An interesting constellation …, or: anything goes

(well, anything though surely no slide-presentation-simplification)

A colleague in Turkey had been

charged with “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” (Article No. 7/2 of Turkey’s Anti-Terror Law No. 3713) for signing the Academics for Peace statement “We will not be a party to this crime”. The statement criticized military actions in the Kurdish regions of Turkey and called for international observers to monitor the situation in place.

The colleague had been charged, and confronted with a “choice”: accepting being sentenced, with this admitting that the political activism had been a criminal verdict – then being “gratified” with the suspension of the sentence – the alternative: appealing and going to jail if the appeal is rejected.

Looking at it as matter of human rights, the case grasps attention on this/such case as it is the state who hinders the citizen to express a personal opinion – other issues may be raised.The human rights issue is about the fact, that HR emerged especially (if not only) as matter of protecting citizens (thought as being  “global”, though implicitly “private”) against arbitrariness of the state.

So far, so good. Only now comes the interesting part.The message – and call for action – came from the UK, currently also known as BREXITUK and had been sent by a colleague, using the university office mail at the

University of [… ] which is a charity and company limited by guarantee, registered in England (reg.no …)

Hesitation: First, I simply thought “a university”

Second thought (not the first time though): uni as charity sounds strange – education as charity, doing good. Doing so but to and for whom in whose name?

charity (n.)
late Old English, “benevolence for the poor,” also “Christian love in its highest manifestation,” from Old French charité “(Christian) charity, mercy, compassion; alms ….caritas by ‘charity.’ But the 16th c. Eng. versions from …

Doesn’t it say in Mathew 5.3.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Well, this opening for other field . I will have a go for that in another occasion …

https://www. aier.org/sites/default/files/Files/Images/Blog/9270/complexity.jpg

For here and now, adding to the puzzlement: does it mean a private body, engaging something like “spirit of general interest”, benevolent to society by providing education. This is actually a tricky one (yes, sloooooooooww reading, more thinking): it easily entails

  • the public, commonly understood as “statutory”, provided by the state, is not providing what it should provide, thus some other instance has to do it

or

  • The public cannot look after itself, thus an “instance from outside”, e.g. a benevolent “private”

Or it is

  • possibly “benevolence” itself the public and finally becoming true (well, for the philosophers, of course, a bit of Hegel’s cunning of reason and the absolute idea)?

Now, down to earth, nearly trivial, my question was and is: are (those) universities public institutions or not. Later I met Jeremy, how is fearing about the future of his home [he is European] as the Brexiters want to take it off him [well, their name does not say it clearly: they are Brits = they do not want to leave Britain but that want Britain to leave]) and asked him –  he confirmed that nearly all British universities are public.
Part of the exact definition of these universities is then, institutionally and legally that in this case we are dealing with a body that is

“registered as a higher education provider with the Office for Students (OfS) and is subject to the OfS Regulatory Framework. The OfS is also the University’s principal regulator for charity law purposes on behalf of the Charity Commission for England and Wales.”

Is then the OfS the public and who/what is it? Possibly a kind of council, or “soviet” to use another term?

So, coming back to the HR-issue: Having stated

The human rights issue is about the fact, that HR emerged especially (if not only) as matter of protecting citizens (thought as being  “global”, though implicitly “private”) against arbitrariness of the state.

it now means that one state (to be more precise: an institution from one state, or even more precise: somebody working in a representative position of one institution of one state has to stand ups against one the breach of HR by another state.Did I say by another state? Well, more precision would suggestBreach of HR by one person (Erdogan) who claims that he represents the state – as the public – and can thus oblige every citizen to accept those rules, even if they are finally private rules in the sense of the rules an individual defines …

Still to be added: representing in the one case means “speaking for”, in the other case it claims to mean “to be”. ‘L’État, c’est moi’

At the end it surely still remains a lot to be clarified, and even to be formulated as question. I suppose it is a challenge I may pass on to my new students, when commencing teaching next week

Company, business, work

at the Berlin School of Economics and Law.

Annunci

Plans – struggling ….

The plan for the weekend is concluding the final touch – the topic a huge one – and the aim to put struggle on the human rights agenda, understanding these rights not as matter of achieving global harmony but als permanent contest about self-determination in a world without borders – obviously an oxymoron.

