Omdat het kan

De twee vrouwen staan al een tijdje op de tramhalte. Halverwege de veertig, schat ik ze. Keurige dames.
Als ik mijn shag pak, lopen ze op me af.
‘Tabacco?’, vraagt de een.
Ik knik.
De dames lachen.
Eentje haalt een klein zakje wiet uit haar jaszak.
Ze vraagt in een combinatie van Italiaans en Engels of ik wat wiet in het shagje wil.
‘Nee’, zeg ik.
Maar ik heb haar niet goed begrepen.
Of ik eentje voor hen wil draaien.
Hulpvaardig als ik ben, sta ik een paar tellen later op de halte een jointje te draaien.

Een paar minuten later staan ze giechelend te roken. Ook maken ze foto’s van elkaar.
‘Ik ben advocaat’, zegt de een.
‘En ik werk bij de politie’, lacht de ander.
‘Dit mag niet in Italiė’, legt de politiemevrouw uit.
Dan pakt ze het zakje wiet weer en geeft het mij.
‘Verder hoeven we het niet’, zegt ze, ‘maar we wilden een keertje wiet kopen.’
‘En ik rook niet eens’, lacht de advocate.




De kruistocht van Henk Eikeboom

Henk Eikeboom op de veranda van zijn tweede huis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Henk Eikeboom (1898-1945) was geen theoreticus van het anarchisme, geen voorman in de   anarchistische beweging, maar wel een man van agitatie, organisatie en actie. Hij noemde zichzelf sociaalanarchist, hij was antimilitarist en een bewonderaar van Domela Nieuwenhuis. Hij was dichter, redacteur van anarchistische tijdschriften, uitgever, vertaler, handelaar in tweedehands boeken en erotische lectuur. Tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog zette hij zijn publicatiedrift voort maar hij werd door de Duitse bezetter gearresteerd.

Henk Eikeboom werd geboren in 1898. Zijn vader was koster van de Muiderkerk aan de Linnaeusstraat in Amsterdam en boekbinder. Op de lagere school schreef Eikeboom zijn eerste gedichten en vertoonde hij al zijn opstandige karakter. Hij wilde graag onderwijzer worden, maar bleek later voor het vak volstrekt ongeschikt. Tijdens zijn opleiding tot onderwijzer kwam hij in contact met de Kwekelingen Geheel Onthouders Bond (KGOB) en de Jongelieden Geheel Onthouders Bond (JGOB). Mogelijk maakte hij via die organisaties kennis met het marxisme en de ideeën van Russische revolutionairen. Onder invloed van zijn latere vrouw Willy Broekman, ontwikkelde hij zich al gauw in de richting van het anarchisme.

Dienstweigeraar
Hoewel Eikeboom aanvankelijk tegen dienstweigering was, hebben waarschijnlijk de verschrikkingen van de Eerste Wereldoorlog hem tot andere inzichten gebracht en in 1917 weigerde hij dan ook op te komen voor de Landstorm. Bovendien had hij inmiddels kennis gemaakt met het tijdschrift De Wapens Neder van de Internationale Anti-Militarische Vereeniging (IAMV). Tussen 26 oktober 1917 en 7 januari 1919 werd hij als dienstweigeraar gedetineerd, onder meer in Fort Spijkerboor in Westbeemster. Gedurende zijn detentie hield hij een dagboek bij. Op zijn eerste dag in de cel schreef hij: ‘Zo zit ik dan eindelijk opgesloten in een cel (…). Vanmorgen heb ik geweigerd de militaire uniform (…) aan te trekken. Voorwaar een groote misdaad! Ik trek de uniform niet aan omdat ik vrede wil.’

Rapaillepartij
Gegrepen door het anarchisme en antimilitarisme, nam hij na zijn gevangenschap de propaganda voor het anarchisme serieus op. Hij ging schrijven – proza, poëzie en journalistiek werk – voor het anarchistische tijdschrift De Vrije Socialist en de bladen De Wapens Neder en Morgenrood. Van Morgenrood werd hij ook redacteur. Daarnaast hield hij spreekbeurten en deed hij bestuurswerk in anarchistische organisaties en antimilitaristische kringen. In 1919 werd hij administrateur bij Libertas, de uitgeverij van De Vrije Socialist van anarchistisch uitgever Gerhard Rijnders.
Een dienstweigeringswet bestond destijds niet in Nederland. Toen in 1921 dienstweigeraar Herman Groenendaal in hongerstaking ging om een wet te bespoedigen, werd de actie breed ondersteund. Henk Eikeboom zette zich fanatiek in door geld in te zamelen voor de actie. In dezelfde periode werd hij penningmeester van het landelijk comité van de IAMV.

Een van de meest spraakmakende acties waaraan Eikeboom deelnam was de oprichting van de Rapaillepartij. Samen met de dadaïst Anthon Bakels en kunstenaar Erich Wichman richtte Eikeboom een politieke partij op, juist om aan te tonen dat het algemeen kiesrecht nergens toe leidt en om de opkomstplicht aan de kaak te stellen. Ook wilden ze de vraag aan de orde stellen of de massa in Nederland wel een juiste politieke keuze kon maken. Lijsttrekker werd de Amsterdamse zwerver Hadjememaar, die tot ieders verrassing in de Amsterdamse gemeenteraad werd gekozen. Na één raadsvergadering hief de partij zich op.

