My name is Giuseppe, I am 26 years old. I work in a library. I have a degree in Classical Literature and now I am studying Philosophy. I live in Eboli, a small town in southern Italy.
A man walks into a bar and asks for a beer. He drinks alone, while in the background he hears the sound of the TV news. He is able to hear the word Europe, and then debt, austerity, cuts in social spending, reform, tears and blood…
The buzz in the room does not allow him to listen to everything. He drinks his beer slowly. He is probably a workman who has just finished his shift at the factory. Or maybe he is an independent artisan who works in a small workshop.
Europe came into his life, strongly, about six years ago, in the year 2008, when something broke and someone called what had happened economic crisis.
Since then, the narrative that the world invents for itself through newspapers, television and all the media, has directed his attention to stories of ordinary madness: he has seen the dramatic growth of the gap between rich and poor and he saw the imposition of irrational economic measures raise protests unheard of before.
Europe has become important in his life at the same time that it has become something hostile — because in his perception Europe has become a bureaucratic monster that requires rigour, but gives nothing in return.
The neo-liberal policy has included his country in the horrible acronym PIIGS. He has never liked the use of acronyms (IMF, ECB…)
He still remembers that cynical acronym invented by Margaret Thatcher, TINA (There Is No Alternative), by which she meant that there were no other possible worlds, beyond the one that already existed. He, on the other hand, had spent his adolescence imagining all the other possible worlds.
That acronym ended his adolescence. That acronym broke his dreams.
Is this really the only possible world?
Where are the dreams gone he had when he was young?
Someone had told him about the pages written by Altiero Spinelli who — just twenty years old– was arrested by the fascists and sentenced to jail and forced into exile for 16 years. During those years, Spinelli, then a brilliant young man, wrote the most beautiful pages about European union, when it was still impossible to think about associating the word ‘Unity’ with the idea of Europe.
There are alternatives! The current narrative must not continue to be dominant. Its words should fade.
Someone press Mute, please! The remote control is in our hands!
A new European narrative is needed.
‘New’, because it inevitably has to be different from the current one.
‘European’, because it has to speak to all of us: to all Europeans, from east to west, from north to south, with no economic discrimination.
This has to be a gripping narrative, a mosaic of stories. Our stories. The story of a tired man who comes into a bar and drinks a beer while television shows a different world. A different Europe. That of Altiero Spinelli. That of all of us!