TRANSEUROPA JOURNAL 2012
Transeuropa Festival is an annual political and cultural festival taking place in 14 cities across Europe. As every year, this politically engaged festival is grounded in the contemporary global and European context and organised by activists from throughout the continent. In perhaps no previous year has the context seemed more apposite for a festival promoting democracy, equality and culture beyond the nation state and an alternative idea of Europe. These ideas and ideals of Europe are being threatened at a political level in several dimensions. Yet, where there is crisis, there is also opportunity and responsibility.
The political response to the economic crisis has revealed many of Europe’s weaknesses, and instead of confronting and overcoming them, many of the political decisions have exacerbated them. Democratic processes are under threat from the new paradigm of austerity, the acceptance and submission to the rules of an economic system that created the crisis and increased inequalities and poverty. The Fiscal Compact creates decision making processes parallel to those of the European institutions, in which the economically strongest voices dominate and in which there is no guarantee that the common interest of Europeans is defended. In Greece and in Italy, technical governments whose agendas have been reformulated under the direct supervision of the European Central Bank have replaced the elected ones. The opportunity of using the economic crisis to relaunch the European economy in a more just, equal and ecologically sustainable way and turning it into an example of solidarity and humanity rather than a ‘risk factor’ for the financial markets, is being completely missed.
The festival events address three main themes connected with the current context: the economic crisis and the possibility of alternatives to austerity measures; the new forms of political mobilisation and their potential for rethinking democracy; and migration and movements as an essence of Europe and as a way to rethink citizenship. The three themes also constitute the structure of this journal.