Poëziebundel van Henk Eikeboom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brochures van Henk Eikeboom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brochures
Samen met Anthon Bakels deed Eikeboom in 1923 een poging het tijdschrift De Vrije Socialist van Gerhard Rijnders over te nemen, uit onvrede met diens weinig vernieuwende redactiebeleid en de ondoorzichtige exploitatie van diens uitgeverij. Eikeboom en Bakels wilden het blad zelf gaan uitgeven. Vanuit de anarchistische beweging kreeg de actie echter nauwelijks steun en Eikeboom was gedwongen zijn activiteiten voor het blad en de uitgeverij te staken. Hij besloot daarop zelf uitgever te worden en richtte uitgeverij De Fakkel op en publiceerde onder andere de door hem zelf geschreven brochures De anarchist en het huwelijk, Musssolini, een ziektegeval en Het Rood Blazoen.
Het huwelijk van Eikeboom en Willly Broekman liep stuk. Niet alleen was het uitgeven door Eikeboom een aanslag op het huishoudgeld, ook zal het in de praktijk brengen van de door hem gepropageerde vrije liefde een rol hebben gespeeld. In 1927 trouwde hij met Annie van Harselaar, de ex-vrouw van anarchistisch propagandist en spreker Anton Constandse. Samen met haar publiceerde hij het poëziebundeltje Bloed ligt op straat. Zij verdiende als onderwijzeres het geld voor het gezin.

Singel 443 (rechts naast het terras). In het souterrain had Eikeboom zijn boekhandel Mondain

Pornografie
In een poging een einde te maken aan zijn benarde financiële positie, pleegde Eikeboom – ook aanhanger van de neem-en-eet-theorie (proletarisch winkelen) – samen met een kameraad een overval op een geldloper in de Amsterdamse Linnaeusstraat, nota bene precies tegenover de kerk waar zijn vader koster was geweest. Als gevolg van de overval moest Henk enkele weken in de cel doorbrengen.
Hij zette een handeltje in tweedehands boeken op, maar dit was geen succes, totdat hij zich rond 1930 op de verkoop van pikante lectuur ging toeleggen, destijds door justitie als pornografie aangemerkt. De verdiensten waren zo goed dat Eikeboom zich een tweede huis, in ’s Graveland, kon veroorloven. In september 1930 deed de politie een inval zijn boekwinkel Mondain, gevestigd in het souterrain van het onbewoonbaar verklaarde pand Singel 443. Daarbij nam men een ‘grote hoeveelheid pornografische boeken en platen’ in beslag, aldus Het Vaderland van 5 oktober 1930. Het weerhield Eikeboom er niet van zijn handel voort te zetten. Hij bleef in die jaren schrijven en publiceerde in De Wapens Neder, De Vrijdenker en De Transportarbeider. In 1935 verscheen zijn boek Kruistochten (bij Uitgeverij De Jongh), korte prozastukken van eigen hand, aangevuld met korte beschouwingen van de anarchistische theoretici Rudolf Rocker en J. H. Mackay.

Fascisme
Eikeboom was in de jaren na 1933 bijzonder actief, ongetwijfeld vanwege het opkomende fascisme. Hij ging weer spreekbeurten geven en ging op openbare avonden debatten aan met fascisten, onder anderen met Arnold Meyer van Zwart Front. Hij zat kort vast voor de verspreiding van opruiende geschriften en stichtte in de Turfsteeg in Amsterdam het Erich Mühsamhuis, een vergaderlokaal genoemd naar de door de nazi’s vermoorde Duitse anarchist en dichter Erich Mühsam.
Hij organiseerde een protestmars tegen de gevangenisomstandigheden van Nederlandse dienstweigeraars en was betrokken bij de Sociaal Anarchistische Actie (SAA), die protestacties en cursussen organiseerde en brochures verspreidde. Vanuit de SAA ontwikkelde zich in 1935 de VAU, de Vereniging Anarchistische Uitgeverij waarin Eikeboom een vooraanstaande rol speelde. De VAU gaf onder andere zijn vertalingen uit van Rudolf Rockers Achter prikkeldraad en tralies, P. Arsjinofs Geschiedenis van de Machno-beweging en Nationalisme en Cultuur van Rudolf Rocker. Omdat Rocker door de nazi’s gearresteerd dreigde te worden, had hij overhaast Duitsland verlaten. Zijn bibliotheek werd in Berlijn door Arthur Lehning en Anthon Bakels in veiligheid gebracht. Het manuscript van Nationalisme en Cultuur werd door Bakels naar Nederland gesmokkeld.

