yesteryears remarks on yesterdays results?

Looking at the results of the resent votes – e.g. BREXIT, TRUMP(uns)IN(n), HOLLANDENIXIS, REXIT, – the following may come to mind:

For assessing political events, the following rule may be applied that a large plan can be made out behind everything what appears  to be innocuous whereas everything that seems to be based in a plan usually does not have any setting that is any more than pure thoughtlessness
(Franz Grillparzer, österreichischer Schriftsteller [1791-1872])
Bei Beurteilung der politischen Ereignisse kann als Regel dienen, dass hinter allem, was den Anschein des Unverfänglichen hat, ein geheimer Plan steckt, wogegen das, was planmäßig zu sein scheint, gewöhnlich keinen Hintergrund hat, als die vollkommenste Gedankenlosigkeit.
(Franz Grillparzer, österreichischer Schriftsteller [1791-1872])
Still, the good thing is that  Austria does not send a new Messiah, though results being tight enough …

Migration: overestimation and underestimation …

I personally think that the German “good will” is occasionally much overestimated, for instance also in a blog post by Yanis Varoufakis. There is also in that country a huge pressure and one can hear Maximum Capacity to Take in Refugees Reached, Germany Says. In general one can easily get the impression that governments are much harsher than a greatly appreciative population, though it has to be acknowledged that for instance the president of the Italian Parliament, rebuked harshly and not only morally any hostility – she mentions this as question of rights and a matter of taken them seriously.

Even more so it is dangerous to underestimate to which extent we see a Hungarian dictatorship emerging under Orban, neglecting even basic principles of law. A EURACTIV report today is simply shocking:

EXCLUSIVE/ A Hungarian journalist has revealed government plans to create an airtight system designed to prevent asylum seekers from entering the country. The measures will be introduced on Tuesday (15 September).

Writing for Index, Kata Janecskó, disclosed shocking details of the Hungarian plan. Refugee Crisis in Hungary offers a crowdsourced translation. …

….

It is a disgrace and  one can only hope that the EU-institutions and other member states are seriously stopping this destruction of anything that may left from the idea of Europe as social and even progressive and peace oriented force.

Though I frequently made clear that one should not expect too much from the claimed European Social Model (see also the book, going back to the antimilitarist conference last year in Berlin), Orban is simply a immediate and great danger for any kind of peace and democracy.

the new winter

Sure, much can be said about the reform that is known under the title

La buona scuola
and there may well be some positive aspects.
However, there is definitely a very good reason to populate today the squares and streets of Italy, in protest against the reforms.
Without going into detail, one aspect of the government measures is the precarisation of the position of teachers as the law
 prevede tra le altre cose l’assunzione di circa 100mila insegnanti precari
Interestingly precari translates easily into temporary.
  • if I hear teachers, talking about the situation at schools
  • if I listen to young people, talking about the situation after having left school or university and
  • if if I look at the various aspects of my current work, preparing the workshop on precarity, organised by TRANSFORM,
I can only hope that the protest reaches a level that urges politicians (and actually not only here in Italy) to move beyond temporary measures.
One point that is frightening: starting with precarisation of the teachers’ positions at school has the “side effect” of normalisation, of brainwashing, making young people think and accept that the lack of security is the only thing that can be taken for granted …
… Much remains to be done, though it may well be that it is not the reestablishment of old securities within societies that are characterised by extrem inequality. Instead …

She sang the heavenly lullaby,
The old song of abnegation,
By which the people, this giant fool,
Is lulled from its lamentation.

I know the tune, I know the words,
I also know every author;
I know they secretly drank wine,
While publicly preaching water.

A new song, a better song,
My friends will be my aim!
We should, right now on earth,

A kingdom of heaven proclaim.
Truth not only to be considered in Heine’s Germany

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 …

 

Time – On Whose Side?

