Papers on Alternative Economic Policy in Europe

16th Workshop on Alternative Economic Policy in Europe, 24-26 September 2010 at the University of Crete, store organised by the EuroMemo Group


Plenary Presentations



Workshop 1: Imbalances in the EU

(Co-ordinator John Grahl)



Workshop 2: Theoretical perspectives and country experiences of the crisis

(Co-ordinator Wlodzimierz Dymarski)



Workshop 3: Dimensions of the crisis

(Co-ordinator Frieder Otto Wolf)



Workshop 4: Finance and the crisis

(Co-ordinator Trevor Evans)



Workshop 5: Labour, employment and social policies in the EU

(Co-ordinator Diana Wehlau)



Background Papers

Statement Asean Civil Society Conference 6/Asean Peoples Forum 3 (Hanoi, Vietnam)

 

ACSC/APF

ACSC/APF started in 2005 during Malaysia’s chairmanship of ASEAN and has since been held in

the Philippines in 2006, Singapore in 2007, pharm Thailand in 2009, Vietnam in 2010 and Indonesia

in 2011. The next summits in 2013 will be held in Brunei and in 2014 in Myanmar.

EVENTS
ACSC 2005
ACSC 2006
ACSC 2007
ACSC/APF 2009 – http://www.aseanpeople.org/
ACSC/APF 2010 –
ACSC/APF 2011 – http://www.aseancivilsociety.net/
ACSC/APF 2012 – http://acscapf2012.org

STATEMENTS

2005 ACSC1 Statement – http://www.alternative-regionalisms.org/?p=1735
2006 ACSC2 Statement – http://www.alternative-regionalisms.org/?p=916
2007 ACSC3 Statement – http://www.alternative-regionalisms.org/?p=919
2009 ACSC4/APF1 Statement – http://www.alternative-regionalisms.org/?p=1632
2009 ACSC5/APF2 Statement – http://www.alternative-regionalisms.org/?p=2435
2010 ACSC6/APF3 Statement – http://www.alternative-regionalisms.org/?page_id=4436
2011 ACSC7/APF5 Statement – http://www.alternative-regionalisms.org/?p=3899
2012 ACSC8/APF6 Statement – http://www.alternative-regionalisms.org/?p=4191

 

 

sapa

The Solidarity for Asian People’s Advocacy (SAPA) was formally established at its first regional consultation in Bangkok from 3-4 February 2006. SAPA Membership is on an organisational, not individual, basis. Asian social movements and CSOs – including NGOs, people’s organisations and trade unions engaged in action, advocacy and lobbying at the level of inter-governmental processes and organisations – can be members if they subscribe to the aims of SAPA. SAPA Working Group on ASEAN is a loose network of about 80 civil society organizations in Southeast Asia who have been actively engaging ASEAN to influence its public policy and make the regional bloc accountable to the peoples in the region 

 

The South East Asian Committee for Advocacy is a programme that focuses on advocacy capacity building of civil society organizations (CSOs) in South East Asia. Eight countries in South East Asia are represented in SEACA—Burma, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. SEACA counts among its partners some regional NGO networks based in the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia. Read more at http://seaca.net/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FINAL STATEMENT

OF THE ASEAN PEOPLE’S FORUM VI

We, purchase
more than 700 delegates representing people’s organizations from ASEAN countries gathered together at the 6th ASEAN People’s Forum in Hanoi, purchase Vietnam, from 24?26 September 2010 under the theme “Solidarity and Action for a People?Oriented ASEAN” have discussed and concluded the following:

We reaffirm the fundamental principles of people?centered sustainable development, democratic governance, human rights, sovereignty of peoples, dignity and the best interests of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in the pursuit of economic, social, gender and ecological justice so as to bring peace and prosperity to the Southeast Asian region.

We support the specific objective laid out in the ASEAN Charter of building a people-oriented ASEAN Community. We believe that this process should include:

* Political Security ? ASEAN and its member countries should work collectively to promote effective mechanisms and agreements to maintain peace and security for conflict prevention and the non?violent settlement of disputes. ASEAN and its member countries should also work towards further democratization including free and fair elections, and the promotion and protection of human rights based on international humanitarian and human rights laws and standards and the enhancement of people’s collective rights and participation.

* Economic Development ? ASEAN’s economic integration and cooperation should focus on enhancing mutual assistance, and complementary growth based on the principles of solidarity, equity and environmental sustainability. The ASEAN and its member countries should move away from the flawed neo?liberal economic paradigm and promote and advance alternative democratic economic models to provide equitable, socially and ecologically sustainable development to benefit all its peoples, narrow the gaps of development within and among member countries and ensure economic sovereignty and the interests of the working people and marginalized communities. At the same time, the ASEAN and its member countries must recognize already existing practices of self?sufficiency and sustainable resource management of local communities,

effectively protect environment and address the problem of global climate change and its impacts in the region.

* Environment ? The ASEAN region face urgent multiple environmental crises, including climate change, in large part due to the large?scale “development” projects within the region and the plunder, abuse and destruction of ecological resources that are associated with unsustainable and inequitable economic systems and policies. The ASEAN and its member governments should work together to comprehensively address these environmental crises and ensure that the sustainable use of ecological resources be integral to all economic policies. The ASEAN and its member governments should

actively contribute to global solutions including ensuring that those primarily responsible – governments, corporations and institutions – are held accountable and fulfill their obligations for the restoration of environmental integrity and reparations to those who suffer the consequences of environmental crises.

* Social Protection and Culture ? Everyone in the ASEAN region should be protected and benefit equally and fairly from development and economic growth, especially children, women, migrants, youth, indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities, religious communities, workers, peasants, fisher folk, refugees, stateless persons and internally displaced peoples, the elderly, persons with disabilities, LGBTIQ (lesbians, bisexuals, gay, transgender, intra?sexual and queer), people living with HIV/AIDS and other impoverished, disadvantaged and marginalized communities. The ASEAN and its member countries must focus on poverty elimination, ensuring decent work, the development of public services including quality health care, housing, and education for all with consideration for gender perspectives. ASEAN must also foster the development

of a healthy, empowering, non?discriminatory and humane culture. Social and cultural development must promote equality and people’s participation at every level.

* People’s Participation ? People’s participation is central to democracy and a basic right. While appreciating the lofty goals set out in the ASEAN Charter around building a people?oriented community, we are disappointed and concerned that until date ASEAN has not made significant progress in ensuring increased transparency and access to information and meaningful participation in ASEAN affairs. People’s organizations and civil society organizations and including those of children must be part of the discussion around economic models, social protection, respect for cultures, human rights, the

environment and peace and conflict resolution. We call on the ASEAN to develop mechanisms for the meaningful  engagement of people’s organizations in all ASEAN processes.

We resolve to work together through plans of joint action to:

o Overcome social and cultural barriers, inequalities and differences in order to promote better understanding, friendship, cooperation and people’s integration in the spirit of solidarity and culture of peace among peoples in ASEAN,

o Learn from each other’s experiences and advance common struggles for peace, equitable and sustainable development, for people?centered democracy and human rights and for social justice and progress to actively contribute to the building of a

people?oriented community of ASEAN, 

o Promote our shared principles.

We urge the governments of ASEAN to:

– Give primacy to the protection and full realization of the rights of children, women, migrants, youth, indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities, religious communities, workers, peasants, fisher folk, refugees, stateless persons and internally  displaced peoples, the elderly, persons with disabilities, LGBTIQ (lesbians, bisexuals, gay, transgender, intra?sexual and queer), people living with HIV/AIDS, victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin and other impoverished, disadvantaged and marginalized communities as a key goal of the ASEAN integration process.

– Adopt and implement a Fourth Strategic Pillar on the Environment in order to effectively address all environmental  problems especially those caused by transboundary policies and projects, and urgently respond to the climate crisis

– Heed the recommendations of the People’s Forum and promote concrete policies and programs designed to advance human rights, economic and environmental justice and social security, and to do so through mechanisms promoting for people’s participation in the process of building ASEAN into a multi?dimensional community;

–  Form, at the soonest, an effective mechanism for dialogue, coordination and cooperation between people’s organizations and official channels in the region, including through ASEAN Secretariat itself.

– Accelerate the implementation of the functions of the newly?established AICHR and ACWC to operate effectively and in a way that is responsive to the needs of people in the region; and 

– Support the ASEAN people’s programs of action, measures aimed at developing communication, interaction and cooperation among ASEAN people’s organizations.

We call upon ASEAN and its member governments to undertake the following:

1. Poverty is a serious problem in Southeast Asia. It is the result of decades of war, structural inequalities, inappropriate and ineffective programs, and trade and development policies that benefit elites rather than the needs of poor communities. The ASEAN and its member governments should undertake basic economic and social reforms and cease liberalization,

budget austerity measures and other policies that contribute to impoverishment. ASEAN member governments should also learn from countries in the region that have followed diverse models and made significant steps to eliminate poverty

2. Agriculture is way of life for the majority of people in the region. We call on the ASEAN and member governments to invest in a new model of sustainable agriculture that should include support for agrarian reform, small farmers, women, recognition of the traditional occupations of indigenous peoples and respect for the environment. Given the diverse

nature of farmers in the region, ASEAN governments should promote and prioritize an investment model that includes financing for cooperatives, fair trade and scaling up best practices from the community level. We call on the ASEAN to establish a regional agriculture policy in line with the above,

3. Economic integration based on Free Trade Agreements has had serious effects on livelihoods of different sectors of the society including farmers, workers and women. The ASEAN and its member governments should promote alternative investment, trade, finance and development policies that put people first and strengthen domestic economies. The

review of all free trade agreements that have disproportionately benefited the rich and multi?national companies at the expense of poor and marginalized communities is an important step towards a new economic model based on people’s basic rights and interests.

Such a process should be transparent and inclusive, involve the active participation of all stakeholders, especially poor and marginalized communities. It should take place at the national and regional levels.

4. The ASEAN and member governments should mobilize finance to eliminate poverty without exacerbating the debt burden and implement economic policies that build the domestic financial capacity of member countries. ASEAN member states should implement official audit of public debt. Debts found to be illegitimate should be repudiated to free up

fiscal space for much needed social and development infrastructure. The Member states should refuse the attachment of conditions to loans and grants – including those imposed by the IMF, World Bank, ADB and other international financial institutions. ASEAN countries should implement macro?economic policies that will promote sustainable growth and

people?centered development through open, transparent and participatory decision?making processes. The ASEAN should set up a mechanism to help member countries eliminate their debt burdens.

5. Natural resources are public goods. The ASEAN and its member governments should ensure:

– That ecological resources of the region remain under the control of and be used for the equitable benefit of the peoples of Southeast Asia. 

– The extraction and the use of natural resources should be carried out in a transparent, accountable, ecologically sustainable and gender?fair manner, should genuinely contribute to poverty elimination, should not violate human rights nor harm lives and livelihoods 

– The protection of the rich biodiversity in the region without compromising the traditional livelihoods of local communities.

The ASEAN and its member states should recognize the human right to water and that water is a part of the commons. It should ensure that all citizens have adequate and clean water needed to sustain life and that water services remain in public hands. ASEAN and its member states should promote safe, clean and sustainable energy and address the challenges associated with the climate crisis.

6. The climate crisis is a grave threat to the ASEAN region. ASEAN countries should act as a bloc to demand that Annex 1 countries drastically reduce carbon emissions and provide condition?free non?debt creating financing for adaptation and sustainable development as part of reparations for climate debt owed to the Global South. Countries should also prepare

for the ecological effects of climate change and ensure the participation of vulnerable communities in this project. Mitigation and adaptation strategies should not exacerbate existing vulnerabilities and inequalities.

7. ASEAN governments should guarantee the right to formal and informal education for all including early childhood education and bilingual education, especially for the disadvantaged people such as indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities women and girls, persons with disabilities and those coming from remote and distant areas. In order to deliver on this commitment principle, governments must spend 6% of GNP on the improvement of access to quality and relevant education, stop the privatization of education and other policies that risk rationing educational services based on who can afford

to pay. Without delay, ASEAN must implement its 10 point Agenda to Reach the Unreached. 

8. ASEAN governments should ensure universal access to health services, including the fulfillment of sexual and reproductive health needs and addressing sexually?transmitted diseases. Member countries of the ASEAN must respond to health problems, which are otherwise preventable but are still causing alarming mortality rates especially among impoverished and vulnerable populations. For example, more effective means must be undertaken to accelerate reduction in the maternal mortality ratio. For more effective health?related interventions, the ASEAN should encourage member states to adopt clear, adequately funded, non?discriminatory and equitable policies and programs of implementation. Necessarily, the governments would have to ensure inputs especially from high?risk communities and be guided by data disaggregated for sex, ethnicity, age and other relevant parameters.

9. The ASEAN should promote cooperation among member states to urgently address the issue of HIV/AIDS in the region. Different interventions are needed to respond to different country situations, but there is agreement on the need for prevention. Since HIV/AIDS recognizes no boundaries, action must be taken across countries to immediately start

and/or sustain preventive and curative actions including providing access to affordable and quality medicines. ASEAN must also urge all member states to enact laws that will eliminate all forms of discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS.

10. As articulated in the Charter, respect for human rights and democracy should be a key part of the ASEAN community. All countries should have national human rights institutions to independently monitor and improve the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The AICHR, ACWC and ACMW should be part of this process. In this regard the ACWC must be convened at the soonest possible time and towards this we urge the Philippine government to immediately select a representative through a transparent and inclusive process. Countries should also be encouraged to move towards systems of government that include checks and balances as well as free and fair elections to prevent abuses of power and human rights violations. The ASEAN should urge all member states to ratify and implement and enforce all international human rights treaties and agreements.

The ASEAN Declaration on Human Rights must undergo consultations with the peoples of the ASEAN, conform with international human rights standards and be adopted by the ASEAN Ministerial meeting.

11. Children and young people make up the majority of the population of Southeast Asia. The ASEAN governments should fulfill their obligations under the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child and other human rights for all children within and across their borders regardless of national and legal status. We urge the governments of the ASEAN to coordinate efforts at national and regional levels top address cross?border issues such as trafficking, migration, emergencies, violence and armed conflicts and ensure the inclusion of children, especially marginalized children in processes that affect them.

12. ASEAN member states must allocate resources to ensure promotion and protection of all human rights of women in Southeast Asia, especially the marginalized groups, and end discriminatory practices, policies and laws to advance substantive equality in Southeast Asia. Trafficking of persons and especially of women and children must be stopped in the

ASEAN by adopting a legally binding instrument through a rights?based and victim?centered approach. The region must ensure meaningful and substantive participation and representation of women in all its processes and structures.

13. The ASEAN and its member governments should ensure protection, promotion, and the realization of the rights of all workers including migrant workers. Towards these, all ASEAN member countries should:

– Adopt the ASEAN Social Charter and implement the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the rights of migrant workers (ADMW).

– Amend labor laws regulating recruiting agencies.

– Harmonize their labor laws in line with the ILO Fundamental principles and rights at work (C.87 and 98 the right to organize), the ADMW, and relevant ILO conventions 97 and 143, on Temporary Work, Home Workers Convention and other related Conventions.

– Push for the Convention on Domestic Workers.

