ECONOMY AND SOLIDARITY: NEW (PRECARIOUS) LABOUR RELATIONS IN POST-FORDIST EUROPE
Friday, 28. October
Moderator: Özge Genç, Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation, Turkey
Jorma Routti is currently the Executive Chairman of Creative Industries Management (CIM) in Helsinki, Finland. He has served as the Director General of Research DG of the European Commission in Brussels 1995-2000 in charge of the European Union research programs. In 1985-1995, Routti was the President of Sitra, The Finnish Innovation Fund. He has been active in developing Finland’s innovation systems and venture capital industry. Recently he has directed the World Bank study published as the book Finland as Knowledge Economy – Elements of Success and Lessons Learned and participated in many World Bank and other related projects in African, Asian, Latin American, Middle East and Eastern European countries.
Routti obtained a PhD degree at the University of California, Berkeley, USA as well as Dr.Phil.h.c. and Dr.Techn.h.c. degrees. He has worked at the University of California, USA, at Cern, Geneva, Switzerland, served as Professor at the Helsinki University of Technology and as Visiting Professor in many countries. He has also been Chairman of numerous organizations, including Finnish Cultural Foundation, Finnish Institute of Management, Academy of Technology, government committees on climatic change and energy systems, as well as major corporations and international research organizations.
EU Economy, Solidarity. Knowledge and Innovation
1. ECONOMY DEVELOPMENTS AND SOLIDARITY CHALLENGES
2. KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY AND GLOBALIZATION
3. INNOVATION SYSTEMS
Akis Gavriilidis is a writer and translator born in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1964 and living currently in Brussels, Belgium. He studied Law and in 1998 completed a PhD with the title Democracy Against Liberalism. The Notion of Natural Law in Spinoza, the study was later published as a book (Ellinika Grammata, Athens 2000). Other publications (in Greek) includes: The Incurable Necrophilia of Radical Patriotism. Ritsos-Elytis-Theodorakis-Svoronos (Futura, Athens 2006); The Continuation of Civil War With Other Means (Kapsimi, Athens 2007); In a World of Authenticity We are All Strangers (Panopticon, Thessaloniki 2007); Billy Wilder: The (Self) Criticism of the Hollywood Spectacle (Aigokeros, Athens 2009).
He has also published several original or translated articles in Greek, English, French, Spanish, Serbo-Croatian and Portuguese, in journals and on the internet, and translated articles of the others. He is a member of the “Social Laboratory” of Thessaloniki and of the “Frassanito” transnational network on the migration movements. Currently he is doing post-doctoral research at the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki.
The Effectiveness of the “Non-Project”: The Greek Crisis as a Test for Phallogocentrism
The past one or two-year period has been one of the most dense and intense in Greek history. Consequently, it constitutes a real laboratory for almost all sorts of economic, cultural, social, or political ideas, and a goldmine for theoretical analysis. Out of several possible lines, my presentation will focus on some lessons learned regarding the action and the organisation – or lack thereof – of what we could call the multitude, or the people, or the subaltern/underprivileged social groups, or any other name one would prefer (of course all these terms are not the same).
After one year of consecutive harsh austerity plans dictated by the “markets”, and more directly by the EU and the IMF, June 2011 marked the eruption of the so-called “movement of the outraged ones”, inspired by previous experiences in Spain and North Africa. This consisted of a large – though not stable – number of people gathering for several weeks in the main square of Athens, but other Greek cities as well, occupying it, some camping in it, and holding popular assemblies. This mobilisation provoked mixed reactions. The government in the beginning had a seemingly neutral but condescending stance, only to come up with fierce repression later. As far as intellectuals are concerned, mainstream modernist-(neo)liberal analysts showed mostly contempt and hostility; but also traditional leftist and anarchist commentators expressed embarrassment, reservations, even opposition. What mostly disturbed both of these groups was that this strange kind of political action had no clear political project; it was, at best, an understandable sentimental outburst, but irrational and ineffective, with no impact on what “real politics and economics” are about.
This difficulty had a (self-)orientalising/balkanising dimension, as the debt crisis brought to the surface the never totally eradicated anxiety about the belonging – or not – of the country to modernity, its accession to European status; the possibility of a negative answer is experienced as extremely humiliating, and often compared to a sort of emasculation. Besides, a very marked gender dimension is also testified by the accusation of “chattering” – a vice traditionally attributed to women, while men are supposed to “act seriously” rather than just talk, to give battles, dealing with real capitalist exploitation and domination.
