01 ALTERNATIVE ECONOMICS, ALTERNATIVE SOCIETIES
From: Oliver Ressler, oliver.ressöer at chello.at
ALTERNATIVE ECONOMICS, ALTERNATIVE SOCIETIES
A project by Oliver Ressler
Kunstraum der Universitaet Lueneburg
Scharnhorststr.1, 21335 Lueneburg, Germany
opening: Thursday, 08.01.04, 8 pm
http://www.ressler.atAfter the loss of a countermodel for capitalism
- which socialism, in
its real, existing form had presented until its collapse - alternative
concepts for economic and social development are facing difficulties
the beginning of the twenty-first century. In the industrial nations,
"alternatives" are only broadly discussed when they do not
existing power relations of the capitalist system and representative
democracies. Other socio-economic approaches are, on the other hand,
labeled utopian, devalued, and excluded from serious discussion if
considered at all.
In the framework of the theme-specific installation, "Alternative
Economics, Alternative Societies," the focus is on diverse concepts,
models, and utopias for alternative economies and societies which
share a rejection by the capitalist system of rule. For each concept,
interview was carried out from which an English video was produced.
the exhibition, these single-channel 20 to 37 minute videos are each
shown on a separate monitor thus forming the central element of the
The project presents alternative social and economic models such as
"Inclusive Democracy" from Takis Fotopoulos (GB/GR), "Participatory
Economy" from Michael Albert (U.S.A.), and "Free Cooperation"
Christoph Spehr (G). Nancy Folbre (U.S.A.) speaks about her concept
"Caring Labor," and Marge Piercy (U.S.A.) discusses the
feminist-anarchist utopias of her social fantasies. As interesting
historical models, the workers' self-management in Yugoslavia in the
sixties and seventies are thematized in the exhibition by Todor Kuljic
(SCG) and the workers' collectives during the Spanish Civil War
(1936-38) by Salomé Moltó (E).
Chosen for each video is one quotation significant for the alternative
model that it presents. The quote is placed directly on the floor
exhibition room as a several meter long text piece. This floor
lettering, made from adhesive film, leads exhibition visitors directly
to the corresponding videos, yet the quotes also overlap one another
subdivide the room into different sections.
The exhibition project will be continually expanded in the coming
through further economic and social concepts. These form a
non-hierarchically arranged pool, which offers stimulus and suggestions
for contemplation of social alternatives and possibilities for action.
The installation "Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies"
realized within the following exhibitions:
Galerija Skuc, Ljubljana (SI), 30.10. - 23.11.03 ("Alternative
Espace Forde, Genève (CH), 06. - 19.12.03 ("There is no
Kunstraum der Universität Lüneburg (G), 08. - 16.01.04 ("Alternative
Transmediale.04, Berlin (G), 31.01. - 15.02.04 ("fly utopia!")
O.K - Center for Contemporary Art, Linz (A), 11.03. - 02.05.04 ("Open
Wyspa Progress Foundation, Gdansk (PL), 01.05.04 - 30.07.04 ("Health
Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna (A), 16.06. - 24.07.04 ("permanent
Sorlandets Kunstmuseum, Kristiansand (N), 06.07. - 15.08.04 ("Detox
Tour")"Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies"
is a project realized in
the framework of republicart (www.republicart.net), produced by Galerija
Skuc, Ljubljana and the Kunstraum der Universität Lüneburg.
is supported by the EU-Program Culture 2000 and the BKA section for
D e u t s c h :ALTERNATIVE ECONOMICS, ALTERNATIVE SOCIETIES
ein Projekt von Oliver Ressler
Kunstraum der Universität Lüneburg
Scharnhorststr.1, D-21335 Lüneburg
Eröffnung: Donnerstag, 08.01.04, 20 Uhr
http://www.ressler.atNach dem Verlust eines Gegenmodells zum Kapitalismus
- wie der real
existierende Sozialismus bis zu dessen Zusammenbruch eines bildete
haben es zu Beginn des 21. Jahrhunderts alternative Konzepte einer
ökonomischen und gesellschaftlichen Entwicklung schwer. "Alternativen"
werden in den Industriestaaten nämlich nur dann breiter diskutiert,
sie die bestehenden Machtverhältnisse im kapitalistischen System
den repräsentativen Demokratien nicht in Frage stellen. Andere
sozio-ökonomische Ansätze werden hingegen als utopisch
abgewertet und von einer ernsthaften Auseinandersetzung ausgeschlossen,
so sie überhaupt wahrgenommen werden.
Im Rahmen der themenspezifischen Installation "Alternative
Alternative Societies" werden unterschiedliche Konzepte, Modelle
Utopien für alternative Ökonomien und Gesellschaften fokussiert,
Gemeinsamkeit die Zurückweisung des kapitalistischen Herrschaftssystems
ist. Zu jedem Konzept wurde ein Interview geführt, aus dem
im Rahmen des
Projekts jeweils ein Video in englischer Sprache produziert wurde.