– Ensure that ASEAN Instruments on the protection and promotion of the rights of all migrant workers are legally binding, and hold accountable those in both private and public sectors who violate these laws; adopt a policy to liberalize labor migration so that ASEAN nationals can move with dignity, especially migrant workers.

– Give adequate protection, fair wages and access to decent living and working conditions to all workers, including migrant workers, and workers in informal sectors

14. Artisanal and traditional fishers play a key role in managing coastal and inland ter resources and provide a substantial portion of food in the ASEAN region, but their specific needs, concerns and rights are often ignored. The ASEAN must protect fisher people from unsustainable forms of commercial fishing, and the impact of large development projects

such as the construction of the hydropower dams in the Mekong river and coastal industrialization projects. The ASEAN must play a role in peacefully resolving border and trans?boundary conflicts in coastal zones, as referred to in the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas.

15. The ASEAN must recognize, respect and ensure the full realization of the collective rights of the indigenous peoples and marginalized ethnic minorities over their land territories and resources which include the implementation of the safeguard provision for the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of affected communities in all projects and programs. The ASEAN

should establish an independent working group and monitoring mechanism within AICHR promoting and ensuring the protection of Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Minorities rights, with their effective participation.

16. The rights of people with disabilities including the victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin and unexploded ordinance and other marginalized communities should be prioritized and mainstreamed in the ASEAN community. The ASEAN and its members should ratify and/or implement all related UN treaties and protocols and instruments. Mechanisms should be put

in place at the local, national and regional levels to ensure that their voices are heard, that their rights are recognized and protected across the region, that decisions are made with their active participation.

17. All ASEAN states should be encouraged to sign, ratify and implement the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons and the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. This would include implementing domestic legislation and policies such as respecting the principle of non?refoulement (no

forcible repatriation), giving all refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons the same rights as citizens, and ensuring that they be provided with employment, universal birth registration, health care and education. The ASEAN should create a regional mechanism to support the rights of refugees and stateless people. The rights of refugees and stateless persons should be explicitly included in the mandate of the AICHR and safeguarded in the proposed ASEAN Declaration on Human Rights.

We welcome and appreciate the participation of ASEAN Secretariat in the Forum and express our sincere thanks to the Vietnamese organizing committee, the host government, and the Vietnamese people for the extended hospitality and facilitation of this ASEAN People’s Forum. We congratulate Hanoi on the celebration of its Millennium Anniversary.

Grupo EuroMemorandum: Haciendo frente a la Crisis: Austeridad o Solidaridad

EuroMemorandum 2010/11

El crecimiento económico se reanudó en la UE en el segundo semestre de 2009 pero la producción en 2010 estuvo por debajo de los niveles anteriores a la crisis y el sistema financiero sigue siendo frágil. A raíz de la crisis financiera y la crisis económica posterior, medical los Estados de la UE se han enfrentado a un creciente déficit fiscal como resultado del coste de los paquetes de rescate del sector financiero, rx las políticas fiscales expansivas y la pérdida de ingresos fiscales. El fracaso de la UE para responder con prontitud a las dificultades de Grecia para refinanciar su deuda pública llevó a la especulación contra el euro y creó una atmósfera de crisis en la que primero Grecia y luego España y Portugal se vieron obligados a establecer severos programas de austeridad. A finales de año Irlanda, purchase que ya había presentado un duro programa de austeridad en el 2009, se vio obligada a aceptar un paquete aún más severo, a cambio del apoyo financiero del Fondo de Estabilidad Financiero de la zona euro.

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EuroMemorandum 2010/11

El crecimiento económico se reanudó en la UE en el segundo semestre de 2009 pero la producción en 2010 estuvo por debajo de los niveles anteriores a la crisis y el sistema financiero sigue siendo frágil. A raíz de la crisis financiera y la crisis económica posterior, buy los Estados de la UE se han enfrentado a un creciente déficit fiscal como resultado del coste de los paquetes de rescate del sector financiero, unhealthy las políticas fiscales expansivas y la pérdida de ingresos fiscales. El fracaso de la UE para responder con prontitud a las dificultades de Grecia para refinanciar su deuda pública llevó a la especulación contra el euro y creó una atmósfera de crisis en la que primero Grecia y luego España y Portugal se vieron obligados a establecer severos programas de austeridad. A finales de año Irlanda, que ya había presentado un duro programa de austeridad en el 2009, se vio obligada a aceptar un paquete aún más severo, a cambio del apoyo financiero del Fondo de Estabilidad Financiero de la zona euro.

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VER EL REPORTE en Aleman, Ingles, Danes, Holandes y Griego

EuroMemorandum group: Confronting the Crisis: Austerity or Solidarity

EuroMemorandum 2004

The brief economic recovery of the EU is over. It was always weak and never broke the long-term vicious circle of low growth, high unemployment and rising inequality. Inadequate domestic demand continues to make the European economy very fragile. Enlargement, although it is to be welcomed as a historic contribution to peace in Europe, has increased regional imbalances. Both persistent unemployment and rising disparities require strong political countermeasures. But the EU is a long way from taking such measures.

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EuroMemorandum 2010/11

Economic growth resumed in the EU in the second half of 2009 but output in 2010 was below precrisis levels and the financial system remains fragile. Following the financial crisis and the subsequent economic crisis, EU states have been faced with rising fiscal deficits as a result of the cost of rescue packages for the financial sector, expansionary fiscal policies and lost tax revenue. The failure of the EU to respond promptly to Greek difficulties in refinancing its public debt led to speculation against the euro and created a crisis atmosphere in which first Greece and then Spain and Portugal were forced to introduce severe austerity programmes. At the end of the year Ireland, which had introduced a severe austerity programme in 2009, was forced to agree to an even more severe programme in return for financial support from the eurozone’s Financial Stability Facility.