The problem surely is one of change, and thus of time – and this, metaphorically, may be seen in the change of art. There is the famous failure of Leonardo: the fresco, applying a wrong formula. The problem with the technique is that one is not allowed to make any mistake: the paint goes immediately into the ground and nothing can be changed. Leonardo (as far as I remember for reasons of time pressure), wanted to take a short-cut to a majestic goal – and a short time after he finished his most beautiful painting it “collapsed”. Compare Zivny with this: there is now majestic goal – a modest one of creating, or even only shaping ephemeral beauty:

“Sand is one of the few materials I work with, and I like that it is ephemeral and the sand sculpture disappears.”

The tension, it only comes right now to my mind, is one of fascinating depth: it is the tension between living for the majestic goal of humankind and the ephemeral vision of individuals.

Sure, both have their value, and beauty …. – or at least truth.

But the challenge an question is: (How) Can we bring this together? – The other day I read in an article by John L. Allen Jr.

Americans await things to happen immediately, and generally interpret delay in terms of denial, incompetence, of cover-up. Rome[1], to put the point charitably, is a culture that puts a high premium on patience, and often interprets ‘rapid response’ as immaturity, superficiality, or going off half-cocked.[2]

And just having read

Skidelski/Skidelski

on

How much is Enough? Money and the Good Life

recently, I am wondering if there is really not more to say than directing moral appeals? After economics – as matter of science and politics – obviously failed, the only way out seems to be in some kind of prayers and quest for morality?

The reality came (another time) to my mind when I went for my earlyish round – the 1st of May 2014, about sixish passing Termini, the central train station:

All fine, but … – Italy, the country of kisses and light heartedness – but at that time in the morning at the said place: facing the homeless; if one leaves the shops at day time – the shops for ordinary people or those where people buy who do not know what to do with the money – it means too often looking into the faces of beggars; if one then is getting aware of the country’s lack of a revolution, the nobility still having the remote places for their festive gatherings (which in fact are part of daily life), …

Well, May-Day then: a huge people’s gathering, in the park. At least something: free sunshine for all.

No, I do not blame anybody: at least not those who enjoy as long as they can enjoy.

And though I am seemingly talking about Italy and Rome, I actually do not really talk about this place. What makes it – perhaps – special is a higher degree of visibility of certain problems …, problems that are also visible in other places, “wiped away” by some kind of “silent militarism”: the war that is at the external borders arguing with noisy sabre-rattling, has many disciplinary forms when directed internally. Later this year I will address this during a conference against militarism. My part will be looking at

The inner mobilisation of Europe – youth unemployment, racism and modernised forced labour.

Enough is enough – indeed it is not such a difficult-to-answer question: enough of violent policies, of policies that are utilising human beings as a kind canon fodder for profit-first-economies.

A reminder, a famous passage in a footnote in Chapter 31 of the first volume of Capital

―Capital is said by a Quarterly Reviewer to fly turbulence and strife, and to be timid, which is very true; but this is very incompletely stating the question. Capital eschews no profit, or very small profit, just as Nature was formerly said to abhor a vacuum. With adequate profit, capital is very bold. A certain 10 per cent. will ensure its employment anywhere; 20 per cent. certain will produce eagerness; 50 per cent., positive audacity; 100 per cent. will make it ready to trample on all human laws; 300 per cent., and there is not a crime at which it will scruple, nor a risk it will not run, even to the chance of its owner being hanged. If turbulence and strife will bring a profit, it will freely encourage both. Smuggling and the slave-trade have amply proved all that is here stated.‖ (T. J. Dunning, l. c., pp. 35, 36.)

 

[1]            meant to be the catholic church

[2]            John L. Allen Jr., 2013: The Church’s Message and The financial World: Lost in Translation; in: Institutions, Society and Markets: Towards a New International Balance?; A Cura di Alberto Quadrio Curzio/Giovanni Marseguerra; Vatican City: Libreria Editirice Vaticana: 141-155; here: 141 f.