Alex Foti on Sun, 20 Feb 2011 05:47:09 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> euromed revolution vs club euromed

(tentative - lemme know what you think about it - best ciaos, lx)

Ben Ali and Mubarak have bitten the dust. Gheddafi and Berlusconi, the
bunga bunga twins, hang on, but not for long. The mobilization first
on social networks, then on the streets by the precarious generation
has sparked the whole of society into a fiery camp of opposition
seizing the main public spaces of the nation for day on end, until the
autocrat is finally toppled. The 2011 insurrection of Maghreb's youth
against their despotic regimes speaks to the multiethnic generation of
Europe that fought against austerity from London to Rome, from Paris
to Athens in the fall of 2010. We have an enemy in common: the
European neoliberal and monetarist oligarchy didn't want the pharaoh
to go. Ben Ali and Mubarak were their men, people they could do
business with. Tunisia and Egypt have turned democratic thanks to
people power. Yet the EU is turning its back on them. But aren't
Europe's fundamental rights enshrined in freedom and democracy? Fact
is, the euro-elite doesn't like democracy. It has lost three
referendums, but it has stayed in power in spite of the Great
Recession and millions made jobless, cutting spending to pay homage to
the bankers the financial markets which caused the crisis. Society is
rebelling against cuts, but we have yet to tip the scale of power to
push for a new mode of development, free higher education, poverty
reduction, ecological remediation etc.

The lesson of Cairo is fairly simple. We, too have to overthrow our
autocrats in Europe. This is particularly true of Italy, where Mr B
hangs on, gaining in parliamentary power as female judges finally put
him on trial for his ever-ending streak of power abuses and corruption
of any idea of morality, in spite of students rioting and women taking
it to the streets: they were millions last Sunday asking him to
resign. And like the student movement which put up barricades to
express what the precarious generation thought of the nth time that
Berlusconi saved his ass, by once more buying the consent of
parliament, the women made Piazza del Popolo (Piazza of the People)
their square. The opposition, which had staked everything on
transformism of sections of the right and the ensuing no-confidence
vote, lost instead the confidence of Italian society. If you guys are
so inept, how you'll ever be able to get rid of him? In fact, a
faction of the PD, the main opposition party, is in talks with the
racist and anti-national-unity Northern League. This is madness, all
the more so in the year the celebrates the 150th anniversary of
Risorgimento and national unification. Luckily the ex-communist
catholic gay and Puglia governor Nichi Vendola, who leads the recent
political formation Left Ecology Freedom, is trying to change the
game, by proposing a woman to the post of prime minister for the
center-left. Her name is Rosy Bindi. She famously confronted
Berlusconi on TV (who had insulted her by saying that she was more
beautiful than intelligent) and put him to shame.

But the elections are nowhere near and Mr B could last until 2013 - an
eternity. Only a decisive mobilization on the model of Egypt, with
demonstrators willing to occupy a symbolic square like people square
could do the trick of removing berlusconi and its nefarious sexist
influence on Spaghettiland, where corruption and organized crime,
nepotism and gerontocracy, racism and securitarianism are the order of
the day. Only if students, women, knowledge and culture workers seize
a square and loudly declare until the despot is toppled, then
Berlusconi. Most of Italian civil society at the moment is investing
its hopes on the April 6 trial, but he will buy all the time he can
get and change can't wait. The same can be said about Sarkozy's and
Merkel's governments, which are not as immoral as Berlusconi but are
crashing the whole of Europe with their eurogovernment as duopoly bent
on austerity, whose disastrous effects are already clear in the wake
of the cuts in spending made by the Tories and Lib-Dems in the UK.

We Italians can only do our job if we have a radical idea of Europe.
This also means that we, European radicals, can only be effective as
opponents of economic conservatism, social discrimination and
environmental destruction, if we are radically European. In my view,
to be radical europeans means being able to find mobilizing ideas and
forms of collective action that propose an alternative project to the
neoliberal and monetarist that has hit the wall of popular
delegitimation and financial crisis. To create forms of protest for
the precarious generation that plunge the whole of the Continent in
turmoil and regime change. Our historical mission should then be to
provide a complement and a political alliance to the precarious youth
that are rocking their casbahs. I thus submit here the hypothesis that
the European Union can only be progressive as a Euromed Union, a
political and economic union from the Maghreb to the Fjords,
encompassing the whole of Turkey and the Middle East, as well as the
ports of access to the Black and Red seas. Only a Euromed Union can
put an end to the current persecution and detention of immigrants, and
to the xenophobic attempts to revert the history of Europe toward a
darker past, where christian nationalism is the law of the land or
else. Only a Euromed Union can be a truly multicultural polity. Only a
Euromed Union can solve the Israel-Palestine conflict fairly for
Palestinians and securely for Israelis. The emerging democracies of
Tunisia and Egypt, and soon Libya and Algeria, will have better
chances to prosper by joining a much vaster economic and political
community and that can only be the process of European federalism that
for better or worse has reshaped the culture and the society of the
Old Continent. We have to defeat austerity and overthrow the élite
that sings its praise. By doing that, we will have brought the
possibility of a Euromediterranean Political and Economic Union closer
to reality. This could be the final objective of the ongoing
revolution, the one that will finally politically enfranchise the
precarious youth across Europe and the Mediterranean.

I am for a Euro-Mediterranean Revolution. What about you?

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