not the US alone

While the devastation in the US makes the world-news, it is easily overlooked that Imra meant as ravage also for others. But before, another note is worth to be made: While Trump prefers continuing bis aggressive course, others are there to help and

Texas Governor Accepts Aid from Mexico for Hurricane Victims

Now to Cuba – it is interesting also as it shows that the embargo does not even respect humanitarian needs.

Mensaje de Raúl Castro al combativo pueblo de Cuba

Mensaje íntegro del General de Ejército Raúl Castro Ruz, Presidente de los Consejos de Estado y de Ministros de Cuba, sobre la etapa recuperativa en el país tras el paso del huracán Irma.

Llamamiento a nuestro combativo pueblo

El huracán Irma, con su fuerza destructora, arremetió contra nuestra Isla por más de 72 horas, desde la mañana del 8 de septiembre hasta la tarde de este domingo. Con vientos que sobrepasaron en ocasiones los 250 kilómetros por hora, recorrió el norte del país desde Baracoa, castigada también por otro fenómeno de este tipo hace casi un año, hasta las inmediaciones de Cárdenas.

Sin embargo, por la inmensidad de su tamaño prácticamente ningún territorio se libró de sus efectos.

Calificado por los expertos como el mayor huracán formado en el Atlántico, este fenómeno meteorológico causó severos daños al país, los cuales, justamente por su envergadura, aún no se han podido cuantificar. Una mirada preliminar evidencia afectaciones en la vivienda, el sistema electroenergético y la agricultura.

Además golpeó algunos de nuestros principales destinos turísticos, sin embargo las afectaciones serán recupe­radas antes del inicio de la temporada alta. Contamos para ello con los recursos humanos y materiales requeridos, por constituir una de las principales fuentes de ingreso de la economía nacional.

Han sido días duros para nuestro pueblo, que en solo pocas horas ha visto como lo construido con esfuerzo es golpeado por un devastador huracán. Las imágenes de las últimas horas son elocuentes, como también lo es el espíritu de resistencia y victoria de nuestro pueblo que renace con cada adversidad.

En estas difíciles circunstancias ha primado la unidad de los cubanos, la solidaridad entre los vecinos, la disciplina ante las orientaciones emitidas por el Estado Mayor Nacional de la Defensa Civil y los Consejos de Defensa a todos los niveles, la profesionalidad de los especialistas del Instituto de Meteorología, la inmediatez de nuestros medios de comunicación y sus periodistas, el apoyo de las organizaciones de masas, así como la cohesión de los órganos de dirección del Consejo de Defensa Nacional. Mención especial para todas nuestras mujeres, incluyendo las dirigentes del Partido y el Gobierno, que con aplomo y madurez dirigieron y enfrentaron la dura situación.

Las jornadas que se avecinan serán de mucho trabajo, donde volverá a quedar demostrada la fortaleza de los cubanos y la confianza indestructible en su Revolución. No es tiempo para lamentarnos, sino para volver a construir lo que los vientos del huracán Irma intentaron desaparecer.

Con organización, disciplina y la integración de todas nuestras estructuras, saldremos adelante como lo hemos hecho en ocasiones anteriores. Nadie se llame a engaño, la tarea que tenemos por delante es inmensa, pero con un pueblo como el nuestro ganaremos la batalla más importante: la recuperación.

En este momento crucial, la Central de Trabajadores de Cuba y la Asociación Nacional de Agricultores Pequeños, junto a las demás organizaciones de masas, deberán redoblar sus esfuerzos para borrar lo más pronto posible las secuelas de este destructivo evento.

Un principio se mantiene inamovible: la Revolución no dejará a nadie desamparado y desde ya se toman medidas para que ninguna familia cubana quede abandonada a su suerte.

Como ha sido costumbre cada vez que un fenómeno meteorológico nos golpea, son muchas las muestras de solidaridad recibidas desde todas partes del mundo. Jefes de Estado y de Gobierno, organizaciones políticas y amigos de los movimientos de solidaridad han expresado la voluntad de ayudarnos, lo que agradecemos en nombre de los más de once millones de cubanas y cubanos.

