Dead Clowns

meaning, relevance, sense – questions people who live are too often compelled to leave them to philosophers …. – like issues of production as reproduction of real life are, on the other hand left to people while economists read in tea-leaves of heroic, even quasi-divine formulas that are distant from peoples’ and people’s life — just remaining meaningless and non-sensual.
Some time ago already – after I gave a presentation at the Symposium organised by the European Academy of Sciece and Arts – looking at
a later presenter was carried way by
Several month later, by accident, I was getting nicely aware of the misleading question of humanoid robots replacing humans, spotting by accident a clip showing
Baseline? There is no real danger of human beings becoming replaced – the danger is that some Kurzweil’ig ‘systems’ are brought forward by those sigularitarian minds in their Plutocratic caves [see Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else]. The danger is that some powerful forces succeed in reducing us to mindless clowns, caught in Platonian caves – the circle of virtuality emerging as vicious circle, its life depending on he fact that no needle will be used, by nobody.
Mind, all this is not really about  Humanoid toys – it is about comedians and actors like Beppe Grillo in Italian politics, natioal citizens attacking fellow citizens from other countries, narcissistic tyrants rethinking the liberty statue and overlookin the old rebukes
Skerbischs „Lichtschwert“ vor dem Opernhaus Graz
Von Marion Schneider & Christoph Aistleitner – Eigenes Werk, Gemeinfrei, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5016791
And yes, it is also about administer-infantilisation.
Overcoming humankind, if it then happens, won’t be much else then the
(EN)

« My makeup is dry and it clags on my chin
I’m drowning my sorrows in whisky and gin
The lion tamer’s whip doesn’t crack anymore
The lions they won’t fight and the tigers won’t roar »

(IT)

« Il mio trucco si è asciugato e cola sul mio mento
Sto affogando i miei dispiaceri nel whisky e nel gin
Il domatore di leoni non da più colpi di frusta
I leoni non si azzufferanno più tra loro e le tigri non ruggiranno »

 

 

Annunci

Corporate irresponsibility ?

Tomorrow, in the framework of the ‘hour of contemporary issues’, organised at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, Munich, Amalienstrasse 33, Peter Herrmann will give a presentation titled

The Comedy of Big Data, Or: Corporate Social Responsibility Today, While Corporations wither away?

The following gives some idea what the presentation is about.

Understanding Corporate Social Responsibility requires at least a bit of historical clarification: it would be surely misleading to attribute any kind of entrepreneurial ‘social activity’ to the array of Corporate Social Responsibility. However, such review will be only briefly introduced in order to classify certain activities as related to what may be called social responsibility, the emphasis on the corporation as actor. What, however, if we come to the conclusion that certain shifts in the economy lead – in some digitization industries – to forms of the classical corporation withering away, being successively replaced by a new formation of which we cannot see clear, elusive contours. Are we moving towards revived arbitrary systems of socio-charitable controls, Lidle financing professorships, Aldi and Lidl presenting themselves as supporters of social housing and Facebook controlling elections?  Or can we foster a model which leans towards inherent publicness?

Between Worlds – Between Times

It is some time ago now, I made a trip which was a bit like time travel – France – Catalonia – France and going on from there …
Well, I can say I escaped those days that massacre of Barcelona, though having been very close to the crime scene. At stake is, however, not spatial closeness – what makes me still trembling, and at times near to crying, is something else – it is the same shock that followed me for some time, after having left the French embassy in Rome on the 7th of January 2015, the day of the ‘Charlie Hebdo shooting’. It is a bit like history condensing, being forced into a nutshell, feeling the need to discard the fetters that are lurking around the corners of uneven development.
****
Indeed, it is some time ago now,I made that trip which was a bit like time travel, leaving the massacre for a while aside …
Two days or so after what happened …  sitting in the TGV, the Train à Grande Vitesse, … everything went according to plan, and I am sitting on the prenotated seat, looking a bit out of the window, trying to accommodate myself in the passing life … – again and again startled by the rattling, caused by some parts of the train. I remember the first trip I made with a TGV, many years ago: fast, not mentioning the slightest movement – and those days not the noise of neighbours playing with or loudly speaking over their phone: pling .., announcing arriving — swoosh …, accompanying the sending of a message. Then it had been a brand new train, with all comfort, cleanness and newness [today’s TGVs had been inaugurated in 1981]. I remember a friend, while looking out of the window, asking:
And when will it be driving with this amazing speed?
I replied
Don’t look out of the window, look at the speed-announcement over the door.
Yes, it had been over 300 km/h.

