giovedì 13 gennaio 2011

Gli Stati Uniti dichiarano una “guerra finanziaria” al mondo

Gli Stati Uniti dichiarano una “guerra

finanziaria” al mondo


di: Alfredo Jalife-Rahme
Rinascita, 14 gennaio 2011

Antecedenti
Il noto economista Michael Hudson – da non confondere con il famoso giornalista investigativo, suo omonimo ma 22 anni più giovane e autore dell’importante libro inchiesta “The Monster”: come una banda di predatori prestatori e i loro banchieri di Wall Street spellarono (sic) gli Stati Uniti e crearono una crisi globale – ha collaborato come consulente ai massimi livelli con grandi banche di Wall Street, lavorando anche tramite il controverso Hudson Institute (legato alla Rand Corporation). Ha progettato nel 1990 il primo fondo del debito sovrano per il Terzo Mondo e aveva previsto con due anni di anticipo lo scoppio della bolla immobiliare negli Stati Uniti (Harper’s, mayo de 2006).
Pochi conoscono come lui il sistema finanziario degli Stati Uniti dall’interno e oggi, dalla sua cattedra presso l’Università del Missuri (nel Kansas), sembra aver avuto una miracolosa conversione.
È l’autore del libro Superimperialismo: la strategia economica dell’impero americano, che rivela le macchinazioni geopolitiche dell’economia globale gestita dagli Stati Uniti. Il suo nuovo libro “Frattura Globale” tratta del nuovo ordine economico internazionale che verrà a crearsi con la divisione del mondo in blocchi commerciali e valutari, tesi coincidenti con quelle pubblicate nei nostri libri più recenti (www.alfredojalife.com).
Fatti
Lo tsunami finanziario globale provocato dall’israelo-statunitense Ben Shalom Bernanke, discusso governatore della Federal Reserve degli Stati Uniti (vedi Bajo la Lupa, 7 y 10/11/10), è stato pesantemente condannato dal resto del mondo e sembrerebbe destinato ad indebolire anche le vulnerabili finanze dei BRIC (Brasile, Russia, India e Cina), che per questo si sono già allarmati.
Michael Hudson sostiene che gli Stati Uniti hanno intrapreso una nuova (sic) guerra finanziaria mondiale, che coinvolgerà praticamente tutti (CounterPunch, 11/10/10).
Dotato di una grande sensibilità geopolitica – non comune di solito negli economisti – sottolinea un aspetto poco seguito della guerra finanziaria (che comprende la guerra delle divise) quando gli Stati Uniti ottengono lo stesso obiettivo dei loro eserciti mediante la ricchezza monetaria e l’usurpazione dei beni semplicemente tramite operazioni finanziarie.
Questo perchè le armi e la finanza sono complementari: gli Stati Uniti – e in passato anche la Gran Bretagna – non potrebbe imporre una guerra finanziaria al mondo senza la copertura delle sue testate nucleari. Chi vince la guerra militare impone il suo doppio ordine, quello economico e quello finanziario.
Non è il momento di questionare con Michael Hudson, che si propone di esporre concetti esplosivi: come gli Stati Uniti stampino grosse quantità di carta straccia come moneta dagli schermi dei loro computer (prima 1,7 miliardi di dollari e ora altri 600 milioni di euro) per acquistare tutte le azioni e le obbligazioni del mondo, terreni ed altri beni in vendita, nella speranza di ottenerne guadagni in conto capitale rimborsando (sic) le differenze tramite l’emissione di prestiti ad un tasso inferiore all’1% di interesse. Così funziona il gioco oggi.
Sostiene che “la finanza è una nuova forma di guerra (...). È una gara nella creazione del credito per comprare risorse straniere, beni immobili, infrastrutture pubbliche e poi privatizzarle, obbligazioni societarie e azioni”. La chiave è quella di convincere le banche centrali ad accettare il credito elettronico.
Questo fino ad un certo punto, perchè oggi le banche centrali del BRIC e alcuni degli stati del G-7 (Germania e, in misura minore, la Francia) – con la rimarcabile eccezione del Messico, che resta controllato da un ex dipendente del FMI – si sono ribellati alla finanza globale, contro i furti del monetarismo vigente negli Stati Uniti e in Gran Bretagna: una vera dittatura delle banche centrali che sono riuscite a mettere da parte una classe politica che non capisce niente di quello che succede e che approva ogni tipo di violenza contro il bene comune, sempre quando le viene riconosciuta la liquidità per far fronte alle spese correnti.
Prima del clamoroso fallimento del G-20 di Seul – fallito a causa dell’effetto Bernanke e che non meritava nemmeno un epitaffio civile da Obama-, Michael Hudson questionava sul grado di masochismo dei Paesi nel soccombere alla finanza anglosassone delle banche centrali: “il mondo è stato costretto a scegliere tra l’anarchia finanziaria e la subordinazione al nuovo nazionalismo economico degli Stati Uniti, cosa che incoraggia i Paesi a creare un sistema finanziario alternativo, con la deludente eccezione del Messico calderonista, che non ha niente a che fare con il G-20 dove solo opera come schiavo degli Stati Uniti”.
Spiega che l’esperimento monetarista è già drammaticamente fallito in Giappone, dove troviamo una recessione e/o una crescita nulla da ormai due decenni. La Cina non è disposta a ripetere il suicidio del Giappone (la rivalutazione dello yen) per beneficiare in modo parassitario del dollaro.
Sostiene che il sistema finanziario internazionale premia la speculazione, che si traduce in stratosferici aumenti di prezzo per distorcere il commercio internazionale e allentare le relazioni di investimento.
A nostro avviso, il grave problema è che le banche degli Stati Uniti vanno verso un fallimento nascosto (la Bank of America è sull’orlo del fallimento ufficiale), non per l’attività del credito, ma perchè sono impegnate a ripulire i loro bilanci dalle poste negative dovute ad una speculazione frenetica.
Secondo Michael Hudson, il sistema è stato destabilizzato per le spese belliche dovute per mantenere l’immunità geopolitica della quale godono gli Stati Uniti. Critica la posizione (sic) dei media che sostengono che il deficit degli Stati Uniti sia in primo luogo commerciale, quando in realtà è ampiamente militare (super sic!). (Nota: la sola avventura di Bush in Iraq costò più di 3 bilioni di dollari, secondo Joseph Stiglitz, The Washington Post, 9/3/08).
Conclusione
Michael Hudson conclude che i paesi (soprattutto i BRIC, che hanno cominciato a creare un sistema parallelo, esteso alla Turchia, all’Argentina, e ad altri membri ribelli del moribondo G-20) possono prevenire la rivalutazione forzata delle loro divise contro la svalutazione forzata del dollaro, in tre modi: 1) raccolta di dollari investiti in titoli del Tesoro degli Stati Uniti; 2) imporre controlli (super sic!) ai capitali; 3) evitare l’uso del dollaro o altro tipo di divisa utilizzato dagli speculatori.
Dopo un flirt con l’oro, Michael Hudson riferisce che si possono ripetere i sistemi che venivano applicati tra gli anni 30 e 50 utilizzando un diverso tasso di cambio a seconda che si trattasse di movimenti finanziari o commerciali. Questo porterebbe alla sparizione del FMI, del Banco Mondiale, dell’Organizzazione Mondiale del Commercio, con la nascita di nuove istituzioni che escluderebbero gli Stati Uniti, la Gran Bretagna e l’eurozona.
Non sarebbe male.
Al di là del leggendario nichilismo anglosassone, sarà in discussione la capacità creativa del resto dei paesi – in particolare i BRIC e i paesi emergenti che non hanno perso il desiderio di riparare al danno del colonialismo – per ricostruire il mondo con un nuovo sistema economico e finanziario meno barbaro.