20 bis 37 Minuten langen Einkanalvideos werden in der Ausstellung
getrennten Monitoren gezeigt und bilden die zentralen Elemente der
Im Rahmen des Projekts werden alternative Gesellschafts- und
Ökonomiemodelle wie "Inclusive Democracy" von Takis
"Participatory Economy" von Michael Albert (USA) und "Freie
Kooperationen" von Christoph Spehr (D) vorgestellt. Nancy Folbre
spricht über ihr Konzept "Caring Labor", Marge Piercy
(USA) über die
feministisch-anarchistischen Utopien ihrer Social Fantasies. Als
interessante historische Modelle werden von Todor Kuljic (SCG) die
Arbeiterselbstverwaltung im Jugoslawien der 60er und 70er Jahre
Salomé Moltó (E) die Arbeiterkollektive während
Revolution (1936-38) in der Ausstellung thematisiert.
Aus jedem Video wird ein für das jeweilige alternative Modell
signifikantes Zitat ausgewählt und als mehrere Meter lange
direkt auf dem Boden des Ausstellungsraumes angebracht. Diese mit
Klebefolien ausgeführten Bodenbeschriftungen führen die
AusstellungsbesucherInnen direkt zu den entsprechenden Videos,
überschneiden einander aber auch und unterteilen den Raum in
Das Ausstellungsprojekt soll in den kommenden Jahren kontinuierlich
weitere ökonomische und gesellschaftliche Konzepte erweitert
Diese bilden einen unhierarchisch gegliederten Pool, der Anregungen
Vorschläge zum Nachdenken über gesellschaftliche Alternativen
Die Installation "Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies"
den folgenden Ausstellungen realisiert:
Galerija Skuc, Ljubljana (SI), 30.10. - 23.11.2003 ("Alternative
Espace Forde, Genève (CH), 06. - 19.12.2003 ("There
is no Alternative")
Kunstraum der Universität Lüneburg (D), 08. - 16.01.2004
Transmediale.04, Berlin (D), 31.01. - 15.02.04 ("fly utopia!")
O.K - Center for Contemporary Art, Linz (A), 11.03. - 02.05.2004
Wyspa Progress Foundation, Gdansk (PL), 01.05.04 - 30.07.04 ("Health
Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna (A), 16.06. - 24.07.04 ("permanent
Sorlandets Kunstmuseum, Kristiansand (N), 06.07. - 15.08.04 ("Detox
Tour")"Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies"
ist ein Projekt, das im
Rahmen von republicart realisiert (www.republicart.net) und von
Galerija Skuc, Ljubljana und dem Kunstraum der Universität
produziert wird. Das Projekt wird unterstützt vom EU-Programm
2000 und der BKA-Kunstsektion.
02 Depot-Programm von 8.bis 16. Jänner
From: depot-news <depot-news at depot.or.at>
Donnerstag, 8. Jänner, 21.15
Film und Theorie: Das Blaue vom Himmel
In der Glut des Südens
Der Redensart entsprechend - nach der "das Blaue vom Himmel
bedeutet - inszeniert das Liebespaar Bill (Richard Gere) und Abby
eine kleine Unschuldskomödie, welche die harte Feldarbeit "in
der Glut des
Südens" (so der deutsche Verleihtitel) zugunsten einer
"Days of Heaven" überwinden soll. Dennoch geht es
weniger um die moralischen
Aspekte der Lüge als um intensive Ausdrucksveränderungen,
die sich der
nur als Vehikel bedienen. Im Zentrum des Films steht die Farbe des
Blauen Stunde: als Zeichen der unüberwindbaren Grenze zwischen
Vrääth Öhner, Film-, Medien- und Kulturwissenschafter
In der Glut des Südens (Days of Heaven, USA 1978, R: Terence
Malick) wird um
00 im AudiMax der TU gezeigt.
Freitag, 9. Jänner, 19.00
Präsentation einer Kulturinitiative
Die IG Kultur Österreich vergibt einen Förderpreis für
politischer Kulturarbeit. Dazu präsentiert sie einige exemplarische
FIFTITU% ist eine oberösterreichische Vernetzungsstelle für
Frauen in Kunst
Kultur und eine feministisch orientierte Pressure-Group. Der Name
darauf hin, dass 52% der Weltbevölkerung Frauen sind und dementsprechend
repräsentiert sein sollten. Über Projekte wird die Vernetzung
von Frauen in
Kunst und Kultur vorangetrieben, denn "Frauen, die nicht fordern,
Wort genommen, sie bekommen nichts." (Simone de Beauvoir)
Gabriele Heidecker, Obfrau FIFTITU%, Architektin, Linz
Andrea Mayer-Edoloeyi, FIFTITU%, KUPF Vorstand, Linz
Montag, 12. Jänner, 19.00
Die TVideopolitik von Godard
Anfang der 70er-Jahre gründete Jean-Luc Godard zusammen mit
die Produktionsfirma Sonimage. Sonimage war ein Abschied von 1968,
Abschied vom Film (wenn auch nur vorübergehend). Godard wollte
sich von den
Mechanismen der teuren Filmproduktion und den damit verbundenen
und wandte sich einem anderem Medium zu: Video ermöglichte
neue Formen von
Wahrnehmung, die mehr mit Zurückweisung (Rejektion) als mit
Bildes zu tun hatte.
Ausschnitte aus France Tour /Detour, Six fois deux u.a.