The subtitle of the present intro, well, actually the title of the book will be

The Right to Stay – the Right to Move

Aren’t we living in a world of abundance?

Foreword

The present two contributions emerged in rather different contexts than being immediately concerned with what the title suggests: first, the topic employs my thinking for several years – background had been discussions with a former student, Lucey O’Leary, a while back, when I had been teaching in Ireland. She did have a degree in law and discussions emerged from my teaching: social policy, which in my understanding included political economy and also law (social law, philosophy and sociology of law). My background in Political Economy is that of Marx(ism), that of law the learning experience and work at the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Social Law/Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy in Munich. Over the years, it never worked out to elaborate the reflections which had been nevertheless engaging my mind, guided by the idea of the need of a ‘fourth generation of human rights’.

These considetations moved back towards the top of the agenda while working more recently on economic issues: digitisation and the subsequent hollowing out of social protection systems, but more importantly the far-reaching, though often not sufficiently reflected changes of the mode of production.[1] Leaving the many aspects aside (technology and economics, composition of capital, investment of otherwise overaccumulated capital, shift of and between sectors to name but a few – and considering also that some of the legal issues are very ‘simple’, i.e. issues of blocking social-protection-flight as subspecies of capital flight, applying labour (protection), employment law and (re-)establishing collective bargaining (law) or even more ordinary the criminal offenses of bullying and (sexual) harassment, there are others that require revisiting fudamental issues of law and even further issues around the meaning of justice in a world that is at the very same time shaped by two tensions that are increasingly meaningful and also increasingly interwoven:

  • it is the tension between globalisation, accompanied by standardisation on the one hand and processes of diversification on the other hand.
  • the other trend is about the possibilities of overcoming poverty;[2]but this is just one side of the coin, the other being about an increasing impoverishment, the quasi-destitution of the middle-classes, the shift of impoverishment to the countries that are still the countries of the north and not least the re-establishment of the concurrency of public poverty and private wealth 

Against this background, quesitons of human rights, universality and not least the meaning of socio-economic developments gain new importance, not least demanding overcoming even the standard criteria, or we may also say the standards of criteria. If the present volume had been successful in pursuing this goal is, remains to be decided by the reader.

For me as author remains to thank too many people to list them by their names. There are the many discussants; and there are – two exceptions may be allowed to be personally mentioned: Dorota Borkowska from the Faculty of Economics and Sociology at the University of Łódź, looking after the many students who come every year, diving into what is even today an adventure: studying in a foreign country; and still finding time to support me. The second is Peter Kube, yes, a priest, aus Halle – still, appreciated as discussant and friend to laugh with. Talking with and to him means so much about listening to oneself and I can only hope that it does not mean that he has to go one day a similar way as a person from whom he apparently learned – that person was finally condemned to drinking the hemlock, then price for saying the truth.

Not least, I am grateful for the generous support by The EKSOC Visiting Fellowship Programme at the University of Łódź, Poland (2018/2019) and the preceeding support by the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy in Munich, Germany (2017/2018).


[1]     I see thisas core of the entire process while I am admittedly still not entirely sure about the range and wider meaning – the standard answers: (i) nothing really changed, (ii) we witness fundamental changes but they are limited to niches, possibly only temporary outlayers and finally (iii) we are already at the doorsteps of a new mode of production are not really satisfying.

[2]     Evidence may be taken from the success in combatting poverty in China, and also the increasing number of people from the so-called emerging economies joining e.g. the club of the superrich (e.g. Mc Carthy, Niall, 9/2018: Where Super Rich Populations Are Growing Fastest [Infographic])

World Teachers’ Day

The 5th of October, since 1994, the World Teachers’ Day commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the 1966 UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. The 1966 Recommendation provides the main reference when it comes to teachers’ rights and responsibilities on a global scale.

 

Worthwhile to remember what Alfred Marshall said in 1890.

The schoolmaster must learn that his main duty is not to impart knowledge, for a few shillings will buy more printed knowledge than a man’s brain can hold. It is to educate character, faculties and activities; so that the children even of those parents who are not thoughtful themselves, may have a better chance of being trained up to become thoughtful parents of the next generation. To this end public money must flow freely. And it must flow freely to provide fresh air and space for wholesome play for the children in all working class quarters. (Marshall, Alfred, 1890: Principles of Economics; MacMillan and Co., London, 1930: 718)

It seems that with the “refeudalisation of society” we face the situation that the positions of the revolutionaries of the olden times, whose authors had been yesterday’s conservatives, are becoming joining on the side of the revolutionaries again. In this light there is also something about the illustration, ensuring to sin – surely not catholic-literally but to accept that pupils and students are partners.

