After Brexit And Catalonia, What Will Become Of The EU?

The future of the European Union is surely in doubt.
Brexit and Catalonia are the most glaring recent examples of the irrepressibly dynamic forces of nationalism that continue to exert powerful influence on the human psyche within European communities.

More importantly, the processes that led to the victory of the “Leave” campaign in the June 2016 and the eruption of Catalonia’s cessationist sentiment form part of the disintegrating tendencies under way in today’s global political economy. They add to the growing list of cases illustrating the limits of the idea of a united Europe.
The more likely future of Europe is a neoliberal superstate jointly run by Berlin and Brussels. The European elite has been working hard for a long time now to have power transferred from the national governments to a Brussels-based super bureaucracy, with Berlin acting as the political and economic hegemon.

But there is also an alternative – a United States of Europe (a Europe with total integration and without nation states), which is a widely shared idea within certain European elites. Such a project can succeed only if the norms and values of democracy are applied at a transnational and global level (cosmopolitan democracy).

An imperial superstate
As a citizen of a European neoliberal superstate, your life will be determined by two entities: the Brussels-based bureaucracy and the unelected hegemon, Berlin. They will dictate the policymaking process, while nation states – especially those situated on the periphery of the Union – will be turned into “satellites”.

We have already seen plenty of evidence that the EU is heading that way.
Economic cooperation among European member states has revolved around distinct Machiavellian principles and it is the interests of the strong and influential economic agents and of powerful state actors that drive public policy agenda.
The tradition of political cynicism also defines the actual foreign policy agenda of EU authorities and institutions as evidenced by their double-standard approach towards integration and secession. They opposed Catalonia’s declaration for independence in late October 2017 because they don’t wish to see Spain (an EU member state) split, but provided unanimous support in 2008 to Kosovo’s independence.

As a matter of fact, the European Community (along with Washington) not only failed in the case of former Yugoslavia back in the early 1990s to guarantee the territorial integrity of European state frontiers, in clear violation of the 1975 Helsinki Accords Final Act, but individual European member states actually played a key role in the destruction of the Yugoslavian state.

But no one has ever charged the EU with being a democratic political entity. If anything, it acts as an imperial power by virtue of the very emergence of a neoliberal superstate, at least in regard to economic affairs. The manner in which the bailout programmes for Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and Cyprus were handled during the euro crisis stands out as a glaring example of heavy-handed, anti-democratic tactics. Read more

image_pdfimage_print
Bookmark and Share

Civil Domains and Arenas in Zimbabwean Settings. Democracy and Responsiveness Revisited – DPRN Five

Harare - goafrica.about.com

Harare – goafrica.about.com

Introduction (written 2008 – first published 2010)
A popular remedy for Africa’s predicament is the promotion of ‘civil society’. It is conventionally seen as a collection of various kinds of non-profit bodies separate from the state and business sector. It is framed within a consensual model of politics, and thus capable of working in ‘partnership’ with both state and business sectors in pursuit of common interests, particularly ‘development’ and ‘democracy’ [i]. Since the late 1970s donors sought substitutes for the state in the private sector. In the 1980s they discovered the virtues of the non-profit branch of this sector. They tasked older entities such as mission hospitals and newly-arrived non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with providing a range of services, from schooling and healthcare to small enterprise promotion, that were once considered responsibilities of the public sector.
Under their neoliberal paradigm, donors have tried to raise the nonprofit sector’s political status. Beyond service provision, its main task is to counter government power. Here civil society is cast as a hero, who routinely calls a villainous state to account. Yet this model of ‘civil society’ has evoked controversy. Questions have arisen about the effects of NGOs not only as substitute providers of basic services, but also as vehicles of public politics, effectively substituting for opposition political parties [ii]. A number of writers have called attention to ‘the obvious: that civil society is [largely] made up of international organisations’. Some argue that the whole concept of ‘civil society’ as promoted by outsiders does not match African sociological or political realities, and can ultimately weaken, rather than strengthen the power of common citizens. There are calls, in short, for a re-think. Read more

image_pdfimage_print
Bookmark and Share

Noam Chomsky And Robert Pollin: Breaking Through The Political Barriers To Free Education

Robert Pollin – Photo: UMass Amherst

In an increasingly unequal country, the stakes are high for debates over student debt and the prospect of free higher education. Driven by neoliberal politics, our current educational system is both a product of and a driver of deep social inequities. In this interview, world-renowned public intellectuals Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin take on the question of who should pay for education — and how a radical reshaping of our educational system could be undertaken in the US.