Traduzione a cura
di Erika Steiner
per italiasociale.net
Fonte
http://www.jornada.unam.mx

Fiat. Lanciamo un appello dalla Serbia

www.resistenze.org - popoli resistenti - serbia - 10-01-11 - n. 346

da Liberazione del 08/01/2010
«Fiat. Lanciamo un appello dalla Serbia a tutti i lavoratori italiani»
Intervista a Rajka Veljovic, sindacato della Zastava auto Samostalni in Serbia
di Fabio Sebastiani
«Lanciamo un appello a tutti i lavoratori italiani e alle loro organizzazioni sindacali perché ci siano vicini in questo drammatico momento». Rajka Veljovic è una lavoratrice e sindacalista della Zastava auto di Kragujevac. Il governo della Serbia ha messo la parola fine sull’azienda di automobili lasciando a casa centinaia di tute blu.
A febbraio scorso la Fiat era entrata in possesso degli stabilimenti della fabbrica Zastava per farne un polo produttivo per l'Est creando una nuova società la Fiat Auto Serbia (FAS) ed aveva assunto 1000 lavoratori (facendo firmare un contratto individuale) sul totale di 2600 che erano ancora in carico all’azienda. Il salario medio in FAS è di circa 320 euro.
Così si erano create due aziende, la FAS proprietaria degli stabilimenti e con 1000 dipendenti ed una azienda (chiamata Zastava Automobili), che risultava in pratica una scatola vuota, rimasta di proprietà pubblica a cui venivano affidati i restanti 1600 lavoratori. Stipendio medio 250 euro. E’ il nuovo modello Marchionne: la creazione di una new company a cui conferire le produzioni e gli stabilimenti e una bad company su cui scaricare debiti e lavoratori in eccesso. La scelta improvvisa è arrivata proprio nei giorni di ferie. In Serbia il Natale ortodosso si festeggia proprio in questi giorni. In poche parole, il Governo serbo ha fatto il classico "lavoro sporco" chiudendo la parte pubblica del gruppo Zastava. Per i 1600 lavoratori della Zastava Auto si sono spalancate le porte della disoccupazione. Circa 600 di loro, i più anziani, saranno "accompagnati" verso la pensione con ammortizzatori economici molto deboli, ma circa 1000 riceveranno 300 euro di liquidazione per ogni anno lavorato e un sussidio di meno di 200 euro al mese per un anno e di meno di 150 per un secondo anno. Visto che in Serbia la disoccupazione viaggia sopra il 20% significa condannarli ad una condizione di precarietà che durerà per tutta la loro vita.
Che cosa è accaduto precisamente?
«E' comparso un articolo sui giornali che parlava di circa 800 lavoratori della Zastava auto, che dovevano essere considerati in eccedenza. In realtà i dipendenti sono il doppio, quindi è come se gli altri 800 fossero stati cancellati.»
Come erano gli accordi con Fiat?
«Gli accordi erano che solo per far ripartire le produzioni avrebbe assorbito subito circa 1.000 lavoratori la cui selezione è avvenuta tramite un test di cui però non conosciamo i risultati. Quel programma ha avuto molti ritardi.»
Quando la Fiat avrà bisogno di altri lavoratori dove li prenderà?
«Me lo chiedo anche io. Mi sono fatta una idea precisa, perché è già accaduto anche in altre parti della Serbia, che li prenderà attraverso l’Ufficio di collocamento pubblico e questo gli frutterà, da quello che abbiamo sentito, intorno ai 5000-7000 euro di contributo governativo per agni assunto. E’ chiaro il giochino? Adesso il governo della Serbia toglie alla Fiat la patata bollente e poi la premierà dando ulteriori contributi. Contributi che vanno ad aggiungersi a quelli già incassati.»
«Il vostro sindacato, il Samostalni, cosa ha detto?»
Per quello che ne so è stato preso alla sprovvista. Quando si sono sparse le prime voci abbiamo reagito prontamente entrando in sciopero e con un tentativo di occupazione del Comune di Kragujevac.
«La Fiat come ha reagito?

La Fiat se ne è lavata le mani, ha detto che era una questione che riguardava il Governo. In realtà ha ottenuto quello che le occorreva, la cancellazione del marchio Zastava, la proprietà degli impianti e un ampio serbatoio di lavoratori a cui attingere pagati pochissimo.»

Credit as a Public Utility: The Solution

SIX-PART VIDEO NOW AVAILABLE: "Credit as a Public Utility: The Solution to the Economic Crisis"

http://www.richardccook.com/2011/01/08/six-part-video-now-available-credit-as-a-public-utility-the-solution-to-the-economic-crisis/

This is a six-part professional-quality video that is over two hours in length. Each part consists of a lecture by Richard C. Cook on the economic crisis and its solution. The video was made on March 16, 2009, in the Maryland Room of the Prince George’s County Library, Hyattsville, MD. This is the most in-depth and complete critique of our debt-based monetary system ever made. The video concludes with a complete program of reform based on the draft American Monetary Act, implementation of a Greenback-type currency, and a citizens’ dividend/basic income guarantee. The material is deeply rooted in the history of American public finance and the author’s experience of 21 years as a U.S Treasury Department analyst. His recommendations would replace the existing financial system, which mainly serves the interests of the financial oligarchy, with a new monetary system that would serve the needs of “We the People” and our producing economy. It would also replace Federal Reserve Notes with a new system of United States currency.

Link to Video on Dandelion Salad Website

Six-Part Video Available as a Two Hour Two-DVD Set

Click “Donate” button to place order. The price for the two-DVD set is $19.95 plus $4 S&H for U.S. delivery. If your mailing address is not included in your order please send separately using the “Contact” page on the website. Also send inquiries about non-U.S. S&H cost.

Video Script Available as a Down-loadable PDF

Click “Donate” button to place order. The price for the 39-page script is $5.95.

Review of Video on “People’s Economics”

Click Here

“This is a six-part professional-quality video that is over two hours in length. Each part consists of a lecture by Richard C. Cook on the economic crisis and its solution. This is the most in-depth and complete critique of our debt-based monetary system ever made. The video concludes with a complete program of reform based on the draft American Monetary Act, implementation of a Greenback-type currency, and a citizens’ dividend/basic income guarantee. The material is deeply rooted in the history of American public finance and the author’s experience of 21 years as a U.S Treasury Department analyst. His recommendations would replace the existing financial system, which mainly serves the interests of the financial oligarchy, with a new monetary system that would serve the needs of “We the People” and our producing economy. It would also replace Federal Reserve Notes with a new system of United States currency.”

“Credit as a Public Utility:

The Solution to the Economic Crisis”

A Video in Six Parts

Written and Produced by Richard C. Cook

©2009 by Richard C. Cook. All Rights Reserved.

