DIEM25's Democratization Project Enters the Political Arena

Also published on Truthout and Swedish ETC

To confront the Establishment head-on, and bring about the progressive Europe that is desperately needed, we call on activists everywhere to practice 'Constructive Disobedience.'"

The quote is a call to not accept an undemocratic EU. But the democracy movement DIEM25 (Democracy In Europe Movement) is far from a pure protest movement. DIEM25 asserts that the refusal to accept proposals from the EU must be supplemented with counter-proposals. Since it began in 2016, alliances with progressive movements and politicians around Europe have been created and there has been a continuing dialogue with its members. Questions have been put to others, as well as to their own members regarding how the EU and Europe can be democratized. How to put an end to banks, technocrats and a European political consensus that lack political visions and solutions to widespread European unemployment, but give provides financial aid to banks and the "deep establishment."

This spring, the "European New Deal" was introduced, in which the answers to the questions can be found in the form of principles and proposals for concrete political changes: principles such as the conversion of wealth into investments that favor a green and sustainable economy, but also offer anti-austerity and job-guarantee programs. Bank capital, inheritance taxes and green taxes will redirect resources to demos, the people.

DIEM25 has, in just one year, transformed its political manifesto into concrete policies. Thesolution to what it considers to be Europe's biggest problem -- unemployment -- must be tackled first by reining in banks and the entire financial sector so that stability can be created in a Europe that is about to be torn apart by economic and social forces. The overall aim is to restore optimism and people's trust.

Today, the biggest "political movement" consists of all the Europeans who choose not to vote at all. In the French election, 9 percent cast their ballots for nobody -- more than at any time after World War II. There are thus millions of potential voters in Europe who neither want to vote for nationalism/right-wing extremism nor neoliberal status quo politics -- an empty space of political ground that DIEM25 wants to fill.

But is DIEM25 just a new left-wing initiative? Taxes and regulations are, after all, old traditional left-wing politics.

There is a more holistic and less identity-oriented view of politics at its foundation. DIEM25 seeks alliances with groups, movements and politicians regardless of their party affiliation. It was the lack of ideological prestige that was the prerequisite for my personal commitment and desire to act politically.

There is no single party whose leadership is capable of extricating itself from micro-political squabbles and having the conversation that we must have on the basis of policy and the honest exchange of ideas that does not allow politicking. Nation-state politics is not fit for purpose.

A politically unique and telling example of how DIEM 25 differs -- with its more holistic view of which powers rule our world -- is the way the movement wants to draw attention to Silicon Valley as a destructive form of internationalism.

Google and other social media providers today gather information from all those who use their services. The problem is not that information is gathered; the problem is that every individual contributes to this social capital but lacks control over it. Until today, a biological person has had legal protection against abuse. But today, that person has expanded into also being a "cyborg": a digital person. But that human being lacks human rights. With smart technologies, people are becoming a bit smarter, but at the same time, companies and authorities are constantly allowed to be even smarter, because they can collect the material and always stay one step ahead. Unless you, as an individual, give your permission to businesses and authorities to exchange information about and dig into your private world, you'll be locked out of the social network. Absolutely unacceptable.

DIEM25 wants to create a counterweight to Silicon Valley through a free, open and decentralized technology. They want to create an internet where each citizen has control over his or her own location and private information. The internet can then be based on such a technologically open bank of citizen information, which means that all exchanges of information are based on the integrity and dignity of individuals. In other words, the influence moves back to people. Something that should be self-evident in a democracy.

As an active member of DIEM25 and of the Validating Council, I have, during the past year, both contributed to and been able to observe how new activist groups are starting up in country after country, and how competent people who are passionate about community and a different Europe have been appointed. This movement is growing in leaps and bounds right now, and the next natural step is to form itself into a political party -- Europe's first transnational party.

Greek journalists are speculating as to whether DIEM25 founder and former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis will now return to Greek politics. But as a transnational party, it is all of Europe's DIEM members who will decide in which countries DIEM25 will start its party activities.

In September, one week before the European Commission has its State of the Union speech, DIEM25 will hold the event, "The Real State of the Union" in Brussels, where the launch of DIEM25 as a party will develop, focusing on the 2019 European election.

"We will shake Europe -- gently, compassionately, but firmly."

A gigantic democratization project that could, of course, move in any direction. But for me, who for 25 years has not voted for a parliamentary party, it inspires hope in a necessary and unique time of political turbulence.

Was the decision to close down the Greek banks illegal?

Also published in ETC (Swedish newspaper)

The European central bank (ECB) refuses to publish the legal opinions that enabled ECB to shut down the Greek banks 2015.  The hush-hush surrounding the ECB and the Euro group and the blackmailing of the Greek people is obviously a process that would not pass an open examination. The citizens of Europe are given even more reasons for questioning the current democracy and their politicians.

In June 2015 ECB ended emergency lending to Greece's banks after the Greek government announced a coming poll regarding the conditions for another loan. The Greek people voted no to the conditions as it would have prolonged the depression. The Greek government did however submit to the conditions and to surrender to the power of ECB and the EU-politicians. The finance minister Yanis Varoufakis resigned. His reason was that the government had won the election by promising a decent agreement with ECB but that was never achieved. The Prime Minister Tsipras and the left party Syriza humored the banks and EU-politicians.

2015 the democracy movement DIEM25 was presented with Yanis Varoufakis as a co-founder and with the motto: “The EU will either be democratized or it will disintegrate”. DIEM25 is looking for a political diversity e.g. green, radical left or liberal but not for an EU-exit. Rather they wish to “repair EU”. Since the introduction DIEM25 has grown to 25 000 members in more than 56 countries.