Uitgave Schrijvers getuigen tegen oorlog en militarisme

De opdracht van Eikeboom voor zijn vriend Jo Moes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oorlogsdreiging
Na een aantal interne conflicten verdween Eikeboom noodgedwongen uit de VAU en startte vervolgens zijn eigen anarchistische uitgeverij. Bovendien moest hij in 1938 zijn redacteurschap van het tijdschrift De Arbeider opgeven omdat hij niet in staat bleek allerlei twisten in de beweging buiten de krant te houden. Ook binnen de SAA moest hij na interne meningsverschillen opstappen. In de anarchistische beweging kon hij zo nu en dan op fikse kritiek rekenen: Henk wist moeilijk onderscheid te maken tussen privéfinanciën en dat van tijdschriften waarvan hij de redacteur was. Zijn rol in de anarchistische beweging leek uitgespeeld.
Hij bleef echter schrijven en publiceren: brochures, poëzie en journalistieke bijdragen voor het tijdschrift Naar de Vrijheid en soms voor De Vrije Socialist.
Van de in 1939 toegenomen oorlogsdreiging leek Eikeboom zich niet veel aan te trekken.
Afwachtend, schouderophalend bijna volgde hij de gebeurtenissen. Anarchisten zijn tegen iedere oorlog, dus ook tegen deze, betoogde hij. Deze strijd is niet de onze, was zijn redenering. Wel werkte hij met zijn antimilitaristische gedicht ‘Als de klok klept’ nog mee aan de uitgave Schrijvers getuigen tegen oorlog en militarisme, een initiatief van de Jongeren Vredes Actie, waarin een zestigtal schrijvers protesteerden tegen de oorlog, onder wie Theun de Vries, Jef Last, Henriëtte Roland Holst, A. den Doolaard, E. du Perron, Simon Vestdijk en Fedde Schurer. In een exemplaar dat hij zijn vriend Jo Moens cadeau deed schreef hij:
‘Want schoner is ‘t, ook zonder hoop te strijden,
Dan zuchtend smaad te drinken uit de bron,
Wier weeë walg de duizenden beschreiden…

10/11/39 van Henk Eikeboom – op een brandend uur in onze geschiedenis.’

Onderduik
Ook na de Duitse inval in Nederland bleef hij zijn boekwinkeltje voortzetten. Daarnaast schreef hij artikelen die hij zelf stencilde, bundelde en niette, en verspreidde onder vrienden, kennissen en geestverwanten. De inhoud van deze titelloze bundelingen is niet meer te achterhalen. Voor zover bekend zijn er geen exemplaren bewaard gebleven. Het zullen teksten tegen de bezetter geweest zijn – mogelijk ook propaganda voor het anarchisme – want vrienden van Eikeboom bestempelden ze later als ‘illegaal drukwerk’. Waarschijnlijk werkte hij ook vanaf het begin mee aan de socialistische verzetsgroep De Vonk, die een gelijknamig blad uitgaf. Mogelijk is de berichtgeving over de Februaristaking in De Vonk van de hand van Eikeboom.
Waarschijnlijk was de bezetter op de hoogte van Eikebooms activiteiten. In 1941 dook hij onder toen hij via via vernam dat hij op een lijst van te arresteren communisten stond (voor de bezetter was er nauwelijks verschil tussen communisten en anarchisten), opgesteld na de Duitse inval in de Sovjet-Unie. Al vóór de oorlog kwam zijn naam voor op lijsten met ‘revolutionaire personen’ van de Centrale Inlichtingen Dienst (de latere BVD). De Duitse Sicherheitsdienst beschikte daar natuurlijk over.
De Duitsers deden een inval in de woning van Eikeboom aan de Zwanenburgwal in Amsterdam. Nog net op tijd wist de vrouw van Henk de ledenlijsten van de VAU te verstoppen en later te vernietigen. Henk had toen al – onder een schuilnaam – een kamer gehuurd bij een kennis in Den Haag.

Henk Eikeboom en zijn zoon Rogier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illegaal werk
Eikebooms activiteiten in de oorlog verschilden weinig van die ervoor. Hij bleef ‘gewoon’ zijn stencils schrijven en publiceren. Zijn gedrag en houding ten opzichte van autoriteiten wijzigde zich nauwelijks. De ene machthebber was vervangen door de andere, zo moet hij geredeneerd hebben. Vandaar waarschijnlijk zijn laconieke en vaak onvoorzichtige houding in die dagen. Op zijn onderduikadres slingerden overal papieren en zijn stencilmachine had
hij gewoon op tafel staan. Wellicht dacht hij dat het met de repressie wel mee zou vallen.
Ondanks dat hij was ondergedoken, zocht hij gewoon zijn moeder in Baarn op. Ook onderhield hij relaties met verschillende vrouwen, met wie hij soms via contactadvertenties kennismaakte. Tegen kennissen schepte hij soms een beetje op over illegaal werk dat hij zou verrichten, al kreeg niemand er hoogte van wat dat dan precies was.

Boeken van Henk Eikeboom

Uitgaven van de VAU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Verraad
In december 1941 werd hij door de Duitsers opgepakt. Naar alle waarschijnlijkheid is hij verraden, onbekend is door wie. Mogelijk was hierbij een bedrogen vrouw in het spel. Eerst zat hij vast in de gevangenis in Scheveningen, later werd hij overgebracht naar kamp Amersfoort. Omdat hij daar verschillende malen het kampreglement overtrad, is hij meerdere keren ernstig mishandeld. In maart 1943 werd hij overgeplaatst naar kamp Vught, waar hij een baantje in de drukkerij kreeg. Het verhaal gaat dat hij in Vught een boek zou hebben geschreven, wat naar buiten gesmokkeld zou zijn, maar bewijs daarvoor ontbreekt.
In Vught ging zijn conditie sterk achteruit. Na Dolle Dinsdag werd hij op transport gesteld naar Duitsland. Hij belandde in kamp Rotenburg, een onderafdeling van het concentratiekamp Neuengamme. Door kou, honger, dorst en mishandelingen verslechterde zijn toestand snel.
Hij liep tyfus op en is vermoedelijk na een dodenmars van gevangenen van Rotenburg naar kamp Sandbostel, daar op 11 mei 1945 overleden.