Florian Zeyfang, Herausgeber, Künstler, Berlin
Elisabeth Büttner, Autorin, Filmwissenschafterin, Wien
Gareth James, Florian Zeyfang (Hg.): I Said I love. That is the
Berlin: b_books 2003
Dienstag, 13. Jänner, 19.00
ATTAC_liest: Marx & Co
Mit dem Zusammenbruch des Realsozialismus galt Marx als erledigt.
Kritik von Arbeit, Wert und Geld wird erst jetzt so richtig aktuell.
Lesekreis beschäftigt sich in verdaulichen Happen mit Marx
und Theorien, die
Donnerstag, 15. Jänner, 19.00
Ballesterer goes Africa
Jede Woche zeigt der ORF mehr als fünf Stunden Fußball
aus der europäischen
Champions League, deren Klubs kaum noch ohne afrikanische Spitzenspieler
auskommen. Wenn sich diese Stars jedoch zu Afrikas bedeutendster
Fußballgroßveranstaltung zusammenfinden, ist üblicherweise
Anlässlich des Ende Jänner beginnenden African Nations
einziges Fußballmagazin Ballesterer 25 Seiten seiner aktuellen
afrikanischen Fußball - in Afrika und in Europa.
Freitag, 16. Jänner, 19.00
Radio Stimme Diskussionsforum
Seit Ende der 80er-Jahre haben sich die Bedingungen für Asylwerbende
Österreich drastisch verschlechtert. Rechte wurden minimiert,
gestrichen, Asylwerbende kriminalisiert. Obwohl die Thematik in
präsent ist, finden zahlreiche Fragen keinen Eingang in die
sich mit unmenschlicher Asylpolitik und der Stigmatisierung von
Feindbild so vortrefflich Politik machen? Welche Rolle haben NGOs
übernommen: Sind sie Helfer in der Not oder unfreiwillige Gehilfen
Regierung? Was lässt sich aus europäischer Perspektive
Asylpolitik sagen? Braucht es neue Grundsätze für eine
Flüchtlingspolitik?Anny Knapp, Asylkoordination
Andreas Lepschi, Caritas
Wolfgang Taucher, Innenministerium
Rainer Bauböck, Akademie der Wissenschaften
Moderation: Alexander Pollak, Radio Stimme
Breite Gasse 3
tel. +43 1 522 76 13
03 Veranstaltungsreihe zur Politischen Kulturarbeit
From: IG Kultur<office at igkultur.at>
||| IG Kultur Österreich
||| Veranstaltungsreihe zur Politischen Kulturarbeit
||| 9. Januar 2004: Präsentation FIFTITU%
Die IG Kultur Österreich wird im Frühjahr 2004 Initiativen
der politischen Kulturarbeit mit einem eigenen Förderpreis
Eine Veranstaltungsreihe stellt im Wiener Diskurszentrum Depot
beispielhafte Projekte vor und diskutiert die eingesetzten Strategien
http://www.igkultur.at/kulturpolitik/1067246660 ||| Fr., 9. Januar
2004, 19.00 Uhr
||| Depot, Breite Gasse 3, A-1070 Wien
Die oberösterreichische Vernetzungsstelle FIFTITU% bietet Frauen
Kunst und Kultur Service wie Information und versteht sich als
feministisch orientierte Pressure-Group zur Schaffung von
FIFTITU% steht für das Faktum, dass 52% der Weltbevölkerung
Über Projekte wird die Vernetzung von Frauen in Kunst und Kultur
vorangetrieben, denn "Frauen, die nicht fordern, werden beim
genommen, sie bekommen nichts". (Simone de Beauvoir)
Gabriele Heidecker, Obfrau, Künstlerin, Architektin, Linz
Andrea Mayer-Edoloeyi, Mitarbeiterin, KUPF-Vorstand, Linz
||| IG Kultur Österreich
||| Gumpendorfer Straße 63b
||| A-1060 Wien
||| Tel: +43 (01) 503 71 20
||| Fax: +43 (01) 503 71 20 - 15
KOMMENTARE - MELDUNGEN
04 INDIA: WILL ANTI-CAPITALISM BE WELCOME AT WORLD
From: Workers Power Global, London
>>INDIA: WILL ANTI-CAPITALISM BE WELCOME AT WORLD SOCIAL FORUM?
Workers Power Global, London
The fourth World Social Forum is set to open in Mumbai, India on
January. One month ahead, 52,000 people from all continents have
registered to take part. Organisers expect that anything from 70,000
100,000 may actually take part in the forum.
The shift to an Asian venue for the WSF presents the possibility
for a huge
involvement and integration of workers, poor peasants and popular
organisations in the world-wide movement against global capitalism
imperialist war. An assembly of youth will also take part at the
will a whole series of other meetings of campaigning bodies.
As at the previous three WSFs, held in Porto Alegre, Brazil, large
conferences will take place on several key themes: Land, water and
sovereignty; Militarism, war and peace; Wars against women, women
wars; Globalisation, Economic and social security; Exclusions and
oppression - Racism and Caste based discrimination; Labour and the
work; Religious, ethnic & linguistic exclusion & oppression.
These huge assemblies have their limitations. Hopefully they will
voices of key figures in recent struggles in Asia to join those
and the Americas which have dominated the WSF so far.
