De wegbereiders

Er moet een dag geweest zijn dat iemand bedacht dat er een parallel is tussen het ombrengen van miljoenen mensen en de gevolgen van de beslissing geen vaccin te nemen. De mens is in staat verstandeloze gedachten voort te brengen.

Het gebruik van een gele ster in de strijd tegen coronamaatregelen is geen gebrek aan historisch besef, het is de keuze voor een wereldbeeld waarbij achter de noemer globalistisch socialisme abjecte ideeën over de natiestaat, raszuiverheid en antisemitisme terug zijn in het politieke debat.

Tijdens de Algemene Beschouwingen deze week liet de denker van deze beweging geen twijfel bestaan over de omarming van dit gedachtegoed.
De wegbereiders voor een bruine toekomst zitten in ons parlement.

Aldus mijn tachtigjarige buurman vanochtend in een lange e-mail over de Algemene Beschouwingen.

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Goethe-Institut Amsterdam – Joseph Sassoon Semah – Exhibition ‘On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) IV‘

Goethe-Institut  Amsterdam , Herengracht 470, Amsterdam
28 October 2021- 30 December 2021, Joseph Sassoon Semah – Exhibition ‘On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) IV‘

28 October 2021, 20.00 p.m. Performance and Meeting

Mati Shemoelof (Poet, Author, Editor, Journalist, Berlin, https://mati-s.com) & Joseph Sassoon Semah (Amsterdam, http://www.josephsemah.nl), English

The discussion about the creative activities of Joseph Beuys adhere to Eurocentric culture in general and to post-war German culture in particular. And yet, what will happen when two Iraqi Jews, i.e. Babylonian Jews – who live in two European capitals, Berlin and Amsterdam, respectively – decided to deconstruct Beuys’s post war art production. Could we give these two guests who became our host free speech, and should we listen to their desire to reclaim the Jewish Babylonian tradition from Joseph Beuys’s art? Most of the research on Joseph Beuys artistic activity has been generated by theories concerning Eurocentric culture, values and experiences, however this time we have the opportunity to hear other voices, a different reading which comes from the East, i.e. from thousand years of Babylonian Jewish interpretive texts and thoughts that criticize Beuys’ work.

11 November 2021, 20.00 p.m. Perfomance and Meeting

Rick Vercauteren (publicist and art historian)  & Joseph Sassoon Semah
‘Joseph Beuys and Wolf Vostell: Zwischen Dichtung und Wahrheit‘

Joseph Beuys manifested himself post-war as the new Messiah, as a healer, as a shaman for the Germans, to free himself as perpetrator and free the Germans of their guilt. Vostell embodies the victim and claims to embody the German guilt, to fill the vacuum that the genocide left behind. Wolf Vostell claimed since the early 1950’s that his mother was a Sephardic Jew. However, it wasn’t until many years later that scholars began to inquire about Wolf’s ‘fabricated’ autobiography.

Joseph Sassoon Semah and Rick Vercauteren will focus on the German artist duo Joseph Beuys and Wolf Vostell.

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Multatuli online

Lithografie naar portret van Multatuli door César Mitkiewicz

Multatuli – pseudoniem van Eduard Douwes Dekker (1820-1887) – wordt beschouwd als de belangrijkste schrijver uit het Nederlands taalgebied. Zijn invloed op de Nederlandse literatuur, de koloniale politiek, het feminisme en de arbeidersbeweging is baanbrekend geweest. Het Multatuli Genootschap/Stichting Multatuli Huis wil de belangstelling voor deze schrijver en denker levend houden door op multatuli.online zijn volledige werk en correspondentie en alle documenten (zoals teksten, afbeeldingen, archivalia) die op hem betrekking hebben digitaal en in samenhang te publiceren. De website is bestemd voor belangstellenden en onderzoekers maar ook voor wie hier kennismaakt met Multatuli.

De realisering van dit project zal stapsgewijs plaatsvinden. Op dit moment zijn alle zelfstandige publicaties van Multatuli aanwezig, alle bewaard gebleven correspondentie (ca. 5000 brieven), een biografie (door Dik van der Meulen) en het complete voor deze website gedigitaliseerde Multatuli Archief (eigendom van het Multatuli Genootschap en bewaard door Allard Pierson, De Collecties van de Universiteit van Amsterdam).

Daarnaast bevat de website een Multatuli Encyclopedie, een Multatuli Atlas, een Multatuli Lexicon en toegang tot een ruime hoeveelheid secundaire literatuur. Waar mogelijk wordt gewezen naar eerder gedigitaliseerde werken en documentatie, zoals te vinden bij de Koninklijke Bibliotheek (de Digitale Bibliotheek voor de Nederlandse Letteren en Delpher) en het Huygens Instituut.