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SAARC y cambio climatico

by Luciana Castellina
by Luciana Castellina
I would like to start my talk with a remark which has no direct connection to CULTURE, troche but I think we can’t do without a somewhat dramatic observation: We are currently experiencing the decline of Europe and of the role of Europe. The dynamic is gone; the citizens don’t understand the European Union.
Two very different people told me quite memorable things recently. The first was one of our friends who works for the World Social Forum and organizes meetings all around the world, pills especially at the Social Forums in Africa and Latin America. He said: “You know what? Nobody wants to know anything about Europe anymore. Europe, case what is Europe? What has Europe accomplished, anyway? We are much more interested in South-South relationships, like with Asia. But Europe… .” The other is a completely different kind of person from my friends at the World Social Forum: it is my daughter. She is an economist and teaches at the London Business School, which has connections with the University in Dubai. By the way: students used to go to London to study; now, the professors from London go to Dubai to teach. They “buy” the professors, so that they will come directly to them. So my daughter told me that the pupils from Dubai, the Arabian and Turkish elites, didn’t even want to hear anything about Europe. They say: “Europe? What is Europe? Europe is dead!”, and the Turks add: “Join the EU? No, they don’t want us, and anyway, we don’t care a bit whether we join or not! We are much more interested in Asia, China, the United States.”
Even the “hated” USA has, with the election of Barack Obama, demonstrated a capacity for dynamics which we in Europe can long since no longer produce. We are certainly very conscious of the fact that Obama will face enormous difficulties implementing even a small portion of his programme that he will have to overcome powerful interests in his own country, and especially a deeply rooted culture of both private and enterprise. We could have helped him by providing our model as an example: The European Way is based on intervention by the state in the economy, on the modification of the rules of the market, and on the central role of the public service. A social Europe, a “Welfare-Europe”, could have provided Obama with support in the battle which he has to wage. But we have missed that opportunity, because Europe is itself busy dismantling its own model and adapting a little more every day to the global model, which corresponds to the traditional American Model.
The conservatives have never believed in a European Way. The left itself, or at least a large part of the left – the part which is in government –, has also abandoned this model. And so here we are: Europe no longer really knows what it is. It is becoming ever more difficult to assign meaning to this project, to answer the question: Why Europe? What does this European Community mean?
When in 1957 we built the first segments of the European Union, the single domestic market was created. That was a good idea. It was an idea which aided the development of Europe. But today, there is a global market and everybody trades with everybody everywhere in the world. So what does the fact that we have a piece of that market still mean? Not much, anymore!
For that reason, I think that there is today a real demand for the essential, for meaning. What is Europe there for? What is it about Europe that is special? How is it different from the rest of the world, in a way which might justify the construction of this community?
It seems to me that the fact that this Europe was built up particularly with respect to economic issues, and on the basis of the market, and that issues connected with culture were pushed completely into the background, has caused the foundations of Europe to be very unstable.
As you know, the word “culture” wasn’t even included in the foundation treaty of the European Community in 1957. It appeared only thirty-five years later, in the Treaty of Maastricht. But even that was not about culture as such, but rather about culture as a commodity. As a commercial good, as a commercial service, culture comes under the purview of the EU.
Jean Monet said during the last days of his life: “If I had to build Europe once again, I would start with its culture.” He had discovered, learned and understood that Europe’s weakness, its difficulties as a political subject, was due, amongst other factors, to the fact that no common culture, no common identity had been developed.
The lack of this common identity/culture is the reason why there is no real European Demos (community, people). The historian Eric Hobsbawm is right in saying that it is difficult, due to this weakness, to recognize the legitimacy of the decisions of European institutions: At the national level, he said, all of us are willing to recognize the legitimacy of a conservative government, even if we may belong to the left – and vice versa. At the European level however, if a decision is taken by a French commissioner, the Italians won’t consider it their decision, and the other way round.
It is true that it isn’t easy to develop a common European cultural identity. Not a few attempts have been made in the past to build one; many prominent Europeans, such as the philosopher Edgar Morin or the sculptor Chabaud – have taken up the task; all European intellectuals have wondered: “What is this common cultural identity? What do we have in common?”, yet none has been able to provide an answer. Some have suggested Christianity, but the history of Christianity in Europe is a history of religious wars, of conflicts; the French Revolution turned against it, as had the Renaissance. Some have noted that the cradle of democracy is here, yet that too is questionable, for so is the cradle of fascism. As for the Graeco-Judeo-Christian heritage, with its separation of church and state, its recognition of human rights, and its independence of science, the fact is that these are features of the entire western world, not specifically distinctive characteristics of Europe. In short, no one has ever been able to answer these questions.
So what do we have in common? The title of my recent book on this topic, Eurollywood,[1] is provocative, because I would like to express that what we have in common is not European culture, but globalized culture, which means American culture. Europeans communicate with each other via American culture, which is more familiar to each of us than that of our neighbouring country. Italians know more about what is happening in the USA than in France; the same is true of the Germans. I always choose the audio-visual area – the cinema and television – as an example, for it reveals so much, for it contributes more than anything else to the collective imagination. These are the most important means of cultural construction that we have. But the situation is that the European audio-visual media market is 70 or 75% dominated by Hollywood products. Films from my own country, Italy, account for only a small share, and those of other European countries for only 5.7% or 8% – it fluctuates from one year to the next.
Franco Moretti, a well known cultural sociologist and the brother of actor Nanni Moretti, has described it very clearly: “Europe has got stuck. There is much more exchange between the continents today than within Europe.”
By the way, when we talk about culture in Europe, we always use the word in the plural, never in the singular, so that it is clear that no member country would accept having its own national culture mistaken for general European culture. But – to get back to the point – we must have something in common despite all of that, something which would justify the construction of this European community, and proves that we are not only a piece of a globalized world.
Certainly, there have been attempts on the part of the institutions to solve this problem; solemn explanations, passports of the same colour, a flag, even an anthem which nobody knows anyway. The first thing in the draft constitution that we got rid of was the flag and the anthem. Nobody cared about them.
There has even been an attempt to write a common book about European history; the project was entrusted to Prof. Duracell, but it went under in controversy. A German teacher, Susanne Poppe, suggested including 15 historical images in all European schoolbooks, with an explanation of the respective reasons for the topic to which the pictures referred. This too was abandoned.
Magnificent speeches have called for protecting the artistic and architectural cultural heritage of Europe. But an important issue is that monuments are the most contradictory and the most conflict-loaded parts of our cultural heritage. A monument in Berlin commemorates a French defeat and another one in Paris, a German one.
It is difficult to build up a European subject, a feeling of solidarity, a European citizenry. To date, there have been none of the instruments of democracy needed for communication between the institutions and civil society which might build up a common public opinion – common political parties, trade unions, newspapers, Ngos etc.
Due to the lack of these instruments, the German Federal Constitutional Court has expressed doubt about the legitimacy of the EU treaties. To some extent, rightly so, for these instruments exist only at the national level – or on paper: There is not even a common section in the biggest dailies. La Repubblica in Italy has a weekly supplement, but not from the Süddeutsche Zeitung or Le Monde but from the New York Times. In 50 years, we haven’t even managed to establish a common TV station, apart from the small broadcaster Euronews, in which however the majority of the member countries are not even involved – a majority which includes Germany. With respect to the image of Europe in the world, every member country has decided in favour of its own broadcaster – BBC World, Deutsche Welle, etc.
So everybody has his own sources of information and his own conclusions, his own assessments which end up being completely different, because we have never done anything at all together. This has caused a deficit of democracy in the EU, because every commissioner reacts to his own public opinion. A French commissioner reacts to public opinion in France; an Italian commissioner reacts to public opinion in Italy etc. If we don’t react to the same constituency, to the same public opinion, because that is fragmented, or to the same subject, it means that we aren’t reacting to anybody.
With one exception: It is true that the European institutions have fought for our cinema and our audio-visual media, and they have achieved a lot, particularly since the eighties. Once European filmmakers realised that European productions were disappearing from our TV screens and from our cinemas, the alarm bells rang, which resulted, starting in 1989, in the Declaration of Delphi, the Vasconcelos Report and conferences on audio-visual media. And finally, the first instruments for the promotion of cinema and audio-visual media in Europe were created: the EU Directive “Television without Frontier”, the EU media programmes, etc.
These programmes have led to a confrontation with Hollywood which has been called “the undeclared war” – and rightly so, for it really is a war. When the Directive “Television without Frontiers”, which introduced quotas for European cinema for our TV channels, was decided upon and approved, then-US Foreign Trade Secretary Clara Hills told European representatives directly, “You cannot do this, Europe will become a fortress.” And this reaction came at a time when the American market share in the audio-visual area was 80%! After that, during the time of the Uruguay Round negotiations of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which called strongly for the decontrol of audio-visual services, the Europeans tried to defend themselves. Indeed, the decontrol would have illegalised all public support for cinema and TV productions as a violation of competition rights. On the other hand, without this public film support, which exists in all our countries, there would be no European films. And decontrol would have made this support illegal. That is how brutal the disputes with Hollywood have got.
castellina0912aThe European Parliament and especially the filmmakers played a major role in this struggle. Everywhere, particularly in Paris, protests were organized to make the statement that culture is not a commodity, and that it can’t be treated as such, that it shouldn’t even have been allowed to be addressed in the context of trade talks in the first place, and that, while one might consider decontrol of telecommunications markets, one would never do so for audio-visual services. After all, a film isn’t like a fax or a phone call, it is not merely the bearer of economic value; rather, it is also the bearer of memories, imagination, traditions, and stories of a people. A refrigerator produced in Los Angeles is more or less the same as one produced in Brussels or Timbuktu, but a film is not – just as a film shot in Timbuktu isn’t like one shot in Lausanne. The rules of the market cannot be applied to such a special “product” – which of course isn’t one – as culture or audio-visual productions.
The United States have a very great advantage: They have a huge monolingual domestic market in which Hollywood productions can already recoup their investment costs at the national level. That leaves a lot of leeway for export, including funds for advertising, marketing, sales etc., even if we disregard the advantage which stem from the political and economic power of the USA. Thomas Friedman, a columnist for the New York Times, made the witty remark that McDonald’s – of course he chose that brand as the symbol of America’s cultural invasion – wouldn’t exist without McDonnell, which built the fighter plane F-15. In other words, the audio-visual media are also important to American exports in other areas.
In Marrakesh, where the 1994 Uruguay Round ended, the Europeans attained what is called their “cultural exception”. It was in fact not really a cultural exception, since that would mean a permanent exception from the rules of decontrol. What they did achieve was merely the right not to open their audio-visual services markets to decontrol for the time being, as provided by the rules, that is, a simple delay, a stay – a temporary victory.
That was still enough to provoke an intense reaction from the USA. The American Board of Trade once again threatened retaliatory measures in other areas. The tone became harsher on both sides: then-French President François Mitterrand, in his answer to Hills, spoke of “genocide”. “What is at stake,” said the president, “is the cultural identity of our nations, the right of every people to its own culture. A society that leaves its self-portrayal to others is an oppressed society.” That is true. My grandchildren know Texas considerably better than the Italian region of Calabria, because they have repeatedly seen Texas in westerns; but they don’t know Calabria. Let alone Baden-Württemberg (Germany) or the Picardie (region in France). And by the way, American children know the outside world hardly at all, since audio-visual products from Europe and the rest of the world account for only 2-3 % of the American market. The saddest thing I saw in connection with the Iraq War, which was of course generally sad for many other reasons, was the picture at the very beginning of the war, of a young American soldier in the desert with his gun who was looking around and hardly knew where he was. He had no idea about the whole history of Iraq, of Babylonia, of the Middle East. For the movies and television in his country show no pictures of any other cultures.
At the conclusion of the Uruguay Round, the fronts were so hardened that in the night of the signing of the agreement, Bill Clinton reached for the phone and called Helmut Kohl and Balladour directly. He told them, “You can’t insist on this. You must accept decontrol. Stop this.” Jack Valenti, then president of Hollywood’s Motion Picture Association, remarked contemptuously: “Why are they talking about culture? This has nothing to do with culture! This only has to do with the business of making money.” And Samuel Goldwyn, the great MGM producer, said with even greater contempt: “It isn’t called show art, it’s called show business.”
This confrontation with the USA is nothing new; it was already there in the 1920s. A very important German, Erich Pommer, was at that time boss of the famous UFA studios in Berlin. He founded a movement called “Film Europe”. His opinion was that “Either the cinema will be European or it will succumb!” He was very probably conscious that the Europeans could have only face up to their American competitors if they were united. But ones the talkies appeared on the screen, Europe realised its own weakness: Everybody spoke a different language. Therefore, large-scale production was, even then, no longer possible. The Americans invented synchronisation to reach European audience even more effectively. But Europe has never been able to synchronize its own films so that they could be shown everywhere in Europe. By the way, the Americans have always refused to synchronize European films in their own country, because they claim to be too demanding, and not able to accept synchronization, whereas Europeans, in their view, are ignorant enough to accept it. Obviously, this is a form of hidden protectionism.
In discussions with the Americans about cinema they constantly use the argument that we have to leave everything to the market, and that the state shouldn’t intervene. But they don’t exactly practice what they preach. The American government is intensively concerned about its own movie industry. After the Second World War, the US business delegation in Europe included a large number of representatives of Hollywood, who came to examine the condition of the film industry. The result was the Harmon Report, in which a strategy for the reconquest of the European silver screen was designed. Immediately thereafter, Undersecretary of State Adolph Berle sent an instruction to the embassies in which he ordered them to ensure the distribution of movies. I would like to stress that I would be willing to surrender the few cents which the Italian state gives us for the cinema, and the entire European media programme along with it, in exchange for influence over the cinema by our embassies such as the American embassies have. Our embassies by contrast, generally don’t care at all. It is clear that the Americans certainly are right, for it is not only a question of cultural hegemony, and of ideological and political influence, but also about economic influence. We all wear blue jeans and drink Coca-Cola, because we have all seen many American films, many westerns in which we have seen Coca-Cola and blue jeans.
In the Marshall Plan negotiated after the Second World War, there was a clause, a condition for the loans: American films were to be imported freely into our countries. The French, who are always more militant, resisted in 1947 and 1948, and marched in the streets of Paris. There are very beautiful documentary films showing workers and filmmakers marching on Paris’ boulevards to protest this clause in the Marshall Plan. But ultimately, France had to cave in, and it too signed the Blum-Byrnes Agreement.
Even if the Americans always stress that only the market determines their movie industry, Washington plays a primary role. Suffice it to mention that the chairmen the Motion Picture Association always resulted from the circle of the narrow employees of the American presidents. The first one, Willy Hays, was President Warren Harding’s campaign manager. His successor, Eric Johnston was a White House envoy in the Middle East, Allan Dulles was boss of the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), and Jack Valenti was President Lyndon Johnson’s right hand man. In the USA, Hollywood is even called the “Little State Department”.
DaysofgloryThe results are clearly visible: a look at film production in Hollywood – independent productions are an exception – shows that the film industry strictly follows the line of American policy. When the United States was allied with the Soviet Union during the Second World War, and one felt constrained to disseminate a positive picture of that country, such films as Days of Glory (1944, Jacques Tourneur), or Mission to Moscow (1943, Michael Curtiz) were shot. After that, the situation changed: with the Cold War came movies like Red Nightmare (1962, George Waggner), Red Dawn (1984, John Milius) and Invasion U.S.A. (1952, Alfred E. Green). And when German rearmament had to be made acceptable to the public, Nazi soldiers were reevaluated, resulting in a number of films like The Desert Fox: The story of Rommel (1951, Henry Hathaway). I remember this film well; it was released at the beginning of the fifties. I was arrested when we tried in to prevent its screening in Rome.
And yet the American film industry is of course great cinema. This goes without saying. It is not by accident that Hollywood is called the home of cinema, as if this town had some kind of extraterritorial status. Hollywood, the Detroit of the emotions, the city of dreams. But Hollywood is also a symbol for the industrialization of culture, for a kind of standardized production which wrecks every other form of expression.
Nonetheless, we still face the question: What is the sense of talking about a European Community, a European identity, a European cinema, rather than an American or a Japanese cinema? What does it mean that in our world today there are transverse movements, not only between the classes, but also geographically? Since geography has lost its meaning, and nation-states are already threatened with extinction, why not replace them with a larger state, like the EU? Since the world has become a network, doesn’t it make sense for all communities to disappear, including the European dimension, which would be superfluous, pure imagination? Is Europe a dimension without which we could do quite well in future? Bad luck for those whom we call, not without irony, “the sacred Europeanists“.
I don’t think that’s true; I don’t share that opinion. It frightens me. A world with no “identity community”, split up, fragmented, without boundaries, could become a world full of metropolises of irresponsibility.
There is a very beautiful American comic strip in which two dogs talk with each other. One dog says to the other: “Do you know what’s good about the Internet? That nobody knows you’re a dog.”
You can be anything! Man or woman. Beautiful or outrageous. Black or yellow or white. You can be old or young or anything. You’re not only free of the compulsions of your family, your village, your country, but also of the compulsions of your body. This is freedom! Subject to no obligations. It’s understandable that young people want that. But it leads to a world of “stowaways”, with no “identity community”, and hence no obligation to react to anybody. Because decency or the opposite, solidarity or selfishness necessarily means with respect to somebody, with respect to the values of a community.
I think we must fight against the anarchistic illusion which globalisation conveys. The older ones among us certainly remember the Port Huron Statement of 1962. It was the first statement of the American New Left, which anticipated Berkeley of 1967 and our European movement of 1968, a demand to liberate ourselves from the bureaucracy of the state and of the corporations, from rigid hierarchies and institutional requirements. But there is a very interesting self-criticism by the American philosopher and sociologist Richard Sennett, one of the authors of the Statement. He says: “History has granted the New Left its wish in a perverse form, in which only individualism, precarization and egoism have triumphed.”
The former cultures, writes sociologist Arjun Appadurai, have been replaced by the culture of global broadcasting networks. That is the only culture which there still is; every other culture has disappeared.
I think that the French philosopher Jacques Rancière is right to say: “Democracy is a specific means for the symbolic structuring of community. There is no democracy without community.”
If we speak of community, we of course mustn’t think of a European state which resembles the old nation-states, only bigger, which will have swallowed all the previous states. That would, we should stress, bring with it all the terrible qualities of the nation-state, which were based on delimitation, ethnocentrism and “monoculture”, the fear of the others. These forms of delimitation are multiplying in light of an ever less ethnically and religiously uniform population.
So we need a reinvention, as Jürgen Habermas says. We need a new concept of citizenship, what Étienne Balibar has called “a transnational citizenship”, not one based on the equation “citizenship equals nationality”.
But all this is still today being complicated by the phenomenon of a non-temporary immigration, for, as Stuart Hall, the founder of the Cultural Studies writes, the diaspora is no longer a minority, “it is the anticipation of the modern age”. (The most frequent first name given to babies at the Brussels registry office is now Mohammed.)
The phenomenon of migration is complicated yet further by the fact that, today, paradoxically, the integration process of immigrants no longer happens as fast as in the post-war period. At that time, immigrants came from colonies and spoke the language of the colonial powers; they knew their customs and habits. Today, they learn the language and customs of their own countries in school. Or they come from countries which had never had anything to do with the country to which they are immigrating; for example, there are many Filipinos in Italy and many Turks in Germany. Moreover, their contacts to their countries of origin have remained stronger than earlier, when immigrants returned home perhaps once in their lifetimes. Today, they travel home much more frequently, thanks to cut-rate airfares. There are mobile telephones and everybody has a grandmother with whom he would like to stay in touch, even if she lives in the desert. That wasn’t the case 20 years ago. The grandmother was forgotten, there was only imaginary contact.
Moreover, there was only the single national television broadcaster, which was inevitably a means of integration. Today, with satellite television, Filipinos in Italy can watch stations from their own country, and Arabs can watch Arabic channels. In Germany, there are twenty Turkish TV stations available via satellite. The Turks no longer watch German television. And of course, the Germans don’t watch Turkish stations. Thus, cultural discrepancies are much greater than in the past.
The same is true of the working world! Once, there was the factory, the large factory, with its social integrative function. This is becoming ever rarer today, precarious work – the so-called “suitcase economy” – has become the norm: trade in typical local goods, and small-scale trade carried out in the street. This “global informality”, this global precariate, is becoming predominant, and leading to an extremely high degree of mobility.
Even the old longing for the old country, which was at least something one knew and could understand, no longer exists. After all, the countries of origin are no longer the glorious lands of the independence struggle; they are now dominated by a “comprador bourgeoisie”.[2] Rather, loyalty is now more likely to exist towards members of the family or of the clan, with whom living contact is maintained. This also explains the revival of religion, the only critical space confronting a modernity which crushes the immigrants.
All in all, different forms of socialization are emerging, which no longer coincide at all with the classic, traditional communities, with their secure, familiar boundaries. One could say that they are trans-cultures – “disembedded”, not tied to the structures of established societal systems. Ties form and dissolve at short notice; traditional relationships between culture, region and polis are destroyed.
Due, too, to these new phenomena, it is no longer possible to talk about a clear European identity. European identity is only conceivable as a complex, ambiguous identity which doesn’t extinguish the different national or local cultures, but incorporates them and integrates them into a new identity. For in spite of it all, we must have something in common, since we live in the same region as a collective, not as a fragmented subject. And that is exactly where it gets difficult, for a balance must be found between respect for the variety of cultural forms of expression – as demanded by the UNESCO Convention of 2005 – and the danger of getting lost in a kaleidoscope of micro-identities which no longer communicate with each other, and remain isolated.[3]
The Convention on Cultural Diversity, of which we are talking, is a good convention, but it can only appear simple if seen superficially, for it contains many contradictions and evokes tough conflicts – especially if culture, as in UNESCO’S view, includes not only works of art, but, anthropologically, the totality of behaviours, values and customs of a people.
Take for example the case of the chador. Is this cultural diversity? If so, the Convention of course protects it as such, and France should be condemned for passing a law which prevents women from wearing a chador. That is a problem. Do we have to accept everything in the name of respect for cultural diversity, even female circumcision – in other words, move over to an extreme form of cultural relativism and dispense with building common values? Certainly not, but we must be aware of the fact that this issue is very tricky.
The question has been adequately discussed, even in the context of UN Development Programmes (UNDP), which determined that no country may enact laws which force people to engage in a certain type of behaviour, such as wearing a chador, for example, or not wearing one, but the state must also guarantee that democracy prevail within the communities, so that an individual is able to make a choice of his or her own.
I believe that we must maintain our striving for universality. We cannot say that everybody should do whatever he or she wishes, for we would then be living in a situation in which there would only be the diversity of cultural ghettos, with nothing in common between them. We must stick to the goal of building a society in which we share values and principles. But we must be conscious that the universalism of which we speak today has been established by the western world, and that the others played no part in its emergence. For the collective imagination is established by information and images of western hegemony. What does universalism mean? What does it consist of? First of all, of information. But 90% of the information is in the hands of the western world; the others are not present. And it is this information that creates images and values.
As children, we have all read Robinson Crusoe. When Robinson meets Friday, he speaks with him in English; he doesn’t consider the fact that his language is not the universal language. This is exemplary for the way we think.
castellina0912bReal universalism can only be the result of a very complex, very long process of dialogue. This is generally accepted, but after that, things get fuzzy. Everybody talks about multiculturalism; the EU has even dedicated one of its topical “years” to it. But it is threatening to become a cage in which the different cultures don’t communicate, and become rigid. Everybody gets their own little kitchen garden, where they can grow their own culture, designed for their personal use. The variety of the others is to be “tolerated”. But tolerance is not a nice word, for it implies that there is one who tolerates and another who is tolerated – and there’s a difference! The old and mistrustful Laokoön told the Greeks that there was a big difference between a dialogue among the different and one among the unequal, and the latter is the case in the intercultural dialogue being carried on in Europe – among unequal, not just different, people.
In Italy – and I think the same is true almost everywhere – the opinions of mayors and municipal officials (not the racist ones who want to expel immigrants, but the good one) are split into two different camps. One says: “You are like us, therefore you must be integrated into our culture, our society, and our customs”; the other says: “We respect your difference and will build you a mosque, so you can do your thing and live according to your traditions.” Neither one is right; the task is more difficult. To create a new identity in which both the old Europeans, the natives, and also the new Europeans can see themselves, we, even we, have to question ourselves. And questioning oneself requires courage. How and how much are we willing to change, with regard to the others? This is very difficult! Are we, as Italians, able to call ourselves in question with regard to the Germans, who are different from us, or with regard to the Nigerians, who are even more different, and vice versa? It is difficult, but it is also necessary.
That is the problem of the other, which has been a central issue since Plato. One must keep one’s own identity, for roots are necessary so as not to feel lost, but this identity necessarily impacts on “otherness” (altérité). As the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas wrote: “The faces of the others change my face, for they convert a single particularity into a social inter-subjectivity, hence into responsibility.” And Edward Saïd, the great Palestinian-American intellectual put it even more clearly: “The other is the critical resource of ourselves.”
We have not been able to achieve that. For example, I was recently in Empoli, a town in Tuscany with 50,000 inhabitants, 10,000 of whom are Chinese. The mayor is a very good mayor and does his best to make sure that the Chinese feel comfortable in the society in Empoli. But I asked him: “Have you tried to explain to those born in Empoli what China is like? Have you taken the initiatives to give them a better understanding of that culture? It isn’t enough to explain to the Chinese what Italy is like.” For of course, it is not only the Chinese who must change, but also the old-established citizens of Empoli. Empoli cannot remain as it was, once so many Chinese have moved there. If cultures aren’t dynamic, they are dying.
I also think that Europe may have an opportunity to become the community which can tackle this difficult task – and assure respect for the identity of the others without locking itself into its own cage in the process. The German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer rightly noted that “Europe has a disadvantage which is also an advantage. It is the region with the most languages, the most differences, and the greatest diversity.” Every morning when we get out of bed in Europe, we are already in another country and speaking another language. That has got us used to the existence of the other. And that is the big difference between us and the United States, which is so like a big island, surrounded by oceans. Certainly, there are many immigrants there, but they accept the hegemony of the first settlers, and keep their cultures for private use, in the family. Here, it’s different. Perhaps Europe can dare to tackle this very difficult task, the construction of a common identity based on the assistance of all, and on this exchange.
There is a statement by Mahatma Gandhi which should in my opinion serve as an example for our attitude:
“I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.”
That is, I think, the balance between respect for diversity and construction of commonality which we must accomplish.
I think that this is a problem, because I think that it is our duty to prevent globalisation from splintering us completely, and also to avoid becoming prisoners in our own cultural cages as a reaction to it: democracy is what is at stake.
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[1] Luciana Castellina, 2008: Eurollywood. Il difficile ingresso della cultura nella costruzione dell’Europa. Pisa: Edizioni ETS, ISBN: 978-884672112-9, 244 pages.
[2] A bourgeois class in the countries of the Third World which mediates intercultural/ international trade.
[3] The Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions was adopted in 2005 by the UNESCO General Conference and took effect in 2007.

