Unity for Assange’s Plight Is Necessary To Build a Movement for Democracy

Source

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange remains in solitary confinement inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he was granted asylum in 2012 against the threat of extradition to the United States for his publishing activities. In recent months, Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno, under pressure from the U.S. began threatening to evict this political refugee.

In response to this dire situation, people across the political spectrum began to form solidarity through #Unify4J, an online platform to organize a social media movement in support of Assange. Among those include prominent Trump’s supporters. In the midst of Trump administration’s draconian measures on immigrants and empowerment of white supremacist groups, the idea of working with Trump’s key allies triggered reaction among the left. Recently, Classconscious.org, an outlet spearheading global civic action for Assange’s freedom, scrutinized the idea of uniting with ultra-right forces that back Trump and urged the movement to draw a line.

Strife around the same issue arose from the former associate and early proponents of WikiLeaks. Barrett Brown, an award-winning journalist, previously imprisoned for charges relating to a Stratfor hack, has been one of the strong voices in support of the whistleblowing site. He described how he has long stood up for the organization’s mission of transparency at great risk to himself, yet in recent months he became upset about what he perceived to be Assange’s alliance with fascists and radical right supremacist groups.

Brown, who recently launched the project Pursuance, an open source software that allows individuals to share information and organize, has ramped up criticism toward Assange in his most vulnerable time. This created the conflict with the Courage Foundation, an organization that provides assistance for whistleblowers. Courage was co-founded by Assange and it has both WikiLeaks and Brown as beneficiaries. According to the article on the Daily Beast, three of Courage’s trustees reportedly instructed Courage’s respected director Naomi Colvin to cut off Brown as some kind of retaliation against his hostile remarks toward Assange. This led to the unfortunate resignation of Colvin, who was forced to walk out from the organization as a matter of principle for her opposition to exclude anyone based on political speech.

Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a former member of Iceland’s Parliament, who now joined the board of Pursuance, responded to this alleged retaliation against Brown. Jónsdóttir, who worked for WikiLeaks in the 2010 publication of the Collateral Murder video, recently tweeted her thoughts on her old colleague: “It’s beyond sad to watch the hubris of one man being able to do so much damage and alienate people who risked everything for the cause. WikiLeaks is now far closer to alt right groups then digital rights groups, by choice of its overlord.”

The divisiveness that has grown among progressives around the advocacy of WikiLeaks brings extreme alarm. It weakens any kind of efforts to resist government and corporate oppression. Finding a way to overcome this force becomes now important, not only for Assange’s freedom, but also for creating a viable movement for democracy.

Innovation on the Internet

So, where does this divisiveness really come from? Since its mainstream recognition in 2010, WikiLeaks was accused of many things in different places and by various groups of people. WikiLeaks once tweeted: “In Russia, Julian Assange is a MI6 agent; In US, a Russian agent; In Iran, a Mossad agent; In Saudi, an Iranian agent; In Libya, a CIA agent. World wide establishments accuse those who expose them of being the enemy of the people.” The latest accusation became ‘WikiLeaks, as an agent of fascism!’

The latest accusation became ‘WikiLeaks, as an agent of fascism!’ Yet, the organization cannot be pigeonholed into these labels. Needless to say, none of these characterizations are accurate. WikiLeaks is a 100% publicly funded transnational journalistic organization that is not bound to any nation, corporation or political parties. This borderless existence comes to challenge our preconceived notion of journalism based on a model that operates within the confinement of the nation-state. WikiLeaks can be best looked at as an innovation of journalism on the Internet. Just as many inventions of the past, it brought disruption to the system and became controversial. Think of Johannes Gutenberg and his invention of the printing press. The spread of the printing press made it possible for people to read the Bible and democratization of knowledge enabled by his technology has brought the decline of Church’s authority.

In a similar way, Assange together with mathematicians, activists and journalists all around the world, invented a new form of journalism that is much more effective in revealing corruption of governments and institutions. With a pristine record of accuracy, it published more classified information than all media combined, exposing human right abuses, government spying, torture and war crimes on a scale that was unprecedented.

Birth of this global Fourth Estate was a game changer. It radically altered the media landscape. Just as scientists and inventors of the past who were imprisoned for their unconventional beliefs and discoveries, Assange has been persecuted for the breakthrough of this innovation. In the 17th century, Galileo’s thought that provided the evidence about the Earth revolving around the Sun was met with condemnation by the orthodoxy of the Church. In these contemporary times, WikiLeaks and its idea of transparency for the powerful seem to have become a heresy that is regarded as a punishable offense by the state.

Ethos of cypherpunks

Without understanding the essence of this new invention, people’s attitudes toward WikiLeaks swing back and forth. Whether it is capitalism or socialism, Democrats or Republicans, many demand WikiLeaks to demonstrate its allegiance to their political ideology and support their preferred candidate. They conflate the invention with the inventor, becoming obsessed with Assange.

One publication put him in a category of a leftist, while another turns him into a right winger. People speculate and get overly attached to Assange’s political views. Ultimately, the opinion of this inventor does not and should not matter. In the same way that people don’t have to know who invented electricity to have a light or a combustion engine to drive a car, everyone can benefit from this new journalism and use it to enrich society at large.

Yet, for those who still feel the need to know, Assange’s thoughts are not shaped by a conventional political dichotomy of left and right. The ideas that conceived WikiLeaks originated from the philosophy of cypherpunks, an electronic mailing list that advocates privacy through the use of strong cryptography.

The motto of this loosely tied network that became active since the late 1980’s is depicted with the expression “cypherpunks write code”. Adam Back, a cryptographer who was cited in Bitcoin’s white paper described it as a particular mindset to make changes through creating alternatives, rather than engaging in typical political efforts of petitions and protests. Back noted how pressuring politicians and promoting issues through the press tends to be slow and creates an uphill battle. He pointed out how instead of appealing to authority for change, people can simply “deploy technology and help people do what they consider to be their legal right”, and then society will later catch up to reflect these values.

Assange describing himself as part of cypherpunks that came from a different tradition than libertarians in California, articulated their unique efforts to balance power between the individual and the state. He said, “By writing our own software and disseminating it far and wide we liberated cryptography, democratized it and spread it through the frontiers of the new internet.” Being true to this ethos of cypherpunks, Assange deployed the technology of a secure drop box that runs on Tor, a free software that routes Internet traffic to enable the anonymous submission of material.

Liberating the First Amendment

The creation of WikiLeaks brought a major upgrade to the existing model of free speech. In the U.S. where tradition of freedom of speech began, in its inception, the First Amendment right was not able to fully embody its potent creative power. The idea of democracy, a government established under the rule of people, expressed in the preamble of the Constitution “we the people” remained an ideal. A move toward its fulfillment came from below by those who opposed the ratification of the 1787 Constitution that lacked the guarantee of individual liberties. The anti-federalists demanded that the Bill of Rights was necessary in order to restrict governmental power and their efforts made it possible for freedom of expression to be codified into law.

The First Amendment reads;

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Establishment of Bill of Rights as a vital part of checks and balances of power was revolutionary. Yet these rights that were meant to provide protection of individuals from government’s overarching power were granted and regulated by central authority. In the structure of the constitutional republic, the unaccounted power of the Founding Fathers was kept unchecked. This created a loophole that makes the system vulnerable to commercial interests. Big business gained power by exploiting this weakness in security of the system and hijacked the government. Transnational corporations that have no allegiance to any country began using national governments and their system of representative democracy as instruments to control the populace and advance their own agendas.

With privatization of public airwaves and consolidation of media, an oligarchic class put the First Amendment under its proprietary control, restricting user access and setting terms and conditions for their use. In this dictatorial form of governance, journalists and editors are installed as an arbitrator of truth to manage and monitor public opinion. Through a creed of objectivity, they justify censoring any dissenting thoughts that challenge government official lines crafted by the corporate masters. This was evidenced by the 2013 documentary film Mediastan that exposed the former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller’s cozy relationship with the US government, the military and the CIA.

It was in this context of corporate dictatorship that Assange used cryptography as a nonviolent democratic weapon to revolt. From its onset, the US Constitution framed by white property owners with their imperfection manifested in slavery, genocide of natives and denial of women’s rights corrupted the source code of equality written in the Declaration of Independence. Now, over 200 years later, Australian born computer programmer and journalist aimed to restore this original code of democracy through building a publishing platform online that is run on free software.

With the creation of WikiLeaks, Assange liberated the First Amendment from this archaic system of national governance. Significance of this invention is that it decentralized the function of free press, extending the First Amendment protection that has been exclusively preserved for the profession of journalists to ordinary people. Now, through this innovative anonymous submission system, anyone in the world with Internet connection can communicate with people around the globe about the fraud and wrongdoing of any governments or institutions. Without fear of retaliation, people can now transcend boundaries of nation-state to form association with one another and redress their grievances.

With scientific journalism at its core, this new media of the Internet replaced the source of legitimacy from the profession’s creed of objectivity to the actual documents themselves that are authenticated. Access to full achieves in a searchable format empowered everyday people all over the world. They can now engage in their own history as it is happening and use information to create social change.

Claiming creative power within

The US government under Obama began a war against the First Amendment, trying to stop this WikiLeaks’ mission to bring free speech to the world. In this battle now being carried on by the new President Trump, Assange, as a lightning rod got inflamed with mainstream media hype of Russia Gate, demonizing the organization’s role in the 2016 US election. Without any solid evidence, Democrats throw around opinions, blaming Assange for the victory of Trump. They accuse the organization as collaborating with a fascist, when in fact the release of John Podesta emails exposed the Democratic establishment as actively aiding Trump candidacy with their strategy to elevate “pied piper” GOP candidates.

Some of Assange’s former allies also got caught up with the heat that fixates public gaze on his personality. By expressing disdain toward Assange’s flaws and what appeared to be their personal grudges against him that should be reconciled individually, they plunge themselves into the orgy of identity politics. While they are fully entitled to their opinion and criticism about his character, the timing and the way it was voiced when he can’t respond is concerning. This only adds fuel to the establishment’s character assassination of this political prisoner, who was placed under surveillance cameras and intense media scrutiny to the level that no one in the world are made to endure.

In facing the struggles of the racial injustice in the civil rights era, Martin Luther King Jr. recognized the similar force of divisiveness that could destroy the movement. In a sermon delivered in 1957 in Montgomery, Alabama, King identified it as hatred and described how it “distorts the personality of the hater.” He noted how this hatred has created “something of a civil war” inside people that divides them against one another. He reminded all about a redemptive power of love that could “save our world and our civilization”:

“Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men. It is the refusal to defeat any individual. When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system.”

Just like cypherpunks who tap into the creative power within to bring change, this veteran leader of a civil rights movement knew that in order to abolish unjust laws of racism, we must first become that change by embodying universal brotherhood within ourselves. He understood that the blacks’ fight against their oppressors to claim their rights lock all into a perpetuating power struggle and how the levers of control that they use to try to defeat opponents will be used against them to deny their rights. For this, King insisted all to adopt the principle of “love your enemies” and lay down a sharp sword that cut through both ways.

Reign of the heart

This radical love that embraces even one’s opponents is the heart that accepts all existence, giving all a right to express themselves equally. This heart that does not favor certain opinions as good and judge others as bad is the cornerstone of our democracy. The function of the First Amendment is to connect us to this silent pulse of the heart, placing it at a center of society to preserve the liberty of all people.

In the interview conducted by an award winning filmmaker John Pilger, renowned political analyst Noam Chomsky once said, “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all”. Democracy dies when we deny speech of those whom we oppose and our collective heart suffocates, with each individual not being able to speak freely. Tyranny triumphs the rule of law when we can’t breathe through diverse opinions and perspectives to inspire one another to form a court of public opinion.

WikiLeaks enabled the true function of the First Amendment. As a countenance of democracy, this revolutionary journalism protects people against suppression of speech by allowing all voices including views that are unpopular and marginalized. This can illuminate what liberals consider WikiLeaks’ troubling appearance of associating with Trump Jr. and speaking up for conspiracy theorists like a Infowars radio host Alex Jones, when he got censored by Silicon Valley tech giants.

In the article “No, Julian Assange Is Not a Fascist”, Gary Lord who writes political commentary has cut though the corporate media headlines that twist WikiLeaks’ professional contact with President Trump’s son. By presenting their Twitter direct messages in a full context, he dismantled the widely held myth that Assange supports Trump and WikiLeaks helped his campaign. What is revealed in these exchanges was WikiLeaks asking Trump’s son to help them publish his father’s tax returns (which was ignored), while refusing inquiries of both Cambridge Analytica and Trump Jr., regarding the upcoming publications. Lord summed up the nature of their interaction as WikiLeaks just doing the things that any good journalistic organization would do.

In Trump cabinet’s aggressive pursuit to criminalize journalism, Assange is now seized in the embassy, deprived of sunlight and health care, being cut off from the outside world. As the fate of press freedom looks grim, cynicism and apathy spread with many of his colleagues in mainstream media turning away from his predicament and spectators lamenting this tragedy from afar. The fact is, it is not Assange who has created damage and alienated people as critics say. Rather, it is our lack of understanding of true meaning of free speech that brings damage to efforts of those who risked everything for democracy and has condemned Assange to profound solitude.

Efforts to free Julian Assange challenges us all to uphold this right to free speech, with moral courage to love our enemies. When politics wins, democracy loses. Only through our united front built upon our feeling of truth, can we bring the reign of the heart that can dismantle the levers of control and realize universal ideals that all men and women are created equal.

Nozomi Hayase, Ph.D., is an essayist and author of WikiLeaks, the Global Fourth Estate: History Is Happening (Libertarian Books, 2018). Find her on twitter @nozomimagine.

GENERATION BEING BORN NOW IS THE LAST TO BE FREE – ASSANGE IN LAST INTERVIEW BEFORE BLACKOUT (video)

Before his links to the world were cut by his Ecuadorian hosts, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gave an interview on how technological advances are changing humankind. He said global surveillance will soon be totally unavoidable.
The interview was provided to RT by organizers of the World Ethical Data Forum in Barcelona. Assange, who is currently stranded in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London with no outside communication except with his legal team, has a pretty grim outlook on where humanity is going. He says it will soon be impossible for any human being to not be included in global databases collected by governments and state-like entities.

This generation being born now… is the last free generation. You are born and either immediately or within say a year you are known globally. Your identity in one form or another –coming as a result of your idiotic parents plastering your name and photos all over Facebook or as a result of insurance applications or passport applications– is known to all major world powers.

“A small child now in some sense has to negotiate its relationship with all the major world powers… It puts us in a very different position. Very few technically capable people are able to live apart, to choose to live apart, to choose to go their own way,” he added. “It smells a bit like totalitarianism – in some way.”

The capacity to collect and process information about people has been growing exponentially and will continue to grow fast, he stated. With advancements in applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) to big data, the next logical step is coming.

READ MORE: Ecuador pledged to not kick out Assange, but threat of US prosecution still serious – lawyer to RT

“Look at what Google and Baidu and Tencent and Amazon and Facebook are doing. They are basically open-cut harvesting the knowledge of humankind as we express it, when we communicate with each other… This classical model, which people in academia call ‘surveillance capitalism’… has changed now.

It’s a really very important and severe economic change. Which is to take the surveillance capitalism model and transform it instead into a model that does not yet have a name, an ‘AI model’. Which is to use this vast reservoir to train Artificial Intelligences of different kinds. This would replace not only intermediary sectors –most things you do on the internet is in a sense more efficient intermediation– but to take over the transport sector, or create whole new sectors.

Assange also predicted that the scale of hostile activities through cyberspace will see a breakout point as soon as AI is trained to sufficiently automate hacking attacks.

“There is no border [online]. It’s 220 milliseconds from New York to Nairobi. Why would there ever be peace in such a scenario?” he said. “[Entities online] are creating their own borders using cryptography. But the size of the attack surface for any decent-sized organization, the number of people, different types of software and hardware it has to pull inside itself means that it is very hard to establish.

I don’t think it’s really possible to come up with borders that are predictable enough and stable enough to eliminate conflict. Therefore, there will be more conflict.

View full video:

Azcarate, Spinelli, Eurocommunism, How European are the Italian Eurocommunists?

SOURCE Urban One of the surprises of the last Italian elections was your candidacy for the Chamber of Deputies on the Communist platform. Your decision to run for election in support of Communist policies was received with a mixture of horror and disbelief, not least because you were one of Italy’s two Commissioners on the Brussels Commission and a leading European Federalist. Those not familiar with the intricacies of Italian Communist politics had reason to be puzzled. Has the PCI sufficiently changed its attitude to Europe for Altiero Spinelli to embrace it, or has Altiero Spinelli changed his politics because the Italian Communists appeared to be set for victory? In either case, there were questions to be asked, both in respect of your attitude to the Communist Party and of the Party’s attitude to the policies you represent. What made you decide to run on the Communist ticket? Spinelli My mandate at the European Commission was about to expire when the elections were announced (it expired at the end of 1976); and as I was close to 70, I decided to return to Italy and retire from public life. In the meantime, I was keeping a close watch on the Italian situation, … Continue reading

Ο Raul “Ilargi” Meijer μιλάει για τον Julian Assange

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nUpV8JR38c

Γ. Χωλ: Καλησπέρα Raul “Ilargi” Meijer. Έχεις ένα ιστολόγιο, το “Automatic Earth” με το οποίο ασχολιέσαι ενεργά. Μπορείς να μας πεις λίγα λόγια για το “Automatic Earth”; Πότε ιδρύθηκε; Ποιοι είναι οι στόχοι του;

Ilargi: Ιδρύθηκε σχεδόν 11 χρόνια πριν. Το ιδρύσαμε μαζί με τη Nicole Foss επειδή θέλαμε να γράψουμε για οικονομικά θέματα αλλά οι άνθρωποι για τους οποίους γράφαμε προηγουμένως στο “The Oil Drum” δεν ήθελαν να το κάνουμε και θεωρήσαμε ότι ήταν υπερβολικά σημαντικό θέμα για να μην το κάνουμε.

Γ. Χωλ: Και τι κάνεις εδώ στην Άθήνα;

Ilargi: Στηρίζω μια ομάδα ανθρώπων που βοηθάνε άστεγους και πρόσφυγες. Έχω γράψει αρκετά άρθρα στο “Automatic Earth” πάνω σε αυτό το θέμα.

Γ. Χωλ: Τώρα, παρ’ότι έχεις γράψει άρθρα που δείχνουν ξεκάθαρα πόσο σημαντική θεωρείς την προσπάθεια να προστατεύεται ο Julian Assange, (διάβασα ένα που έγραψες σήμερα που ήταν πολύ εντός θέματος και δυνατό άρθρο), δεν συμφωνείς ακριβώς με τον Julian Assange όσον αφορά τη σπουδαιότητα της προστασίας της ευρωπαϊκής ολοκλήρωσης ή της Ευρώπης των πολιτών.

Σ’ένα άρθρο με τίτλο “Είμαι ο Julian Assange” στις 16/5/18, έγραψες: “O Julian Assange δείχνει να είναι οδυνηρά κοντά στο να εξωθεί χωρίς επισημότητες από την πρεσβεία του Ισημερινού στο Λονδίνο. Εάν αυτό συμβεί, οι συνέπειες για τη δημοσιογραφία και την ελευθεροτυπία θα αντηχούν στο κόσμο για πολλά χρόνια.” Θα ήθελες να πεις περισσότερο γι’αυτό;

Ilargi: Νομίζω ότι υπάρχει αρκετός κόσμος που δεν συνειδητοποιεί τις συνέπειες αν ο Assange αφεθεί να τον φάνε οι λύκοι.

Γ. Χωλ: Ποιές θα είναι;

Ilargi: Αντιπροσωπεύει κάθε δημοσιογράφο αλλά και κάθε πολίτη. Είναι ο άνθρωπος που αντάλλαξε την ελευθερία του για την ελευθερία όλων των υπολοίπων.

Γ. Χωλ: Έχει την αξιοπιστία που έχει, όπως λες, γιατί ποτέ δεν δημοσίευσε τίποτα που να μην είναι 100% επαληθεύσιμο.

Ilargi: Είναι η βάση του Wikileaks, η αλήθεια, η ειλικρίνεια. Ποτέ κανείς δεν θα του έδινε άλλο έγγραφο αν υπήρχε αμφιβολία για τη μυστικότητα του. Ότι θα προστάτευε την ταυτότητα τους και θα μεταχειριζόταν τα έγγραφα με το καλύτερο δυνατό τρόπο.

Γ. Χωλ: Επίσης έγραψες: “Οι άνθρωποι όπως η Chelsea Manning, o Kim Dotcom, o Edward Snowden και ο Julian Assange είναι μερικοί από τους εξυπνότερους ανθρώπους που έχει να προσφέρει ο κόσμος. Θα έπρεπε να θαυμάζουμε τον συνδυασμό ευφυΐας και ηθικής ακεραιότητας που δείχνουν θέτοντας τον εαυτό τους σε κίνδυνο. Αντί αυτού όμως επιτρέπουμε την παρενόχληση και στοχοποίηση τους από τις κυβερνήσεις μας επειδή δημοσιοποιούν ενοχλητικές για αυτές αλήθειες. Έτσι σύντομα δεν θα έχει μείνει κανείς να πει αυτές τις αλήθειες, ούτε να πει καμία αλήθεια.” Μου φαίνεται πολύ απαισιόδοξη εκτίμηση. Θα έλεγες ότι είναι υπερβολικά απαισιόδοξη;

Ilargi: Είναι απλώς ρεαλιστική. Πόσοι άνθρωποι υπάρχουν σαν τον Assange και τον Snowden ή την Chelsea Manning; Δεν έχουμε μια αστείρευτη πηγή.

Γ. Χωλ: Στο άρθρο σου “O Julian Assange και το Σβησιμό του Φωτός” έγραψες: “Η ιδανική κατάσταση θα ήταν η Αυστραλία να προσφέρει στον Julian Assange ασφαλή διέλευση πίσω στην πατρίδα. Ο Assange δεν έχει κατηγορηθεί για τίποτα εκτός από τη φυγοδικία (μετά από προσωρινή αποφυλάκιση, με εγγύηση) από το Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο.” Έχει δεχτεί άλλες κατηγορίες αλλά αυτές έχουν φυσικά αποσυρθεί.

Ilargi: Με τι έχει κατηγορηθεί;

Γ. Χωλ: Δεν έχει κατηγορηθεί για βιασμό ή κάτι τέτοιο στη Σουηδία;

Ilargi: ΄Όχι, όχι.

Γ. Χωλ: Τι ήταν; Τι συνέβη εκεί αν δεν ήταν κατηγορία;

Ilargi: Είπαν ότι θέλουν να του μιλήσουν. Ήταν πολύ παράξενο. Απ΄όσο ξέρω η εισαγγελέας τον άφησε να φύγει, του είπε ότι είναι ελεύθερος να πάει στη Βρετανία και τότε – δεν ξέρω αν ήταν η ίδια εισαγγελέας, η Marianne Ny, αλλά το σουηδικό δικαστικό σύστημα έκανε στροφή 180 μοιρών και όταν έφτασε στο Λονδίνο είπαν ότι πρέπει να επιστρέψει γιατί θέλουν να του μιλήσουν.

Γ. Χωλ: Καρουζέλ.

Ilargi: Όμως καμία από τις δύο γυναίκες που ενεπλάκησαν δεν του έκανε μήνυση, ούτε υπήρξε κάποια καταγγελία. Μάλιστα βγήκαν και είπαν, αν και κάπως αργά: “Δεν με βίασε. Ουδέποτε συνέβη αυτό.” Μοιάζει με συκοφαντία. Και λειτούργησε άψογα.

Γ. Χωλ: Έτσι φαίνεται. Αληθεύει ότι – μιλάμε για την Αυστραλία ξανά και τον ασφαλή επαναπατρισμό. Αληθεύει ότι, χρόνια πριν, η κυβέρνηση της Αυστραλίας παραδέχθηκε ότι έχει την ευθύνη να βοηθήσει και να προστατέψει τον αυστραλό πολίτη Julian Assange. To 2011 π.χ. η πρωθυπουργός Julia Gillard είπε:

Στηρίζουμε τον Julian Assange με τον ίδιο τρόπο που θα στηρίζαμε οποιονδήποτε αυστραλό πολίτη που θα είχε νομικά προβλήματα στο εξωτερικό της χώρας.”

Αλλά έκτοτε αυτές οι ευθύνες προφανώς έχουν ξεχαστεί. Ακόμα οι υποστηρικτές του Julian Assange δεν έχουν πρόβλημα, η αυστραλιανή κυβέρνηση να επιτρέψει στο Εκουαντόρ, ένα φτωχότερο από την Αυστραλία, λιγότερο ισχυρό και πιο ευάλωτο κράτος, να πάρει την ευθύνη που η αυστραλιανή κυβέρνηση είπε ότι θα πάρει και απλά δεν πήρε ποτέ.

Ilargi: Ποιος το έγραψε αυτό;

Γ. Χωλ: Εννοείς αυτό το σχόλιο για την Αυστραλία και το Εκουαντόρ; Εγώ το έγραψα.

Ilargi: OK. OK.

Γ. Χωλ: Δεν συμφωνείς;

Ilargi: Η αυστραλιανή κυβέρνηση έχει έναν πολύ παράξενο ρόλο σε όλα αυτά, ναι. Υπάρχει μια παλαιότερη ομιλία του μεταγενέστερου πρωθυπουργού Malcolm Turnbull που κυκλοφορεί στον Twitter στην οποία υποστήριζε πολύ τον Assange.

Γ. Χωλ: Είναι πρόσφατη ομιλία;

Ilargi: Νομίζω είναι από το 2011. Απ’ότι φαίνεται δεν τον υποστηρίζει πια.

Γ. Χωλ: Επόμενο θέμα. Θα ήθελες να σχολιάσεις την αντιπαράθεση γύρω από τον Seth Rich και τον χάκερ Guccifer 2.0; Υπάρχουν πολλές παρερμηνείες ή και διαμάχες. Νομίζω ότι πολύ κόσμος δεν ξέρει καν ποιος ήταν ο Seth Rich. Θα ήθελες να φωτίσεις τον κόσμο που δεν ξέρει;

Ilargi: Ο Seth Rich εργαζόταν στην Εθνική Επιτροπή του Δημοκρατικού Κόμματας. Βρέθηκε δολοφονημένος στην Ουάσιγκτον, όχι τόσο μακριά από τον Λευκό Οίκο. Λέγεται ότι ήταν αυτός που έδωσε τα e-mail του DNC στον Assange, στο Wikileaks

Γ. Χωλ: Αυτό είναι κάτι που λέει επίσης ο Kim Dotcom. Είναι ισχυρισμός που κάνει και ο ίδιος.

Ilargi: Ναι. Δεν ξέρω τόσο πολλά σε σχέση με αυτό αλλά προφανώς το όλο θέμα με τον Guccifer 2.0 είναι σκευωρία. Οι ΗΠΑ θέλουν να βρουν μια σύνδεση μεταξύ του Assange και της Ρωσίας. Θα έβλαπτε και τους δύο αν μπορούσαν να τη βρουν.

Γ. Χωλ: Το προσπαθούν πολύ.

Ilargi: Θα είχε πολύ αρνητικό αντίκτυπο στην εικόνα τους. Και αφού κανείς από τους δύο δεν μπορεί να αμυνθεί, αυτό το αφήγημα θα μπορούσε να συνεχίζει να χτίζεται επ’αόριστον.

Γ. Χωλ: Ναι, σωστά. Αν είσαι νεκρός ή αν σε εμποδίζουν να μιλάς, δεν μπορείς να αμυνθείς.

Ilargi: Όχι.

Γ. Χωλ: Αυτόν τον καιρό, μαζί με κάποιους άλλους συζητάμε δύο ιδέες που αφορούν τον Julian Assange. Μια από αυτές είναι καθαρά συμβολική. Έχει ως στόχο να αντιτεθεί στην προκατάληψη των ΜΜΕ κατά του Assange. Μιλάμε για τη θέσπιση ημέρας Julian Assange. Η μέρα που προτείνουμε είναι η 26η Ιανουαρίου. Ακούσαμε κάποια λόγια σχετικά με τη σημασία της 26ης Ιανουαρίου στην Ελλάδα. Όμως η 26η Ιανουαρίου είναι επίσης σημαντική μέρα στην Αυστραλία. Είναι η εθνική επέτειος. Πολλοί λένε σήμερα ότι η Εθνική Μέρα Αυστραλίας θα έπρεπε να μεταφερθεί σε άλλη μέρα που δεν θα απέκλειε τους πολλούς Αυστραλούς που νιώθουν ότι η 26η Ιανουαρίου είναι ακατάλληλη για αυτόν το σκοπό. Θα ακούσουμε την Amanda Stone η οποία το 2017 ήταν η δήμαρχος της περιοχής Yarra στη Μελβούρνη.