But the key issue is how much space is accorded to meetings where
from the floor can make proposals on policies for fighting global
capitalism and imperialist wars and whether any mechanism can be
into existence to launch common actions in the year ahead.
The whole history of the WSF means we can't be optimistic on this.
The WSF- whatever its organisers claim - is not synonymous with
anti-capitalist movement born in the late 1990s. Bernard Cassen's
memoirs about the movement he insists on calling "altermondialist"
actually called "It all began in Porto Alegre". This is
a lie. Indeed,
Seattle 1999 - not Porto Alegre - is often taken as the starting
even this is not true. Seattle certainly created a world-wide focus
"new movement" and launched a series of mobilisations
to the gatherings of
the global capitalist elite. In fact far left organisations like
and anarchist, radical ecologist and populist forces like RTS, People's
Global Action (inspired by the Zapatista encuentros) had begun to
from 1996 onwards. The French journal Le Monde Diplomatique and
Attac-France (founded in June 1998) belong to this period too, but
cannot claim to monopolise it.
The WSF's origins lie in January 1999 in an "anti-Davos"
in Switzerland organised, among others by Attac. The next anti-Davos
in January 2000, brought together groups like the World Women's
Brazilian MST (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra, composed
landless rural workers).
After this, Bernard Cassen, chairperson of Attac and director of
Diplomatique, met in Paris with Francisco (Chico) Whitaker, of the
Brazilian Justice and Peace Commission (CBJP), to discuss the possibility
of holding a world forum, like the Davos events, at the same time
World Economic Forum was meeting. There was a powerful motivation
the confrontation with the WEF on the streets of Davos or Zurich.
agreed that it should be held in the southern Brazilian city of
Alegre and should be called the World Social Forum.
The first WSF in January 2001 attracted some 5,000 registered participants
from 117 countries as well as many thousands of Brazilian activists.
second forum, the figures had more than doubled, rising to over12,000
official delegates from 123 countries and tens of thousands of total
participants, from Brazil. The third forum in January 2003 was even
massive, with over 20,000 official delegates and roughly 100,000
The key force behind this was the Brazilian PT, in power in both
and the state. In 2002 the Porto Alegre municipality provided approximately
$300,000 and the state of Rio Grande do Sul $1 million for the event.
Though it appears that the "investment" of the Brazilian
a profit nevertheless the dependence of the WSF on huge donations
reformist parties and their cultural and front organisations determined
progressive conservatisation of the official results of the WSF.
In addition the WSF, as a body, receives funds from agencies, closely
to corporate interests and outright imperialist, like the Ford Foundation.
"He who pays the piper calls the tune" is an old principle
and one to which
the Ford Foundation has devoted its existence, co-opting radical
and representatives for decades using Detroit dollars. As long as
is bound to such funders then it is inconceivable that it should
body devoted to overthrowing just these interests. It seems that
funders were amongst those insisting on the exclusion of all political
parties per se and on especially all organisations involved in "violence"
violence against capitalism and imperialism naturally: French imperialist
ministers were welcome, of course!
Since then there have been thematic and regional social forums:
neoliberalism held in Argentina in August 2002, the first European
Forum in Florence in November 2002, the first Asian Social Forum
Hyderabad in January 2003 and the second ESF held in Paris in November.
These formed part of a semi-official forum calendar, maintained
controlled jointly by the Organising Committee/Secretariat and the
Naomi Klein has characterised the structure of he first World Social
as "so opaque that it was nearly impossible to figure out how
were made". In fact, WSF, decisions are made by a tiny number
organisations, but with considerable financial resources. The WSF
gatherings are focussed on a few celebrities of the NGO world -
George, Walden Ballo, Bernard Cassen - who propagate the NGO worldview.
While they talk passionately about "another world being possible"
alternatives they propagate are policies for implementation by reformed
bodies of the existing system, rather than the overthrow of the
That is why these academics and journalists hate the term for the
taken up on the streets of London, Seattle, Prague, Genoa: anticapitalist.
After juggling with terms like "global citizens movement"
they coined a new
French word - "altermomdialist" - which does not even
anything meaningful beyond the unintentionally self critical "otherworldly".
Formal decision-making power was originally in the hands of the
Committee (OC), consisting of the Central Trade Union Confederation
(Central Única dos Trabalhadores), the MST and six smaller
The other main body of the WSF, the International Council (IC),
in Sao Paulo in June 2001. The OC decided who to invite to the founding
meeting. In April 2002, the OC was transformed into the WSF Secretariat
of June 2003 the International Council consists of 113 organisations,
though in practice many of them have not participated.
The IC was assigned an only an advisory role but it has grown in
The decision-making mechanism at IC meetings - as throughout the
the famed "consensus". However the power of initiative
lies with the
Secretariat. It submits a proposal and the IC debates it. If no
consensus emerges, the Secretariat will have a separate meeting
reconsider its original proposal. In some cases, it will then (typically
the second day of the two-day meeting) present a new proposal taking
earlier discussion into account. Normally, the new proposal will
day with everyone agreeing, more or less.
