you are the oldest topic within our network. Hell, we named ourselves after you. We found each other during the heat of Austerity, imposed by Germany‘s obsession with the „Schwarze Null“ (black Zero; avoiding debts) over all of Europe, transforming several economies into the protestant model by South German cutting master Schäuble (only eat when you work), cutting and crippling everything that seemed somehow social in several societies on the old continent. The enemies of the interiour were found quickly: unemployed, receivers of social services, „the lazy Greek“ and other „parasites“ – the culturalisation of „life is pain“.
Amongst others, these austerity measurements were politicized by many factions and we gained much hope and energy from the square-movements and solidarity initiatives all over Europe. But it were the right-wing populists and extremists and their chauvinist and racist agenda, which led to several, onholding political successes – not only in the form of direct elections and taking over power apparatuses, but in imposing their own agenda on conservative and social democratic politics. They all agreed, that this „sanctuary“ called Europe must be protected – and the fortification of „Fortress Europe“ went into the next level – finding its most hideous expression in the desaster of Lesvos and Moria (just two names representing many cases). Moria is the dangerously concrete example of the saying, that fascist barbarism won‘t come around the corner and say „hey, I‘m fascism, I‘m back“, but disguising itself in pseudo-rational arguments by liberals giving the „reasonable“ ground for real fascists at work: hunting refugees, burning down NGO structures – while the police watches and the European parliament condemns the means, but not the ends.
Furthermore, the Corona crisis reveals the sad reality of the European Union itself, not just in the matter of building up and securing borders, saying who belongs here and who doesn‘t with the language of the military. The late German-European religion, austerity, has shredded down national health systems for the sake of the „free market“ so hard, that we are witnessing it collapsing and with it thousands of people dying – daily, in one of the most advanced regions of the world with unbelievable potentials. Italy and Spain, two countries most shaken up by austerity and, with heavily racial overtones, were made responsible for an „out of the line lifestyle“ – with all their apertivos and fiestas (how dare they!) – lose hundreds, thousands of people a day by the pandemic. What are the reactions? European solidarity? Pah, you wish! China and Cuba, the West‘s worst and most evil enemies, send out staff and medicine to help. Europe? German and British high-profile politicians dare to say out loud: enough quarantine now, the economy has to run! Market over lives – this used to be a metaphor for right-wingers and neo-liberals, now it is literally the agenda.
The measurements to prevent further spread of the virus are highly controversial; experts and medical staff point out every day that we should stay home to prevent further infections, so that the health system and its cut down ressources – hospital beds, respirators, medical staff – will not be overwhelmed too much in a too short time. Otherwise, the battle over these ressources and the decisions, who should live and should die, can turn into ugly civil wars. Certain factions in European politics use these restriction to fulfill their wet dream of even further authorisation and finally cutting down what‘s left of one of Europe‘s greates achievements: non-negotiable individual freedom-rights. While the French slaughterer of the people just calls it „a war“, Hungarian leader Viktor Orban sees the opportunity and officially dispowers parliament. It has a certain sad irony how European Union points fingers at authoritarian systems (Russia, China, Cuba, Middle Eastern countries…) and keeps on and on about moralising its own democratic constitution – but now, it has its own home-made dictatorship.
This is not a destructive piece from the „Anti-Europe“-faction within antiauthoritarians and the Left. This is a perspective transcending the national narrow-mindedness, which is becoming more and more popular at the moment – also within the Left or the radical movements. We came together as Beyond Europe as a consequence of the fact, that transforming our societies cannot happen in national boundaries. The current pandemic underlines that and makes clear, that we need at least a European (if not a global) attempt to stop nationalism, authoritarianism, the mantra „free market over all“, racism and chauvinism, that is why we fight for solidarity, self-organisation, „people and planet over all“, freedom of movement and equality. More than ever we have to move beyond this Europe.
Beyond Europe Editorial Team, April 2020