no doubt

There cannot be any doubt – leaving all qualification aside – the “Me Too Movement” had been necessary and, while equally doubtless there had been flaws and negative effects, it produced many positive results. – As Lewis said

you can’t go back and change the beginning but you can start where you are and change the ending,

Thus I dare to ask if

Me Too

did not need another, complementing, movement or had been such double movement, one that said

Without Me

Unfortunately the Me-Too-Movement had been been necessary by the “detestable behaviour”, women had been confronted with and – at least for some time, surely for different reasons – “lived with without accepting it”. But hadn’t it been also – then – a movement of women who now said “I do not accept it anymore”? And had it possibly also before a lack of men who resisted peer-pressure, following peers and societal images that suggested such assaults being “normal”, at most trivial offences — part of the story reminds me a bit of the debate in Marxism, looking a the development of the class in itself (defined by the situation as such) to the class for itself (defined by the perception and the subsequent joining in with others and acting “solidaristically against the other” (the one class defined by the existence of the other; the raped, abused, disrespected … defined by the rapist, abuser, disrespectful …). And all this is in part a somewhat paradoxical constellation: acting “social” requiring gaining independence from the social settings and environments.

There is this ambiguity – on the one hand, MeToo had been

“a movement about the one in four girls and the one in six boys who are sexually abused every year, and who carry those wounds into adulthood,”

as Tarana Burke said – a much too high number though still a minority. On the other hand she also highligthed

We start by dismantling the building blocks of sexual violence: power and privilege. This starts by shifting our culture away from a focus on individual bad actors or depraved, isolated behaviour.

Without aiming on de-victimising anybody, without aiming on excusing anybody, without suggesting that “all problems are the same, of the same gravity” …. I am wondering if we should not be stronger in building up

Without Me Movements

not just rejecting and detesting What others do, by accusing “them”, but accusing ourselves as long as we bear the role of victims (yes, of course regards from Foucault). So, establishing such movements, in daily life has to be about

  • not allowing sexual abuse – and not giving in when peers suggest “it is nothing nit fun”,
  • not accepting precarious jobs and working conditions – though others may suggest that we are lazy, and tough real life suggests that a bird in the hand might be worth two in the bush
  • not allowing administrations taking the lead in universities, schools and political affairs though we risk rebukes

and not allowing others using the mobile phone, permanently interrupting the communication, not allowing the other to remain without answering and not allowing the mocking, suggesting that parents now, using their e-vehicle to bring the kids to the Friday rally asking for effective climate protection. Isn’t our acceptance to often a neglect easy ending up in rape of minds and praxis? Finally, all this is about self-determination as a fundamental right.

Annunci

a(nother) sad day, a(nother) sad policy development, a(nother) sad country

 

I received a mail from, Zsuzsa, a good friend of mine – she sent it also to others; Adrian and John, also fiends of mine, circulated it via some mailing lists – and I want to do my part in distributing this news, hoping also to contribute to mobilisiation of as many as possible. Thank you for standing together, the only way to overcome. — While sitting here, writing …, no, I will not cry; and I will not answer in the biblical way of Exodus 22-25

22 “If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely[e] but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life,24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

But I will make use of the energy, that comes from the confrontation with evil …

Here now

Zsuzsa’s mail

Yesterday [=August 8th; p.h.) (full vacation time, nobody at the universities) the government sent a government decree to all universities. There  was no previous consultation or discussion. The decree forbids the teaching of GENDER STUDIES.  Almost all universities have some such subjects, CEU and ELTE Masters degree studies. The decree allows those already enrolled to finish their degree, but nothing else. Despite the exceptionally hot weather there are already many signs of indignation and outcry, and some started to organise conferences or petitions. Civil associations will send open letters, etc.

Do you see any way foreign organisations – including SPA, BSA –  could join us? Maybe open letters to  our government? And how should it run?

Dear Prime Minister , or

To Prime Minister of Hungary, Mr. Viktor Orbán!

We have been informed by…? that a government decree enacted  without previous consultation with the interested parties have been sent out ordering the closure of the teaching of gender studies. (We understand that those already enrolled at MS courses may finish their degree but no new courses are allowed.)

Our understanding of the legal and real autonomy of higher education excludes such measures. However, even if it may be legal according to Hungarian legislation, it seems to us a major attack on social science. Gender studies form since … an integral part of …etc.

(If somebody  has official contacts with Hungarian teachers of gender studies, this may be mentioned.,)

We ask (?) the Hungarian government to withdraw the decree in order to…

….