These criticisms were proven wrong, for two reasons:
a) the assemblies were a means without end, a performance of virtuosity; but also they were a form of “communicational strike” themselves, a form of reclaiming discourse and using it for the production of the common, rather than putting it at the service of value production while at work and passively listening to discourses of others while outside of it.
b) This communication was much more effective even in strict political terms than any traditional fordist form of struggle, as its message bypassed national institutions and reached directly the “international markets”, who realised the risk of an unmanageable instability threatening their profitability too, much better than a thousand interventions by state officials or working class champions could make them realise.
Barbara Beznec has a Political Science degree in International Relations. She is a translator and author of numerous articles, including Constitutionalization of European Citizenship (ČKZ, Študentska založba, Ljubljana 2006); Resident Alien: The Spatial Experience on the Margin (co-author Andrej Kurnik; Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht 2009); Citizenship Rights and Practices of Third-Country Nationals in Slovenia (Faculty of Pedagogics, Ljubljana 2009).
She is a long-year activist in the field of citizenship rights, freedom of movement and autonomous spaces. At the moment she is concluding her PhD in political philosophy Constituting European Citizenship: Citizenship as Social Practice. She is the Editor in Chief of the scientific periodic journal ČKZ – Journal for the Criticism of Science and New Anthropology since July 2006, as well as a researcher and a member of the scientific committee in the project Transcultural Skills in Health and Care Systems (Lifelong Learning Programme, Development of Innovation; European Commission).
The “Third Dimension” of a Margin
The basic reference of my presentation will be the analysis of the specific constitution of temporal and spatial borders that are in large part shaping the working and living conditions of migrant workers from so-called third countries in Slovenia. On the one hand, the defining element of the Slovene system of labour migration is the complete dependency of workers on concrete employers, not just in their working relations but also in the basic living conditions. On the other hand, the social, political and cultural practices of migrants, which I aggregate in the concept citizenship practices, continuously challenge the imposed boundaries of the development of European integration and European citizenship.
Migration policy of the EU is namely conceived and enacted as a complex mechanism of ephemeral circulation. Its goal is not to block the migrants, but to manage a process of their selective and hierarchic inclusion into the European labour market. This transformation of the geography of European space can thus be understood as a multiplication of manifold laterals, i.e. lateral spaces of production and citizenship. The process of lateralization is enacted in the production of hierarchies of rights through a hierarchy of political and legal statuses, which is the basis of the material transformation of citizenship in Europe.
On the territory of the former Yugoslavia this citizenship is defined by the disintegration of a multinational state on the one hand and a hierarchic integration of its parts into the European economic and political space on the other. One of the objectives of my presentation is therefore the break with the dominant understandings and interpretations of post-Yugoslav territory in terms of the “Outside” or “Anomaly” of Europe. By analysing migrant struggles against the apartheid of the European border regime – especially the struggles of the Invisible Workers of the World (IWW) in Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and their movement of continuous expansion of the margin of freedom – I will outline the emergence of a new political and social space, a “thirdspace” of common and becoming.
Leart Kola is a fourth year student at the Faculty of Political Science in Tirana, Albania. He has been one of the first and most active members of Mjaft! Movement in Albania. Working as a civil society activist and leading the Department of Direct Action within the Mjaft! Movement, Leart is now one of the most distinguished activists in Albania.
Leart participated in several youth leadership trainings in Albania and abroad. He was one of the Team Albanian’s members dispatched in Indonesia, the country that suffered most from tsunami and earthquake in South Azia, in order to support and offer his enterprise on logistics for the Team. It was due to his and the support of the Team Albania that Albania was ranked among the countries which gave its contribution during the earthquake’s aftermath. Furthermore, it helped to improve the Albania’s image in the world.
For years, Leart has been writing in the daily press in Albania and in famous blogs such as www.saktivista.com. Leart is also the founder of the weekly newspaper GAZETA and of the Institute “Antonio Gramschi”.
Economy and Social Solidarity in Albania
Subject: Albania a never ending transition, the passage from a state economy in which everything was planned by the state bureaucracy, to an extreme individualist free market.