Enfrentemos la recuperación con el ejemplo del Comandante en Jefe de la Revolución Cubana, Fidel Castro Ruz, quien con su permanente fe en la victoria y férrea voluntad nos enseñó que no existen imposibles. En estas difíciles horas, su legado nos hace fuerte y nos une.

Raúl Castro Ruz

La Habana, 10 de septiembre de 2017

Annunci

Days of sadness …

But not only – looking forward from here, should also make us looking back

A movie theatre with a marquee reading “Thanks Fidel” as the late Fidel Castro’s ashes are driven through the country in a caravan, in Santa Clara, Cuba

reminding us what is important, essential:

“I think the rest of the world can learn from the way the system is designed in Cuba,” said WHO regional adviser Sonja Caffe.

As Cuba mourns its epochal, revolutionary former leader Fidel Castro, on World AIDS Day 2016, the country still stands in the top ranks for working to combat the disease — owed greatly in part to Fidel’s socialized system of universal healthcare. …

….

And in times where the rest of there world moves the other way …- this will be maintained … that is what Isabelle replied to me from Havana the other day:

… Be sure the country will  keep his legacy. Is an incommensurable lost. My gratitude for your condolence. …

 

old …

, it only means that the legacy we have to carry on is even larger, and the new threats against the country from the old enemy have to been fought thoroughly …

Fallece Fidel Castro, líder de la Revolución Cubana, a los 90 años

***

Cuban Revolutionary Fidel Castro Dies at 90

It fills me with great sadness and I wish the country well on the way to keep his legacy. And I see it as great challenge for all of us who are on the side of humanity and humane progress.

Realities and perspectives of the progressive and leftist processes in Latin America

In the context of the XIII Conference of Latin American Studies “Realities and perspectives of the progressive and leftist processes in Latin America”, taking place from today until the 21st of October 2016 in Havana, Cuba, an article I read recently, comes to my mind.

It is about the US Blockade on Cuba being ‘Genocidal’ and the fact that it also violates international law and the human rights of Cubans – so the statement of The National Union of Cuban Jurists.
My small contribution to this debate is concerned with reflections on
Reactivating Existing Traditions for Progress
Indeed, the question of today is very much about finding a specific independence of opening economies – counteracting the American strive for another occupation of foreign terrain.
Then, approaching crisis analysis in a more complex way, we detect as one of the fundamental issues the frequent trend of reviving traditional forms of economy and society. This can be seen as matter of the grand narratives of historical development (the renaissance may be seen as one of the most pronounced ‘steps’) but also as matter of the narratives of the medium range.
Currently this pattern should be closely observed, encouraging us to make use out of the current developmental stage and crisis by way of analysing the contradictions of the mode of production. What is usually termed as industry 4.0, fourth industrial revolution and also uberisation and emergence of the big-data-society is surely a double-edged sword. In any case, this ambiguity means not least the emergence of potentials for new spaces of societal practice that allow the creatively-productive integration of economy and social activities on the one hand and the development of individuals in their communities and societal development on the other hand.
Referring to the French Theory of Regulation and the Theory of Social Quality, the contribution will suggest some perspectives for global development, where actually countries from the global periphery can develop an avant-garde position. At the centre, we the following topics will be looked at:
* Politics of New Technologies
* Precarity or a new work-life balances
* Wealth – Redistribution versus New Production
* Local and Global – Development in one country or many different worlds
* Small is Powerful – Potentials for small countries and niche economies.
Matters, narratives of the grand narratives of historical development, the narratives of the medium range and the present moment, merging at times.

“Interesting times” we may say …

“Interesting times” we may say …

… and we may say that “probably every generation, every era was in its own terms an interesting time” …

but in any case we, at least not all of us can dance it away:

“Frankly speaking I am a bit afraid”

“Ich weiss nicht, wie es weither geht”

“Ho paura!”

Yes, every generation …

****

It may appear to be about details – and these are forgotten, overlooked details – and they are details by way of being

the concrete … [being] concrete because it is the concentration of many determinations, hence unity of the diverse.

As such they are part of the long history of imperialism, colonialism ….