****

Worthwhile a note on the world and China: on September the 10th I received a mail from 张伟, a former student of mine – well, she would say “a student of mine”, skipping the word “former”. She sent her congrats and best wishes for the teachers day. First I was puzzled – did she mix up the date? 2018, the Chinese teachers’ day is on the 10th of September, the world teachers’ day on October 5th, a simple explanation. I checked later on the web and found something that is … – well, I leave it up to you to think about it:

10 September is an official holiday in China. This day the whole country fetes educators and teachers. This holiday, in its different interpretations, has been existed in China as early as the Middle Ages. Teachers and coaches have always been honored and respected in China. Very often teachers acted as mentors throughout the whole life; especially it is true for the traditional Chinese martial arts.

It also says something on the reason of making it a public holiday: the official acknowledgment of teachers – as intellectuals – and their important role in boosting the development of the country. Also

Since the school system in China is based on the Western model, many old traditions in honor of teachers have not been preserved today.

One may have different opinions on this, the political background …, well. But at least it seems to be worthwhile to mention that there is a deed in the one part of the world, and that there are just words, probably widely unspoken, unwritten, unheard, unread … in another part of the world.

****

Worthwhile a personal note:
Only recently, visiting with a friend the Kunsthalle in Munich, I remembered one point of all this, when standing with her in front of one of Emmanuel Maignan’s works, the “Anamorfosi San Francesco di Paola”. A pleasure to experience the amazement of both of us. Though it had not been about a visit with a student, it is very similar anyway: Something of learning together and admitting that it is about the experience of being caught by what one sees – in this case actually being caught by what one does not see: the praying person only visible from two specified angles, the sides. It reminded me of having used Holbein’s equally magnificent  work “Gli Ambasciatori” for showing the same effect: the hiding of something, the fact of leaving something invisible for those who lack the enlightenment – an enlightenment that is emerging from the standpoint, the perspective. Never having seen the original of Holbein’s work, seeing something similar entailed still the experience of being amazed. – What foolish teacher would say s/he knows the one and only perspective. Doesn’t such perspective emerge only from putting together experiences, that may at some stage get stuck, paralyse the experienced if it goes together with closing the eyes, blocking off, not allowing new experiences to be made; and even more: not allowing looking at something “known” through new spectacles and of course forcing looking at the new through the old glasses.

Teachers’ Day – an opportunity to congratulate students, and to thank my students for allowing me to learning together with them.

Human Rights – shifting borders to new limits?

Human Rights – and one may say jurisprudence in general – is dealing with the fundamental tension of setting limits in order to reach universality. This means in particular being aware of the trap entailed in this constellation. Usually it is seen as “mission impossible”, left outside of the debate of the lege feranda; here it is suggested to take up Marx’ remark in a footnote in The Capital, volume I, saying:
“Proudhon begins by taking his ideal ofjustice, of “justice éternelle”, from the juridical relations that correspond to the production of commodities: thereby, it may be noted, he proves, to the consolation of all good citizens, that the production of commodities is a form of production as everlasting as justice. Then he turns round and seeks to reform the actual production of commodities, and the actual legal system corresponding thereto, in accordance with this ideal. What opinion should we have of a chemist, who, instead of studying the actual laws of the molecular changes in the composition and decomposition of matter, and on that foundation solving definite problems, claimed to regulate the composition and decomposition of matter by means of the “eternal ideas”, of “naturalité” and “affinité”? Do we really know any more about “usury”, when we say it contradicts “justice éternelle”, “équité éternelle”, “mutualité éternelle”, and other “vérités éternelles” than the fathers of the church did when they said it was incompatible with “grâce éternelle”, “foi éternelle”, and “la volonté éternelle de Dieu”?”
Still, there is the claim of some universality needed when it comes to (human) rights – finally it is the function of law to construct a hegemonic framework which than is broken down into smaller units, guided by the principle of binarisation.
With this reference in mind it should be possible to elaborate a more historicised take on HR, demanding to refer consciously to a “progressive economy”, i.e. the potentiality of a formation oriented on the interwoven matters of
  • Producing goods, but more importantly producing people, relationships and available time
  • Producing inclusion as condition of integrity – different to ancient societies, where slaves had been doing the work that allowed non-slaves to develop themselves in commune.
Human Rights – universally meaningful, though founded in a well understood partisanship, cum ira et studio: Hegemonies … – they follow the rule which Ovid is looking at:
In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas/corpora — I intend to speak of forms changed into new entities.
Here you can find the recoding of a short presentation around these questions, given on the 12th of September 2018 at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.

