European Alternatives (EA) is a transnational grassroots organisation imagining, demanding and enacting democracy, equality and culture beyond the nation state. We act in the belief that a transnational renovation of our political imaginations, institutions, citizenship, collectivity, and actions needs to take place. Otherwise, we will not be able to truly understand and address the most urgent political, cultural and social challenges that Europe is facing in our time: the climate crisis, human rights violations at the European borders, socio-economic inequalities, democratic deficits, and the emergence of right-wing forces leading to a backlash on fundamental rights of all marginalised communities.
EA was founded by Lorenzo Marsili and Niccolò Milanese (latest books: “Shifting Baselines of Europe”, “Planetary Politics” & “Citizens of Nowhere”) in 2007 in London on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the European Union. Our unofficial “celebration” event, the “Festival of Europe”, a civil society-initiated series of debates, lectures, workshops, and exhibitions, was the beginning of our story. We started small as a group of like-minded individuals with almost no material resources, only our energy, ideas and our email accounts, but it rapidly became clear that there was a need for an organisation, a structure, an institution, a medium to inspire, empower and call for a new generation of Europeans to act for a more just and fair future and reclaim citizens’ democratic control over our lives, economies, and ecologies.
In 2021, EA links three hubs operating as independent legal entities in three different European cities: European Alternatives Berlin e.V., Alternatives Européennes Paris, and Studio Rizoma Palermo. We are a cross-border team of 3 co-founders and co-directors, 7 staff members, interns, and multiple freelance collaborators working and traveling in changing constellations on different projects in many places around Europe with a variety of powerful partners (Another Europe is Possible, Arts of the Working Class, documenta Institut, European Community Organizing Network (ECON), Global Labour University, Maynooth University, New Economy Organisers Network (NEON), ulex project).
Our work focuses on organising citizens’ forums and assemblies, courses and trainings for activists, transnational campaigns and actions as well as conferences, performances, exhibitions, publications, and festivals involving academics, artists and grassroots movements, by using innovative online methods (multilingual websites, social media, videos, podcasts, magazines, web documentaries, etc.) and by involving marginalised groups (migrant communities, youth groups, mobile workers, artistic collectives, cultural organisations, local grassroots initiatives, etc.) in activities with a transnationalist focus. Our goal is to:
- Articulate a radical, long-term vision of democratic, solidary and open politics, society and culture beyond the nation-state.
- Create participatory spaces of active citizenship to question and rethink Europe’s connections with the rest of the world, its global role and its colonial history.
- Build the civic capacity and mutual solidarity networks of members, activists and organisations working for progress and common good around Europe.
- Experiment with models of governance and tools for action that lead to transformative change in political institutions, society, the economy and our imagination.
- Educate a new generation of informed activists and skilled organisers to support new transnational movements, public campaigns, and citizen power for systemic change.
- Develop new economic models which are socially just, sustainable, and democratically controlled based on solidarity, care, and responsibility for humans and nature.
- Advance human, fundamental, civic, democratic, digital and social rights for a diverse and inclusive European community across borders.
Our mission and values guide how we work to pursue our mission:
- Transnational and local: We believe local and regional initiatives become powerful by going beyond national boundaries and interests.
- Transdisciplinary and diverse: We believe alternatives are generated at the intersection of activism, research, education and culture and are enriched by diverse expertise and perspectives.
- Experimental and creative: We believe in the necessity of acting and learning through experimentation and especially in the power of the arts and culture to unlock future imaginaries.
- Empowering and participatory: We believe in spaces for citizens to exchange and build networks and in activities and events which give space for co-creation and participation.
- Inclusive and feminist: We believe in a culturally open society and in inclusivity as a precondition for sustainable anti-patriarchal alternatives to emerge.
- Anti-racist and anti-eurocentric: We believe involving other parts of the world in our reflections and activities is necessary to make new alternatives based on the perspectives of people from all over the world.
The Berlin hub of EA is represented by Georg Blokus and Kasia Wojcik who are mainly responsible for all projects of the “School of Transnational Activism” (see also our work-in-progress “Online Handbook for Transnational Activists”) as well as “Workers Without Borders” (latest report on policy demands and best practices of care, agricultural and delivery workers) and “Trust Without Borders”.
Our latest project is the “Academy of Migrant Organizing” as part of the School of Transnational Activism, a reflection, research, and education program featuring 9 migrant organizers representing the whole spectrum of political struggles in Germany – from climate and diaspora movements to refugee and black solidarity to housing, queer and workers’ rights. The public program consists of an Online Workshop on “How to Organize Migrant Power through Feminist Artivism, Urban Movements & Workers’ Collectives” on the 29th of January 2022, an Assembly of Solidarity on the 19th of March 2022 in Chemnitz, and a Community Conference from 8th to 10th of April 2022 at Oyoun in Berlin.
On the 25th of January 2022, you can also join our “Voters Without Border Berlin” online citizens forum featuring Daniel Gutiérrez (DWE & Solidarity City Berlin), Sanaz Azimipour (“Nicht ohne uns 14 Prozent” & MigLoom), Tareq Alaows (#LeaveNoOneBehind & Seebrücke), etc. for a discussion about how to push for full political rights for all.
From the 21st to 25th of April 2022, we are organising our biannual “Transeuropa Festival”, this time in the city of Porto on postcolonial feminism and migrant workers’ rights. In autumn, we will be organising our next festival edition of “Between Land & Sea” in Bremen, bringing together migrant organizers, climate activists, and workers from Northern Africa, our friends from Sicily, and many other places around Europe to tackle “the climate crisis as a planetary class struggle”.
Are you a progressive activist, academic, or artist, part of a grassroots initiative, civil society organisation or social movement? Across borders, citizens in communities and cities build a new Europe of solidarity and justice. Join us!
European Alternatives Berlin e.V.
Manteuffelstr. 57A, 12103 Berlin