domenica 6 novembre 2011

Democracy and global capitalism. Why Occupy WallStreet

< I want to respond to an article appeared on "London Review of Books"(here the link) signed by Slavoj Zizek (*) in which it is claimed, provocatively in my opinion, that democracy in this crisis seems to be the real enemy. We all know how this moment is historical, not only for Italy but also for the European Union and the whole world.

We understood today we are in fact dominated by global finance capitalism which created also "global" problems to the whole planet and to many who had no voice (as Africans) were added problems to Americans and Europeans, who have more voice. Hence arose the protests around the world, in different forms, from the Arab revolutions to "Occupy Wall Street".

"We are 99%" is the shout of the Zuccotti Park occupants. A protest as "Occupy Wall Street" had never happened before in US the coutry where modern capitalism was has been created. Protesters at the bottom has more questions and indignation than answers to offer.

Slavoj Zizek also tells us that national democracies today are slow and ineffective, inadequate to address the problems that today's global financial crisis arises because:

1) Every democracy has a smaller legislative sovereignty than any problems that arise in global markets. The market has a dynamic and supranational rules that make it non-adjustable from democracies that have not a slim supra-national governance slim.

As seen in every International economic Summit done,as the G20, everything always ends in a stalemate. For example, the implementation of a common law as the Tobin Tax on financial transactions (on the effectiveness of which I will not go into) are unable to implement and the time of burocracy is always longer than those that the evolution of market crisis requires.

From this we easly understand that while there is already a mature global capitalism there is no global laws nor a democratic organization responsible for its implementation.

2) The national democracies were born as issued by the birth of the capitalist model of the bourgeois class' 800 and derive livelihood from it,and this submissive position (lobbying) forbids the system of governance: to really fight the problems that global capitalism today places you should put a discussion on democracies themselves.

I'm not against capitalism itself. Capitalism in itself is neither good nor bad, but no one ever treated it for what it really is, a means and not an end of the human social system, and this is the fundamental difference.

Now Slavoj Zizek says if is democracy the real enemy? I firmly say no, it still remains "the best of the worst kind of government possible," and some rights (as free elections, free press, independent judiciary, respect for human rights) are not insignificant and has been guaranteed better than past or contemporary totalitarisms.

Easy to say, hard to do, but I think the only solution that remains is not to destroy the good of Democracy, but change it back to its role not just for a nation but for the whole world.

To overcome the crisis is necessary an evolution of democracy and the degree of responsibility of each of us.

This is not "export democracy" and bring all to one model. "Global Democracy" means instead that every nation give up a portion of its sovereignty in order to place it in the hands of a world federal democratic system to respond easly to the global problems that crisis poses to all of us.

I would say to "Occupy WallStreet" movement, when it asks the right to forgive of debts by 99% of the people against the salvation of 1%, it must not forgive that the danger of not be able to pay the debt is not in the failure of some banks, but in the risk that doing so will entice to be all even more irresponsibile, thinking that then everyone (banks , countries , people) could start to make debts again and again because they will be saved in the end , without asking anything in return.. Every abuse could be always condoned.

Without a new accountability it would be an irresponsible encouragement to do new acts that created the crisis itself: the irresponsible spenders would be rewarded and those who responsible and careful took care of the territory,environment, energies and or paid taxes would be screwed.

Who is better to run things would be declassified and who has squandered would be rewarded with forgiveness of debts.

Is possible to forgive debts today only in exchange of laws and programs of global responsibility and punishment for tomorrow, whom each Country will be required to respond.

Some things like water, the planet, the environment, the rights and dignity of humans,animals and nature are the property of everyone life and it needs to have a common legislative and supervisory power systems.

You can save 99% if 99% in exchange decides to change course to a supranational and democratic system, (dear Zizek!),for ensuring the goods that are supranational.

Then the excess of debt, but also the conditions of workers in China or Africa, unemployment and workers conditions, the bail out of the banks and of the people , the environmental destruction caused by business, management of industrial production methods, require shared global choices.

China can not pollute as England in IX century, because the economic information and the implications are global.
I do not say anything so utopian:

after the Second World War, the UN was created precisely to try to make a world government in which at the highest level the differences among people will be subjected to a realistic and achievable common good in which we all recognize it, men equal and part of the same planet with no winners and losers, rulers and subjects, etc. but everyone in equal respect for its uniqueness. The UN unfortunatly lacks a real executive power.

For example the problem of migration is common, the problem of african wars are one of my problem before than an immigrant come in my country (where he has to be welcome, but do not hide orselves that his integration is sometimens problematic), or the honest Germans want to save the Greek brothers, whose government has rigged the accounts, only if they acquire a new degree of common legislative responsibility and sanctioning because they will understand that made up the accounts has been a problem for their German brothers who have paid taxes instead. Ditto for Italy. Each State must know that a Global Democracy can not forgive debts without an high price to pay in terms of empowerment of responsability of the people, banks and the financial system. This is the unique way to adjust the finance system in wich somenone could not only gain , but gain onlyin respect of the territory and dignity of all.

Utopia guides reality in the creation of systems of governance. Listening to "Image" by J. Lennon or watching "The Green Planet" movie will help us to make to find a new model real and correctable under construction for the development of the world mafter crisis.

The UN was an utopia: it took a war and the Holocaust to became reality. It's up to us to decide how much suffering: it is certain that sufference is not necessary to do this change, it could be done without pain.

(*) Slavoj Zizek: Slovenian philosopher and scholar of psychoanalysis. His latest book is "From tragedy to farce. Ideology and the overcoming of the crisis of capitalism "-Ponte alle Grazie - 2010

CommNet sent to the ' Internationale magazine , the London Review of Books , Occupy WallStreet and Adbusters on 06/11/2011

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