Part One of Six Parts: Credit As A Public Utility: The Solution to the Economic Crisis

“Our Early Political Leaders Warned Us Against the Banking Interests”

Early U.S. statesmen, such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Andrew Jackson worked to free the nation from control by the bankers who had been behind the establishment of the First and Second Banks of the United States. During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln implemented a true democratic currency by spending Greenbacks directly into circulation without borrowing from the banks. These measures allowed the U.S. to develop for much of the 19th century largely free from bankers’ control. By the end of the century, this had changed, and the bankers were taking over. Click Here

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3468056684550176104

Part Two of Six Parts: Credit As A Public Utility: The Solution to the Economic Crisis

“The Federal Reserve System: The Bankers Take Over”

President Lincoln’s Greenback system worked but was undermined and replaced by the financiers who got Congress to pass the National Banking Acts of 1863 and 1864, then the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. The United States now became a nation dominated by the financial elite, the banks, and a debt-based monetary system. Consequently, the 20th Century was one of constant cycles of inflation and deflation resulting in the economic chaos we see today.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7247440563842157664

Part Three of Six Parts: Credit As A Public Utility: The Solution to the Economic Crisis

“The Collapse of the Financial System”

The collapse we are seeing today began in the financial system, not the producing economy. The crisis started with the housing bubble which the Federal Reserve created by cutting interest rates and then brought own by raising them. The trigger of the 2008 bank meltdown was refusal by European banks to purchase any more “toxic” U.S. debt based on mortgages and sold as securities. Now, with the decline in equity values, the burden of debt in our economy has grown even larger. Thus a renewal of bank lending will not solve the problem, while the economic stimulus program of the Obama administration is likewise insufficient to restore economic health.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2586504549221421168

Part Four of Six Parts: Credit As A Public Utility: The Solution to the Economic Crisis

“What is Credit and Who Should Control It?”

Fractional reserve banking is the process by which banks create credit out of thin air. But despite abuses of the system, credit is still a crucial part of modern economics. An enlightened concept of governance would view credit as a public utility. This means that government must take back the control of credit from the private financiers.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4061589997977265938

Part Five of Six Parts: Credit As A Public Utility: The Solution to the Economic Crisis

“The Gap Between Prices and Income”

One of the most important and least understood concepts in modern economics is the existence of a gap between prices and purchasing power. This gap results when a portion of prices must be set aside as business and private savings. The money is then used by the financial system for lending and speculation. Keynesian economics takes control of some of the savings through government deficit spending but is still a compromise with control of the economy by the financiers. In fact Keynesian economics has helped cause the collapsing debt pyramid. A better system would be to provide consumers with a National Dividend as a way to monetize the continuous appreciation of the producing economy.

videoplay?docid=3035089455833762689

Part Six of Six Parts: Credit As A Public Utility: The Solution to the Economic Crisis

“The Greenback and National Dividend Solutions”

The U.S. should convert to a system where the money supply is created by the federal government by being spent into circulation without government borrowing or taxation as was done with the Greenbacks. The Federal Reserve should no longer be a bank of issue. Additionally, a National Dividend should be paid directly to the people. The “Cook Plan” calls for the initial distribution of vouchers in the amount of $1,000 a month plus a new system of community savings banks. Greenbacks combined with a National Dividend will create a non-inflationary democratic currency and transform the economy of the United States.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2945437690287937254

The horror in Tucson

The horror in Tucson

By Thomas H. Greco

I was shocked and dismayed to learn of the assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the killing of several bystanders in my home district of Tucson, Arizona. I express my heartfelt condolences to all those whose lives have been thrown into turmoil by this heinous crime.

I think it is clear that such violent attacks are being encouraged by the vitriolic rhetoric that has become commonplace in American politics, particularly the tirades that are directed these days against so-called “liberals.” Such rhetoric only serves the narrow self-interest of power-seekers and does nothing to promote collaborative inquiry and improvements to the status quo.

It seems curious that mainstream news reports about the assassin chose to highlight his alleged advocacy of a new U.S. currency. An Associated Press report had this to say:

In one of several YouTube videos, which featured text against a dark background, Loughner described inventing a new U.S. currency and complained about the illiteracy rate among people living in Giffords’ congressional district in Arizona.

“I know who’s listening: Government Officials, and the People,” Loughner wrote. “Nearly all the people, who don’t know this accurate information of a new currency, aren’t aware of mind control and brainwash methods. If I have my civil rights, then this message wouldn’t have happen (sic).”

Will that kind of journalism serve to discredit all monetary reformers and critics of the money and banking regime? That remains to be seen, but I think the American people, in the face of recent economic events and financial revelations, are now sufficiently informed to recognize the difference between lunatic ranting and sincere attempts to improve the human condition. –t.h.g.

UN SISTEMA BANCARIO DA MODIFICARE

ECONOMIA – SCILIPOTI (MRN): UN SISTEMA BANCARIO DA MODIFICARE

Roma, 13/01/2011: “Le Banche hanno il compito molto importante di reggere l’economia attraverso l’uso morale della circolazione del denaro: significa che, garantito il doveroso ricavo dalla compravendita del denaro, occorre contemporaneamente fare in modo che il Credito, tutelato da normative statali, cresca e si evolva a vantaggio di tutta la comunità statale, e non contro di essa.” L’espressione chiara del pensiero economico dell’On. Scilipoti (MRN) esprime la sua perplessità nel ravvisare la negatività di quella parte del sistema bancario che sfrutta le pieghe e le debolezze dell’economia per fare affari sulle spalle di chi, economicamente, è debole e indifeso. “La Politica deve tenere la schiena dritta di fronte ad un sistema Paese che funziona male: deve abbassare il livello di tassazione, eccessivo ed iniquo, deve snellire la burocrazia laddove si dimostra logorante ed inefficace, deve agevolare il credito a chi ne ha bisogno. Basilea 2, la normativa europea che impone alle Banche dei rapporti tra il grado di rischio sui prestiti che fanno e il grado di garanzie che devono avere per continuare ad operare – continua l’On. Scilipoti - va certamente bene per gli altri Paesi Europei, ma non per l’Italia: sarebbe opportuno non applicarlo alle Piccole e Medie Imprese, ai singoli commercianti ed artigiani. Si darebbe un enorme impulso alle imprese e quindi all’economia nazionale e potremmo essere di esempio all’Europa intera”.

Dott. Giuseppe Cuschera

Ufficio Stampa On. Dott. Domenico Scilipoti

06 67604225 - 8028

www.domenicoscilipoti.it

mercoledì 12 gennaio 2011

Financial Fraud Increasingly Pervasive

The Global Economic Crisis: Financial Fraud has Become Increasingly Pervasive

From Supranational Governance to Translocal Resistance

Fortified Knowledge: From Supranational Governance to Translocal Resistance

Contemporary educational structures are a basis for capital reproduction, a laboratory for the creation of branded epistemologies that are the centre and starting point for the reproduction of these concepts inside and beyond the walls that fortify it. International economic crisis is being remedied with a knowledge economy, at the cost of those constituting knowledge production. One of the consequences of the expanse of education has been the geopolitical restructuring of spaces of education, not only as another sphere of life appropriated by capital, but in terms of national narratives on a supranational level, echoing the corporate agendas in and around education. That expansion builds “areas” and “zones,” in which a greater marketability and exchange of “education units” can take place on behalf of supranational market agendas.

The consequences of this process are manifold and as interlinked as capital and nation, exposing the two as joint partners in the enterprise of the knowledge economy. Supranational market expansion challenges traditional national borders, with the production of profit nevertheless regulated by a “centre,” which creates hierarchical strata of outlying territories, the bottommost of which constitutes the “zone.” This shifting base forms the foundation which ebbs and flows in relation to the needs or crises of the centre. The consequences of this structure have echoed worldwide, ranging from lack of access to education, to the loss of homes, to student debt, to an increase in police forces on university campuses, regulating and preventing discord, worldwide.