Amanda Stone: Εδώ και κάποιον καιρό συνομιλούμε με την κοινότητα των Αβορίγινων στη Yarra για τη σημασία που έχει η 26η Ιανουαρίου για εκείνους και έχουμε ακούσει ότι δεν είναι ημέρα εορτασμού. Είναι μέρα θλίψης και απώλειας. Σκεφτόμαστε πώς θα μπορούσαμε να θέσουμε το θέμα ώστε να εκφραστούν αυτές οι απόψεις. Φέτος (2017) τον Φεβρουάριο το Συμβούλιο αποφάσισε να ζητήσει από τα στελέχη να συμβουλευτεί την κοινότητα των Αβοριγίνων για το μέλλον της 26ης Ιανουαρίου, επίσης στα πλαίσια ενός γενικότερα αυξανόμενου κίνημα του “Change the Date” (αλλάξτε την ημερομηνία). Νιώσαμε λοιπόν ότι είχε έρθει η κατάλληλη στιγμή για αυτή τη δράση, και ότι θα υπήρχε γενικότερη στήριξη. Και όταν τα στελέχη παρουσίασαν τα αποτελέσματα της διαβούλευσης με τους αβορίγινες την Τρίτη, έτσι ψηφίσαμε. Δεν λέμε σε κανέναν τι να κάνει. Δεν θα αλλάξουμε την ημερομηνία της Ημέρας Αυστραλίας όπως έχει προς το παρόν. Δεν θα πούμε στον κόσμο πώς να περάσει την 26η Ιανουαρίου. Θα συνεχίσει να είναι αργία. Ο κόσμος θα συνεχίσει να μπορεί να απολαμβάνει τα μπαρμπεκιού τους και τα πίκνικ και τις μαζώξεις σε πάρκα και αυλές.

Lamourette Folly: Οπότε, συνοπτικά, γιατί είναι σημαντικό κατά την άποψη σας ως δήμαρχος να αλλάξει η ημερομηνία;

Amanda Stone: Για μένα ως δήμαρχος της πόλης Yarra είναι σημαντικό, ό, τι κάνουμε ως συμβούλιο να το κάνουμε χωρίς να αποκλείσουμε κανέναν. Με το να γιορτάζουμε στις 26η Ιανουαρίου αποκλείουμε ενεργά ένα σημαντικό μέρος της κοινωνίας μας, τους αβορίγινες, που δεν θεωρούν ότι υπάρχει λόγος εορτασμού, όπως μας λένε εδώ και πολλά χρόνια, και στηρίζουν βαθιά τη δράση μας. Δεν θέλουμε να αποκλείουμε κανέναν. Θέλουμε όλοι να μπορούν να γιορτάσουν την εθνική τους ταυτότητα και πρέπει να βρούμε μια κατάλληλη ημερομηνία.

Lamourette Folly: Ωραία. Έχετε κάποια κατά νου;

Amanda Stone: Όχι. Νομίζω ότι είναι κάτι που θα πρέπει να προκύψει από διάλογο. Πολύς κόσμος έχει πολλές ιδέες. Αν αποφασίσουμε ότι αυτή είναι η κατεύθυνση που θέλουμε, πρέπει να συζητήσουμε με όλους, όχι απλά να επιβάλουμε άλλη μια ημερομηνία που μπορεί να είναι αμφιλεγόμενη με άλλες ομάδες.

Γ. Χωλ: Aν απελευθερωθεί ο Julian Assange, ή ημέρα Julian Assange θα μπορούσε κάλλιστα να μετατραπεί σε Ημέρα Ακεραιότητας στα Μήντια, ή κάτι τέτοιο.

Η δεύτερη πρόταση είναι πιο απτή. Είχε ως εκκίνηση την παρακάτω ανάρτηση από κάποιον που αυτοαποκαλείται “Realist” σε μια συζήτηση που ξεκίνησε από τον Ray McGovern. Τι είπε; .

Αν η αμερικάνικη κυβέρνηση αλλάξει γνώμη και αποφασίσει να μην ασκήσει διώξεις στον κο. Assange (ή εάν του προσφέρει ποινική διαπραγμάτευση, καταμετρώντας τον χρόνο που πέρασε κλεισμένος στην πρεσβεία προς μικρότερη ποινή), αναρωτιέμαι τι θα επιλέξει ή/και αν θα του επιτρεπόταν να ζήσει. Η Αυστραλία τον έχει εγκαταλείψει, και τώρα το Εκουαδόρ τον έχει προδώσει. Δεν μπορεί να εμπιστευτεί κανένα αμερικάνικο προτεκτοράτο μέσα στην ΕΕ, το ΝΑΤΟ και τις “Five Eyes” (κατά βάση την ‘Αγγλόσφαιρα’). Ο Πούτιν θα του επέτρεπε να διαχειρίζεται το Wikileaks από τη Ρωσία; Υποψιάζομαι πως όχι. Ελευθεροτυπία δεν υπάρχει στη Μέση Ανατολή, στο μεγαλύτερο μέρος της Αφρικής ή στα –σταν της Κεντρικής Ασίας. Η Κίνα δεν θα επέλεγε να υποθάλψει έναν ενοχλητικό ταραχοποιό της Δύσης, η Λατινική Αμερική είναι αναξιόπιστη – αν και ο Glenn Greenwald έχει επιλέξει την Βραζιλία ως βάση του, παρά το de facto πραξικόπημα κατά της Αριστεράς στο εξωτερικό της. Πόσο καλά προστατεύονται τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα σε μέρη όπως η Ινδία ή η Μαλαισία; H Σιγκαπούρη, η Βιρμανία και η Ταϊλάνδη είναι υπερβολικά αυταρχικές. Ο Arthur C. Clark μετοίκησε στη Σρι Λάνκα. Υπάρχει άραγε κανένα πραγματικά αυτόνομο νησιωτικό κράτος στον Ινδικό ή στο Νότιο Ειρηνικό Ωκεανό; Έίναι κρίμα που ο Newt Gingrich δεν κατάφερε να στήσει τη βάση στη Σελίνη που πρότεινε. O Julian μπορεί να κατάφερνε να διαχειρίζεται το Wikileaks από εκεί, πέρα από τη δικαιοδοσία οποιουδήποτε κράτους στη Γή.”

Το σχολίασα αυτό. Είπα: “Η παρατήρηση του ΄Realist’ δεν είναι σοβαρό, κι αν επιτρέπονται τέτοια σχόλια, γιατί όχι εξωφρενικά σχόλια; Υπάρχουν Εβραίοι που θα ήταν αρκετά εξωφρενικοί ώστε να ξεκινήσουν να ασκούν πίεση για την εξεύρεση ασύλου για τον Julian Assange στο Ισραήλ. Θα αποδεχόταν εκείνος μια τέτοια ιδέα; Απλά και μόνο η συζήτηση μιας τέτοιας ιδέας θα μπορούσε να είναι χρήσιμη για το ξεμπλοκάρισμα κάποιων νοητικών φραγμών.”

Οπότε ο ‘Realist’ αποκρίθηκε. “Η εύρεση ασύλου από το Assange στη Σελίνη μπορεί να μην ήταν σοβαρό σχόλιο, όμως θέλω να τονίσω την ισχνότητα αποδεκτών που θα μπορούσαν να πληρώσουν το τίμημα της υπεράσπισης του από την οργή της Αμερικής. Απαντώντας στην πρόσκληση σας να συζητήσουμε αν το Ισραήλ θα μπορούσε να είναι ένας πιθανός ασφαλής λιμένας για τον Assange, ελπίζω ότι η ηθική του θα απέκλειε αυτό το ενδεχόμενο, ακόμα και σαν έσχατη λύση. Θα εξάλειφε όλα όσα έχει πρεσβεύσει. Όπως λένε: “δείξε μου τον φίλο σου και θα σου πω ποιος είσαι.”

Λοιπόν, Ilargi, έχεις κάποιο σχόλιο να κάνεις σχετικά με αυτή τη στιχομυθία;

Ilargi: Έίναι ένας πολύ μακροσκελής τρόπος να πεις ότι “δεν υπάρχουν επιλογές”. Δεν χρειάζεται να περάσεις από όλες τις επιλογές για να καταλήξεις εκεί.

Γ. Χωλ: Οπότε, με άλλα λόγια…

Ilargi: Άλλη μια χώρα που έχει έρθει στο προσκήνιο τον τελευταίο καιρό είναι το Μεξικό.

Γ. Χωλ: Το Μεξικό.

Ilargi: Ναι, ο κόσμος πιστεύει ότι ο Lopez Obrador μπορεί να είναι ο κατάλληλος άνθρωπος. Εγώ πρότεινα την Ισλανδία.

Γ. Χωλ: Ναι, το θυμάμαι. .

Ilargi: Είναι αρκετά ανεξάρτητοι που θα μπορούσαν να καταφέρουν κάτι τέτοιο. Αν και δεν έχω ιδέα τι άποψη έχει η ισλανδική κυβέρνηση για τον Assange. Όμως είναι ανεξάρτητοι. Είναι η μόνη χώρα που πέταξαν στη φυλακή κάποιους τραπεζίτες και είπαν στους πιστωτές να πάνε στον αγύριστο.

Γ. Χωλ: Νομίζω ότι ο Realist θα έλεγε ότι αυτές οι χώρες δεν είναι αρκετά ισχυρές ώστε να προστατέψουν τον Assange και ότι η CIA, ή όποιος τον κυνηγάει, θα τον έπιανε.

Ilargi: Η Ισλανδία έχει μια μεγάλη τάφρο. Καλή φυσική προστασία.

Γ. Χωλ: Μεγάλη τάφρο;

Ilargi: Ναι, φυσικά δεν υπάρχει καμία χώρα που θα μπορούσε να προστατέψει 100% κάποιον σαν τον Assange.

Γ. Χωλ: Υπήρχε μια παρόμοια συζήτηση ως απάντηση σε ένα άρθρο που δημοσιεύθηκε από την Caitlin Johnstone: “Όσο ο Assange αποσιωπείται, οι κατηγορίες κατά του είναι αντιδεοντολογικές.

Εν πάσει περιπτώσει, διεξάγεται μια καμπάνια. Οι ιδέες που συζητάμε εδώ δεν είναι μέρος της καμπάνιας και δεν θέλω να της τις επιβάλω. Η καμπάνια ακολουθεί τη δική της λογική.

Ilargi: Δεν είναι ιδέες. Είναι απλά μια μακρά λίστα αδιεξόδων.

Γ. Χωλ: Ναι, όπως είπες. Εντάξει λοιπόν. Αυτό συνεχίζει τη συζήτηση που κάναμε με τον δήμαρχο.

Ilargi: Θα ήθελα να προσθέσω όσα είπαμε πριν να αρχίσει. Τα νέα είναι ότι η κατάσταση της υγείας του Assange δεν είναι καλή. Έχει σοβαρούς πονόδοντους. Τα πόδια του έχουν πρηστεί και η πυκνότητα των οστών του μειώνεται γρήγορα επειδή δεν εκτίθεται στον ήλιο. Όπότε σε τελική ανάλυση, το Εκουαδόρ δεν χρειάζεται να τον πετάξει έξω. Ποντάρει στο ότι θα αναγκαστεί να φύγει μόνος του.

Γ. Χωλ: Ναι, αν μπορεί.

Ilargi: Ή να τον μεταφέρουν. Σε φορείο, η σε φέρετρο.

Julian Assange: (Πλατεία Trafalgar του Λονδίνου – 8 Οκτωβρίου 2011)

Όταν καταλάβουμε ότι οι πόλεμοι ξεκινούν ως αποτέλεσμα ψεμάτων που πωλούνται σε βρετανικό και αμερικάνικο κοινό και στο κοινό σε χώρες όλης της Ευρώπης και αλλού, ποίοι είναι οι εγκληματίες πολέμου; Δεν είναι μόνο ηγέτες. Δεν είναι μόνο στρατιώτες. Είναι και δημοσιογράφοι. Οι δημοσιογράφοι είναι εγκληματίες πολέμου….. Αν οι πόλεμοι μπορούν να ξεκινήσουν με ψέματα, η ειρήνη μπορεί να ξεκινήσει με την αλήθεια.

Raul “Ilargi” Meijer on Julian Assange

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nUpV8JR38c

W. Hall: Good afternoon Raul “Ilargi” Meijer. You have a blog called “Automatic Earth” and you are very active with it. Can you say something about “Automatic Earth”? When was it founded? What is its aim?

Ilargi: It was founded almost eleven years ago. Nicole Foss and I founded it because we wanted to write about finance whereas the people we were writing for before that, “The Oil Drum”, didn’t want us to do that and we thought it was too important not to.

WH: And what are you doing here in Athens?

Ilargi: I’m supporting a group of people who feed the homeless and refugees. I’ve written a bunch of articles at “Automatic Earth” about that.

WH: Now even though you have written articles that show clearly how important you think it is to try to defend Julian Assange (I read one that you published today [17/8/2018] that was very much on that subject and it was a powerful article). You really don’t agree with Julian Assange on the importance of defending the European integration project or citizens’ Europe.

Ilargi: I have no idea what either of these things are.

WH: Well, let’s move on. In an article entitled “I am Julian Assange” on 16th May 2018, you wrote: “Julian Assange appears to be painfully close to being unceremoniously thrown out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. If that happens, the consequences for journalism, for freedom of speech and for press freedom, will resound around the world for a very long time”. Would you like to say more about that?

Ilargi: I think there are not nearly enough people who realize what the consequences are going to be of Assange being thrown to the wolves.

WH: What will they be?

Ilargi: He stands for every journalist but he also stands for every citizen. He is the man who offered his freedom to give everybody else freedom..

WH: You say that he has the credibility he has because he has never published anything that is not 100% verifiable and true.

Ilargi: That is the basis of Wikileaks: it’s truth, honesty. Nobody would ever give him another document if they were in doubt that he would preserve secrecy, he would protect their identity or he would treat the documents in the best way possible.

WH: You also wrote: “People like Chelsea Manning, Kim Dotcom, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange are among the smartest people our world has to offer. We should be cherishing the combination of intelligence, courage and integrity they display at their own risk and peril, but instead we allow them to be harassed by our governments because they unveil inconvenient truths about them. And pretty soon there will be nobody left to tell these truths, or any truth at all.” That’s a very pessimistic assessment. Would you like to believe that it is too pessimistic?

Ilargi: Isn’t it more like realistic? How many people like Assange and Snowden or Chelsea Manning are there? We don’t have a never-ending supply of them.

WH: In your article “Julian Assange and the Dying of the Light” you wrote: “The ideal situation would be if Australia would offer Julian Assange safe passage back home. Assange has never been charged with anything, other than the UK’s bail-skipping change.” He has been charged with other things, but the charges have been withdrawn.

Ilargi: He has been charged with what?

WH: Wasn’t he charged with rape or something, in Sweden?

Ilargi: No, no..

WH: What was it? What happened there then if it was not a charge?

Ilargi: They said they wanted to talk to him. That was very strange. From what I know of the story the prosecutor let him go. Told him he was free to go to Britain and then – I don’t know if it was the same prosecutor, Marianne Ny, but anyway the Swedish justice system did a 180 and as soon as he got to London they said that he had to go back because they wanted to talk to him again.

WH: Merry-go-round.

Ilargi: But neither of the two women involved ever filed any charges against him, or any complaint. They even went out of their way, albeit far too late, to say “He didn’t rape me. It never happened.” It seems that was a smear thing. And it’s been very successful..

WH: It seems so. Talking about Australia again, and safe passage back home, it’s true that years ago the Australian government acknowledged that it had responsibilities to help and protect Australian citizen Julian Assange. For example in 2001 Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said:

We are supporting Julian Assange the same way that we would support any Australian citizen who got into a legal difficulty overseas.”

But for years after that, these responsibilities seem to have been forgotten. Even supporters of Julian Assange seem to assume that it is OK for the Australian government to allow Ecuador, a weaker, poorer and more vulnerable country than Australia to take responsibilities that the Australian government had said that it was taking but it seems simply was not. .

Ilargi: Who wrote that?

WH: Do you mean this comment about Australia and Ecuador? I wrote it.

Ilargi: OK. OK.

WH: Don’t you agree with it?

Ilargi: The Australian government has a very strange role in this. There is an older speech by the later PM Malcolm Turnbull that is being tossed around on Twitter in which he is very supportive of Assange.

WH: Is this a recent speech?

Ilargi: I think that was also from 2011 too. Apparently he no longer is.

WH: Next subject. Would you like to comment on the controversy Seth Rich versus the hacker Guccifer 2.0.

There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding and disagreement about this. I think a lot of people wouldn’t even know who Seth Rich was. Would you like to enlighten the people who don’t know?

Ilargi: From what I know Seth Rich worked for the Democratic National Committee. He was found murdered in Washington, not far from the White House. He is rumoured to be the guy who gave the DNC e-mails to Assange, to Wikileaks.

WH: This is something that Kim Dotcom apparently also says.

Ilargi: Yes. I don’t know enough about that but it seems obvious that the whole Guccifer 2.0 story is a fabrication. The US really really wants to make a link between Assange and Russia because it smears both. If they can make a connection between the two they will both look a lot worse.

WH: Τheyre trying hard.

Ilargi: And since neither can really defend themselves this narrative can be built and built. .

WH: Yes, that’s right. If you are dead or you’re prevented from speaking, you can’t defend yourself.

Ilargi: No…

WH: Αt the moment I and a few other people are discussing two ideas in relation to Julian Assange. One of them is purely symbolic and it’s aimed at counteracting the media bias against Assange. That is the declaration of a Julian Assange Day. The day we propose is 26th January. We heard a few words from the mayor about the significance of January 26th in Greece in the context of Greece’s liberation from the Ottoman Empire. But January 26th is also an important day in Australia. It is the national day. But many people are saying today that Australia’s national day should be moved to another date, more inclusive of the many Australians who don’t feel that 26th January is suitable for the country’s national day. Let’s see what Amanda Stone has to say. In 2017 she was the mayor of the City of Yarra in Melbourne.

Amanda Stone: We’ve been talking to the aboriginal community in Yarra for some time about the meaning of January 26th for them and we’ve heard from them that it is not a day of celebration. It is a day of sadness and loss for them. We’ve been considering how we might address that to reflect those views. In February this year (2017) the Council resolved to ask the officers to consult with the aboriginal community about the future of January 26th, and that was also in the context of a growing momentum more broadly around the “Change the Date” campaign. So we felt that it was an action whose time has come, that there would be broader support for it. And when the officers presented the results of the consultation with aboriginal people on Tuesday, that’s how we voted. But we’re not telling anyone what to do. We’re not changing the date of Australia Day as it is at the moment. We are not instructing people on how to spend January 26th. It will continue to be a public holiday, 26th January. People will still enjoy their barbecues and picnics and get-togethers in parks and gardens.

Lamourette Folly: Why is it important from your perspective as a mayor to change the date?

Amanda Stone: For me as mayor of the City of Yarra it is important that we are inclusive in what we do as a council. By holding celebratory events on January 26th we are actively excluding an important part of our community, the aboriginal community, who do not find it an occasion for celebration, who have told us so for many years, and are thoroughly supportive of the action we have taken. We want to be inclusive. We don’t want to exclude anybody.We want everyone to be able to celebrate our national identity and we need to find a date that we can do that on.

Lamourette Folly: That’s great. Do you have any date in mind?

Amanda Stone: No. I think it is something that needs to come out of a conversation. And I think lots of people have lots of ideas. And if we are going to be really inclusive we need to discuss it with everybody, not impose another date that might be contentious for another part of the people.

WH: If Julian Assange is freed it could very well be changed subsequently to Media Integrity Day, or something along those lines.

The second proposal is more concrete. It was initiated by the following posting by someone who calls himself “Realist” in the discussion that was started by Ray McGovern. What he said was this:

If the American government thinks better of it and decides not to prosecute Mr. Assange (or perhaps offers him a plea bargain counting his time cloistered in the embassy against a short sentence), I wonder where he will choose and/or be allowed to live. Australia has abandoned him, and now Ecuador has betrayed him. He can’t trust any American vassal state in the EU, NATO or the “Five Eyes” (basically the Anglosphere). Would Putin allow him to run Wikileaks out of Russia? I suspect not. No free press throughout the Middle East, most of Africa and the “–stans” of Central Asia. China is not looking to harbor a gadfly of the West. Latin America is spotty, though Glenn Greenwald makes his home base in Brazil despite the de facto coup against the Left there. How well are human rights protected in places like India or Malaysia? Singapore, Burma and Thailand are too authoritarian. Arthur C. Clarke decamped in Sri Lanka. Are there any truly sovereign nations in the Indian or Pacific oceans? Too bad New Gingrich didn’t get to establish his proposed Moon base. Julian might have managed Wikileaks from there, beyond the jurisdiction of any nation state on Earth.”

I said in response: “Realist’s” comments on Julian finding asylum on the Moon is frivolous, and if frivolous comments are permitted, why not outrageous comments? Are there Jewish people who would be outrageous enough to begin to lobby for Julian Assange to be given political asylum in Israel? Would he accept such an idea? Just the discussion of such an idea might be helpful in clearing some mental blocks.” ”

Realist” replied: “Assange finding asylum on the Moon might be a frivolous comment but it underscores the paucity of venues that could pay the price to shield him against American wrath. In response to your invitation to discuss Israel as a plausible safe harbor for Assange, I should think his morals would preclude that possibility, even as a last resort. It would be repudiating everything he has stood for. As they say “tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.”

Ilargi: That’s a very long way of saying “there are no options”. You don’t have to go through all the options to arrive at the conclusion that there are no options.

WH: So in other words…

Ilargi: A new country that is brought to the front in the past few days is Mexico. .

WH: Mexico.

Ilargi: Yes. People think that Lopez Obrador might be the guy to turn to. I suggested Iceland.

WH: I remember that. . .

Ilargi: They are independent enough to pull off something like that. Though I have no idea what the Icelandic government feels or thinks about Assange. But they’re independent. They’re the only country that locked up a bunch of bankers and told the creditors to go take a hike.

WH: I think what “Realist” would say is that these countries are not strong enough to protect Assange and that the CIA, or whoever is after him, would get at him.

Ilargi: Iceland has got a big moat. That is natural protection. .

WH: A big moat!

Ilargi: Yes. Of course there is no country that could give 100% protection to someone like Assange.

WH: There was a similar discussion in response to an article by Caitlin Johnstone.” “As long as Assange is silenced, claims against him are illegitimate”.

In any case, a campaign is under way. The ideas we are discussing here are not part of the campaign and I don’t want to impose them. The campaign is following its own logic.

Ilargi: There are no ideas. There is just a long list of “no options”.

WH: Yes, as you said. Right. This is continuing the discussion we had with the mayor.

Ilargi: I would like to add what we were saying before we started. The news about Assange’s health is not good. He has severe toothaches. His legs are swelling and his bone density is falling fast because of the lack of exposure to sunlight. So in the end, what it comes down to: Ecuador doesn’t even have to kick him out. They’re counting on the fact that he’ll have to walk out. .

WH: Yes, if he can. .

Ilargi: Or be carried out, on a stretcher. Or in a coffin. .

Julian Assange: (Trafalgar Square, London – 8th October 2011)

When we understand that wars come about as a result of lies peddled to the British public and the American public and the publics all over Europe and other countries, then who are the war criminals? It is not just leaders. It is not just soldiers. It is journalists. Journalists are war criminals. … If wars can be started by lies, peace can be started by truth.

Mayor Dimitrios Mourtzis speaks on Aegina, Citizens’ Europe, 26th January, Julian Assange

Yanis Varoufakis and Julian Assange

On DiEM25’s advisory panel is Julian Assange, an Australian who fled European law by entering the Ecuadorian embassy. Is he a fit person to advise on Europe?

Varoufakis: I’m very proud to count Julian as one of my friends. You will have noticed that the Swedish prosecutor has dropped any intention of charging him. It seems absurd that someone is deemed guilty even though no charge have been laid upon him. Julian Assange is being persecuted for a very simple reason: he embarrassed the US and the surveillance establishment. Wikileaks is a brilliant attempt to turn the mirror on Big Brother. This is why Julian is effectively incarcerated in the Ecuadorian embassy.

Are we to believe his accusers were part of a conspiracy to extradite him to the US?
Varoufakis: I have no interest in speculation. What I do know is that the Swedish prosecutor never charged Julian with anything. Now the US government has explicitly stated that there is a grand jury convening in secret, all ready to request his extradition on charges of espionage. The court case will be a sham. His lawyers will not be given the charges or evidence. It will be held behind closed doors and he will disappear into a supermax prison for ever. No liberal can support this process.

Ο Δήμαρχος Δημήτριος Μούρτζης μιλάει για την Αίγινα, την Ευρώπη των Πολιτών, την ημερομηνία 26η Ιανουαρίου, τον Τζούλιαν Ασάνζ

O Γιάνης Βαρουφάκης για τον Τζούλιαν Ασάνζ:

Στη συμβουλευτική επιτροπή του DiEM25 βρίσκεται ο Τζούλιαν Ασάνζ, ένας Αυστραλός που διαφεύγει του ευρωπαϊκού νόμου στην πρεσβεία του Εκουαδόρ. Είναι το κατάλληλο πρόσωπο να συμβουλεύει για την Ευρώπη;

Βαρουφάκης: Εϊμαι περήφανος για τη φιλία μου με το Τζούλιαν. Θα προσέξατε ότι ο Σουηδός δικαστής απέσυρε κάθε σκέψη άσκησης δίωξης εναντίον του. Φαντάζει τουλάχιστον περίεργο που θεωρείται ένοχος ενώ δεν υπάρχουν κατηγορίες εναντίον του. Ο Ασάνζ κατηγορείται ουσιαστικά για έναν απλό λόγο: γελοιοποίησε το σύστημα παρακολούθησης των ΗΠΑ. Τα wikileaks είναι ένα λαμπρό παράδειγμα του πως μπορεί κανείς να στρέψει τον καθρέφτη απέναντι στον ίδιο το Μεγάλο Αδερφό. Για αυτό ο Τζούλιαν είναι πρακτικά υπό κράτηση στην πρεσβεία του Εκουαδόρ.

Να πιστέψουμε δηλαδή ότι οι κατήγοροί του συμμετείχαν σε σκευωρία με σκοπό την έκδοσή του στις ΗΠΑ;

Βαρουφάκης: Δε με ενδιαφέρουν οι εικασίες. Αυτό που ξέρω είναι ότι στη Σουηδία δεν κατηγορήθηκε τελικά για τίποτα. Τώρα οι ΗΠΑ δήλωσαν ξεκάθαρα ότι ετοιμάζεται μυστικό δικαστήριο για να ζητήσει την έκδοσή του με κατηγορίες κατασκοπίας. Ένα τέτοιο δικαστήριο θα είναι μια παρωδία, μια ντροπή. Οι δικηγόροι του δε θα μπορούν να λάβουν καν στα χέρια τους τη δικογραφία. Θα διεξαχθεί κεκλεισμένων των θυρών και θα τον εξαφανίσουν σε μια φυλακή υψίστης ασφαλείας για πάντα. Κανένας φιλελεύθερος άνθρωπος δεν μπορεί να δεχτεί μια τέτοια διαδικασία.

Raul “Ilargi” Meijer on Assange

Lawrence Davidson: Julian Assange and the Fate of Journalism

Julian Assange is the Australian founder of Wikileaks—a website dedicated to the public’s right to know what governments and other powerful organizations are doing. Wikileaks pursues this goal by posting revelatory documents, often acquired unofficially, that bring to light the criminal behavior that results in wars and other man-made disasters. Because Wikileaks’ very existence encourages “leaks,” government officials fear the website, and particularly dislike Julian Assange.

Essentially, Wikileaks functions as a wholesale supplier of evidence. Having identified alleged official misconduct, Wikileaks seeks to acquire and make public overwhelming amounts of evidence—sometimes hundreds of thousands of documents at a time—which journalists and other interested parties can draw upon. And since the individuals and organizations being investigated are ones ultimately responsible to the public, such a role as wholesale supplier of evidence can be seen as a public service.

(link to read rest of article)

Comment by Ilargi:

This starts out all right, albeit with all things that 1000 others have said before, but at the end goes completely off the rails by singling out FOX as a source of ‘confirmation bias’. But we all know what FOX wants. Its the others that hide their intentions behind a veil of credibility, not FOX. It’s CNN, NYT, WaPo who keep up the pretense of objective news. Not FOX, their audience and targets are well defined.
There is of course the question of what side Assange himself would prefer today. If one side appears to stand up for him, it would seem to be the right side.

 

Inside Bannon’s Plan to Hijack Europe for the Far-Right

Bannon is moving to Europe to set up The Movement, a populist foundation to rival George Soros and spark a right-wing revolt across the continent. SOURCE LONDON—Steve Bannon plans to go toe-to-toe with George Soros and spark a right-wing revolution in Europe. Trump’s former White House chief advisor told The Daily Beast that he is setting up a foundation in Europe called The Movement which he hopes will lead a right-wing populist revolt across the continent starting with the European Parliament elections next spring. The non-profit will be a central source of polling, advice on messaging, data targeting, and think-tank research for a ragtag band of right-wingers who are surging all over Europe, in many cases without professional political structures or significant budgets. Bannon’s ambition is for his organization ultimately to rival the impact of Soros’s Open Society, which has given away $32 billion to largely liberal causes since it was established in 1984. Over the past year, Bannon has held talks with right-wing groups across the continent from Nigel Farage and members of Marine Le Pen’s Front National (recently renamed Rassemblement National) in the West, to Hungary’s Viktor Orban and the Polish populists in the East. He envisions a … Continue reading

Function of honour and tribute at monument in Tourlos to the executed political prisoners

For the second consecutive year on 1st May a function of commemoration and tribute was organized by the local SYRIZA group of Aegina and held in the naval base at Tourlos, honouring the political prisoners executed during the German occupation and the subsequent civil war. Participating in the function were the Alternate Minister for Social Solidarity Theano Fotiou, the SYRIZA Europarliamentarian Stelios Kouloglou, the SYRIZA national parliamentarians for Piraeus 1st District and for the Islands Thodoros Dritsas and Eleni Stamataki and the SYRIZA parliamentarian for Athens 2nd District Christoforos Papadopoulos.

