FOR THE UNITED STATES OF A DIFFERENT EUROPE
In the past few years, our small Repubblica Nomade made six dreams come true – six long journeys of which four in Italy and two from Italy to two important European cities, namely Strasbourg and Sarajevo.
This year – from May 21st until July 8th – we will be walking from Paris to Berlin, thus achieving our first entirely European journey completely outside of our national borders.
Europe is once again fraught with dangers. Phantoms and demons have been seething in its bowels: the economic crisis; growing unemployment and increasing precarious youth work; growing social inequality; indiscriminate, hideous terror acts; migration flows generating feelings of insecurity, resentment, and fear, which politicians with no conscience and new sorcerer’s apprentices play on; the lack of a common and noble vision, which has been replaced by the tyranny of a shallow, merely economic worldview; a worn-out democracy; the historical amnesia about what happened in our recent, terrible past; newly popular cruel demagogic trends; racism, xenophobia, and the lack of a widely shared perspective based on what used to be known as “the common good”; blindness and self-destructive instincts; the feudal nostalgia of small, uncontaminated, happy native countries… As if it were possible to reverse the course of history in today’s overpopulated, superconnected world, where new and old superpowers are competing for our planet – a more and more inhospitable environment ravaged by the greedy, suicidal human species. As if dividing countries and nations were a solution to oppression and conflict, and did not instead lead to perpetuate the same oppression and conflict, although on a smaller scale, thus weakening the resulting small states – a danger Italians should know all too well from their history.
That is why the compass of our new journey will be the Ventotene Manifesto written by Altiero Spinelli and Ernesto Rossi in the prison of Ventotene, wherefrom it was secretly issued in 1941. The Manifesto provides a penetrating picture of a continent torn by two world wars, and ambitiously calls for the setting up of a European Federation, the United States of Europe. The contents of this document, which was one of the crucial contributions to the first attempts at aggregating Europe made by forward-looking Italian, French, and German politicians, are all the more relevant and pressing today. At this very delicate and risky point in history, the Ventotene Manifesto provides a unique remedy against the implosion, dismantling, and irrelevance of our continent within the current global geopolitical framework.
In the past few years, political struggles have become, in Italy as well as in Europe, especially fierce, resembling the suicidal cruelty of a pack of furious dogs biting each other to death on the brink of a precipice. Against this background, we believe it is vital to bring the Manifesto’s still vibrant message back in focus, and to do so not just with words and calls for action, but with a massive movement of bodies and lives, of passions, despairs, desires, and dreams.
We have chosen the two main capital cities of continental Europe, whose survival is of utmost importance to prevent our continent from becoming a clay vase between two iron vases. We have chosen Paris and Berlin as respectively the starting and ending point of our journey for various reasons. First, today more than ever, they are crucial pieces of the controversial federal unity jigsaw puzzle whereby states that in the past fiercely fought against each other have been trying to give life together to something new and exemplary. Second, these two cities, and their respective countries, deserve all our solidarity and support for the terror acts that have recently hit them, making them so similar in the feeling of pain and grief that has befallen them.
This year’s journey will not be just horizontal, but also vertical in time and space. One of its conceptually highest peaks will be precisely the small Italian island of Ventotene, where the European dream we need to rediscover and strive for was first conceived.
With this long, collective, and totally voluntary journey, we would like to convey the idea that, even when everything seems to be stuck, a move can be made by single people, as well as entire nations, to overcome the boundaries that constrain them.
The experiment which, despite the many difficulties, is currently underway in Europe may prefigure a different future for a planet on the verge of new and increasingly devastating wars waged to gain control over its last resources. Should this experiment fail, should it be hampered by blindness, national selfishness, and economic tyranny, we will head for instability and witness the newly generated gaps being inevitably filled first with political and then with military disputes.
This, however, does not imply that we content ourselves with today’s Europe, focused as it is on solely economic concerns and on arrogant behaviours. It is precisely these features that prevent a true European federation from being set up and make the risk of conflicts closer even in our continent. There is an urgent need for a united, free, strong, but also fair Europe, like the one its forward-looking founders had in mind. It is only based on a continent like this that we can build the United States of a different Europe.
On behalf of Repubblica Nomade
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