A few days later: the Thalys from Brussels to Amsterdam, later again, the ICE bringing me to Munich …: all of them smooth trips, comfortable actually, as they had been launched later than the TGV, a bit cleaner, still a bit more comfortable … Still, using now the CRH in China – very clean, the train seems to ‘stand still’ while driving its constant 307 km; quiet – though one has to cope with phone …. announcements of food for sale, the latter standing a bit in the way of the claimed  和谐号 – harmony, as the name of these trains suggests. – The new generation, i heard, is now moving smoothly with 400 km/h …

Possibly I will remember at some stage, several years ahead, a train trip between Wuhu and Najning, everything going according to plan, while I will be sitting on the prenotated seat, looking out of the window, trying to accommodate myself in the passing life … – frequently startled by the rattling, caused by some parts of the train when it will then be a somewhat old train, old as in some parts of the world already completely other means of transport will be in place … – or it may be more likely that I do not remember it anymore, actually it may take long enough that I do not remember anything anymore and only some people remember me, while now sitting there, thinking about the old 和谐号 – harmony, perhaps then sitting relaxed in a train called 超验 – transcendence … – seemingly transcending time and space, rarely being aware of the fact that the time we live in is already past time as soon as we are getting are of this worldly dimension if transcendence.

***

Isn’t part of being between worlds also about being between times, experiencing the accords and discords that are at the centre of globalisation that depends on unevenness, of which contradictions are permanent and necessary part – where welcome is supposed to be a threat. Yes,

we in the West need to think about a whole new relation to the so-called “Third World” if we want to prevent hate, hostility and attacks. This can also effectively contribute to fighting the reasons for flight and escape.

But even more so, we, who are ready to take globalisation seriously on the agenda, have to think about a whole new relation between the real people of the real world if we want to prevent hate, hostility and attacks. It must be a world where fighting the reasons for flight and escape equals fighting for the freedom to explore the real variety that is emerging from unity and commonality. Not simply as matter of being together but by accepting being one in time – which then also means overcoming claims towards superiority of ‘some time’. Leaving the many facets aside that stand behind massacres, some calling their own massacres unconvincingly ‘war against terror’, there is one thing that strikes me: the difficulty of historising issues. One of the explicit arguments of the murderers of Barcelona was about reclaiming part of the old Islam empire – and indeed, the Islam plaid a major role in Spain – but can that serve as foundation of any claim today? A similar notion had been put forward in Paris, rejecting the touching of the untouchable – while Charlie Hebdo claimed the right to touch, even if only with the stroke of the pencil of a cartoonist; and the various wars against terror following very much the same idea of defending a world order that is historically obsolete and moreover: of which the underlying criteria of nationality, economic growth, private property, hegemonic rights, charity etc. definitely lost their foundation [if they ever have had a stable foundation]. The good old times did not exist anywhere and need to be confronted with a world that has open eyes and ears.
Il silenzio mi aiuterà a smettere di pensare a te che sei fatto di vento.- Silence will help me to stop thinking about yourself as being made of wind. – Something cultures have to accept when looking at their history …, something that is valid and where the new generation of TGV-trains changes only very little.
L’oscurità chiude gli occhi, non mi permette di vedere e di apprezzare che le lettere di oggi saranno presto le lettere dei tempi antichi. – Darkness closes the eyes, not allowing me seeing and appreciating that the lettering of today will soon be the lettering from ancient times.
… Come together, real and close – that is what time needs – everytime …, also in order to find a way that allows dealing with the fact that some of the perpetrators are simply victims themselves, requiring to overcome the terrible pain at least I carry with me again; and even being ready at least to ask if and to which extent we as victims may be perpetrators … – we, the good-doers, teachers, administrators, opinion leaders …, not least we, who easily hastily come to conclusions and easily forget …
having difficulties to act in a genuine way …
Reflections made just before leaving the PRC, while waiting to move on to Moscow, theФГБОУ ВПО “РЭУ им. Г.В. Плеханова”
The short presentation, I made on occasion of the
International Conference of Indigenous Sports Culture in Asia Wuhu, Anhui Province, China
under the heading
The Particular and the Universal – Indigenous Sports for the Integrity of the Global Village
will soon be announced on this blog as recording should be available.

Lectionis et Seminario – De sociali et politica in Europea

European Integration – a failed political and social union?

