Carpe DiEM

So far as I can see, there has been nothing in the mainstream media (except RT) about the launch last night in Berlin of a new political movement to democratize the EU, the Democracy in Europe Movement, DiEM ... or DiEM25, as they reckon we must achieve this by 2025 or see the EU disintegrate.

If you have the time for it, there's a six hour long live stream available here. But I don't, so here's the glossy launch video instead.


The thinking behind the movement is outlined in their manifesto, which comes in both a long and short version. Here are some quotes from it:


For all their concerns with global competitiveness, migration and terrorism, only one prospect truly terrifies the Powers of Europe: Democracy!

They speak in democracy’s name but only to deny, exorcise and suppress it in practice. They seek to co-opt, evade, corrupt, mystify, usurp and manipulate democracy in order to break its energy and arrest its possibilities. For rule by Europe’s peoples, government by the demos, is their nightmare.

At the heart of our disintegrating EU there lies a guilty deceit: A highly political, top-down, opaque decision-making process is presented as ‘apolitical’, ‘technical’, ‘procedural’ and ‘neutral’. Its purpose is to prevent Europeans from exercising democratic control over their money, communities, working conditions and environment.

The price of this deceit is not merely the end of democracy but also the dream of shared prosperity:

• The Eurozone economies are being marched off the cliff of competitive austerity, resulting in permanent recession in the weaker countries and low investment in the core countries

• EU member-states outside the Eurozone are alienated, seeking inspiration and partners in suspect quarters

• Unprecedented inequality, declining hope and misanthropy flourish throughout Europe

The more they asphyxiate democracy, the less legitimate their political authority becomes, the stronger the forces of economic recession, and the greater their need for further authoritarianism. Thus democracy’s enemies gather renewed power while losing legitimacy and confining hope and prosperity to the very few (who may only enjoy it behind the gates and the fences needed to shield them from the rest of society).

That sort of agenda certainly appeals to me, though we have yet to see exactly what those behind this launch actually plan on doing to achieve it. I believe it is not enough to say—as most political parties in Wales are saying—that the EU isn't perfect and needs reform, without having a clear idea of what we want to reform and what we want the EU to become. Yet when called on to give examples of what we want to reform we focus on tiny, almost petty, details that we don't like while ignoring the bigger picture. Do we want to focus on whether the deckchairs are arranged in rows or groups, or do we want to stop the EU sinking?

One of the main figures behind DiEM25 is Yanis Varoufakis, and he features in this hour-long discussion ... even quoting Tony Benn!


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John Dixon said...

Am interesting development. I suspect that "Yet when called on to give examples of what we want to reform we focus on tiny, almost petty, details that we don't like while ignoring the bigger picture." is partly about the fact that attacking minor aspects is less taxing and draws easier headlines, and partly about the difficulty many seem to have in thinking about what might be rather than what is.

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