Het colofon vermeldt alle personen en instellingen die tot nu toe een bijdrage hebben geleverd. Om een zo compleet mogelijk beeld van Multatuli’s werk en levensloop tot stand te brengen kunnen we de hulp van kenners en geïnteresseerden gebruiken. Wie over documenten – brieven, beeldmateriaal of secundaire literatuur – beschikt die hier niet mogen ontbreken of wie anderszins een bijdrage wil leveren aan multatuli.online (financieel of in natura), wordt van harte uitgenodigd om zich te melden bij de redactie van de website. Ook onjuistheden of suggesties voor verbetering kunnen aan de redactie worden doorgegeven.

Deze website is een initiatief van het Multatuli Genootschap en de Stichting Multatuli Huis. Door (fiscaal vriendelijk) donateur te worden ondersteunt u het werk van het genootschap en de stichting en verzekert u de instandhouding van deze website.

Bovenaan iedere pagina van deze website worden delen van de Multatuli Collectie getoond – brieven, documenten, manuscripten, foto’s, afbeeldingen en meer – om een indruk te geven van de rijkdom en de verscheidenheid van die collectie.

Bezoek de site: https://multatuli.online/home

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So-Called Democratic “Moderates” Are Actually Right-Wingers Who Have Always Thrown Up Roadblocks To Social Progress

CJ Polychroniou

The U.S. is the only liberal-democratic country in the world with a political system set up for two mainstream parties, a long and continuous history of union suppression, and without a major socialist party at the national level.

How is it possible that the world’s largest economy has a crumbling  infrastructure (“shabby beyond belief”  is how the CEO of Legal & General, a multinational financial services and asset management company,  described it back in 2016), and ranks in the lower half of second tier countries, behind economic powerhouses Cyprus and Greece, on the 2020 Social Progress Index?

It’s the politics, stupid!

The United States is the only liberal-democratic country in the world with a political system set up for two mainstream parties, a long and continuous history of union suppression, and without a major socialist party at the national level. Indeed, the countries that perform best on the Social Progress Index have multi-party systems, strong labor unions, a plethora of left-wing parties, and adhere to the social democratic model.

In other words, politics explains why the United States did not develop a European-style welfare state. Political factors also explain why economic inequalities are so huge in the US and the middle class is shrinking; why the quality of America’s health care system is dead last when compared with other western, industrialized nations; why there are millions of homeless people; and why the infrastructure resembles that of a third-world country.

However, for the first time in many decades, the country faces the prospect of the reshaping of federal government priorities, thanks to a large social spending package which includes an infrastructure bill with $550 billion in new spending and a $3.5 trillion budget blueprint intended for investments in social programs and combatting global warming. Sen. Bernie Sanders has described the $3.5 trillion budget plan as “the most consequential piece of legislation for working people, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor since FDR and the New Deal of the 1930s,” although it is highly questionable if the funding level of the reconciliation bill is sufficient enough to address the pressing needs of the country. There Is a Problem With the Infrastructure and Budget BillsThey’re Too Small (truthout.org)  More importantly, poll after poll shows that the majority of the American people support Biden’ social spending package, Most back Biden’s infrastructure bill and budget plan: Poll (usatoday.com), even though the President’s approval rating is slipping fast Polls show Biden’s approval rating sliding to new lows POLITICO and Republicans may very well flip the House in 2022.

But huge contradictions have become, after all, the centerpiece of US politics, as we will see below.

Now, in the event that the Democrats manage to pass the reconciliation bill (which they can do with a simple majority rule), America’s social safety net will undoubtedly be expanded, but it will still fall short of closing the gap with its liberal-democratic peers with respect to social protection policies. The reason is that the American welfare state is organized around different principles (it functions primarily around tax expenditures and public-private partnerships) than the welfare state in other advanced nations, thanks to the dominance of conservative modes of thinking with regard to the relationship between individual and society (partly due to the influence of the Protestant work ethic which looked with suspicion of anyone who is poor, and partly due to free-market economics which rejected outright the role of the government in promoting overall social well-being), but also due to the uniqueness of American federalism.

European governments, to be sure, and regardless of whether they are using the Nordic or the Christian-Democratic socioeconomic model, have far more generous social programs than those provided by the US government (total expenditure on social protection benefits in the EU is equivalent to approximately 27 percent of GDP, while in the US it is just over 18 percent of GDP) and they reach a significantly larger share of citizens. Europeans spend several times more on unemployment insurance, and their governments engage in more direct regulations in order to protect workers against business interests.