The precondition of this method is that the World Social Forum is
deliberative body aimed at deciding common action, that it will
political positions and that it therefore needs no decision-making
The parallels of this form of decision making with the oppressive
of the WTO in Geneva are so stark that it can only be a unique form
doublethink that prevents the great crusaders against globalisation
This all suits the Brazilian reformist organisations, Le Monde
Diplomatique, the unelected bigwings of Attac and the NGOs down
ground. The WSF in their view must remain a "space", a
"forum", an "event"
and not a movement or political actor. But by no means all the participants
agree with this.
Michael Albert - author of Parecon - a libertarian and key figure
movement in the USA, has proposed that the annual WSF gathering
made a delegate event. The WSF could be attended by 5,000 - 10,000
"delegated to it from the major regional forums of the world".
He has even
talked of it becoming an International, like the First International
imagined by anarchists and above all "not a Comintern!").
The Italian organisers of the European Social Forum, in Florence
wanted to use a social movements declaration drafted by WSF participants
the foundation-stone of the ESF's own forum. The WSF Secretariat
this on the grounds that the Porto Alegre Charter of Principles
can be the
only official basis for events organised within the WSF umbrella.
At the Bangkok meeting in August 2002, Bello argued that the International
Council should produce a public statement calling on movements around
world to take part in protests in Cancún in 2003. In the
meeting of the council in January 2003, delegates argued in favour
making a public statement against the imminent war in Iraq. In both
consensual decision-making was used to "decide" not to
issue any such
statements. This shows the absolute impotence of the WSF if it remains
within the framework of the Porto Alegre Principles and under its
According to its Charter of Principles, the WSF is "a plural,
non-confessional, non-governmental and non-party context".
The bloc of the
Brasilian PT leaders and the leaders of Attac have strictly policed
principles - principles never debated or adopted by any democratic
assembly. In August 2002 the Secretariat vetoed the plans of the
to invite political parties to take part officially in the European
As Cândido Grzybowski of the Secretariat put it, "political
action is the
responsibility of each individual and the coalitions they form,
attribute of the forum". Chico Whitaker attacked the "self-nominated
movements" that "seek to put the forum inside their own
dynamics, to serve their own objectives." And who - we ask-nominated
self-appointed and inflated bureaucrats to speak for the anticapitalist
The only partial breach in this ban on politics was the historic
anti-war demonstrations of 15 February 2003 that many movements
the WSF 2003 in Porto Alegre agreed to "make public".
protested against these, fearing that "the media might consider
semi-official". The media? Or the Ford Foundation, perhaps?
There have been even more radical critics at the ESF, though the
have done all they could to sideline them. During the first WSF
there was a
large, militant youth camp, many of whom issued a denunciation of
organisers crapulous reformism and elitism. A group of young and
participants from this camp burst into the posh all-glass VIP room
the leaders and important guests were being expensively entertained.
The WSF 2004 in India takes place at a crucial moment in the history
movement. Certainly it offers the possibility spreading the movement
against corporate power, imperialism and war a much wider spread.
be reflected in the radicalism of activists present. On the other
power and domination of the NGOs and the thinly disguised reformist
parties, especially the Communist Party of India (Marxist) will
heavily in favour of continued impotence.
That is why revolutionaries need to raise in every meeting within
the demand for a real deliberative assembly, for the rejection of
Alegre Principles, for the "legalisation" of political
parties, for no
privileges to the reformist bureaucrats or journalistic bigwigs.
call for an end to funding by US and EU imperialist agencies and
bodies. We must call for social forums in every major city, in every
country and a process of delegation to the continental and world
with the European and North American movements raising the funds
the Asian African and South Americans to be fully and fairly represented,
wherever it is held.
Corporate globalisation and the war on terrorism imperiously demand
maintenance and development of a huge world movement to fight them
overthrow them. This demands another major step forward: the creation
mass International of the workers and poor peasants - a Fifth International.
FOR MORE ON WORLD AND EUROPEAN SOCIAL FORUMS AND ANTI-CAPITALIST
05 CHINA: NEW RULERS CREATE THEIR OWN GRAVE DIGGER
From: Workers Power Global, London
>>CHINA: NEW RULERS CREATE THEIR OWN GRAVE DIGGER
Workers Power Global, London
The west is waking up to China. This year it will become the world's
biggest economy; by 2040, according to bankers Goldman Sachs, its
surpass that of the USA -that is if both go on growing at their
rate. In the last 10 years it has become the literal workshop of
the number one producer of TVs, DVDs, PCs and mobile phones, the
consumer of steel.
China is swallowing large chunks of the west's surplus capital whole:
$53bn a year, China is the world's number one destination for foreign
direct investment (FDI). And with it goes jobs – tens of thousands
manufacturing from Europe and America have moved to China. Not even
cheap labour hotspots of Latin America can compete: over 200 Mexican
sweatshops have closed and moved production to China.
For years, China watchers have been concerned with the impact of
on China: could it happen without bloodshed, would the Communist
dictatorship stay in tact through the restoration of capitalism?
questions are being subsumed in a larger question: the impact of
For in the process of capitalist restoration, China has not become
subservient satellite of America – no matter how many of the
class and top bureaucracy find their way to a place at a US business
school. China is becoming both an economic and political power to
reckoned with, and the decisions taken behind the high, closed gates
ministries will have a significant impact on the class struggle,
policy and international relations in the west.