by Luciana Castellina

I would like to start my talk with a remark which has no direct connection to CULTURE, capsule but I think we can’t do without a somewhat dramatic observation: We are currently experiencing the decline of Europe and of the role of Europe. The dynamic is gone; the citizens don’t understand the European Union.

Two very different people told me quite memorable things recently. The first was one of our friends who works for the World Social Forum and organizes meetings all around the world, no rx especially at the Social Forums in Africa and Latin America. He said: “You know what? Nobody wants to know anything about Europe anymore. Europe, generic what is Europe? What has Europe accomplished, anyway? We are much more interested in South-South relationships, like with Asia. But Europe… .” The other is a completely different kind of person from my friends at the World Social Forum: it is my daughter. She is an economist and teaches at the London Business School, which has connections with the University in Dubai. By the way: students used to go to London to study; now, the professors from London go to Dubai to teach. They “buy” the professors, so that they will come directly to them. So my daughter told me that the pupils from Dubai, the Arabian and Turkish elites, didn’t even want to hear anything about Europe. They say: “Europe? What is Europe? Europe is dead!”, and the Turks add: “Join the EU? No, they don’t want us, and anyway, we don’t care a bit whether we join or not! We are much more interested in Asia, China, the United States.”

Even the “hated” USA has, with the election of Barack Obama, demonstrated a capacity for dynamics which we in Europe can long since no longer produce. We are certainly very conscious of the fact that Obama will face enormous difficulties implementing even a small portion of his programme that he will have to overcome powerful interests in his own country, and especially a deeply rooted culture of both private and enterprise. We could have helped him by providing our model as an example: The European Way is based on intervention by the state in the economy, on the modification of the rules of the market, and on the central role of the public service. A social Europe, a “Welfare-Europe”, could have provided Obama with support in the battle which he has to wage. But we have missed that opportunity, because Europe is itself busy dismantling its own model and adapting a little more every day to the global model, which corresponds to the traditional American Model.

The conservatives have never believed in a European Way. The left itself, or at least a large part of the left – the part which is in government –, has also abandoned this model. And so here we are: Europe no longer really knows what it is. It is becoming ever more difficult to assign meaning to this project, to answer the question: Why Europe? What does this European Community mean?

When in 1957 we built the first segments of the European Union, the single domestic market was created. That was a good idea. It was an idea which aided the development of Europe. But today, there is a global market and everybody trades with everybody everywhere in the world. So what does the fact that we have a piece of that market still mean? Not much, anymore!

For that reason, I think that there is today a real demand for the essential, for meaning. What is Europe there for? What is it about Europe that is special? How is it different from the rest of the world, in a way which might justify the construction of this community?

It seems to me that the fact that this Europe was built up particularly with respect to economic issues, and on the basis of the market, and that issues connected with culture were pushed completely into the background, has caused the foundations of Europe to be very unstable.

As you know, the word “culture” wasn’t even included in the foundation treaty of the European Community in 1957. It appeared only thirty-five years later, in the Treaty of Maastricht. But even that was not about culture as such, but rather about culture as a commodity. As a commercial good, as a commercial service, culture comes under the purview of the EU.

Jean Monet said during the last days of his life: “If I had to build Europe once again, I would start with its culture.” He had discovered, learned and understood that Europe’s weakness, its difficulties as a political subject, was due, amongst other factors, to the fact that no common culture, no common identity had been developed.

The lack of this common identity/culture is the reason why there is no real European Demos (community, people). The historian Eric Hobsbawm is right in saying that it is difficult, due to this weakness, to recognize the legitimacy of the decisions of European institutions: At the national level, he said, all of us are willing to recognize the legitimacy of a conservative government, even if we may belong to the left – and vice versa. At the European level however, if a decision is taken by a French commissioner, the Italians won’t consider it their decision, and the other way round.

It is true that it isn’t easy to develop a common European cultural identity. Not a few attempts have been made in the past to build one; many prominent Europeans, such as the philosopher Edgar Morin or the sculptor Chabaud – have taken up the task; all European intellectuals have wondered: “What is this common cultural identity? What do we have in common?”, yet none has been able to provide an answer. Some have suggested Christianity, but the history of Christianity in Europe is a history of religious wars, of conflicts; the French Revolution turned against it, as had the Renaissance. Some have noted that the cradle of democracy is here, yet that too is questionable, for so is the cradle of fascism. As for the Graeco-Judeo-Christian heritage, with its separation of church and state, its recognition of human rights, and its independence of science, the fact is that these are features of the entire western world, not specifically distinctive characteristics of Europe. In short, no one has ever been able to answer these questions.

So what do we have in common? The title of my recent book on this topic, Eurollywood,[1] is provocative, because I would like to express that what we have in common is not European culture, but globalized culture, which means American culture. Europeans communicate with each other via American culture, which is more familiar to each of us than that of our neighbouring country. Italians know more about what is happening in the USA than in France; the same is true of the Germans. I always choose the audio-visual area – the cinema and television – as an example, for it reveals so much, for it contributes more than anything else to the collective imagination. These are the most important means of cultural construction that we have. But the situation is that the European audio-visual media market is 70 or 75% dominated by Hollywood products. Films from my own country, Italy, account for only a small share, and those of other European countries for only 5.7% or 8% – it fluctuates from one year to the next.

Franco Moretti, a well known cultural sociologist and the brother of actor Nanni Moretti, has described it very clearly: “Europe has got stuck. There is much more exchange between the continents today than within Europe.”

By the way, when we talk about culture in Europe, we always use the word in the plural, never in the singular, so that it is clear that no member country would accept having its own national culture mistaken for general European culture. But – to get back to the point – we must have something in common despite all of that, something which would justify the construction of this European community, and proves that we are not only a piece of a globalized world.

Certainly, there have been attempts on the part of the institutions to solve this problem; solemn explanations, passports of the same colour, a flag, even an anthem which nobody knows anyway. The first thing in the draft constitution that we got rid of was the flag and the anthem. Nobody cared about them.

There has even been an attempt to write a common book about European history; the project was entrusted to Prof. Duracell, but it went under in controversy. A German teacher, Susanne Poppe, suggested including 15 historical images in all European schoolbooks, with an explanation of the respective reasons for the topic to which the pictures referred. This too was abandoned.

Magnificent speeches have called for protecting the artistic and architectural cultural heritage of Europe. But an important issue is that monuments are the most contradictory and the most conflict-loaded parts of our cultural heritage. A monument in Berlin commemorates a French defeat and another one in Paris, a German one.

It is difficult to build up a European subject, a feeling of solidarity, a European citizenry. To date, there have been none of the instruments of democracy needed for communication between the institutions and civil society which might build up a common public opinion – common political parties, trade unions, newspapers, Ngos etc.

Due to the lack of these instruments, the German Federal Constitutional Court has expressed doubt about the legitimacy of the EU treaties. To some extent, rightly so, for these instruments exist only at the national level – or on paper: There is not even a common section in the biggest dailies. La Repubblica in Italy has a weekly supplement, but not from the Süddeutsche Zeitung or Le Monde but from the New York Times. In 50 years, we haven’t even managed to establish a common TV station, apart from the small broadcaster Euronews, in which however the majority of the member countries are not even involved – a majority which includes Germany. With respect to the image of Europe in the world, every member country has decided in favour of its own broadcaster – BBC World, Deutsche Welle, etc.

So everybody has his own sources of information and his own conclusions, his own assessments which end up being completely different, because we have never done anything at all together. This has caused a deficit of democracy in the EU, because every commissioner reacts to his own public opinion. A French commissioner reacts to public opinion in France; an Italian commissioner reacts to public opinion in Italy etc. If we don’t react to the same constituency, to the same public opinion, because that is fragmented, or to the same subject, it means that we aren’t reacting to anybody.

With one exception: It is true that the European institutions have fought for our cinema and our audio-visual media, and they have achieved a lot, particularly since the eighties. Once European filmmakers realised that European productions were disappearing from our TV screens and from our cinemas, the alarm bells rang, which resulted, starting in 1989, in the Declaration of Delphi, the Vasconcelos Report and conferences on audio-visual media. And finally, the first instruments for the promotion of cinema and audio-visual media in Europe were created: the EU Directive “Television without Frontier”, the EU media programmes, etc.

These programmes have led to a confrontation with Hollywood which has been called “the undeclared war” – and rightly so, for it really is a war. When the Directive “Television without Frontiers”, which introduced quotas for European cinema for our TV channels, was decided upon and approved, then-US Foreign Trade Secretary Clara Hills told European representatives directly, “You cannot do this, Europe will become a fortress.” And this reaction came at a time when the American market share in the audio-visual area was 80%! After that, during the time of the Uruguay Round negotiations of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which called strongly for the decontrol of audio-visual services, the Europeans tried to defend themselves. Indeed, the decontrol would have illegalised all public support for cinema and TV productions as a violation of competition rights. On the other hand, without this public film support, which exists in all our countries, there would be no European films. And decontrol would have made this support illegal. That is how brutal the disputes with Hollywood have got.

castellina0912aThe European Parliament and especially the filmmakers played a major role in this struggle. Everywhere, particularly in Paris, protests were organized to make the statement that culture is not a commodity, and that it can’t be treated as such, that it shouldn’t even have been allowed to be addressed in the context of trade talks in the first place, and that, while one might consider decontrol of telecommunications markets, one would never do so for audio-visual services. After all, a film isn’t like a fax or a phone call, it is not merely the bearer of economic value; rather, it is also the bearer of memories, imagination, traditions, and stories of a people. A refrigerator produced in Los Angeles is more or less the same as one produced in Brussels or Timbuktu, but a film is not – just as a film shot in Timbuktu isn’t like one shot in Lausanne. The rules of the market cannot be applied to such a special “product” – which of course isn’t one – as culture or audio-visual productions.

The United States have a very great advantage: They have a huge monolingual domestic market in which Hollywood productions can already recoup their investment costs at the national level. That leaves a lot of leeway for export, including funds for advertising, marketing, sales etc., even if we disregard the advantage which stem from the political and economic power of the USA. Thomas Friedman, a columnist for the New York Times, made the witty remark that McDonald’s – of course he chose that brand as the symbol of America’s cultural invasion – wouldn’t exist without McDonnell, which built the fighter plane F-15. In other words, the audio-visual media are also important to American exports in other areas.

In Marrakesh, where the 1994 Uruguay Round ended, the Europeans attained what is called their “cultural exception”. It was in fact not really a cultural exception, since that would mean a permanent exception from the rules of decontrol. What they did achieve was merely the right not to open their audio-visual services markets to decontrol for the time being, as provided by the rules, that is, a simple delay, a stay – a temporary victory.

That was still enough to provoke an intense reaction from the USA. The American Board of Trade once again threatened retaliatory measures in other areas. The tone became harsher on both sides: then-French President François Mitterrand, in his answer to Hills, spoke of “genocide”. “What is at stake,” said the president, “is the cultural identity of our nations, the right of every people to its own culture. A society that leaves its self-portrayal to others is an oppressed society.” That is true. My grandchildren know Texas considerably better than the Italian region of Calabria, because they have repeatedly seen Texas in westerns; but they don’t know Calabria. Let alone Baden-Württemberg (Germany) or the Picardie (region in France). And by the way, American children know the outside world hardly at all, since audio-visual products from Europe and the rest of the world account for only 2-3 % of the American market. The saddest thing I saw in connection with the Iraq War, which was of course generally sad for many other reasons, was the picture at the very beginning of the war, of a young American soldier in the desert with his gun who was looking around and hardly knew where he was. He had no idea about the whole history of Iraq, of Babylonia, of the Middle East. For the movies and television in his country show no pictures of any other cultures.

At the conclusion of the Uruguay Round, the fronts were so hardened that in the night of the signing of the agreement, Bill Clinton reached for the phone and called Helmut Kohl and Balladour directly. He told them, “You can’t insist on this. You must accept decontrol. Stop this.” Jack Valenti, then president of Hollywood’s Motion Picture Association, remarked contemptuously: “Why are they talking about culture? This has nothing to do with culture! This only has to do with the business of making money.” And Samuel Goldwyn, the great MGM producer, said with even greater contempt: “It isn’t called show art, it’s called show business.”

This confrontation with the USA is nothing new; it was already there in the 1920s. A very important German, Erich Pommer, was at that time boss of the famous UFA studios in Berlin. He founded a movement called “Film Europe”. His opinion was that “Either the cinema will be European or it will succumb!” He was very probably conscious that the Europeans could have only face up to their American competitors if they were united. But ones the talkies appeared on the screen, Europe realised its own weakness: Everybody spoke a different language. Therefore, large-scale production was, even then, no longer possible. The Americans invented synchronisation to reach European audience even more effectively. But Europe has never been able to synchronize its own films so that they could be shown everywhere in Europe. By the way, the Americans have always refused to synchronize European films in their own country, because they claim to be too demanding, and not able to accept synchronization, whereas Europeans, in their view, are ignorant enough to accept it. Obviously, this is a form of hidden protectionism.