On behalf of the SYRIZA chapter in Aegina the municipal councilor Antonis Delis explained the reasons why the function is being held. A text on the history of the day was read by the medical doctor Mr. Giorgos Bogris

In the course of the function a number of the participants laid wreaths and flowers on the monument. The co-ordinators of the local group Mr. Panagiotis Patsakios laid a wreath and flowers were presented by Mesdames Fotiou and Stamatakis, Messrs Dritsas, Kouloglou and Papadopoulos, the mayor of Aegina Dimitrios Mourtzis and the granddaughter of “Captain Moria” Georgakopoulos.
The function was also attended by the president of the social organization of the Municipality of Aegina KEDA Mrs. Kaiti Salpea, the Deputy Mayor Panagiotis Marmarinos, the councilor Nektarios Leousis, and numerous citizens.

Address by the Mayor of Aegina Dimitrios Mourtzis

I am with you to express my emotion, to condemn those who wish to stigmatize a different ideology, those who since seventy-one years ago when the last execution took place here unfortunately have not realized that in this country we are who we are, we are Greeks, we are Hellenes, we are Greece, without dividing lines, with different viewpoints, with the ideology of mutual respect, an ideology that is the greatest ideal we have within us, within our conscience, and it is not possible for anyone to take this ideology away from us. My hope is that the actions that took place here will never again occur in our country. This day that we are here I wanted all the groupings of the parliament to be here. Whatever mistakes there were, the policies behind them are to be condemned and we should show by our presence that something has changed in this Greece that is struggling to move beyond these narrow confines that have been imposed on us.

I came here as mayor, with great emotion but also as a Hellene, to say that my presence here is necessary, irrespective of whether I represent, in an honorary capacity, this region. I come here as Dimitrios Mourtzis, to present, along with the condemnation of this behaviour, the message that we must at long last stop what has been plaguing us for so many years. The last execution took place here seventy-one years ago. Seventy-one years passed, unexploited. I address my friends the ministers that I see facing me, my friends of the Greek parliament, all the members of the municipal council, all the people who came here to declare their concern.

Statements by Theano Fotiou, Thodoris Dritsas and Eleni Stamataki on the commemorative function at Tourlos

Statements on the function at the monument in Tourlos to the political prisoners executed during the German occupation and the subsequent civil war were made to Aegina Portal after the end of the ceremony by the Alternate Minister for Social Solidarity Theano Fotiou and the SYRIZA parliamentarians for Piraeus 1st District and the Islands Thodoris Dritsas and Eleni Stamataki.

Theano Fotiou: “It is the first time for me that I am celebrating May Day in this way, honouring the executed activists of the National Resistance, and indeed in Aegina. Truly for me the whole function was serious. It was an opportunity for reflection on exactly what happened. On the one hand let us not forget, on the other let us learn and never ever allow fascism to raise its head again.

Thodoris Dritsas: “For a second time this year we see this marvellous initiative by the SYRIZA local organization in Aegina to commemorate the activists held in the Aegina prison and then executed at Tourlos in the period between 1940 and 1944 and subsequently 1947 to 1949. Justice, progress, peace, vindication of the struggles of these people gave their lives for the highest ideals. The participation of local government, the mayor and many other representatives of Aegina society is very promising and paves the way for this initiative to be embraced by all the social and political forces of Aegina. It is a worthwhile objective within the prospect of peace, progress and vindication of the struggles of the Greek people.”

Eleni Stamataki: “For us today is not a day of celebration. It is a day of commemoration and tribute. We remember and honour those who struggled, throughout the world, for equal rights and equal conquests and this is why we are here, on this sacred site where eighteen activists of the National Resistance were executed, surreptitiously and illegally. They are the ones we honour today.

Epirus Threatened with Environmental Devastation

‌In periods of economic crisis such as the one that Greece is going through today, the environment is considered to be less important, because there are more pressing needs for liquidity. When money is missing, governments look for it anywhere – at any cost: funds that are destined for environmental protection programs end up elsewhere. Environmental  protection mechanisms slacken. Untapped mineral resources suddenly look like the chicken with golden eggs and the …applied macroeconomic policy begins to leave deeper footprints in the environment.

It is indeed inconceivable to discuss hydrocarbon mining in places like Epirus and the Ionian, and indeed in valuable areas such as the North Pindos National Park, with its wonderful landscapes and the natural wealth they possess. The developmental program of these areas should rely on these natural advantages and not endanger them! When the planet is in fossil fuel dependency or and there is a problematic of addressing anthropogenic climate change, Greece’s choice to turn to hydrocarbons is politically short-sighted and undermines any attempt to change its course towards clean energy and real sustainable growth.

Nikos Vakolidis
Ioannina

Hellenic American Democratic Association 23rd April 2018

1. We cannot burn the stuff we already got:
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jan/07/much-worlds-fossil-fuel-reserve-must-stay-buried-prevent-climate-change-study-says

2. European Shale Oil and Gas via Hydraulic Fracturing: http://www.euromines.org/files/what-we-do/energy-climate-change/european-shale-gas-and-oil-ems-position-paper-sept-9-final.pdf
https://www.nbcnews.com/business/energy/many-oil-gas-wells-untested-environmental-damage-report-says-n103376

3. Shale Oil/Gas in Greece: http://www.dimokratianews.gr/content/15468/σχιστολιθικό-πετρέλαιο-και-αέριο-στην-ελλάδα

4. Energean:
Energean Board of Directors
https://www.energean.com/about-us/our-team/board-of-directors/
In Israel
https://www.energean.com/operations/israel/israel/
Greece and Israel
https://www.energean.com/media/2522/energean-oil-gas-fid-announcement-22-mar-2018_final.pdf

5. Repsol

J. Robin West
https://www.repsol.com/en/shareholders-and-investors/corporate-governance/board-of-directors/j-robinson-west/index.cshtml
Greenwashing
http://www.climategreenwash.org/repsol.html

6. Energean and Repsol together in Greece

https://www.energean.com/about-us/partners/exploring-wgreece-with-repsol/
https://energypress.gr/news/h-repsol-exagorazei-apo-tin-energean-60-se-ioannina-kai-aitoloakarnania

7. Genie Oil and Gas/Hydraulic fracturing – Golan Heights, Dick Cheney/Rupert Murdoch

Strategic Advisory Board:
https://genieoilgas.com/about-us/strategic-advisory-board/ (strategic advisory board)
Unconventional Resources:
https://genieoilgas.com (look under unconventional resources and ‘in situ”)
In Israel:
http://afekoil.co.il/?lang=en

8. WWF and Greenpeace Greece initial press release and asking for annulments of leases for seismic testing for hyrdocarbons in Epirus

https://www.wwf.gr/crisis-watch/crisis-watch/biodiversity-natural-resources/biodiversity/hydrocarbon-frenzy-in-greece
http://epirusgate.blogspot.gr/2018/04/wwf-greenpeace.html
http://www.wwf.gr/news/2055-eksoryksi-ydrogonanthrakon-stin-ipeiro

Η Μαρία Ευθυμίου στην Αίγινα

Ενθουσίασε το κοινό η ομιλία της Μαρίας Ευθυμίου στο ΓΕΛ

Γέμισε η αίθουσα “Σοφία Μηλιώτη” του ΓΕΛ Αίγινας, την Παρασκευή 2 Φεβρουαρίου,για την ομιλία της ιστορικού Μαρίας Ευθυμίου με τίτλο “1828: Οι κοινωνικές και οικονομικές πραγματικότητες του Ελληνικού κράτους και ο Ιωάννης Καποδίστριας“, που διοργάνωσε ο Σύλλογος Ενεργών Πολιτών Αίγινας.

Η κ. Ευθυμίου μίλησε για την οικονομική, κοινωνική και πολιτική κατάσταση της χώρας μετά την επανάσταση του 1821, την ιδιαιτερότητα της κάθε περιοχής ανάλογα την γεωγραφική της θέση και τους τοπικούς παράγοντες, για την διπλωματικούς χειρισμούς του Ιωάννη Καποδίστρια και τα κέντρα αποφάσεων της διεθνούς διπλωματίας, για το δάνειο του 1823, την ελληνική πειρατεία και πολλά άλλα.
Μετά την ομιλία έγινε διάλογος με το κοινό, που έδειξε ενθουσιασμένο από την μεταδοτικότητα του λόγου της, αλλά και τα ιστορικά στοιχεία της εποχής.

Την ομιλία προλόγισε η κ. Βάσω Κανελλοπούλου όπου παρουσίασε και το βιογραφικού της ιστορικού και από την δημοτική αρχή παρευρέθηκε ο κ. Γ. Τσατήρης και ο κ. Γ. Πούντος.

Μπορείτε να δείτε όλη την ομιλία στο  βίντεο:   https://youtu.be/gIE9GslI8vA

δ

δ-2

δ-3

δ-4

δ-5

 

Δήλωση της Λέσχης της Σόφιας (πανευρωπαϊκή πρωτοβουλία)

sofia_declaration

(στα αγγλικά http://www.defenddemocracy.press/sofia-club-declaration/ )

Σημαντικές τεκτονικές αλλαγές σημειώνονται στις δυτικές κοινωνίες. Αυτές οι αλλαγές αποκαλύπτουν θεμελιώδες αλλαγές στην ενστικτώδη αντίληψη της σημερινής πραγματικότητας τόσο μέσα στα μεγάλα αστικά κέντρα όσο και έξω από αυτά.

 Τόσο η Brexit όσο και το αποτέλεσμα των αμερικανικών προεδρικών εκλογών αποδεικνύουν αυτή την εξέλιξη. Και στις δύο περιπτώσεις, ο έλεγχος των ελίτ πάνω από τον πληθυσμό – που ασκείται κυρίως μέσω των μεγάλων ΜΜΕ, απέτυχε. Το κοινό δεν έχει πάει προς την κατεύθυνση που ευνοείται από τα μήντια. Τα μέσα μαζικής ενημέρωσης, επίσης, δεν ήταν σε θέση εκείνη τη στιγμή να προβλέψουν ή να καταγράψουν την απόκλιση από την κατεύθυνση που έδιναν. Όλα αυτά είναι ένδειξη προβληματικής έλλειψης αμοιβαίας επικοινωνίας μεταξύ των ελίτ, των μέσων μαζικής ενημέρωσης και της κοινής γνώμης.

Οι πρόσφατες προεδρικές εκλογές στη Γαλλία, στις οποίες νικητής αναδύθηκε ο Macron, έδειξαν ότι οι τρόποι ελέγχου της κοινής γνώμης εξακολουθούν να λειτουργούν. Ένας υποψήφιος που εφευρέθηκε την τελευταία στιγμή από τις κυβερνώντες ελίτ (μολονότι χωρίσμένες εσωτερικά), ανυψώθηκε στη νίκη. Παρ’όλα αυτά σε πείσμα της ομόφωνης συνεργασίας όλων των κέντρων εξουσίας, επίσημων και μηντιακών , το αποτέλεσμα ήταν εφικτό να επιτευχθεί μόνο επειδή η τελικά ηττημένη υποψήφιος περικυκλώθηκε από «cordon sanitaire» που συνέδεε όλες τις παραδοσιακές δυνάμεις, τόσο αριστερές όσο και δεξιές. Ωστόσο, το ήμισυ του εκλογικού σώματος δεν υπέκυψε σε αυτή τη χειραγώγηση: είτε ψήφισε υπέρ του Le Pen, είτε απείχε είτε ψήφισε με κενά ή χαλασμένα ψηφοδέλτια.

Υπό αυτή την έννοια, ούτε καν οι γαλλικές προεδρικές εκλογές του 2017 έχουν διαψεύσει την ύπαρξη συνεχόμενων τεκτονικών αλλαγών στις ευρωπαϊκές κοινωνίες. Οι αιτίες αξίζουν παραπέρα διερεύνησης. Αυτό που δεν μπορεί να αμφισβητηθεί είναι η πολύπλοκη εσωτερική κρίση που εκδηλώνεται με διάφορους τρόπους σε ολόκληρη τη Δύση. Η φυσιογνωμία της δεν είναι ακόμη κατανοητή κι έτσι προκαλεί πρωτοφανείς ταραχές σε μεγάλες μάζες πληθυσμών. Ο κόσμος συνειδητοποιοεί, ενστικτωδώς, ότι μεγάλα ζητήματα παραμένουν ανεπίλυτα. Αρχίζει να καταλαβαίνει ότι οι ηγέτες δεν είναι σε θέση να επιλύσουν αυτά τα ζητήματα. Ο κόσμος γίνεται δύσπιστος για την ανεπάρκεια των εξηγήσεων που προσφέρονται. Αισθάνεται όλο και μεγαλύτερη καχυποψία απέναντι στην πολιτική τάξη. Αντιμετωπίζει με περιφρόνηση τα μεγάλα μέσα ενημέρωσης. Τα ΜΜΕ όχι μόνο δεν λένε την αλήθεια – την κρύβουν ενεργά, αξιοποιώντας μια πλούσια ποικιλία εξαπάτησης.

Αυτό δεν πάει να πει ότι οι Ευρωπαίοι έχουν κατανοήσει τα αίτια. Ωστόσο, αρκεί για να προκαλέσει μια «γνωσιολογική παραφωνία» ως αποτέλεσμα μιας όλο και εντονότερης αντίφασης μεταξύ της πραγματικότητας που είναι αντιληπτή από πάνω και της άξεστης πραγματικότητας που παρατηρείται στην καθημερινή ζωή.

Παρόμοια φαινόμενα εμφανίζονται στην Ανατολική Ευρώπη και στα νέα κράτη-μέλη της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης, συνοδευόμενα από μια ποικιλία εκδηλώσεων τοπικών εμπειριών. Η αίγλη της Ευρώπης ξεθωριάζεται. Η έλξη μετατρέπεται σε αποστροφή και ακόμη σε εχθρότητα. Αυτό αποδεικνύεται από το αποτέλεσμα των πρόσφατων προεδρικών εκλογών στη Μολδαβία, από τις σχέσεις μεταξύ Βαρσοβίας και Βρυξελλών, Βουδαπέστης και Βρυξελλών, από πολλές ανάλογες ενδείξεις που επηρεάζουν τη Δυτική και την Ανατολική Ευρώπη, όχι λιγότερο από τη Νότια Ευρώπη. Παντού, ο αριθμός των ευρωσκεπτικιστών αυξάνεται. Οι νέες πολιτικές οργανώσεις που δημιουργήθηκαν τα τελευταία χρόνια (Κόμμα Ανεξαρτησίας του Ηνωμένου Βασιλείου, Το Κίνημα Πέντε Αστέρων στην Ιταλία, η Εναλλακτική για τη Γερμανία) καταδεικνύουν αυτή την ευθραυστότητα και την αστάθεια. Η ανάπτυξη, όμως, δεν έρχεται, η ποσοτική χαλάρωση δεν μπορεί να διαρκέσει αιωνίως, το ποσοστό απασχόληης παραμένει στάσιμο, ή πέφτει. Αναμένεται μαζικός αυτοματισμός, ο οποίος και θα μειώσει ακόμη περισσότερο την πιθανότητα η πιθανότητα ανώδυνων λύσεων στο πρόβλημα της ανεργίας. Η μεσαία τάξη υποφέρει από μόνιμη μείωση του βιοτικού επιπέδου. Το «κοινωνικό συμβόλαιο» – το οποίο υποστήριζε την Ένωση και συνίστατο σε ανταλλαγή εκπληρωμενων υποσχέσεων για την ευημερία από πάνω και ψήφοι από κάτω – σήμερα έχει πάψει να λειτουργεί. Οι ελίτ είναι ανίκανες να κρατούν αυτό το συμβόλαιο, με αποτέλεσμα ο λαός να μη διατίθεται πια να τους ψηφίσει. Οι φυγοκεντρικές δυνάμεις εντείνονται.

Οι απαντήσεις από τις Βρυξέλλες είναι γελοία ανεπαρκείς. Η αλαζονική απάντηση που δίνουν στα αιτήματα, έστω ασαφή, για ριζική αλλαγή, είναι να εξαπολύσουν κατηγορίες για «λαϊκισμό». Διαστρεβλώνοντας , απονομοποιώντας τις απαιτήσεις για δημοκρατία, διαφάνεια, δίκαιη διακυβέρνηση εξαπολύουν καταδίκες για παράνομες, αν όχι ανατρεπτικές, ενέργειες. Η ιδεοληπτική επανάληψη του υποτιμητικού όρου “λαϊκισμός” αποτελεί απειλή για τον λαό.

Η αυξανόμενη πίεση από κάτω πιστεύουμε, αντιθέτως, ότι πρέπει να ενθαρρυνθεί και να κατευθυνθεί προς μια βαθιά δημοκρατική μεταρρύθμιση των σημερινών ευρωπαϊκών θεσμών. Θεσμοί που απέχουν εκατομμύρια μίλια από τις ιδέες των ιδρυτών της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης. Εκείνοι που έχουν στερήσει τους λαούς από τις μορφές εθνικής δημοκρατίας που είχαν συνηθήσει, για καλό ή κακό, για να τους αντικαταστήσουν με υπερεθνικούς θεσμούς, χωρίς δημοκρατική νομιμοποίηση και πλήρως υποταγμένοι στις εξουσίες του διεθνούς χρηματοοικονομικού κεφαλαίου.

Η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση περνάει αυτή τη συστημική και πολύπλευρη κρίση χωρίς καμία ενωτική ιδέα. Ως αντικατάστατο οποιουδήποτε διαλόγου, η Ρωσία έχει γίνει αντικείμενο καθημερινής κριτικής, συνοδευόμενης από δηλώσεις πολλών Ευρω-αμερικάνων ηγετών που ισοδυναμούν με προβλέψεις μιας επικείμενης επίθεσης. Στη συνέχεια, ισχυριζόμενο ότι για να αντισταθεί σε αυτή την λεγόμενη επιθετικότητα, είναι απαραίτητο να πολλαπλασιάσουμε και να εντείνουμε τη στρατιωτική παρουσία του ΝΑΤΟ δίπλα στα σύνορα της Ρωσίας, το ΝΑΤΟ συνεχίζει την επέκτασή του, επιστρατεύοντας το Μαυροβουνίο, πιέζοντας να ενταχθούν όλες τις χώρες της πρώην γιογκοσλαβίας. Γίνονται ολοένα και πιο ρητά βήματα για να προσχωρήσει και η Ουκρανία. Σε αυτή την περίπτωση πρέπει να είναι προφανές, ακόμη στους πιο απληροφόρητους παρατηρητές, ότι το ΝΑΤΟ είναι ικανό να προκαλέσει μια πολύ επικίνδυνη και μη-προβλέψιμη σύγκρουση με τη Ρωσία.

Η διεθνής κατάσταση περιπλέκεται περαιτέρω από τα αποτελέσματα των αμερικανικών εκλογών του 2016. Ένα άλλο πρόσωπο της Αμερικής έχει αποκαλυφθεί στους Ευρωπαίους, πολύ διαφορετικό από εκείνο που πούλησαν στο κοινό το ευρωπαϊκό πολιτικό κατεστημένο και τα ΜΜΕ. Πρόκειται για το πρόσωπο μιας χώρας που έχει κατασπαραχθεί και τεμαχιστεί από εσωτερικές αντιφάσεις – ίσως πιο βαθιές από ποτέ στην – όχι τόσο μακρινή – ιστορία της. Μια χώρα αβέβαιη για το μέλλον της, αντιμέτωπο με μια προφανή οικονομική και κοινωνική κρίση. Η σημερινή Ευρώπη, όμως, αντί να κατανοήσει το πρόβλημα και να αναλάβει την ευθύνη να συμβάλει στην εποικοδομητική επίλυση του με στόχο την εξασφάλιση της ειρήνης, στηρίζει με ουσιαστική ομοφωνία την κάστα που έφερε τις ΗΠΑ στη σημερινή της κατάσταση.

Δεν αναγνωρίζει την αποτυχία της παγκοσμιοποίησης ως «φιλοσοφίας». Ο καπιταλισμός του καζίνο δεν παράγει ανάπτυξη. Οι νεοφιλελεύθερες συνταγές δεν προσφέρουν λύση. Η ανάπτυξη των δύο τελευταίων αιώνων δεν μπορεί να είναι βιώσιμη. Αντίθετα, θα οδηγήσει σε κατάρρευση οικοσυστημάτων.Ο ανταγωνισμός οδηγεί σ’έναν πόλεμο όλων εναντίον όλων. Η κοινωνική αδικία που εγκαθίσταται παντού οδηγεί στον όλεθρο. Καταλήγει νομοτελειακά σε κοινωνικές συγκρούσεις, αυταρχισμό, αιματοχυσία.

Οι προτάσεις που έρχονται από την Ευρώπη είναι η γνωστή παλαιά παγκοσμιοποίηση, τα γνωστά οράματα μιας σωτηριακής και «αναπόφευκτης» τεχνικής προόδου, η ίδια γνωστή επιθυμία να ομογενοποιηθούν τα έθνη και οι ιστορίες τους με ενιαίο παγκόσμιο χωνευτήρη, η ίδια Αγορά ως αφεντικό του χρήματος, των πραγμάτων και ακόμα των σκέψεων, η ολοένα και πιο απάνθρωπη ιδέα του «εκσυγχρονισμού», μια αλαζονική απαίτηση να υπαγορεύει τους νόμους της και στη Φύση.

Δεν χωράει ανθρώπινο όν σε αυτό το σενάριο. Ακόμη χειρότερα: οι ιδέες αυτές (στο μέτρο που αυτές μπορούν να θεωρηθούν ιδέες) είναι αδύνατες στην πράξη. Αυτές οι ιδέες ενός έβδομου του παγκόσμιου πληθυσμού δεν μπορούν να επιβληθούν στους υπόλοιπους έξι έβδομους. Υπάρχει μόνο ένας τρόπος να γίνουν πραγματικότητα: πόλεμος, βία. Ο πόλεμος, εάν συμβεί, θα φέρει μια μικρή ομάδα νικητών μαζί με καταστροφές σε μια κλίμακα δύσκολο να φανταστεί κανείς.

Μια από τις αιτίες αυτής της κρίσης είναι ιδιαίτερα Δυτικής προέλευσης. Πρόκειται για την αδυναμία ή απροθυμία των δυτικών ελίτ να συγκρατήσουν τον ευρωκεντρισμό τους. Εξακολουθούμε να θεωρούμε τον εαυτό μας (αυτό ισχύει και για την ευρωπαϊκή αριστερά, όχι λιγότερο απ’ο τι για την παραδοσιακή δεξιά ) κέντρο του κόσμου. Σήμερα αυτό είναι προφανώς λάθος. Σε αυτή την μη ρεαλιστική αντίληψη οφείλονται όλα τα τραγικά σφάλματα που σημειώθηκαν στην Ευρώπη και στη Δύση. Εμποδίζει την αναγνώριση της ποικιλομορφίας των πολιτισμών, των θρησκειών και των παραδόσεων της Γης. Είναι και ο καρπός και η αιτία της παγκοσμιοποίησης, η οποία φιλοδοξεί να ομογενοποιεί όλους τους πολιτισμούς και ακυρώνει την ανυπέρβλητη ποικιλομορφία του σύγχρονου κόσμου.

Επιχειρείται – σε πείσμα της πραγματικόττας – να αντιπαραβληθεί το ισοπεδωτικό πνεύμα της παγκοσμιοποίησης με τον απομονωτισμό και την αυτάρχεια. Στην πραγματικότητα είναι άλλη η αντιπαράθεση. Υπάρχει μια λογική και φιλειρηνική στάση , η οποία υποκαθιστά τον «ανταγωνισμό» (τον αγώνα όλων σε βάρος όλων των άλλων) με «συνεργασία», «σεβασμό», «ισότητα στην πολυμορφία».

Οι ευρωπαϊκοί θεσμοί είναι προϊόντα όχι μόνο ενός ακραίου νεοφιλελευθερισμού αλλά και της αυταρχικής ιδέας της ομοιομορφίας που διασφαλίζει η αγορά. Η πραγματικότητα αντιφάσκει με αυτή τη νοσηρή προοπτική. Το αποτέλεσμα αυτής της αντίφασης μέσα στις δυτικές ελίτ, ιδίως εκείνες στην Ευρώπη, είναι μια μιλιταριστική υστερία, μισαλλόδοξη και όλο και πιο επιθετική. Το ΝΑΤΟ έγινε επίκεντρο της ανάπτυξης και αναπαραγωγής αυτής της υστερίας. Η έξοδος από το ΝΑΤΟ αποτελεί απαραίτητο πρώτο βήμα για να στραφεί η Ευρώπη προς έναν σοβαρό συλλογικό προβληματισμό σχετικά με την εθνική κυριαρχία ως εργαλείο για την προστασία των λαών από την παγκοσμιοποιημένη συμμαχία.

Από εδώ και πέρα, η ιδέα ενός «ευρωπαϊκού στρατού», που να αντικαθιστά το ΝΑΤΟ, κερδίζει έδαφος. Θα έπρεπε αυτό το επιχείρημα να προβληθεί ως εναλλακτική λύση. Παρ’όλα αυτά απαιτεί μια ταυτόχρονη αναθεώρηση των σημερινών εννοιών της συλλογικής ασφάλειας και μια αλλαγή της έννοιας του «εχθρού». Ο ευρωπαϊκός στρατός δεν μπορεί να είναι διπλότυπο του ΝΑΤΟ, γιατί αυτό θα σήμαινε μόνο τερατώδη αύξηση των στρατιωτικών δαπανών, οι οποίες είναι ήδη υπερβολικές. Υπάρχει και το ζήτημα ότι ο επιλεγμένος “εχθρός” – (η Ρωσία σήμερα; η Κίνα θα είναι ο επόμενος) δεν είναι εχθρός. Τέλος, η παγκόσμια κρίση απαιτεί να καταλάβουμε ότι ο αυριανός κόσμος θα κλονιστεί από πολλές απειλές, όχι στενά στρατιωτικές στη φύση τους. Έτσι ο ευρωπαϊκός στρατός θα πρέπει να διαμορφωθεί όχι μόνο για να εκπληρώσει τα καθήκοντα της στρατιωτικής ασφάλειας, αλλά, πρώτα απ ‘όλα, να προστατεύσει τον ευρωπαϊκό πληθυσμό από διάφορες απειλές, που έχουν ήδη επανειλημμένα προβλεφθεί.

Η επιπόλαια σχεδιασμένη διεύρυνση της Ένωσης κατά τη διάρκεια της πρώτης δεκαετίας του αιώνα, υποβοηθούμενη από τις θανατηφόρες αυταπάτες των νέων μελών, έχει συγκολλήσει δύο Ευρώπες, διαφορετιών ιδεών και αρχών. Σε πολλές περιπτώσεις δεν είναι μόνο διαφορετικές αλλά κάθετα αντίθετες. Η σημερινή Ευρώπη δημιουργήθηκε με στόχο να ξεπεραστούν αυτές τις διαιρέσεις, οι οποίες κορυφώθηκαν στον Δεύτερο Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο. Η Γερμανία, η Γαλλία, η Ιταλία άνοιξαν καινούργια σελίδα με το παράδειγμα συμφιλίωσης που έδωσαν. Το παράδειγμα προτάθηκε ως σχέδιο μακροπρόθεσμο ενάντια στον Ναζισμό. Τα νέα κράτη μέλη όμως δεν επιθυμούν τέτοιου είδους συμφιλίωση. Έχουν αναγκαστεί να ενταχθούν, πρώτον, στο ΝΑΤΟ και στη συνέχεια σε μια Ενώση που τις αρχές της δεν τις συμμμερίζονται. Έχουν κουβαλήσει μαζί τους ένα σωρό αντι-ρωσικού ρεβανχισμού και το πνεύμα του ψυχρού πολέμου. Τους λείπει κάθε σχέση με τον αγώνα ενάντια στον ναζισμό. Πολλές φορές συμπαθούν ανοιχτά την πολιτική των Ναζί. Ήδη από την αρχή εμφανίστηκε μια ισχυρή αντίθεση στις ιδέες τις μεταπολεμικής συμφιλίωσης, ακόμα τις πιο ρεαλιστικές και ειρηνικές. Από την άλλη πλευρά του Ατλαντικού ακούμε έντονα παράπονα σε συνδυασμό με μια επίμονη απαίτηση για αύξηση των εθνικών στρατιωτικών προϋπολογισμών έως και 2% του ΑΕΠ. Αυτό χρειάζεται – λένε – για να προστατευθεί η Δύση από έναν εχθρό, ο οποίος είναι, ουσιαστικά, οι υπόλοιποι έξι δισεκατομμύρια άνθρωποι που αποτελούν τον πληθυσμό της γης. Η μόνη λογική αντίδραση είναι να απόρρηφθεί αυτή η τρέλα.