Today it is for instance visible in the fact that the 6 richest countries of the world host only 9 % of all refugees.

Old colonialism went fro a kind of crusades, violently occupying foreign territory; the new colonialism presenting itself as “humane” by closing borders; like the old fascism, gasifying people in concentration camps, compared with its modern form of gasifying populations as we learn from the FT-Brussels briefing, Duncan Robinson stating on the 20th of July:

A conspiracy that started in a “cosy hotel” in Brussels ended in the EU’s biggest cartel fine, after the European Commission handed five truck makers a €2.9bn bill. Senior managers from Iveco, DAF, Volvo/Renault, Daimler and MAN fixed prices and delayed the introduction of emissions-reducing technology. MAN’s decision to blow the whistle was the best financial decision the German group has made in years: it dodged a €1.2bn bill as a result.

Back to the obvious colonialisation in its new dress. Indeed, as the OXFAM-media briefing contends

This crisis is far too big for any one country to solve alone. To save and protect lives, governments worldwide must act together and responsibly. In a couple of months the United Nations and US President Obama are holding back-to-back summits in New York to address this unprecedented situation. These summits are opportunities for rich countries to commit to offering refuge to far more refugees than almost all have done to date, and for all countries to improve the way people forced to flee are treated, and provide them with a dignified future.

Thinking about this, we surely have to go beyond the sole “distribution of surplus”, moving as close as possible to production. And though Imagining a New Bretton Woods, is still not much more than a Modest Proposal, it may be one of the first steps towards radicalisaiton …

Furthermore, and importantly mind: … the concrete is part of the solidarity against this system of global exploitation – the weak showing their strength by “giving more than they have themselves”

Community Doctors: A look inside Cuba’s medical scholarship program

****

The idea of inner colonialisation is usually seen in close connection with Rosa Luxemburg – it is, in a nutshell, the idea of the permanent and ongoing “primitive” or “original accumulation” as we know it from instance from Smith and Marx.

And we may think about it by recalling the occupation of the Americas by the White Settlers – the harsh reality that stood behind the kitschy and euphemistic images of Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, presented by Karl May – and looking today at their conservative successors – peacefully dumb (sorry for ads – the clip itself is German/English); and aggressively taking over power (sorry for ads – the clip itself is German/English)

****

“Frankly speaking I am a bit afraid”

“Ich weiss nicht, wie es weither geht”

“Ho paura!”

– And there are enough who have good reasons to be afraid – for instance Erdal. Or Thuli Madonsela

And there still is something we, in the jobs of teachers and researchers have to do, resisting the permanent and ongoing inner colonialisation: We cannot take the fear away, but we have to teach about the conditions under which fear develops, searching together for ways to change this reality …

… living trustfulness as matter of accepting the other and supporting confidence – as condition for being active, for resisting

… as matter of Dreaming of a Butterfly becoming possible and true, rising against eagles and vultures …

… this way we may be searching and finding together with others – colleagues and students valuable people, truly acknowledging the value of people.

Differences

Differences ….
…. I thought about it during the symposium, while talking to one of the colleagues who asked me what I would think about the gathering. Of course, there is a danger of stereotyping. Still, I dared to say that in China such events are more about presenting the institution, in Europe it is always very much about self-presentation of the participants – “here I feel more of collaboration, trying to define the core of the issue and working together towards finding an answer.” – As said, there is the huge danger of all these classifications, concerned with the I and the We and the Us – I will come back to it.

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The day after the symposium was the day of … – well, it was not really holiday. It was about other meetings – the many ambassadors that participated in the symposium had been now “replaced” by the individual ambassadors: instead of meeting the ambassadors as collaborators, it was now meeting the ambassadors. One could think: they represent their country; but they also may represent themselves – just having a job, living in another country than that of their origin and somewhat “merging images and expectations” – at least in some cases. If one would not know the mechanisms that are behind of being sent on mission into the different countries one could occasionally get the impression ambassadors come to the country that they see “as their own”, the country in which they would really like to live … . Perhaps it is about extremely privileged people who are able to live up to the Aristotelean “vision” that

[t]he ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.

