Hello there, my name is Paco and I am the co-founder of Arbury Road, a grassroots European think tank run by PhD students and activists with the goal to contribute to the creation of a European progressive agenda. The idea is to create a new progressive identity for European, cosmopolitan activism, building a set of values and topics on which people can recognise and identify themselves. Thus, Arbury Road wants to resolve three main problems in the current progressive field:
1) The first is a problem of identity. We live in a world of "single-topic politics", where people fight for specific causes and not a coherent, integrated vision or model of the world. We want people to vote not issue by issue, but to identify themselves with a future vision and to relate their choices to a precise identity, which should help create a sense of belonging.
2) Arbury Road wants to create a progressive path for the process of European integration. The European Union as a liberal project has clearly failed in delivering its promises. Make no mistake, the EU has delivered what was most needed in the 1940s: peace in Europe. Yet, this is not enough. The EU has been floundering in more recent years, prioritising economic growth without the political foresight to guarantee stability. European integration, as a project, should not be left to the right. Progressives cannot fool themselves into thinking that a return to national sovereignty is possible. Many of the challenges, from the climate crisis to the maintenance and expansion of welfare systems, require a different dimension of coordination to be dealt with effectively: a European and global dimension. European integration should, instead, be the foundation of rebuilding a progressive identity in Europe. But a different Europe, departing from what the EU has been in the past 20 years, is necessary. Only a brave project, based on political unity and concrete common goals in favour of a coherent progressive vision, can win back the hearts of Europeans.
3) The third problem derives from communication. Progressives are no longer capable of speaking with the people who should constitute their natural basin of voters, namely: the working class and the less fortunate members of society; the unemployed and young generations; the small business owners and the self-employed. Many people in these categories see progressives as an intellectual cast, detached from reality and from their daily problems. Arbury Road wants to embark on the difficult, but by no means impossible, journey to re-establish a popular identity for progressives.
Thus, Arbury Road aims at re-building a common identity for European, cosmopolitan progressives which, at the same time, is inclusive and representative of the working class and real social issues throughout the world. The goal is to create a new atmosphere of mutual understanding and open discussion, where different points of view are analysed rather than criminalised.
Arbury Road now counts members and activists across many European countries, and we have an online magazine ( https://www.arburyroad.eu/
) and a podcast ( https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoo2zjo5x1-xWemk5Cfj1yQ
)that we publish on a weekly basis, and on which we express our vision, and engage with MEPs and politicians to discuss with them. We want to shed some light to what is happening in the European parliament and contribute to improving the dialogue between citizens and EU institutions, thus making the European Union more democratic. To continue working on the dream of a better, more just Europe we ask for your contribution to remain independent and be able to cover the costs of Arbury Road that the volunteers are having. Any contribution can really make a difference. Thank you very much.