Χρειάζεται μια νέα Ευρώπη, η οποία να διορθώνει τα σοβαρά λάθη που διαπράχθηκαν κατά τη διάρκεια της ανάπτυξής της Ένωσης μέχρι σήμερα. Δεν υπάρχουν μόνο λάθη, αλλά και εσκεμμένες προσπάθειες να παρεμποδιστεί η θεμελιώδης ιδέα της οικοδόμησης μιας δημοκρατικής, αντιφασιστικής, κυρίαρχης Ευρώπης. Ήρθε η ώρα ν’αλλάξουμε αυτή την κατάσταση και ν’ασπαστούμε για άλλη μια φορά τις αρχικές ιδέες. Χρειαζόμαστε μια Ευρώπη των λαών, μια Ευρώπη που να επιστρέφει στις ρίζες της δημοκρατίας της – τις εθνικές ρίζες. Δεν μπορούν να αντικατασταθούν αυτές οι ρίζες με υπερεθνικούς θεσμούς που στερούνται τόσο ταυτότητας όσο και ψυχής και πουβασίζονται στη γραφειοκρατία χωρίς δημοκρατική νομιποίηση. Αυτή η νομιμοποίηση μπορεί να στηριχθεί μόνο στη νομιμότητα των εθνικών δημοκρατιών. Χρειάζεται, οι νέοι υπερεθνικοί θεσμοί να εμπλουτίσουν αυτές τις ιστορικές ρίζες, όχι να τις αντικαταστήσουν ή να τους υπονομεύσουν. Χρειάζεται ένα νέο επίπεδο πραγματικής δημοκρατίας που δεν έχει ακόμα δημιουργηθεί. Αυτό είναι που οι θεσμοί δεν έχουν ούτε καταφέρει ούτε κατανοήσει. Συνεπώς, το Συμβούλιο, η Επιτροπή, το Κοινοβούλιο δεν εχουν νόμιμη ισχύ. Οι Συνθήκες του Μάαστριχτ, της Νίκαιας και της Λισαβόνας έχουν επιβληθεί από τα πάνω και προορίζονται να υπηρετήσουν την εξουσία, ακόμη και την κυριαρχία, των παγκόσμιων οικονομικών κύκλων. Το έκτρωμα της σημερινής Ευρώπης, χωρίς αρχές, χωρίς αλληλεγγύη, είναι ο καρπός του “ανταγωνισμού” και της αγοράς, που παρουσιάζονται ως αναμφισβήτητα, που τίθενται πάνω από τη βούληση και τα συναισθήματα των ανθρώπων.

Επομένως χρειάζεται μια νέα Ευρώπη. Δεν θα έχει τα ίδια γεωγραφικά σύνορα με τα σημερινά, αφού δεν είναι αυτονόητο ότι όλες οι χώρες και τα έθνη αυτής της Ευρώπης θα μοιράζονται τις αρχές της. Θα χρειαστεί μια Συντακτική Συνέλευση, εκλεγμένη από τους ενδιαφερόμενους λαούς, για να καθορίσει τους βασικούς θεσμούς. Αυτή η συνέλευση θα πρέπει να καταρτήσει ένα γνήσιο Σύνταγμα, το οποίο θα ξεπεράσει τους περιορισμούς μιας «διεθνούς συνθήκης» για να αποτελέσει τη βάση μιας σωστής Ένωσης. Ένα τέτοιο Σύνταγμα θα πρέπει να εγκριθεί όχι μόνο από τα εθνικά κοινοβούλια, αλλά και άμεσα από το λαό, μέσω δημοψηφίσματος.

Όλα αυτά οδηγούν στο συμπέρασμα ότι αυτό που χρειάζεται σήμερα η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση και η ανθρωπότητα ξεπερνάει τα όρια διασπαρτών μέτρων διακυβέρνησης. Απαιτούνται σοβαρές μεταρρυθμίσεις σε σχέση με τους τρόπους λειτουργίας της κοιννωίας. Πρέπει να δημιουργηθούν νέες προτεραιότητες με πολύ υψηλότερη ηθική από την κυρίαρχη και ανεξέλεγκτη δύναμη της αγοράς. . Μια φιλοσοφία που βασίζεται στον ανταγωνισμό, καταπατώντας τη δημόσια ηθική, πρέπει να ενδώσει στην κοινωνική δικαιοσύνη και την ειρήνη.

Giulietto Chiesa (Ιταλία), ευρωβουλευτής (2004-2009) · Πρόεδρος της πολιτικής ένωσης Alternativa

Michel Collon (Βέλγιο), δημοσιογράφος, διευθυντής της ιστοσελίδας Investig’Action

Javier Couso Permuy (Ισπανία), ευρωβουλευτής, Ομάδα Ενωμένη Αριστερά

Ίνακι Ιραζαμπαλμπεϊτία (Χώρα των Βάσκων). Βουλευτής του ΕΚ (2013-2014), μέλος του διοικητικού συμβουλίου του πολιτικού κόμματος Aralar

Δημήτρης Κωνσταντακόπουλος (Ελλάδα), δημοσιογράφος, συγγραφέας, συντονιστής της Πρωτοβουλίας Δελφών, εκδότης της ιστοσελίδας Defend Democracy Press

Kostadinka Kuneva (Ελλάδα), ευρωβουλευτής, Ομάδα Ενωμένης Αριστεράς

Sergey Kurginyan (Ρωσία), Πρόεδρος του πολιτικού κινήματος ουσίας του χρόνου

Άννα Μιράντα (Γαλικία), ευρωβουλευτής (2012-2013 και 2018-2019), ομάδα Πράσινοι / ΕΕΣ · Μέλος του διοικητικού συμβουλίου του πολιτικού κόμματος Bloque Nacionalista Galego

Ghenadi Mitriuc (Μολδαβία), βουλευτής, ομάδα Σοσιαλιστικών Κόμματος

Oleksandr Moroz (Ουκρανία), πρόεδρος, πολιτικό κόμμα για την αλήθεια και τη δικαιοσύνη

Janusz Niedzwiecki (Πολωνία), μέλος του συμβουλίου του πολιτικού κόμματος Zmiana

Ρίμπος Πσσόφ (Ρωσία), Ινστιτούτο Κοινωνικοοικονομικών και Πολιτικών Μελετών

Roberto Quaglia (Ιταλία), συγγραφέας επιστημονικής φαντασίας, πολιτική ένωση Alternativa

Ο Dimitri Rempel (Γερμανία), Πρόεδρος του πολιτικού κόμματος Einheit

Piero San Giorgio (Ελβετία), συγγραφέας, μέλος της ένωσης Alternativa

Bogdat Tirdea (Μολδαβία), βουλευτής, ομάδα Σοσιαλιστικών Κόμματος

Vasyl Tsushko (Ουκρανία), αντιπρόεδρος, πολιτικό κόμμα για την αλήθεια και τη δικαιοσύνη

Hannes Wilhelm-Kell (Γερμανία), πρόεδρος, πολιτικό κόμμα Luzyska Alianca

Ζαχάρ Ζαχαρίεφ (Βουλγαρία), μέλος Εθνικού Συμβουλίου του Σοσιαλιστικού Κόμματος. Πρόεδρος του Ιδρύματος Slavyani

Tatjana Ždanoka (Λετονία), ευρωβουλευτής, Ομάδα Verts / EFA, συμπρόεδρος του πολιτικού κόμματος της ρωσικής Ένωσης της Λεττονίας

Interview with Mikail Böök on DiEM25’s draft nuclear weapons platform

Aegina, November 2017

Mikael welcome back to Aegina. You haven’t been here for nine years, since the Capodistrias-Spinelli-Europe seminar in November 2008. Isn’t that right?

That is right.

You and I are both members of the pan-European citizens’ movement DiEM25. This week DiEM25 voted to stand in elections throughout Europe. Do you have any comment on that?

Well actually I hope it will succeed as a pan-European movement. I don’t see how it can have a great success the first time it stands in elections but maybe it can make DiEM25 better known because for instance in Finland it is quite unknown I would say.

But it was also decided that DiEM25 members don’t have to become involved in electoral campaigning if they don’t wish to. And it was decided to establish more thematic collectives. Four of us have already formed a nuclear disarmament thematic collective – you are a member of course – and we have submitted a draft platform to DiEM25’s co-ordinating collective. Are you happy with the content of our draft anti-nuclear-weapons platform?

Oh yes. I am quite happy with that, and with the process we had discussing directly before we submitted it. Actually we have only tried to submit it because it has not been in any way formally noted by the councils of DiEM25. I would like to make a short comment on this electioneering first. I am still only an associate member myself of DiEM25, and that is precisely because I felt that DiEM25 has not presented a more comprehensive political view, especially on the place of Europe internationally, in the world. And for me if we speak about democratizing Europe and we hope that the European Union will become a positive factor in the world. The essential thing for me is to denuclearize entirely.

Right, well we’re going to get onto that. That’s what I wanted to talk about now. There are two elements in our platform that we might like to emphasize. The first was included at your initiative and it is a quote from Altiero Spinelli, one of the key architects of the European Union. “The United States must be prepared to disengage itself militarily and to accept the denuclearisation of Europe.” That’s what you said, and this has been included. Any comment, or shall we go on.

Well, that is something that really needs comment, but that is something which has been, I would say, forgotten, or rather made into some kind of a taboo. I’ve never heard the present leaders of the European Union make this quote. It’s really a quote from another epoch.

The other element in our Draft Platform is the final clause of the Saintes Appeal: “Europe must become a totally nuclear-free zone, so as to contribute to total denuclearization of the planet, without waiting for similar action by other countries or continents.” Now you and I both attended the disarmament rally organized by ACDN, Action des Citoyens pour le Désarmement Nucléaire in May 2008 in the French town of Saintes, and we worked together to have that clause included in the Saintes Appeal. A requirement for independent European Nuclear Disarmament. Do you think that this requirement is relevant now, as it was in 2008?

It certainly is as relevant. Maybe I myself look at it from a little bit different viewpoint because one must recognize that this concept of denuclearization is an extremely complicated process. It is not only a political process. It is even a technical process, which is complicated because of the huge amounts of fissiles and wastes from the nuclear power stations and so forth. To think that Europe will become denuclearized also in the sense of sealing nuclear plants, that will take a long time but certainly I think that the European Union should go in for – we can’t call it unilateral nuclear disarmament…

Independent.

Independent, without waiting for global agreement, like the Nuclear Non-Prolferation Treaty.

Right, we’re going to talk about that now. What do you think our chances are of having this platform, with these demands in it, accepted by the co-ordinating collectives of DiEM25? What do you think our chances are?

Well, right now at this moment it is autumn. I’m a little bit pessimistic because the reaction to our proposal has been so slow, or even non-existent.

They have been concerned with the electoral opening at the moment.

That does not make me very quiet. Obviously because on the other hand we can say that in the general debate nuclear weapons are sort of….. the threat of nuclear war has to some extent again become effectualized.

Would you agree that the Nuclear Weapons Non Proliferation Treaty has failed and that this makes it more necessary that there should be a European initiative for independent nuclear disarmament? Not waiting for movement from the other nuclear weapons states?

Yes, certainly. But although the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty has failed, I wouldn’t say that one should just put it in the dustbin. The diplomacy, the efforts of the governments towards nuclear disarmament must go on and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty also.

Let’s say a few words about the current deadlock over North Korea and its nuclear weapons. In September the French President – and maybe you can show this to the camera. See this. Show it. – In September the French President Emmanuel Macron called upon the United Nations to react quickly to North Korea’s expansion of its nuclear weapons programme. He also said that the European Union must make a clear and united response.

Now there was a reply to this from the North Korean official Ri Tok Son, who said: “It is ridiculous to claim that the nuclear weapons of the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea, which are a deterrent against blackmail and threats from the United States, could target Europe. If nuclear weapons are so bad, France should be the first to abandon its nuclear weapons, because it is not under threat from the nuclear weapons of any state.

Do you think it would be possible for the French President to say anything convincing in response to this challenge from the North Korean official?

That’s a thing I haven’t given much thought to, so I have no comment ready. I think however that France, as other governments, should also have diplomatic efforts and dialogue with North Korea, however strange the policies of the North Korean state might seem.

There are historical precedents for bilateral nuclear disarmament agreements, for example between Brazil and Argentina in 1991. Do you think that European citizens should try to persuade France to sign such a bilateral agreement with North Korea? This could be a step towards resolving the present deadlock, couldn’t it? Particularly if North Korea is attached to its nuclear weapons primarily for reasons of prestige, not because it really needs a so-called nuclear deterrent. That is something that was implied a few months back by President Trump’s former advisor Steve Bannon, who said that North Korea could destroy Seoul in half an hour with conventional weapons.

The later part of your question I didn’t quite get but I would say that I am not at all opposed to the idea that France would sign a separate agreement on non-aggression – a nuclear non-aggression agreement – with North Korea. I am not opposed to that idea. I am opposed to the idea that the European states should be subordinated to American nuclear doctrines.

A number of key figures in today’s climate change debate, particularly people making proposals for geoengineering as a response to climate change, people such as David Keith, Alan Robock, Ken Caldeira, have a pre-history of involvement with nuclear weapons laboratories. Has it ever occurred to you what great similarities there are between the logic of the Nuclear Weapons Non-proliferation Treaty and the logic of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change? In both cases there is an assertion of inequality. For the Nuclear-Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty the inequality is between the states possessing nuclear weapons and the states not possessing nuclear weapons. For the United Nations Convention on Climate Change the inequality is between the Industrialized countries that are said to have been mainly responsible for global warming or climate change and the developing countries that are suffering, or will suffer, the worst effects from climate change. In both cases the United Nations takes upon itself the mission of defending the weaker parties, in the interests of promoting nuclear disarmament in the first case, and in the interests of promoting what is called climate justice in the second case.

Do you think that it is realistic to hope that the United Nations can achieve either nuclear disarmament, or climate justice, through international negotiations?

The first part of your question that compares the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty and agreements on climate change – it has not occurred to me to compare them in this way so I have no ready thoughts about that. The second part of your question, which is a really key problem, I think, of the future of mankind. It is generally believed, I think, or at least it is generally said, and held, that the only road is a global agreement between governments. I don’t think so. I think the road is that somebody starts and it is, of course it is extremely complicated because all dimensions of human existence are involved, including the military one, and one should see that to start, to begin, with nuclear disarmament, also signifies implementing, thinking out, a different military strategy, and I think Europe – I think this is something that will happen regionally and Europe could be, or should be, certainly because of its role in world history, taking that initiative, being the first to break with nuclear armaments, to show a way out from that, and not in an aggressive way. I’m also convinced that if France, Germany, Britain, would start with this, or even if a smaller state would get this process running, they would succeed. And the UN agreement on a prohibition on nuclear weapons, which has now been adopted – last July – was started by small states, including Austria and Sweden in Europe.

The economist Jeffrey Sachs was present at the United Nations when President Trump made his first speech there, which was filled with threats against North Korea. Jeffrey Sachs declared himself to be appalled at the behaviour of President Trump, particularly because of the United States inclination towards starting wars. He says that this inclination towards war is something that can be controlled only from the top, and this makes it terrible when at the top you have a person who talks and acts the way that Donald Trump does. Do you think that Jeffrey Sachs is right when he says that the drive towards war and violence and destruction is something that can be controlled only from the top, and if he is, what is the point of having citizens’ campaigns against nuclear weapons, or against environmental destruction or whatever?

Well, you could have left out the last part of your question because that sort of begs the question. I don’t agree with Jeffrey Sachs’ point. I don’t think that the leaders of the governments and states are in control. I don’t think that the processes which lead to wars, especially big conflicts, wars in the traditional sense, like the Napoleonic wars or the First and Second World War…. Of course, there are people who start them, and want them. But to believe that we are in control in that sense of the processes is a mistake.

This hotel that we are in at the moment was the place where at the beginning of this year Yanis Varoufakis spoke to the citizens of Aegina to tell them about DiEM25 and its proposals for Europe. We have made some proposals now to DiEM25 on the subject of nuclear disarmament, and in particular a proposal to be addressed to Mr. Varoufakis’ friend Emmanuel Macron. A proposal for independent European nuclear disarmament, starting from France. Is this a reasonable proposal, and can we hope that it will be accepted or have we already talked about that?

We have talked about that, of course, because we have made the proposal. Of course we think that it is reasonable. I think that many people believe, like us, that it is reasonable. A quite different matter is whether even DiEM25 will manage to adopt a clear policy or see the future in this perspective. Even in our discussions we found immediately the group of people, which is very big, that believe in nuclear deterrence and believe that the nuclear weapons have saved the world from the big traditional conflicts between governments. So that’s a huge obstacle. We have discussed this very much also.

Well let’s see now if we can have some commentary from Jean-Marie Matagne from ACDN, Action des Citoyens pour le Désarmement Nucléaire in Saintes in France. We’ll send him what we said and see what he has to say in response.

Thank you very much Mikail and I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay in Greece.

Thank you.

(The interview was taken by Wayne Hall)

 

Catherine Austin Fitts and Yanis Varoufakis

It is a fantastic compliment for Yanis to receive this accolade from Catherine Austin Fitts. He has received similar compliments from the Saker. If only the admiration were reciprocated. YV may well not know who Catherine Austin Fitts is and how important these words of praise for him are for boosting his credibility in circles where it is not so great, to say the least. She is part of the right-wing that is ahead of the left in many respects. The part of the right that would be capable of the “historic compromise” on the terms of the Left that the Eurocommunists failed to achieve

Wayne Hall

“The danger is not that we shall aim too high and miss; the real danger is that we train our eyes on the floor and end up there.” ~Yanis Varoufakis

By Catherine Austin Fitts

I often say, “he who archives, writes history.”

Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis kept impeccable records of Greek efforts to negotiate with European bank creditors, the IMF and ECB in 2015. (Proof that freedom fighters can use smart phones to record, not just the NSA) His good faith and technical competency in seeking a win-win negotiation creates a powerful baseline that proves the European Union’s austerity policy is war by financial means.

Varoufakis assumed that the EU would seek a solution that made it possible for the creditors to be paid from a healthy Greek economy. He learned instead what it is like to face a financial coup d’etat.

Debt is a weapon. Once debt is fraudulently induced in large amounts, engineered with the help of a compliant elite earning “fees for our friends,” it transfers control to a handful of large banks. Then multinational corporations and private investors can strip the country and pick up assets and acquire market share at prices significantly below market. Policies can be implemented that lower life expectancy and weaken the health and intellectual capacity of a population. In a weakened state, they will submit to the loss of national and individual sovereignty and accept high-tech feudalism.

This is a vulture dance hidden behind banks and bureaucracies that lie, obfuscate with complex process and give long speeches. Taxpayer money is merely free capital used to strip a country as economic control is transferred to private and corporate investors at windfall prices.

From 1955 to 1995, Fortune 500 revenues grew at approximately the same rate as the GNP. Subsequent to 1995, after the inclusion of the technology companies in the index and the creation of the World Trade Organization, Fortune 500 revenues grew at more than double the rate of the underlying economy.

Varoufakis documents what that centralizing corporate tornado looks like when it hits on the ground. It looks like statecraft fronting for criminal enterprise – because that’s what it is. It is a planetary coup d’etat by financial means. It is the privatization of government by the “just do it method.” The price of centralizing the economy is destroying economies until and unless the revenue and income flow through the invaders financial statements.

The Guardian called Adults in the Room “One of the greatest political memoirs of all time.” Varoufakis makes a compelling case that people who are committed to a human culture and democracy must unite throughout Europe to stop this economic lawlessness. If he succeeds in doing so, the Guardian will be proved right.

If you read one book on current events this year, it should be Adults in the Room.

A Treatise on European Government: on a constitution and the transnational

SOURCE

This treatise on constitutional European government is linked to the first on the EU treaties: outlining the foundations for a transnational constitution as the keystone for a ‘second Reformation of Europe’. (Long – 13,000 words)

lead

The Altiero Spinelli Building, European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium. Sojka Libor/Press Association. All rights reserved.

With Europe’s current order in the spectacular débâcle that it is, a return to basics is in order to rethink the supranational construct, and the underlying idée européenne, from the ground up. For this, consideration must be given to the antecedents of the current European Project, particularly in Europe’s intellectual history, as well as some of the earlier suggestions for a political and, it is assumed, democratic, Europe. Furthermore, the concepts which make up the European idea need to be redefined and reconsidered. What I aim to argue is that Europe does not need a revolution, in the sense of the complete replacement of the very foundations of the European idea, but a reformation [1]. We are not here to destroy Europe, but to reaffirm our belief in it, through challenging the core articles of faith, dismantling the redundant pillars of the construct, and regenerating them into something new. For a truly transnational Europe, there must be a Second Reformation; a real constitution lies at the heart of this. Here is my contribution to DiEM25’s Constitutional pillar.

Back to basics: preliminary considerations & suggestions

At its core, the European idea in itself is revolutionary; a revolution against the nation-state and the European state-system, which has characterised the continent since the fall of the Pax Romana. It is the idea that our vision, our terms of reference and our assumptions should not be limited to any national or ethnic boundaries, but should cross them. For much of its history Europe poorly fitted what today is our understanding of the international system; Spanish kings elected as Holy Roman emperors, Dutch Stadtholders being gifted the English throne, royal unions between Saxony, Poland and Lithuania. There have always been many cultures and ethnicities in Europe, but not until the eighteenth century at earliest can we say they matched at all closely the alignment of the European state-system. Even Rome itself, in its republican days, though a single imperium, had a level of cultural variation and diversity that we would recognise in Europe today, both because Rome lacked the administrative capacity and the interest to attempt full-scale homogenisation[2].

The nation-states have changed this, so that within each state, cultural and ethnic homogeneity has come to be expected; the international reigns, where within borders, life is integrated, and between them, there is a void in which negotiation is conducted and relations established. But nothing goes across those borders, considered as high walls separating the isolated national communities. One might think that the existence of the international community repudiates some of these assumptions within nationalism; however, internationalism still rests on the idea of inter, that we are all in our separate national communities, and sometimes agree to cooperate, or discuss things with one another at high-minded summits and conferences. We might visit each other, but being truly integrated at the social level is beyond the conceptual ability of this understanding of the world. The international reigns, where within borders, life is integrated, and between them, there is a void in which negotiation is conducted and relations established. But nothing goes across those borders…

In this way, we see the revolutionary potential of establishing a ‘free and united’ Europe. This was the phrase used by Altiero Spinelli, the Italian former communist and federalist, and Ernesto Rossi, a radical liberal, in the Ventotene Manifesto, written in 1941 when both were imprisoned by Mussolini’s fascist regime. This text is the product of over a century of revolutionary thought on European unification, from Giuseppe Mazzini and Victor Hugo all the way to Karl Kautsky and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon; it is ‘the most powerful vision of continental unity to emerge from the European resistance’[3]. The manifesto is divided into three parts, addressing the crisis of modern European civilisation at the height of what can be described as Europe’s ‘Second Thirty Years’ War’[4], post-war duties on the subject of European Unity, and post-war duties on the subject of social reform. In the second section on European Unity, Spinelli and Rossi preface their agenda with the fact that at the end of the war, there will come a revolutionary moment when the initiative can be seized to rebuild Europe on their radical agenda, which includes wealth redistribution, the abolition and defeat of the old ruling classes and aristocracies, a reconfiguration of the bounds of private property (though not its abolition, communist doctrine was rejected as statist and bureaucratic), and the creation of a European Federation; a state around which will grow “the new, genuine democracy”, free of the reactionary influences and foundations of the old national state-system[5].

The question arises as to why a new oligarchic ruling class would not grow also around this new state, along with all the other trappings of the nation-states, including militarism, cartelism and monopoly, xenophobia towards outsiders, and an introverted and ultimately servile social mentality. However, it is clear there are several reasons. First of all, there is the fact that Spinelli and Rossi’s European Federation is predicated on and deeply informed by the necessary crushing defeat of the old, reactionary ruling elite, which are integrally wedded to the national structures of power: ethnic homogeneity, blood and soil, monopoly of national resources, national symbols of identity and locality, the nexus of aristocratic landownership, capital, and military leadership, all of which controlled and guaranteed nation-state power – even in republican states which had created their own aristocracies.

This not only took centuries to build, in societies that were much more servile and uninformed than that which emerged from Europe’s ashes in 1945, but also relied on actually existing relics from history. This does not exist for Europe as a whole. There has never been European ethnic homogeneity, nor a nobility, nor glory to embody. European history would have to be completely rewritten for that, which national histories were not; they were written selectively[6]. You might say ‘new structures can be created, as in the Soviet Union’. Indeed, there is that possibility; of the creation of a faceless, all-powerful bureaucracy utterly disconnected from Europe. However, Spinelli and Rossi explicitly argued that the society which founds the Europe Federation cannot be ‘servile’. In this term, I understand to mean and characterise national identity, for clear reasons. National identities, though founded on historical relics, were all created, they didn’t exist organically. Within them, though also the ideas of enlightenment and modernity, were those of power and obedience, particularly in states which pre-existed their nations, where the state-elites forged their nations[7]. Even non-state national movements fixated on the attainment of sovereign, state power – take Germany and Italy as clear examples – especially for ethnicities which had a history of state power (Hungary and Poland). The nation must have state-power by right, before any other potential reason. Due to this, obedience, uncritical acceptance, deference to authority and submission were all wrapped up in national society; the nation “brought with it, however, the seeds of capitalist imperialism which our own generation has seen expand to the point of forming totalitarian states and to the unleashing of world wars.” However, while Spinelli and Rossi hence prescribe a society that is not servile, they do not indicate the components of an identity that would facilitate such a society.

The strength of vision in this manifesto is without a doubt leaps and bounds ahead of any of the political calibre that we see in our contemporary Europe, after 60 years of integration. This is due to the intellectual architecture fundamentally: the two other traditions of thought on European unification have collaborated to form the construct that exists today – the conservative tradition, and the technocratic tradition. The idea that Europe’s nation-states should guide Europe collectively, and the idea that the political should be transcended and instead government should consist of technical management. So here is the first wall we knock through: the political ideas found in the Ventotene Manifesto should be the foundation of the Europe we wish to see, and shall act as the foundation of what follows; for at its core, as with DiEM25, is radicalism and democracy.

There are nevertheless two major gaps in the manifesto, and one obstacle; the first gap is, while there is much dedicated to economic and social questions – which are certainly relevant to the wider question of a just and cohesive society – there is little dedicated to constitutional questions. They readily admit that given the uncertain nature of the future, they do not know the exact constitutional forms and can only prescribe that which we already know: representative bodies, the formation of law, independent magistracies and freedom of expression and association. They also argued for secularism; the clear separation of Church and State which the Mussolini regime had reneged on in order to gain the support of the church and his religious countrymen.  One area they are clear on which links constitutional questions with socioeconomic questions is the theory of corporatism. Spinelli and Rossi’s European Federation has a strong democratic element at its very core, “giving the solid stamp of liberty to political life, imbuing it with a strong sense of social solidarity”; this is not compatible in their reckoning with corporatism, experience with which they have from Mussolini’s fascist regime in Italy. They do not believe corporatism can be salvaged for democracy, being a key element of fascism’s “house of cards”; representatives of the various sectors of the economy, even if sincerely representative, are not qualified to handle questions of government policy, for they become organs of the accumulation of power and privilege depending on who has better representation – and hence, access to government. This is very reminiscent of business-lobbying today, where corporations aim to bypass the parliamentary process to gain direct access to government, which they are able to do, and more effectively than other sectors of the economy (especially labour) thanks to their wealth and connections with the political class. Unfortunately, this is the model that technocratic Europe has chosen to base its ‘representative’ government on, which I believe links back to a liberal-individualist conception of democracy[8] and ‘Roman’ strategy of legitimacy[9]. Through corporatist methods, the wants of the people are determined and then technocrats can fashion policies to satisfy those wants; it is a hollow form of democracy, stripped of all normative value or potential. The manifesto tells us the end result: “This would create a kind of feudal anarchy in the economic life of the country, leading to renewed political despotism.” We see it now, different fiefs – banks, industrial manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies etc. – vying for power and influence over the centre, completely disregarding other interests, the common interest and the greater good of the whole, their influence based entirely on who has the most slick and effective representation, rather than equal representation of all.

By contrast, Spinelli and Rossi want a holistic approach to democratic politics, which excludes both corporatism and the sectarian vision of communism as they understood it. Citizens must retain freedom and autonomy; society must retain cohesion. Again, this hints at the form of society that is required for the European Federation, but does not provide any clear instructions.