Or it is about the perfect staging: the non-smokers, and non-drinkers, sitting relaxed in the rocking chair, smoking the obligatory cigar, while their vista is moving pensively between the rum and …, well, it should be Miami if it would be a it closer …
Anyway, would it be possible in Italy to meet for a chat with the French ambassador, and especially: celebrating the launch of a mural, a most remarkable project that decorates now the wall around the embassy? The kind of casual chat may be as remarkable as the fact that the embassy allows such truly multi- and intercultural project to happen and as remarkable as the way in which artists, people from the embassy and people from the Cuban government and people from the street interact. Is there a term like “serene-serious”? But looking for such a term may be just due to the German heritage that I carry with me around the world – nolens volens … – as we all carry such tiny things with us, and as it confirmed to me during the day: the yanks in the morning, the French during the day, but also confirmed in the evening, meeting the ambassador of the UK on the occasion of the visit in the beautifully renovated opera house. (— Ah well, there is something nice about carrying the general entry ticket named “minister of culture”.
Though the various ambassadors and embassy staff reflect another dimension of “the we and they”: the social divide is surely not relevant in Cuba as it is elsewhere. I was always thinking about it during these days, looking at the person in the escalator: her job is to look after everybody, getting us onto the right floor …, and during the breaks she is reading the academic journal on international relations. It reminds me of thbe one day when I had been collected: the car at the gate was bringing me to the ministry. The colleague, who would later take part in the meeting with the deputy of the department, discussed heatedly the next possible moves the government should take – admittedly car and uniform were less pompous than those of the European doormen.
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Second day after the symposium, first day of the month: First of May. I leave as usual in the morning at 5ish. But this day not just for a walk, but with  the destination appropriate for this day: the Revolution Square. Already in front of my house I see many people, moving into the same direction. They are gathering, the group of international students just passes when I open the gate, I see the workers of different hospitals, the workers of the ministry of education, the workers of the tourist industry … – an experience of a special kind: Bonn, the peace rallies (in 1972?), a rally in Paris, probably about 15 years ago; the various rallies around the globe, against the US-Intervention in Iraq — I remember having been in Birmingham at the time, taking part in  workshop. And we received the messages: tens of thousand, millions … – in Paris, London, Berlin, Madrid … .
I do not know how many people gathered on the first of May in Havanna. In any case, numbers do not really matter. Later, when I walked back, a thought came to my mind, the idea of a “comparison”: There are so many people now talking about the pope, the new developments: beginning with his harsh critique of “an economy of exclusion and inequality [that] kills”, recognising that
[t]he current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person.
(Evangelii Gaudium, 2013)
But as strong as the messages from the pope may be, something else comes to my mind: The pope’s message is received with devotion and humility, leaving afterwards everybody alone: going home or even going out to do good – as volunteers, as supporters and councillors (I guess it is the new term for missionaries), as Mother Theresia or Father Theodore or Brother Michael
and sister St Catherine of Siena. The message of this first of May was clearer – after a short but powerful address the rally started moving, the groups remaining together: from their enterprises etc., but in some way they are merging …, expressing their determination — Trotz alledem (or here)
Sure, for some the photos seem to be more important; and for some … – Linda, when we talked, was not too excited: “”e are gathering at 5:30 — it means that I have to get up at 4, walk a long way as the buses will not provide service that morning … – but I have to.” — “And if you would not have to …?” — “Well, I still would go. We Cubans just like to complain.” [Ah well, yes … of course also “We Cubans …” ;-)]
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Much later, it is about 10, I am sitting in the rocking chair, reflecting, writing, contemplating …. – some people pass the house, obviously tourists … too late to join, though it may well be that they never really want to join.
I look at my t-shirt: 21ème siecle. La fin de l’histoire? Mon oiel! – Karl Marx looking mischievously. And indeed, it may well become true in a different way as originally stated that
those who come too late are castigated by history
(Mikhail Gorbachev)