However, such conditions within education are not being tolerated and the antagonism which has erupted, despite and due to the forces of regulation, has expanded as far as the problems being contested. Individuals have been protesting around the world. Just as the crises are of a transgressive nature, expanding to all spheres of life, so too has the nature of the protests. The demands of the protestors have extended to a critique of the commodification of all spheres of life. People in Europe have been protesting against the current Bologna Process reforms, in the US against high tuition fees and cutbacks, Indians in Australia against structural racism and abuse, and in the “developing world” against the ever-changing institutions following Structural Adjustment Policies implemented decades ago, to name a few. In the US, protestors have referred to the “war on our universities,” in which public funds are invested in financing the war effort and prisons, rather than invested in improving the school system. All the while, education, militias and prisons become increasingly privatized, placing public moneys into private pockets. These worldwide issues have a common element. They are part of a complex system, building a knowledge economy, as a purported solution to a failing global capitalist order.

The necessity has come for a struggle that transgresses national borders. As educational areas become supranational, the manifold protests have, for the first time, reached a transnational level. However, a new logic of resistance may need to be assessed, as the entanglement of capital and education examine the roots of supranationality within capitalized education. This analysis will, therefore, approach how supranationality substantiates a centre, semi-periphery, peripheries and zones of suspension in regard to education, following a supranational market logic, accumulating profit from education and using education as a tool for reproducing that very logic. The concept of transnational struggle against supranational structures will thus be questioned in terms of the entanglement of state and capital, proposing alternatives for a struggle against both capitalism and nationalism in their variegated and obfuscated forms.

Opening world markets – US adjustment policies

The commodification and homogenization of knowledge and education are grounded in a long history of international structural “development” policy that was conceived and installed by the US in order to ensure its position as the centre, dominating and exploiting its peripheries. In terms of regulating the centre, standardization and evaluation have served to filter through the institutions where filtration by monetary investment is unavailable, such as public primary-level education. For example, the No Child Left Behind Act has allowed for such radical transformations as entire staffs of “under-performing” public schools, which have failed to satisfy “world class standards,” being fired – the consequences of which are the segregation or gentrification of the social, which in nearly all cases, more evidently “underperform” economically, justifying their “reform” and greater financial investment, but under the terms of upgrading such schools into private industrial research facilities. The intervention of financial “rescue” brings with it the consequences of capitalized regulation of formerly public spheres, as a private-public partnership, with consequences most heavily experienced by those not financially endowed enough to intervene. Among poverty-stricken regions suffering the most, the social space is essentially cleansed, providing new “standards” and a new production of knowledge.

In terms of regulation of profit on a global level, the “dependency theory” provides an important model for analysis. Officially introduced in 1949, but relating to earlier Marxist analysis, Hans Singer and Raúl Prebisch, in two separate papers, published what later became known as the Singer-Prebisch thesis. It claims that a centre and a periphery must exist in which the periphery provides the resources and cheap labour, stabilizing and supporting the development and wealth of the centre in a traditional colonial format. Immanuel Wallerstein, however, introduced the semi-periphery in his “World Systems Theory,” claiming that a far more complex and shifting relationship between colonizer and colonized exists, with the semi-periphery playing an increasingly significant role as the balancer of the system and the disguise of the wealth gap between the “developed” and the “developing” in globalism. This analysis, however, does not take Wallerstein’s theory as a given. It draws from that economic model in order to create parallels to education in regard to the development of economic education areas and the production of “zones” for better understanding effective methods of protest. Wallerstein’s theory provides a point of departure which implies the inherent colonialism in capitalist expansion. However, specific economic and structural reform processes need to be considered in order to elaborate education’s role in not only colonial or capitalist systems, but also in neoliberal capitalist ones, taking a closer look at the relationship between state and capital.

In order to analyse the transgressive commodification and privatization of public goods and commons, opening the door for the development of neoliberal capitalism and new relations between state and capital, the policies and structures initiated by the Bretton Woods System must be examined. The underlying Bretton Woods Agreement was signed by all of the Allied nations in 1944 as a US rescue mission for the ravaged European continent during WWII. In exchange, an international monetary system was introduced, which established homogeneous capitalist market logic, based on the standardized exchange rate of currencies relayed to the massive US gold reserves. The Agreement founded the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (later to become the World Bank Group) in order to control and regulate the system. The US encouraged long-term adjustment policies through the system, promoting European and Japanese competitiveness in order to rebuild their devastated economies, turning both into US semi-peripheries. This would form the basis of a system of triangular trade, in which the US would trade at a tremendous profit between the “developing” nations of the periphery, expanding the market and expropriating raw materials. This surplus would be sent to semi-peripheral Europe to rebuild the war-torn economies, providing the US as the main market for goods and as a salvation army.

A continuation of this US “salvation policy” of development aid, following Bretton Woods, was further articulated in the Structural Adjustment Policies (SAP), of the IMF and World Bank. SAPs were expanded for restructuring “developing” regions in favour of producing dependence on the sovereign nation. They can be understood as the Bretton Woods policies for the periphery, rather than those, which have been granted to build up the semi-periphery. The development aid of SAPs was more likely to establish debt slavery and “long-term adjustment” than the short-term adjustment policies which provided a semi-periphery for fertile competition with Europe and Japan.

SAPs granted aid in exchange for opening up markets for foreign investment, a devaluing of the local currency and a privatization of formerly public systems, resources or services, such as water, healthcare or education. Education played a significant role, establishing the “developing” world as a testing field, maintained by the colonial ideological basis that education was necessary for that very “development” to proceed. This led to educational reforms in South America and Africa during the 1970s and 1980s that have left irreparable damage, making privatized education more inaccessible rather than opening it up. The parallel process of implementing rewritten histories and corrected knowledges was the ideological basis of Structural Adjustment Policies, justifying the very reforms taking place.

As “developing” regions were aided under terms that implemented debt slavery, and the first measures to eradicate socialism were made through SAPs in socialist-aligned regions of the Global South, transitional regions would gain a significant position in creating new semi-peripheries as Europe rose to be a substantial economic competitor to the US. In order to ideologically justify the economic expansion to socialist regions – which created a great hindrance to opening global markets – an eradication of the socialist “evil” would be purported through the salvation mission, led by the Washington Consensus – a series of regulations, supporting open market ethics and a privatization of previously socialized goods and services, implemented by the financial institutions set up by Bretton Woods for opening up the region to capitalization processes through “development aid” following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Socialism would essentially be eradicated worldwide during the “Second” Cold War, allowing a complete transition towards global capitalism. This marked the moment that the global capitalist “salvation” process succeeded, implementing a new semi-periphery and a new competition between the USA and Europe, based on the level of development of the former Eastern Bloc, in which both centres were avidly investing, opening the new era of “transition” and liberal “democratization.”

The neoliberal capitalist turn, following the Bretton Woods System and its many extensions, would establish a neocolonial platform for financial development. What was and still is referred to as the “liberation” of territories and a salvation mission of bringing “democracy” to the oppressed world, merely echoes colonial salvation missions, fashioned for the expropriation of wealth and resources from outlying territories and the appropriation of everything that produces it. As Bobby Subhabrata Banerjee states, in an “imperialism without colonies,” we can now refer to a “democracy without choices.”

European recovery – paving the way for a competitive knowledge economy

Supranationality would become the method necessary to strengthen Western Europe’s position in an approaching neoliberally-capitalized, neocolonized world. As the disastrous laceration of WWII weakened Europe, it would become important that the US domination and salvation mission remain within limited boundaries of fertile competition. Following the US establishment of strong capitalist trading areas and the parallel communist bloc, the project of the European Community would begin. Formed according to the US format of the military-industrial complex, Western Europe would begin to form supranational areas based on the pillars of the military, economy and resources: the Western European Union, the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community. Each of these constellations would depart from the basic assumption of the principles of human rights and the anti-tyranny consensus of the participating countries, safeguarded by the political collaboration of the Council of Europe and its European Court of Human Rights. These structures would lay down the basic framework for the approaching European Union, an open area of economic and political union.