Afgebeelde boeken en brochures: collectie Martin Smit

Literatuur
Pzisko Jacobs, Henk Eikeboom, anarchist, Haarlem 1986;
Michael P Spahr, Vrijheidsbezinning in tijden van dictatuur. Nederlandse anarchisten en de Tweede Wereldoorlog (doctoraalscriptie), Amsterdam 1998;
De AS 158, Nederlandse anarchisten in de Tweede Wereldoorlog, Moerkapelle 2007.




Does the UK Need the EU? An Interview With Malcolm Sawyer

Malcolm Sawyer, Emeritus Professor of Economics at Leeds University

What was Brexit all about? What will its most likely consequences for UK, EU, and the world economy at large? Renowned British economist Malcolm Sawyer, Emeritus Professor of Economics at Leeds University, UK, discusses these and other related issues in an exclusive interview below with C. J. Polychroniou. 

C. J. Polychroniou:Brexit has happened. The UK has gotten a divorce from the European Union (EU), after being a member for 47 years. Is this a cultural and political revolution?

Malcolm Sawyer: As of 11pm. (UK time) on 31st January 2020, the UK is no longer a member of the EU, and as such does not participate in the political deliberations of the EU (e.g. no longer any UK members of the European Parliament, UK government ministers do not attend meetings of council of ministers). However, during what is termed a transition period, intended to be completed by 31st December this year, very little has changed in the economic and social relationships between the UK and the EU. Trade continues to take place on the same terms as before, the free movement of labour between countries continues, etc. etc.. The economic effects of UK’s leaving of the EU are yet to be felt, e.g. those from changes in the trading arrangements. To date, there have been effects of the prospects of Brexit: the sterling exchange rate declined sharply shortly after the referendum from which it has not yet fully recovered, and investment has been subdued through uncertainty of the future relationships.

The referendum result was 52/48 in favour of leave over remain, and opinion polls since the referendum have tended to find some, albeit small, movement in opinion towards remain. The general election result of December 2019 resulted in a large Parliamentary majority for the Conservative government with Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, but based on a 43 per cent share of the national vote. The main political parties against Brexit without a further referendum, and against what is often termed a ‘hard Brexit’ (which is now the probable outcome) secured 52 per cent of the national vote.

At the present time, very little has changed in the day-to-day relationships between the UK and the EU. Trade relationships, movement of peoples etc will be decided upon over the next few months. It remains to be seen how co-operative will be the future relationships between the UK and the EU – much of the Brexit campaign has been based on hostility and suspicion of the EU, which undermine future co-operation. Brexit and the campaigns surrounding it have shown up deep divisions within British society.

C. J. Polychroniou: What are the implications of Brexit for the future of Great Britain, the EU, and the world economy at large?

Malcolm Sawyer: Future of UK. The result of the referendum (2016 on remain or leave the EU) revealed significant differences between age groups (old more likely to vote leave than the young), and geographical (cities more likely to vote remain than towns and rural areas). There were also differences between the constituent nations of the UK – England and Wales both voted to leave, and Scotland and Northern Ireland to remain.

There are forces which could propel a break-up of the United Kingdom with Scotland becoming an independent nation and Northern Ireland re-unified with Ireland. The pressures for independence in Scotland are enhanced by the UK leaving the EU, with a Scottish National Party (SNP) in power in Scotland (albeit as a minority government) continuing to push for a second referendum on Scottish independence. A majority of members of the Scottish Parliament favour independence (SNP plus Scottish Green Party) and recent opinion polls put support for independence slightly in the lead.

The post-Brexit trading relations between the UK and the EU could well interact with political and demographic changes to bring Irish re-unification to the fore. In the UK general election in December 2019, the number of Unionist members of parliament elected in Northern Ireland did not form a majority for the first time ever. As I write this, in the general election in Ireland, Sinn Féin recorded its highest share of the vote ever by far, with 24 ½ per cent, with the two parties (Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael) which had dominated Irish politics since independence at a combined vote share of 43 per cent. This may well help to put Irish unification on the agenda.

The border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic is the land border between the UK and the EU. Having a completely open border has been an important feature of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) of 1998 and the peace process. To facilitate trade across the Irish border (including the maintenance of supply chains which straddle the border) and to minimize border checks would require a close trading relationship. There have been proposals for Northern Ireland to be in a closer relationship with the EU than the rest of the UK, and in effect for a form of border to run down the Irish Sea.

EU: The major challenges facing the EU remain largely as before, and the UK’s exit may now enable the EU to focus on those challenges. As the UK has been a net contributor to the EU budget, there will need to be some adjustments with losses of funds for a number of countries. The UK leaving does not significantly change the nature of the major challenges for the EU. These include relatively poor economic performance and a dysfunctional single currency, meeting the climate emergency, and the rise of the authoritarian right and presence in government in a number of case.

World economy: The UK is of course a small player in the world economy. There will no doubt be changes in the patterns of trade and foreign direct investment, but unlikely to be quantitative significant.

A significant detrimental effect comes from policy actions on climate change and the environment. The Conservative government returned with a large Parliamentary majority in the December general election have a lack of commitment to climate change action. The policies in their general election manifesto were notably less ambitious than those of the other major parties: for example, carbon-neutral by 2050 (which itself does not correspond to current government measures 2099) rather than in the 2030s. The UK’s withdrawal from the EU undermines co-operation over environmental policies and the development of Europe wide environmental standards.

C. J. Polychroniou: Does the UK need an EU trade deal? If so, what is the likelihood that Boris Johnson will agree to EU rules on trade? If not, what does the UK want?

