[P2P-F] Fwd: Food for an exhausted thought

June Gorman june_gorman at sbcglobal.net
Mon Feb 16 12:01:17 CET 2015

Thank you Michel and thank you even more so, Claudio for the clear points below.  As per earlier discussions on this listserve, it is indeed in "building a new Rome" that the only path to this healthier dream and more sustainable world (and why indeed should we accept its opposite dystopian vision as so easily humanity's deserved lot?), can be built together.

But as a few of us have so clearly pointed out, Human Rights at the base of how we treat all on this planet, and thus points 19 and 20 -- are simply critical to any such hope of that "transformed" vision of what we do instead deserve of and for each other.  It is the grounding of any viable path, with any truly different and far more hopeful destination at its end and in its process.

Well and clearly, said.

 From: Michel Bauwens <michel at p2pfoundation.net>
To: p2p-foundation <p2p-foundation at lists.ourproject.org> 
Sent: Monday, February 16, 2015 2:35 AM
Subject: [P2P-F] Fwd: Food for an exhausted thought

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Claudio Schuftan <cschuftan at phmovement.org>
Date: Mon, Feb 16, 2015 at 9:14 AM
Subject: Food for an exhausted thought
To: yo <schuftan at gmail.com>

Rights Reader 355
1. An era can be said to end
when its basic aspirations and illusions are exhausted. (Arthur Miller) Take
neoliberalism: Disenchantment with neoliberalism as an ideal has grown to a
dangerous (or hopeful?) point.*   (J.C. Juncker)  
*: I read
somewhere that for people these days it is easier to imagine the end of the
world than the end of Capitalism. (Albino Gomez)
2. Neoliberalism has not just
been a set of bad attitudes. It has been the unrestrained exercise of corporate
power with its human rights (HR) violations, taking advantage of the working
class’s lethargy.** (W. Podmore) 
**: Capitalism does not only generate capital; it also
creates a working class kept content with an unjust system they are made to believe
to be natural. (N. Shepper)
You see? In our world, transnational corporations (TNCs) have rights backed by
hard laws (treaties, free trade agreements, bilateral investment treaties…)***
and strong enforcement mechanisms; they can sue states even beyond national
jurisdiction. But TNCs obligations are backed only by soft laws, codes of
conduct and voluntary guidelines, deprived of any enforcement mechanism; the HR
situation is no exception. Above all, it is weak and poor states that suffer
most from this situation. Only powerful states are able to regulate and control
the activities of TNCs and hold them responsible for the damage they do and the
HR violations they perpetrate; butmost other states are not able to do so.(M. Khor)
***: For instance, the latest WTO Bali deal is ultimately ‘a
battle between food for the poor and trade for the rich’. (R. Sengupta)
4. So, perhaps more than rhetorically,
are we rushing forward to the past, to the times of Queen Victoria, when an
obscure German philosopher and economist by the name of Karl Marx was working
in the British Library in London on his denunciation of exploitation, and
preparing his Communist Manifesto? (R. Savio)
Neoliberalism is
but a moment in the history of capitalism
Neoliberalism has done away with many State functions; it has not destroyed the
State, but has put it at the service of the neoliberal project, the capitalist
project. Capitalism has existed and exists as an economic, political, cultural
and military hegemonic power. 
How we relate to the essence of capitalism actually also leads to quite serious
consequences for our environment. From a theoretical point of view, the reason
is that the rate of reproduction of capital is very different from the rate of
reproduction of nature and, as the injection of capital imposes its own
rhythm, not surprisingly, it is destroying nature.**** 
****: Who
will forgive us if we let the planet die while we just bare witness? (J.
For capitalism, nature is a source of  'natural resources', i.e., capitalism commoditizes the planet because,
if natural resources are not dealt as commodities, they cannot contribute to
making a profit and to the accumulation of capital. 
This fact calls for a thorough revision of the capitalist model so as to serve
particularly urgent ecological and social demands. Instead, the tinkering we
have seen is short term, i.e., applying social policies largely of the welfare
type, such as subsidies and other. This may (have) allow(ed) poor people to
escape from misery, but not become the active social subjects they need to become
--perhaps, at best, just the system’s customers. (F. Houtart) 
9. In this, believing in a
utopia is very necessary to aim at our human rights (HR) goal --not in the
sense of an unreachable illusion, but in the sense of something that we do not
have today, but that we could have tomorrow. It is thus worth fighting for this
utopia, at the same time being specific and concrete.