With the establishment of the EU in 1993, expanding the market area in Europe, a long-winded integration process of the post-socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe would begin, enforcing guidelines for “development” by which the “East” should become “civilized” enough to enter Europe, all the while supporting competition between the US and Europe on “developing” soil. This should additionally be viewed in terms of what was taking place during the Cold War. While the Cold War, in contrast to a “hot war,” was not violently fought between the nations which wagered war, their dirty work was being done in the outlying peripheral regions of the “developing world.” The expropriation of goods and resources, cheap labour and opening of markets to capital and financing civil wars in the periphery maintained a perpetual state of exception in the regions which were not recognized as part of the war. The peripheral battles could by no means be considered “cold.” With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, a new zoned global market would arise in which nearly all regions would be open to intervention by the Centre. The “cold” tensions between the centre and its competition simmered down, but the unrecognised “hot” portion would continue into the present. This situation describes the regions open to capitalization at the time, however, following the opening of the Eastern Bloc after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the conditions of capitalist expansion and development aid would reach and open the area.

In order to protect the economic and political area of the EU, claimed to be an open area “without borders,” a system of detention camps and zones of suspension fortify the borders to the outlying “developing” territories, forming what is criticized as “fortress Europe,” a term originally coined in reference to the Nazi occupation of Europe. However, applying the Nazi propaganda term to current conditions becomes problematic as it likens the methods of the German Wehrmacht to those of the contemporary EU border and migration regimes. Therefore, we propose the use of the term “fortified Europe” instead.

Referencing Balibar, who analyzes the transformation of the border into the zone, Marina Gržinić states that: “We do not talk about the East and West of Europe any more, but of the transformation of a whole territory into a zone that functions in such a way as a (new) border.” The question of borders disappears in order for the physiognomy of borders to change radically. She claims “former Eastern Europe” constitutes such a “border zone” for testing the whole territory. However, as the integration process expands, these zones continue to shift and reappear in different constellations.

In terms of shifting borders and the creation of zones, it is important to recognize the nearly complete EU integration process. The only exceptions, however, are the non-Christian nations of Bosnia, Kosovo and Albania, which have instead been converted to zones, deemed unworthy for the salvation missions dictated by the cultural superiority of Christianity. This example clarifies the terms under which open market ideology functions – coupling liberal capitalism with conservatism or neoliberalism with neoconservatism – exposing coloniality in the “salvation” of the “undeveloped” as the very basis of capitalization. Additionally, in order to continually fortify the centre and extend the logic of salvation, the EU has shifted the focus of its policy to the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), already established in Maastricht in 1992 and largely expanded in the Lisbon Treaty of 2007/2009, establishing a joint military policy, which aims at forming an EU army for military missions outside of EU territory. This logic must reeducate the citizenry in order to gain consensus to its advancement. With the example of SAPs, it can be observed how restructuralization under capitalization begins with the privatization of commons, implanting itself within education, regulating itself through violently fortified borders and reproducing its own logic through reeducation.

Knowledge economy areas

As Europe began the process of emancipation from the economic dominance of the USA following WWII, education would take on an increasingly significant position. This would allow Europe to elevate its global economic status from a semi-periphery to a centre of power, supplementing other political interests such as economic, legal and military intentions with educational restructuring.

While Europe lagged in scientific development during WWII, the USA excelled. To catch up and challenge the US foothold in scientific development, Europe would invest in a growing engagement in Research and Technological Development (RTD). In order to increase Europe’s competitiveness with the USA, it would enhance intra-European academic mobility and promote Europe’s profile as a study and research destination for non-European students. This intra-European academic mobility would be structured through the creation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) aimed for 2010. That structure has been supported by the launch of the Bologna Process in 1999, whose joint primary focus, however, is the development of a European Research Area (ERA) incepted in 2000, in supporting Research and Technological Development (RTD).

With the elevation of Europe from a semi-periphery to a centre, influenced by the successful knowledge economic model, Australia would also enter the race by initiating the Brisbane Communiqué in 2006, targeting an Asia Pacific Higher Education Area for competition with the US and aspiring EU models. Australia has subsequently gained significant economic success, based on incoming students, seen as “guest consumers,” represented statistically as an “educational export.” The area under the Brisbane Communiqué, or the broader Asia-Pacific region, includes the 52 countries of the region invited to the Asia-Pacific Education Ministers’ Meeting in April 2006. This region subsequently composes Australia’s periphery.

It is important to understand that the functionality of the centre-periphery model as a territorial strategy of dominance is based on the control and regulation of mobility and migration. We therefore, use the term “fortified knowledge centres” to refer to how this relates to the fortification around the knowledge economy areas, as the EHEA and EU are congruent with the EU border and migration regime supporting the necropolitical border defence projects of Frontex, not only accepting the consequences of drowning boat refugees, but enforcing it.

By aiming to declare all of its neighbouring countries “safe” “third countries” and financing massive detention centres there, the EU creates a semi-peripheral buffer zone, into which any asylum seeker who is caught in the EU can be deported to without the EU legally violating the Geneva Convention. This outsources the responsibility of accepting asylum seekers, subjects them to cruel conditions the EU effectively imposes, meanwhile blaming the conditions on the “underdeveloped” conditions of the outlying regions.
Those who are able to enter the centre from the peripheries through means of educational mobility are strictly regulated and framed accordingly to work force demands, supplying cheap labour to the centre, allotting them a position at the base of society. Simultaneously, however, the appeal of Europe to researchers and students outside of the centre is exacerbated. Incoming students are seen as guest consumers during their studies and as potential intellectual or scientific upgrades after their studies. Thereby a core of wealthy consumers who can afford the investment are welcomed, those who arrive at the base and filter into a useful elite can be granted some eventual rights to stay, whereas the most excluded group gets sent back to the peripheries as sediment following the expiry of granted access.
This flexible, yet regulated mobility arrangement has introduced the same terminology into education as used in economic trade, of “areas,” such as the EHEA, ERA, etc. Is it also significant to maintain the difference here between mobility, which is protected by law, and migration, which is punishable by law. In these “areas,” maximal mobility of goods, services and capital allow an unlimited production of profit. The outlying regions in which movement can be sanctioned can be defined in terms of the aforementioned zones, defined by Balibar, which function to replace the traditional national borders. These zones are regulated through a permanent state of suspension or exception. Such zones can be the outlying regions of Europe, never to be integrated into the EHEA or EU, or in the example of the entire region of sub-Saharan Africa, a region not “civilized” enough to enter bilateral or multilateral trade, but simply support the “developed world” as resource-rich bargain bins.

The centre

When examining the development of the Bologna Process leading to the EHEA, the creation of the centre and its peripheries becomes clear. The signatories of the Bologna Declaration are congruent with the Member States of today’s EU and form the core of the EHEA or its centre. Being inside the borders of the Schengen area, the countries’ citizens purportedly increase the intra-European academic mobility as they enjoy the freedom of movement and are therefore enabled to study, research and teach in any location within the Schengen area. As EU citizens, they are additionally protected from discrimination based on their national origin e.g. they cannot be charged more tuition fees than residents, scholarships are available to them, they have the right to work and make a living – principles that are guaranteed by the EU judiciary.

