Two events took place on May 17th in Düsseldorf. Two events that explain quite well the (a)political climate in Germany and Europe. The first one occupied most of the front pages of online and offline newspapers. Japan’s day. The capital of North-Rhine Westphalia was flooded with pikachu’s, mewtew’s, sailor moon’s, and other figures emanating from the rich imagination and variety of Japanese manga’s. An apolitical event that proves that at least in Germany, large part of its youth is far away from the suffering of youth unemployment in other European countries. The second event was highly political, but did not catch as much attention from mainstream media. Why? because during few hours, some Germans expressed “civil disobedience”, European solidarity and support to regional and global struggles, leaving aside predominant egoistic behaviors and their obsessive rules compliance.
It was May 17h 2014, the action day of the solidarity week organized by Blockupy, the German branch of the May of Solidarity, an European transnational movement that criticizes the most dangerous and terrible faces of the current governance model at the European level. To raise awareness during the 15-25th of May varied decentralized actions were performed in European cities in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, and Spain. In particular, below there is a summary of the main aims that were included in the agenda of the action day in Düsseldorf:
- to oppose austerity policies imposed in Europe by the Troika (European Central Bank; International Monetary Fund; European Commission). Policies that so far have only increased social and political crisis in countries like Greece, Italy, Spain, among others.
- to recover the commons from the never ending expansion of private colonization, in particular in the environmental, health and housing spheres.
- to stop racist and deportation policies against foreigners and refugees. Düsseldorf’s airport was identified as one of the arms that implements such policy.
- to accuse the German international cooperation sector of implementing a neocolonial development policy towards the global south, that behind the “development” aims hides objectives to promote national business interests, in detriment of others.
- to unveil how famous multinationals firms exploit slave labor force in global south countries. Apple and a couple of textile firms, such as American Apparel, H&M and Zara, were denounced.
- to fight for animal rights, and denounce how they are exploited and treated as commodities.
In sum, at the heart of Europe and its successful export machine still some critical consciousness exist against the terrible consequences that such model is producing. Creative strategies to strip off the veils of a system whose regional and global consequences are hardly seen in Germany were used, but still, the key demand to build a real social and economic democracy from below is far from becoming reality only with such methods. More consciousness needs to be awakened, and independent national and transnational organizations, politics and media will occupy a key role in that. Without it, Japanese Manga’s and any other superficial event will be enough to cover such needed critical consciousness in a time of several simultaneous global crises.