Who rules China?
In October 2002 the so called "Fourth Generation" of Chinese
took over. Led by President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, the
their accession was initially seen in the western press as a matter
"presentation". But the rise to power of Hu was significant.
the growing power of a faction for which completing the transition
full-blown capitalist economy is the number one priority, even over
above maintaining the rule of the party.
Hu wishes the CCP to become a party of the Chinese bourgeoisie,
maintaining a social safety net that keeps the masses from revolt
a layer of the better off workers to the party. The hope is, that
decade or two, Hu's China will be a developed capitalist country
CCP will be a cross between the US Democrats and New Labour.
Hu and his allies definitely continue one tradition: that of the
bureaucrat. Hu was hand picked for his mediocrity and – as
from the Chinese CP show – passed an arduous process of selection
main purpose was to weed out anyone who had ever done anything out
ordinary and thus represented a risk to the course set by the retiring
Since Chinese politics are conducted wholly in secret, with the
having to search for hidden meanings in the pages of the People's
it's impossible to gauge the true tempo of Hu's economic policies.
their direction is clear. At the 3rd Plenum of the 16th Congress
CCP, in October 2003, the party decided to speed up the closure
privatisation of all China's remaining state-owned enterprises.
ratified changes to the Chinese constitution aimed at guaranteeing
rights of private property owners.
This is not just the last phase of the destruction of the Stalinist
economy: it is a work of construction – namely the construction
normatively functioning capitalist economy, with businesses entitled
expect the rule of law, at least in the economic sphere. In addition
speeded up the process of recruiting the bourgeoisie to the party.
However the construction of a normal functioning capitalism does
China will adopt the neo-liberal model – the so-called "Washington
consensus" – even though that is what it is urged to
do by every Financial
Times and Wall Street Journal article that touches on the subject.
In the first place China faces a linked series of strategic obstacles
completing the transition. The first is the land question. Two thirds
the population lives on the land, earning less than a dollar a day,
majority on plots of land no bigger than the centre court at Wimbledon.
This means the domestic economy cannot become the motor of Chinese
were foreign investment to falter. Nor can China become a truly
economy, since in regions of dirt roads and shoelessness it is hard
central bureaucracy to control the actions of local crooks, businessmen
regional bureaucrats – let alone for western-trained accountants
At present the land question is "solving" itself by propelling
young peasants a year off the land and into the cities, where they
live as second class citizens under the remnants of China's strict
of residency permits. There are 150 million migrant workers, mainly
their 20s, the vast majority working in China's new capitalist sweatshops
under strict work discipline and living in dormitories. But a full
to the land question will involve the automation of agriculture,
creation of big farms and the expulsion of – Chinese experts
about another 250m adults from the rural workforce.
Since this cannot happen without the continued breakneck expansion
Chinese industry, this dictates the whole of the rest of the domestic
economic policy. Far from reigning in its attempts to attract FDI,
must increase them. As one Chinese official said on BBC Newsnight,
west you are always worrying about what if all the manufacturing
jobs go to
China. Our problem is: what if all manufacturing jobs come to China
still not enough". Hence, for China's policymakers, maintaining
the official rate of 9% a year is a minimum requirement.
The problem is not just how to do this, but the kind of capitalism
created in the process. Western capitalism, for all its booms and
is so sclerotic that it cannot even comprehend the idea of growth
inflation. China can have double digit growth without inflation,
due to the
massive deflationary power of its surplus labour force to keep wages
Hence, for economic policy it has adopted a kind of crude Keynesianism
pump-priming public spending projects of which the Three Gorges
Dam and the
2008 Olympic Games infrastructure projects are just the tip of the
This is combined with a heavy dose of protectionism, notwithstanding
accession to the WTO.
To a western banker, China's economic policy looks dysfunctional:
massive bad debts in the largely state-owned banking system. The
mobilise the savings of the Chinese masses and pour them into loss
private enterprises. The property boom, which rivals that of Japan
1980s, is another sign that a fully-functioning financial system
solvent banks and a transparent stock market – do not exist.
Capital flows to wherever it can to make a surplus, but it cannot
so through the financial system. However to the Chinese bureaucracy
policies are functional and form the core of the Keynesian growth
outlined by Jiang Zemin's finance minister Zhu Rongji and maintained
It is easy to see how all this might break down: if foreign investment
to dry up, or Western consumption of Chinese exports were to falter
conditions that would arise from a US/Europe recession – China
faced with the obligation to "take the strain" for the
world economy. In
order to do that it would have had to create a fully functioning
consumer market. But although to the eyes of western visitors this
exist, in the shopping malls of the seaboard cities, it does not
predominate in the Chinese hinterland. Chinese economists believe
modernised consumer economy is two or three decades away.
But the ultimate problem facing the Chinese leadership is the need
extricate the party from the economy.
It is not just that the bureaucracy has its fingers in the pie of
nationalised sectors: it is enriching itself greedily in the private
as well. Yet there is no external supervision: when it comes to
company, the man that owns it can be in the party that runs the
system which buys it and the regulatory system that certifies the
The only external supervision is the party itself, since the press
free and criticism and exposure of corruption, unless sanctioned
party, is met with prison. This, both Hu and his friends in Washington
agree, is dysfunctional. The aim is some form of "separation
which allows the judiciary and civil service to discover the many
Enrons in Chinese capitalism without bringing the system down.