This is the third part of a wide-ranging interview series with world-renowned public intellectuals Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin. Read part one here and part two here.

C.J. Polychroniou: Noam, higher education in the US is a terribly expensive affair, and hundreds of billions are owed in student loans. First, do you think that a system of free higher education can coexist alongside tuition-charging universities? Secondly, what could and should be done about student debt?

Noam Chomsky ~ Photo: en.wikipedia.org

Noam Chomsky: The educational system was a highly predictable victim of the neoliberal reaction, guided by the maxim of “private affluence and public squalor.” Funding for public education has sharply declined. Tuition has exploded, leading to a plague of unpayable student debt. As higher education is driven to a business model in accord with neoliberal doctrine, administrative bureaucracy has sharply increased at the expense of faculty and students, developments reviewed well by sociologist Benjamin Ginsburg. Cost-cutting dictated by the revered market principles naturally leads to hyper-exploitation of the more vulnerable, creating a new precariat of graduate students and adjuncts surviving on a bare pittance, replacing tenured faculty. All of this happens to be a good disciplinary technique, for obvious reasons.

For those with eyes open, much of what has happened was anticipated by the early ’70s, at the point of transition from regulated capitalism to incipient neoliberalism. At the time, there was mounting elite concern about the dangers posed by the democratizing and civilizing effects of 1960s activism, and particularly the role of young people during “the time of troubles.” The concerns were forcefully expressed at both ends of the political spectrum.

At the right end of the spectrum, the “Powell memorandum” sent by corporate lobbyist (later Supreme Court Justice) Lewis Powell to the Chamber of Commerce called upon the business community to rise up to defend itself against the assault on freedom led by Ralph Nader, Herbert Marcuse and other miscreants who had taken over the universities, the media and the government. The picture was, of course, ludicrous but it did reflect the perceptions of Powell’s audience, desperate about the slight diminution in their overwhelming power. The rhetoric is as interesting as the message, reminiscent of a spoiled three-year-old who has a piece of candy taken away. The memorandum was influential in circles that matter for policy formation.

At the other end of the spectrum, at about the same time, the liberal internationalists of the Trilateral Commission published their lament over “The Crisis of Democracy” that arose in the “terrible” ’60s, when previously apathetic and marginalized parts of the population — the great majority — began to try to enter the political arena to pursue their interests. That posed an intolerable burden on the state. Accordingly, the Trilateral scholars called for more “moderation in democracy,” a return to passivity and obedience. The American rapporteur, Harvard professor Samuel Huntington, reminisced nostalgically about the time when “Truman had been able to govern the country with the cooperation of a relatively small number of Wall Street lawyers and bankers,” so that true democracy flourished.

A particular concern of the Trilateral scholars was the failure of the institutions responsible for “the indoctrination of the young,” including the schools and universities. These had to be brought under control, along with the irresponsible media that were (occasionally) departing from subordination to “proper authority” — a precursor of concerns of the far-right Republican Party today. Read more

image_pdfimage_print
Bookmark and Share

A Conversation With Joseph Sassoon Semah

On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) The Guardians of the Door | Art performance by Joseph Semah (Amsterdam) and György Dragomán | Millenáris, Building B | Photo by Oliver Sin

Joseph Sassoon Semah: Before we begin, there is something important I would like to mention. You see that I have changed my name to Joseph Sassoon Semah.*

Zsuzsanna Szegedy-Maszák: And why is that?

JSS: Beginning on the 20th of October, my name will be Joseph Sassoon Semah as a reflection of the third exile project. I was born in Bagdad. As a family, we were displaced to the State of Israel, and now I am a guest in the West. My grandfather was the chief rabbi of the Babylonian Jews who lived in Bagdad. So I thought that instead of explaining my background every time I would just add the family name Sassoon so people will understand.

ZsSz-M: You often talk about being in a state of self-imposed exile, or rather as a guest. How does your art reflect this?