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De huurder als dividendvoer

 
In een land waar institutionele beleggers uit bijvoorbeeld de VS aan mogen schuiven op een ministerie om uit te leggen dat ze graag duizenden huizen willen overnemen van woningcorporaties omdat ze rente moeten betalen aan bevriende bankiers over hun miljarden en de Nederlandse huurwet garant staat voor een alleszins redelijk rendement, moet je niet opkijken dat huurders worden gezien als dividendvoer

Deze handelswijze is illustratief voor de denkwereld van Ayn Randadept Mark Rutte.
In die denkwereld geldt egoïsme, vermomd als objectivisme, als een deugd.
In tegenstelling tot het gedachtegoed van Max Stirner, waarbij het begrip egoïsme waardevrij moet worden gelezen, ontdaan van de negatieve connotatie, legaliseert de filosofie van RandRutte het recht van de sterkste. Kapitalisme als uitkomst van de evolutietheorie.

Aldus mijn tachtigjarige buurman vanochtend in een lange e-mail over de woningnood in dit land.

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There Is A Problem With The Infrastructure And Budget Bills — They’re Too Small

Robert Pollin

The United States is an outlier among advanced democratic countries in terms of societal well-being. In the 2020 Social Progress Index rankings, the U.S. is 28th, in the lower half of the second tier of nations, behind economic powerhouses Cyprus and Greece. The countries that perform best in the societal well-being index adhere to the social democratic model and have strong labor unions and a long tradition of left-wing parties.

The dismal performance of the United States in well-being, which includes having dilapidated and uneven infrastructure, could change in the next few years if the Democrats manage to get their act together and pass the infrastructure and reconciliation bills. These pieces of legislation, although hardly adequate in terms of size to address the country’s urgent needs, would be undoubtedly a step forward in terms of changing the federal government’s priorities, according to Robert Pollin, distinguished professor of economics and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. But we have to see whether the so-called U.S. “moderates” (who would be seen as right-wingers in the European political spectrum) inside the Democratic Party can put the interests of the people ahead of those of big business, or whether the so-called “progressives” (who would be seen as “moderates” in most European multi-party systems) will even back the infrastructure bill if the accompanying spending bill fails to get the necessary support. In U.S. politics, change rarely, if ever, comes from the top.

C.J. Polychroniou: After decades of political inaction on a dangerously overstretched infrastructure which lags far behind those of most other advanced countries, the U.S. Senate has finally approved a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure package which is on a path to final passage in the House. Lawmakers have also agreed to a $3.5 trillion budget process, although its status remains less certain as some moderate Senate Democrats find the total size of the budget to be too large. But let us first discuss the infrastructure bill whose current proposal targets spending over a five-year period. First, how does the world’s leading economy end up with such poor infrastructure, and what can we expect to be the economic impact of the infrastructure bill?

Robert Pollin: Let’s first be clear on the actual size of the bipartisan infrastructure bill. In fact, the version of the bill that passed in the Senate on August 10 allocates $550 billion over 5 years for the infrastructure investments, not $1 trillion, as widely reported. The bill mostly supports investments in traditional infrastructure areas, such as roads, bridges, airports, rail, ports, water management and the electric grid. It does also provide funds, if to a generally lesser extent, to high-speed internet, public transportation, electric vehicles and charging stations, and climate resilience.

Of course, the total price tag sounds gigantic, but in fact it is quite small, along multiple dimensions. First of all, spread over five years, the total spending averages to $110 billion per year. That is equal to less than one-half of one percent of current overall U.S. economic activity — i.e., U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In addition, this overall level of spending on upgrading the U.S. infrastructure falls far below what objective analysts have concluded is necessary to bring U.S. infrastructure up to a reasonable level. Specifically, the American Society of Civil Engineers recently concluded that the U.S. would need to spend an average of $260 billion per year for 10 years to bring the U.S. only up to a “B” level of infrastructure quality from its current “C-“ level. So the bipartisan bill provides only about 40 percent of what the leading professional society of civil engineers says is needed for the U.S. to maintain an adequate infrastructure in traditional areas. Without the full funding in the range of $260 billion per year, the civil engineers anticipate the U.S. infrastructure continuing its longstanding pattern of deterioration. Beyond that, this bill also provides only miniscule amounts relative to what is needed to advance a viable U.S. climate stabilization project.

The U.S. infrastructure today is in poor condition today for the simple reason that under 40 years of neoliberalism, the idea of undertaking major public investments in strengthening the domestic economy was pushed to the bottom of the federal government’s priorities. Virtually all Republican members of Congress have been doing this pushing, with enough congressional Democrats following along, regardless of whether a Democrat or Republican was in the White House. The top priorities of these members of Congress have been cutting taxes for the rich and continuing to expand the massive military budget. The military budget for 2021, at $704 billion, is nearly 7 times greater than what would be allocated for all the infrastructure projects if the bipartisan bill were to pass. Passing this bill is certainly preferable than having no new support for infrastructure projects. It will also have a modest positive impact on jobs. But let’s also be clear that this level of funding will produce none of the pressures on the federal budget or on inflation, as is being charged by critics. The funding level is just too small for that.

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