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Something that occupies my thought since some time now is going hand in hand with this — in the words of the pope it would be about “camminare insieme”; in general terms it is about the point I mentioned earlier: “the I and the We and the Us”. Recently somebody addressed me in a mail by writing “Man without country”. And I was thinking about it. What is it that makes us men and women of/with a country? The marching together as something of producing something and getting awarded for it? In simple terms the production of the gross domestic and gross national product and the social security that results from here? So far so good … – and still completely loosing ground when we think a bit more about it. Such production was always exclusive, depending on “the other”: any surplus produced, is complemented by a loss somewhere else. If a win-win situation is possible at all, it actually depends on overcoming its own presumption: the presumption of “the other”. It is even difficult to think it. It is a bit like thinking the “endless character of the universe”, the common approach being imagining something really huge, and adding something really huge to it, always adding and adding, only shifting borders and not being able to really think without borders at the outset – forgetting that the sum is more than the amount of its parts, forgetting that the borderless space is different to shifting borders to another external point. — Living in some way an “ex-pat life” (possible if one does not have a patria? Possible not to have a patria?), one hears too often these words of “the I and the We and the Us”: we Europeans, we Irish, we French, we Chinese, we Japanese, we Italians, we Germans, we …; our dumplings, our pasta, their stew …; and all their different ways of thinking and acting and not-acting, making even “our crisis” and “our hardship” and “our inability to find solutions” more remarkable than the “crisis” and “hardship” and “inability to find solutions” of the others — often followed by something like “but actually I am different, I am not really European, Irish, French, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, German,  … In this way, nationalism may well be the foundation of individualism, making it necessary for us to define ourself in contradistinction. In actual fact this arises then from the constellation of a fundamentally split society, the split between and within nations. It does not allow us to develop this “camminare insieme”. Is it really true?
The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person.
(Evangelii Gaudium, 2013)
Or is it the other way round: as the accumulation regime, a capitalist system stands at the outset. In the words of Karl Polanyi:
The market pattern, on the other hand, being related to a peculiar motive of its own, the motive of truck or barter, is capable of creating a specific institution, namely, the market. Ultimately, that is why the control of the economic system by the market is of overwhelming consequence to the whole organization of society: it means no less than the running of society as an adjunct to the market. Instead of economy being embedded in social relations, social relations are embedded in the economic system.  The vital importance of the economic factor to the existence of society precludes any other result. For once the economic system is organized in separate institutions, based on specific motives and conferring a special status, society must be shaped in such a manner as to allow that system to function according to its own laws. This is the meaning of the familiar assertion that a market economy can function only in a market society.
(Polanyi, Karl, 1944: The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time; Boston: Beacon Press, 1957: 57)
It was the
[n]ineteenth century civilization alone [that] was economic in a different and distinctive sense, for it chose to base itself on a motive only rarely acknowledged as valid in the history of human societies, and certainly never before raised to the level of a justification of action and behavior in everyday life, namely, gain. The self-regulating market system was uniquely derived from this principle.
(ibid., 30)
And as long as these gain oriented markets are now our “societies”, and as much as these markets are backed by a methodological nationalism, it is barely imaginable to achieve a way of thinking that overcomes the inherent force towards “the I and the We and the Us”. Actually capitalism itself – its key players of the current casino system – is much advanced, not limiting itself to overcoming borders, but having moved further, by simply moving them away, as long as it is advantaging itself.
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What makes it so difficult to accept the contradictoriness as something very normal?
Two o’clock at night – well, not yet. I have to levee to the airport at two – Teresita is still up, asks if I want a coffee. Of course I want and some water. Few minutes later the driver enters the kitchen, and we enjoy the coffee together. There is not much time left. A last hug, I have to lean down, sense the warm skin … the little luggage I have is already in the car – an old Moscovitch, still in the road. We reverse, and I see a built-in gadget, showing the driver green, yellow and red lines, with it the distance to objects in the back. Unexpected, added to the original — I look up, there is still a mirror, having lost its original function of looking back. But wait, it looks back, much further than any mirror would allow, holding a rosary …
… Accepting this contradictoriness will allow us to enjoy “our stew”, to respect the baci e abbracci with some people as much as the respectful and somewhat distanced bow of other people and look together for those contradictions and tensions that need to be rebuked.
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