JSS: I read to the idea of the guest through my mother tongue. For me the guest is not just a friendly person who comes and you let him stay in your home for five days. The guest is someone who stays and works for the good of the whole world. Remember, in Hebrew, we don’t have the word exile. To begin with, גלות, or GaLUT, is not Exile, nor is it Diaspora or an existing place; GaLUT is simply a disciplined activity, an intensive vision, and it is what GaLUT does – it transforms each and every temporary מקום, MaKOM or place of shelter, into a perpetual search for a Hand Full of Soil.

ZsSz-M: You mentioned that your mother tongue is Hebrew, and in a previous interview you mentioned that visual art is in fact a second language for you.

JSS: The Hebrew language is my home. Where can I dwell? In language itself.

ZsSz-M: The manner in which you approach art seems very textual to me. You speak about reading artworks through the Hebrew language. You regard artworks as ‘footnotes’. You recite or read texts aloud during your performances. What is your relationship to literature or to texts? Do you approach visual art from this textual stance? And a follow up question: do you regard music in a similar, textual manner?

JSS: The first time I used a musical score in my art was during my inquiry into a very important moment in history: the meeting between Paul Celan and Heidegger in the Black Forest village of Todtnauberg on July 25th 1967. I placed the two images on a Wagner score, so I used it in an intellectual way. Music to me is textual. I am not an artist of a gallery. I cannot reproduce an image on demand. I call my artworks ‘footnotes’ to a text, but in fact they are part of the text.

Read more

image_pdfimage_print
Bookmark and Share

Colonial Film Database ~ Moving Images of the British Empire

Welcome to Colonial Film: Moving Images of the British Empire. This website holds detailed information on over 6000 films showing images of life in the British colonies. Over 150 films are available for viewing online. You can search or browse for films by country, date, topic, or keyword. Over 350 of the most important films in the catalogue are presented with extensive critical notes written by our academic research team.

The Colonial Film project united universities (Birkbeck and University College London) and archives (British Film Institute, Imperial War Museum and the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum) to create a new catalogue of films relating to the British Empire. The ambition of this website is to allow both colonizers and colonized to understand better the truths of Empire.

Take a look: http://www.colonialfilm.org.uk/home

 

image_pdfimage_print
Bookmark and Share

Folkstreams ~ A National Preserve Of American Folklore Stories

The films on Folkstreams are often produced by independent filmmakers and focus on the culture, struggles, and arts of unnoticed Americans from many different regions and communities. The filmmakers were driven more by sheer engagement with the people and their traditions than by commercial hopes. Their films have unusual subjects, odd lengths, and talkers who do not speak “broadcast English.” Although they won prizes at film festivals, were used in college classes, and occasionally were shown on PBS, they found few outlets commercial theaters, video shops or television. But they have permanent value.

They come from the same intellectual movement that gave rise to American studies, regional and ethnic studies, the “new history,” “performance theory,” and investigation of tenacious cultural styles in phenomena like song, dance, storytelling, visual designs, and ceremonies. They also respond to the intense political and social ferment of the period.

Many of the films are linked to significant published research. Folkstreams draws on this material to accompany and illuminate both the subjects and the filmmaking. And the films themselves add powerful dimensions to print scholarship. They offer a direct experience of unfamiliar worlds. Many of these worlds are now receding into the historical past. Folkstreams mission is to preserve these films, these worlds, and these stories.

FOLKSTREAMS INC is a 501c3 non-profit organization.

Go to: http://www.folkstreams.net/

image_pdfimage_print
Bookmark and Share

George Orwell ~ Homage To Catalonia

Chapter 1

In the Lenin Barracks in Barcelona, the day before I joined the militia, I saw an Italian militiaman standing in front of the officers’ table.

He was a tough-looking youth of twenty-five or six, with reddish-yellow hair and powerful shoulders. His peaked leather cap was pulled fiercely over one eye. He was standing in profile to me, his chin on his breast, gazing with a puzzled frown at a map which one of the officers had open on the table. Something in his face deeply moved me. It was the face of a man who would commit murder and throw away his life for a friend–the kind efface you would expect in an Anarchist, though as likely as not he was a Communist. There were both candour and ferocity in it; also the pathetic reverence that illiterate people have for their supposed superiors. Obviously he could not make head or tail of the map; obviously he regarded map-reading as a stupendous intellectual feat. I hardly know why, but I have seldom seen anyone–any man, I mean–to whom I have taken such an immediate liking. While they were talking round the table some remark brought it out that I was a foreigner. The Italian raised his head and said quickly:

‘Italiano?’

