Edito / European Lab Winter Forum
Subculture & civic engagement: new alternatives for fresh resistance
Can we imagine a new horizon, conjure up a democratic desire or a new collective adventure, and in doing so transcend the manifold crisis that refuses to loosen its grip on our era and our world ?
The inability to reinvent democratic methods has become universal. Social, territorial and generational divides have become yawning chasms: national-populist fervour breaking out across the whole of Europe, overt xenophobia, a sentiment of ungovernability, the compulsive rejection of real or imagined elites, digital radicalism and conspiracy theories whose vitriolic outbursts serve as interaction, and whose imprecisions and rumour serve only to destabilise.
“He who shows no scruples and can entertain the masses will always prevail over he who gets bogged down by the finer details of his method. So what can we do ?
To fight back against the rousing discourse of identity fanatics, we must develop counter-narratives blessed with similar energy,” declares Patrick Boucheron, one of the guests at the European Lab Winter Forum 2017.
Yet, in the face of the vast and generalised struggles of progressive ideas, any collective, forward-thinking vision has become conspicuously absent from the European democratic model. Yet the time for looking on in denial is over. The alarm bells have now rung, leaving us numb and incredulous. Faced with a reality that we previously thought unimaginable, the time has come to shake off our fatalism and collective indifference.
A pernicious net of nihilism has been cast far and wide, and anything is possible. “Nothing can be taken for granted any more. We can now see that history is far from over. Man’s story is still a tragic one. And we will need more than project managers, accountants and communicators to put it right.” Raphaël Glucksmann once more sounds the siren, calling for a resurgence in goodwill: “Are we up for the fight ?”
“Resist, oppose, fight as hard as you can for a world that is less violent, less unfair and less unequal,” replies Didier Eribon, a guest at the forum in 2016.
How can we shape our civic reconstruction ? Can the sum part of our initiatives and movements serve as the bedrock of a democratic revival ?
Cultural action – driven by generations of European, digital and crisis-native citizens – is creating new possibilities. Because these generations were formed in an environment of subcultural independence and solitude: marginalised from institutional systems, closer to the roughest terrains, armed with plenty of political engagement but very few means. On a micro-local, European and international level, militants for citizen reconstruction are joining forces, through creation, social and democratic innovation, initiative and imagination: working for the common good, reshaping the future.
CEO, Arty Farty