Democracy

Of course it would be silly to deny the value of democratic rules and mechanisms as free elections, representation and the like. But looking at countries where all these are in place, one may occasionally ask what all this really means.  A report on the situation in France and its labor reform may make us think a bit more. Quoted from the Telsur-aricle:

The plan, opposed by three in four French people, according to pollsters, has provoked weeks of often violent demonstrations and added strains on police who were already stretched by extra security duties in the wake of last November’s deadly Islamist attacks on France.

university ranking …

I am wondering why ranking of universities is used though it may well put them in highly negative light:

Those counting Oxford as their alma mater are arguably better known. They include … Hungary’s premier Viktor Orbán …

Is it a warning: never go to Oxford if you want to maintain mental health and democratic responsibility?

Conference Announcement: Crisis, State and Democracy. Working with Nicos Poulantzas’ theory to confront authoritarian capitalism

The preparations for the

International Poulantzas Conference

Crisis, State and Democracy. Working with Nicos Poulantzas’ theory to confront authoritarian capitalism
are now more or less concluded. It will kA place the 12th and 13th of December in Athens at the Panteion University.Nicos Poulantzas has been one of the most important scholars in the field of theory development in the areas of the state and its development. His contribution linked in a creative way different strands from the Marxist discourse. Being a passionate activist, his contribution is especially meaningful as he aimed on making theoretical reflections relevant for the further development for emancipatory politics. Nevertheless, his work has been underexposed in the context of debates on European (dis-)integration. In the light of the crisis and the process of increasingly authoritarian politics it is even more important to utilise this pool of knowledge, in order to better understand the contradictory character of the process and to elaborate alternatives that opens perspectives towards a radical socialist transformation to a democratic society.So far the information from the transform website where further details can be found.

Varieties of capitalism – impressions of an eternal tourist

Rome – Berlin
Long queues – visitors waiting for access to a building
One building? Of course not – how could it be so when talking about two different cities.
Still, one common feature:
They are waiting to access the cupola: of the basilica in Rome, of the Reichstag in Berlin
Faith and democracy??

Faith versus democracy??

One point is striking: not so much that there are only few religious people wearing a habit in Berlin. But surely that there so many police(wo)men, security guards … wearing ordinary working uniforms instead of the fancy gala uniforms they wear back home.
Very much the same though: the huge amount of people sleeping rough next to the train station … and for them it is surely not a major difference that in the one country it is Caritas, in the other the Bahnhofmission that looks after them, the one with sleeping bags the other with a soup kitchen …

…. Variety of capitalism …

 

Looking at the small print

I am wondering if the small print, defining all the terms and condition – at the end – really allows to offer

“services”

that boil down to something like

“s r  ce “

Admittedly, good cheese is frequently full of holes; but if we look at the wholes of the cheese wheels they are most delicious (well, of course, depending on the cheese and the personal gusto). And when we buy it, we do not pay the holes as they do not add to the weight, only ii some way to the seize.
But services in our societies are full of gaps, non deliveries, falls promises …: promising 4G but selling phones that are factually not allowing using them; selling phone services that in fact can only be used occasionally (o tempora o spacio, ma c’è senza moralità) … – perhaps that is the deeper meaning of the name of a company promising something that seems as if Vodafone … – sorry for the typo: I meant looks as if would be a phone. …

Sure, that can be seen as an individual customer being annoyed with one service provider. It could also be read as one customer referring to one service not properly delivered, though being exposed to many of similar unqualified services. But perhaps it is not just line customer but many customers; and many customers not being delivered appropriately, i.e. as promised and contractually defined.

And perhaps it is even more than that: a state that promises protection …, and actually delivers protection only to those that are too big to fail; an educational system that promises to deliver education but delivers at most training; a foreign policy that promises security and allows modern crusades; a regional policy body that promises solidarity and “sends one skiff” to host people arriving in many huge vessels; a democracy that allows

147 companies formed a ‘super entity’ within this, controlling 40 per cent of its wealth. All own part or all of one another. Most are banks – the top 20 includes Barclays and Goldman Sachs. But the close connections mean that the network could be vulnerable to collapse. (Waugh, 2011, October 20th: ‘One Super-corporation Runs the Global Economy’… and it could be terrifyingly unstable

from: Daily Mail; for the study: Vitali, Stefania/Glattfelder, James B./Battiston Stefano, October 2011: The Network of Global Corporate Control; in: PLoS ONE 6(10): e25995; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0025995

When do we finally reply in the same way? Answering payment requests by really paying for what we get (by paying for what we really get); acting as educated people and not like skills-trained robots; accepting only our collective decisions and not the decisions of the collective of 147 …

Criticising the Inequality of distribution of wealth is an important point. The critique of the inequality of the access to the production of wealth is a more important point. At the end, however, the most important point is another:

Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.

(Karl Marx 1845: Theses On Feuerbach