Please, help with the letter, with possible forms of support, with whatever you think.

I have to add that 2-3 years ago they already prohibited the courses of anthropology and andrapedagogy, but then noise was not loud enough. (The original Law of higher education made it the right and duty of Univ Senates to found  or close faculties, degrees etc., but this was altered too, in 2015. Hence the current step is “legal”.)

sad greetings from a self-revelating  dictatorship,

Zsuzsa

Adrian’s mail, sent via mailing lists, accompanying Zsuzsa’s lines

I have just received this email from Zsuzsa Ferge whom I have known and admired for nearly 50 years. The first professor of social policy in Hungary, she has made a major contribution to the social sciences, and especially social policy and sociology. Recently there have been increasing attacks on the universities, reducing their powers and that of the Hungarian Academy of Science ( Zsuzsa was made the first social policy member some 15 years ago). This is the latest development.

I have a very poor record in getting my own government to change decisions, let alone another one. But it does seem to me important to show that there is wide concern at developments such as this one. I do not know whether many individual letters or group ones will have more impact – both probably.

Best wishes, yours, Adrian

Finally John’s mail

Thanks, Caroline. The BSA and European sociological networks have it in hand already. But as it hasn’t reached me via ESPAnet or the European social policy jiscmail, I’ve added them here and would encourage maximum further dissemination to all the networks we are linked with in whatever subjects even at the risk of overlap and duplication.

John

*******

Still, I may add one point – I discussed it actually frequently with John, with Zsuzsa and so many others: It is not just about Orban and Hungary, as little as the discussion about Turkey is about Erdogan and Turkey, as little as Italy is a just one single case, as much as “we are all Greek” – we are all …, if we are ready to be!

books not only written for their own times

Of course, books are written at a specific period in time, reflect the era and contribute to their stabilisation or change. And they are reflected upon. One of the outstanding works is Thomas Paine’s
so much to be criticised and rejected, beginning with the title, not acknowledging the need for
(also here.) And still, there is good reason for acknowledging the greatness of Paine’s work, and in some ways – cum grains salis – its timelessness. Though history does not repeat itself, there is something that, in different forms, is not alien in different eras — sure, we do not have kings anymore …., but doesn’t this sound familiar, looking at what is going on today in so many countries:
It is time that nations should be rational, and not be governed like animals, for the pleasure of their riders. To read the history of kings, a man would be almost inclined to suppose that government consisted in stag-hunting, and that every nation paid a million a-year to a huntsman.
And isn’t there a certain irony of history when considering the following? In a bookshop I spotted recently a book, authored by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, looking at Why Nations Fail. The shortlisting-note caught my special attention:
Shortlisted for the FT and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award
 The nearing “last call for flight …, passengers Mr. Herrmann … immediately …” told me that I should work against my personal failing to get on board, taking this somewhat more urgent than the failing of nations – the latter happened, the other could still be avoided, allowing to wok a bit more against “history does not repeat itself”. For instance by talking with students about the tricky link between this topic and its possible award by “FT and Goldman Sachs” – and though it is tricky, it is obvious that the huntsmen want to maintain their rides on the hobby horses that are so dear to us – and that they have to know some version of the answer of the question Why Nations Fail. And it is important to look at the historical dimension though it may be distracting the many from becoming aware of being treated like animals.
There is enough evidence – we know about pervers lives of the huntsmen, and we find the various facets of the causes of the ‘animalistic system’ – for instance looking with Robert Reich at Inequality for all and his notion of Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few, or woking at the stories about The four horseman ….
We surely have to be careful – making sure that issues are not individualised, avoiding the witch-hunt against a demonised finance capital as we know it from German fascism and any one-sided; in-systemtic analysis, in-systemic in the sense of isolating and de-historising facts out of a complex system. And it should be asked if a better capitalism is the real solution. But we have to take the good portion which shows the structural defects and also
* the germs for the solution of the problems: germs towards a new growth strategy as I outlined them together with Marica Frangakis in a contribution on The need for a radical ‘growth policy’ agenda for Europe at a time of crisis (in: Dymarski, Wlodzimierz/Marica Frangakis/Leaman, Jeremy: The Deepening Crisis of the European Union: The Case for Radical Change; Poznań: Poznań University of Economics Press, 2014);
* the germs that push towards new societal strategies
and
Herrmann, Peter, forthcoming: Social Quality – Regaining Political Economy; in: International Journal of Social Quality;
I this light, there is enough out there to be positive, instead of detailing the critique by new figure that do not change the substance anyway.