A decade of European Alternatives
Over the decade, European Alternatives has extended its membership, network and activity across the length and breadth of the continent and beyond. 10 years on from our first activities, we publish a new booklet that summarises the journey of “European alterities”, a journey that has involved and inspired thousands of activists and artist from across the world.
Ten years ago, the first physical space that European Alternatives opened to work was a disused warehouse just off Brick Lane in London. That office had an informal Brazilian martial arts club above it, Italian waiters, a guy importing parmigiano, and a carpenter. We used to have to throw away any letters we received in rubbish bins a long way from the office, because we were not meant to be there, and nor was anyone else. With no heating and highly unreliable internet, a first team of people coming from all over the world worked from one of the most cosmopolitan streets of one of the most cosmopolitan cities to call for an alternative path for a Europe of democracy, equality and culture beyond the nation-state.
We believe Europe could be a laboratory for political invention and progress with global implications, but only if we radically change course.
We believed Europe could be a laboratory for political invention and progress with global implications, but only if we radically change course. We felt the current European regime was undermining its own claims to universal rights, democracy and justice. We rejected the idea that we must choose between the status quo and nationalism: we held Europe had to be reclaimed and reinvented, made hospitable to others and to other ideas. At the same time, we knew that Europe had the resources to reinvent itself: a history of democratic invention, of human rights and responsibility, of art and intellectual endeavour, of dissidence, resistance and utopian action.