Malcolm Sawyer: A strong element of the leave campaign (reinforced since then) was ‘take back control’, which in the area of trade spills over into ‘make our own regulations’ and not be in any way bound by the regulations of the EU. A close trade deal between the UK and the EU would involve mutual recognition of regulations and more, and that would most likely mean the UK accepting most if not all of the rules and regulations of the EU single market. This could come close to the arrangements between Norway and the EU, which entails free movement of labour, and a contribution by Norway to the EU budget. The closer the trade deal, the lower are barriers to trade, and higher the degree of trade.

There are estimates of the losses to national income which would result from a ‘no deal’ outcome is of the order of 5 per cent over a 10 year period. ‘The UK in a changing Europe’ research group estimates that leaving with a ‘no deal’ on WTO rules may result in per capita income being 3.3 per cent lower as compared with UK remaining in the EU, and up to 8.1 per cent lower if productivity treated as  impacted by the increased impediments to trade. What was termed Johnson’s proposals were estimated to result in a 2.5 per cent (and 6.4 per cent in the productivity harmed by trade impediments case).

Although there has at various times been talk of ‘no deal’ and ‘trading on WTO terms’, I find it difficult to think that such an outcome would be at all desirable (though it may well occur by accident as a result of a form of prisoners’ dilemma). A ‘no deal’ situation would not only involve tariffs on trade between the UK and the EU, but significant border checks which would have disruptive effects on the supply chains which cross international borders, not to mention the effects on the land-border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. The declared position of the UK government appears [check] to be what is often referred to as a Canada style agreement by reference to the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada. This trade deal is said to cover 98 per cent of the goods traded between EU and Canada on a no tariff, no quota basis, but does not cover services, and this little by way of regulatory alignment CHECK.

It appears that the current UK government would not be looking to have a close trading relationship with the EU – at most a comprehensive free trade agreement on goods, but not on services. Fears of having to accept any regulatory controls from the EU combined with a drive to agree a trade deal with the USA push the government that way. But many others would prefer much closer trading relationships between the UK and the EU. The preference for such a relationship range from the ways in which trade (particularly for supply chains) would be facilitated with what is UK’s largest trading partner by far through to fears of what a trade deal with the USA in the Trump era would entail.

C. J. Polychroniou: Some on the left have argued that Brexit was a struggle against neoliberalism. But wasn’t Boris Johnsons’ Brexit plan neoliberal at its very core, a free-market dream for reducing government programs, regulations, directives and acts coming from Brussels?

Malcolm Sawyer:There are many elements within the policy frameworks of the EU which can be viewed as neo-liberal, though for a number of them (particular in respect of macroeconomic policies including monetary policy conducted by an ‘independent’ central bank and numerical limits on budget deficits and debts) may be viewed more as ordo-liberalism. There are, though, areas of economic and social policy, employment where the EU approach does not readily fit into the neo-liberal mould. Many would argue that the UK policy approach has often been more neo-liberal than the EU and where the UK has been pushing the EU agenda in the neo-liberal direction. An example of the latter being the promotion of market liberalization in the area of utilities. Limits on State Aid to industry have been taken as a sign of a neo-liberal agenda, but it appears that the UK has made much less use of State Aid than many other EU countries.

The EU, particularly in the context of the single market, has promoted strong regulation applicable across the whole of the EU on the grounds of safeguarding health and safety, environmental protection etc. and also to help promote market integration. A good produced in one EU country would have to meet the same standards a similar good produced in another EU country.  Many, particularly on the right of the Tory Party, are market liberalisers and de-regulationist at heart. The book Britannia Unchained, published in 2012, authors include present Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary and International Trade Secretary promoted a Thatcherite agenda with fewer employment laws and de-regulation. And in UK leaving the EU means that the hated ‘hand’ of Brussels can be lifted and de-regulation pushed forward. For many within the government, leaving the EU enables a combination of shifting from regulations from the EU to regulations designed within the UK (‘taking back control’) and slackening of regulations. And, it could be anticipated that the de-regulation agenda will be pursued in the employment laws and environmental protection.

C. J. Polychroniou is a political scientist/political economist who has taught at numerous universities in Europe and the United States and has also worked at various research centers. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Delaware and is author/editor of several books, including Marxist Perspectives on Imperialism (1991), Perspectives and Issues in International Political Economy (1992), Socialism: Crisis and Renewal (1993), Discourse on Globalization and Democracy: Conversations With Leading Scholars of Our Time (in Greek, 2001) and hundreds of articles and essays, many of which have been translated into scores of foreign languages. His latest book is a collection of interviews with Noam Chomsky titled Optimism Over Despair: On Capitalism, Empire, and Social Change (Haymarket Books, 2017).

 




Deutsch-niederländische Geschichtswerkstatt zu Flüchtlingen in Amsterdam in der NS-Zeit

EXIL IN AMSTERDAM ZUID: DEUTSCHLAND AUF DER FLUCHT
Ein europäisches Gedenkprojekt

Deutschsprachige Flüchtlinge waren in der Nazizeit in Amsterdam im Exil: Frauen, Männer und Kinder aus dem heutigen Hessen, Baden-Württemberg, Rheinland-Pfalz, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg, dem Saarland, dem Elsass, aus Bayern, Schleswig-Holstein, Niedersachsen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Sachsen, Thüringen, Polen, Tschechien und aus Österreich hatten in den Niederlanden Zuflucht gefunden. Bis zum Einmarsch der Wehrmacht 1940 waren sie dort sicher. Ihren Spuren nachzugehen und Rechercheergebnisse zu bündeln, um vor dem Hintergrund heutiger Flüchtlingsdebatten an die deutschen Flüchtlinge der NS-Zeit zu erinnern, ist ein Ziel dieses grenzüberschreitenden Projektes.

