Discussion on the 10 lessons: “Too many citizens felt in their flesh the need to come up with a new societal model”
On 9th of May 45 organisations and thousands of citizens across Europe called for online and offline events on a day-long kick off, all across Europe. The ECF held a discussion on the Future and the consequences of the Coronavirus-related crisis.
The programme included artistic performances, political debates, interactive conversations and readings to be broadcasted through different channels. The European Civic Forum also marked the launch of Citizens Take Over Europe with a Conversation around the 10 lessons for the Future.
The panel featured Luciana Castellina, an Italian journalist, author and former member of the European Parliament for 15 years, as well as Marina Škrabalo, Croatian activist, founder of SOLIDARNA foundation and member of the European Economic and Social Committee. In the introduction, ECF Chair Jean-Marc Roirant stressed the fact that “this crisis gives us an unprecedented opportunity to change the course of Europe and of the world we live in, to better organise and hold our societies together”.
Launching the conversation, Marina Škrabalo said that the Covid-19 crisis “taught us patience”. Marina also reflected upon some preconceived myths in our modern societies: “this crisis destructed the idea that you can be saved if you are privileged”, she said. To her, the Coronavirus showed how much we are inter-connected and dependent on each other. She warned that, shall we as a society fail to implement those changes, we will be hit again.
According to Luciana Castellina, “this crisis has already introduced changes in the way of thinking of people, and some of them are positive”. She notably stressed the new, less ethno-centered attitude of the people, who discovered the collective construction of our societies. “In this crisis, people, after decades of individualism, they re-discovered that it would be impossible for them to survive without the others”. On top of that, Castellina illustrated the spontaneous organisation of communities to help each other, without waiting for their governments to make the first step. She notably said that, although people expect State intervention, they should “see it as public intervention, not only the bureaucracy, but our organisations too”. She ended calling for a collective responsibility of our societies in our ways of life, suggesting that common goods should be at the heart of this process and that representative democracy is not fit for collective decision-making.
“Democracy is participation. It is to take individual responsibility on what is happening in the collective”
Finally, both panelists insisted on the huge number of citizens who felt on their own skin the failure of the construction of our societies: “the way the economy and public service are arranged, the relations between governmental structures and societies: all this does not work”. Closing up on positive notes, the conversation depicted a society which found out many failures in the way it was built, but this wake-up call shall now be taken up by those governing, to rethink structures of power.
The remaining videos from the discussion are still available on the Facebook page of the European Civic Forum.