Publication Soziale Bewegungen / Organisierung The Social is Modern, The Social is Economical





André Brie,


January 2005

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The Statue of Liberty in front of the old New York Harbour Entrance measures, together with its socket, almost 100 metres in height. The Goddess stands on the broken chains of slavery and, with its right hand, raises the torch of liberty; in her left hand, she carries the American Declaration of Independence. Originally a present to the US by France, she is at the same time the expression for the mutual influences among the American War of Independence and French Revolution as well as of the two first great Declarations of Liberty and Human Rights, the “Virginia Bill of Rights” (1776) and the “Declaration of Human and Citizens’ Rights” (1789). Symbolic power and iconography of the statue of liberty can hardly be topped. More than two-hundred years later, the idea (however, not necessarily the reality) of freedom and human rights has won the day.

In front of the European Parliament in Brussels, there also stands a statue, also representing a woman, who also raises an arm. The only difference is: she is, together with her socket, only maybe three metres high, ducks herself in the shadow of the buildings left and right of the Rue Wiertz, so that her existence has not even come to the notice of a few deputies of parliament, and in her hand, she does not hold a symbol of a society-founding and identity-creating idea, but the Euro sign.

It matters essentially to the European dilemma that the original great impulses and goals of European integration (peace, stability, overcoming of nationality) are being realised, but as a result are also spent as integration forces to considerable extents. The constitutional draft submitted was, despite the Charta of Basic Rights and other advances, to a large degree not able to eliminate this deficit threatening the perspective of integration. ...

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