How Fighting Precarity Can Achieve Radical Change Without Crisis or Utopia
The wake of the financial crisis has inspired hopes for dramatic change and stirred visions of capitalism’s terminal collapse. Yet capitalism is not on its deathbed, utopia is not in our future, and revolution is not in the cards. In Capitalism on Edge, Albena Azmanova demonstrates that radical progressive change is still attainable, but it must come from an unexpected direction.
Azmanova’s new critique of capitalism focuses on the competitive pursuit of profit rather than on forms of ownership and patterns of wealth distribution. She contends that neoliberal capitalism has mutated into a new form—precarity capitalism—marked by the emergence of a precarious multitude. Widespread economic insecurity ails the 99 percent across differences in income, education, and professional occupation; it is the underlying cause of such diverse hardships as work-related stress and chronic unemployment. In response, Azmanova calls for forging a broad alliance of strange bedfellows whose discontent would challenge not only capitalism’s unfair outcomes but also the drive for profit at its core. To achieve this synthesis, progressive forces need to go beyond the old ideological certitudes of, on the left, fighting inequality and, on the right, increasing competition. Azmanova details reforms that would enable a dramatic transformation of the current system without a revolutionary break. An iconoclastic critique of left orthodoxy, Capitalism on Edge confronts the intellectual and political impasses of our time to discern a new path of emancipation.
Crisis management = Short term reaction (Yes) but we have to manage(survive) the crisis in the short term to be able to analyze it and find itsfundamental causes later on (in the long term).Crisis prevention is preferable but much more difficult. Decision-makersmay fail to understand the opponents’ dilemma. This could, undercircumstances, lead to a miscalculation > conflict
A typical example of bullying and intimidation. The showcase containing copies of the covers of my books smashed. The university has not officially and publicly condemned this act despite my official request
If an introductory statement has any value whatsoever then I will have to say that pedagogical imperialism is an astonishing, all-inclusive, descriptive and at the same time prescriptive term.
It describes an astonishing, ultra-conservative concept of punishment as conceptualized by the most conservative Protestant circles in Germany. In terms of European humanism and integration history it depicts the darkest side of Christianity, one that considers leniency as a weakness. The problem is that this way of thinking is on a head-on-collision with European values, democracy and the normative system of the EU.
Historically part of the political class in Germany needed a demon to exorcise. Demons bring out the worst of German collective memory and what I call collective excellence. In the past it was the Jews who incorporated all the negative features the German political elite wished to exorcise. Today it is the Greeks, “those idle, canny, good-for-nothing” people who dare question the managerial arrogance of a certain milieu in Germany. To those people Greeks don’t fit into the German “model of civilization”. They are the barbarians as described by Martin Wight, people of lesser human value who had to lose their freedom, give up their administration system and sell off their land to the “civilized” by excellence, by default.
Racist verbal attacks against Greeks constitute today a cultural approach of politics. It is a pseudo-political approach built on cultural elements and an exclusive not inclusive pattern of integration. Many Germans behave just like ancient Greek Gods laughing at humans and their ordeals. The good thing about ancient Greeks was that they only had to deal with one Zeus, although modern Hellenes have to deal with a few millions of them. Greeks have found themselves at the epicenter of a cultural aphorism.
Only recently German President asked Germans not to behave like schoolmistresses to the rest of Europeans. That would be an easy case of intra-partner misbehavior. Unfortunately a substantial part of the German political system is behaving in a rather much more complicated way. They act like political exorcists performing on a human taken over by a demon. Yet, the issue here is not metaphysics. Our approach should go beyond the obvious. It is rather the multilevel relations between imperialism and colonialism. Why colonialism? Simply because Greece is treated as a German colony or it is forced into colonization.
An imperial power, Germany, uses imperial means to impose a new order in a country where unemployed people outnumber by far those disposing of a job. Labor rules and rights are restructured so that they fit into the colony classification. The means used serve a purpose common to colonial powers: to humiliate a people and economically invade a country. To enact a pedagogical project, another kind of colonization. They aim at teaching the proper way”, the “proper behavior” in a harsh way deemed to “sinners”.
These attitudes are not new but have historical precedents formulated of course under different conditions. In James Hevia’s book, English Lessons: The Pedagogy of Imperialism in Nineteenth-Century China the author refers to “the pedagogy of imperialism” and “the violence of language” used for punitive and constructive purposes. When decoding the practical and cognitive elements of the terms one can not but recall the way some Germans look into the Greek fiscal drama. The process of covert colonization of Greece is built upon what Hevia termed as the “civilizational mission” of imperialism and the forms of violence used. Violence here should not be taken at its strict physical sense but takes an administrative, operational, structural, verbal and symbolic form. It leads to the violent reconfiguration of the social strata in Greece, resulting in a post-modern social and economic order dictated by outsiders.
A part of the German political elite speaks from a position of cultural and moral superiority, a cultural narcissism not deemed to a nation that has committed the biggest crime in humanity. This attitude constitutes a direct threat to the EU and its sustainability as a Union of states of equal status.