2017 S. BA-Course at the University of Vienna, Department of Political Science.

A series of fifteen sessions delivered at the University of Vienna, Department of Political Science. The series is looking at the process of European integration – a wide topic looked at under the guiding question if EUrope failed to deliver the ambitious perspective of establishing a political and social union. The answer is by the present author given in somewhat negative terms: we cannot really say that the EU-institutions failed to reach the target of a political and social union … – it is worse: such targets never existed. So, we have to be clear in our critique. This means not least that we are challenged – and may gain sufficient insight – to develop the EU to something meaningful – meaningful not for the people but a reflection by the people – men make their own history, but it is not only the nightmare of the past, it is also a matter of the conditions of the still present hegemons who employ gatekeepers of different kind – even if the princes today wear the clothes of normal people, it is very much about behind the veils of the most expensive princely garments.

The various sessions, of which the recordings [German language] are available, present the historical development, some key issues and relevant theories in a more or less narrative way.

mind snatchers

Back home now, taking up teaching again – and with this the “major challenge” we face – nolens volens

E.P. Thompson wrote in an article in 1970:

Collectively, all of us – all we liberal academics – were struck with a paralysis of will as the system not only grew round us, but built us into its own body-walls. Once inside there it looked as if we were running our bit of the show: but the show itself was being directed towards other ends.

Andrew McGettigan, also quoting this, comes in his review article in Radical Philosophy (186 – July/August 2014) to the conclusion that the really important thing about the book Warwick University Ltd. is the investigative journalism. The importance of such investigative journalism cannot be denied.
And I am right now again made aware of it: there had been the change, now the business school teaching economics with reference to the CORE-programme – I commented earlier on it, saying that there would be some progress at least. During the last days I learned that even this is a questionable assessment, reading in mails:
… we have to bear in mind when looking at the CORE information, that we are teaching economics to u/g students in a Business School and so interprete the information accordingly, although I do however understand that students might be interested these other areas. …
And
… As you state, the e-book is substantial and so we are clearly not covering all aspects in detail but the relevant staff are deciding which aspects of each unit to focus on. You can reasonably assume that we have discussed all of the “Key Points” listed at the end of each unit. …
 Looking then at other documents, I see exactly those walls, replicated and known …, and not touched.
With all the complains, however, we should never forget that there may be a mechanism here name “distraction by attraction”: Being carried away by the presentation of “simple facts”, scandalisation, and also the play with abstract ideas and models lets us easily forget the actual core of any academic work:
This surely goes beyond (and deeper than) descriptions and statistical meticulousness and the learning of formulas. Indeed, academics should refrain from moving on the stages, “cutting things into pieces”, describing facts like playing roles. But mind:

That’s enough words for the moment,
Now let me see some action!

While you’re handing out the compliments,
You should also make things happen.
Why talk so much of inspiration?
Delay won’t make it flow, you see.

taking up the “major challenge” we face – nolens volens. And the worse answer is:ignoring it, turning head and mind to business as usual, business in capital letters…

War – the political intercourse carried on with other means — 9/11/1973

While writing, just before the 9/11 date, I can only assume that there will be another series of memorials … — and the one nearly complete amnesia: September 11, 1973 is the date which marks much more than just another violent rebuke of an alternative to business as usual as capitalist is called — and it is called even more so today, while the hegemony of this kind of business is barely contested in real terms.
What makes the Coup in Chile special?
To begin with, an important point can be taken from a piece by  Ralph Miliband, published in the Jacobin. He makes us aware of the fact that Chile was a showcase. We read
When Salvador Allende was elected to the presidency of Chile in September 1970, the regime that was then inaugurated was said to constitute a test case for the peaceful or parliamentary transition to socialism.
And leaving the different interpretations Miliband utters aide, it is surely true that
class struggle also means, and often means first of all, the struggle waged by the dominant class, and the state acting on its behalf, against the workers and the subordinate classes. By definition, struggle is not a one way process; but it is just as well to emphasize that it is actively waged by the dominant class or classes, and in many ways much more effectively waged by them than the struggle waged by the subordinate classes.
Gabriel García Márquez out this into the wider context in his piece Why Allende had to die?

Chile had long been a favoured area for research by North American social scientists. The age and strength of its popular movement, the tenacity and intelligence of its leaders and the economic and social conditions themselves afforded a glimpse of the country’s destiny. One didn’t require the findings of a Project Camelot to venture the belief that Chile was a prime candidate to be the second socialist republic in Latin America after Cuba. The aim of the United States, therefore, was not simply to prevent the government of Allende from coming to power in order to protect American investments. The larger aim was to repeat the most fruitful operation that imperialism has ever helped bring off in Latin America: Brazil.

