We have come together to produce Eurotopia out of a shared sense of urgency in the face of a crisis of democratic politics. Across Europe, East and West, a profound gulf is growing between the people and the institutions which claim to represent them. Without creative initiatives by a radically democratic left, social and economic divisions will deepen, feelings of powerlessness will intensify and the far right will be better able to spread their racist and xenophobic poison.
We have been inspired to experiment with this new means of transnational communication by the spirit of the Social Forums: originally the European Social Forum now also the Mediterranean Social Forum. The ESF and the MSF are spaces founded on a common rejection of neo-liberal economics and authoritarian, militarist and racist politics; a space which nurtures self-organisation across national boundaries, and expands our political imagination through a new process of international dialogue, debate and exploration.
Something new is stirring on the left. Organisations whose horizons have in the past been limited to the nation, or the locality have found themselves connecting with groups engaged in similar struggles across national borders: trade unions resisting privatisation, immigrants fighting for democratic rights, insecure workers building up their power, workers in culture and education, women, human rights activists, local communities and small farmers, and many more are finding international networks a necessity. This political imperative is reinforced by personal desire as people increasingly cast off narrowly national identities and create new international patterns of friendship and culture.
We make no assumptions about the future form that this new politics will take - this is not a political initiative in the traditional sense. We have different points of view about the role of the Social Forums, the forms of political agency we need, the relation between social movements and political parties, the strategies to challenge the EU, or the kind of construction of Europe we should promote. These and many other questions of strategy, policy and long-term vision will be issues on which Eurotopia will promote a unique transnational debate.
At this stage, Eurotopia is simply an experiment but we hope to contribute to this debate and the new European convergence by
Three shared understandings shape our editorial personality. First, a belief that existing political institutions need to be radically remade on the basis that genuine democracy requires, as a minimum, a combination of "power from below" and forms of political representation that are open and responsive. Secondly, real democracy is only possible if economic life is based on new principles and varieties of socialised production and non-alienated labour. Thirdly, it is only by creating a constant process of international and political cross fertilisation or "contamination" that we can achieve this transformation. Fourthly, our work towards this convergence in Europe must always be in the context of solidarity and connection with the struggles and movements of the rest of the world. Our idea is very consciously to create a supplement. We intend it as a supplement to the existing national and local publications of the movements and the left.
Eurotopia is organised in a way which combines international co-operation and convergence with a respect for the autonomy and the creativity of each national publication. We rotate the co-ordination of each issue: thus the pilot was co-ordinated through Red Pepper (UK); this first issue is co-ordinated by El Viejo Topo (Catalonia, Spain), the second issue by Carta (Italy), the third by Epohi and Avgi (Greece) and so on. The editorial team for each issue consists of the editors of the past, present and future "host" or co-ordinating magazine, therefore the editorial team for this first issue is Red Pepper, El Viejo Topo and Carta. We aim to have a meeting of all seven - a number we hope always to expand - partner publications plus supporting research organisations to set the broad outline of each issue. The future beyond April 2006 will depend on raising long-term funds. If you want to get involved, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our timetable, our character - indeed the whole future of Eurotopia - depends on the