In discussions with the Americans about cinema they constantly use the argument that we have to leave everything to the market, and that the state shouldn’t intervene. But they don’t exactly practice what they preach. The American government is intensively concerned about its own movie industry. After the Second World War, the US business delegation in Europe included a large number of representatives of Hollywood, who came to examine the condition of the film industry. The result was the Harmon Report, in which a strategy for the reconquest of the European silver screen was designed. Immediately thereafter, Undersecretary of State Adolph Berle sent an instruction to the embassies in which he ordered them to ensure the distribution of movies. I would like to stress that I would be willing to surrender the few cents which the Italian state gives us for the cinema, and the entire European media programme along with it, in exchange for influence over the cinema by our embassies such as the American embassies have. Our embassies by contrast, generally don’t care at all. It is clear that the Americans certainly are right, for it is not only a question of cultural hegemony, and of ideological and political influence, but also about economic influence. We all wear blue jeans and drink Coca-Cola, because we have all seen many American films, many westerns in which we have seen Coca-Cola and blue jeans.

In the Marshall Plan negotiated after the Second World War, there was a clause, a condition for the loans: American films were to be imported freely into our countries. The French, who are always more militant, resisted in 1947 and 1948, and marched in the streets of Paris. There are very beautiful documentary films showing workers and filmmakers marching on Paris’ boulevards to protest this clause in the Marshall Plan. But ultimately, France had to cave in, and it too signed the Blum-Byrnes Agreement.

Even if the Americans always stress that only the market determines their movie industry, Washington plays a primary role. Suffice it to mention that the chairmen the Motion Picture Association always resulted from the circle of the narrow employees of the American presidents. The first one, Willy Hays, was President Warren Harding’s campaign manager. His successor, Eric Johnston was a White House envoy in the Middle East, Allan Dulles was boss of the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), and Jack Valenti was President Lyndon Johnson’s right hand man. In the USA, Hollywood is even called the “Little State Department”.

DaysofgloryThe results are clearly visible: a look at film production in Hollywood – independent productions are an exception – shows that the film industry strictly follows the line of American policy. When the United States was allied with the Soviet Union during the Second World War, and one felt constrained to disseminate a positive picture of that country, such films as Days of Glory (1944, Jacques Tourneur), or Mission to Moscow (1943, Michael Curtiz) were shot. After that, the situation changed: with the Cold War came movies like Red Nightmare (1962, George Waggner), Red Dawn (1984, John Milius) and Invasion U.S.A. (1952, Alfred E. Green). And when German rearmament had to be made acceptable to the public, Nazi soldiers were reevaluated, resulting in a number of films like The Desert Fox: The story of Rommel (1951, Henry Hathaway). I remember this film well; it was released at the beginning of the fifties. I was arrested when we tried in to prevent its screening in Rome.

And yet the American film industry is of course great cinema. This goes without saying. It is not by accident that Hollywood is called the home of cinema, as if this town had some kind of extraterritorial status. Hollywood, the Detroit of the emotions, the city of dreams. But Hollywood is also a symbol for the industrialization of culture, for a kind of standardized production which wrecks every other form of expression.

Nonetheless, we still face the question: What is the sense of talking about a European Community, a European identity, a European cinema, rather than an American or a Japanese cinema? What does it mean that in our world today there are transverse movements, not only between the classes, but also geographically? Since geography has lost its meaning, and nation-states are already threatened with extinction, why not replace them with a larger state, like the EU? Since the world has become a network, doesn’t it make sense for all communities to disappear, including the European dimension, which would be superfluous, pure imagination? Is Europe a dimension without which we could do quite well in future? Bad luck for those whom we call, not without irony, “the sacred Europeanists“.

I don’t think that’s true; I don’t share that opinion. It frightens me. A world with no “identity community”, split up, fragmented, without boundaries, could become a world full of metropolises of irresponsibility.

There is a very beautiful American comic strip in which two dogs talk with each other. One dog says to the other: “Do you know what’s good about the Internet? That nobody knows you’re a dog.”

You can be anything! Man or woman. Beautiful or outrageous. Black or yellow or white. You can be old or young or anything. You’re not only free of the compulsions of your family, your village, your country, but also of the compulsions of your body. This is freedom! Subject to no obligations. It’s understandable that young people want that. But it leads to a world of “stowaways”, with no “identity community”, and hence no obligation to react to anybody. Because decency or the opposite, solidarity or selfishness necessarily means with respect to somebody, with respect to the values of a community.

I think we must fight against the anarchistic illusion which globalisation conveys. The older ones among us certainly remember the Port Huron Statement of 1962. It was the first statement of the American New Left, which anticipated Berkeley of 1967 and our European movement of 1968, a demand to liberate ourselves from the bureaucracy of the state and of the corporations, from rigid hierarchies and institutional requirements. But there is a very interesting self-criticism by the American philosopher and sociologist Richard Sennett, one of the authors of the Statement. He says: “History has granted the New Left its wish in a perverse form, in which only individualism, precarization and egoism have triumphed.”

The former cultures, writes sociologist Arjun Appadurai, have been replaced by the culture of global broadcasting networks. That is the only culture which there still is; every other culture has disappeared.

I think that the French philosopher Jacques Rancière is right to say: “Democracy is a specific means for the symbolic structuring of community. There is no democracy without community.”

If we speak of community, we of course mustn’t think of a European state which resembles the old nation-states, only bigger, which will have swallowed all the previous states. That would, we should stress, bring with it all the terrible qualities of the nation-state, which were based on delimitation, ethnocentrism and “monoculture”, the fear of the others. These forms of delimitation are multiplying in light of an ever less ethnically and religiously uniform population.

So we need a reinvention, as Jürgen Habermas says. We need a new concept of citizenship, what Étienne Balibar has called “a transnational citizenship”, not one based on the equation “citizenship equals nationality”.

But all this is still today being complicated by the phenomenon of a non-temporary immigration, for, as Stuart Hall, the founder of the Cultural Studies writes, the diaspora is no longer a minority, “it is the anticipation of the modern age”. (The most frequent first name given to babies at the Brussels registry office is now Mohammed.)

The phenomenon of migration is complicated yet further by the fact that, today, paradoxically, the integration process of immigrants no longer happens as fast as in the post-war period. At that time, immigrants came from colonies and spoke the language of the colonial powers; they knew their customs and habits. Today, they learn the language and customs of their own countries in school. Or they come from countries which had never had anything to do with the country to which they are immigrating; for example, there are many Filipinos in Italy and many Turks in Germany. Moreover, their contacts to their countries of origin have remained stronger than earlier, when immigrants returned home perhaps once in their lifetimes. Today, they travel home much more frequently, thanks to cut-rate airfares. There are mobile telephones and everybody has a grandmother with whom he would like to stay in touch, even if she lives in the desert. That wasn’t the case 20 years ago. The grandmother was forgotten, there was only imaginary contact.

Moreover, there was only the single national television broadcaster, which was inevitably a means of integration. Today, with satellite television, Filipinos in Italy can watch stations from their own country, and Arabs can watch Arabic channels. In Germany, there are twenty Turkish TV stations available via satellite. The Turks no longer watch German television. And of course, the Germans don’t watch Turkish stations. Thus, cultural discrepancies are much greater than in the past.

The same is true of the working world! Once, there was the factory, the large factory, with its social integrative function. This is becoming ever rarer today, precarious work – the so-called “suitcase economy” – has become the norm: trade in typical local goods, and small-scale trade carried out in the street. This “global informality”, this global precariate, is becoming predominant, and leading to an extremely high degree of mobility.

Even the old longing for the old country, which was at least something one knew and could understand, no longer exists. After all, the countries of origin are no longer the glorious lands of the independence struggle; they are now dominated by a “comprador bourgeoisie”.[2] Rather, loyalty is now more likely to exist towards members of the family or of the clan, with whom living contact is maintained. This also explains the revival of religion, the only critical space confronting a modernity which crushes the immigrants.

All in all, different forms of socialization are emerging, which no longer coincide at all with the classic, traditional communities, with their secure, familiar boundaries. One could say that they are trans-cultures – “disembedded”, not tied to the structures of established societal systems. Ties form and dissolve at short notice; traditional relationships between culture, region and polis are destroyed.

Due, too, to these new phenomena, it is no longer possible to talk about a clear European identity. European identity is only conceivable as a complex, ambiguous identity which doesn’t extinguish the different national or local cultures, but incorporates them and integrates them into a new identity. For in spite of it all, we must have something in common, since we live in the same region as a collective, not as a fragmented subject. And that is exactly where it gets difficult, for a balance must be found between respect for the variety of cultural forms of expression – as demanded by the UNESCO Convention of 2005 – and the danger of getting lost in a kaleidoscope of micro-identities which no longer communicate with each other, and remain isolated.[3]

The Convention on Cultural Diversity, of which we are talking, is a good convention, but it can only appear simple if seen superficially, for it contains many contradictions and evokes tough conflicts – especially if culture, as in UNESCO’S view, includes not only works of art, but, anthropologically, the totality of behaviours, values and customs of a people.

Take for example the case of the chador. Is this cultural diversity? If so, the Convention of course protects it as such, and France should be condemned for passing a law which prevents women from wearing a chador. That is a problem. Do we have to accept everything in the name of respect for cultural diversity, even female circumcision – in other words, move over to an extreme form of cultural relativism and dispense with building common values? Certainly not, but we must be aware of the fact that this issue is very tricky.

The question has been adequately discussed, even in the context of UN Development Programmes (UNDP), which determined that no country may enact laws which force people to engage in a certain type of behaviour, such as wearing a chador, for example, or not wearing one, but the state must also guarantee that democracy prevail within the communities, so that an individual is able to make a choice of his or her own.

I believe that we must maintain our striving for universality. We cannot say that everybody should do whatever he or she wishes, for we would then be living in a situation in which there would only be the diversity of cultural ghettos, with nothing in common between them. We must stick to the goal of building a society in which we share values and principles. But we must be conscious that the universalism of which we speak today has been established by the western world, and that the others played no part in its emergence. For the collective imagination is established by information and images of western hegemony. What does universalism mean? What does it consist of? First of all, of information. But 90% of the information is in the hands of the western world; the others are not present. And it is this information that creates images and values.

As children, we have all read Robinson Crusoe. When Robinson meets Friday, he speaks with him in English; he doesn’t consider the fact that his language is not the universal language. This is exemplary for the way we think.

castellina0912bReal universalism can only be the result of a very complex, very long process of dialogue. This is generally accepted, but after that, things get fuzzy. Everybody talks about multiculturalism; the EU has even dedicated one of its topical “years” to it. But it is threatening to become a cage in which the different cultures don’t communicate, and become rigid. Everybody gets their own little kitchen garden, where they can grow their own culture, designed for their personal use. The variety of the others is to be “tolerated”. But tolerance is not a nice word, for it implies that there is one who tolerates and another who is tolerated – and there’s a difference! The old and mistrustful Laokoön told the Greeks that there was a big difference between a dialogue among the different and one among the unequal, and the latter is the case in the intercultural dialogue being carried on in Europe – among unequal, not just different, people.

In Italy – and I think the same is true almost everywhere – the opinions of mayors and municipal officials (not the racist ones who want to expel immigrants, but the good one) are split into two different camps. One says: “You are like us, therefore you must be integrated into our culture, our society, and our customs”; the other says: “We respect your difference and will build you a mosque, so you can do your thing and live according to your traditions.” Neither one is right; the task is more difficult. To create a new identity in which both the old Europeans, the natives, and also the new Europeans can see themselves, we, even we, have to question ourselves. And questioning oneself requires courage. How and how much are we willing to change, with regard to the others? This is very difficult! Are we, as Italians, able to call ourselves in question with regard to the Germans, who are different from us, or with regard to the Nigerians, who are even more different, and vice versa? It is difficult, but it is also necessary.

That is the problem of the other, which has been a central issue since Plato. One must keep one’s own identity, for roots are necessary so as not to feel lost, but this identity necessarily impacts on “otherness” (altérité). As the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas wrote: “The faces of the others change my face, for they convert a single particularity into a social inter-subjectivity, hence into responsibility.” And Edward Saïd, the great Palestinian-American intellectual put it even more clearly: “The other is the critical resource of ourselves.”

We have not been able to achieve that. For example, I was recently in Empoli, a town in Tuscany with 50,000 inhabitants, 10,000 of whom are Chinese. The mayor is a very good mayor and does his best to make sure that the Chinese feel comfortable in the society in Empoli. But I asked him: “Have you tried to explain to those born in Empoli what China is like? Have you taken the initiatives to give them a better understanding of that culture? It isn’t enough to explain to the Chinese what Italy is like.” For of course, it is not only the Chinese who must change, but also the old-established citizens of Empoli. Empoli cannot remain as it was, once so many Chinese have moved there. If cultures aren’t dynamic, they are dying.

I also think that Europe may have an opportunity to become the community which can tackle this difficult task – and assure respect for the identity of the others without locking itself into its own cage in the process. The German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer rightly noted that “Europe has a disadvantage which is also an advantage. It is the region with the most languages, the most differences, and the greatest diversity.” Every morning when we get out of bed in Europe, we are already in another country and speaking another language. That has got us used to the existence of the other. And that is the big difference between us and the United States, which is so like a big island, surrounded by oceans. Certainly, there are many immigrants there, but they accept the hegemony of the first settlers, and keep their cultures for private use, in the family. Here, it’s different. Perhaps Europe can dare to tackle this very difficult task, the construction of a common identity based on the assistance of all, and on this exchange.

There is a statement by Mahatma Gandhi which should in my opinion serve as an example for our attitude:

“I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.”

That is, I think, the balance between respect for diversity and construction of commonality which we must accomplish.

I think that this is a problem, because I think that it is our duty to prevent globalisation from splintering us completely, and also to avoid becoming prisoners in our own cultural cages as a reaction to it: democracy is what is at stake.

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[1] Luciana Castellina, 2008: Eurollywood. Il difficile ingresso della cultura nella costruzione dell’Europa. Pisa: Edizioni ETS, ISBN: 978-884672112-9, 244 pages.

[2] A bourgeois class in the countries of the Third World which mediates intercultural/ international trade.

[3] The Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions was adopted in 2005 by the UNESCO General Conference and took effect in 2007.

Source: http://rosalux-europa.info/publications/newsletter_en/castellina_europe_culture/

by Luciana Castellina

Source: http://rosalux-europa.info/publications/newsletter_en/castellina_europe_culture/

I would like to start my talk with a remark which has no direct connection to CULTURE, malady but I think we can’t do without a somewhat dramatic observation: We are currently experiencing the decline of Europe and of the role of Europe. The dynamic is gone; the citizens don’t understand the European Union.

Two very different people told me quite memorable things recently. The first was one of our friends who works for the World Social Forum and organizes meetings all around the world, especially at the Social Forums in Africa and Latin America. He said: “You know what? Nobody wants to know anything about Europe anymore. Europe, capsule what is Europe? What has Europe accomplished, anyway? We are much more interested in South-South relationships, like with Asia. But Europe… .” The other is a completely different kind of person from my friends at the World Social Forum: it is my daughter. She is an economist and teaches at the London Business School, which has connections with the University in Dubai. By the way: students used to go to London to study; now, the professors from London go to Dubai to teach. They “buy” the professors, so that they will come directly to them. So my daughter told me that the pupils from Dubai, the Arabian and Turkish elites, didn’t even want to hear anything about Europe. They say: “Europe? What is Europe? Europe is dead!”, and the Turks add: “Join the EU? No, they don’t want us, and anyway, we don’t care a bit whether we join or not! We are much more interested in Asia, China, the United States.”

