1989 has become a significant date in history for the importance assigned to the fall of the Wall, the material act that has acquired a profound metaphorical meaning. While the Wall was knocked down with a pickaxe, the history of the twentieth Century, the one that began in 1917 and gave shape to the contrasting and dramatic events of almost a century, came to an end, as well as the material structures, the possibility of a new world and a specific form collective imagination. In 1989, the history of real communism, the greatest philosophy of the contemporary age, embodied in a State, in a party, and in an ideology, faded away and, with the creation of a global world, the alternative to liberalism and capitalism seems to disappear.
It is not by chance that the idea of a global world, in its current form, began in 1989, because in this year a new form of world interdependence was born. This new phenomenon seems to have caused exhaustion of political spatiality and the advent of a world unified by Capital’s “abstract” power, by the unification of financial markets, by the disappearing of the spatial and temporal dimension in a way of communication that is instantaneous.
The transformation, within the Nation-state, of the Capital into the flexible and impersonal power of global finance provoked, as a further result, the creation of a dispersed, precarized, desubjectivized working-class. This means not only that is more difficult nowadays in the age of contemporary capitalism, to recognize class composition and to understand the reasons for their political struggles but also that it is necessary to pay more attention to grassroots movements, that express a new form of class consciousness and subjectification.
In this scenario, Europe plays a very delicate role: while it should have been, after 1989, political and economic unification and Union between States, with the affirmation of the universalism of human rights at its center, it is instead often stranded in a rigid opposition between a supranational and pseudo-federal dimension (with a federalism that is only monetary), and a kind of political direction that still lives within the borders of the nation-states, with the urgent necessity of a rethinking the concept of democracy and sovereignty. State sovereignty, in fact, which had been characterized the twentieth-century political system, and now appears to have weakened in the face of global changes, flows of goods, capital and people, unable to encompass and govern them within the states’ boundaries.
In such a scenario it becomes fundamental to confront the phenomenon of migrations, of a real dislocation of humanity, with exterminated masses fleeing from massacres, hunger and wars. This happens on the threshold of a Europe that seems unable to manage these changes, leaving populisms to respond in its place, erecting walls and rebuilding borders.
In this Volume of the journal Polemos “Europe after the wall. Which end and which beginning?” one wants to thematize and philosophically problematize this turn of the century but, above all, placing Europe at the center of the reflection, the configuration that it has assumed after 1989 and its destiny in the new global world, paying special attention to some thematic points, that are fundamental in better understanding the epochal changes generated by that year:
- The collapse of the Berlin Wall and the crisis of the nation-state as events of the end of the European twentieth century.
- Globalization and sovereignty: from transnational governance to the geopolitics of anti-Covid 19 vaccines, as an example of a new form of “cold war”.
- The dissolution of the wall and the end of the socialist alternative in ’89-’91.
- The exhaustion of the more traditional and “twentieth-century” phenomenologies/forms of class struggle and its reconfiguration in Europe.
- The transition “from the wall to the walls”: migratory phenomena and new forms of nationalism in Europe today.
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