Development: The free market in the first years of liberation from communism has created a system of paradox in Albania, because when people believed that they were free and everybody was telling them that they are free, in the first years Albania found itself in a brutal police system that was there to protect a corrupted state bureaucracy, which was in power to support a gangster-business group. That controlled everything from the political parties to court trials and they were in charge of giving money to corrupt politicians and destroying every attempt of political opposition.
In the first years after the 90′es, the free market guaranteed that the power and the money will be controlled in few hands, the idea of free market supported strongly by IMF created a violent state and a lot of journalists were put in jail during these years. In ’97, the state collapsed after a civic revolution that exploded in every city in Albania, and I will discuss the period March-April 1997 in Albania, where no state power was executed and the distribution of wealth was bigger than the 5 years of pluralist system. I’m interested here as a practical example of the contradiction of the thesis of the neo-liberals that capitalism is a “natural behaviour” of human kind. After three months everything was closed by the agreement of the same people that created this situation, with the support of the international community. This rehabilitation of the political figures has now created the same situation of the domination of the coalition politic-business, against the democracy and the people. After the 1997 revolution, the situation is the same but now the state has no need to use police brutality. But the media and gangs to cheat the elections in rural areas, this of course creates an economic system that 5% of Albanians have control of most of the capital, and 30% live with 2 USD per day, in extreme poverty.
Conclusions: In 2011, we need to open a new discussion of creating a system that is against the individualist capitalism on one hand and also against the state-controlled economy on the other. We need to create a new perspective for the Balkans that is against the idea that capitalism is a natural behaviour of humankind, we need to create a new territory of democracy that can work only if we have social equality, economical solidarity, which can create democratic freedom. Democracy can still be a powerful tool in the hands of the masses that these days can’t control anymore their politicians, and the politicians cannot control anymore the business. We need a new coalition against the old coalition.
Helena Gata works for TESE NGO since 2007 and is currently TESE Chairman of Executive Management Team. She works in the NGO sector since 1997 and accumulates abroad experiences – first in Holland (1 year) where she studied at Maastricht University, followed by England (1 year) studying and work at CICD, Mozambique (1 year) as a volunteer working in the HIV-AIDS prevention and Guinea-Bissau (2 years) in an educational programme for Guinean teachers.
She studied Sociology at Porto University, Portugal, and has a master in International Cooperation and Development from School of Business and Economics / Lisbon Technical University and the Social Entrepreneurship course (ISEP) from Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires in Singapore. She has created and implemented various social projects in Portugal and African Portuguese speaking countries. Occasionally she teaches in some universities (e.g., Porto University, Portuguese Catholic University and Coimbra University) lectures on Social Innovation and Social Economy. She frequently participates and writes articles about Social Innovation. Recently, she co-created the social innovation co-laboratory in Portugal (www.colabsocial.com) with the leading Portuguese bank (CGD) to generate new answers for social problems with the Public, Private and 3rd Sectors. Currently she lives in Lisbon.
The Other Invisible Hand
We live in a time of change, which leaves behind the old paradigms aimed at conquering the world and opens doors to a people-oriented model (Touraine, 2005).
What will differentiate this change is certainly how it is managed and who will be its main active agents. As Peter Drucker said, “the most effective way to manage change is to create it.” That’s the main challenge of European Union – creating a new change in order to generate a better Europe for everyone. The world grew at the base of an economy with an invisible hand, based on self-interest and in the belief that the system is self-organized. Besides, the definition of democracy spread all over Europe is no longer adequate. Just as Benjamin Constant once said 150 years ago: “the liberty of antiquity had to be distinguished from the modern view of liberty”, the same happens to the definition of democracy. The freedom to not participate in the democratic system engendered a negative effect. Paradoxically, the risk is now endogenous, leading some sociologists as Anthony Giddens to affirm that we are facing risk societies whose trust is placed in abstract systems. So we need new solutions, because “what was efficient a generation ago is now dysfunctional” (Giddens, 2007).
Even Adam Smith, which created the concept of the Invisible Hand, in his book “The Theory of Moral Sentiment”, recognizes that at some point people need to be linked by common bonds. We need, in fact, another invisible hand, which takes into account the others-interest. Basically we need a new economy: a social and solidarity economy – an economy that goes beyond business and financial profits. Are we talking about a utopian society? Two years ago Gordon Brown called our attention to the fact that the current institutions are based on possibles, which prevent us from seeing other possibilities, making things impossible. He concludes is thought with the following sentence: “By attacking the impossible, the impossible became possible.” Is this crisis, a good moment to attack our impossibles?