As part of DIEM25’s vision of a more transparent Europe Varoufakis and the French radical left leader Benoit Hamon started a campaign in February 2016 in order to urge ECB to publish the legal opinions that the closure of Greece’s banks were based on.

By the time of the closure of the banks ECB conducted a private legal firm that formulated the legal opinion also called the “Greekfiles”. Greece was informed of the closure by the Eurogroup, a group of finance ministers from the Eurozone-members.  DIEM25’s opinion is that ECB is following a political agenda and is not acting as an independent central bank. Also, the Eurogroup is acting outside a juridical protocol and do not document there meetings. On the contrary, everything must be kept secret.

In July 2016 Mario Draghi, the ECB:s president was asked to open up the Greekfiles but refused. He referred to juridical  circumstances that has been questioned from a juridical point of view as well.

Not only do DIEM25 envision democracy and transparency. As the only Swedish official active member as part of the Validating council I can testify that this culture is also something that exists “inside” DIEM25 as far as I’ve experienced. There is a vivid dedication to create a new kind of democracy. In DIEM25 you’ll find an inspired Europeans independent from national borders as well as economical frameworks.

The Swedish opinion is moving towards a Swexit. Despite a new political landscape and a stream of   new political opinions nobody seem to be willing to move away from their political comfort zone and really act upon the lack of democracy signed by all our political parties in the middle of the epicenter of Europe. Political circumstances that citizen’s notice and make conclusions from.

DIEM25S’s request for publishing the Greekfiles is a concrete example of how not to obey before the “euroconcensus”. DIEM25 aims straight for the core-issues; the lack of transparency and democracy.

In times of re-actions this is much needed Action.

Are we doomed or do we hear the sound of new activists marching?

Partly published in Adbusters Magazine 129

In countries without any form of democracy the walls are visible and let the citizens know they are trapped. The walls in this world are towering everywhere, which makes them so difficult to discern. Most people still have jobs to go to. We have the "free" news media. We have our democratic elections and our supermarkets are well stocked. Everything seems to be normal and yet something is wrong. The new alloy of power: our banks, corporations, state authorities, media etc rules from an untouchable globalized layer of power. A new world culture settles like a light snowfall. Quiet and peaceful, it stealthily fills our everyday lives. A blanket named globalization and human disconnection is thrown on us. A death by suffocating seems to be the only path ahead for our souls.

This monumental and invisible culture shift is a fact but at the same time there seem to be a major change in people's consciousness going on. A new kind of activist has multiplied. But before discussing the new activist let's have a general look at the development of resistance.

It's a documented fact that the number of protests and demonstrations increases year after year, not only in North America and Europe but all over the globe. There seem to be a global turmoil that nobody dares or manage to explain. On the establishment's defense-radar the number of new echoes,  the populist blips has grown. They reveal a breach of contract between the people and the system. The "enemies" are now inside the gates. They're in the parliaments and maybe in the White house. But are fascists the kind of resistance that we've been waiting for?  No, but what’s interesting is people's mistrust and a growing feeling of "I have had enough" which necessarily don't have to be mixed with how it's manifested.

We live in a circular flow of labor and consumption that is invented and driven by capitalists, upheld and protected by politicians, normalized by the news media, energized by the masses that are supervised and controlled by state-authorities. Masses are running for consumption when they in fact are the ones being consumed. Can we expect a general mistrust being expressed in terms of political philosophy rather than a burned car? People are fucked up by a system that's getting more and more uniformed, distanced and less caring. They're looking for revenge and someone to accuse for their miserable struggle for money, respect and dignity in this western soap-opera.

But the growing resistance is also coming from what I call the new activist.

The new activist has stopped dreaming the impossible dreams. The old activist, the old revolutionary chooses between individualism OR collectivism while the new one can see the spirit of free will and individual expression grow together with solidarity in a society not based on fear and competition. The old revolutionary gladly accept politics that bunch infants together in day care centers clearing the way for adults and their careers in the treadmill. They ignore the social engineering of defenseless babies, young kids and their need for love, trust and their parents. The new activist see parents and children together and parents developing themselves in a society with another economic model.

The new activist can see all implications and is, unlike the old activist, not blinded by party issues, politically biased thinking, media campaigns, blinkered opinions or other binding associations.

He or she prefers to search for the truth rather than for opinions or judgments. A prerequisite for the creation of peace is that truth comes before identity.

The new activist is a truth seeker; someone who has left the introvert schisms of the old world behind. The new activist is not just the one leading the struggle for the poor against social injustice, even though that kind of activist also changes things. The revolution will be played out as much within the middle class as any other part of society. The conservatives, autocrats, hawks and patriarchs exist in all camps. The new activist is like a sniffer dog detecting power strategies and corruption and then exposes it without hesitation as he/she has no "club" to protect.

The new activist is an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary. He or she sees “the whole picture”. When that happens, one no longer holds prejudices and is less likely to envisage potential enemies and short-term goals. 

The good news is, those new activists are spreading like a prairie fire, creating confusion and fear among main stream media editors, old world politicians and political analyzers as the old world framework seems to crack everywhere.

The new activist, just like the masses of people that have had enough will never start a movement. They are the backlash brought about the new world culture. They are everywhere and maybe for the first time in history a leaderless evolution can take place instead of repetitive revolutions driven by control-freaks doing careers.