Amid all this what is happening to the Chinese working class?
It is undergoing a traumatic process of destruction and recomposition.
the north-east provinces where Mao concentrated industrial investment
the 1950s and 60s it is going through hell. Huge factories, which
the centre of economies the size of Leicester or Derby, are being
the orders of the bureaucracy: whole populations of workers are
of work. Protests occur in these towns almost daily, according to
Chinese website China Labour Bulletin, and repression is severe.
Independent unions are forbidden in China.
The fate of two union organisers, Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang, both
their 50s is demonstrative. They led protests against the layoff
millions of workers in Liaoyiang, north-east China. They were sentenced
seven and four years respectively, time they are serving in a penal
so harsh that both men have been hospitalised since October and
to be in danger of dying. This in a country which has signed up
United Nations International Labour Organisation, and whose stooge
the ACFTU sits on the governing body of the ILO.
While the protest movement is said to be growing in north-east China
scale of repression means it has been virtually impossible for foreign
activists and journalists to raise solidarity or to report it at
Hence, as far as the British media and Tony Blair's government are
concerned, it does not exist.
In the "new" China, things are different. Whereas the
typical workforce in
Manchuria is older, well trained and possesses strong self-organising
tendencies, the workforce in the south is largely new. In Shenzhen,
Manchester of the 21st century, the typical factory employs mainly
women from the rural provinces of the south-west. They live in dorms,
subject to heavy supervision and forced pregnancy testing.
Their wages can be five times what they could earn at home. These
workplaces full of first generation urban workers are the new Putilov
factories of the Chinese revolution – but they have a long
way to go before
self organisation takes root. Indeed the availability of masses
replacement workers – and the high turnover (average career
length for a
young woman worker is five years) means it will take a wider social
upheaval to break the hold of the line managers here.
Right now the political watchword both of the bureaucracy –
and even the
independent workers' leaders – is reform. The bureaucracy
will use friendly
internal criticism, combined with a ban on independent organisation,
nudge the party away from the horse trough it has been feeding from
the 1990s. In return - maybe in a decade or so there will be an
independent labour bureaucracy that acts as broker between the big
employers and the workforce.
The Chinese workers need to break this policy which will condemn
decades of super exploitation. What is needed is a real Chinese
party – a revolutionary workers party that can mobilise the
exploited and oppressed to settle accounts with Chinese dictatorship
establish the power of the workers and poor farmers. Only then can
Chinese masses harness their enormous energy and potential to benefit
in society through establishing a soviet China, a real workers state.
FOR MORE ON CHINA SEE:
06 Power Transfer in Iraq Starts This Week
From: WADI e.V. Wien, <wadi_wien at hotmail.com>
Power Transfer in Iraq Starts This Week
4. 1. 2003 washingtonpost.comBy Robin Wright and Rajiv Chandrasekaran,
Washington Post Staff Writers
After eight months of debate and delay, the United States this week
formally launch the handover of power to Iraq (news - web sites)
final game plan still not fully in place.
The United States begins the complicated political, economic and
transfer with a general framework and a June 30 deadline for completion.
critical details are still being negotiated between the Iraqis and
administrator L. Paul Bremer, some of which could determine whether
Iraqi government is ultimately embraced by the majority of Iraq's
"We're open to refinement, and we're waiting to hear what people
suggested or will suggest," Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
said in an
interview. "What Ambassador Bremer and all of us have been
doing in our
conversations is listening and hearing and [saying], 'Are there
that would make the plan more refined, better and more acceptable
broader group of individuals and leaders within Iraq?' " Besides
out who will rule in Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s wake, Iraqis
the next two months will have to answer a host of deferred and potentially
divisive questions: What kind of government will Iraq have? What
will be the
role of Islam? How much local rule will ethnic, tribal or religious
The deadline is Feb. 28 for agreement on these and other basic questions,
due to be codified in the recently renamed Transitional Administration
the precursor to a constitution.
A month later, Iraqis have to determine their relationship with
troops -- and therefore the United States -- after the handover.
One of the
thorniest issues will be giving U.S. troops immunity from prosecution
any action they may take, a standard U.S. demand when it deploys
abroad. But Iraq presents a different set of issues than what American
forces face in peaceful environments such as Germany, Italy and
(news - web sites) inasmuch as U.S. soldiers could still be fighting
country not under U.S. control.
Iraqis, who like to note that they have less time than the U.S.
fathers did to come up with a constitution and new government, are
worried -- and predicting problems. "This is the decisive period
-- and we
will probably go to the brink a few times before we make those decisions,"
prominent Iraqi politician said.
U.S. officials say Washington plans to resolve many of these remaining
questions in negotiation with the Iraqi Governing Council, whose
incompetence precipitated the delays that forced the United States
the Nov. 15 agreement. The accord outlines the multiphase process,
on provincial caucuses, to select a provisional government.