Even the “hated” USA has, with the election of Barack Obama, demonstrated a capacity for dynamics which we in Europe can long since no longer produce. We are certainly very conscious of the fact that Obama will face enormous difficulties implementing even a small portion of his programme that he will have to overcome powerful interests in his own country, and especially a deeply rooted culture of both private and enterprise. We could have helped him by providing our model as an example: The European Way is based on intervention by the state in the economy, on the modification of the rules of the market, and on the central role of the public service. A social Europe, a “Welfare-Europe”, could have provided Obama with support in the battle which he has to wage. But we have missed that opportunity, because Europe is itself busy dismantling its own model and adapting a little more every day to the global model, which corresponds to the traditional American Model.

The conservatives have never believed in a European Way. The left itself, or at least a large part of the left – the part which is in government –, has also abandoned this model. And so here we are: Europe no longer really knows what it is. It is becoming ever more difficult to assign meaning to this project, to answer the question: Why Europe? What does this European Community mean?

When in 1957 we built the first segments of the European Union, the single domestic market was created. That was a good idea. It was an idea which aided the development of Europe. But today, there is a global market and everybody trades with everybody everywhere in the world. So what does the fact that we have a piece of that market still mean? Not much, anymore!

For that reason, I think that there is today a real demand for the essential, for meaning. What is Europe there for? What is it about Europe that is special? How is it different from the rest of the world, in a way which might justify the construction of this community?

It seems to me that the fact that this Europe was built up particularly with respect to economic issues, and on the basis of the market, and that issues connected with culture were pushed completely into the background, has caused the foundations of Europe to be very unstable.

As you know, the word “culture” wasn’t even included in the foundation treaty of the European Community in 1957. It appeared only thirty-five years later, in the Treaty of Maastricht. But even that was not about culture as such, but rather about culture as a commodity. As a commercial good, as a commercial service, culture comes under the purview of the EU.

Jean Monet said during the last days of his life: “If I had to build Europe once again, I would start with its culture.” He had discovered, learned and understood that Europe’s weakness, its difficulties as a political subject, was due, amongst other factors, to the fact that no common culture, no common identity had been developed.

The lack of this common identity/culture is the reason why there is no real European Demos (community, people). The historian Eric Hobsbawm is right in saying that it is difficult, due to this weakness, to recognize the legitimacy of the decisions of European institutions: At the national level, he said, all of us are willing to recognize the legitimacy of a conservative government, even if we may belong to the left – and vice versa. At the European level however, if a decision is taken by a French commissioner, the Italians won’t consider it their decision, and the other way round.

It is true that it isn’t easy to develop a common European cultural identity. Not a few attempts have been made in the past to build one; many prominent Europeans, such as the philosopher Edgar Morin or the sculptor Chabaud – have taken up the task; all European intellectuals have wondered: “What is this common cultural identity? What do we have in common?”, yet none has been able to provide an answer. Some have suggested Christianity, but the history of Christianity in Europe is a history of religious wars, of conflicts; the French Revolution turned against it, as had the Renaissance. Some have noted that the cradle of democracy is here, yet that too is questionable, for so is the cradle of fascism. As for the Graeco-Judeo-Christian heritage, with its separation of church and state, its recognition of human rights, and its independence of science, the fact is that these are features of the entire western world, not specifically distinctive characteristics of Europe. In short, no one has ever been able to answer these questions.

So what do we have in common? The title of my recent book on this topic, Eurollywood,[1] is provocative, because I would like to express that what we have in common is not European culture, but globalized culture, which means American culture. Europeans communicate with each other via American culture, which is more familiar to each of us than that of our neighbouring country. Italians know more about what is happening in the USA than in France; the same is true of the Germans. I always choose the audio-visual area – the cinema and television – as an example, for it reveals so much, for it contributes more than anything else to the collective imagination. These are the most important means of cultural construction that we have. But the situation is that the European audio-visual media market is 70 or 75% dominated by Hollywood products. Films from my own country, Italy, account for only a small share, and those of other European countries for only 5.7% or 8% – it fluctuates from one year to the next.

Franco Moretti, a well known cultural sociologist and the brother of actor Nanni Moretti, has described it very clearly: “Europe has got stuck. There is much more exchange between the continents today than within Europe.”

By the way, when we talk about culture in Europe, we always use the word in the plural, never in the singular, so that it is clear that no member country would accept having its own national culture mistaken for general European culture. But – to get back to the point – we must have something in common despite all of that, something which would justify the construction of this European community, and proves that we are not only a piece of a globalized world.

Certainly, there have been attempts on the part of the institutions to solve this problem; solemn explanations, passports of the same colour, a flag, even an anthem which nobody knows anyway. The first thing in the draft constitution that we got rid of was the flag and the anthem. Nobody cared about them.

There has even been an attempt to write a common book about European history; the project was entrusted to Prof. Duracell, but it went under in controversy. A German teacher, Susanne Poppe, suggested including 15 historical images in all European schoolbooks, with an explanation of the respective reasons for the topic to which the pictures referred. This too was abandoned.

Magnificent speeches have called for protecting the artistic and architectural cultural heritage of Europe. But an important issue is that monuments are the most contradictory and the most conflict-loaded parts of our cultural heritage. A monument in Berlin commemorates a French defeat and another one in Paris, a German one.

It is difficult to build up a European subject, a feeling of solidarity, a European citizenry. To date, there have been none of the instruments of democracy needed for communication between the institutions and civil society which might build up a common public opinion – common political parties, trade unions, newspapers, Ngos etc.

Due to the lack of these instruments, the German Federal Constitutional Court has expressed doubt about the legitimacy of the EU treaties. To some extent, rightly so, for these instruments exist only at the national level – or on paper: There is not even a common section in the biggest dailies. La Repubblica in Italy has a weekly supplement, but not from the Süddeutsche Zeitung or Le Monde but from the New York Times. In 50 years, we haven’t even managed to establish a common TV station, apart from the small broadcaster Euronews, in which however the majority of the member countries are not even involved – a majority which includes Germany. With respect to the image of Europe in the world, every member country has decided in favour of its own broadcaster – BBC World, Deutsche Welle, etc.

So everybody has his own sources of information and his own conclusions, his own assessments which end up being completely different, because we have never done anything at all together. This has caused a deficit of democracy in the EU, because every commissioner reacts to his own public opinion. A French commissioner reacts to public opinion in France; an Italian commissioner reacts to public opinion in Italy etc. If we don’t react to the same constituency, to the same public opinion, because that is fragmented, or to the same subject, it means that we aren’t reacting to anybody.

With one exception: It is true that the European institutions have fought for our cinema and our audio-visual media, and they have achieved a lot, particularly since the eighties. Once European filmmakers realised that European productions were disappearing from our TV screens and from our cinemas, the alarm bells rang, which resulted, starting in 1989, in the Declaration of Delphi, the Vasconcelos Report and conferences on audio-visual media. And finally, the first instruments for the promotion of cinema and audio-visual media in Europe were created: the EU Directive “Television without Frontier”, the EU media programmes, etc.

These programmes have led to a confrontation with Hollywood which has been called “the undeclared war” – and rightly so, for it really is a war. When the Directive “Television without Frontiers”, which introduced quotas for European cinema for our TV channels, was decided upon and approved, then-US Foreign Trade Secretary Clara Hills told European representatives directly, “You cannot do this, Europe will become a fortress.” And this reaction came at a time when the American market share in the audio-visual area was 80%! After that, during the time of the Uruguay Round negotiations of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which called strongly for the decontrol of audio-visual services, the Europeans tried to defend themselves. Indeed, the decontrol would have illegalised all public support for cinema and TV productions as a violation of competition rights. On the other hand, without this public film support, which exists in all our countries, there would be no European films. And decontrol would have made this support illegal. That is how brutal the disputes with Hollywood have got.

castellina0912aThe European Parliament and especially the filmmakers played a major role in this struggle. Everywhere, particularly in Paris, protests were organized to make the statement that culture is not a commodity, and that it can’t be treated as such, that it shouldn’t even have been allowed to be addressed in the context of trade talks in the first place, and that, while one might consider decontrol of telecommunications markets, one would never do so for audio-visual services. After all, a film isn’t like a fax or a phone call, it is not merely the bearer of economic value; rather, it is also the bearer of memories, imagination, traditions, and stories of a people. A refrigerator produced in Los Angeles is more or less the same as one produced in Brussels or Timbuktu, but a film is not – just as a film shot in Timbuktu isn’t like one shot in Lausanne. The rules of the market cannot be applied to such a special “product” – which of course isn’t one – as culture or audio-visual productions.

The United States have a very great advantage: They have a huge monolingual domestic market in which Hollywood productions can already recoup their investment costs at the national level. That leaves a lot of leeway for export, including funds for advertising, marketing, sales etc., even if we disregard the advantage which stem from the political and economic power of the USA. Thomas Friedman, a columnist for the New York Times, made the witty remark that McDonald’s – of course he chose that brand as the symbol of America’s cultural invasion – wouldn’t exist without McDonnell, which built the fighter plane F-15. In other words, the audio-visual media are also important to American exports in other areas.

In Marrakesh, where the 1994 Uruguay Round ended, the Europeans attained what is called their “cultural exception”. It was in fact not really a cultural exception, since that would mean a permanent exception from the rules of decontrol. What they did achieve was merely the right not to open their audio-visual services markets to decontrol for the time being, as provided by the rules, that is, a simple delay, a stay – a temporary victory.

That was still enough to provoke an intense reaction from the USA. The American Board of Trade once again threatened retaliatory measures in other areas. The tone became harsher on both sides: then-French President François Mitterrand, in his answer to Hills, spoke of “genocide”. “What is at stake,” said the president, “is the cultural identity of our nations, the right of every people to its own culture. A society that leaves its self-portrayal to others is an oppressed society.” That is true. My grandchildren know Texas considerably better than the Italian region of Calabria, because they have repeatedly seen Texas in westerns; but they don’t know Calabria. Let alone Baden-Württemberg (Germany) or the Picardie (region in France). And by the way, American children know the outside world hardly at all, since audio-visual products from Europe and the rest of the world account for only 2-3 % of the American market. The saddest thing I saw in connection with the Iraq War, which was of course generally sad for many other reasons, was the picture at the very beginning of the war, of a young American soldier in the desert with his gun who was looking around and hardly knew where he was. He had no idea about the whole history of Iraq, of Babylonia, of the Middle East. For the movies and television in his country show no pictures of any other cultures.

At the conclusion of the Uruguay Round, the fronts were so hardened that in the night of the signing of the agreement, Bill Clinton reached for the phone and called Helmut Kohl and Balladour directly. He told them, “You can’t insist on this. You must accept decontrol. Stop this.” Jack Valenti, then president of Hollywood’s Motion Picture Association, remarked contemptuously: “Why are they talking about culture? This has nothing to do with culture! This only has to do with the business of making money.” And Samuel Goldwyn, the great MGM producer, said with even greater contempt: “It isn’t called show art, it’s called show business.”

This confrontation with the USA is nothing new; it was already there in the 1920s. A very important German, Erich Pommer, was at that time boss of the famous UFA studios in Berlin. He founded a movement called “Film Europe”. His opinion was that “Either the cinema will be European or it will succumb!” He was very probably conscious that the Europeans could have only face up to their American competitors if they were united. But ones the talkies appeared on the screen, Europe realised its own weakness: Everybody spoke a different language. Therefore, large-scale production was, even then, no longer possible. The Americans invented synchronisation to reach European audience even more effectively. But Europe has never been able to synchronize its own films so that they could be shown everywhere in Europe. By the way, the Americans have always refused to synchronize European films in their own country, because they claim to be too demanding, and not able to accept synchronization, whereas Europeans, in their view, are ignorant enough to accept it. Obviously, this is a form of hidden protectionism.

In discussions with the Americans about cinema they constantly use the argument that we have to leave everything to the market, and that the state shouldn’t intervene. But they don’t exactly practice what they preach. The American government is intensively concerned about its own movie industry. After the Second World War, the US business delegation in Europe included a large number of representatives of Hollywood, who came to examine the condition of the film industry. The result was the Harmon Report, in which a strategy for the reconquest of the European silver screen was designed. Immediately thereafter, Undersecretary of State Adolph Berle sent an instruction to the embassies in which he ordered them to ensure the distribution of movies. I would like to stress that I would be willing to surrender the few cents which the Italian state gives us for the cinema, and the entire European media programme along with it, in exchange for influence over the cinema by our embassies such as the American embassies have. Our embassies by contrast, generally don’t care at all. It is clear that the Americans certainly are right, for it is not only a question of cultural hegemony, and of ideological and political influence, but also about economic influence. We all wear blue jeans and drink Coca-Cola, because we have all seen many American films, many westerns in which we have seen Coca-Cola and blue jeans.

In the Marshall Plan negotiated after the Second World War, there was a clause, a condition for the loans: American films were to be imported freely into our countries. The French, who are always more militant, resisted in 1947 and 1948, and marched in the streets of Paris. There are very beautiful documentary films showing workers and filmmakers marching on Paris’ boulevards to protest this clause in the Marshall Plan. But ultimately, France had to cave in, and it too signed the Blum-Byrnes Agreement.

Even if the Americans always stress that only the market determines their movie industry, Washington plays a primary role. Suffice it to mention that the chairmen the Motion Picture Association always resulted from the circle of the narrow employees of the American presidents. The first one, Willy Hays, was President Warren Harding’s campaign manager. His successor, Eric Johnston was a White House envoy in the Middle East, Allan Dulles was boss of the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), and Jack Valenti was President Lyndon Johnson’s right hand man. In the USA, Hollywood is even called the “Little State Department”.

DaysofgloryThe results are clearly visible: a look at film production in Hollywood – independent productions are an exception – shows that the film industry strictly follows the line of American policy. When the United States was allied with the Soviet Union during the Second World War, and one felt constrained to disseminate a positive picture of that country, such films as Days of Glory (1944, Jacques Tourneur), or Mission to Moscow (1943, Michael Curtiz) were shot. After that, the situation changed: with the Cold War came movies like Red Nightmare (1962, George Waggner), Red Dawn (1984, John Milius) and Invasion U.S.A. (1952, Alfred E. Green). And when German rearmament had to be made acceptable to the public, Nazi soldiers were reevaluated, resulting in a number of films like The Desert Fox: The story of Rommel (1951, Henry Hathaway). I remember this film well; it was released at the beginning of the fifties. I was arrested when we tried in to prevent its screening in Rome.

And yet the American film industry is of course great cinema. This goes without saying. It is not by accident that Hollywood is called the home of cinema, as if this town had some kind of extraterritorial status. Hollywood, the Detroit of the emotions, the city of dreams. But Hollywood is also a symbol for the industrialization of culture, for a kind of standardized production which wrecks every other form of expression.

Nonetheless, we still face the question: What is the sense of talking about a European Community, a European identity, a European cinema, rather than an American or a Japanese cinema? What does it mean that in our world today there are transverse movements, not only between the classes, but also geographically? Since geography has lost its meaning, and nation-states are already threatened with extinction, why not replace them with a larger state, like the EU? Since the world has become a network, doesn’t it make sense for all communities to disappear, including the European dimension, which would be superfluous, pure imagination? Is Europe a dimension without which we could do quite well in future? Bad luck for those whom we call, not without irony, “the sacred Europeanists“.

