In London and Athens, protesters are rekindling the true European spirit

by Costas Douzinas
from The Guardian

Dual identities create tensions. I was born in Greece but have lived most of my life in Britain. When I arrived in London, after the fall of the Greek dictatorship in 1974, I was told in no uncertain terms by an elderly gentleman walking his bulldog that Britain does not belong to Europe; Britain stands on her own beyond geographical classifications. On the other hand, until recently the Greeks used to be supremely Europhile. Many would have gladly moved their capital from Athens to Brussels.

In 2000 Europe was hailed as the model polity for the new century. But a decade later, the European Union is a dysfunctional organisation that has betrayed its founding principles of economic stability and prosperity based on social solidarity and respect for human rights and justice. These foundations are shaking, under attack by European and national elites. At the same time the tensions of dual identity are weakening as different countries – such as Greece and Britain – face similar challenges. Philosophy can help us understand why.

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