values and interests – one or two or more?

values and interests – last week the Polish Vice suggested in Krynica being them as one, being backed by his high-level Hungarian colleague, who suggested that these values are Christian values.

http://www.leftvoice.org/local/cache-vignettes/L653xH294/arton1691-dae94.jpg?1500497777

Seems people like me are in danger again, even and especially if and when we show readiness to move towards common goals of humankind and humanity. It had been this remark that contributed to writing to Simone, back in Munich at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy:

Perhaps I should offer a contribution for next Wednesday’s talk on contemporary issues.

Indeed, later I concretised this proposal, suggesting as title:

Social injustice and social (de)legalisation – A hegemony-theoretical perspective on social and human rights

It is remarkable, as I think, to see how explicit some people suggest that THEIR ONE interest has too be the interest of all: the claimed universality of human rights fading away behind the claim of unquestionable hegemonic claims. Though it is remarkable, it is in actual fact nothing new behind such supposed enlightened claim. Didn’t Marx discuss this already in a footnote in the first volume of Capital:

 

Proudhon begins by taking his ideal of justice, of “justice éternelle”, from the juridical relations that correspond to the production of commodities: thereby, it may be noted, he proves, to the consolation of all good citizens, that the production of commodities is a form of production as everlasting as justice. Then he turns round and seeks to reform the actual production of commodities, and the actual legal system corresponding thereto, in accordance with this ideal. What opinion should we have of a chemist, who, instead of studying the actual laws of the molecular changes in the composition and decomposition of matter, and on that foundation solving definite problems, claimed to regulate the composition and decomposition of matter by means of the “eternal ideas”, of “naturalité” and “affinité”? Do we really know any more about “usury”, when we say it contradicts “justice éternelle”, “équité éternelle”, “mutualité éternelle”, and other “vérités éternelles” than the fathers of the church did when they said it was incompatible with “grâce éternelle”, “foi éternelle”, and “la volonté éternelle de Dieu”?

If we really want to talk about values, it may be time to acknowledge not only that there is a variety of interests, clashing against each other and values MAY be referred to as attempt to take them – but not anything else no anything more. Something to be thought about on Wednesday – and also on Tuesday next week in Helsinki, talking about

Digitisation – Employment – and What? An Attempt to Socio-Locate the Challenge of Today’s Productivity Puzzle

as part of the symposium Digitisation, Artificial Intelligence and Stultification, September 18th, 2108, organised by the European Academy of Science and Arts and the Pellervo Society (The recording will be made available here from the 18th of September onwards.

free candies for all

Some stimulation can emerge from this article indeed. It wants to convince us that

European regulators are about to kill the digital media industry

While working on digitisation, and becoming increasingly aware of the fact that much it means that social property, namely data, are used for private gain, I am wondering if it is not time to think about free candies for all.

[from https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–_qErm2R8–/c_scale,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/1514533461230255138.jpg]

Much of the debate is apparently misled, suggesting that we are mainly concerned with the protection of private data – leaving aside that there are some issues around this, I suggest that the main issue is the use of social data, i.e. public property. To me it seems to be a much more important point in question.

At least it is time to think seriously about the dangers of privatisation of everything, not being funny at all – this German language docu on privatisation of airlines and training of pilots

under the title

Die Schattenseite des “Traumberufs”

 

is definitely frightening.

