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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.
Throughout eight years of activity across the continent, European Alternatives has developed a unique model of citizen activism:
- Simultaneously transnational and highly local: our activities often draw upon the experiences and successes of local initiatives and movements and transnationalise their strengths and creativity.
- Bottom-up and participatory: our activities are initiated by and developed through our continent-wide network. Events are highly participatory, often taking place in public spaces.
- Empowering: we provide infrastructure, know-how and opportunities for citizens and organisations to network and upscale their activities to a transnational level.
- Creative and experimental: we innovate with ideas, and we innovate with formats for campaigns and actions through festivals, exhibitions, online shows, games and more.
- Generalist: we aim to intersect disciplines and sectors, taking a broad view of social, political, and cultural issues, and seeing how they interact.
- We reject eurocentrism: we involve China, the Americas, North Africa and other parts of the world in our reflections and actions.
What we do: imagine, demand, enact
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.
TRANSEUROPA Festival is both a cultural festival and a political event. It is a biennial public gathering for cultural, political and social actors from throughout the continent and beyond to collaboratively create another Europe.
We organise civil-society trainings throughout Europe in campaigning, organising and advocacy and bring together activists in the TRANSEUROPA Campus every other year for intensive exchange and networking.
The Citizens’ Pact is our ongoing commitment to develop alternative European policies by involving citizens in their elaboration. Before the 2014 European Parliamentary elections, we produced a citizens’ manifesto as a result of this action.
Through the Transnational Dialogues programme, we bring together cultural activists from different parts of the world to enlarge and enrich our view of Europe’s global position and to build creative collaborations across continents.
We coordinate transnational campaigns, including recent use of the European Citizens Initiative to collect 200,000 signatures for media freedom or building up the OpenAccessNow campaign for migrant rights.
Talk Real: our new political talkshow for the web. Nomadic, partisan and transnational. Discover more on www.talkreal.net