What are the forces of judgement for Europe’s future?

by | 14. June 2018

Herzogenrath, Germany | On Sunday the NRW Tour of the European Public Sphere led to Herzogenrath. As part of the Realize Festival 2018 we set up the Europe Dome in the youth centre HOT. The topic was “Youth and Europe” and we discussed with six pupils of the Europe School Herzogenrath.
When we arrived in Herzogenrath in the morning, we first had to find the place where we could build our dome. It was a playground used by the youth center HOT and a kindergarten. A nice quiet place, the construction went fast.

Some of the invited people had cancelled on us for various reasons and the program of the festival had many other things to offer – from a distance we heard music from a stage – and as hidden as we stood there on the meadow, we already expected a small dome talk. In Witten two days before, the dome had been well filled despite the rain and the conversation was colourful and lively. What character would it have here?

The dialogue was given distinction by the exchange with six pupils who with their white T-shirts made themselves known as “crew” members for the festival and came from the “Europaschule” (Europe School) in Herzogenrath. They were able to free themselves for the Dome Talk and join the four-man strong construction team. Hermann Gendrisch from Attac Wurmtal was also there and one participant found his way under the dome through the festival programme.

Six pupils from the Europe School Herzogenrath
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“We all live in reality and see how we deal with it. But the other question is: What should it be like? What makes sense, what are the framework conditions like? And if we find something good, then we should set out to make sure that it becomes what we want it to be, regardless of how it is in the here and now.”
Jörg Eichenauer

NRW-Tour, Mehr Demokratie NRW

As the topic was “Youth and Europe”, we were naturally interested in what the six students had to say. What moved me a lot was the fact that they – that’s what how it seemed to me – almost only had school in mind. School and the question of how their personal lives with university studies and work would continue. But what is possible and necessary in terms of responsibility and perspective beyond the “personal” seemed to have moved very far into the distance and life determining circumstances – for example, the need for a certain required numerus clausus in the Abitur to enter the desired subject of study – became central.

After the conversation had progressed a little, I was then – similar to the others – incited to want to hear a little more and I brought the ideals of the French Revolution into the exchange: Freedom, equality, brotherhood. I myself heard about this triad for the first time as a pupil from one of my teachers and also that it is important to think these three “forces of judgement” in the right spot:

Freedom not where, for example, the economy today is only about selfish enrichment and greed, but where it is about my world view and my impulses, about what I want to bring into the whole of society. Equality not in a way that all people are made equal, where they are actually diverse and where diversity should prevail, but there where all people in a community should be able to participate as equals among equals in democratic legal life. That is, in the production of our laws.

And fraternity is needed precisely where today it is lacking most of all, namely in the economy, which should be there for all people to get what they need for a dignified life.

Economy – if you think of it as a task for society as a whole – cannot be there to enrich individuals and exploit and impoverish others in the process. This is also true today above all for the different regions on our earth. The prosperity of one is owed to the exploitation of the poor. A state against which actually every (young) person should go on the barricades; internally on the barricades and externally into democratic processes and self-organized responsibility for a renewal of Europe and the whole earth.
“Attac is regarded as a movement critical of globalisation, and global means global and not Europe, and the great danger that Europe is facing is that Europe will open its borders internally but close them externally … and we should also be careful when we talk about Europe that this is not equated with the EU. Europe goes as far as the Urals. Under no circumstances should the rest of the world be marginalised in the discussion about Europe”.
Hermann Gendrisch

Participant, Attac Wurmtal

Video of the Dome Talk in Herzogenrath
I wonder: But isn’t our school system with the pressure of grades and the Abitur, completely geared to the idea of achievement, not one of the first bastions that must fall through a new way of thinking? Shouldn’t we start an initiative to abolish the Abitur?

The conversation went very well and it still resonates in me. We therefore decided to make the video summary a little longer so that the course of the conversation can be experienced a little better.

Some impressions from our Dome-Event: