“Peace, like freedom, is not an original state which existed from the start; we shall have to make it, in the truest sense of the word” said Willy Brandt, the German Chancellor, who 40 years ago dropped to his knees in front of the monument commemorating the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
This symbolic gesture began a new era which – with its acknowledgement of the post-war borders and new politics of Eastern Europe – laid the foundations for the united Europe of today.
It is of great importance to evoke this outstanding and courageous example nowadays, when a ruling conservative majority claim Europe’s entire past and present, as well as seeking to monopolize the debate about its future.
In an age of great anxiety, intensified by all the human misery brought about by the last economic crisis, progressives have a historical duty to re-establish themselves as the democratically legitimized representatives of the people. As Willy Brandt proved, it has always been and shall remain the mission of progressives to stand for equality, fairness, freedom and solidarity. And in the times when these values are overshadowed by fear and greedy individualism, it is crucial to restore hope in them and to place them at the core of a new social contract. This book is a collection of groundbreaking, constructive thoughts on how to achieve it.
This publication reflects a common effort by FEPS – Foundation for European Progressive Studies and the Fabian Society.