In recent years, the volume of articles and books dedicated to the democratic crisis has been constantly expanding. The same is true of the literature addressing the ecological crisis. Yet a simultaneous reflection both on the ecological and on the democratic crisis has not accompanied this proliferation. This is the intention of this print edition of the Green European Journal.
With hard-right parties on the rise across Europe, Greens can learn from this recent surge in ‘populism’ by developing a positive and inclusive conception of the term. A Grand Narrative about a ‘Europe of hearts’ can speak to people directly and produce a different kind of patriotism to that of the nationalists: Europatriotism.
The UK’s new ‘Tarpaulin Revolution,’ led by a revived Occupy movement and featuring many Greens, hopes to capture the imaginations of people across Europe – in cities and countries also suffering the impacts of inequality, austerity and ‘democracy’ weighted to benefit the 1%.
The European Trade Union Institute recent conference on ‘The Socio-Ecological Transition: A New Climate for the EU’s Sustainability Transition' laid bare the need for radical change to deal with the climate crisis. And if battling climate change requires making our societies less superficial, less focused on expansion and instead more focused on equality, then that’s something we can all fight for.
On November 1st the new European Commission took office in Brussels, a change in personnel that presents an opportunity for a shift in the EU's approach to China. Yet, focusing on the priorities of the Juncker Commission and the hearings of Federica Mogherini and Cecilia Malmström in the respective Committees in the European Parliament, the new Commission's stance seems to demonstrate a lack of attention and priority towards China.
Joschka Fischer's new book, 'Is Europe Failing?' does not offer armour-plated solutions. Nevertheless, as well as its sharp analysis of the causes of the current European problems, it proposes a framework for resolving them. In any case, the book is an essential reading - beginning with the electric shock of seeing such an ardent supporter of the construction of a united Europe sounding such a loud alarm.
Secretive changes to the London Court of International Arbitration will make the current EU-US Trade Deal even more damaging for democracy. This makes it even more urgent that citizens in the UK and across Europe oppose such a worrying trade deal and the Investor-State Dispute Settlement that goes with it. This trade deal will turn Europe into a real-life game of Monopoly - where the rich can snap up anything they want.
The trajectory of the 'End Ecocide' ECI has highlighted some of the challenges faced by activists in using this democratic tool, and some of the flaws which need to be improved if it is to fulfil its aim of making the EU more responsive to citizens. An interview with Thomas Eitzenberger and Lilia Tamamdzhieva, coordinators of the ECI.
While an excellent book, we need to look further than simply saying 'social movements are the only answer' if we are to develop effective movements that create change. The need for social movement mobilisation too easily becomes a slogan rather than a nuanced solution. We can both praise and look deeper than Klein's 'This Changes Everything'.
The new IPCC report on climate change marks the last word from the scientific community ahead of the very important COP21 meeting in Paris next year. Internationally things may be moving in the right direction, but the political will to fully embrace a divestment from fossil fuels to renewables isn’t quite there yet. Nonetheless, activists are working on it...