The semi-periphery

The part of the EHEA outside of the EU forms its semi-periphery. This includes the Western Balkans, Turkey, Russia, the Ukraine, Moldova, the Caucasus Republics, thereby all non-EU countries on the Eurasian landmass west of the Caspian Sea and (since March 2010) Kazakhstan. The semi-periphery is defined through all signatories of the European Cultural Convention and the Member States of the Council of Europe (the only exception is Belarus who signed the previous, but not the latter). Its citizens benefit from the comparability of the national education systems, therefore, they can transfer credits and easily continue their studies in the centre in case they are selected and permitted to enter the Schengen area where they are subjected to a number of (nationally-varying) discriminations such as the obstruction to work for money and the simultaneous obligation to prove the possession of an amount of money, which exceeds the maximal allowed annual income.

The periphery

The periphery of the EHEA is comprised of the countries of Northern Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, all of them participating in Tempus, “a vehicle for the promotion and exchange of Bologna ideas to countries surrounding the EU.” According to the Bologna Process Conference Berlin 2003, there is no perspective to integrate these countries into the EHEA, because they are not signatories of the European Cultural Convention, therefore, they are not considered to share the “common cultural heritage of Europe” and “safeguard and encourage the development of European culture.” In the case of the periphery, the domination strategy – the export of epistemology and “braindrain” of the zones – is established “with regions and countries in other parts of the world by promoting the idea and practice of regional cooperation and through practical cooperation and dissemination of experiences,” meaning to advocate “the need to expand cooperation, exchange and scholarship programs for administrators, faculty and students from non-Bologna countries.” With that aim, Europe is even fishing in foreign waters by launching academic exchange programs with Latin America, such as Alfa or attaching “priority to the creation of the EU-LAC (European Union, Latin America and Caribbean) Common Area of Higher Education, geared towards mobility and cooperation.” Interestingly, there is no country which is part of both the EHEA or its periphery and the Australia-dominated Asia Pacific Higher Education Area, with the exception of Turkey. This precise apportionment of the territories can be seen as a continuation of the territorial demarcation processes that the colonial empires carried out with their colonial conferences until the 20th century.

The establishment of the EHEA, with its exclusive and inclusive mechanisms of the centre and its peripheries, not only closely relates to the fortification of Europe by utilizing the same centre and buffer zones, but its function depends on the disfranchisement of excluded and included individuals. So it is necessary to not only refer to “fortified Europe” in terms of its migration politics and border regime, but to understand the fortification as a transgressive logic being gradually applied to every sphere of life regulated by EU policy to, therefore, understand the EHEA as a “fortified knowledge centre.”

So what is at stake is that the centre of the First Capitalist World (USA) dominating its peripheries (Western Europe and the “developing” world) was ruptured within the last two decades into three centres – with the emerging EU and Australia – who established structures for education and research areas in order to compete with the US and create their own profitable peripheries. The central position of the US territory, as the centre of knowledge production, exporting its epistemology to rule and “braindrain” its periphery, is the result of hegemony of the US research and knowledge production system that lasts for decades worldwide.

As Europe and Australia elevated themselves from a (semi-)periphery to a centre at the expense of US domination, it is always possible for other (semi-)peripheral territories to do so, such as China and India. China and India, for example, are members of the BRIC nations – Brazil, Russia, India and China – the most rapidly developing economies in the world and those with the greatest investment in Africa (their periphery). Goldman Sachs argues that by 2050, the combined economies of the BRICs could eclipse the combined economies of the current richest countries of the world.

Expanding education as an empire

The dominant models of the educational areas of the centre have expanded and linked to their peripheries globally, with the appeal of allowing the elevation to a semi-periphery, through multilateral trade agreements and academic exchange programs. Some significant emerging semi-peripheries can be seen in the Maghreb region and in South Africa, for example. The five states of Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia established the Maghreb Union in 1989 to promote a common market. It was envisioned by Muammar al-Gaddafi as a supranational Arab state, which has begun fertile competition and coordination with Europe, including acting as a regulator for African migrants into the EU.

In December 2009, the “International Conference for Knowledge-Based Economies for Creating Job Opportunities, Raising the Level of Competitiveness and Realizing Balanced Development” was organized by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), the World Bank and the Tunisian government. The Tunis Declaration, which emerged from it, calls for holding a world summit that should guarantee the Maghreb’s transformation into a knowledge-economy based region. Additionally, the Declaration calls for establishing suitable mechanisms for “enhancing cooperation and partnership, strengthening the role of private-sector enterprises and civil-society organizations, and coordinating contributions from specialized regional and international organizations.” Algeria, however, urged by the Ministry of Education’s disappointment with graduation statistics, has begun fining the parents of children who do not regularly attend school. On the other hand, many parents simply cannot afford to send their children to school, so while drastically disciplining and enforcing class division, investment is nonetheless made in order to bolster the knowledge economy area models.

Zones stabilize the elevation and “opening” of entire regions. On January 26th 2010, the World Trade Organization Secretariat launched a new program of support for teaching, research and outreach activities at 14 universities in the “developing” world. International financial organizations and institutions (UNESCO, World Bank, etc.) are in favour of the adjustment of African universities to the Bologna model. This example demonstrates one of the attempts of the periphery to rise to a semi-periphery, however, the incompatibility with the “common cultural heritage of Europe,” inherently excludes the participation of, for example, Muslim countries, thereby merely supporting a continuation of a European panopticon model.


Nationalism and transnational struggle – the fortified Hofburg

On March 12, 2010 the launch of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), as envisaged in the Bologna Declaration of 1999, was declared by Ministers of the participating 47 countries at the Bologna Ministerial Anniversary Conference in Vienna, a city which had been the site of massive education protests in late 2009, with several Universities squatted and tens of thousands demonstrating against the commodification of education and knowledge. After the protestors invited activists from all over the world to join them in a counter-summit and days of action challenging the official Bologna Summit, the Austrian police reactivated the original function of the Hofburg, which hosted the Bologna Ministerial Anniversary Conference, as a fortified castle. Thereby it applied the same structure of the fortified centre, regulating its peripheries through domination on a micro-level, effective throughout “fortified Europe” and the “fortified knowledge centre.” Therefore a micro- and macro-level analysis must be made in order to compare potentialities, action, resistance and policies.

The Hofburg, Vienna’s Imperial Palace, is not only known for its royal past, but for Adolf Hitler’s speech on the Hofburg’s balcony on March 15, 1938, the annex of Austria to the German Reich to hundreds of thousands of raving Viennese after the Nazis took over power from the Austro-fascists. On January 29th, 2010, shortly before the Bologna Summit at the Hofburg, the police had a dress rehearsal for the Hofburg’s fortification, during a ball held by far-right extremist fraternities, or Burschenschaften, in that very building. Some of them, such as the infamous Olympia, have close ties to neo-Nazism. In order to prevent protestors from jeopardizing the event, the police closed the fortified Hofburg. A demonstration against the ball was forbidden by Viennese authorities; hundreds of assembling protestors were closed in by police and criminalized through penalties. 14 anti-fascist activists were arrested and at least 20 individuals were hospitalized after injury by police forces.

Approximately one month later, as the first day of the Bologna Summit was held in the Hungarian parliament in Budapest, Vienna’s streets were populated with around 10,000 demonstrators. The main part of the protest led people to and ended in front of the Hofburg’s main gate, which was closed off from the international protestors, creating a true fortified stronghold. This fortification of the Hofburg is not customary, nor do those involved recall such an action in their lifetimes. Meanwhile, participants were called out to join a series of blockade actions in the city’s arteries surrounding the Hofburg. The protesters were separated into several groups, each serving to blockade a major route to the fortress within the city’s semi-periphery in order to prevent the Ministers and their peons from accessing the fortified centre. Several of the blockade attempts were successful as police became overwhelmed by the flexibility of the protestors. As these can be seen as actions against the divisions of centre and semi-periphery on a micro-level, they gained significance because of an additional action in the city’s periphery, when railroad tracks were blockaded on the route from Budapest to Vienna, forcing a transfer from the chartered trains to buses, delaying the Ministers’ and their cohorts’ arrival to Vienna by several hours.