The second gap is really the most fundamental question that progressive Europeanists have to answer if they want to justify a European state, federal or otherwise. That is, why Europe? The functionalist liberal David Mitrany put this question to Europeanists in his critique of ‘regionalism’ in 1965[10]. In arguing that it would encourage eurocentrism and introversion by undermining the international and reproducing the problems of the national writ large, Mitrany made several assumptions on the nature of identity, internationalism and cosmopolitanism. The manifesto itself addresses the issue to an extent: intergovernmental orders like the League of Nations lack the capacity to actually compel states, which is a problem in Europe in particular because the actions of one state often impact their neighbours. Hence, they wrote, the constitution of each of the single states is a question of vital interest for all the other European nations. The national state-system is effectively anarchy; a Federation would take us from the State of Nature to the State of Peace, guarantee Europe’s peaceful relations with the rest of the world, and transmit its underlying values onto the international stage. Hence, the path to the political unity of the globe would be paved. This is roughly in line chosen by Habermas today, as a stepping stone to a unified humanity[11]. The functional response is the creation of international institutions which dismantle full state-sovereignty, placing it within technocratic limitations. As we know from our own experience, the absence of democratic legitimacy in such a system is profound and unacceptable. In the tradition of Ventotene, Marsili and Milanese wrote a pamphlet in 2011 on forming a democratic union, in which they give several arguments why European democracy should be pursued [12]. The two key arguments are that Europe is on the scale at which transnational democracy can be most effectively pursued, given the imperative of the current situation, and that Europe is large enough to actually influence the shape and character of global capitalism; in other words, to bring back into Europe’s hands power and justice[13]. While there are arguments against both of these, it is on them that I wish to build.

The simplest answer to ‘why Europe?’ is because it’s already here. Like the nation-states before it, which existed before they were democratised, the European Union exists and provides an object to tame and influence, rather than starting from scratch. Yanis Varoufakis made a similar point in a meeting in Belfast in 2017; that since the eighteenth century, the Left believed the state, though a bourgeois construct, should be transformed rather than dismantled. So is it for Europe, now it is here. On the question of why it is here, we learn more. Europe’s stories, though varied, have always been intertwined and interlaced with elements from each other. Europe’s cross-border tradition, its highly-enmeshed economy and society; these things have been attacked by national states, but not destroyed, and they provide the ground-work for the current Union. The Union made the crucial step in 1951 then, in breaching ‘the ramparts of national sovereignty’[14], and undermining the national narrative. This must be built on: why not use Europe as a force for transnational society; why not make the first steps across national borders; and why not use the heritage that Europe has, of borders crossed and boundaries blurred? A place which values diversity in its lived experience like nowhere else in the world. Why not begin at a level which is attainable, in terms which can be understood better, in a territory which has already begun the steps towards transnationalism, namely, those breached ramparts? Why not demonstrate that ‘beyond-the-national’ can be democratised? In response, many would argue that in creating a European state, you would simply create the national writ large, which betrays the very éthos of Europeanism[15]. Here we turn to Müller and identity.

Müller’s response is to the question of why Europe relies on a level of nuance that nationalism and cosmopolitanism lack, and in so doing connects to the foundations of the European Project. It has been noted that the cold rationality of modernity is very disconcerting for humans – to the point that its height in 1900 preceded its downfall in 1939[16]. Hence, reconciling Eros and Civilisation – emotion and reason; the particular and the universal – should be seen as one of the guiding objectives of the European Project[17]. Müller provides a framework of how to realise this in constitutional patriotism, a theory which argues for loyalty neither to a national culture nor to the worldwide community of human beings, but instead, the process and institutions of democratic constitutional government, which enable an interpretation of and mediation between universal values and particular traditions[18]. This process relies on an identity which rejects the idea of unquestioning pride or homogeneous, unchallenged national narratives about the past, or any single object of identification or historical narrative enforced from above[19]. Rather than replacing the national with the post-national, universal in some way replacing particular, a shifting and fluid concept of identity as the outcome of a common discourse between free and equal citizens creates a process of reflection and self-criticism[20]. It is the particular conditioned by the universal.

In this way, it is also not cosmopolitan universalism; primarily in the ties to specific institutions which enable and are moulded by discursive engagement with universal values, and in rejecting the assumption that all humans enjoy the exact same political-moral relationship with one another[21]. Hence, the process of self-critical and reflective engagement with one another creates a source of identity, as the sharing of a common political struggle creates attachment not only to the principles of that struggle but also the people who took part in the struggle[22]. This connects directly with Spinelli and Rossi’s prefacing of the Federation with a society that is not servile; they criticised the nation for having become a ‘divine entity’, which considers only its own existence, and hence, the identity underpinning such an edifice had to be servile. Müller invites Europe to consider a new identity, which is not as passionate, nor as unquestioning nor possessive as nationality, but nor as cold as rational universalism. Globalisation is not an all-powerful melting pot which obliterates particularity, nor should it be. It has been recognised that postmodern Europe is awash with identities[23]; these can be turned into a binding, united identity only in a discursive and critical process forming a civic identity, which would then characterise the state which it built. Moving from the national – particular – to the global – universal – cannot be made all at once. But it must be shown that it can be done, that national boundaries can be superseded; that an identity that is post-national and post-ethnic can be created on the basis of civic, democratic values and processes; that peoples can live in harmony with different cultures, with different languages, with different understandings of history – and that these can be bridged also, through conscious effort and democratic discourse. A dynamic, evolving identity.

This civic, rather than ethnic, identity goes deeper, connecting directly with the core of democratic government. Currently, democracy is underpinned across much of the west by ‘liberal nationalism’. If constitutional patriotism enables us to think beyond the national, then perhaps the popular foundation of democracy – the dêmos – can be stripped of its nationality – éthnos. The purpose would be to bind it to a political structure that is also post-national, and enable that political structure to exist without the trappings of national identity and ‘nation-statism’ which Mitrany and others fear. The polity would embody the discussion conducted by a critical and reflective dêmos. An additional binding element, alongside the definition of constitutional and institutional specifics (which would evolve) and discussion of the legacy and meaning of the past, would be the seizing of a common télos – destiny – usually attached to éthnos, but appropriated in the name of democratic government. The dêmos united by its collectively determined télos, a process guaranteed by constitutional structures at the heart of which are universal values. What would define the European sphere is the absence of a single éthnos giving legitimacy to its political structures; these would be legitimised instead through the democratic process undertaken by a dêmos which had defined its own existence on the basis of universal values; as Habermas said, peoples emerge only with their constitutions and states[24]. The relation between the dêmos and the European Federation could not be but symbiotic; there would be no ethno-cultural justification for the state. It would embody a common process, a democratic one, rather than a common ethnicity. This has brought us from the simpler why Europe, to the more pressing how Europe.

Democratic reformation

We turn now to the outstanding obstacle: Ventotene was explicitly crafted for the context of a revolutionary moment – specifically, where the authors believed democracy would be ineffective. It is clear that, while Europe may be in crisis, this has not reached a revolutionary moment, and nor should we wish it to. Democratic methods, and related, constitutional structures, are that which we work with, returning to the first gap in the manifesto. As Rousseau said, commonly crafted institutions and laws give character to a people – or peoples united by a single politics.  It is important to note that government is not simply the institutions which shape it, but also the constitutional and political culture which informs it. The latter is fundamentally a question of values; these we have defined to an extent, in speaking of universal values. Both Zygmunt Bauman and Wolfgang Münchau have articulated specific universal values which should be at the core of Europe’s raison d’être.

In 2004, Bauman wrote that justice, rationality, democracy, liberty and the autonomy they produce are all the key values of Europe, and are the source of Europe’s development into the civilisation it is today[25]. Justice as the protection of the common good and hence underlying social solidarity; rationality as the justification of actions through reason; democracy as the ability to settle shared human affairs; liberty as the basis of autonomous citizens and their responsibility for the good of society; these together form an autonomous society, the society capable of conducting its own affairs. In 2016, Münchau gave a shorter list as the values of the French Revolution: liberté, égalité, fraternité[26]. To liberty, he linked openness and tolerance, to equality, equal opportunity, and to fraternity, the defence of the public good, which could include wealth redistribution and social welfare. In other words, the fundamental tenets of post-war Social Democracy, or as Habermas put it, the Sozialer Rechtsstaat, which he saw as the basis of constitutional patriotism – a state which guarantees the rights and freedoms required for it, and which ensured all citizens could equally participate in the democratic process through wealth redistribution[27].

In effect, these two elements are those which Spinelli and Rossi advocated should be at the basis of the European Federation, that is, a political life imbued with liberty and solidarity, each occupying a symbiotic relationship with the other, in the sense that the absence of one nullifies the other. Where the post-war settlement failed to meet the manifesto prescriptions however was in the national element; Social Democracy in the above sense, born and grown in national chains, would fail in the revolutionary agenda Ventotene set for it. The guarantee of a Europe free of the reactionary classes which ruled prior to the Second World War, including the capitalist classes which brought about the neoliberal counter-revolution from the 1970s onwards, was absent from the post-war settlement; it was constructed by them on the contrary. Hence, the prescription by Bauman for a social democratic European Union, and the corresponding certainty that Europe’s political classes will not establish this; changing this then is the fundamental priority of the Second Reformation.

It is here that the democratic reformation of the Union is so fundamental; not only as a challenge against the current illegitimacy and constraints of the international order, but also as a challenge to the current mode of globalisation via markets. This is presented by some as the spread of universal values across the world, but is in fact the creation of a global over-class completely free of the restraints of government and the concepts of public, common good. The democratic deficit exists not only in Europe, but is widening everywhere, with governments engaging in localised Standortkonkurrenz while the super-rich pursue their own priorities completely divergent from the average citizenry[28]; precisely the threat of corporatist government which Ventotene warned against. This reinforces the imperative of Marsili and Milanese’s argument about Europe challenging the current path of global capitalism. This is something that can only be done through democratisation of the Union, and must be done in the name of confronting the super-rich at their until-now distant vantage point from where they have exercised a monopoly of power, and ending this in favour of democratic government.

From this discussion, several elements of the Constitution of the European Federation become clear, as regards what democrats across Europe intend it to be. The first key is diversity. This is a concept which must be treated as a value like liberty, justice and solidarity, for it is at the heart of Europe’s reality. Diversity, as has been made clear, is a natural consequence of splitting dêmos from éthnos, and hence creating a purely civic basis for democratic politics. However, in reconciling Eros and Civilisation, we cannot jettison Eros, that is, emotion, culture and passion. Instead, nations must remain a part of Europe; there can be no transnationalism without nations themselves; borders are not truly crossed if they are irrelevant or non-existent. But there is also moral value in diversity, which has infused the life of this continent with a sense of dynamism and élan that is unique to Europe. Diversity is not just a matter of cultural norms, but cultural expression – expression which produces a raft of distinct and conflicting opinions, ideas, interpretations and insights into life. This crescendo of expression is not consensual; however, in the realm of words, sounds and images, it is peaceful, contained conflict. Difference which produces even greater and more divergent expression and thought on the human condition; Europe is the “birthplace of a transgressive civilisation”, ‘allergic’ to borders and limits[29]. Europe’s differences intermingle, but they do not merge, and hence, it is perfect for the transnational crossing of mental, legal and physical borders. The conflict of this renegade mode of existence nevertheless comes together in the shifting melody of a continent in the process of permanent self-improvement; such a legacy corresponds well with the constitutionally patriotic society, which encourages itself to constantly refine and improve upon its realisation of universal values and understanding of its history, in a ‘struggle for perfection’[30]. This evolution requires conflict, in the sense of ‘this can be done differently, and better’, and conflict requires diversity. Such a heritage has to be protected, and not threatened by the rational civic identity held commonly across the federation. It is what Weiler has called a ‘differentity’, a community of others.

This leads to the second key; sovereignty. There are many who have argued along the lines I have, in favour of a Europe reconciling eros and civilisation and founding a dêmos which is disconnected from éthnos and culture. However, they usually go on to argue that such a ‘de-centred’ society would be ‘post-sovereign’ ‘post-decision’ or ‘post-state’[31]. Here, I fundamentally disagree. Firstly, to take Weiler’s argument head-on, in his description of the idea of differentity, he uses the example of a person as not having a real ‘identity’, in that who they are is made up of multiple, competing influences[32]. There is nothing identical about it. However, the argument breaks down when we reach the subject of decision-making; a person, though not uniform, is capable of making single decisions. One can evaluate their competing influences, and reconcile them in taking a course of action. Though I would warn against treating a political community as an individual, here I believe it makes sense to say that differentity within the body politic should not preclude an ability to take sovereign decisions as a single community; this is indeed the purpose of democracy. And this is the crux of the argument: for democracy to be real, for its meanings – autonomous, peaceful and stable self-government, influenced by the equally voices of its citizens (isegoría) – not to be rendered hollow, there must be an authority which has sovereignty, and that authority must be the people (in our case peoples). They, through representatives and other means, must be able to install and dismiss governments, and through them, pass whatever legislation they please within the polity and within the constraints determined by their own constitution and values. If they are unable to do this, they are not sovereign, and they are not in a democracy; what has occurred in Europe, and I contend, what the ‘post-sovereign’ conception expects Europeans to accept, is that sovereignty has been taken and placed into a void, replaced by technocrats and councils of national ministers whose only authority has been granted by treaty and is hence illegitimate[33].

By contrast, a European democracy would require sovereignty to be reconstituted beyond the nation[34], at the level of Europe, and borne by a single dêmos, united by its common politics (institutions, values, discourse), which is made up of multiple peoples (éthnoi). The fundamental point in this is that there must be an answer to the question of ‘who decides’[35], and the answer in Europe must be the peoples, operating on a plane where they are not divided but acting together. This does not mean, nor does it need, unity in all matters – only in their common political action, in defining (and redefining) their common télos, they must be able to act together and direct their common institutions; in all other matters, diversity takes priority. Hence, we are talking about transcending boundaries, not policing them in a regulated ‘Community’, as some have argued[36]; citizens must be able to freely cross them, and operate above them in matters of common politics, while recognising their existence. Some have been very clear: the course we should adopt is to freeze the European construct where it is, as a symbol of postmodern, post-sovereign liberalism – a so-called ‘Liberal Order’[37]. The assumptions are that people pursuing different ends cannot be reconciled, and likewise, nations which are different cannot act together – only in some areas can and must they be forced within frameworks established internationally. This is the quintessentially Liberal Nationalist approach – privileging of collective, national identity on the world-stage over the identity of individuals as free citizens, and of ‘national’ interests over reconciled transnational ones. The fact is, such an order would mark the abandoning of all liberal, constitutional precepts of democracy in the age of globalisation; of individuality, of autonomy, of constitutionally legitimised law, of the very belief that democracy can reconcile diverging interests in areas of crucial mutual significance. In short, we cannot accept this view, for that precludes legitimate government from the globalised world, and means accepting unlawful despotism, controlled by the aforementioned over-class with no loyalty to any nation-state or democratic principles. Likewise, we reject the idea that constitutions can only be bestowed octroyé by existing power; legitimate authority can be founded by peoples alone.

Through the previous paragraphs I believe I have constructed a distinct interpretation of supranationalism, which might be better defined as Transnationalism, as opposed to Community Internationalism or Liberal Order, pure intergovernmentalism, or a nationalist-statist Europe. My interpretation recognises that all these nationalisms have a tendency towards aggression, xenophobia and absence of solidarity across borders, and offers a method of how to counter this. Transnationalism is certainly constructed in opposition to the supranational technocracy that the Union is today. The fact is, despite Mitrany’s critique of ‘regionalism’, the Union of today represents the exact functional technocracy that he argued should replace the inter-state realpolitik of the inter-war and pre-1914 eras.

There are, I think, clearly discernible reasons why Mitrany and others like him were opposed to a restoration of nation-state-based international relations; in fact, they may even be similar to the ideas in the Ventotene Manifesto, that such a system is in fact anarchic. Their opposition to democracy[38] is also understandable, if misplaced.

Their belief in bureaucracy however, is sorely problematic. Officials that rule – technocrats – are not performing functions above political decisions, but are governing according to certain assumptions and beliefs. Weber’s ‘ideal type’ of bureaucratic power sheds light on the threat of bureaucracy to autonomous government and self-rule; its hierarchical, oligarchic power structure, demands for obedience, deference to authority and impenetrability[39]. Technocrats overruling decisions of democratic governments is just as illegitimate and despotic as the global over-class which can come to power under the Liberal Order. In fact, it is the other side of the coin, and a necessary element of a corporatist undermining of democracy. The interests of big capital can simply sidestep democratic politicians who require a popular mandate, and go straight to the bureaucrats who implement the rules[40]. With the inequality of representation inherent in corporatism, the bureaucrats will accept capital’s word as representing the only interests which matter, and will have no qualms about enforcing unpopular decisions. This was the objective of Hayek’s interstate federation; place key elements of public life beyond the reach of citizens and submit them to the homogenising and dehumanising influence of the market unbound[41], its laws decided and maintained by technicians at the service of big capital, its participants stripped of all autonomy or self-determination, states reduced to self-destructive Standortkonkurrenz in the hopes of gaining the favour of the markets and capital.

This kind of functionalism has no place for a politics of values – or politics at all. This is most importantly a lie, as technocracy is not apolitical, but despotic, and authoritarian. Technocracy enables there to be an absence of responsibility; on the part of the technocrats, who, though making decisions take no responsibility for the moral or political consequences of their actions; and on the part of the politicians, who take no responsibility for the authority of collective government and political discourse of Europe.

It is the technocrats’ role to enforce the current architecture; but if the architecture is faulty, it is politicians who must make the difference – and none want or are able to assume the role of deciding and leading in the world of technocracy[42]. The whole of the Union is united into a single, monolithic bureaucratic and legal structure, towering above the national level. However, there is no political structure placed on top of that. Normally the technical level is in service to the political level; in Europe, this is not the case. They are completely separate[43]. In this way, with technical power concentrated and political power diluted, politics is in service to technocracy. This is how democracy is made absent from Europe.

Bureaucrats do not wield their power openly, because they cannot – it is power which is not theirs but which they have been loaned by people who do possess mandates. Therefore, they must whisper in the ears of ministers and statesmen, hoping to convince them secretly and then mercilessly execute their supposed orders as if they had no choice. The wielding of such power – pretending to have none beyond following orders while in secret influencing those with authority – is despotic. Crucially, it has seeped into every nook and cranny of the European construct: “The operative maxim of the EU has become Brecht’s dictum: in case of setback, the government should dissolve the people and elect a new one.”[44] It should become clear then, that the imperative to democratise Europe is not just a technical illegitimacy – a trick of constitutional law – but an urgent priority to remove the ‘cartel of elites’[45] and their influence over European society, both for the sake of those in Europe, and as a challenge to this mode of rule across the globe. Transnationalism is an alternative to this mode of rule, which has the democratic imperative placed at its very heart, hence making it the keystone of this second Reformation of Europe. Transnationalism is an alternative to this mode of rule, which has the democratic imperative placed at its very heart, hence making it the keystone of this second Reformation of Europe.

The civic-state; beyond the nation-state

We have our alternative articles of faith to inform the Union’s reformation. However we have yet to consider concrete pillars to define its shape. It is to this that I now turn.

There are two previous attempts to give tangible form to a political Europe: the Statute of the European Community, 1953; and the Draft Treaty establishing the European Union, in 1984. The former was drafted by an ad-hoc assembly of national parliamentarians from the six founding member-states, including Paul-Henri Spaak and Heinrich von Brentano; the latter was drafted by a committee of federalists led by Altiero Spinelli in the first European Parliament, elected in 1979.

The Statute of the European Community was Europe’s first attempt at political unification, and yet has been described as one of the most elegant constitutional documents to have been proposed in history, and one that should be a template for future European constitutions[46]. The federalist Guy Verhofstadt laments Europe’s failure to have its ‘Philadelphia moment’, when we could have carried the baton of political union over the finishing line and provided answers to the debates we are having in the current Union[47]. Monnet did not believe Europe was ready to make this step in 1954, when the Statute was rejected by the French Assemblée Nationale, however, Verhofstadt sees it as Europe’s greatest mistake of the post-war era. Unlike the 2004 constitutional treaty, the Statute was not overwhelmed by legal jargon and was hence compact. Furthermore, its aim was clear: to found a European Federation and a new, supranational sovereignty, underpinned by democratic institutions – recognising the legitimising authority and power of a representative parliament, which Verhofstadt points out, is not recognised in the current Union[48]. It provides for the representation of citizens and collective nations; it recognises that the Statute, rather than member-states arbitrarily, confer competences; it ties the supranational executive’s authority directly to the parliament – which has full legislative power – and separates the executive’s members from any corporate entanglements; it restricts the intergovernmental Council of Ministers to a secondary, harmonising role; it establishes a fledgling federal judicial system; it restricts corporatism to a purely advisory role; it prevents an increase in bureaucracy by relying on the established principle of indirect administration; it provides it with spending power under parliamentary control, necessary for a government to enact its agenda; and it establishes an enumeration of powers[49]. There is an echo of the Swiss system in this document, along with the German one, courtesy of the influence of von Brentano who was involved in the drafting of the German Grundgesetz[50].

Turning to Spinelli’s draft treaty, it further introduces the ideas of transnational solidarity and respect for diversity, as well as establishing the principle of subsidiarity in European government; it establishes European citizenship; it introduces territorial boundaries to the Union; it explicitly states the preservation of peace and peaceful, stable coexistence between humans as a core objective of the Union; it establishes a process of judicial review for the Union; it provides a means of Union-coercion of member-states for breach of the treaty; and it provides a more detailed enumeration of powers which has some protections[51].

It is clear the drafters, including perhaps Spinelli, had been influenced by the Union’s established practices, developed over the course of 30 years, and hence is less federalist and radical than the first. Both documents establish the constitutional idea that no document but this one can be considered as containing the governing norms and procedures of the Union. These are all aspects which relate to the effective functioning of a transnational European democracy.

The Statute combined with the Spinelli Treaty offers the basis of what I believe should be the institutional shape of the European government, though there are of course sections we can dispute and alter, and we must bear in mind that no constitution is – or can be – perfect. A number of influences can be determined as to the nature of the construct the drafters of these treaties were trying to build. To these I wish to add further elements based on three further political theories, blending with the already-present influences and together making the European construct more distinct, and ensuring that it serves the transnationalist ends defined above. These theories are: the Kantian pacific federation; republican democracy; and federalism[52]; together they will be underpinned by the idea of a civic dêmos with universal values, facilitating a constitutionally patriotic identity which will hold the edifice together. The fundamental precept is that Europe should have a constitution which repeals all of the treaties and replaces them with a document, the legitimate authority of which originates from the European peoples. It is they, not the nation-states, who are the pouvoir constituant of the Union. With this foundation laid, we can turn to the first theory, establishing the Preliminary and Definitive Articles of Perpetual Peace in the European pacific federation. The fundamental precept is that Europe should have a constitution which repeals all of the treaties and replaces them with a document, the legitimate authority of which originates from the European peoples. It is they, not the nation-states, who are the pouvoir constituant of the Union. 

In Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch, Kant gives a series of ‘Articles of Perpetual Peace’, which would end the ‘State of Nature’ between states (which he called the State of War), and bring about the ‘State of Peace’. It is the definitive articles which demand our attention – they are: “The civil constitution of each state shall be republican”; “The law of nations shall be founded on a federation of free states” (the pacific federation); and “The rights of men, as citizens of the world, shall be limited to the conditions of universal hospitality[53]. In the term ‘republican’, Kant meant that firstly all members of society were recognised as free and equal citizens subject to the same law, that citizens were represented in a government which acted by their consent, and that executive and legislative power were severed from one another in government. The first and second are recognisable today and are part of our modern understanding of democracy. The third Kant believes is in conflict with democracy, as his idea of severed executive and legislative power is that the two must be exercised by different classes of society; citizens may have legislative power but executive power should be exercised by a monarch or aristocracy (which he favoured). A democratic form of sovereignty (‘forma imperii’) is in conflict with a republican form of government (‘forma regiminis’); it is instead a despotic form of government. On the one hand, Kant argues significantly that a small, un-bureaucratic executive must be combined with a ‘real’ representation of the people for republicanism to be fulfilled, and this makes sense to me as well (note, small executive should not be confused with the idea of the minimalist state of Hayek’s imagining; the state should not be passive, for it is a tool the people use to exercise their sovereignty and ensure just, effective government.

Nevertheless, the state must not have the means to administrate every aspect of its citizens’ lives. However, I believe that our understanding of democracy and the separation of powers[54] has developed from 1795, so that our idea of ‘the people’ and their sovereignty can itself be divided – the people dividing their will into executive and legislative (as well as judicial) branches of government. ‘The people’ cannot be considered as a despot if power is effectively separated and limited, and if free citizens are considered as so – distinct individuals rather than a homogeneous mass. Citizens can and should place controls on their own sovereignty, and hence act peacefully and constitutionally, in cooperation with one another. Federalism helps to further develop the idea of a people that are not permanently united but are on several occasions willingly divided, through the concept of the clear enumeration of powers within a constitutional settlement, guaranteed by the courts. Habermas has made the further point that only in the writing of a constitution do the people exercise their will in an ‘undivided way’[55]. This relates directly to the role of diversity and the continued existence of European nations in the European Federation, layered on top of which is Kant’s Second Definitive Article: the federation should be composed of these free, autonomous republican states.

Kant directly relates his idea of the state and sovereignty to a people or nation, and hence argues that the federation itself cannot be a sovereign ‘state of states’. It must nonetheless be capable of taming the sovereignty of nation-states and prevent them from going to war needlessly, acting as humans did in the state of nature.

There are two principles at the heart of this design then: that we cannot be frivolous in our treatment of war, as Clausewitz was in suggesting war was a continuation of politics[56]; and that the rights and liberty of free people must be protected, and cannot not be forced into a single state or empire. Instead a federation of states should bind them in peace, taming their actions in the state of nature without ending their existence. In the context of the European Federation, the autonomy of the European peoples must be recognised as protected; autonomy evidenced by the existence of separate nation-states prior to the formation of the Federation. The right to existence of Europe’s peoples as nations cannot be revoked, having been established in the creation of nation-states as vehicles not only for diversity, but also constitutional democracy and civic emancipation[57]. The Federation must be the reconciliation of the drive for self-government, grounded in European history and the will to diversity, with the desire for peace and contained conflict, and our common will to be able to define a common destiny. The Federation must be the reconciliation of the drive for self-government, grounded in European history and the will to diversity, with the desire for peace and contained conflict, and our common will to be able to define a common destiny..The constitutional mechanics for this process, as a three-stage process, has been suggested by Habermas, whereby “the existence of democratically constituted nation-states is already presupposed”, operating alongside the citizens as pouvoir constituant and constitutional state as pouvoir constitué [58]. This should be solidified in the establishment of republican states, as understood above, which will be autonomous and guarantee the continued diversity of the European continent.

There are several manifestations of this line of thought: first, that the fundamental precept of international law, that states are free and equal, must be included within the constitutional structure of the Federation, declaring the republics as manifestations of autonomous, distinct peoples, and hence must be represented equally; second, that the Federation will be constitutionally mandated to protect the diversity of its peoples in the form of peaceful conflict, enriching the diversity of opinion and expression necessary to democracy; third, the right of a republic to secede from the Federation will be guaranteed, as that of an autonomous, free people; finally, there shall be a clear and strict enumeration of powers negotiated in the constitution-writing process and guaranteed by that constitution and the courts, with the aim in mind of preserving as much of Europe’s diversity as possible, without prejudice to the maintenance of peace within the Federation. Thus, the republics shall be autonomous except where their interests or actions would clash, at which point the federation’s law would prevail, and interests would be reconciled and brought into harmony. This is the basis of subsidiarity I believe; where working apart would lead to conflict or self-harmful results – where compromise is necessary to maintain peace and harmony.

Protection of such an order would require a sophisticated judicial doctrine which would guard the enumeration of powers laid out in the constitutional settlement. The alteration of that settlement would require constitutional amendment approved by peoples and citizens; hence the so-called Kompetenz-Kompetenz would be shared by the republics and the Federation in effect. An effect I believe important here would be the idea that socially destructive policies could not be implemented at the federal level by some nations on others, as this would provoke dislocation and potentially violent social conflict (as opposed to constructive peaceful conflict). Implementation of such policies, which can be described broadly as neoliberalism, will still be possible at the nation-state level. A final role for this judicial doctrine would be defining the boundaries of peaceful conflict, where the line is crossed from constructive to destructive and provocative; hence, a definition of hate-speech and how to prosecute it would be required, drawing on European traditions of this concept, and lessons from Europe’s collective history. At the foundation of all of this is that the European peoples have a right to self-determination and autonomy, but not independence; the idea that Europe’s peoples are independent is not only untrue but a counter-productive denial of history, and un-European.

The creation and protection of this order, including legitimising far-reaching judicial action, requires democratic authority. Such an order is only compatible with democracy if the federation has the sovereign authority to act as it will, granted and directed by a dêmos of free and equal citizens capable of self-government; that can act on a collective plane, through collective institutions, in an attempt to seize control of its collective fate. Democracy legitimises the state-sovereignty required for the above order to act effectively – as autonomous republics where possible and collectively as a federal state where necessary. It will legitimise the critical breach in the ramparts of national sovereignty, achieved by Monnet and Hallstein’s technocratic Europe, but required by both Kant and Spinelli’s idea of the Federation. The federation of states will be constituted by Europe’s nations acting as an undivided dêmos and, on policy enumerated to the federal level in matters which have been determined to effect all within the federal state, that dêmos shall act together.

