with – for – by ?

Europe must be close to its citizens.

This is the concise statement we find on page 26 of the document that became known as Tindemen-report – and it is indeed worthwhile to read here: European Union 1/76 : Report by Mr Leo Tindemans to … – EU Bookshop the ‘old stuff’. the sentence can be found at the end of the first paragraph of the section

IV. A citizen’s Europe

And indeed, also this heading is interesting if we allow digesting it – that is what slow reading is about.

  • The citizens ‘own it’
  • and we are actually talking about the citizens as individuals – the ‘citizen’s Europe’, and not the citizens’ Europe
  • and looking at the other side: this ‘Europe’, it seems that it is somewhat ‘objectified’, a social fact in the Durkheimian understanding: independent from the actors
  • therefore an actor in its own right and as such confronting the citizens – as said: these being seen as individuals.

Of course, if this is the underlying attitude, determining what politics is about, legitimacy is a permanent challenge – the challenge every hegemon faces, and we can read the Modern Prince in it, well aware of the task that – as we read on page 28 of the report

[a] strenuous effort must be made by the European institutions and by governments to improve the way in which our common activity is presented to public opinion and to link the daily decisions of the institutions to the motivations behind the construction of Europe and to the idea of society which is inherent in it.

Coming from here back to page 26, we may become a bit skeptical, when we read about Europe being

a rapprochement of peoples who wish to go forward together

Whereas it is the individual citizen, it is here the people as collective …, suggested as emerging from

the will of governments

and only because that

alone is not sufficient for such an undertaking

it returns to the individuals, suggesting – to them – that

[t]he need for it, its advantages and its gradual achievement must be perceived … so that effort and sacrifices are freely accepted.

Sure, that was 1975, and one may suggest it is not relevant anymore. And one may even suggest: it is not relevant anymore because the citizen of the state[s] submerged in the meantime completely under the rules of the market, making us to market citizens, feeling and behaving and thinking that way, too often not being away of it, as reading faster is more important than reading more, reading the full content of such tiny statement that

Europe must be close to its citizens

thus never being a Europe that is an entity established by us.

May-Day

or: learning and living and teaching Europe …

To be more precise: it is not May-Day but the evening before the 1st of May – Uli said the other day: it is in Vienna a special cultural event and if you are around you have to go to the town hall … – surely not the same as one year ago when I gathered on the Plaza de la Revolución in La Havana.

Indeed, I am around, teaching European Integration – latest on the 9th the recordings should be here.

So, may-evening then – I am sitting in a tiny park, munching my Simit while I am waiting for the volksoper – the people’s opera – to open its door.

Thoroughly enjoying the moment – anticipating the tale of the

Man from La Mancha

Sitting there, I am also thinking about the programme of the next days – teaching, writing, rushed trip to Bremen for a presentation and  … Vienna again …

Le nozze di Figaro

…. the upcoming performance …. – while waiting that day for the doors to open, I will most likely sit in the small resto-bar opposite of the venue, sipping some wine, tasting a canapé …

… May-Evening …. And I am asking myself if I am wondering or not: why is the one place named people’s opera, the other – the one for the higher echelons of society, the bourgeois – is called state-opera.

Les Distinctions

as Pierre Bourdieu called them – hadn’t been small at the end (as the German translation suggests) …, they had been about the nearness, even the identification with the centres of power.

L’état c’est moi

Not yet …. The evening of the first of May ….
…. And I am teaching about European Integration …. Indeed

Commodification of labour power and appropriation of surplus value cannot be thought of without an outside, by which they profit in social, economic and  ecological terms
(Brand, Ulrich/Wissen, Markus: imperiale lebensweise; Muenchen: oekom: 63)

Which is another formulation of what Dulcinea probably meant:

The world is a dung heap and we are grubs walking through …

So it is a long way until we will say

Je suis e aussi moi es nous sommes le peuples

 

Metaphors, at times closer to reality than sober appraisal?

First, I did not think much about it – though yes, I saw it as another and typical expression of the shortcoming of the European architecture – a paragraph from the document that became known as The Five President’s Report. On page four we read:

Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) today is like a house that was built over decades but only partially finished. When the storm hit, its walls and roof had to be stabilised quickly. It is now high time to reinforce its foundations and turn it into what EMU was meant to be: a place of prosperity based on balanced economic growth and price stability, a competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress. To achieve this, we will need to take further steps to complete EMU.