The fact that the police were relatively subdued in their reaction to the blockades of “fortress Hofburg” (none injured, “just” five arrests) shows, that the micro-level comparison to “fortified Europe” and its “fortified knowledge centre” drifts apart at the moment when the question of citizens and their rights comes into play: Those who challenge the system on the macro-level are oppressed with brutal restriction and absolute disfranchisement. In contrast, the protestors on the micro-level in Vienna were regarded as part of the macro-centre, therefore enjoying all legal rights of European citizens, additionally regarded with a benevolent method of cross-fertilization, indicating their recognized eligibility as potential future successors of the administration within the (micro-)centre. However, in violation to the unwritten law that police are not to enter university grounds in Austria, Austrian universities have adopted policies of open repression, which had been carried out against education protestors worldwide, by calling the police to evacuate occupied spaces at the University of Vienna and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in December 2009.


International oppression

As most of the university occupations and protests against the commodification of knowledge were reacted to with police violence and oppression, varied levels of brutality have depended on geopolitical locations, economic status, class and segregation. For example, several universities in Germany were evacuated by the police with teargas and beatings immediately after they were occupied. A student was severely beaten and 11 were arrested at the University of Zimbabwe, following arrests in Harare and Bulawayo the week before. In Melbourne, Australia a demonstration of 4,000 Indian students, protesting against racist assault, was violently broken up by police. Water cannons were used to disperse protesting university students in Johannesburg demanding free tertiary education for the poor. 6 students were arrested for distributing flyers against the neoliberal university at Hosei University in Korea. 17 activists were arrested for anti-racist demonstrations at the University of California Irvine and the “Open University,” established by protestors at UC Berkeley was raided by police, with 65 activists detained.

The presence of police on campuses can, nevertheless, exceed far beyond such levels of violence, such as in the exceptional case of Kofi Adu-Brempong, a 35-year old doctoral student and teaching assistant at the University of Florida. Adu-Brempong, an immigrant from Ghana, lived in on-campus housing was reported as worried that his student visa may not be extended. Referred to as “delusional” and “hysterical,” the police were called when Adu-Brempong raised his voice in his home. Adu-Brempong was then tased by police forces twice, shot twice with an assault rifle, then finally shot in the face twice, leaving him in critical condition after losing his tongue and jaw. After the brutal attack, the 165 cm tall man, who needed a cane to walk due to a childhood case of polio, was arrested with felony charges for “violently resisting arrest.” The five special operative police officers involved had been charged with racist violence in the past, having thrown eggs at African-American passers-by, with the team leader being demoted to campus security for that reason.

This context becomes exposed differently, as no significant protests had taken place in Florida until then, with the attack on Kofi Adu-Brempong taking place on March 1, 2010, three days before the nationwide protests against the privatization of education were declared to take place. In a state with a dense history of slavery and racism, it was historically common for a slave-owner to “make an example of a slave” to prevent any potential rebellion. However, not a local phenomenon, this panopticon model of surveillance and submission for fear of violent punishment is a global model. In Adu-Brempong’s case, however, the extremity provoked a group of 400 students, locals and professors to march into the Board of Trustees office at the University of Florida, protesting and demanding “justice for Kofi” and an end to oppressive, violent strategies at universities.

Taking down the fortress

The examples of blockade in Europe, international uprising, transnational meetings and solidarity with Adu-Brempong show a significant realignment of protest methodology. They show a struggle that transgresses national borders, expanding to question all of the spheres of life appropriated by capitalization and privatization.

“Politicized by the three-month squatting of the ‘Arena’ in 1976,” as reflected in a recent interview , the Austrian Jewish film-maker, Ruth Beckermann, worked on a film about a workers’ strike at “Semperit,” a tire factory in an industrial quarter south of Vienna. Reporting on an interview with one of the workers about the trouble of the strike movement, he clarifies that companies and syndicates are controlled by “the Jew.” At the editing table, Beckermann decides to leave his conglomerate of classical anti-Semitic dictums out of the film, remarking: “It is about the worker’s struggles which we want to support with this film. […] You shouldn’t be over-sensitive because of an anti-Semite.”

By including “demands, criticism and claims that go beyond the immediate context of education and universities, expanding to the identification of how the neoliberal capitalist market logic has infiltrated all parts of life,” the global education protests proved to be transgressive – a crucial characteristic considering the transgressive character of the opposed system. However, this must include the protest movement itself. Therefore it is essential to be vigilant about all exclusionist strategies that are reproduced within the protests. Sexism and racism were not sufficiently attacked and led to some of the affected individuals breaking away from the protests.

Within the protests, it was alarming, for example, to see redundant anti-Semitic stereotypes reproduced by a group of students from Weimar’s Bauhaus University without being called out and contested. While travelling past international university occupations, they spread thousands of flyers of fake dollar bills, replaced with a picture of Milton Friedman and a claim criticizing Bologna on the back, identifying a Jewish economist as the root of all evil, reproducing one of the most dangerous anti-Semitic myths of the Jews and their economic dominance. As the only personified supplement for all possible claims against the commodification of knowledge, the banknote can be downloaded as a template to fill in ANY claim, therefore ANY claim criticizing the commodification of knowledge is supplemented with “the Jew” as the universal scapegoat. It is also remarkable that this action came from a university just 10km (approximately 6 miles) away from the Buchenwald concentration camp, censoring an art project dealing with the Shoah and concealing its own cruel history of anti-Semitism. No matter what the protestors intended, the reproduction of sexist, racist, anti-Semitic and other exclusionist elements must be critically confronted with uncompromising rejection regardless of any wrongly intended restrictive thoughts “for the sake of the protests.”

As increasing levels of oppression are the response to resistance, protestors cannot accept a reproduction of such ideologies within their articulated demands and actions. In a fight against the commodification of education, its subservience to capital and coloniality and education’s role as reproductive machinery, the link between capitalization and nationalization – supranational or transnational – must be observed and fought against as well as transnationality has the danger of accepting, perpetuating and reproducing the logic of the nation-state. The expansion to transnational struggle and transnational networking of protests is key, but perhaps this is the moment to envision a new vocabulary of worldwide resistance.


This broader interlinkage of local implications of oppression and struggle describes what Banerjee terms “translocality” as “[…] local communities living in democratic societies that are engaged in conflicts with both the state and the market, and sometimes even with ‘civil society,’ while also making connections with other resistance movements in different parts of the world,” continuing with: “The ultimate challenge of a theory of translocal resistance is to conceive the inconceivable: an extension of the democratic that transcends nation-state sovereignty, perhaps even transcends citizenship,” because “The nation-state then is a fundamental building block of globalization, in the working of transnational corporations, in the setting-up of a global financial system, in the institution of policies that determine the mobility of labour, and in the creation of the multi-state institutions such as the UN, IMF, World Bank, NAFTA and WTO. […] So the translocal emerges at the intersection of political society and civil society where groups of people comprising the political society in different parts of the globe are fighting similar battles over resources against market and state actors.”

The model of the siege of the fortress Hofburg demonstrates the micro-version of a macro-model. It showed that in order to take action and create a blockade, it must be carried out on all three levels: the periphery (of the fortress – blockades), the semi-periphery (siege) and the centre (sabotage). The same applies to the macro-level: radical change can only be achieved when the fortress is fought on multiple layers, from all regions, inside and outside.