The principle is that we should leave a system that concentrates real power in
a few hands --a system where it is the individual that prevails over the common
good and over the rights of others. There is nothing less democratic than the
monopoly capitalism that characterizes the current economy, with its domination
over the political organization of nations and of international agencies. 
As a matter of principle, also sport, culture, religion and other areas of the
human endeavor will have to introduce democratic processes in its respective
structures.Developing these
democratic processes everywhere is a very important immediate step (for example
fostering participatory, direct democracy) and also a longer-term step (e.g.,
reforming the United Nations). Just be reminded that the Security Council, the
World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are very undemocratic with the
right to pass resolutions or to veto vested in only a handful of world powers.
As the Mayan
Indians in southern Chiapas say: "Human beings are the consciousness
bearers of nature".
Capitalism tends to impose a single culture, a single lingua franca, a way of
consuming, of eating, of dressing …all as a function of submission to the law
of value. It is all about imposing a dominant culture that has undoubtedly
contributed much to mankind, but that was ultimately absorbed by the very logic
of capitalism, i.e., as an instrument for its global dissemination leading to
its hegemony.
There already exist in the world thousands of initiatives, both advocating for
the respect for nature, as well as for a social/non-individualistic and more
solidary economy and for the defense of HR and of fairer democratic mechanisms.
These initiatives do indeed exists, but are still very scattered. The problem
is how to bring all these forces together to a joint political project aimed at
arriving at a stronger correlation of forces in the struggle to transform
ingrained practices and economic and political structures. 
From the end of the 1970s, capitalism regained momentum launching the era of
neoliberalism that further imposed its values and gradually chipped away at the
achievements of past social struggles thus resulting also in the weakening of
social organizations (trade unions in particular).  
15. History teaches us
that capitalism is fierce and vicious when it can, and ‘civilized’ when it
must.The economic logic of the system requires
it to adapt whenever the accumulation process is affected. This is why, in the
second decade of the 2000s, global capitalism is trying to go 'green'. Before
that, ecological aspects were simply considered externalities, i.e., they did
not enter in the calculations the market made. Consequently, damage to nature
was not paid by capital, but by the people and nations. The same applies to the
severe social damage that has been done.  
It is not enough to only regulate capitalism; we must impose a new paradigm of
collective organization of humanity on this planet. This is neither an easy
process, nor is it short term.  
HR ethics and politics, in the sense of being social constructs, do not fall
from the sky, but must be built from the bottom. It is about establishing rules
that allow the construction, production, reproduction and the improvement of
life on the planet with dignity, justice and social responsibility.  
Introducing the ethical and political dimensions in the organization of the
economy is also a requirement of the processes of change needed, starting as
early as during the period of transition towards the new paradigm.
Social structures do not change by themselves. It is social actors who build
permanent social structures clearly influencing what existed before. It is us
humans who build our societies, and this is why we speak of a ‘new wo/man’, of
the need to transform human consciousness to be able to build new social
relationships firmly anchored in HR.
What is today called ‘the decolonization of our values’ pertains not only to
our economic or political, but our mental decolonization. Capitalism has had a
huge role in the colonization of our minds, influencing the type of consumption
and the desire of large majorities of the population of the world to have a
type of consumption as the one the United States has.
21. Bottom line: There are no road
problems to get to Rome; there is a need of a different Rome.  (All the above quoting the late Andres Carrasco) 
Claudio Schuftan, Ho ChiMinh
cschuftan at phmovement.org
-Capitalism is not a dirty word. It is a dirty system. (A.
-Capitalism systematically brings about violence which it
then must combat through repression. Since violence is a constant feature of
capitalism, the need for a police apparatus arises to control it. As a result,
we end up adding State violence to social violence. (A. Badiou)


Check out the Commons Transition Plan here at: http://en.wiki.floksociety.org/w/Research_Plan 
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