Seven weeks after the accord, however, the council has been unable
the wide differences of opinion among rival Iraqi leaders, ranging
Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani to the Sunni community once protected
Sistani, a Shiite Muslim cleric who has a larger public following
other Iraqi, has demanded elections to pick Baghdad's post-occupation
government. But no compromise has been reached, despite a stream
communications among Sistani, Bremer and the Governing Council --
the legitimacy of the process in doubt, U.S. and Iraqi officials
As the effort to turn over power begins in earnest, symbolic actions
planned: town halls to launch a nationwide political dialogue, graduation
this week of an Iraqi army battalion, completion of the new currency
exchange, the first cell phone system.
"This next month, we have a thousand things going on. We're
drinking out of
a fire hose," a senior U.S. official in Baghdad said.
Washington wants to begin transferring specific duties to Baghdad
inexperienced Iraqis do not suddenly find themselves assuming total
responsibility in six months.
In a step pivotal to the transition, Iraq will also once again be
of debate at the U.N. Security Council on Jan. 19, when the Iraqi
will appeal for the world body to return. But senior members of
Coalition Provisional Authority may not attend the meeting, despite
personal summons by Secretary General Kofi Annan (news - web sites).
Repeatedly burned at the United Nations (news - web sites) on Iraq,
Washington wants the Iraqis to make their own case to the United
this time, U.S. officials say.
"It's time that Iraqis begin representing themselves -- and
that the world
recognizes that fact," a State Department official said.
The toughest task facing the United States now, many U.S. officials
figuring out a way to broaden political participation, the core
issue in the
debate over elections. The Bush administration refuses to budge
Nov. 15 agreement, in part for fear that further demands could delay
To bring more Iraqis into the process, the United States is tinkering
the formation of new Iraqi political bodies -- often creatively
but also in
piecemeal fashion, based largely on local factors and preferences
than a uniform standard nationwide.
As a first step, the United States has begun to reconfigure dozens
city councils originally appointed by U.S. military commanders or
provisional authority officials in the field. Some councils have
virtually dissolved, whereas others have only had new members added.
approach usually depends on local politicians and input from the
Governing Council members from the area.
The United States faces another crucial step in the process of selecting
government this week with the creation of coordinating committees.
selection process could last two months.
In each of Iraq's 18 provinces, 15-member committees are to select
for caucuses, which will in turn pick legislators for a new national
assembly. The exact number in parliament, and whether it has one
two, is another issue to be determined. The legislature will then
U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad are exploring ideas that
combine this formula with some form of elections, again perhaps
key areas, to accommodate Sistani's demand. The administration believes
can find common ground.
"The ayatollah has raised issues with respect to how you do
elections, and I think it's safe to say that we are in a dialogue
and with others who have an interest in how one actually goes about
selecting a transitional assembly and a transitional government,"
One idea being discussed is having quick local elections for some
to the coordinating committees. Under the current formula, in each
five of the 15 members are appointed by the Governing Council, five
provincial council and one from each of the five largest cities.
problem, however, is whether elections for only five of the delegates
major cities would satisfy Sistani's call for public input rather
The future of the 25-member Governing Council, handpicked by Bremer,
also be decided. Some members argue that it should be preserved
second chamber of an Iraqi legislature, an idea U.S. officials and
Iraqis oppose. The United States continues to be frustrated by council
members, their personal ambitions and their divisive politics, although
officials give them credit for making a more earnest effort recently.
"Ambassador Bremer has a strong working relationship with the
Council, and we are eager to move forward on the November 15 political
agreement as signed and published," said Dan Senor, the U.S.
Baghdad. Washington hopes that the various town halls -- one has
in Basra, another will take place in Mosul soon -- will help generate
and feedback for "refinements" in the plan.
"We're engaged in a robust effort to get all parties engaged
process. We're going to be doing a lot of things over the next few
There's a lot that needs to happen, given the timeline to get all
critical parties to buy into the political process," a senior
But as the countdown begins to the formal handover, time is also
"We have a six-month marathon ahead of us, so we're lacing
up our shoes and
getting ready to roll. It's not one thing or another dominating
the senior administration official said. "It's keeping all
the balls in the
air and jogging forward at the same time."------------------------------------------------
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07 Pretty Blöd
From: 11ie. 11ie at chello.at
Erfreut darüber, dass nicht nur ich als Atheistin das so sehe,
Leserinnenbrief aus dem profil:
Kolumne von Elfriede Hammerl
Als angesprochene Muslimin nehme ich es persönlich, wenn von
islamischen Glaubensgemeinschaft Österreichs das Tragen eines
"normale" und folgerichtige Ausübung des Islams dargestellt
wird. Das ist es
nicht! Im Koran ist vorgeschrieben, während ritueller Handlungen,
Beispiel dem Gebet, Haare, Schultern, Arme und Beine der Frau zu
Aus einem 500 Jahre alten Text jedoch Regeln abzuleiten, wonach
ebenso in allen öffentlichen Lebenssituationen zu verhüllen
haben, kann nur
als Fundamentalismus bezeichnet werden. Das Tragen des Kopftuches
Jahrhundert in Europa entspricht einer fundamentalistischen
Religionsauslegung, und dem ist keine Präsenz im öffentlichen
einzuräumen. Wenn das als Ausgrenzung einer ganzen Glaubensgemeinschaft
hochstilisiert wird, in der Populismus leicht zu erkennen.