Der Bremer Geschichtsverein Lastoria lädt zum Mitmachen ein.

Unser Bremer Geschichtsverein Lastoria e.V. plant für Sonntag, 22. März 2020, 10 bis 18 Uhr, eine besondere Veranstaltung, die wir gerne rechtzeitig bekanntmachen möchten.

In der Villa Ichon, Goetheplatz 4, gibt es in unserem internationalen, interaktiven Gedenkprojekt “Deutschland auf der Flucht. Exil in Amsterdam Zuid 1933-1945” unter anderem Fachvorträge, Lesungen, Musik und einen Niederländisch-Kurzkurs.
Um freien Eintritt ermöglichen zu können, hoffen wir auf Spenden und Sponsoren.
Verschiedene Kooperationsformen sind denkbar. Für Vorschläge sind wir offen.

Wer etwas zum Programm beitragen möchte, sollte sich bitte umgehend melden, dann versuchen wir das Programm gerne zu ergänzen.
Ansonsten soll es an dem Tag aber auch reichlich Zeit für Gespräche geben.

Sobald Details geklärt sind, werden wir einen digitalen Flyer erstellen und in Deutschland und den Niederlanden versenden.
Dann sind auch Anmeldungen möglich.

Involviert sind bisher “Erinnern für die Zukunft” (Barbara Johr), “Aus den Akten auf die Bühne” (das Kooperationsprojekt des Geschichtsstudiengangs der Universität Bremen und der Bremer Shakespeare Company), Stolpersteingruppen in unterschiedlichen Bundesländern, eine Doktorandin der Universität Münster und An Huitzing von der Wolff Stichting in Amsterdam.

Monika Felsing
Historikerin und Journalistin
ehrenamtlich tätig im
Bremer Geschichtsverein Lastoria e.V.

mail@lastoria-bremen.de

Website: http://www.lastoria-bremen.de/akt038.htm




James Baldwin Debates William F. Buckley (1965)

 

The legendary debate that laid down US political lines on race, justice and history

In 1965 at the University of Cambridge, two of the foremost American intellectuals were challenged with the question: ‘Has the American Dream been achieved at the expense of the American Negro?’ From William F Buckley’s highly stylised posturing and pointing, to James Baldwin’s melodious rhetorical flourishes and memorable scowls, what’s become known as the ‘Baldwin-Buckley Debate’ now stands as one of the archetypal articulations of the dividing line between US progressives and conservatives on questions of race, justice and history. Baldwin, the famed African-American writer, whose reputation as a progressive social critic and visionary Civil Rights activist has only risen in the intervening decades, argues that the very foundation of US society is built on the dehumanisation of its African-American population. Meanwhile, Buckley, the leading US conservative intellectual of the period, argues that African Americans would be best served by exploiting their country’s many freedoms and opportunities, rather than pointing a collective finger at discriminatory structures and institutions. In both cases, their positions presage contemporary divisive debates in the US, though one wonders whether such an event could happen in today’s political environment.

While usually reduced to short clips, the full hour-long debate – presented here in its entirety – is a remarkable historical document in its own right. Conducted in front of a large, almost entirely white and predominantly male audience at the Cambridge Union, the encounter offers a sense of campus intellectual life in the mid-1960s through the atmosphere in the room, the things that made people laugh, and the particular references made by the debaters. After the always eloquent Baldwin evokes his personal experience to describe a perpetually disorienting and demeaning existence for African Americans, Buckley responds with facts and figures – as well as an ad hominem shot at Baldwin’s speaking voice – to argue that there’s an American Dream available to all those who would pursue it. In the end, Baldwin prevailed, earning an ardent standing ovation and a landslide victory in the Union’s vote on the motion raised.

From: https://aeon.co/the-legendary-debate-that-laid-down-us-political-lines-on-race-justice-and-history




Noam Chomsky: Sanders Threatens The Establishment By Inspiring Popular Movements

Noam Chomsky

The impeachment trial of Donald Trump for power abuses is winding down, with his acquittal all but ensured when the Senate reconvenes on Wednesday to vote on the articles of impeachment. Yet, his real crimes continue to receive scant attention, and it is Sen. Bernie Sanders who is regarded by the political establishment as the most dangerous politician because of his commitment to a just and equitable social order and a sustainable future. Meanwhile, the conclusion of the Davos meeting in January demonstrated the global elites’ ongoing commitment to unimpeded planetary destruction.

This is indeed the state of the contemporary U.S. political environment, as the great public intellectual Noam Chomsky points out in this exclusive interview for Truthout.

C.J. Polychroniou: The impeachment trial of Donald Trump isnearlyover, and what a farce it has been — something you had predicted from the start, which is also the reason why you thought that an impeachment inquiry was a rather foolish move on the part of the Democrats. With that in mind, what does this farcical episode tell us about the contemporary state of U.S. politics, and do you anticipate any political fallout in the 2020 election?

Noam Chomsky: It seemed clear from the outset that the impeachment effort could not be serious, and would end up being another gift by the Democrats to Trump, much as the Mueller affair was. Any doubts about its farcical nature were put to rest by its opening spectacle: Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts struggling to keep a straight face while swearing in senators who solemnly pledged that they would be unmoved by partisan concerns, and at once proceeded as everyone know they would to behave and vote along strictly party lines. Could there be a clearer exhibition of pure farce?