Struggle and solidarity must not only take place within and across the centres, uniting the nations of Europe or states of the USA. The conditions of the centre are both connected to and complicit in the conditions of oppression worldwide, therefore, solidarity and struggle must extend to, for example, the struggles in non-Christian nations, the manifold protests taking place throughout the Global South, and zones subjugated to erasure. The protest cannot legitimize that erasure! Such zones receive brutal sanctions against movement of people, the very movement necessary for transnational union.

This is where translocality comes into play. It is an international mode of struggle which simultaneously resists the links between capital and nation-state, which does not acknowledge the privilege of those within the centre, and does not reproduce the colonial ideology of salvation through education or the complex structures composing the knowledge economy. It takes the understanding one’s own involvement in global processes into resistance actions. This model must be considered in future summits and meetings, in order to expand future protests beyond the centre, to establish exchange and collaboration on a translocal level with resistant forces across all regions, extending and challenging the regime of fortified knowledge.

Lina Dokuzović is an artist and theorist, living and working in Vienna, Austria. Her artwork and research, predominantly as a series of diagrammatical visualizations of theory, analyse the mechanisms of appropriation, privatization and militarization of structures, such as education, culture, the body and land. She is a board member of the Austrian Association of Women Artists (VBKÖ) and a PhD candidate at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.

Eduard Freudmann researches and intervenes in the intersection between art and politics, power relations and social contexts, contemporary theirstory/ourstory and media mechanisms, strategies of exclusion and the commodification of knowledge. He lives and works in Vienna and teaches in the department for Post-Conceptual Art Practices at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

The Strange Story of the Single Market

The Strange Story of the Single Market

in:

For the past few months global attention, especially in the international financial media, has been focussed on the eurozone. The reasons are obvious. The group of countries that make up the European Union together constitute the largest economy in the world. Instability within it -- which now seems inevitable, no matter how the current problems of countries like Greece, Ireland, Portugal and possibly Spain and Italy are dealt with -- will have huge repercussions in the rest of the world.
And of course the story of the economic union is itself a compelling one, unique in the history of the past two centuries: how countries that had been quite recently torn apart by war and strong economic nationalism came together in progressively more intense ways, culminating in the common currency of the eurozone. There is no question that this was always a remarkable project, and the extent to which economic union proceeded apace without political merger always seemed unbelievable to some observers.
Whether one sees the creation of the eurozone as a tribute to idealism with respect to regional co-operation, or a reflection of the triumph of political will over economic barriers, or simply as a desperate response of a group of countries to the currency volatility created by mobile capital flows, really does not matter. The point is that it has been a fascinating experiment. For at least a decade, its apparent stability called into question a belief that was axiomatically held by many economists: that monetary union is difficult if not impossible without fiscal federalism underpinned by more comprehensive political union.
In fact the European Union, and within it the eurozone, was the culmination of the century-long drive in Europe towards greater integration, punctuated by wars, other conflicts and instabilities, but proceeding regardless of those hurdles. The initial driving force of such a union may well have been political, but there were always explicit recognition of clear economic benefits. These were argued to emerge mostly from the reduced transaction costs of all cross-border economic activities, including trade in goods and services. In addition, the stability provided by a single currency served to reduce risk in a world of very volatile currency movements driven by mobile capital flows. This was seen to be an additional inducement to invest in productive activities, especially in "peripheral" European countries that would not otherwise have access to international capital on such favourable terms. This is why, despite the recent difficulties of several economies in the eurozone, the list of countries lining up to join it is still long and shows no sign of dwindling.
But there are also significant costs of such union, which are becoming especially evident now. The most obvious is the loss of two major macroeconomic policy instruments: the exchange rate and monetary policy, which can otherwise be used to prevent an economy from falling into a slump. In addition, the "Stability and Growth Pact" that emerged as part of the Maastricht Treaty that laid down the conditions for common currency also specified strict fiscal limits that effectively also tied up fiscal policy. Of course these have been observed more in the breach, especially by the larger European economies, but they did operate to constrain fiscal policy to a significant extent as well.

These in turn affect the ability to respond to imbalances. For example, Greece could have tried to use a combination of exchange rate devaluation and lower interest rates to stimulate demand, increase income and reduce unemployment, as well as prevent the external deficit from deteriorating. Of course this is not foolproof, as many countries know, but trying to adjust without such instruments is that much harder. Instead, Greece, Ireland, Spain and other similar economies are being forced into an even more painful "internal devaluation" by forcing prices to come down through a terrible mixture of fiscal austerity, unemployment and deflation, which in fact makes the debt burden worse.
All these have been widely commented upon in the context of the current crisis, and the inherent rigidities of an economic regime that does not allow currency devaluation as a response to widely varying prices and external imbalances have generally been seen as the basic factors behind the current crisis. But strangely, hardly any commentaries on the matter get into the more basic question: how could such imbalances be created and persist in the first place?
This is probably the more important question, because it points to a disturbing conclusion: that the entire process of European economic integration actually created much less actual integration than was expected. In fact, the Single Market that was launched in 1994 was intended to do away with all trade barriers as well as all restrictions on capital and labour flows. The purpose was to create a single unified market, in which prices would be equalised across member countries.
These prices that were to be equalised were of both goods and services, and of labour, since workers could also freely move between countries. But even till date labour does not really move freely across European borders despite the removal of official restrictions. Of course it is well known that labour mobility is not that simple, especially where there are different languages and cultures. In fact it is rare to find wage equalisation across regions even within national boundaries, as we know well in India. Similarly, because many services like personal services are still not so easily traded, their prices need not get equalised either.
But there is no such constraint when it comes to a single market for goods. The typical expectation whenever trade barriers are reduced or removed is that trade arbitrage will ensure uniform prices, or in other words, countries will keep exporting or importing goods until their prices are equalised. This also forms the basis of all trade theory, with all the policy conclusions that are then drawn from it. In Europe, with relatively low transport costs across many countries, there was no a priori reason for this not to happen.
But remarkably, this did not happen. This is the real surprise of the European economic project, and is the mother of all the other problems. There is much talk of faster productivity changes in Germany resulting in lower export prices that effectively out-competed the production of workers in Greece and Spain, and so on. But if the Single Market were actually functioning properly, prices would have been equalised across the region.
In fact, price differences of a large basket of goods are large across different European countries (and even within them) and have not only persisted but in some cases even increased. This continues despite cases of individual trade arbitrage: it is common to find householders in Geneva, Switzerland cross the border into France to pick up their household supplies in the cheaper supermarkets of France, just as migrant hawkers peddle goods like watches whose prices vary dramatically across different European cities.
How can this happen? Why did the Single Market in Europe not force price equalisation? This is not an easy question to answer, especially as surprisingly little research has concentrated on this issue. But the growing concentration of both production and retail activities, with the associated proclivity to price to particular markets and charge "what the market will bear" in each location, may have played a role.
In any case, this gives us an important insight into the process of economic integration: that even in the most favourable conditions, it is not necessary that reduction/removal of trade barriers will lead to price equalisation. This in turn forces us to rethink many of our other conclusions about the effects of open trade.
Obviously, we still understand relatively little about the effects of removing trade restrictions, since many of the actual outcomes are quite different from what is predicted by standard theory or even by what seems like common sense. In this way, as in so many others, the current experience of the eurozone is instructive for the rest of the world.


Jayati Ghosh is Professor, Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and Executive Secretary of International Development Economics Associates (IDEAs). This article was first published by International Development Economics Associates on 22 December 2010.