On all other matters, they shall act separately. Whether you are a citizen of the Union does not depend on whether you are also a national of a national republic – nationality is for the republics to decide. You acquire citizenship as a member of the united European dêmos, not as a member of an ethnic community. You are recognised in a constitutionally patriotic society nevertheless; an idea which necessarily underpins a political community like this. It removes nations from the foreground of political life, so that they lose the adversarial and violently conflicting nature which the nationalist-statist order had inherent within it. A last note on government form: the result of this complex balance between national autonomy and collective democratic sovereignty is that presidential government is unfit for the European Federation, and that parliamentary representation must directly control executive power. The power of a president with a popular mandate is not necessary, functional or legitimate in the European context. A president is in effect an elected monarch, which leads to bureaucratic centralisation, contrary to peace and harmony across national boundaries. A President is a chief, which will cause confrontation; parliaments are discursive enabling compromise & reconciliation. No single person can embody and represent all of the European peoples. Parliament can instead fulfil this function legitimately. A ceremonial president should thus be chosen by the republics (peoples in diversity), with a cabinet government accountable to Europe’s citizens (peoples in unity) through parliament, and elected by it.

With ‘republic’ as the basis of the Federation, Europe must have a thorough understanding of the theory of republican democracy, as the basis of a European federal democracy. At the core of republican democracy are two ideas which define it from the more individualist versions of democracy: ‘Roman Liberty’, understood as freedom from tyranny and domination; and the citizens of a political community uniting to seize control of their common fate, in order to define it themselves[59]. The former principle can be understood as Kant’s perpetual peace and freedom from violent conflict and those who would perpetuate it – as well as freedom from the realpolitik concept of ‘the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must’, the inequality of states, and all the injustices of the ‘State of Nature’. The latter can be understood in terms of the civically-defined dêmos, the idea of transnational citizenship and a political community which enables diversity and freedom, but also demands common responsibility and solidarity between citizens; this is the symbiotic relationship between rights and duties. The former are hollow and value-less without the latter, for if we are to guarantee the former through our institutions and sovereignty, we must fulfil the latter to ensure a proper commitment to those institutions and society.

Related to these principles must be the idea of universal, humanist values, which define the European dêmos: we have begun to articulate these values above, and are bound by the idea that free and equal citizens which recognise each other as such have a right to govern themselves to the furthest extent possible. Naturally, all humans can hold these values, but they are defined as European because they come distinctly from the European experience; it is these values alone which define the European identity – that which binds them – more than anything else[60]. It is from this idea that Verhofstadt and Varoufakis have both argued that Europeans in truth have more in common than that which divides them, and hence are able to pursue a commonly defined destiny, or télos, as a united dêmos[61]; values are at the heart of identity. The natural course is to write these values into the Constitution as the definition of European identity, with the permanent demotion of nationally-defined identity to a passive, background role, rather than the primary justification for common government – the triumph of the ideas of the Enlightenment[62]. As the birthplace of these values, Europe must be the first to put them at the heart of its own self-understanding. Alongside these should be diversity, for the reasons articulated above, and for the fact that these values have enabled Europe’s appreciation of diversity, and desire to fight against homogenising, centralising influences. This is also the source, I suspect, of many Europeans’ resistance to today’s ‘Europe of Offices’[63]. It is the diversity born of these values which has set Europe on its continuous, unfinished, and hopefully unfinishable adventure, in search of utopia[64]; that is, a journey that is unfinishable yet must nonetheless be pursued.

In terms of government itself, these values combined with republican-democratic principles leave us with some clear precepts of government: self-government and decentralisation, rather than centralised bureaucratic control, linking directly with the above-stated autonomy of the nation-republics; the strict protection of the enumeration of powers established in the constitutional settlement; and the representation of both citizens and national peoples at the federal level.

On the other hand, the other key is the sovereignty of the European peoples together as a single dêmos. The dêmos is the source of democratic action; it staffs the institutions of government and directs their actions through free discourse, voting and civil-society action among other means. Despite the attempt of nationalism to bind destiny (télos) with the nation (éthnos), in fact, destiny in a democracy is directly linked to the dêmos, as the entity which defines and controls its fate as free citizens through their government. Dêmos, then, is defined by a common political discourse and institutions, not the ethno-cultural definitions of nation. For these institutions and discourse to mean something, they must have a state and sovereign power. If citizenship can be decoupled from nationality, and dêmos (democracy) from éthnos, then why can the state, and its sovereignty, not be split from the nation? Citizenship, democracy and state-sovereignty are three elements which are eternally bound for any of them to have meaning or legitimacy; democracy must have a dêmos formed of equal citizens. However, those citizens’ rights and duties must be guaranteed by a state; they must be determined democratically and articulated in a constitution, legitimately granting the power of the state, which the citizens are equally subject to[65]. That power enables them to engage in the democratic process of determining their fate. The state is a tool of democracy; it is an illegitimate authority without democracy, and democracy is hollow and impotent without the state. This does not mean loyalty to the state, or any static conception of the constitution; this uncritical, submissive attitude to the state is a product of nationalism, and is eschewed by constitutional patriotism, which demands civil disobedience where necessary, in the name of the universal values we have named as those common to us, and facilitates stability where the state serves its purpose. Republican democracy in the Federation demands a critical attitude to authority and the use of power.

Such an understanding enables a more nuanced approach to the use of power justified by majority-support. Republican liberty is the idea of freedom from tyranny[66]; this, among others, is a value which guides the use of state power by the dêmos. Hence, action by the dêmos cannot be tyrannical, justified by majority-support alone, but instead must be informed by these values for it to be legitimate and democratic. Democracy understood in republican terms is at the service to higher values – isegoría, liberty, solidarity, justice and diversity – defined and redefined collectively through discourse within the enlightened civic dêmos. At the heart of this interpretation is the need of society to reconcile ‘the unison’ with ‘the polyphonic’; that is, plurality with the need for common courses of action. That means the plurality of voices is respected – through the values of isegoría and liberty. Republican democracy demands both freedom from tyranny and the seizure of fate; autonomy on some issues, collectively-exercised sovereignty in others. Crucially, this places a heavy emphasis on the organisation of democratic politics. The current European Union fails miserably in this regard; the void of citizen politics has allowed economic interests to be privileged, exacerbated by the roots of the current institutions as a cartel-administration – hence the cast of the Competition Policy, trade relations, capital markets, the Common Agricultural Policy and emphasis in the eurozone on deregulation and austerity. These emphases are the hallmarks of institutions entirely orientated towards big capital, without any other points within its frame of reference; there are no other objectives and ideals within the agenda of the Brussels institutions. Corporatism intensifies the technocratic structure of the Union institutions: it nullifies the harmonising and pacifying effects of democracy, leading to incoherence, allowing big capital to exercise huge amounts of power over government, and the working classes to be appeased but subordinated. It is thus not surprising that neoliberalism has easily been adopted as the working-ideology of the institutions, as well as the idea that citizens are not still divided by class. This means the impact of the omnipresence of class within the body politic is neglected. By contrast, Spinelli and Rossi invoked us to build a society where we can act as equal citizens; where wealth and power disparities were not so great, where liberty was combined with solidarity, where politics was inclusive, democratic and respectful of the minority, where citizen autonomy and freedom were valued and meaningful across society’s classes. This is the project of the federation. Social justice and solidarity are instead at its core.

The technocracy and corporatism within institutional politics is one side of a coin, the other being the total failure of political mobilisation and organisation of citizens at the European level, symbolised by the European Parliament as a ‘Merovingian legislature’[67]. Republican democracy does not recognise such a distorted attitude towards politics, where low politics is run by technicians and high politics by diplomats; it demands that we choose our fate rather than leaving it to economic forces, influenced as they are by corporations. Social justice and solidarity are instead at its core[68]. Without these, the sense of cohesion, a common citizenship and political project degenerates, and alternative sources of identity predominate – nationalism. Republican social solidarity combined with constitutional patriotism is then key for a cohesive identity which does not need nationalism to effectively exist. On this understanding, socially destructive economic policies would in any case struggle to be implemented federally, because that would be counter to the general éthos of the Federation. Neoliberalism founders on the bases of civic democracy and stability; it would ignore the imperative of republican self-representation, government and autonomy.

These ideas relate to the last definitive article articulated by Kant, that citizens should receive hospitality wherever they go in ‘foreign territory’, which we should understand as territory not belonging to their nation. Already, freedom of movement and the civic rights linked with European Citizenship currently go some way to fulfilling this Article, extending the idea of being a citizen beyond the nation, if not to the whole world. The above articulated theory of republican democracy empowering a civic-state, with a transnational dêmos united by constitutional patriotism enables the idea of ‘citizens of the world’, which are recognised in all states, regardless of their nationality. It also enables a strong, decentralised democracy, privileging neither the centre nor the periphery, which would legitimise a state with the potential to realise both the pacific and European (understood as the universal values above) Federation. It is a more radical attempt at achieving Kant’s vision of bringing about an international ‘State of Peace’ than the tinkering proposed by Weiler, Garton Ash and others that want simply to put nation-states in chains by strengthening international power. These ideas aim to transform European life, the meaning of citizenship, the state, democracy and the dêmos.

That is a core purpose of the civic-state, to realise the Kantian principles of perpetual peace. To take democracy and make it transnational, spreading across borders; to decouple identity from static images and ethno-cultural blood-based definitions; to create a truly post-national Europe in Hallstein’s words, as an example for the world. Europe gave birth to these ideas and must be the first to truly embrace them. To realise the dissenting, transgressive, renegade nature of Europe which does not accept stasis, and challenges accepted wisdom in all spheres.

The idea of ‘post-national’, or more precisely, post-nationalism, is critical to constitutional patriotism as a form of identity[69], which enables us to elaborate on the issue of borders more precisely. In fact, neither Constitutional Patriotism, encouraging the opening of constitutional cultures and the gradual mixing of beliefs through critical self-reflection of them, nor Constitutional Synthesis, Fossum & Menéndez’s theory accounting for the constitutional development of the current Union, integrating several national influences into a single body of law whilst simultaneously constructing a diverse patchwork of institutions, account for political demarcation.

Why determine ‘Europe’s’ borders anywhere in particular, especially when we have established ‘Europe’s’ identity as defined by its universal values? Here, I believe we must come back to autonomy. Firstly, the civic dêmos forms a state, as an expression of the democratic process, through its constitution, institutions, body of law, political discourse and interpretation of values; these alone cannot demarcate the boundaries of a state, hence there is no territorial element to the civic dêmos, nothing which defines it precisely – it is the subject of an inclusive and ongoing process. Instead, the territorial element of éthnos is required to give geographic expression to the civic-state.

The autonomy of the sub-continent’s nations must be recognised in their construction of constitutional democratic governments. Only they can have the authority to accede to the European Federation, adopt the principles of, and integrate themselves into the common dêmos. No one has the right to force them. The continued presence of the éthnoi within the Federation determines its boundaries; it itself is a purely civic entity, guided together by a single dêmos. It is given life, shape, direction and boundaries by the ethnic nations which accede to it, and in so doing, accept the opening of their borders, a commonly defined télos, a common discussion of the past (which grows with each éthnos which accedes), and the fundamental idea that these things can and should be shared with ‘others’, in a diversity which strengthens us all. The civic-state thus acts as a vessel – all the components of which make it universal – which needs to be filled by the particular national interpretations and historical experiences to turn it into something which has substance in the real world – to make the universal tangible.

An éthnos which does not want to join the process the civic-state embodies, will not. It will only if it believes in the values of, and its own ability to contribute to, the post-national entity, and has the consent of those éthnoi already within it. It is the prerogative of free nations to join the common endeavour and secede from it if they so desire.

Federalism is the final theoretical component of the civic-state, providing a more sophisticated approach to the Federation and federal government itself and its relationship with the autonomous republics. Federalism attempts primarily to codify relations between the centre and the periphery, so that central power does not overwhelm and dominate the periphery. Decentralisation has historically been achieved by aristocratic, social control over the monarch as Montesquieu noted Britain had achieved, and which had been all but nullified in France by 1789, leading to an immense centralisation of power, the legacy of which, France still lives with today[70]. Montesquieu’s thought on the advantages of aristocratic, oligarchic rule over a centralised state clearly has influenced Kant’s thought on state forms in Perpetual Peace. Both believed that the removal of the aristocracy would lead to a despotic state; bureaucratic centralisation as a uniquely modern form of despotism[71]. Federalism aimed to replicate the controlling effect of the aristocracy and prevent centralised tyranny, without maintaining oligarchic government. Federalism is fundamentally protective of self-government then, and hence, democratic. It uses the law to protect interests at several levels of society[72]; in the civic-state, that is local, regional and national interests, alongside the common interest. Hence, this also entails several layers of state-authority, loyalty (modified as it is by constitutional patriotism), rights and duties; as this is all undertaken through law, the effective execution of judicial review is key to mediating the legitimate exercise of authority[73]. The significance of the enumeration of powers and its protection has already been mentioned. It is also significant however, for reconciling Kant’s concepts of democracy and republicanism, for federalism limits sovereignty, by creating separate spheres of authority.  Unconstrained sovereignty indeed leads to unlimited power being exercised by a single agent; both constitutionalism and federalism create limits on that authority, enabling a democratic republic, which usefully Greek has reduced to one word: the Dimokratía.

Contra un-federalist federations

From this, we can understand the problems of allocation of power in the current Union and the absence of theoretical understanding, and use federalism to properly critique the Union and plug gaps in the legitimacy of the Federation to be founded in Europe. It is clear, firstly, that the current unity/federal visions of the Union often touted by those pushing for further integration are in fact not truly federalist. Often technocrats in the Commission use the idea of federalism when in fact their objective is a more centralised, bureaucratised union, where the central institutions consume more power without any checks on the extent of their authority[74]. This is directly linked to the original design of the Union, which relied heavily on bureaucratic control of economic forces (cartelism), and is related to the French model of the state, which Monnet no doubt channelled as the Union’s chief architect and a member of the French government[75].

This model has since predominated in the development of the Union’s institutions, where orders are issued from the centre and obeyed by the periphery, the centre necessarily wielding absolute power to advance the interests of the political class[76]. Particularly the Commission, as the head of this bureaucracy, and Court, enabling the upward-transfer of power unhindered, are the primary symbols of Brussels fully embracing the French state-model. The Court in particular has not guarded the enumeration of powers at all, propounding the widest interpretation possible of the ‘flexibility clause’ and the extent of the authority of the Council[77]. This is not democratic and not federalism. Federalism is not about concentrating power at a higher level, but dividing power effectively, establishing it at several levels to be exercised by several levels of the dêmos. It demands a distinct centre, not an oppressive or overpowering one. If we accept that authority can only be established at several levels with democracy at several levels, then it is clear that federalism demands democratic action across society, something the current form of the Union, and other un-federalist federations, undermine.

There can be no bureaucratic government for the people under federalism, for federalism is supposed to counter the centralising, monolithic tendencies of post-feudal government. It must be government by the people[78]: republican, not individualist democracy; Greek, not Roman legitimacy. It is a rejuvenation of democracy informed by subsidiarity, judicial review and an active, fluid and dynamic political society. It is against stagnation. It prescribes the state as a tool of diversity, to be used at local, regional and national levels, rather than monopolised by any one vision of society; the institutional realisation of diversity, and guarantee of autonomy at all levels. It prescribes several centres from which the development of constitutional values can be cultivated, autonomy can be protected, government can be engaged in democratically, and conflict can be mediated. This is the vision of a truly federalist, rather than merely federal, European government. Naturally, it must be recognised that federations of all forms have a tendency towards centralisation in the long run[79]; this may be due to the mechanisms of bureaucratic government, however there are no doubt other factors. Crucially, federations lose sight of federalism; they lack other elements required to maintain a federalist governmental vision, such as self-government and a judiciary informed by the principle of subsidiarity. There are others in the idea of the civic-state: republican democracy that demands active engagement in government rather than the individualist consumption of bureaucratically-generated goods; a civic identity facilitated by constitutional patriotism, that eschews loyalty to tradition and the nation-state in favour of a critical approach to authority, and a discursive approach to meaning. Both of these ask the citizen to be actively involved in shaping politics and the will of fellow citizens in the dêmos, operating at several levels. The discourse theory of law comes into play here[80], arguing that law is legitimate only by the involvement of citizens in authoring it, which necessarily involves opinion and will-formation. Federalism cannot occur through the back-door, but must be actively chosen – This is where the current approach of the European Project has fundamentally failed, and why there must be a Reformation.

Furthermore, the autonomy inherent in Kant’s vision of the pacific federation, preserving the diversity necessary to counter-act the homogenising tendencies of the metropolis, also supports federalism. This diversity, as the fundamental source of dynamism in the European spirit of transgression & adventure must be built into the constitutional document. Critically, what must be taken from all this is that federalism cannot occur through the back-door, but must be actively chosen[81] – it cannot be a matter of systematic integration, to which there is no alternative. This is where the current approach of the European Project has fundamentally failed, and why there must be a Reformation.

Some final thoughts are needed on the civic-state. Firstly, on identity, there are those which might argue that such a state with such power could not be sustained by an identity which does not draw on Eros; in other words, that is not national or ethno-cultural. The discussion above was aimed at making it clear why I believe a state which draws on Civilisation much more strongly, without jettisoning Eros completely, is in fact possible. Furthermore, it seems clear that a political community like the civic-state could not be informed or sustained by a nationalist identity; that is, an arrogant, unquestioning, exclusive and possessive form of identity. The very spirit and purpose of such a state reject such an identity. The sober, critical process of constitutional patriotism, which is dynamic rather than static, is the source of identity for the new form of state; where people identify with the common project of fair government, rather than defer to a static identity. A project influenced by democracy, civil society, free expression and the spirit of exchange, discovery and enterprise. European identity, so understood, must be fluid and evolving. It can have no canon. The constitution represents a culture and history of evolving understanding of universal values, of our historical legacy, of our future path. It is the guarantee of the ability to conduct those discussions and realise those evolved understandings in society; the real potential for change.

Like Kadmos in search of Europa, we will not discover something fixed, but must build it ourselves, according to our own design[82]. The patriotism of the dêmos is in this process, underpinned by the normative concept of equal and free citizens, guided by the question of how to best live peacefully together, informed by these universal values, rather than in a fixed catalogue of values and enforced interpretations, or pride in the state. The state is a tool and an embodiment of this process, not something that itself commands citizens’ loyalty. Essential among these universal values is diversity – the idea of living in a ‘community of others’ in Weiler’s words. Europe would fight to protect and encourage diversity, as peaceful, contained conflict and difference; influences which intermingle, but do not merge. Transnationalism, as the path to the global, rather than realpolitik-internationalism or technocratic-infranationalism; the idea of crossing the mental, legal and physical borders of the nation, to others and appreciating all that intermingles therefrom. The creation of culture, but not a uniform, homogeneous culture; instead a diverse, conflicting culture which is critical and leads to common self-development. This allows us to transcend the nation in a way not as callous and hollow (or authoritarian) as the Hayekian vision (the Catallaxy), or even as dispassionate as the original conception of the Kantian pacific federation. It is not as unimaginative as the ideas of ‘Liberal Order’ or ‘Community’ Internationalism, which rely on divided sovereignty; ours is radical, democratic, republican and reformative.

Finally, a return to Ventotene. In the manifesto, Spinelli and Rossi claim that the new dividing line in politics is no longer between right and left, but between those who seek to conquer the power of the nation-state for traditional ends, and those who seek to use the power of the nation-state as an instrument for achieving international (meaning global) unity. I disagree that this is the only line that matters, though in truth, the dichotomy between nationalism and internationalism is bound up with the dichotomy between the rearguard of old-world privileges, and the vanguard of a more just and progressive world.

Nevertheless, the civic-state does take the power of the state, previously monopolised by the nation, and uses it as an instrument for achieving a more universalist, humanist vision of mankind, even if we must begin in Europe. Furthermore, the civic-state addresses the problems of the three aspects of modern civilisation which, according to the manifesto, have caused its crisis: the sovereign independence of nations, the corruption of democratic government, and the distortion of the spirit of rational criticism.

The federalist civic-state as outlined above preserves national (and lower) autonomy whilst depriving nations of the sovereignty that makes their relations adversarial, their citizens subjects, and their principles hollow. Republican democracy aims to exorcise the corrupting influences on democratic government, placing social justice, freedom from tyranny and determination of our common fate at the foundation of government. Criticism is restored by constitutional patriotism, which places a critical approach to tradition, loyalty and authority at the heart of identity, making the citizen’s relationship with the state less deferential and more active.

A European Federation is one of the few objectives which can be a source of rejuvenation for Europe, specifically its values and ideas in the wider world, a source of empowerment for its citizens, and a tool to solve the problems of the post-modern world. However, it will not be these things as a ‘network’, or a post-sovereign confederation, or an enlarged nation-state, or even as ‘the United States of Europe’. It can be these things as a civic-state, which truly embraces Civilisation with Eros, and embeds them in a real constitution. This reformation into a ‘Union of European Nations’ will not be easy to achieve, and will not be perfect once it has been. But it offers us something tangible and different; it offers us democracy in Europe, which we in DiEM25 believe is necessary to save the European idea. Europe will be democratised, or it will disintegrate, and with it, this generation’s hopes for a better world. Here, I provide an alternative.

Bibliography

Anderson P. The New Old World. London: Verso. 2011.

Bauman Z. Europe: An Unfinished Adventure. Cambridge: Polity Press. 2004.

Carchedi G. For Another Europe: A Class Analysis of European Economic Integration. London: Verso. 2001.

Garton Ash T. History of the Present: Essays, Sketches and Dispatches from Europe in the 1990s. London: Penguin Books. 2000.

Goldsworthy A. Pax Romana: War, Peace and Conquest in the Roman World. London; Weidenfeld & Nicolson. 2016.

Habermas J. ‘Reply to Grimm’. The Question of Europe ed. Anderson P & Gowan P. London: Verso. 1997.

Habermas J. The Lure of Technocracy. Cambridge: Polity Press. 2015.

Hallstein W. Europe in the Making. New York: Norton. 1972.

Hayek F.A. ‘The Economic Conditions of Interstate Federalism’, The New Commonwealth Quarterly, 5:2, 131-149, 1939.

Holland S. Europe in Question: And what to do about it. Nottingham: Spokesman Books. 2015.

Hroch M. European Nations: Explaining their formation. London: Verso. 2015.

Kant I. Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch translated Campbell Smith M. London: George Allen & Unwin. 1903 (Original, 1795). 

Marsili L & Milanese N. Towards a transnational democracy for Europe. European Alternatives. 2011. 

Marquand D. The End of the West: The Once and Future of Europe. Woodstock: Princeton University Press. 2012.

Mitrany D. ‘The Prospect of Integration: Federal or Functional’. Journal of Common Market Studies. 4:2, 119-149. 1965.

Monnet J. Memoirs. London: Third Millennium. 2015 (Original, 1978).

Müller J.W. Constitutional Patriotism. Woodstock: Princeton University Press. 2007.

Münchau W. ‘European values are more important than economics’, Financial Times, 19th June 2016.

Pettit P. On the People’s Terms: A Republican Theory and Model of Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2012.

Rossi E & Spinelli A. The Manifesto of Ventotene: For A Free and United Europe. cvce.eu. 1941.

Siedentop L. Democracy in Europe. London: Penguin Books. 2001.

Spinelli A. The Eurocrats: Conflict and Crisis in the European Community. Baltimore: John Hopkins Press. 1966.

Van Middelaar L. The Passage to Europe: How a Continent became a Union. Totton: Yale University Press. 2014.

Varoufakis V. Adults in the Room: My Battle With Europe’s Deep Establishment. London: The Bodley Head. 2017.

Varoufakis V. And the Weak suffer what they must? Europe, Austerity and the threat to global stability. London: The Bodley Head. 2016.

Verhofstadt G. Europe’s Last Chance: Why the European States must form a more perfect Union. New York: Basic Books. 2017.

Vile M.J.C. Constitutionalism and the Separation of Powers. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund. 1998.

Weiler J.H.H. The Constitution for Europe: “Do the New Clothes Have An Emperor? ” And Other Essays on European Integration. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1999.

Weiler J.H.H. ‘Does Europe need a Constitution? Demos, Telos, Ethos and the Maastricht Decision’. The Question of Europe ed. Anderson P & Gowan P. London: Verso. 1997.

Notes and references

[1] Weiler, ‘The Reformation of European Constitutionalism’, The Constitution of Europe, p.230

[2] Goldsworthy, Pax Romana, p.133-40

[3] Anderson, The New Old World, p.484

[4] Holland, Europe in Question, p.91-2

[5] Spinelli & Rossi, A Manifesto for a Free and United Europe, cvce.eu

[6] Hroch, European Nations, p.39, 50-1

[7] Ibid. p.50-5, 62-6

[8] Marquand, The End of the West, p.128-9

[9] Van Middelaar, The Passage to Europe, p.252-4

[10] Mitrany, ‘The Prospect of Integration: Federal or Functional’, Journal of Common Market Studies, p.124-6

[11] Anderson, The New Old World, p.501; Habermas, The Lure of Technocracy, p.30, 51-5

[12] Marsili & Milanese, Towards a Transnational Democracy for Europe, p.8-9

[13] Bauman, Europe, p.70

[14] Monnet, Memoirs, p.296

[15] Weiler, ‘Fin-de-siècle Europe: do the new clothes have an emperor?’, The Constitution of Europe, p.250

[16] Weiler, ‘To be a European Citizen: Eros and Civilisation’, The Constitution of Europe, p.330-2

[17] Ibid. p.347

[18] Müller, Constitutional Patriotism, p.1-2, 59-60, 65

[19] Ibid. p.29-30, 63

[20] Ibid. p.32-4, 66-7

[21] Ibid. p.68-9

[22] Ibid. p.65

[23] Marquand, The End of the West, p.84-5

[24] Ibid. p.121-2

[25] Bauman, Europe, p.124-130

[26] Münchau, ‘European values are more important than economics’

[27] Müller, Constitutional Patriotism, p.32

[28] Bauman, Europe, p.60, 77-8

[29] Ibid. p.7

[30] Ibid. p.8

[31] Müller, Constitutional Patriotism, p.126-30, Weiler, The Constitution of Europe, p.269-71, 341-3

[32] Weiler, ‘To be a European Citizen: Eros and Civilisation’, The Constitution of Europe, p.328-9

[33] Varoufakis, And the Weak suffer what they must?, p.221-3

[34] Ibid. p.101-4

[35] Müller, Constitutional Patriotism, p.126-7

[36] Weiler, ‘To be a European Citizen: Eros and Civilisation’, The Constitution of Europe, p.339-40

[37] Garton Ash, History of the Present, p.323-31

[38] Marquand, The End of the West, p.106

[39] Holland, Europe in Question, p.36-7

[40] Carchedi, For Another Europe, p.29-34

[41] Hayek, ‘The Economic Conditions of Interstate Federalism’, The New Commonwealth Quarterly, Vol.V, No.2 p.137

[42] Varoufakis, Adults in the Room, p.323-8

[43] Ibid. p.434-5

[44] Anderson, The New Old World, p.58

[45] Ibid. p.62

[46] Monnet, Memoirs, p.394-5

[47] Verhofstadt, Europe’s Last Chance, p.7

[48] Ibid. p.28-9

[49] Draft Treaty embodying the Statute of the European Community, cvce.eu

[50] Ibid. p.29

[51] Draft Treaty establishing the European Union, cvce.eu

[52] Bauman, Europe, p.68-9, Marquand, The End of the West, p. 131-3, Spinelli, The Eurocrats, p.19-20, Hallstein, Europe in the Making, p.292-3

[53] Kant, Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch, translated M. Campbell Smith, p.120, 128, 147

[54] Vile, Constitutionalism and the Separation of Powers, p.1-23

[55] Habermas, ‘European citizens and European Peoples’, The Lure of Technocracy, p.34

[56] Bauman, Europe, p.40

[57] Hroch, European Nations, p.89-94

[58] Habermas, ‘European citizens and European Peoples’, The Lure of Technocracy, p.45

[59] Marquand, The End of the West, p.131-4

[60] Bauman, Europe, p.125

[61] Verhofstadt, Europe’s Last Chance, p.34-5

[62] Ibid. p.79

[63] Spinelli, The Eurocrats, p.25, van Middelaar, The Passage to Europe, p.2-6

[64] Bauman, Europe, p.129

[65] Siedentop, Democracy in Europe, p.81-5

[66] Pettit, On the People’s Terms, p.92-4

[67] Anderson, The New Old World, p.60

[68] Pettit, On the People’s Terms, p.77-81

[69] Müller, Constitutional Patriotism, p.63

[70] Siedentop, Democracy in Europe, p.6, 105

[71] Ibid. p.2, 6

[72] Ibid. p.94

[73] Ibid. p.95-6

[74] Ibid. p.115-7

[75] Holland, Europe in Question, p.36-41

[76] Siedentop, Democracy in Europe, p.107-13

[77] Weiler, ‘The Transformation of Europe’, The Constitution of Europe, p.39-63

[78] Siedentop, Democracy in Europe, p.125-8

[79] Weiler, ‘The external legal relations of non-unitary actors’, The Constitution of Europe, p.130-6

[80] Habermas, ‘Keywords on a Discourse Theory of Law’, The Lure of Technocracy, p.47-50

[81] Siedentop, Democracy in Europe, p.80

[82] Bauman, Europe, p.1-2

Washington Pushes Harder Against Russia

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/07/31/washington-pushes-harder-russia-paul-craig-roberts/

Paul Craig Roberts

Some historians believe that the cause of WW2 was UK prime minister Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler’s recovery of German territory given to other countries via the Versailles Treaty in contravention of US President Woodrow Wilson’s promise to Germany that there would be no reparations and no loss of territory if Germany agreed to an armistance ending WW1.

