Sat Jul 23rd, 2005 at 09:03:45 AM EST
This is a call to action to the greater European Tribune community: we think we have a great idea for a collective activism project, having to do with creating a new economic approach to employment and slow growth here in Europe. This is a brainstorming session, to begin with, and we need your input and involvement in getting this going. Here's the basic idea, that came out of a conversation in one of the ET threads:
Tgeraghty: I think what we ought to do, since the French, German, and Italian left seem so bereft of ideas now, is to create a manifesto for them, a set of policy proposals that would seriously address the problems of slow growth and high unemployment, but in a way that preserves the traditional European commitment to social justice.
There's potentially plenty of material available - Sweden, the Netherlands, Ireland, for example, are all countries that have recently faced economic crises and recaptured economic dynamism without totally succumbing to neo-liberal nostrums. We might examine what lessons they hold for the bigger economies. We might also investigate what left policy intellectuals have come up with.
Whataboutbob: TG, I'm sure others will climb on board a project like this. The question is, where to start, but this is an excellent opportunity to also develop our "open source community" around a project. I have been amazed to watch people utilize Daily Kos as a forum to organize investigative journalistic reports (eg, the White House fake reporter scandal, the Downing Street Minutes, etc), and really come up with some material that "grew legs" and made (is making) serious journalistic and political impact. So...where to start...perhaps we should start with a diary, in which we discuss your idea, getting other peoples input, discussing how to break down research into discrete areas, so certain people, or groups of people, could research it together. Maybe we can talk a little more about how to best organize it, who will be the project director(s), etc. We could engage other Euro blogs too. (etc., etc.) Heck, we have our first success with Irishhead's project on the front page, so we know that a little energy put in the right direction can make a big impact!
What do you think? Anyone else out there game?? See more below, for an elaboration of how this developed:
Here's more depth on the subject: Over the last few weeks there have been a number of diaries and front page articles discussing in different ways, the ,,European Economy and Lifestyle", including but not limited to these (and this small list does not including Jerome's many significant posts and comments on the same subject of the European Economy and European confidence):
Germany's Industrial Relations System at Risk?
Germany's Industrial Relations System at Risk, Part II: The Coming Employer Offensive
,,Is the Euro Area Really Worse On Jobs Than the US?"
,,Euroland's Secret Success Story"
(There are other articles too, so please forgive me if I've left any out...but we will want to use them!)
In these articles (which are also loaded with great links to supporting articles and documents) we express our opinions about how the ,,European Economy and Lifestyle" is unique, and are frankly much better than the American economy and lifestyle. Yes, there are problems, ie, slow economic growth and higher unemployment, than we would like...so we can definitely do better, but we have a good thing here, particularly in how we value our people to provide social safety nets and supports.
But there are growing attacks by the American neo-conservatives on our European system, who like to ,crow` about the greatness of their ,,free markets"...but most of that is hype and propaganda...not to mention, a power grab. As I've stated elsewhere, I have fears that ,,we are seeing the beginning of the American neoconservative ideology being pushed on Europe...and I don't know if Europe is ready for it...". In fact, what perhaps is more worrisome, is that out of desperation about high unemployment and slow growth in economies here in Europe, some of the ,,Elite Politicians" are more actively looking towards ,,free market reforms" as some kind of savior. Beyond this, however, I suspect there's something worse: a growing greed in the stock holders and executives of the corporations, who see a chance to make more more wealth, by cutting back the social safety net of the people.
What is also worrisome, is that we hear little in the way of an organized response to these growing threats by the Left. Why does the Left seem so paralyzed? Is it bereft of ideas? Are they too busy fighting for their little turfs? Or what? Not sure, but we think we could do some research and develop a practical policy proposals that we could give to the Left, (and push out into the media), as a way of opposing the attempts of ,,free marketers" to attack the ,,European Lifestyle". So I think I have covered this, in a general way...though welcome further input on this.
Let's begin the brainstorm...
Here's a few things we need to consider in organizing (and please chime in with your ideas, out there, because I'm just trying to get this going and know I'm leaving a lot out):
- Which countries to research that have successfully reformed their economies while maintaining their policies of social justice and responsibility? (And who would like to research which countries)
- What specific methods should be considered to increase economic growth
- What specific methods to improve employment
- What about the social safety net? What exists and is working? (unemployment, pensions, healthcare, training, education, family support...)
There's a high likelihood we will may have some politically/philosophical differences of opinion on what and how to approach these issues. But I'd say: let's go into this with an open mind and see what we find first, then perhaps we can find some basic common denominators.
Your thoughts, ideas and involvement requested!