging to the underside of a truck. The peace, security and welfare that we take for granted is for most migrants a dream.

They say the grass is always greener on the other side of the hill. It seems that from our side of that metaphorical elevation, we miss the bigger picture. We don’t have the equivalent of the Fourth of July or Thanksgiving. Europeans don’t thank anyone; we moan. We don’t celebrate; we just feel sorry for ourselves. For us, lack of pride could come before a fall.

The European Union is a work in progress, but it is a stunning piece of work. And I refuse to believe that the majority of Europeans disagree. I suspect that when they are asked to vote in a referendum Sunday, the Greeks will decide to stick with the euro and get rid of the garrulous leaders who got them into this mess.

And I believe that the citizens of Britain will do the same when the time comes to vote in their referendum. Not only because a “Brexit” — Britain leaving the European Union — would sink the country’s exports, financial services and political clout. Britons will stay because the European Union is where they belong.

We need Britain and Greece, and they need us. We are in this together — and we must never forget why that is a good thing. It is only when we Europeans forget what we have that we risk losing everything.

Beppe Severgnini is a columnist at Corriere della Sera and the author of “La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind.”

baboon2004
17-07-2015, 05:18 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elnjoFVv_Os

didn't know whether or not to put this in the Greece thread, as so much crossover with the issues there (and in so many other countries). Anyways, an amazingly inspirational story I think, of the Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH), the organisation that uses direct action - with some great successes - to resist evictions in Spain and provide support to evictees following the huge finance-triggered housing crisis there, and has also yielded the new Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau (she's in the film).

edit: damn, I thought it had English subtitles, but seemingly not (unless i can't work youtube properly). Will look for another version for those, including me, who don't speak Spanish...

Ok got it:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caD17RKJfbc