And this is the core of such class struggle: undermine systematically any success story that shows that another world is possible. So we read

During the first year, 47 industrial firms were nationalised, along with most of the banking system. Agrarian reform saw the expropriation and incorporation into communal property of six million acres of land formerly held by the large landowners. The inflationary process was slowed, full employment was attained and wages received a cash rise of 30 per cent.
Hegemony, we know too well from Gramsci, is linked to two ways: the direct control, using violence where needed — and this is the force making sure that oppression is maintained if the soft means of hegemonic control fail to fulfill their duty. The geopolitical constellation was clear — The Time Magazine (October 19, 1970) brought it on the point, titling:
Marxist Threat In The Americas – Chile’s Salvador Allende
Indeed, as Márquez points out,
For the Christian Democrats, it was proof that the process of social justice set in motion by the Popular Unity coalition could not be turned back by legal means but they lacked the vision to measure the consequences of the actions they then undertook. For the United States, the election was a much more serious warning and went beyond the simple interests of expropriated firms. It was an inadmissible precedent for peaceful progress and social change for the peoples of the world, particularly those in France and Italy, where present conditions make an attempt at an experiment along the lines of Chile possible. All forces of internal and external reaction came together to form a compact bloc.
At the time, and I remember it well, everything was clear though undocumented – and there was still the attempt of denial – the denial of the obvious fact that this was a geopolitical strategy with many heads behind it. And mentioning those heads, pointing out that it was a coup that had been prepared for some time, had to face too often skeptical answers — but at some stage the truth cannot be denied anymore.
—–
Actually, what is true for the hot war is also true for the cold war. Chile was, at the time of Pinochet, celebrated as blueprint for what is now known as neoliberalism – to on a pedestal by Milton Friedman; and fostered by the IMF. But even in the IMF, some people wake up, seeing in tendency the wrongs for which they stand today:

An assess- ment of these specific policies (rather than the broad neoliberal agenda) reaches three disquieting conclusions:

• The benefits in terms of increased growth seem fairly dif- ficult to establish when looking at a broad group of countries.

• The costs in terms of increased inequality are promi- nent. Such costs epitomize the trade-off between the growth and equity effects of some aspects of the neoliberal agenda.

• Increased inequality in turn hurts the level and sustain- ability of growth. Even if growth is the sole or main purpose of the neoliberal agenda, advocates of that agenda still need to pay attention to the distributional effects.

—–
Back to today’s main stage then where it had been
against Chile as well — for Cuba it had been already the known strategy for a while.
And the new strategy after the democratically elected government was overthrown, was clear. The Pinochet-regime, after first establishing itself by bloody measures, established the new reign – present in an article published in The Guardian:
After Allende’s enemies finally claimed their victory against him on 11 September, Chileans protected themselves as best they could while Pinochet and his cohorts, well favoured now by Washington, turned to making themselves fortunes from the privatisation of public services and, quietly, from the trade in cocaine from Bolivia which the US never seemed to want to criticise or attack.
Indeed, Clausewitz new it and spelled it out:
War is not merely an act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse carried on with other means.
And it is in this sense that we have to learn about the “invisible financial and economic blockade” Allende spoke of, addressing the UN in December 1972.
— A topic Paul E. Sigmund discussed in Foreign Affairs (Vol. 52, No. 2 (Jan., 1974), pp. 322-340)
And that the war reports today – those on the ‘cold war’ – are not necessarily widely discussed, though fatalities and winners easily can be seen. And we should also not forget that THIS war can be found in many places around the globe – North and South, and often enough not really just as cold war. And Michael Hudson analysed this issue of Finance as Warfare.
Coming back to Ralph Miliband’s article, we read at its beginning:
Of course, the Wise Men of the Left, and others too, have hastened to proclaim that Chile is not France, or Italy, or Britain. This is quite true. No country is like any other: circumstances are always different, not only between one country and another, but between one period and another in the same country. Such wisdom makes it possible and plausible to argue that the experience of a country or period cannot provide conclusive “lessons.”
But still, despite that there are many lessons we can learn from history, also from the history of 9/11 1973 – in particular when we see all these events, now and then, not as individual occurrences but as part of the ongoing history of striving for global hegemony.