I do not agree. The facts seem clear. The cause of WW2 was the gratuitous and unenforceable guarantee to the Polish military government given by Chamberlain that if Poland refused to hand German lands and populations back to Germany, Great Britain would be there to support Poland. When Germany and the Soviet Union made the deal to split Poland between them and attacked, Britain due to its stupid “guarantee” declared war on Germany, but not on the Soviet Union. As France was aligned by treaty with Britain, France, too, had to declare war. Because of the reign of propaganda in the West, hardly anyone knows this, but WW2 was started by the British and French declaration of war on Germany. Yet, it was the surviving members of the German regime who were put on trial by the US, UK, France, and the Soviet Union in Nuremberg for initiating aggressive war.

Nevertheless, as the general opinion is that Chamberlain encouraged Hitler to ever more aggressive actions by the British failure to respond, why has no one pointed out that the Russian government’s lack of response to Washington’s aggressive actions toward Russia encourages Washington to become more aggressive. This also is leading to war.

The Russian government, like Chamberlain’s, has not responded to provocations far more dangerous than Chamberlain faced, because, like Chamberlain, the Russian government prefers peace to war.

The question is whether the Russian government is avoiding or encourging war by its non-response to illegal sanctions and propagandistic accusations and demonizations. Russia has even allowed Washington to put ABM bases on its borders with Poland and Romania. This is like the US permitting Russia to put missile bases in Cuba.

Russia is disadvantaged because, unlike the United States, Russia is an open society, not a police state like the US where dissent is controlled and suppressed. The Russian government is handicapped by its decision to permit foreign ownership of some of its media. It is disadvantaged by its decision to accept hundreds of American and European financed NGOs that organize protests and constantly level false charges at the Russian government. The Russian government permits this because it mistakenly believes Washington and its vassals will see Russia as a tolerant democracy and welcome it into the Western Family of Nations.

Russia is also disadvantaged by its educated upper class, professors and businessmen who are Western oriented. The professors want to be invited to conferences at Harvard University. The businessmen want to be integrated into the Western business community. These people are known as “Atlanticist Integrationists.” They believe Russia’s future depends on acceptance by the West and are willing to sell out Russia in order to gain this acceptance. Even some of Russian youth think everything is great in America where the streets are paved with gold, and some of the Russian media take their cue from the Western presstitutes.

It is a difficult situation for the Russian government. The Russians mistakenly believed that the demise of the Soviet Union made us all friends. It seems only Gorbachev understands that the Soviet collapse removed all constraint on Washington’s hegemonic behavior. Few in Russia seem to understand that the enormous budget and power of the US military/security complex, about which President Eisenhower, warned in 1961, needs an enemy for its justification, and that the Soviet collapse had removed the enemy. The very minute that Russia stood up for its national interest, Washington filled the desperately needed category of “The Enemy” with Putin’s Russia.

The Russian government and upper class have been extremely slow in realizing this. Indeed, only a few are beginning to see the light.

Despite the writing on the wall, Russia’s new UN envoy, Vasily Nabenzya declared on July 29 that Russia has no alternative to “building bridges under any circumstances. We will cooperate. Americans cannot go without us, and us without them. This is an objective reality.”

This is a statement of Russian surrender.

Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergay Ryabkov also refuses to read the writing on the wall. He thinks Washington and Moscow must “break the vicious circle of retaliation and start anew.”

On July 30 Russian President Putin finally responded to the Obama regime’s orchestrated expulsion of Russian diplomats from Washington last Christmas and illegal seizure of Russian government properties in the Washington area by evicting 750 “American diplomats,” in reality agents working to undermine the Russian government. Putin could just as well have arrested them. It only took 7 months for Russia to respond to Washington’s hostile actions against Russian diplomats.

Sometimes the Russian government shows some awareness that it is permanently designated as Washington’s Number One Enemy. Putin explained the belated expulsion of US “diplomats” as follows: “We’ve been waiting for quite a long time that maybe something would change for the better, we had hopes that the situation would change. But it looks like, it’s not going to change in the near future… I decided that it is time for us to show that we will not leave anything unanswered.”

After saying this, Putin took it all back: “The main thing is, that we have a multi-faceted cooperation in many fields. Of course, Moscow has a lot to say and there is a number of spheres of cooperation that we could potentially cut and it would be sensitive for the US side. But I think we shouldn’t do it. It would harm development of international relations. I hope it won’t get to that point. As of today, I’m against it.”    https://www.rt.com/news/398019-putin-us-diplomats-sanctions/

A more realistic response than President Putin’s comes from Dmitry Suslov, deputy director of the Russian Council on Foreign and Defense Policy and program director of Putin’s Valdai Discussion Club. Suslov understands that the new illegal sanctions against Russia, in addition to their advantage for US energy corporations, are an act of aggression toward Russia, the purpose of which is to make impossible the improvement of bilateral relations between the US and Russia. “Today,” Suslov said, “it is already clear that the US is our enemy, and will remain our enemy for a long time. Russia needs to adjust its state arms program, reflecting the inevitable military-political confrontation with the US. There must be investments in stratgic deterrance, in maintaining the system of guaranteed mutual destruction.”

Suslov adds: “Perhaps, it is worthwhile to turn off cooperation with the United States on those issues which are necessary first of all for the US itself. For example, the US depends on Russia in the field of space cooperation. Perhaps there is a need to make adjustments and give up part of the programs of cooperation. It is worthwhile to think about increasing military cooperation between Russia on the American continent — I mean primarily to build up cooperation with Venezuela,” Suslov said.

In Washington, anyone who departed as far as Suslov has from the delusions that hinder Russian decision-making would be fired. It will be interesting to see if Suslov has introduced more reality than is acceptible into Russian awareness of the threat that Russia faces from Washington.

Is Russia a country so desperate to be part of the West that it is ruled by delusions and illusions? If so, war is a certainty.


Comments from DiEM25

Alexander:

I doubt that anyone who has something like a clear mind in Germany would support Roberts “analysis”. So yes what he is saying would be very typical for hardcore right-wing excuses. Even the AfD wouldnt say something like this.

Also I think it is totally false on an analytical level. What Roberts is doing is trying to find the reason for WW2 in Britain because he is arguing the mistake was to support Poland.
First of all, everyone who knew Hitler’s ideology, which he published in “Mein Kampf” in 1923, would have known that he wouldn’t stop after getting Austria and parts of Czechoslovakia.

Secondly, I think it strange to argue that helping the country which got attacked means causing WW2. Hitler knew that Poland had a guarantee from the UK and still he attacked.
I could go further on, but that could take hours. I’m usually a person who is listening if somebody tries to find an alternative narrative for specific phenomena, but what Roberts tries to do there is anything but smart, in my opinion.

WH:

I think that what Roberts is trying to do is gather arguments that will help to prevent the next war, rather than give encouragement to the losers of the last one. It is worth being familiar with viewpoints like this if one is trying to develop policies adequate to solving Europe’s present-day problems. But it is not worth allowing them to become a bone of contention.

Notis Marias: Greece can, and must, play a leading role in the Balkans

Αthens, 31/7/2017.

PRESS RELEASE

We send to you this article by Notis Marias:

Notis Marias, President of the Party GREECE-THE OTHER WAY, Europarliamentarian, Professor of European Institutions at the University of Crete

The emerging realignments on the geopolitical chessboard in the wider area of the Balkans provide, for the first time in many years, a new opportunity for our country to play an authentically leading role in the anticipated developments.

The USA undertook powerful penetration in the Balkans in the 90s, breaking up Yugoslavia, and naturally we should not forget that the EU, and particularly Germany and Austria, with the foreign policy they pursued in the 1990s, have a huge responsibility for the fragmentation of Yugoslavia and the war that broke out in the region, leaving thousands dead.

Today the EU and the USA have an obvious interest in developments in the Balkans, but events are moving so quickly that it is not easy to predict what the new geopolitical equilibria will be that will emerge from them.

The recent strengthening of Putin’s Russia, which is now not only a key player on the chessboard of Syria and the Middle East but a factor that has re-emerged with steadily increasing influence in the Balkans as well, is something that must be taken into consideration.

Washington is clearly bent on settling some outstanding accounts in the Balkans and at the same time trying to prevent Moscow from increasing the influence that it has retained in certain areas.

In recent articles we analyzed what has taken place in Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Bosnia, but also developments in Albania and FYROM, highlighting the great geopolitical volatility that now prevails in the Western Balkans. We drew attention in these articles to the mistaken policy of the EU, which demands de facto recognition of Kosovo on the part of Belgrade and so, apart from everything else, contributes to strengthening the Albanian nationalism that was reinforced by the electoral victory of Rama in Albania, intensifying the persecution of the Greek national minority in Northern Epirus and encouraging the Chams to continue their provocations.

Apart from the abovementioned developments, the evolving situation in FYROM must be taken into serious consideration, with the opportunity it presents today for Greece to clarify that in the case of the state with the current provisional name of FYROM, it is not prepared to accept a denomination including the word “Macedonia”.

The stabilizing role that Athens, Belgrade and Sofia are called upon to play is in this way reasserted, in opposition to the irresponsible, provocative and historically ignorant stance of both Tirana and Skopje.

The history of Greece is inextricably interwoven with the history of the Balkans, given that Greece is part of this region. And Greece has played a leading role, throughout history, in all developments in the Balkans.

It is up to us to project the strategic role of Greece in the Balkans and intervene for our benefit in the present geopolitical situation.

What is required is an integrated national plan, to take advantage of Greece’s potential in the field of energy, both as a transit hub and as a prospective energy producer, with the national interest as its hallmark.

In Thessaloniki on 13th July (2017) a three-day meeting was held of leaders of Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria, on the model of the countries of the Visegrad group, with energy, transport and tourism as key agenda items.

The discussions were focused above all on the TAP, IBS and IGB pipelines. The IGB pipeline is to extend from Alexandroupolis into Bulgaria and further extension of the pipeline into Serbia via the IBS is also under examination.

Unfortunately, on the subject of the Russian South Stream pipeline, the Greek government has capitulated to the demands of the USA and the EU.and is acting against the national interest. The subject of the significant contribution to the prosperity and stability of the Balkans potentially offered by the construction and utilization of the South Stream, a pipeline with a capacity of 65 billion cubic metres of natural gas annually, was not raised during the three-day meeting.

The economic and political role of Greece in the Balkans is directly linked to the country’s economic prospects, and within the parameters of the national plan a clear and practical strategy must be devised for strengthening the entrepreneurial capability and outward-looking orientation of the Greek economy. Trans-border business initiatives are necessary in the Balkans with a dynamic leading role for Greek enterprises.

Appropriate multi-faceted geopolitical and economic collaboration anchored in the Greek national interest and in development of the Greek economy can help to foster a leading, and stabilizing, role for Greece in the Balkans, discouraging the illicit irredentist policies of Tirana and Skopje.

www.notismarias.gr

Sofia Club Declaration

“SOFIA” CLUB (All-European Initiative) DECLARATION – 29.05.2017

SOURCE (Direct Democracy Press)

Important tectonic changes are happening in Western societies. Those changes reveal fundamental change in the instinctive perception of today’s reality both within great agglomerations and outside them.

Both Brexit and the result of the American presidential election are evidence of that. In both cases, the control of the elites over the population – mainly exercised through mainstream media – did not succed. The public has not gone in the direction favoured by the mainstream media. The media, too, weren’t able to predict or to note, at the time, the divergence from the direction they gave. These are all signs of a worrying absence of a positive feedback between the elites, the media and public opinion.

The recent presidential elections in France and Macron’s victory have shown that the ways of controlling public opinion are still able to function. A candidate  invented at the last moment   by the ruling elites (albeit being split internally), was carried to victory. However, despite the exceptional concentration of all power centres, official and in the media, the result could be achieved only, because the eventually defeated candidate was, in fact, a victim of a “cordon sanitaire” uniting all the traditional forces, left and right. Despite all of this, half the electorate did not follow this manipulation and either voted for Le Pen, or abstained, or voted with blank or spoiled papers.

In this sense, not even the French presidential elections of 2017 have refuted the existence of ongoing tectonic changes in European societies. The causes still need to be investigated further. What cannot be in doubt is the complex internal crisis manifested in various forms throughout the West. Its character is not yet understood and causes unprecedented disturbances among large masses of population. People realise, instinctively, that great issues remain unresolved, they begin to understand that the leaders aren’t able to solve those issues. People become sceptical of inadequate explanations they are given. They feel growing distrust towards the political class and treat the mainstream media with disdain. Not only does the media not tell the truth – they actively conceal it, showing a rich variety of deception.

This does not mean that Europeans have understood the causes. However, this is enough for a “cognitive dissonance” to appear, as a result of a growing contradiction between the description of reality given from above and the crude reality seen in everyday life.

Similar signs, with diverse manifestations of local experiences, are also appearing in Eastern Europe and new EU member states. The fascination with Europe is disappearing, often turning to distrust and even hostility. This is shown by the recent presidential elections in  Moldova, by the relations between Warsaw and Brussels, Budapest and Brussels, by many analogous signs which influence  Western and Eastern Europe, no less than Southern Europe. Everywhere, the number of Eurosceptics is growing. The new political organisations formed over recent years (UKIP in the UK, M5S in Italy, AfD in Germany) demonstrate this fragility and volatility. But growth does not happen, quantitative easing cannot last forever, the rate of employment is stagnating and even falling. Massive automation is to come, and it will reduce even further likelihood of painless solutions to the problem of unemployment. The middle class is suffering from a permanent decrease in their living standards. The “social contract” – which supported the Union and consisted of an exchange of promises on welfare – fulfilled – from above and votes from below – is not working anymore. The elites cannot honour this contract, and therefore the people are not ready to vote for them. The centrifugal forces are growing.

The answers from Brussels are ridiculously inadequate. Their arrogant response to the demands, if vague, for a radical change, is to accuse the people of “populism”. Misrepresenting and delegitimizing the demands for a democracy, transparency and fair government, they accuse people of some illegitimate, if not subversive, actions. The obsessive repetition of the derogatory term “populism” is a threat to the people.

We think, on the contrary, that the growing pressure from below should be encouraged and directed towards a deep democratic reform of the current European institutions. The institutions which are lightyears away from the ideas of the European Union’s founders. Those which have deprived the peoples of the forms of national democracy which they had used, for better or worse, to replace them with supranational institutions, lacking democratic legitimacy and fully subordinated to the powers of international financial capital.

The European Union goes through this systemic and multifaceted crisis without any uniting idea. In place of any dialogue, Russia became subject to daily criticism, accompanied by statements by many Euamerican elropean leaders, of disturbing predictions of a future, imminent aggression. Afterwards, they claim that to resist that aggression, it is necessary to multiply and intensify NATO’s military presence next to Russia’s borders. NATO continues its expansion by involving Montenegro and pressuring all the ex-Yugoslav countries to join. More and more explicit steps are made to make Ukraine join, too. In the latter case, it must be obvious even for the most naive observers, that NATO might provoke a very dangerous and  unpredictable conflict situation with  Russia.

The international situation is further complicated by the results of the American elections of 2016. Europe has been shown another face of America, very different from the one European leadership and mainstream media sold to the population. This is a face of a country torn and factionalized by internal cotradictions – possibly deeper than ever in its history, albeit not a very long one. This is a country uncertain of its future, in the face of an obvious economic and social crisis. But the Europe of today, instead of understanding the problem and assuming responsibility for contributing to its constructive solution, with the aim of worldwide peace, is virtually unanimous in supporting the caste which brought the US to this place. It does not admit the failure of globalisation’s philosophy;  that casino capitalism does not produce growth, that neo-liberal recipes do not offer a solution, that the growth of the last two centuries cannot be sustainable and will bring about a collapse in ecosystems; that competition only leads to a war of everyone against everyone; that worldwide social injustice is leading to an abyss and inevitably produces social conflicts, authoritarianism and rivers of blood. The proposals from Europe are the same old globalisation, the same visions of a salvationary and “inevitable” technical progress, the same desire to homogenise nations and histories in a single global grinder, the same Market as the master of money, things and even thoughts, the ever more inhumane idea of “modernity” and an arrogant claim to dictate its laws to Nature.

There is no place for a human being in that picture. Even worse: those ideas (to the extent that these can be considered ideas) are impossible in practice. Those ideas of one seventh of the world population cannot be imposed on the remaining six sevenths. There is only one way to make them reality: it is war, violence.  And the war, should it happen, will only produce a small group of victors and a destruction on a scale difficult to imagine.

One of the causes of this crisis is Western in particular. This is the inability, or unwillingness, of the Western elites to restrain from eurocentrism. We are still thinking (the European left, too, no less than the traditional right) ourselves to be the centre of the world. Currently this is obviously wrong. This non-realistic vision is the cause of all the tragic errors made in Europe and in the West. It impedes recognition of the diversity of Earth’s cultures, religions and traditions. It is both a fruit and a cause of globalisation, which pretends to homogenize all civilizations and to cancel the invincible diversity of the modern world.

There is an attempt – contrary to reality – to contrast uniformist  globalization with isolationism and autarky. However, the facts are completely different. There is a rational and pacifist response, which substitutes “competition” (everyone’s struggle against everyone else) with “cooperation”, “respect” and “equality in diversity”.

The European Institutions are fruits not only of an extreme neo-liberalism, but also of the authoritarian idea of uniformity assured by the market. The reality contradicts this unhealthy perspective. The effect of this contradiction on the Western elites, in particular those in Europe, is a militaristic hysteria, intolerant and ever more aggressive. NATO became a focal point for the growth and self-reproduction of that hysteria. Leaving NATO becomes a necessary preliminary step for Europe to turn to a serious collective reflection on national sovereignty as a tool to protect peoples from the globalist alliance.

From here, the idea of a “European army”, to replace NATO, is slowly emerging. This project must be presented as an alternative. However, it requires a simultaneous review of the current concepts of collective security, and a review of the concept of the “enemy”. The European army cannot duplicate NATO, for that would only mean a monstrous growth in military expenditure, which is already excessive. The issue is also that the selected “enemy” – Russia (for now; China will be the next) is not an enemy, in fact. Finally, the global crisis requires us to understand that the world of tomorrow will be shaken by many menaces, not strictly military in their nature. Therefore, the European army must be formed in order not only to fulfil the tasks of military security, but, first of all, to protect the European population from various threats, already repeatedly predicted.

The ill-thought enlargement of the Union in the first decade of the century, aided by fatal illusions of the new members, has put together two Europes, with differing ideas and principles. In many cases those are not just different, but directly opposite. The modern Europe was born to overcome those divisions, which culminated in World War II. Germany, France, Italy have turned the page and shown an example of reconciliation, proposed, above all, as an Anti-Nazi durable project. The new member states, however, have no desire for such reconciliation. They have been forced to join, first, NATO, and then, the Union whose principles they do not share. They have brought with them a lot of anti-Russian revanchism and Cold War spirit, lacking connection with Anti-Nazi struggle or even openly sympathetic to Nazism. Already at the beginning, there appears a strong resistance to those ideas, albeit the most realistic and peaceful ones. From across the ocean, we hear an outcry combined with an insistent demand to enlarge national military budgets up to 2 % of GDP. This is – they say – to protect the West from an enemy, which is, effectively, the other six billion people. One can only conlude that it is necessary to reject from this madness.

We need a new Europe, one which corrects the grave mistakes committed in the course of its development up to now. And there aren’t only mistakes, but also deliberate attempts to hinder the fundamental idea of constructing a democratic, Anti-Fascist, sovereign Europe. It is time to change this situation and to turn to the original ideas. We need a Europe of peoples, returning to the roots of its democracy – the national roots. One cannot replace those roots with supranational institutions lacking both identity and soul, and based on bureaucracy without democratic legitimacy. This legitimacy can only be founded on the legitimacy of national democracies. The new supranational institutions need to enrich those historical roots, not replace or undermine them. They are in need of a new level of real democracy, still to be created.  This is what those institutions haven’t achieved or understood. Therefore, the Council, the Commission, the Parliament aren’t legitimate. The treaties of Maastricht, Nice and Lisbon have been imposed from above and intended to serve the power, even domination, of the global financial circles. The disaster of Europe today, without principles or solidarity, is a fruit of “competition” and market, presented as unquestionable essentials, put above people’s will and feelings.

Therefore, we need a new Europe. It will not have the same geographical borders as now, since it is not obvious that all countries and nations share its principles. A Constituent Assembly, elected by the peoples concerned, will be needed to establish its basics. This assembly will have to create a genuine Constitution, which will overcome the limitations of an “international treaty” to become a basis for a proper Union. Such a Constitution must be approved not only by the national parliaments, but also directly by the people, through a referendum.

All this requires the conclusion that what the European Union and humanity needs today, far exceeds the framework of episodic measures of governance. Serious reforms are needed concerning the ways in which society is working. New priorities with much higher morality should come in place of the dominant and uncontrolled power of market forces. A philosophy based on competition, trampling public morality, must give way to social justice and peace.

 

  • Giulietto Chiesa (Italy), MEP (2004-2009); President of the Alternativa political association
  • Michel Collon (Belgium), journalist, director of the website Investig’Action
  • Javier Couso Permuy (Spain), MEP, Group United Left
  • Inaki Irazabalbeitia (Basque Country); MEP (2013-2014), Board member of the Aralar political party
  • Dmitris Kostantakopoulos (Greece), journalist, writer, coordinator of the Delphi Initiative, redactor of the website Defend Democracy Press
  • Kostadinka Kuneva (Greece), MEP, Group United Left Sergey Kurginyan (Russia), President of the Essence of Time political movement
  • Anna Miranda (Galicia), MEP (2012-2013&2018-2019), Group Greens/EFA; Board member of the Bloque Nacionalista Galego political party
  • Ghenadi Mitriuc (Moldova), MP, Socialist party group
  • Oleksandr Moroz (Ukraine), Chairman, For Truth and Justice political party
  • Janusz Niedzwiecki (Poland), Board member of the Zmiana political party
  • Roman Pyskov (Russia), Institut for Socio-economic and political studies Foundation
  • Roberto Quaglia (Italy), science fiction writer, Alternativa political association
  • Dimitri Rempel (Germany), President of the Einheit political party
  • Piero San Giorgio (Switzerland), writer, member of Alternativa association
  • Bogdat Tirdea (Moldova), MP, Socialist party group
  • Vasyl Tsushko (Ukraine), Vice-chairman, For Truth and Justice political party
  • Hannes Wilhelm-Kell (Germany), Chairperson, Luzyska Alianca political party
  • Zakhari Zakhariev (Bulgaria), Member of a National Council of the Socialist Party; President of the Slavyani Foundation 
  • Tatjana Ždanoka (Latvia), MEP, Group Greens/EFA, Co-chairperson of the Latvian Russian Union political party

DiEM25 in the footsteps of Altiero Spinelli?

Democratising Europe is not about reinventing the wheel. A study of Altiero Spinelli’s efforts, especially the Congress of the European People, may increase our chances of success. Altiero Spinelli's grave, Ventotene.

Altiero Spinelli’s grave, Ventotene. Flickr/ Jon Worth. Some rights reserved.

Mr. Varoufakis: beyond your slogans, what is your practical plan to initiate a surge of democracy in Europe? This question is frequently asked in many different ways on (social) media. Though it’s a fair enough question, it is addressing the wrong person. Yanis Varoufakis, main initiator of Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25), says the organisation is horizontal. So it has no fixed leader – in theory anyway. Be very aware of the radical implication. Anyone who offers a great idea could be a leader in a certain phase of such a movement. If your suggestion is accepted by an overwhelming majority of the whole movement, you can effectively direct the movement. You don’t need to wait until the organisational structure and next steps are clearer. Now it’s you who may bring it forward. If anyone may run things in this movement, will even a dead leader do? Odd question. Let me explain. The long term vision is a federation. Varoufakis elaborated on this a little in an interview with euronews‘ Isabelle Kumar: ‘Where we can have a federal government on the basis of a one person one vote system.’ I would argue, whoever says European Federation, says Altiero Spinelli.

Altiero Spinelli

Spinelli (1907-1986) started his political life at age 17 as an Italian communist. As a member of an anti-fascist movement he fought Mussolini. In 1927, because of his involvement in the resistance he was sentenced to 16 years of imprisonment and internment. In 1937 he broke with the communists when he heard about Stalin’s purges. He absolutely opposed totalitarianism. After that rupture he studied federalist ideas. In 1941, together with Ernesto Rossi, he wrote the famous Ventotene Manifesto (on cigarette papers): Towards a free and united Europe. This federalist manifesto eventually laid the basis for European cooperation. The Italian constitutional theorist is considered one of the founding fathers of the European Union. Spinelli wrote in his autobiography:

My life can be described by six courses of action, each founded on a different hypothesis.   I. Between ’43 and ’45 my working hypothesis assumed an impetuous revival of democracy that would depart from the destruction of both the previous European order and the internal ones of almost all European nation states. II. Between ’47 and ’54 my working hypothesis was that the most important moderate ministers in Europe, encouraged by the missionary democratic spirit of US foreign policy and scared of the developments in Eastern Europe, would listen to us and would start building the federal union. III. Between ’54 and ’60(?) my working hypothesis was that it might be possible to mobilise the already widespread Europeanist feeling into a popular protest – the Congress of the European People – directed against the very legitimacy of the nation states. IV. Between ’60 and ’70 while I was almost completely retiring from political action I profoundly contemplated the meaning of the European Economic Community, the new aspects of military defence introduced by nuclear weapons and the possibility of relaunching the federalist action. V. Between ’70 and ’76 my working hypothesis was that the European Commission could take the role of political guide in restarting the construction of the political union. VI. Between 76 and ’86 my working hypothesis was that the European Parliament should take the constitutional role in the European construction.   Altiero Spinelli: Come ho tentato di diventare saggio (Società editrice il Mulino: Bologna 1999 p. 348)

At the end of his life, Spinelli felt disillusioned. Only small steps were taken towards his dream, which he chased mostly in vain.

Steps beyond history

This list of hypotheses shows that more roads could lead to Rome. Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the liberals in the European Parliament, is trying route 6. Obviously, DiEM25 follows the path of Spinelli’s third attempt. In order not to repeat old mistakes, adherents to the movement especially need to know the fate of the Congress of the European People. Up till now, three reasons seem to have caused Spinelli’s failure.

Firstly, in 1954, just 9 years after WW-II, hatred for the Germans was deeply felt by many Europeans. A European federal state was therefore destined to fail.

Secondly, life for western Europeans turned out rather well in the booming years after the war. So, it was felt that there was no need to challenge the leading political figures.

And thirdly, democratisation and federalism are primarily about a political structure, not the instant access to a more prosperous life that is on so many people’s minds. Hence they lack a certain mobilising force.

But times are changing. After seventy postwar years, in general, Germans are not seen as bogeymen, rather the consensus is that the Nazis were the most horrendous representatives of a fascist wave that ravaged the whole of Europe. Furthermore, the EU is going downhill fast now, even disintegrating – so Brexit is possible.

These two circumstances create quite a contrasting scenario with Spinelli’s third period of action and favor DiEM25. When it comes to the last reason, however, the lack of a motivating force remains a challenge. So socio-economic issues have to be connected urgently to the agenda of democratisation.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and similar treaties, are of course a major threat to democracy, as well as to food safety, any possibilities for economic activities in rural areas, and so forth. They should be rejected. Let more plans on other socio-economic issues be made.

By Sjaak Scheele
Πηγή:www.opendemocracy.net

Αναβάθμιση της σημασίας της «26ης Ιανουαρίου»

Η 26η Ιανουαρίου καθιερώθηκε με το Προεδρικό Διάταγμα 7 (ΠΔ 7.31/1/2012) από το 2012 σαν ημέρα δημόσιας εορτής τοπικής σημασίας για το δήμο Αίγινας.

Η ημέρα αυτή είναι η μέρα που μετά την απόφαση της Γ Εθνοσυνέλευσης της Τροιζήνας, ορκίστηκε το 1828 στον Μητροπολιτικό ναό της Αίγινας σαν πρώτος Κυβερνήτης της Ελλάδας, ο Ιωάννης Καποδίστριας.

Η απόφαση αυτή που βγήκε από τους αγωνιστές της επανάστασης παρά τις αντιδράσεις των Μεγάλων Δυνάμεων έδωσε στον Καποδίστρια και την κυβέρνηση του την δυνατότητα να ξεκινήσει το τεράστιο έργο της οργάνωσης και της αναγέννησης της Ελλάδος από την Αίγινα.

