“Positive Populism” and the pro-Europe message

A group of students in Germany have started a campaign to tackle the notable rise in Right-wing politics in Europe.With a mission statement that reads “Confront populism with its own simplicity,” the group, spearheaded by student Benedikt Erasmus Kau, uses their unique position and perspective as students to offer an optimistic message about the brighter sides of a united Europe.The group’s Twitter account, WhyEurope, puts out eye-catching images coupled with assertions on the perceived importance and benefits of a united Europe. They blend humor and nonchalance with fear and isolation, a mixture that lures readers in and then gives them a reason to stay.One tweet boasts of Europe’s free-trade policies, using the medium of alcohol to communicate the need for inter-relations and generosity: “You can take home up to 90 liters of red wine from your holiday in Italy.” Another shows an Instagram-worthy snapshot of a young man and woman embraced in a gymnastic flex of trust and symbiosis, his feet pressing against her in-flight tummy, their hands clasped, lips locked. The caption asserts: “Europe because we all have better things to do than waiting at borders.”Another tweet reveals the fear that fuels this project– that of a fractured Europe: “The European Union is like a window. Often invisible, but you’re going to miss it when it’s broken.” A cautionary note in their Facebook page stresses the need to “Be publicly populist, internally deliberate.” In other words, they encourage the outspoken preference for optimism while also urging for internal critique and awareness