Und es herrscht Angst

Bereits vor meiner Abfahrt zur SOAK – der attac-Sommerakademie  und dann wieder nach der Rückkehr habe ich mich dadrüber unterhalten. Das Grundthema kann vielleicht zusammengefasst werden in dem Satz: Es herrscht Angst in Europa .., und in der Welt. Nicht weil ein Gespenst umgeht in Europa, sondern weil der eigene “Geist des Kapitalismus”, der so marvelos von Weber in seiner Protestantismus-Studie herausgearbeitet wurde, unter mehrfachem Druck steht. Und es herrscht Angst hier in China unter Freunden, die sich nicht mehr so recht in den Westen wagen. Freilich ist die Unsicherheit und die Bedrohung durch Terrorismus ein Problem und die Gefahr des Fundamentalismus darf nicht unterschätzt werden. Und die Ursachen sind vielfältig – soweit sie mit dem Thema Migration zusammenhängen, haben wir dies im wissenschaftlichen Beirat in einer kleinen Arbeitsgruppe des attac-Beirates in den letzten Monaten ausführlich bearbeitet und das Resultat wird bald auf der website irgendwo veröffentlicht (eine andere, kürzere Veröffentlichung ist für die Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik vorgesehen).

Angst aber ist ein schlechter Ratgeber angesichts der anstehenden Probleme – sie führt zur Abschottung und feuert an: führt zu mehr Angst: bei den sich selbst einsperrenden und bei den nun absolut ausgeschlossenen. Angst ist ein schlechter Ratgeber, denn Dialog ist angesagt, der Mut erfordert – und Stärke. Aber wie kann Stärke sich finden, wenn dieses Modell Freiheit – Freiheit ist die Freiheit, dass alle alles konsumieren können – nicht funktioniert?

Wie die Pressemeldung der Partei Die Linke (siehe auch unten) zeigt, findet nun in Kanada der “Ausschluss vom Markt” die politische Fortsetzung – den Ausschluss aus der politische Arena. Rosa Luxemburg  hätte wieder Grund zu fordern:

Freiheit ist immer Freiheit der Andersdenkenden. Nicht wegen des Fanatismus der »Gerechtigkeit«, sondern weil all das Belebende, Heilsame und Reinigende der politischen Freiheit an diesem Wesen hängt und seine Wirkung versagt, wenn die »Freiheit« zum Privilegium wird.”

Aber dieser Ausschluss ist ja nur Logisch, denn nur wo Freiheit auch Freiheit des Nicht-Konsumbügers ist, kann auch die Freiheit des Andersdenkenden gesichert sein. Und das bedeutet auch, den gemeinsamen Weg zu suchen – darüber zu sprechen, auch wenn es schwer fällt, und Empathy zu zeigen, auch wenn es nicht schwerer ist.

====

Hier eine Meldung der PDS. Die Linke – sie macht auf eben diesem Tatbestand aufmerksam:

11. August 2016 Judith Benda

Weltsozialforum ist wichtige Plattform für internationalen
Erfahrungsaustausch

Zum in dieser Woche stattfindenden Weltsozialforum im kanadischen
Montreal erklärt Judith Benda, Mitglied im Parteivorstand der LINKEN
und der Europäischen Linken (EL) und Teil der EL-Delegation beim
Weltsozialforum:

“Eine andere Welt ist notwendig: In der aktuellen politischen Lage ist
ein Treffen progressiver und sozialer Bewegungen mit Menschen aus allen
Regionen der Erde wichtiger denn je. Wir müssen linke Antworten finden
auf die vielfältigen Herausforderungen, wie den weltweiten Hunger, die
verschärfte soziale Ungleichheit, Kriege und die voranschreitende
Militarisierung sowie das Erstarken reaktionärer Kräfte in vielen
Ländern. Das Weltsozialforum ist eine wichtige Plattform für den
internationalen Erfahrungsaustausch und zur Entwicklung von Programmatik
und gemeinsamen Aktionen”.

Die Partei der Europäischen Linken (EL) kritisiert die
Einreiseverweigerung der kanadischen Regierung für viele AktivistInnen,
insbesondere aus Afrika und Asien. “Es ist inakzeptabel, dass
AktivistInnen die Teilnahme durch eine restriktive Einreisepolitik
unmöglich gemacht wird. Das Weltsozialforum braucht ganz besonders auch
die Stimme des globalen Südens”.

Die Partei der Europäischen Linken ist an fünf Workshops vor Ort
beteiligt, auf dem Programm stehen zudem Treffen mit der Partei Quebec
solidaire sowie Anti-TTIP und CETA Initiativen.