The capitalist economy and the state have launched a “Second Structural Adjustment” on Europe. After the global South, now the North has directly come under attack: Social services are cut down, unemployment is on the rise, wages stagnate or even fall, the EU Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF bring havoc to countries such as Greece, lifes are destroyed and people humiliated.
But this is probably just the beginning.
The capitalist world-system, based on wage labour, market exchange and state power, has entered a multiple crisis. Energy provision, climate stability, food production and distribution, the access to land for peasants worldwide, and political stability in many countries are negatively affected by a system geared towards relentless growth.
We need a transition to a society based on cooperation, solidarity, democracy, and social equality instead. And we need it urgently.
Transition is a twofold movement: it consists of social struggles and of social innovation. Struggle without innovation is sometimes just another part of the system, innovation without struggle is not really innovation. However, after three decades of neoliberalism, social struggle as such often is already innovative. A transition struggling for innovation and innovating struggles is a radical transformation. It is a fundamental change that consists of a multitude of different actions that complement each other to create a larger picture which is more than its parts.
Social struggles cover a wide field of issues. All social relations are ecological relations, so social struggles are first of all struggles over the relation of society to nature. Socio-ecological relations include gender relations, with patriarchy as their main structure. Thus one component of social struggles is gender. Social struggles involve migrants, students, the unemployed, young and old. They may be sporadic, hidden from the public, invisible and fought with “weapons of the weak” (James Scott), or they may be loud and visible, politically well articulated and militant. Of course, social struggles always involve struggles against state power and control by capital in some way or the other.
Social innovations are relevant for transition in so far as they are radical. Radical social innovations go beyond the main structures of the existing form of society: wage labour, market exchange and the violent separation of politics and economics, the private and the public. Radical social innovations are integral to struggles for transition.
This blog will focus on both parts of the way out, struggle and innvation, it will collect relevant news from European countries on social struggles against the crisis and for radical social innovations such as:
- strikes, especially militant ones
- protests, especially if innovative
- solidarity economies
It may furthermore provide theoretical reflections or summaries, from time to time. Descriptions of long-standing projects or of initiatives and movements with a longer history may be published as well.
We would like to develop this weblog together with others. Currently, we are four persons and are looking for contributors from all European countries and abroad who support this mission statement! If you are interested, please contact andreas.exner ÄT aon.at