A more or less desperate attempt to be somewhat ‘poetical’, using a language that makes issues easily accessible and so I filed it first as matter of ‘creative writing’ of the general kind often used in introductory remarks. But it really depicts what all this is about, namely the ‘progress’ towards

  • a genuine Economic Union
  • a Financial Union
  • a Fiscal Union
  • a Political Union

Twenty four pages, some can be deducted – not metaphors but pictures and blanks … – Still, if I can trust the computer search, the term product* only shows up three times, on page seven and eight respectively: as ‘product market’, as ‘productivity’ and as ‘productive firms’. Searching for industr* brings one hit: on page 11 we find the term ‘financial industry’. – Indeed, a house without foundation, and thus with predictable cracks in roof and walls …. – a typical example for a castle in the air. Established on the exposition of powers, the hegemony-committed knighthood-populace accrediting the exposure with their celebratory HELLOs and enforcing and securing expulsion of those who are already made invisible.

quantitative data

Of course, it is important to make empirical studies – and though we know well about the fundamentals already, I surely am not arguing against further empirical research and the need of it. And an important topic is surely that brought forward by a Eurofound-study, published under the title

Being full of expectations, I read in the key findings of the executive summary:

After 2008, EU-level income inequality grew for two reasons: firstly, the process of income convergence stalled, with income levels being more negatively affected in some peripheral countries than in the core EU Member States generally; and secondly, there was an expansion of income inequalities within countries in most sources of income.

Doesn’t it read a bit like: Inequality increased because different people avail of a different amount of resources? Another wording probably would allow  a deeper insight into cause and effect.

Post-Easter Message

This should not be forgotten, now, when returning from the mysteries of metaphysical celebrations.

At first sight, this mode of thinking seems to us very luminous, because it is that of so-called sound commonsense. Only sound commonsense, respectable fellow that he is, in the homely realm of his own four walls, has very wonderful adventures directly he ventures out into the wide world of research. And the metaphysical mode of thought, justifiable and necessary as it is in a number of domains whose extent varies according to the nature of the particular object of investigation, sooner or later reaches a limit, beyond which it becomes one-sided, restricted, abstract, lost in insoluble contradictions. In the contemplation of individual things, it forgets the connection between them; in the contemplation of their existence, it forgets the beginning and end of that existence; of their repose, it forgets their motion. It cannot see the woods for the trees.

From: Frederick Engels, 1880: Socialism: Utopian and Scientific.

responsibility – responsiveness: trying to avoid the wrong answer

Waiting for the results from Turkey …

… whatever the outcome will be

… daily bread, the worries about securing it … daily routines of getting it – while the ‘big events’ are overshadowing every step, not necessarily all the time present, and still often enough hammering into the brain, shouting over the routines and the daily bread and the worries about securing it … – hammering louder than the footsteps of any individual on the asphalt; different things going through my mind, also my CV came up a short while ago – together with the hammering of the boot-bearing thoughts …

I was wondering if we are now moving back to the stage of considering to delete part of it, hide away what we did and what we have reason to be proud of …? Not that I am fearful, worrying in the strict sense = considering to delete, while being afraid of being deleted. But the need to think about this as being possibly urgently advisable makes me feeling uncomfortable.

What and how can we worrying warriors and warring worriers teach young people, the future to stand up if we live under conditions that nature such ideas …?
Let us hope, not for me, surely a bit for ‘us’ who do not want to stand there as spectators but especially for those to which we committed out selves, for ‘those future social lifes’

The Womb he crawled from

The womb he crawled from is still going strong.

We find these words in The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, written by Bertolt Brecht. Most timely a reminder, findig ourselves at the doorsteps of the votes in Turkey and France. And while knowing about the meaning of highly emotional performances of a hate preacher like Trump, we should never forget that all this, what is called populism, has a very rational background, and a very rational meaning:

Man sollte nicht vergessen, dass die Funktion des Faschismus, entgegen seinem ‘irrationalem’ Diskurs,  darin besteht, das kapitalistische Geschäftstreiben ganz ohne ‘Bremsen’ sich fortsetzen zu lassen. In diesem Sinne trägt der Faschismus die kapitalistische, oder besser: bürgerliche Rationaliät zu ihrem Gipfel. Insofern die ‘Religiösierung’ der Gesellschaft dazu beitragt, diesem Ziel nahezukommen, gehört sie mit zu den Zielen faschistischer Politik.

****

One should not forget that the function of fascism, not withstanding its ‘irrational discourse’, is to allow the capitalist system to unfold wither ‘barriers’. In this light, fascism, carries the capitalist or we may say even more precise: bourgeois rationality to its utmost peak. As fr as ‘religionisation’ contributes to rech this goal, it belongs to fascist politics.

Mehmet Okyayuz

And we should not forget, that all this is also including the ‘slow killing’ of all the ‘Me’s, who are Daniel Blakes‘, and where fighting back is about anger and understanding a system where life, becoming life in austerity – not only in Britain – is ‘consciously cruel‘; and were people actually begin to fight back, instead of accepting to be charitably crucified.