DiEM TV: Faces of DiEM with Erik Edman with Cassie Callan and Ciro Faienza

Faces of DiEM is about the less well known stories of our activists

It’s about the stories of those that came across DiEM, were inspired by the movement’s message, and got engaged with the project as activists on the ground. It’s about meeting these people and how their activism has instructed their own lives.

This episode features Cassie Callan is an interior designer and singer based in France, and Ciro Faienza is an italian-american based in the US. Along with moderator Erik Edman, they spoke about how to approach political engagement through a more pragmatic point of view, rather than intellectual enclaves that have a tendency to fracture the Left.

Watch the episode!

Highlights

“That fight (…) takes you all over Europe because we are all facing exactly the same struggles and the source of those struggles — the European oligarchy, the political establishment, the way brussels is run — that’s something that connects us across the entire continent; even, one could argue, if one is a citizen of the EU or not.” — Erik Edman

“One of the things that interested me is that [DiEM25 is] a transnational movement. This to me is absolutely right for the time.” — Cassie Callan

“In the 60s, when I was extremely active (…) there was a very strange coalition suddenly forming in the 60s — we had the black panthers, we had the patriots who were white southern people, and then we had the young lords and they came together in Chicago to form a coalition of the complete unlikely on the Left to help local communities to help a local community (…) in North Chicago where Mayor Daley was trying to gentrify the area. (…) Most Americans still view the black panthers as dangerous but here’s what happened — we had a lot of press and propaganda told to us and actually what’s been revealed is that the black panthers were not trying to kill people; they did arm themselves, but they really supported communities. They were totally community based.” — Cassie Callan

“The reality is we really have to as Leftists broaden our communication with each and be much more tolerant of differences and much more involved in helping each other, in each other’s communities. (…) You can make a best friend out of an enemy if you try.” — Cassie Callan

“The European Left traditions have long intellectual histories, and in the US it’s much more common that a movement proceed even without connection to these intellectual histories. I don’t need to have read Marx or to know who Gramsci is to say ‘the rent is too high’. (…) In [Italy] there are intellectual camps that people will fall into and at some point the camps cease to function in a practical way. Whereas Americans will easily gravitate to slogans like ‘the rent is too damn high, let’s put food on the table’ these kinds of things. Bernie Sanders’ appeal I think was that his message was unflappable and hard to argue with: people are in terrible pain and we should stop it. Regardless of what is our intellectual approach to that problem. (…) I would like to see more evidence of that on the European side.” — Ciro Faienza

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