Are the crimes discussed a basis for impeachment? Seems so to me. Has Trump committed vastly more serious crimes? That is hardly debatable. What might be debatable is whether he is indeed the most dangerous criminal in human history (which happens to be my personal view). Hitler had been perhaps the leading candidate for this honor. His goal was to rid the German-run world of Jews, Roma, homosexuals and otherdeviants, along with tens of millions of Slav Untermenschen. But Hitler was not dedicated with fervor to destroying the prospects of organized human life on Earth in the not-distant future (along with millions of other species).
Trump is. And those who think he doesn’t know what he’s doing haven’t been looking closely.

Is that a wild and ludicrous exaggeration? Or the very simple and apparent truth? It’s not difficult to figure out the answer. We’ve discussed it often before. There is no need to review what is happening on Trump’s watch while he devotes every effort to accelerating the race to catastrophe, trailed by such lesser lights as Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and Australia’s Scott Morrison

Every day brings new forebodings. We have just learned, for example, that the gigantic Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica has been eroding from warm water below. The Washington Post describes this as “a troubling finding that could speed its melt in a region with the potential to eventually unleash more than10 feetof sea-level rise,” adding, “Scientists already knew that Thwaites was losing massive amounts of ice more than600 billion tons  over the past several decades, and most recently as much as 50 billion tons per year.It has now been confirmed, as suspected, thatthis was occurring because a layer of relatively warmer ocean water, which circles Antarctica below the colder surface layer, had moved closer to shore and begun to eat away at the glaciers themselves, affecting West Antarctica in particular.The chief scientist involved in the study warns that this may signalan unstoppable retreat that has huge implications for global sea-level rise.

That’s today. Tomorrow will be something worse.

What’s causing the warmer water? No secret. This is only one of the likely irreversible tipping points that may be reached if “the Chosen One,” as he modestly describes himself, is granted another four years to carry out his project of global destruction.
We have just witnessed an extraordinary event at the January Davos meeting of the Masters of the Universe, as they are called; for Adam Smith, they were only “the masters of mankind,” but 250 years ago it was just British merchants and manufacturers.

The conference opened with Trump’s oration about what a fabulous creature he is. The encomium was interrupted only by a comment that we should not bealarmistabout the climate. His Magnificence was followed by the quiet and informed comments of a 17-year old girl instructing the heads of state, CEOs, media leaders and grand intellectuals about what it means to be a responsible adult.
Quite a spectacle.

Trump’s war on organized life on Earth is only the barest beginning. More narrowly, in recent days, the Chosen One has issued executive orders ridding the country of the plague of regulations that protect children from mercury poisoning and preserve the country’s water supplies and lands, along with other impediments to further enrichment of Trump’s primary constituency, extreme wealth and corporate power.

On the side, he has been casually proceeding to dismantle the last vestiges of the arms control regime that has provided some limited degree of security from terminal nuclear war, eliciting cheers from the military industry. And as we have just learned, the great pacifist who is committed to end interventions “dropped more bombs and other munitions in Afghanistan last year than any other year since documentation began in 2006, Air Force data shows.

He is also ramping up his acts of war which is what they are against Iran. I won’t even go into his giving Israel what the Israeli press calls “a gift to the right,” formally giving the back of his imperial hand to international law, the World Court, the UN Security Council and overwhelming international opinion, while shoring up the Evangelical vote for the 2020 election. The prerogative of supreme power.

In brief, the list of Trump’s crimes is immense, not least the worst crime in human history. But none merit a nod in the impeachment proceedings. This is hardly a novelty; rather the norm. The current proceedings are often compared with Watergate. Nixon’s hideous crimes were eliminated from the charges against him despite the efforts of Rep. Robert Frederick Drinan and a few others. The Nixon impeachment charges focused on his illegal acts to harm Democrats.
Any resemblance to the farce that is now winding up? Does it suggest some insight into what motivates the powerful?

Speaking of the 2020 election, the corporate Democratic establishment and the liberal media are once again mobilizing to undermine Bernie Sanders, even though he may very well be the most electable Democrat. First, can you summarize for us what you perceive to be the core of Sanders’s politico-ideological gestalt, and then explain what scares both conservatives and liberals — the possibility of someone like Sanders leading the country?

The core of Sanders’spolitico-ideological gestaltis his long-standing commitment to the interests of the large majority of the population, not the top 0.1 percent (not 1 percent, 0.1 percent) who hold more than 20 percent of the country’s wealth, not the very rich who were the prime beneficiaries of the slow recovery from the 2008 disaster caused by financial capital. The U.S. achievement in this regard far surpasses that of other developed countries, so we learn from recently released studies, which show that in the U.S., 65 percent of the growth of the past decade went to the very rich; next in line was Germany, at 51 percent, then declining sharply. The same studies show that if current trends persist, in the next decade all growth in the U.S. will go to the rich.

The welfare of these sectors has never been Sanders’s concern.

The Democratic establishment and liberal media are hardly likely to look kindly on someone who forthrightly proclaims, I have no use for those regardless of their political partywho hold some foolish dream of spinning the clock back to days when unorganized labor was a huddled, almost helpless mass…. Only a handful of unreconstructed reactionaries harbor the ugly thought of breaking unions. Only a fool would try to deprive working men and women of the right to join the union of their choice.By right to work” laws, for example, or by hiring scabs, or by threatening to ship jobs to Mexico to undermine organizing efforts, to sample the bipartisan political leadership.