I answered in my bad Spanish: ‘No, Ingles. Y tu?’

‘Italiano.’

As we went out he stepped across the room and gripped my hand very hard. Queer, the affection you can feel for a stranger! It was as though his spirit and mine had momentarily succeeded in bridging the gulf of language and tradition and meeting in utter intimacy. I hoped he liked me as well as I liked him. But I also knew that to retain my first impression of him I must not see him again; and needless to say I never did see him again. One was always making contacts of that kind in Spain.

I mention this Italian militiaman because he has stuck vividly in my memory. With his shabby uniform and fierce pathetic face he typifies for me the special
atmosphere of that time. He is bound up with all my memories of that period of the war–the red flags in Barcelona, the gaunt trains full of shabby soldiers
creeping to the front, the grey war-stricken towns farther up the line, the muddy, ice-cold trenches in the mountains.

This was in late December 1936, less than seven months ago as I write, and yet it is a period that has already receded into enormous distance. Later events
have obliterated it much more completely than they have obliterated 1935, or 1905, for that matter. I had come to Spain with some notion of writing newspaper articles, but I had joined the militia almost immediately, because at that time and in that atmosphere it seemed the only conceivable thing to do. The Anarchists were still in virtual control of Catalonia and the revolution was still in full swing. Read more

image_pdfimage_print
Bookmark and Share

Kunst is Lang ~ Patricia Kaersenhout

De beeldende kunst is als een altijd doorstomende trein die zich een weg baant langs stromingen, niches, uitspattingen en extravaganza. Het tempo van afwisselingen en opkomende kunstenaars is hoog, de zendtijd voor hedendaagse kunst bescheiden. In de uitzending van Kunst is lang zoekt Luuk Heezen samen met mister Motley de verdieping op met een hedendaagse kunstenaar. Een gesprek over het werk, over vreemde ideeën, over de vooroordelen binnen kunst, en over het (doodnormale) dagelijkse leven van de kunstenaar.

Patricia Kaersenhout is een Nederlandse visueel kunstenaar en cultureel activist. Ze studeerde sociale wetenschappen aan Amstelhorn Amsterdam en beeldende kunst aan de Gerrit Rietveld Academie. Haar werk onderzoekt sociale onzichtbaarheid als gevolg van de Afrikaanse Diaspora. Ook richt ze zich op het kolonialisme in relatie tot haar eigen opgroeien binnen een West-Europese cultuur. De rode draad in haar werk is een onderzoek naar de Afrikaanse Diaspora, die ze in verband brengt met de geschiedenis van de slavernij, racisme, feminisme en seksualiteit.

Gast: Patricia Kaersenhout
Streamer: Elsemarijn Bruys
Kunstenaarsvideo: ZaZaZoZo

image_pdfimage_print
Bookmark and Share
  • About

    Rozenberg Quarterly aims to be a platform for academics, scientists, journalists, authors and artists, in order to offer background information and scholarly reflections that contribute to mutual understanding and dialogue in a seemingly divided world. By offering this platform, the Quarterly wants to be part of the public debate because we believe mutual understanding and the acceptance of diversity are vital conditions for universal progress. Read more...
  • Support

    Rozenberg Quarterly does not receive subsidies or grants of any kind, which is why your financial support in maintaining, expanding and keeping the site running is always welcome. You may donate any amount you wish and all donations go toward maintaining and expanding this website.

    10 euro donation:

    20 euro donation:

    Or donate any amount you like:

    Or:
    ABN AMRO Bank
    Rozenberg Publishers
    IBAN NL65 ABNA 0566 4783 23
    BIC ABNANL2A
    reference: Rozenberg Quarterly

    If you have any questions or would like more information, please see our About page or contact us: info@rozenbergquarterly.com
  • Like us on Facebook

  • Follow us on Twitter

  • Archives