After months of preparation, the days of action organised by the coalition For a European Spring erupted into life last week. However, here in Brussels the police tried to stop it: first banning a peaceful demonstration and then arbitrarily arresting people after a peaceful occupation of the European Commission’s ‘Austerity HQ’. But despite their efforts, the seeds have now been sown, and the pan-European movement against undemocratic and destructive austerity policies is growing.
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up