I don’t think that’s true; I don’t share that opinion. It frightens me. A world with no “identity community”, split up, fragmented, without boundaries, could become a world full of metropolises of irresponsibility.

There is a very beautiful American comic strip in which two dogs talk with each other. One dog says to the other: “Do you know what’s good about the Internet? That nobody knows you’re a dog.”

You can be anything! Man or woman. Beautiful or outrageous. Black or yellow or white. You can be old or young or anything. You’re not only free of the compulsions of your family, your village, your country, but also of the compulsions of your body. This is freedom! Subject to no obligations. It’s understandable that young people want that. But it leads to a world of “stowaways”, with no “identity community”, and hence no obligation to react to anybody. Because decency or the opposite, solidarity or selfishness necessarily means with respect to somebody, with respect to the values of a community.

I think we must fight against the anarchistic illusion which globalisation conveys. The older ones among us certainly remember the Port Huron Statement of 1962. It was the first statement of the American New Left, which anticipated Berkeley of 1967 and our European movement of 1968, a demand to liberate ourselves from the bureaucracy of the state and of the corporations, from rigid hierarchies and institutional requirements. But there is a very interesting self-criticism by the American philosopher and sociologist Richard Sennett, one of the authors of the Statement. He says: “History has granted the New Left its wish in a perverse form, in which only individualism, precarization and egoism have triumphed.”

The former cultures, writes sociologist Arjun Appadurai, have been replaced by the culture of global broadcasting networks. That is the only culture which there still is; every other culture has disappeared.

I think that the French philosopher Jacques Rancière is right to say: “Democracy is a specific means for the symbolic structuring of community. There is no democracy without community.”

If we speak of community, we of course mustn’t think of a European state which resembles the old nation-states, only bigger, which will have swallowed all the previous states. That would, we should stress, bring with it all the terrible qualities of the nation-state, which were based on delimitation, ethnocentrism and “monoculture”, the fear of the others. These forms of delimitation are multiplying in light of an ever less ethnically and religiously uniform population.

So we need a reinvention, as Jürgen Habermas says. We need a new concept of citizenship, what Étienne Balibar has called “a transnational citizenship”, not one based on the equation “citizenship equals nationality”.

But all this is still today being complicated by the phenomenon of a non-temporary immigration, for, as Stuart Hall, the founder of the Cultural Studies writes, the diaspora is no longer a minority, “it is the anticipation of the modern age”. (The most frequent first name given to babies at the Brussels registry office is now Mohammed.)

The phenomenon of migration is complicated yet further by the fact that, today, paradoxically, the integration process of immigrants no longer happens as fast as in the post-war period. At that time, immigrants came from colonies and spoke the language of the colonial powers; they knew their customs and habits. Today, they learn the language and customs of their own countries in school. Or they come from countries which had never had anything to do with the country to which they are immigrating; for example, there are many Filipinos in Italy and many Turks in Germany. Moreover, their contacts to their countries of origin have remained stronger than earlier, when immigrants returned home perhaps once in their lifetimes. Today, they travel home much more frequently, thanks to cut-rate airfares. There are mobile telephones and everybody has a grandmother with whom he would like to stay in touch, even if she lives in the desert. That wasn’t the case 20 years ago. The grandmother was forgotten, there was only imaginary contact.

Moreover, there was only the single national television broadcaster, which was inevitably a means of integration. Today, with satellite television, Filipinos in Italy can watch stations from their own country, and Arabs can watch Arabic channels. In Germany, there are twenty Turkish TV stations available via satellite. The Turks no longer watch German television. And of course, the Germans don’t watch Turkish stations. Thus, cultural discrepancies are much greater than in the past.

The same is true of the working world! Once, there was the factory, the large factory, with its social integrative function. This is becoming ever rarer today, precarious work – the so-called “suitcase economy” – has become the norm: trade in typical local goods, and small-scale trade carried out in the street. This “global informality”, this global precariate, is becoming predominant, and leading to an extremely high degree of mobility.

Even the old longing for the old country, which was at least something one knew and could understand, no longer exists. After all, the countries of origin are no longer the glorious lands of the independence struggle; they are now dominated by a “comprador bourgeoisie”.[2] Rather, loyalty is now more likely to exist towards members of the family or of the clan, with whom living contact is maintained. This also explains the revival of religion, the only critical space confronting a modernity which crushes the immigrants.

All in all, different forms of socialization are emerging, which no longer coincide at all with the classic, traditional communities, with their secure, familiar boundaries. One could say that they are trans-cultures – “disembedded”, not tied to the structures of established societal systems. Ties form and dissolve at short notice; traditional relationships between culture, region and polis are destroyed.

Due, too, to these new phenomena, it is no longer possible to talk about a clear European identity. European identity is only conceivable as a complex, ambiguous identity which doesn’t extinguish the different national or local cultures, but incorporates them and integrates them into a new identity. For in spite of it all, we must have something in common, since we live in the same region as a collective, not as a fragmented subject. And that is exactly where it gets difficult, for a balance must be found between respect for the variety of cultural forms of expression – as demanded by the UNESCO Convention of 2005 – and the danger of getting lost in a kaleidoscope of micro-identities which no longer communicate with each other, and remain isolated.[3]

The Convention on Cultural Diversity, of which we are talking, is a good convention, but it can only appear simple if seen superficially, for it contains many contradictions and evokes tough conflicts – especially if culture, as in UNESCO’S view, includes not only works of art, but, anthropologically, the totality of behaviours, values and customs of a people.

Take for example the case of the chador. Is this cultural diversity? If so, the Convention of course protects it as such, and France should be condemned for passing a law which prevents women from wearing a chador. That is a problem. Do we have to accept everything in the name of respect for cultural diversity, even female circumcision – in other words, move over to an extreme form of cultural relativism and dispense with building common values? Certainly not, but we must be aware of the fact that this issue is very tricky.

The question has been adequately discussed, even in the context of UN Development Programmes (UNDP), which determined that no country may enact laws which force people to engage in a certain type of behaviour, such as wearing a chador, for example, or not wearing one, but the state must also guarantee that democracy prevail within the communities, so that an individual is able to make a choice of his or her own.

I believe that we must maintain our striving for universality. We cannot say that everybody should do whatever he or she wishes, for we would then be living in a situation in which there would only be the diversity of cultural ghettos, with nothing in common between them. We must stick to the goal of building a society in which we share values and principles. But we must be conscious that the universalism of which we speak today has been established by the western world, and that the others played no part in its emergence. For the collective imagination is established by information and images of western hegemony. What does universalism mean? What does it consist of? First of all, of information. But 90% of the information is in the hands of the western world; the others are not present. And it is this information that creates images and values.

As children, we have all read Robinson Crusoe. When Robinson meets Friday, he speaks with him in English; he doesn’t consider the fact that his language is not the universal language. This is exemplary for the way we think.

castellina0912bReal universalism can only be the result of a very complex, very long process of dialogue. This is generally accepted, but after that, things get fuzzy. Everybody talks about multiculturalism; the EU has even dedicated one of its topical “years” to it. But it is threatening to become a cage in which the different cultures don’t communicate, and become rigid. Everybody gets their own little kitchen garden, where they can grow their own culture, designed for their personal use. The variety of the others is to be “tolerated”. But tolerance is not a nice word, for it implies that there is one who tolerates and another who is tolerated – and there’s a difference! The old and mistrustful Laokoön told the Greeks that there was a big difference between a dialogue among the different and one among the unequal, and the latter is the case in the intercultural dialogue being carried on in Europe – among unequal, not just different, people.

In Italy – and I think the same is true almost everywhere – the opinions of mayors and municipal officials (not the racist ones who want to expel immigrants, but the good one) are split into two different camps. One says: “You are like us, therefore you must be integrated into our culture, our society, and our customs”; the other says: “We respect your difference and will build you a mosque, so you can do your thing and live according to your traditions.” Neither one is right; the task is more difficult. To create a new identity in which both the old Europeans, the natives, and also the new Europeans can see themselves, we, even we, have to question ourselves. And questioning oneself requires courage. How and how much are we willing to change, with regard to the others? This is very difficult! Are we, as Italians, able to call ourselves in question with regard to the Germans, who are different from us, or with regard to the Nigerians, who are even more different, and vice versa? It is difficult, but it is also necessary.

That is the problem of the other, which has been a central issue since Plato. One must keep one’s own identity, for roots are necessary so as not to feel lost, but this identity necessarily impacts on “otherness” (altérité). As the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas wrote: “The faces of the others change my face, for they convert a single particularity into a social inter-subjectivity, hence into responsibility.” And Edward Saïd, the great Palestinian-American intellectual put it even more clearly: “The other is the critical resource of ourselves.”

We have not been able to achieve that. For example, I was recently in Empoli, a town in Tuscany with 50,000 inhabitants, 10,000 of whom are Chinese. The mayor is a very good mayor and does his best to make sure that the Chinese feel comfortable in the society in Empoli. But I asked him: “Have you tried to explain to those born in Empoli what China is like? Have you taken the initiatives to give them a better understanding of that culture? It isn’t enough to explain to the Chinese what Italy is like.” For of course, it is not only the Chinese who must change, but also the old-established citizens of Empoli. Empoli cannot remain as it was, once so many Chinese have moved there. If cultures aren’t dynamic, they are dying.

I also think that Europe may have an opportunity to become the community which can tackle this difficult task – and assure respect for the identity of the others without locking itself into its own cage in the process. The German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer rightly noted that “Europe has a disadvantage which is also an advantage. It is the region with the most languages, the most differences, and the greatest diversity.” Every morning when we get out of bed in Europe, we are already in another country and speaking another language. That has got us used to the existence of the other. And that is the big difference between us and the United States, which is so like a big island, surrounded by oceans. Certainly, there are many immigrants there, but they accept the hegemony of the first settlers, and keep their cultures for private use, in the family. Here, it’s different. Perhaps Europe can dare to tackle this very difficult task, the construction of a common identity based on the assistance of all, and on this exchange.

There is a statement by Mahatma Gandhi which should in my opinion serve as an example for our attitude:

“I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.”

That is, I think, the balance between respect for diversity and construction of commonality which we must accomplish.

I think that this is a problem, because I think that it is our duty to prevent globalisation from splintering us completely, and also to avoid becoming prisoners in our own cultural cages as a reaction to it: democracy is what is at stake.

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[1] Luciana Castellina, 2008: Eurollywood. Il difficile ingresso della cultura nella costruzione dell’Europa. Pisa: Edizioni ETS, ISBN: 978-884672112-9, 244 pages.

[2] A bourgeois class in the countries of the Third World which mediates intercultural/ international trade.

[3] The Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions was adopted in 2005 by the UNESCO General Conference and took effect in 2007.

Cambio climático amenaza al sur de Asia

Fuente: BBC Mundo
http://www.bbc.co.uk/mundo/ciencia_tecnologia/2010/08/100802_1300_cambio_climatico_asia_sur_wbm.shtml

Millones de personas en el sur de Asia sufren los efectos del cambio climático.

Expertos aseguran que el sur de Asia es particularmente vulnerable a los efectos del cambio climático y piden acción urgente y concreta para enfrentar la amenaza.

En el marco de las devastadoras inundaciones en Pakistán se realiza la cumbre de la Asociación para la Cooperación Regional del Sur de Asia (SAARC, por sus siglas en inglés) en Timbu, la capital de Bután y el tema central es el cambio climático.

“Intensas inundaciones, sequías y ciclones han impactado el desempeño económico de los países del sur de Asia y afectado la vida de millones de pobres”, dice el informe de 2009 del PNUMA, el Programa de Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente.

“También pone en riesgo la infraestructura, la agricultura, la salud humana, los recursos acuíferos y el medio ambiente”, añade.

A pesar de estas advertencias, los países de la región no tienen un buen récord de cooperación para enfrentar problemas comunes sensibles, explica Navin Singh Khadka, de la BBC en Bután.
Muchas palabras, poca acción

No es la primera vez que la cumbre de SAARC aborda el tema, señala Singh Khadka.

Durante la reunión de 2007 en Delhi, India, los líderes acordaron “comisionar un equipo de expertos regionales para identificar acciones conjuntas en el intercambio de conocimientos sobre las consecuencias del cambio climático”.

Un año más tarde, el la siguiente cumbre en Bangladés, se adoptó la Declaración de Dacca sobre el cambio climático.

Sin embargo, según los expertos, casi ninguna de estas declaraciones han estado respaldadas por hechos concretos.

India, la mayor economía de la región, exhortó a la cooperación entre vecinos que comparten la ecología del Himalaya, pero tampoco se han adoptado medidas serias al respecto.

Con estos esfuerzos regionales limitados a documentos académicos, temas clave como los pronósticos de inundaciones no están sucediendo, informa el corresponsal de la BBC, y mucho tiene que ver con una falta de confianza mutua.

Sequía en Vietnam

“Algunos países en la región no están dispuestos a compartir los datos hidrológicos porque los consideran confidenciales”, afirma Mats Eriksson, un ingeniero hidrológico basado en Katmandú que ha dedicado gran parte de su tiempo intentando reunir los esfuerzos de los países regionales para el pronóstico de inundaciones.

A medida que millones de personas en el sur de Asia sufren los efectos de los monzones, hay una creciente incertidumbre con respecto a la desequilibrada distribución de precipitación monzón en la región.

En años recientes, mientras algunos lugares han sufrido aguaceros torrenciales, otros han recibido menos lluvia e inclusive han sido afectados por sequía.

El cambio climático podría influir en la dinámica de los monzones -una temporada crucial para la región- retardando el inicio de las lluvias y prolongando el intervalo entre estas.
Intereses individuales

Aunque se está esperando cuál será la respuesta de la SAARC ante esta realidad, esta vez hay cierto aire de optimismo.

“Esta es la primera vez durante una cumbre de SAARC que los líderes de los países se están reuniendo en torno a un tema muy específico”, manifestó Rajendra Pachauri, presidente de el Panel Intergubernamental sobre el Cambio Climático.

Cumbre de la SAARC

Otros también creen que el contacto entre mandatarios es un paso inicial necesario que conducirá a acciones concretas, pues siempre querrán mostrar progreso.

Pero los intereses individuales de cada país logran interferir con las negociaciones, como quedó demostrado en la cumbre de Copenhague.

La creciente economía de India, por ejemplo, busca un tratado global que requiera a las naciones ricas -y no a las emergentes- que reduzcan sus emisiones de carbono.

Mientras tanto, los países de la región en vías de desarrollo -que son los más vulnerables al cambio climático- enfocan su cabildeo hacia un tratado internacional sin consideraciones de quien debe reducir sus emisiones.

Las diferencias políticas entre países también afectan los resultados de cualquier acuerdo ambiental, indica Singh Khadka de la BBC.

Una de las más recientes disputas entre los rivales nucleares India y Pakistán tiene que ver con la repartición de fuentes de agua, una situación que podría empeorar a medida que el problema del cambio climático continúe sin resolución.

