A new impulse – But for which Europe?

Balibar_ni_468wÉtienne Balibar at Eurozine:

The current European crisis, easily described as existential because it confronts its citizens with radical choices and the question, ultimately, “to be or not to be”, has no doubt been prepared by the fact that its institutions and its powers have been systematically unbalanced, working against the possibilities of the peoples' participation in their own history. But it was precipitated by the fact that it has deliberately stopped functioning as a space of solidarity between its members, of initiative vis-à-vis the risks of globalization. It has rather become an instrument of penetration of world competition at the heart of European space, forbidding transfers between territories and discouraging common enterprises, rejecting any harmonization “from above” of rights and living standards, making each state into a potential predator of its neighbours.

One can only escape this self-destructive spiral by replacing one competition with another – by substituting for the competition of wages, for instance, for the tax regimes and the borrowing rates, a competition for devaluation, as some advocates of a return to national currencies have proposed. One can only escape by way of invention and the stubborn proposition of another Europe than the Europe of bankers, of technocrats and of political profiteers. A Europe of conflicts between antithetical models of society, not between nations in search of their lost identities. A Europe of global justice, capable of inventing for itself and of proposing to the world revolutionary development strategies and broader forms of collective participation – but capable also of receiving them and adapting them to its own usage if it so happened that they were formulated elsewhere. A Europe of peoples, that is, of the people and the citizens that make it.

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