The security state and a theory of destituent power

by Giorgio Agamben A reflection on the destiny of democracy today here in Athens is in some way disturbing, because it obliges us to think the end of democracy in the very place where it was born. As a matter of fact, the hypothesis I would like to suggest is that the prevailing governmental paradigm in Europe today is not only non-democratic, but that it cannot be considered as political either. I will try therefore to show that European society today is no more a political society: it is something entirely new, for which we lack a proper terminology and … Continue reading The security state and a theory of destituent power

Taking notes 16: The rebellion has started

by Jeffrey Harrod Rebellions are special social events. They are special because once they start they never end and because they provoke other events which eventually change the world. The Indian Rebellion of 1857 against the British heralded the defeat of the British some 90 years and millions of Indian deaths later. The power of a rebellion is that it confronts the supporting images of power of its invincibility, of its claimed logic of superiority and of its absolute control of subordination. A tactical but failed rebellious challenge is eventually a strategic victory. In the global political economy the rule … Continue reading Taking notes 16: The rebellion has started

Taking notes 15: Sad Cyprus

If it has not already, then the world should be taking note of the curious and disturbing situation that is developing in Cyprus. The latest is that some resolution has come to pass in which Cyprus can remain in the Eurozone and deposits over 100,000 euros, not guaranteed by EU governments, will be expropriated to help resolve the debt issue. Most of those who will be affected by this appear to be Russians who have deposited billions in Cyprus. But it does appear that we have what amounts to a never-ending Eurozone crisis where the savings of ordinary Cypriots (small … Continue reading Taking notes 15: Sad Cyprus

Getting serious about politics

by Zoltan Zigedy Economic relations clarify politics just as politics can return the favor. In truth, it is impossible to fully understand one without an understanding of the other, and especially without a grasp of their inter-relationship. No doubt that explains the wisdom of the classical economists (and Marx and Engels) in describing their studies as “political economy.” Similarly, the failure to systematically integrate the two social domains explains the frustration of the modern-day academic economists, even Nobel laureates, who fume about the politicians standing in the way of their ready solutions to the current global economic crisis. A case … Continue reading Getting serious about politics

The geopolitics of struggle

by The Uninomade Collective 1. The fracture of European space. Everyone is looking for an exit strategy. The rhythm of transformations is accelerating and, at the same time, is breaking any linearity: financial governance looks more and more like a system of fragmented tools, attempts at stabilization that duly end up reaffirming the crisis’s constitutive turbulence. In this framework, the temptation to accept a simple cartographic role of the crisis, ignoring the complexities of the present, is quite strong. “Fragmentation” and “complexness” are indisputable facts of our present: the risk, however, is that these terms are transformed into a charmer’s mantra, both … Continue reading The geopolitics of struggle

Taking notes 4

There is an interesting casino scene in Thunderball where Connery’s Bond stares down the bad guy Largo and tells him that he sees the spectre of defeat behind the shoulder of his opponent. While egging his enemy on, the reference is also to the man’s organization: It is a cabal which stands for “Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion”. These words could even apply as an apt description of what that conglomerate — that includes most governments, banks, mega corporations and economists — has been in relation to the rest of humanity. However, with the unsolvable Eurozone crisis, … Continue reading Taking notes 4

Taking notes 2

With the recent downgrading of almost ten Eurozone states by Standard & Poor’s from their so-called triple-A ratings thanks to their debts, sage Euro policymakers have railed against them and the other two agencies, Moody’s and Fitch. The claim by these staunch Europeans is that these credit rating agencies were too quick in downgrading their debt ridden countries from their much coveted ‘AAA’ status despite these chronic economies succumbing to ‘bailouts and austerity programmes’. Coincidentally, as if by the magic of the ‘free market’ some new characters have appeared on the scene called Berger and Krall to launch a European … Continue reading Taking notes 2

Justice for all and the European Union

by Philippe Van Parijs When we are thinking about how the European Union should evolve, what competences it should be given, what direction it should take, what is the ultimate objective? The answer is simple: justice. But what is justice? Any conception of justice relevant for our times must combine two elements, both strongly rooted in our European traditions, but neither of them exclusive to them: equal respect for the diversity of conceptions of the good life that characterizes our pluralist societies and equal concern for the interests of all members, present and yet to come, of the society concerned. … Continue reading Justice for all and the European Union