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Why organising the Campus of European Alternatives?
We are experiencing the phenomenon of shifting baselines. The standards by which we judge what is acceptable are changing, gradually and often unnoticed. When it comes to treatment of people fleeing war, to social security and solidarity, to what a good economic model is, what ‘democracy’ means, what ‘privacy’ means: in each of these areas, there has been a shift, too often to the right, a race to the bottom. Centrist politicians today follow right-wing demands for exclusion, collection of private data for market or government ends has been accepted as status quo.
Shifting baselines leaves open in what direction the shift happens. For us it means we need to work to shift Europe in a direction that we can define as forward, radically democratic, commons-based and catering the needs of all. We have the tools to solve today’s challenges if we frame them right. Otherwise we are fighting today’s problems, issues and wars with yesterday’s frameworks. We believe collaboration across our borders and disciplines, building and strengthening of our networks and tools is a way to both react to and propose shifting baselines.
|After a first successful campus #FixEurope in October 2014, we, at European Alternatives would like to go forward fixing Europe, redefining and shifting practices, narratives and imaginaries for a more progressive, democratic and open transnational community. In the past years, we have edited a Manifesto for European democracy, equality and solidarity– a result of hundreds of citizens’ panels across Europe where individuals gave their opinions and inputs on what needs to change in today’s Europe. We have also been organising the Transeuropa Festival for seven years, and have run several transnational campaigns on fundamental rights and migrant rights, as well as the European Citizens Initiative on media reform. We have launched an innovative media channel, TalkReal, to bring progressive voices debate and inform Europeans on burning issues across the continent. We have run capacity building programs such as the Citizens Rights training to connect activists beyond their areas of work and create opportunities to cooperate across struggles, and beyond borders.|
At this year’s Campus we propose to work on four main areas. These are areas we have worked on from several months to several years and in which we have gathered new and existing networks and expertise to strengthen our outputs. We will create a working environment during 3,5 intense days, outside of the city, allowing us to reach concrete results. This means putting together a mix of people that can tackle the challenges we gave ourselves and are rooted in practices and places to take on and continue the fruits of our work. There will also be a timeline of events and actions following the Campus integrating the results into existing activities.
General objectives of the Campus
- To establish and reinforce networks with partners
- To find best paths to combat to rise of extreme right in Europe
- To share and exchange best practices to create transnational movements
Four workstreams defining the Campus programme
1 – Shifting narratives – Develop a transnational communication and media capacity that transcend national perspectives and brings a new light on the issues we are facing across the continent. What kind of strategy to mainstream progressive voices/narrative in the media? What kind of audience do we need to reach out to and how does this transnational media engage with people?
We want to continue drawing with media partners, journalists, and a/v activists, a common roadmap to reach the right audience with the right tools in the media landscape. We want to have the space to develop a transnational media that transcend national perspectives and brings a new light on the issues we are facing across the continent. After having our first transnational media meeting held in May we want to continue the discussion of best practices in a changing multimedia context. How can we disseminate content at a transnational level? How can we use media tools to shift the mainstream narrative? How can we reinforce ties between us? How to address the diversity of languages in the EU in what is still a national media context? READ MORE
2 – Shifting institutions – Learn from citizens-led coalitions and new municipalism to demonstrate the power of active citizenship in building more equal and democratic communities; What are successful citizens initiatives able to reclaim democratic power over their lives? How do we support these initiatives to get their messages across and come to power? How do we ensure the transition is a success and reflects the change wanted by the people?
The beginning of 2015 has been for us a year of reinforcing networks with (capital) cities around Europe: we believe that experiences like the impressive achievement of many cities in Spain, bringing activists to the city government, are examples of the real potential to extend these realities to other cities in Europe. Bringing all this experiences together, discussing with grassroots movements and promoting collaborations between ongoing alternative governments, are the way the next step to spread the spirit of the “rebel cities”. READ MORE
3 – Shifting networks – Create the synergies between the transnational and national networks that mutually support our commonalities, challenge our differences and tackle tools for transnational activism; How can we mutually support each network to strengthen active citizenship and social movements? What is the best combination of tools that can help us connect better as networks and inside our networks? What action plan can we develop together? This workshop is there to come out with a clearer understanding of what civil society networks are out there building a solidarity Europe and what is the common value set that keeps us together and forms the basis of the nascent transnational civil movement in Europe that we urgently see the need for.
4 – Shifting imaginations –Bringing together those that see art as a form of political engagement, we want to explore the current social relevance of artivism through (digital) activism and the overlaps between art and scientific or socio-political fields in artistic and discursive ways. In 2013, we developed with a group of artists the radio ballet ‘ Air time’ and we have collaborated with the Cuban artist Tania Bruguera who has just founded the Hannah Arendt International Institute of Artivism (see interview here). How does artivism work as a form of protest? What do we make of the situationist do-it-yourself dream when we no longer need mass media to be heard if we are inventive enough? Can we develop a common idea that could lead towards the 2017 edition of Transeuropa Festival? READ MORE
When we tackle politics, art, technology and the media we strive for diversity in terms of gender, tech literacy and professional background as well as expertise. We bring a wild mix of people together to stimulate collaborative creativity. There will be people coming from grassroots experiences, political art practices, experts working in municipal processes, media makers, border-crossers and men and women of diverse skill sets, political orientations, passions and talents.
The Campus takes place from August 23rd to 26th 2016
At Schloss Wartin near Berlin. The venue of the Campus is at an old castle in a very beautiful natural setting, roughly 1,5 hours North of Berlin. There are lakes nearby and we will spend plenty of time outside in the gardens.
Closing event and Annual General Meeting of EA
The Campus will be followed by the annual general meeting of European Alternatives as well as a public, festive closing event in the centre of Berlin on August 27th. It will take place at the neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (nGbK) in Berlin from 10:00 to 13:30.
This year’s AGM is open to all (members and non-members) and aims at:
- informing the participants on the latest developments, priorities, and strategy of European Alternatives;
- providing the opportunity for active individual members and member organisations to vote on the accounts, meet the candidates for two new board positions, and contribute to the strategic roadmap for 2017;
- allowing members that can’t be present to follow the General Assembly through livestream and to vote after the General Assembly.
For logistic info about the Campus, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
For info about the AGM, please contact: email@example.com