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European Alternatives is a transnational civil society organisation and citizen movement promoting democracy, equality, and culture beyond the nation state.
We act in the belief that the most urgent political, cultural and social challenges of our time can no longer be understood or dealt with at the national level. At the same time, existing forms of technocratic global and European governance are neither democratic, just, nor fair. New forms of transnational collectivity must be fostered to give citizens democratic control over their future.
We believe the emergence of real democracy in Europe is not only about institutions, but also and especially about constructing effective transnational practices of participation, solidarity and cultural invention. The current inability of citizens and civil society to act in a coordinated way across national borders leaves space for non-democratic forces to dictate our politics.
We stand for the principle of solidarity, and see in the current political institutions as well as dominant economic models the causes of rampant inequality. We see in culture and the arts the imaginative resources to create new forms of transnational community.
Europe could be a laboratory for political invention and progress with global implications, but only if we radically change course. The current European regime is undermining its own claims to universal rights, democracy and justice. We reject the idea that we must choose between the status quo and nationalism: Europe must be reclaimed and reinvented, made hospitable to others and to other ideas. European Alternatives works with those who share this mission.
European Alternatives works with the conviction that a transnational renovation of our political imaginations, institutions and actions needs to take place to adequately understand and address the crises Europe is facing.
We need to act as individuals, as organisations and movements, and through political institutions. The inadequacy of our current political institutions to take account of the transnational dimension is a crucial element of the crisis pushing towards authoritarianism.
Our vision of an alternative Europe would include and emerge from:
- creative cultures which question and go beyond boundaries
- critical awareness of Europe’s connections with the rest of the world, its global role and its colonial history
- informed and critical transnational publics that are engaged with systemic change
- practices of political, social and cultural activism which take account of the ways key-issues cross geographical borders and combat social injustice
- alternative economic models which are socially inclusive, decolonial and anti-oppressive, foster equality, and promote solidarity, mutual care and responsibility
- transnational democratic institutions, political parties and forms of governance which are citizen-led, focused on the common good, and enable participation and expression of all parts of society
- a political European citizenship, respect of human rights, fundamental rights and civic space, genuine free movement, and a critical engagement with legal principles and norms and their suspension or infringement
European Alternatives works to promote democracy, equality and culture beyond the nation state. We imagine, demand and enact alternatives for a viable future for Europe.
We are doing this through:
Inspiring our members, partners and public to co-create an alternative European imaginary
- Building the capacity of our members for new forms of transnational activism
- Promoting the critical engagement and influence of civil society in transnational political institutions
- Helping shape new forms of governance that directly connect the local to the transnational
- Innovating with forms of media promoting connections between publics and a common progressive agenda
- Expanding, sharing knowledge of and reacting on crucial transnational trends
Our values guide how we work to pursue our mission:
- Transnational and local: we believe local and regional initiatives benefit from going beyond national boundaries and interests
- Transdisciplinary: we believe alternatives are generated at the intersection of disciplines and are enriched by diverse expertise and perspectives
- Creative and experimental: we believe in the power of the arts and culture to unlock imaginaries and in the necessity of acting and learning through experimentation
- Open, inclusive and feminist: we believe in a culturally open and equal society and in diversity as a precondition for sustainable alternatives to emerge
- Empowering and participatory: we provide the space for citizens to network and ensure our activities and events give space for co-creation and participation
- Anti-eurocentric: we believe involving other parts of the world in our reflections and activities is necessary to make new alternatives emerge
Without imagination, no alternative is conceivable. And without taking care of the imaginative dimension, no political community can be formed. We promote the emergence of engaged cultural, academic and citizenship practices which break down national canons and imaginaries, and open up a transnational realm of exchange and experimentation. Through artistic and cultural intervention, we seek to enlarge the range of discourses available for discussing politics and social issues, breaking the hegemony of technocracy and neoliberalism. At the same time, we seek to provide the imaginative resources for a new transnational community to represent and understand itself.
Equality, justice, fundamental rights and liberties must be demanded clearly and forcefully at a transnational level. We serve as a platform to promote this. We believe that representative democracy is insufficient and needs to be supplemented with more direct forms of participation. We experiment with new forms of transnational engagement, from creative protest to deliberative consultations, campaigns, petitions and initiatives. We believe that Europe should be at the forefront of democratic invention. Our action is both at the grassroots and in the institutions.
European Alternatives is action-oriented, aiming to change Europe. We believe that citizens can organise themselves to bring about change even when they are ignored by the institutions. Our members organise actions and projects across the continent often at a very local level, whether these are to promote solidarity, to change opinions, to steward and protect common goods or to build social relations. Each of our actions is another Europe in movement.