That’s surely the kind of socialist wild man whom the country is not ready to tolerate.

The wild man in this case is President Dwight Eisenhower, the last conservative president. His remarks are a good illustration of how far the political class has shifted to the right under Clintonite “New Democrats” and the Reagan-Gingrich Republicans. The latter have drifted so far off the political spectrum that they are ranked near neo-fascist parties in the international spectrum, well to the right of “conservatives.”

Even more threatening than Sanders’s proposals to carry forward New Deal-style policies, I think, is his inspiring a popular movement that is steadily engaged in political action and direct activism to change the social order — a movement of people, mostly young, who have not internalized the norms of liberal democracy: that the public are “ignorant and meddlesome outsiders” who are to be “spectators, not participants in action,” entitled to push a lever every four years but are then to return to their TV sets and video games while the “responsible men” look after serious matters.

This is a fundamental principle of democracy as expounded by prominent and influential liberal 20thcentury American intellectuals, who took cognizance of “the stupidity of the average man” and recognized that we should not be deluded by “democratic dogmatisms about men being the best judges of their own interests.” They are not; we are — the “responsible men,” the “intelligent minority.” The “bewildered herd” must therefore be “put in their place” by “necessary illusions” and “emotionally potent simplifications.” These are among the pronouncements of the most influential 20thcentury public intellectual, Walter Lippmann, in his “progressive essays on democracy”; Harold Lasswell, one of the founders of modern political science; and Reinhold Niebuhr, the admired “theologian of the (liberal) establishment.” All highly respected Wilson-FDR-Kennedy liberals.

Inspiring a popular movement that violates these norms is a serious attack on democracy, so conceived, an intolerable assault against good order.

I believe we witnessed something similar in the last U.K. elections in the case of Jeremy Corbyn. Do you agree? And, if so, what does this tell us about liberal democracy, which is nowadays in serious trouble itself on account of the rise and spread of authoritarianism and the far right in many parts of the world?

There are definite similarities. Corbyn, a decent and honorable man, was subjected to an extraordinary flood of vilification and defamation, which he was unable to confront. At the same time, polls indicated that the policies that he put forth and that had led to a remarkable victory forLabour in 2017 remained popular. A special feature in the U.K. was Brexit, a matter I won’t go into here (my personal opinion, for what it’s worth, is that it is a serious blow to both Britain and the EU, and is likely to cause Britain — or what remains of it — to become even more of a vassal of the U.S. than it has been under Blair’s New Labour and the Tories, whose social and economic policies have caused the country great harm). Corbyn’s vacillation on the Brexit issue, which became a toxic one, surely contributed to the negative feelings about him that seem to have been a major factor in the electoral disaster for Labour, but it was only one.

As in the case of Sanders, I suspect that the prime reason for the bitter hatred of Corbyn on the part of a very wide spectrum of the British establishment is his effort to turn the Labour Party into a participatory organization that would not leave electoral politics in the hands of theLabour bureaucracy and would proceed beyond the narrow realm of electoral politics to far broader and constant activism and engagement in public affairs.

More generally, much of the world is aflame. As the men of Davos recognized with trepidation at their January meeting, the peasants are coming with their pitchforks: The neoliberal order they have imposed for the past 40 years, while ultra-generous to them and their class, has had a bitter impact on the general population. A leading theme at Davos was that the Masters must declare that they are changing their stance from service to the rich to attending to the concerns of “stakeholders” — working people and communities. Another theme was that while not “alarmists,” they acknowledge the threat of global warming.

The unstated implication is that there is no need for regulations and other actions about climate change: We Big Boys will take care of it. GretaThunberg and the other children demonstrating out there can go back to school. And now that we see the flaws in our neoliberal model of capitalism, you can put aside all those disruptive political programs calling for healthcare, rights of workers, women, the poor. We’re taking care of it, so just go back to your private pursuits, keeping to democratic norms.

As the neoliberal order is visibly collapsing, it is giving rise to “morbid symptoms” (to borrow Gramsci’s famous phrase when the fascist plague was looming). Among these are the spread of authoritarianism and the far right that you mention. More generally, what we are witnessing is quite understandable anger, resentment and contempt for the political institutions that have implemented the neoliberal assault — but also the rise of activist movements that seek to overcome the ills of global society and to stem and reverse the race to destruction.

The confrontation could hardly have been exhibited more dramatically than by the appearance of Greta Thunberg immediately after the most powerful man in the worldthe leader in the race to destruction had admonished the Masters to disdain the “heirs of yesterday’s foolish fortune tellers” (virtually 100 percent of climate scientists) and to take up his wrecking ball.

Previoulsy published: https://truthout.org/noam-chomsky-sanders

C.J. Polychroniou is a political economist/political scientist who has taught and worked in universities and research centers in Europe and the United States. His main research interests are in European economic integration, globalization, the political economy of the United States and the deconstruction of neoliberalism’s politico-economic project. He is a regular contributor to Truthout as well as a member of Truthout’s Public Intellectual Project. He has published several books and his articles have appeared in a variety of journals, magazines, newspapers and popular news websites. Many of his publications have been translated into several foreign languages, including Croatian, French, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish. He is the author of Optimism Over Despair: Noam Chomsky On Capitalism, Empire, and Social Change, an anthology of interviews with Chomsky originally published at Truthoutand collected by Haymarket Books.