Αρκετοί, Αιγινήτες και μη, (1, 2, 3) θεωρούν πως η ημέρα αυτή δεν πρέπει να εορτάζεται μόνο τοπικά αλλά θα πρέπει να καθιερωθεί σαν «εθνική επέτειος» αφού είναι η πρώτη κυβέρνηση της Ελλάδος που δεν επεβλήθη από τις «ξένες δυνάμεις» αλλά ήταν αποτέλεσμα του 7ετούς απελευθερωτικού αγώνα και της απόφασης της Εθνοσυνέλευσης της Τροιζήνας του 1827.

Συμπτωματικά η 26η Ιανουαρίου τυγχάνει να είναι και εθνική γιορτή της Αυστραλίας. Η σημασία της γιορτής έχει μια αμφιλεγόμενη αιτιολογία αφού είναι η ημέρα που ξεκίνησε η «Ευρωπαϊκή αποίκηση» της Αυστραλίας η οποία εκλαμβάνεται από ορισμένους ιθαγενείς και υποστηρικτές τους, ως «ημέρα κατοχής». Αυτό φαίνεται ξεκάθαρα στο ακόλουθο σατιρικό βίντεο.

Η ίδια νεανική ομάδα έχει μια καυστική ματιά και για τις σύγχρονες εξελίξεις στην Ευρώπη:

Στο σατιρικό βίντεο για την εθνική γιορτή της Αυστραλίας συμπεριλαμβάνεται όμως και μια εποικοδομητική πρόταση [λεπτό 2.16]) δηλαδή να αναγνωριστεί ως εθνική γιορτή της Αυστραλίας η ημέρα του δημοψηφίσματος του 1967 (27 Μαϊου) που οδήγησε στην αναγνώριση των ηθαγενών πληθυσμών ως αυστραλών πολιτών.

Αυτή η αλλαγή θα έδινε τη δυνατότητα να μετονομαστεί και η εορτή της 26 Ιανουαρίου από «Australia Day» σε «Europe Day».

Το ότι ο πρώην Υπουργός Οικονομικών της Ελλάδας Γιάνης Βαρουφάκης θα ήταν ο πιο κατάλληλος να γίνει φορέας μιας τέτοιας ελληνικής πρότασης προς τους Αυστραλούς μπορεί να μοιάζει αυτονόητο. Μέχρι στιγμής όμως η ιδέα δεν φαίνεται να έχει αιχμαλωτίσει τη φαντασία του.

Πηγή: Aegina Light 

Upgrading 26th January

In 2012, through Greek Presidential Decree 7/31/1/2012, 26th January was proclaimed a Public Holiday of Local Significance (for the municipality of Aegina).

This is the day when, following the decision of the Third National Assembly at Troezen, Ioannis Capodistrias was sworn in at the cathedral of Aegina in 1828 as modern Greece’s first governor.

This decision, taken by the fighters of the Revolution in the face of opposition from the Great Powers, enabled Capodistrias and his government to embark on the mammoth task of organizing, from Aegina, the rebirth of Greece.

Quite a few people, not all of them Aeginetans, (1, 2 [particularly from minute 12]) think that this day should not only be celebrated locally but that it should be instituted as a “national day”, given that this was the first modern Greek government not imposed by “foreign powers” but emerging directly out of the seven-year-long struggle for independence and the decision of the National Assembly at Troezen in 1827.

Coincidentally, 26th January is Australia’s national day, but the day’s significance is controversial because it is the day that “European colonization” of Australia commenced with the establishment of a British prison at Port Jackson (today’s Sydney) in 1788. A number of aboriginal Australians and their allies call 26th January “Occupation Day”, as can be clearly seen in this satirical video.

The same young people have made caustic comment on contemporary developments in Europe:

But the Australia Day satire also contains a constructive proposal (at minute 2.16), namely for Australia’s national day to be transferred to 27th May, the anniversary of the 1967 referendum that led to the full recognition of the indigenous population as Australian citizens.

A change of his kind would make it possible for 26th January to be celebrated in future not as Australia Day, say, but as Europe Day.

Former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis might seem to be a natural emissary for conveying such a Greek proposal to Australians. But so far there is no sign of the idea having caught his imagination.

EPIFYLAKI: A visual exhibit at the Capodistrian Orphanage in Aegina

aegina_light

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

By Maria Triantopoulou

A large crowd gathered today outside the entrance to that historic edifice the Capodistrian Orphanage, or the Aegina Prison as this neglected monument is more generally known, to take part in the inauguration of the visual exhibit that was mounted under the aegis of the 7th “Fistiki Fest” Pistachio Festival to mark the 30th anniversary of the closing of the prison.

Based on an idea of the historian George Kalofonos, this year’s president of the “Fistiki Fest”, the visual exhibit bears the signature of three important artistic personalities who live and work for extended periods in Aegina: Costas Varotsos, Venia Dimitrakopoulou and Danae Stratou.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The function was introduced by George Kalofonos, who in his address emphasized the symbolic value of the visual exhibit, whose aim is to present a reminder of the fact that this historic building, which from a place of learning and culture as an orphanage was transformed into a site of imprisonment and confinement for both common criminals and political prisoners. For the last thirty years it has remained closed, caught in an interminable bureaucratic deadlock and petty political wrangling between the Antiquities Inspectorate and the local community, whose standing requirement is that the building function as a cultural centre. “Perhaps now the time has come for it to open up to the creative forces in our society and operate as a place of culture,” Mr. Kalofonos said in conclusion.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
George Kalofonos – Venia Dimitrakopoulou

Mrs. Venia Dimitrakopoulou spoke on behalf of the artistic contributors, analyzing the visual exhibit – a huge canvas had been erected directly opposite the prison building, like a mirror which, however illustrated the future picture of the restored Capodistrian historical monument as a multi-functional cultural centre. The exhibit, with its contrast between the building as it is today and the building as it could feasibly become in the near future – also drew attention to the need for completion of the work so that it can be handed over to the local community as both a place of remembrance and a cultural monument of atonement. Mrs. Dimitrakopoulou thanked those who helped to construct the exhibit, which despite its very large size was not expensive and was funded entirely by private donors.

The final speaker was the mayor Mr. Mourtzis, who praised the exhibit and congratulated Mr. Kalofonos and the distinguished artists. He too expressed the hope for speedy completion of the restoration but also of the arrangements that would make it possible for the monument to become a site of culture for the benefit of the island, its residents and its visitors.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Venia Dimitrakopoulou

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Mayor Mourztis

Aegina Light spoke with Mrs. Dimitrakopoulou and Mr. Kalofonos:

A.L.: Are you satisfied with the result of your visual exhibit?

V. Dimitrakopoulou: I am very pleased and moved that through installation of the exhibit opposite the prison premises, a rather desolate dark street, which we frequent every day to park or throw rubbish in the bins, tonight was brightly lit and filled with people and with life.

A.L.: Is this more or less how you envisage that the street will be in the future? .

V. Dimitrakopoulou: Exactly. On one side of the street we have the empty building, closed and dark, as it has been for the last thirty years, and on the other the building as we want to see it. Open, filled with people, a genuine place of culture and creativity.

A.L.: How would you characterize your collaboration with the two other artistic personalities who contributed to the exhibit.

V. Dimitrakopoulou:  For me this is one of the most significant points about the happening and I would like to place particular emphasis on it. Personally I considered it a great honour and it gave me great pleasure for us to be together simply as three artists, without any “what” or “where” and to work together on an equal footing and design a visual happening. It is in any case, I think, a sign of the times, when there is an urgent need for collaboration and joint initiatives. We are at the point where we are all in the same boat and try to do something all together.

A.L.:  If you had succeeded in gaining access to the building for today’s symbolic commemorative visual exhibit did you intend to exhibit some works?

V. Dimitrakopoulou:  Yes, of course we had planned what we were going to do if they had given us the building. We had something ready, and the minute we are given the opportunity to open the Capodistrian Orphanage, not only for ourselves, of course, but also for others, we will present it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Maria Triantapoulou – Venia Dimitrakopoulou – Lila Korkoli

A.L.:  We wish you every success and here’s hoping that today’s visual exhibit will bring us a step closer to what we all want: to see this historical monument transformed into a contemporary site of remembrance and of culture.

A.L.: Mr. Kalofonos, would you agree with me if I said that today’s visual exhibit also has the character of a symbolic demand? Is it first and foremost a statement?

G. Kalofonos: It could be said that art is an important lever for setting in motion certain processes. By making relevant to today the spectrum of themes that are touched on by the history of the building we are at the same time projecting the abundant potential that it offers for the future.

A.L.:  In a few brief words, how would you characterize this site-specific visual exhibit?

G. Kalofonos: :  There are two poles to it…. It symbolizes the past and the future, reality and desire, the existent and the imaginary and many other dichotomies of that kind…

A.L.: Is there anything else you would like to add?

G. Kalofonos:ς: I would like first of all to thank Costas Varotsos, Venia Dimitrakopoulou and Danae Stratou for responding so willingly to the planning and joint creation of the “Epifylaki” visual exhibit. I would also like to thank the Municipality of Aegina, the Municipal Public Benefit Corporation (KEDA) and all the sponsors of the exhibit, and specifically “Philippos Hellenic Goods” and “Nektarios and Stylianos Pallis, Construction Works”. Thanks also to Mrs. Panagiota Gennitsari for her help in the planning of the project.

 

ΕΠΙΦΥΛΑΚΗ – Μια εικαστική παρέμβαση στο Καποδιστριακό Ορφανοτροφείο Αίγινας

Της Μαρίας Τριαντοπούλου (ΠΗΓΗ)

Πλήθος κόσμου μαζεύτηκε σήμερα έξω από την είσοδο του ιστορικού κτιρίου του Καποδιστριακού Ορφανοτροφείου, των Φυλακών της Αίγινας όπως είναι ευρύτερα γνωστό το παραγνωρισμένο αυτό μνημείο, για να παρακολουθήσουν την εκδήλωση/εγκαίνια της εικαστικής παρέμβασης που στήθηκε μέσα στα πλαίσια της 7ης Γιορτής Φιστικιού για να σηματοδοτήσει την 30η επέτειο από το κλείσιμο των φυλακών.
Την εικαστική αυτή παρέμβαση, βασισμένη σε μια ιδέα του ιστορικού Γιώργου Καλόφωνου, φετινού προέδρου του Φεστιβάλ Φιστικιού, υπογράφουν 3 σημαντικοί καλλιτέχνες που ζούν και εργάζονται για μεγάλα διαστήματα στην Αίγινα, ο Κώστας Βαρώτσος, η Βένια Δημητρακοπούλου και η Δανάη Στράτου.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Την εκδήλωση προλόγισε ο κ. Γ. Καλόφωνος, υπογραμμίζοντας στον λόγο του, την συμβολική αξία του εικαστικού έργου/παρέμβασης που σκοπό έχει να υπομνηματίσει το γεγονός ότι το ιστορικό αυτό κτίριο, που από τόπος μάθησης και πολιτισμού ως ορφανοτροφείο, μετετράπη σε χώρο εγκλεισμού και φυλάκισης τόσο ποινικών όσο και πολιτικών κρατουμένων, παραμένει κλειστό τα τελευταία τριάντα χρόνια παγιδευμένο σε μιαν ατέρμονα γραφειοκρατική και μικροπολιτική δίνη ανάμεσα στην εφορία αρχαιοτήτων και την τοπική κοινωνία που έχει ως πάγιο αίτημα την λειτουργία του κτιρίου ως πολιτιστικό χώρο. «Ίσως τώρα να έφτασε η στιγμή να ανοίξει ξανά τις δημουργικές δυνάμεις της κοινωνίας μας και να λειτουργήσει και πάλι ως τόπος πολιτισμού» κατέληξε ο κ. Καλόφωνος.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Γιώργος Καλόφωνος – Βένια Δημητρακοπούλου

Εκπροσωπώντας τους καλλιτέχνες πήρε τον λόγο η κ. Βένια Δημητρακοπούλου αναλύοντας την εικαστική παρέμβαση – ένας καμβάς μεγάλης έκτασης έχει αναρτηθεί απέναντι ακριβώς από το κτίριο των Φυλακών σαν καθρέφτης που, όμως, πάνω του απεικονίζεται  η μελλοντική εικόνα του αποκαταστημένου Καποδιστριακού ιστορικού μνημείου ως πολυχώρος πολιτισμού. Η παρέμβασή αυτή σηματοδοτεί επιπλέον – με την αντιπαράθεση του κτιρίου όπως είναι σήμερα και του κτιρίου όπως είναι ευκτέον να γίνει στο εγγύς μέλλον – την ανάγκη ολοκλήρωσης του έργου ώστε να δοθεί στην τοπική κοινωνία ως χώρος μνήμης αλλά και εξιλεωτικού πολιτισμού. Η κ. Δημητρακοπούλου ευχαρίστησε όσους βοήθησαν να στηθεί το έργο που παρότι μεγάλης κλίμακας είναι χαμηλού κόστους και έχει χρηματοδοτηθεί εξ ολοκλήρου από ιδιώτες χορηγούς.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Βένια Δημητρακοπούλου

Τέλος τον λόγο πήρε ο Δήμαρχος κ. Μούρτζης ο οποίος εξήρε την εικαστική παρέμβαση και συνεχάρη τον κ. Καλόφωνο και τους διακεκριμένους καλλιτέχνες. Εξέφρασε κι εκείνος την ευχή σύντομα να ολοκληρωθεί το έργο αλλά και οι διαδικασίες εκείνες που θα επιτρέψουν το ιστορικό αυτό μνημείο να μετατραπεί σε χώρο πολιτισμού για το καλό του νησιού και των κατοίκων και επισκεπτών του.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Δημήτρης Μούρτζης

Το Aegina Light μίλησε με την κ. Δημητρακοπούλου και τον κ. Καλόφωνο.

Α.L.: Είστε ικανοποιημένη από το αποτέλεσμα της εικαστικής σας παρέμβασης;

Β. Δημητρακοπούλου: Είμαι πολύ χαρούμενη και συγκινημένη που με αυτή την εγκατάσταση απέναντι στο χώρο των Φυλακών, ένας δρόμος σκοτεινός και άδειος, που τον περνάμε καθημερινά για να παρκάρουμε ή να πετάξουμε σκουπίδια στους κάδους, απόψε φωτίστηκε και γέμισε κόσμο και ζωντάνια.

A.L.: Κάπως έτσι όπως φαντάζεστε να είναι μελλοντικά ο δρόμος αυτός...

Β. Δημητρακοπούλου: Ακριβώς. Αντιπαραβάλλουμε από την μια μεριά του δρόμου το κτίριο σκοτεινό, άδειο και κλειστό όπως είναι τα τελευταία τριάντα χρόνια κι από την άλλη το κτίριο όπως θα θέλαμε να το δούμε. Ανοιχτό και γεμάτο κόσμο, έναν αληθινό χώρο πολιτισμού και δημιουργίας.

A.L.: Πως θα χαρακτηρίζατε την συνεργασία σας με τους άλλους δύο καλλιτέχνες που συμμετέχουν σε αυτή την παρέμβαση;

Β. Δημητρακοπούλου:  Για μένα είναι απο τα πιο σημαντικά σημεία του συγκεκριμένου δρώμενου και θέλω να σταθώ σε αυτό ιδιαίτερα. Προσωπικά το θεώρησα μεγάλη τιμή και μου έδωσε αληθινή χαρά να βρεθούμε έτσι απλά τρεις καλλιτέχνες, χωρις «τι» και «που» και να συνεργαστούμε ισότιμα ώστε να σχεδιάσουμε ένα εικαστικό δρώμενο. Είναι άλλωστε, πιστεύω, και σημείο των καιρών που απαιτεί επιτακτικά συνεργασίες και συμπράξεις. Είμαστε στο σημείο που είμαστε όλοι το ίδιο και προσπαθούμε να κάνουμε κάτι όλοι μαζί.

A.L.:  Αν είχατε προφτάσει να σας δοθεί το κτίριο για την επετειακή και συμβολική σημερινή εικαστική παρέμβαση είχατε σκοπό να εκθέσετε κάποιο έργο;

Β. Δημητρακοπούλου:  Ναι φυσικά είχαμε σχεδιάσει τι θα κάναμε αν μας είχε δοθεί το κτίριο. Είναι δηλαδή κάτι που το έχουμε έτοιμο και μόλις μας δοθεί η ευκαρία και ανοίξει το Καποδιστριακό Ορφανοτροφείο, όχι μόνο για μας φυσικά αλλά και για άλλους, θα το παρουσιάσουμε τότε.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Μαρία Τριαντοπούλου – Βένια Δημητρακοπούλου – Λίλα Κορκολή

A.L.:  Σας ευχόμαστε κάθε επιτυχία και μακάρι η σημερινή εκδήλωση/ εικαστική παρέμβαση να μας φέρει ένα βήμα πιο κοντά σε αυτό που όλοι θέλουμε. Να δουμε δηλαδή αυτό το ιστορικό μνημείο να μετατρέπεται σε έναν σύγχρονο χώρο μνήμης και πολιτισμού.

A.L.: Κύριε Καλόφωνε θα συμφωνούσατε μαζί μου αν έλεγα ότι η σημερινή εικαστική παρέμβαση έχει και έναν χαρακτήρα συμβολικής διεκδίκησης; Είναι δηλαδή πάνω από όλα μια δήλωση (statement);

Γ. Καλόφωνος: Θα μπορούσε κανείς να πει ότι η τέχνη είναι ένας σημαντικός μοχλός για να κινητοποιηθούν κάποιες διαδικασίες. Επικαιροποιώντας το πλέγμα των θεμάτων που θίγει η ιστορία του κτιρίου προβάλλει συγχρόνως τις πλούσιες δυνατότητες που προσφέρει για το μέλλον.

A.L.:  Με λίγα λόγια πως θα χαρακτηρίζατε εσείς την σημερινή τοποειδική (site specific) εικαστική παρέμβαση;

Γ. Καλόφωνος:  Είναι ένα δίπολο… Συμβολίζει το παρελθόν και το μέλλον, την πραγματικότητα και την επιθυμία, το υπαρκτό και το φαντασιακό και πολλά άλλα τέτοια δίπολα…

A.L.: Θα θέλατε να προσθέσετε κάτι;

Γ. Καλόφωνος: Θα ήθελα πρώτα από όλα να ευχαριστήσω τον Κώστα Βαρώτσο, την Βένια Δημητρακοπούλου και την Δανάη Στράτου που ανταποκρίθηκαν με τέτοια προθυμία στον σχεδιασμό και την δημιουργία από κοινού της εικαστικής παρέμβασης «επιφυλακή». Θα ήθελα επίσης να ευχαριστήσω τον Δήμο Αίγινας, την ΚΕΔΑ αλλά και τους χορηγούς του έργου και συγκεκριμένα τις εταιρείες  «Philippos Hellenic Goods» και «Νεκτάριος και Στυλιανός Πάλλης, Οικοδομικές εργασίες». Ευχαριστώ επίσης την κ. Παναγιώτα Γεννίτσαρη για την βοήθεια που προσέφερε στον σχεδιασμό του έργου.

Open letter to Yanis Varoufakis: Plan B is democracy

varoufakis

Dear Yanis Varoufakis,

For five months, you have personified the hopes of many European citizens. You have brought a wind of intellectual rigor and honesty in the circle of gray men of the Eurogroup. You tried tenaciously to respect the mandate of Greek voters: breaking up with the austerity policies while remaining within the euro area. But late June, the zombies of the Eurogroup and the Council, reinforced by the isolation of Greece and weak solidarity movements in Europe, sent you an ultimatum: submit or leave the euro.

The victory of the “no” in the July 5th referendum had reinforced your legitimacy to refuse the diktat of creditors. On July 13th you revealed |1| the proposal you made to Alexis Tsipras on the night of the referendum, “a triptych of actions” to avoid submission: “issue IOUs” (acknowledgments of debt in euros, that is to say a complementary currency based on tax revenues), “apply a haircut on Greek bonds” held by the ECB since 2012 in order to reduce the debt, and “take control of the Bank of Greece from the hands of the ECB.” But Alexis Tsipras refused this plan and accepted your resignation.

On July 20th, at the Greek Parliament, you voted against the ‘Agreement’ of July 13th indicating the decisive point: “when society begins to feel in his gut the pain of the disastrous results of the new austerity plan, when young and older people will take the streets or remain desperate at home, faced with these effects, who will from now on represent those people we were the voice in the political arena?”.

The unity of Syriza, the tool patiently wrought by the Greek left, is precious. It seems that this is why you do not have publicly led the debate on your alternative proposals: “ “Was there an alternative?” the Prime Minister asked me last Wednesday. I believe that, yes, there was. But I’ll say nothing more. This is not the moment to discuss again. The important thing is that on the evening of the referendum, the Prime Minister said that there was no alternative. ”

Yet this choice made by Alexis Tsipras to capitulate, and worse, to implement himself the demands of the creditors, is tragic. Like you, we can only be frightened by the political consequences of July 13th: the radical left, brought to power and confirmed by referendum in its legitimacy to break with austerity, appeared not only as unable to refuse an austerity plan that destroys democracy, but also willing to manage it by herself. Even assuming that no other option is available in the short term, returning to the opposition, as you wished, would have better preserved the future.

But if a plan B was possible, as you think, then the mistake is even more tragic. This crucial debate is rising today in the European left. The Left Platform of Syriza has made a proposal on May 24th for the suspension of debt payments and nationalization of banks. Éric Toussaint suggested on July 13th a more comprehensive set of measures |2|, acknowledging the fact, now for all to see, that breaking with austerity implies a unilateral policy of necessity and urgency that will obviously be equated with disobedience by EU leaders of the day, although it does not necessarily violate existent treaties |3|.

Contrary to what assert such respectable figures as Etienne Balibar, Sandro Mezzadra and Frieder Otto Wolf |4|, such alternative proposals cannot be described as”authoritarian and unworkable concepts of ’control’ of monetary policy and capital flows “. Similarly, when the great sociologist Boaventura de Sousa Santos states that”if a country showed disobedient, it would be expelled and chaos would become inevitable“ |5|, one can oppose that, given the content of the July 13th “agreement”, chaos is assured if the country complies.

Pablo Iglesias, leader of Podemos, does not either see any alternative to the July 13th “agreement”, “the only thing we can do,” “the truth of power” |6|. But if there is no alternative, if no European country can break up with austerity without sinking into chaos – and there can be little doubt that Spain, Italy or France would face as such considerable obstacles as Greece |7| – the neoliberal trap is flawless. If no single country can take a step aside and engage in another route to show the way, the only remaining possibility is to maintain verbally the perspective of “another Europe” while waiting for a pan-European political crisis and / or a systemic collapse of the eurozone that would put all countries in the same boat.

For years, with others, we opposed to those who claim that exiting the eurozone is a prerequisite to any alternative policy. Leaving the euro has important economic and political costs for the country concerned. Also, to point “Germany” as the main culprit, and to advocate the return to the national scope of powers as the prerequisite for any solution, is a serious mistake that neglects the overwhelming responsibility of all national elites in the present situation while feeding the nationalist ethos.

However we believe just as you that there are credible alternative economic and monetary policies that could be undertaken unilaterally. Bold policies, for sure, but perfectly reasonable and certainly preferable to the certainty of the economic and political disaster the “agreement” of July 13th will lead. We believe just as you that Greece, in the present situation of necessity and urgency, could – and still can – unilaterally declare a moratorium on its debt, create a complementary currency, requisition the Central Bank and nationalize banks, establish an effective taxation of wealthier classes (remember that Greek employees and pensioners, subject to VAT on their consumption and the withholding of their income tax, cannot defraud).

These measures certainly involve risks, especially if they are improvised in haste: bank run, flight from the complementary currency, increased capital flight … But the stronger popular support will be, the weaker the risks. The success of the June referendum and the unpopularity of the July 13th “agreement” show that a large social base potentially exists in Greece to support a policy based on dignity and justice, values ​ ​that were trampled by creditors. This policy could give hope to the European peoples and strengthen their solidarity so far insufficient.

Such unilateral measures will probably lead creditors to want to expel Greece from the eurozone, although this would greatly reduce their chances of being finally repaid. Furthermore they lack a legal basis for doing so, and such a sanction would aggravate EU internal geopolitical contradictions. To castigate a country that is bravely trying to get out of the abyss and solve its humanitarian crisis could have significant political costs for the gray men. The debate aroused could strengthen the construction of the European public space without which the necessary refoundation will remain wishful thinking. Because one thing is to turn its back on Europe as a culprit for all the problems; another is to demonstrate by action that one only can respect the will of voters and preserve the interests of the lower classes by breaking with the dictates of the gray men who have taken possession of the European Union.

Thanks to your clarity and tenacity during these months of negotiations, you and Alexis Tsipras were very close to provide this successful demonstration. Dear Yanis Varoufakis, you would be doing a great service to Greece and Europe by undertaking, in an open and public manner, the battle for Plan B, the struggle for democracy in Greece and the European Union.

Footnotes

|1| www.newstatesman.com/world-affairs/2015/07/exclusive-yanis-varoufakis-opens-about-his-five-month-battle-save-greece, published July 13

|2| Eric Toussaint, “Greece: Alternatives to the Capitulation”, cadtm.org/http://cadtm.org/Greece-Alternatives-to-the

|3| Attac and Fondation Copernic, Que faire de l’Europe. Désobéir pour reconstruire, Les liens qui libèrent, 2014

|4| Etienne Balibar, Sandro Mezzadra Frieder Otto Wolf: “Le Diktat de Bruxelles et le dilemme de Syriza », http://blogs.mediapart.fr/blog/ebalibar/190715/etienne-balibar-sandro-mezzadra-frieder-otto-wolf-le-diktat-de-bruxelles-et-le-dilemme-de-syriza

|5| Boaventura de Sousa Santos,”Fatal tests”, 23.7.2015

|6| www.europapress.es/nacional/noticia-pablo-iglesias-resignado-ocurrido-grecia-verdad-poder-20150716153300.html

|7| Unlike Greece, Spain finances its debt and huge deficit on the financial markets, but would face soaring interest rates in the event of testing an alternative policy.

Thomas Coutrot

SOURCE


Article and discussion from Open Democracy

Wayne Hall :  As soon as Yanis Varoufakis, in an interview with Spiegel, aired his idea of a grassroots European Citizens’ Movement he was contacted by the Association of Active Citizens on the island of Aegina, where he lives when he is not in Athens or travelling, and asked to explain his proposal at a public meeting in Aegina. He verbally accepted the verbal invitation, which was later formalized in writing, and his verbal acceptance was announced by a representative of our association at a meeting of the Aegina Council on 26th August. Yanis Varoufakis later said on the telephone that he did not like it that this announcement had been made. It so happens that the mayor of Aegina is actively supportive of the idea of a movement of European Citizens and is on record as saying so publicly. http://main.cse-initiative.eu/?p=413 Mr. Varoufakis says that “it is not worth trying again in Greece” so it seems that this grass roots movement is not going to start from the grass roots of what Yanis Varoufakis has been proud to advertise as “his territory”. As far as I know the invitation that was issued last summer is still open to be taken up and as well as explaining his concept of the European Citizens’ Movement Mr. Varoufakis will be free to explain his conception of the grass roots and in what way the movement he wants to start does not have designs of becoming a party, which would preclude it from being supported by the Aegina Association of Active Citizens.

Wickliffe

Mr Varoufakis keeps coming up against obstructions and threats from the power elites, which are blocking his attempts to challenge them through democratic means. Most of them are not as bright as he is, certainly not as honest, but have a massive and hidden power networks, and are willing to be brutal. He is probably aware that all avenues to further democracy are functionally blocked in Greece. Theory and practice are the same in theory (academia), but not in practice (Mafia).

Wayne Hall

1. I don’t have the sense that avenues to further democracy are more blocked in Greece than they are anywhere else, and I also do not know whether YV received threats that dissuaded him from following through on the undertaking he had given, verbally, to address a local meeting on his home territory, which is fertile ground for the ideas he has put forward…

2. Perhaps YV will end up trying to do something, in reverse, to what Cohn Bendit toyed with: the idea of standing as a candidate for the European Elections in Greece. Mr. Varoufakis might conclude that he has more of a constituency in Germany. Come to think of it, it might be the best thing for him to do, joining Die Linke, since he already cites Lafontaine as an ally. Cohn-Bendit, Spinelli and Capodistrias // Europe Starts From Here // Cohn-Bendit on Geoengineering Enouranois II

3. http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2016…

Yanis Varoufakis said: “First, we need to establish the movement. This will happen on 9th February, in Berlin. Its purpose is to mobilise Europeans along a simple, common agenda: To democratise the EU’s institutions.

Once this ‘conversation’ begins in the context of an activist movement on what needs to be done (to democratise the EU), a consensus will emerge that must then find its expression in each of the member-states of the EU.

Exactly what electoral and organisational form this expression will take in each country is something that will be decided collectively, organically. In some countries it may take the form of a brand new party. In others our movement may forge an alliance with existing parties. This remains to be debated and decided.”

Comment: YV’s ideas and proposals at the institutional level are very, very, very confused. This will be Indignados Round Two.