Values

Ah well, of course
But how obvious is it?
  • We cannot change our core Roman, or were it Greek ? values, as we subdued them by European enlightenment,
  • Smith and Bentham triumphing over Kant and the French tricolore,
  • leveling the field for the yanks who returned with their reinterpretation to Europe and …
  • … and allow today Merkel’s Schäuble to squeeze the Greek like lemons
  • and “allow” Orban’s barbed wires to cut into the veins of migrants who leave war and starvation behind before they can enter Europe
The tricolore did not say that we share with everybody – it only said we have to share something with some — selected. Some – people and countries – have to pay, so said by the slogan of the time:
  • the inner and outer periphery on which the centre can establish its affluence …. –
  • reflecting these values of individual freedom = precarious jobs
  • and equality = not allowing anybody to sleep under the bridges of Paris … – don’t we remember:
La majestueuse égalité des lois, qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues et de voler du pain.
Le Lys Rouge [The Red Lily] (1894)
  • and fraternity = the soup kitchens that take the place of the rights that the universal declaration of human rights failed to guarantee ….; where fraternity means redefining sleeping rough by offering a “pillow” near to the churches, softening the hardship by the pretension of a better world, the other world – and for the time being through charity, still leaving space for the question: is there a link between the (name of) the train station Termini in Rome and “its offer of sleeping rough in its protection” – the termination of dignity?
Of course, it may be that these – few – examples also “tell of a political reality far removed from Mr Tao Zhang’s “Europe(an) Dream”, inspired by historical “visions” (let’s take Delors or let’s refer to the founding-FATHERS) and believing in claims that gain much of their positivity not from their inherent greatness but from the fact of a lack of today’s power holders that do not allow to even think outside the ideological and physical fortress of the single finance market.
And of course, all this is about the European Dream which people like Riffkin have, putting like Albert the “Rheinian Model” against the rest of the world – a world order that allows and evokes worries about possibilities to continue  selling the same number of Lamborghinis, Porsches and Mercs to the empire of the middle.
Sure, when it comes to education then, we may have to deal with the
difficulty Chinese students face, particularly in the arts and social sciences, is in adopting the critical thinking that the Quality Assurance Agency insists master’s level courses must inculcate
this does, of course, not exist for European students (and lecturers alike) – used to the censorship of peer-reviewed publications and ranking systems that, to a large extent controlled by quasi-monopolist publishing houses, are very much algorithm-ised like google: write what we know, quote what we and our peers stated for many times, contend what is publicly accepted … and redefine harsh principles by using softened and softening frameworks like social investment, knowledge management and the failure of implementation of strategies … – you may easily make a rocketing career as long as you do not question the strategies themselves.
There is a wider perspective, looking at the secular issues and developments – or a perspective that is very narrow: lookig the current debates – you may take it as you like:
It surely opens a field for debate when people call for
indirectly suggesting the possibility of a national democracy which in actual fact is one of the core breaking points: the contention of the principle of nationality and externalisation – this is how the core value of European democracy worked since the ancient city states until the Fortress EUrope.
And this is the core European and EUropean value that asks if
without considering that we will not have a legitimate parliament – national or EUropean – as long as we have an economic system that leads to the permanent
Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disiganno – the Triumph of Time and Truth
The critical attitude …. – sure, there is some space, though we should not forget that when Baudelaire first presented Les Fleurs du mal, he was condemned to put them aside, allowed to present them later in a revised version, leaving critique to the space of sympbolism, providing there the framework for talking about the Island of the Death (Boecklin) to where Europe seems to be moving, after facing L’angelo ferito (Hugo Simberg) – the disappointed carriers make look grimly but are not allowed to revive the hope they once have had … – not so much changed perhaps, today’s critics turning away from reality and hoping for the savour from Rome who rightly criticises that this economy kills, a critique that is turned down if and when it comes from others who ask for material changes that allow and enforce liberty, equality and fraternity.
.. stating all this does not mean not acknowledging some of the problems mentioned – it means, however, to say that they are much deeper and profound, not least reflecting the need of confronting issues that emerge from the
centre on China’s Confucian cultural tradition
with the issues that are emerging from a limited understanding of rationality that systematically crucifies its own claims and pretensions and sacrifices “Moral Sentiments” on the altar of the “Wealth of the Nations” …
No, we surely cannot change the values for anybody – not for the Chinese, not for anybody … they will pay anyway …
As long as any nation or region claims today that the specifically national or regional core values cannot be changed for those of anybody else we may easily end up as An Idiot Abroad – abroad being everywhere and anywhere, and we being everybody who is still believing in the old answers suitable for dealing with the new questions, questions that are not yet correctly formulated.