From the Indignados in Spain to the anti-fracking protests in the UK and Romania, from the anti-austerity movement in Greece to the Occupy protests in 951 cities worldwide, citizens around the globe are on the march.
Today voters can only choose between Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola. This in turn leads to the depolitisation of people and a lack of interest in what is going on in our societies. If a Green party cannot present an alternative to the current neoliberal system it won’t be able to connect the struggles, argues Philosopher Chantal Mouffe in an interview with the Green European Journal.
We tend to think that those who do not launch politically sensible movements do not deserve to take part in the public discourse. That's one of the characteristics of the inequality of political life – argues Hungarian sociologist Agnes Gagyi. In the interview she also explains why struggles differ from East to West, and why the educated middle class has become so prominent in today's movements.
Much to the surprise of everyone, the strongest protests in Romania’s late transition were related to environmental destruction. In 2013, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Romania and abroad, mobilised exclusively by NGOs and informal networks to protest against a law which meant turning an idyllic place into the largest cyanide-based mining project in Europe. A small village in Transylvania became the battle ground of opposing narratives and forces.
Eldorado Gold now owns all gold-mining projects in Greece. The company is harming the environment and avoiding taxes; and the way Greece deals with this problem can determine some important developments in Europe.
Community groups have led the way on the path to the moratorium on unconventional fossil-fuels in Scotland, and continue to do so in the ongoing struggle for a full ban. The effective grassroots campaigning of these communities, who have fought the Scottish government and unconventional gas companies, is an inspiring story for those across the UK and the rest of Europe.
The proposed airport project at Notre-Dame-des-Landes has become a landmark in the fight against useless mega projects. The so called "zadists", who are fighting to defend the territory, became a symbol of those in search of another, fairer and humane world. Utopians with their feet on the ground.
What happened after the Gezi protests ended? Ever since the barricades were dismantled, the burnt out buses removed, and the world’s attention moved on to protests and unrest elsewhere, Istanbul seems to have become quiet.
Every opportunity that comes up is used by mega-project promoters and their allies to stigmatise resistance movements. But a network of European groups are fighting back against megaprojects, building bridges between movements despite facing repression and the criminalisation of activism from authorities.
Guerrilla gardening and local consumer-producer networks are redefining life in today's Greek cities. While the crisis has shifted politicians' attention away from the climate, “transition and recovery movements” work hard to keep the environment on the agenda.
"The optimism of Green parties has ultimately failed" – says philosopher, writer and activist Lieven De Cauter. Activists and politicians have to remind people of the imminent catastrophe; this is the only way to find solutions to today's problems.
For a politician, being close to the people means constantly being present in their struggles – argues José Bové in an interview with the Green European Journal. In his opinion going institutional can only work if the members of the Green movement don't forget to "persevere radically".
A strong anti-austerity civil society started to be a reality in Portugal in 2011. However, even though these new projects or networks succeeded in mobilising civil society between 2011 and 2013; about one year after the Troika has left the country, only some of them remain. The Portuguese social movement-based protest has returned to silence, and mobilisation has almost exclusively become the resort of trade unions.
A corporatist economy doesn’t leave businesses much room for ecological and social concerns – says Member of the Bundestag Gerhard Schick. In our interview we discussed his book "Corporatist Economy– no thanks!"
Have the Greens lost their connections to political movements? Did they become just another political party like all others? Member of the European Parliament, Terry Reintke is looking for the answers.
Occupy Wall Street seemed to be a promising form of critical activism, until it ended abruptly. Philosopher Nancy Fraser attributes this to the activists' unwillingness to form a political party. An interview on the role of marginalised groups in protests, the problems of Zuccotti Park and neoliberalism's impact on environmentalism.