Sixth ASEAN People’s Forum (APF6) Vietnam


Intervención de Pedro Páez (viernes 29 de febrero 2008) explicando las bases de la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional propuesta para America Latina.
PARTE 1

PARTE 2

Intervención de Pedro Páez (viernes 29 de febrero 2008) explicando las bases de la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional propuesta para America Latina.

Pedro Páez Pérez, actualmente se desempeña como Presidente de la Comisión Técnica Presidencial para el diseño de la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional-Banco del Sur y es Representante Plenipotenciario del Gobierno del Ecuador para el tema de la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera. Además es Miembro de la Comisión de Expertos de la ONU precedida por el Prof. Joseph Stiglitz para el análisis y propuestas ante la Crisis Financiera Internacional.


Intervención de Pedro Páez (viernes 29 de febrero 2008) explicando las bases de la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional propuesta para America Latina.
Pedro Páez Pérez, actualmente se desempeña como Presidente de la Comisión Técnica Presidencial para el diseño de la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional-Banco del Sur y es Representante Plenipotenciario del Gobierno del Ecuador para el tema de la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera. Además es Miembro de la Comisión de Expertos de la ONU precedida por el Prof. Joseph Stiglitz para el análisis y propuestas ante la Crisis Financiera Internacional.
PARTE 1

PARTE 2

PARTE 3

Intervención de Pedro Páez (viernes 29 de febrero 2008) explicando las bases de la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional propuesta para America Latina.

Pedro Páez Pérez, salve treatment actualmente se desempeña como Presidente de la Comisión Técnica Presidencial para el diseño de la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional-Banco del Sur y es Representante Plenipotenciario del Gobierno del Ecuador para el tema de la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera. Además es Miembro de la Comisión de Expertos de la ONU precedida por el Prof. Joseph Stiglitz para el análisis y propuestas ante la Crisis Financiera Internacional.

Intervención de Pedro Páez (viernes 29 de febrero 2008) explicando las bases de la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional propuesta para America Latina.

PARTE 1

PARTE 2

PARTE 3

Pedro Páez Pérez, no rx actualmente se desempeña como Presidente de la Comisión Técnica Presidencial para el diseño de la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional-Banco del Sur y es Representante Plenipotenciario del Gobierno del Ecuador para el tema de la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera. Además es Miembro de la Comisión de Expertos de la ONU precedida por el Prof. Joseph Stiglitz para el análisis y propuestas ante la Crisis Financiera Internacional.

Documento borrador para discusión. El fracaso de Bretton Woods y los tres pilares de la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional.
Por: Equipo Técnico Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional –Banco del Sur. Ecuador
Septiembre 22 de 2009

1. El Fondo Monetario Internacional y el Banco Mundial: su fracaso histórico

De la cita de Bretton Woods en las postrimeras de la Segunda Guerra Mundial surgen las instituciones llamadas a configurar los pilares del que sería el Nuevo Orden Económico Mundial sobre la base de un claro direccionamiento hacia los intereses particulares de la nación que se erguía con la hegemonía en Occidente. Es así que nace el Fondo Monetario Internacional en el pilar monetario, remedy el Banco Mundial en el pilar del desarrollo y la fallida Organización Internacional del Comercio, order
que sería sustituida por el proceso GATT – OMC, doctor en el pilar comercial.

El FMI se configuró en el objetivo específico de proveer créditos de corto plazo en divisas a los países en situaciones de problemas en sus balanzas de pagos a efectos de que puedan preservar sus niveles de reservas internacionales, y con ello la estabilidad cambiaria de sus monedas.

Cabe recordar que esta función del FMI se inscribía en el esquema monetario impuesto por el patrón oro-dólar con los Estados Unidos como emisor primario del dinero del mundo, y los demás países sujetos a un manejo monetario respaldado en sus tenencias en dólares.

Este esquema original no pudo sostenerse por la desenfrenada emisión estadounidense que le llevó a este país a un auge económico inusitado en la década de los cincuenta, a expensas de exportar su inflación al mundo volviendo insostenible el fundamento de tipos de cambio fijos.

Luego del colapso definitivo del patrón oro-dólar, para los años setenta, la liberalización cambiaria resultante hubiera significado la desaparición del FMI al extinguirse su razón de ser.

Pero la capacidad de adaptación de esta entidad y el aprovechamiento de las propias consecuencias del colapso del esquema original, le dieron nueva vida y poder.

La crisis económica de los países latinoamericanos en los ochenta, fundamentada en la crisis de su deuda externa, impulsó a que el FMI se convierta en el prestamista obligado para atender las necesidades urgentes de financiamiento de estos países sobre endeudados y con sus canales convencionales de acceso a recursos rotos. Esta coyuntura derivó en un redireccionamiento del papel del FMI, ahora convertido en el puntal del Consenso de Washington para la imposición del modelo neoliberal como opción única de manejo económico a través del condicionamiento de los recursos que esta entidad prestaba a los tan necesitados países de la Región.

La paradoja neoliberal impulsada desde el FMI obligó a que dos décadas de recuperación económica de América Latina no hayan podido aprovecharse para mejorar la calidad de vida de los más necesitados a través de un real fortalecimiento de las economías. El creciente ahorro nacional que se iba gestando de un lado gracias al sacrificio de la población, resultó en un proceso de acumulación obligado a título de alcanzar niveles “adecuados” de reservas internacionales como requisito para que por el otro lado, los países puedan recibir recursos del FMI y su aval para otros créditos de la banca multilateral de desarrollo para financiar un supuesto desarrollo económico condicionado por todos lados. Es en esta lógica del financiamiento para el desarrollo en la que se inscribe el Banco Mundial, asimismo, transmutado en su condición desde unos inicios institucionales que bien podrían haberse inscrito en esfuerzos orientados a la canalización de recursos efectivamente para impulsar a las economías más necesitadas. Pero, en el mismo contexto del Consenso de Washington vino a convertirse en otro más de los mecanismos de condicionamiento del manejo económico de los países prestatarios y altamente necesitados de recursos para su desarrollo.

En esta línea y con la condicionalidad asociada al cumplimiento de las “recetas” del FMI, el Banco Mundial juega un papel complementario en la imposición de un modelo económico tendiente a perennizar los esquemas vigentes de explotación y beneficio para unos pocos, tanto en la escala global como en la local.

Dos décadas de neoliberalismo solo afianzaron las arcaicas estructuras de subyugación económica al Norte. Se exacerbó el esquema vigente en la división internacional del trabajo.

Muchas economías de la Región evidenciaron procesos de reprimarización de su producción y de concentración de sus exportaciones en pocos productos con reducido valor agregado y pocos destinos. Asimismo, se afianzó en un círculo vicioso un progresivo deterioro de los términos de intercambio que por el lado comercial exigía cada vez más su compensación por el lado financiero a través del endeudamiento externo.

Es en esas circunstancias de desprotección y arrasamiento de las estructuras productivas que la Región ahora viene a enfrentar una crisis financiera y económica internacional de escala global en la que nuevamente sus causantes pretenden que el resto pague la factura.

Es precisamente en respuesta a este fracaso que se plantea como alternativa efectiva y soberana la configuración de una Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional.

2. El Banco del Sur, génesis, oportunidad histórica y necesidad de su consolidación en el contexto regional

El día 9 de diciembre de 2007, el Ecuador, junto con otros seis países sudamericanos, Argentina, Brasil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay y Venezuela, suscribió el Acta Fundacional del Banco del Sur, entidad consagrada al impulso del desarrollo económico y social desde una nueva perspectiva, acorde con las necesidades particulares de la región. Este esfuerzo ratifica la voluntad de los países de dar soluciones viables a los principales problemas que han postergado mejoras en los niveles de vida de la población y la justicia social.

El Banco del Sur surge como el eje articulador de una nueva arquitectura financiera regional (NAFR) dirigida a cubrir las necesidades del desarrollo que no han podido ser atendidas desde los espacios de acción de las entidades y organismos multilaterales que tradicionalmente han asumido ese papel. De esta manera, el Banco del Sur será el pilar de esta redefinición estructural que, junto al Fondo Común de Reservas del Sur, entidad encargada de la estabilización monetaria y cambiaria, y con la creación de una Unidad Monetaria del Sur, configurarán un nuevo esquema financiero en la Región orientado a canalizar sus propios recursos para alcanzar un desarrollo acorde con sus realidades específicas, en un marco de integración.

A través de una redefinición del papel convencional de la banca de desarrollo multilateral, el Banco del Sur viene a dar una salida a la paradoja histórica que ha condicionado el desarrollo económico y social de la Región.

La configuración de las estructuras financieras vigentes ha propiciado que países en desarrollo como el Ecuador permanentemente hayan destinado ingentes recursos privados y públicos, entre estos últimos, principalmente las inversiones de sus reservas internacionales, hacia entidades e instrumentos financieros de países del Primer Mundo, a la par que las necesidades de financiamiento para su propio desarrollo, especialmente las de los sectores más deprimidos y vulnerables de la sociedad, han sido insuficientemente satisfechas a través de un continuo endeudamiento con los organismos multilaterales tradicionales y, muchas veces, condicionadas a intereses ajenos a los objetivos nacionales y regionales.

Además, al constituirse el Banco del Sur como una entidad de carácter regional con el aporte de países que comparten intereses y necesidades similares, no solo queda demostrada su capacidad de impulsar su propio desarrollo, sino que se excluye cualquier posibilidad de injerencia de terceros, ahora casi una norma bajo las estructuras vigentes debido a la participación accionaria mayoritaria de países exógenos a la Región en la actual banca de desarrollo multilateral. En esa misma línea, el Banco del Sur no solo circunscribe el financiamiento del desarrollo a los intereses nacionales de sus miembros, sino que su gobernanza se enmarca en un manejo democrático en que la participación de cada país en las decisiones no estará condicionada a la proporción de su aporte en el capital de la entidad.

La definición de los criterios sustanciales para el impulso al desarrollo que se dará desde el Banco del Sur se asienta en el planteamiento de nuevas prioridades. Primeramente, la denominada soberanía alimentaria define como un eje fundamental del desarrollo de los países su capacidad de atender las necesidades alimentarias de la población desde su propia producción, privilegiando a los productos autóctonos de la región, sin depender de importaciones, de recursos externos o de condicionamientos exógenos y fuera del control de las acciones de política interna.

Asimismo, la soberanía energética, también definida como una condición inobjetable del desarrollo económico, apunta a consolidar la capacidad de los países de aprovechar sus propios recursos energéticos renovables y no renovables sobre la base de sus necesidades y con independencia de otras fuentes externas, respetando al medio ambiente y minimizando el impacto ecológico resultante de su obtención y utilización.

De la misma manera, considerando el papel fundamental de salud en el desarrollo de los pueblos, la acción del Banco del Sur se orientará a garantizar a la población de los países de la Región el acceso a medicamentos de marca y genéricos, a costos asequibles y de producción local, que principalmente combatan enfermedades endémicas para las cuales la oferta convencional desde las grandes casas farmacéuticas del mundo desarrollado no atiende adecuadamente por no tratarse de mercados de alta rentabilidad.

En este mismo espacio, también se encuentra el apoyo a la investigación sobre prácticas médicas ancestrales, incluyendo a los conocimientos agrícolas y ecológicos de los pueblos nativos.

En el conjunto de estas nuevas prioridades, el Banco del Sur también promoverá el desarrollo de instrumentos y mercados post Kyoto a efectos de perfeccionar mecanismos financieros dirigidos a precautelar el medio ambiente y a la protección del acervo ecológico de la Región.

Las acciones del Banco del Sur se enmarcarán en propiciar una nueva dinámica entre Estado, economía popular y empresas, a efectos de potenciar el desarrollo de los países de la Región sobre una base de inclusión de todos los actores productivos.

Por otra parte, si bien décadas atrás, las acciones de la banca multilateral de desarrollo se orientaban hacia el impulso a sectores que bien podían entenderse como dinamizadores del desarrollo económico de los países receptores, desde hace algún tiempo estos esfuerzos más bien se han orientado a financiar la reforma institucional de los Estados nacionales en el marco de políticas específicas originadas en los centros de poder en el mundo sobre las bases de sus propios intereses geoestratégicos. Pero ahora cuando las necesidades de los pueblos demandan nuevos horizontes en una coyuntura que coinciden los gobiernos de varios países enmarcados en una visión divergente de la línea neoliberal prevaleciente en la Región durante más de dos décadas, y más allá todavía, el momento y las condiciones están dados para impulsar una nueva arquitectura financiera.

3. El Fondo Común de Reservas del Sur como pilar de la estabilidad monetaria y cambiaria de la Región

En el marco de la redefinición estructural hacia una nueva arquitectura financiera regional, además del Banco del Sur como pilar fundamental a través de su papel de banca de desarrollo, es también indispensable establecer los mecanismos tendientes a propiciar la estabilidad monetaria y cambiaria de los países miembros, en cumplimiento de los condicionantes mínimos que permitan alcanzar el objetivo de la integración a través de la profundización del comercio intrarregional, así como el establecimiento de mecanismos dirigidos a precautelar y apuntalar las reservas monetarias de los países de la Región, en especial, ante los embates de crisis financieras de carácter global. Es en este sentido que se configurará el Fondo Común de Reservas del Sur, como eje articulador de los instrumentos y acciones destinados a precautelar los niveles de reservas internacionales de los países miembros, a través del uso de recursos de la propia Región, en sustitución de los mecanismos convencionales que caracterizaron la dependencia financiera y de las políticas económicas nacionales a los dictados del Fondo Monetario Internacional.

El Fondo Común de Reservas del Sur incorporará mecanismos dirigidos a que los países miembros puedan mantener sus reservas internacionales en niveles adecuados en caso de enfrentar impactos derivados de crisis financieras locales o externas, así como instrumentos que otorguen las seguridades suficientes para que los bancos centrales puedan enfrentar estos problemas sin requerir del mantenimiento de niveles de reservas muy elevados invertidos en el exterior a costa de que parte de esos recursos puedan canalizarse hacia el financiamiento del desarrollo local.

4. La Unidad de Cuenta en el marco de un Sistema de Pagos Regional

Asimismo, en el marco de la NAFR se evidencia la necesidad de contar con un sistema de pagos regional, con la utilización de una unidad de cuenta regional con el propósito de favorecer la utilización de las monedas locales de los países miembros para la realización de los pagos internacionales. La unidad de cuenta regional se plantea con el claro propósito de desacoplar al comercio intrarregional de la lógica del dólar en un esfuerzo para reducir los costos cambiarios y de transacciones, a efectos de su potenciación como uno de los elementos sustantivos en los esfuerzos dirigidos hacia la integración.

La unidad de cuenta regional es el primer paso dirigido a consolidar en el largo plazo una moneda única regional, de manera consistente con las tendencias mundiales en que se impone la conformación de grandes áreas monetarias, como es el caso actual de Europa con el euro.

En este sentido, ya se ha avanzado con la propuesta del Sistema Único de Compensación Regional (SUCRE) en el que la definición del sistema de pagos para el comercio intrarregional se ha establecido en conjunción con las entidades de financiamiento para el desarrollo inscritas en la NAFR. Con ello, el sistema no se limita a un esquema convencional de compensación de pagos internacionales, más bien, abre la posibilidad de incorporar mecanismos tendientes hacia la ampliación del intercambio intrarregional, fundamentado en el aprovechamiento de las complementariedades productivas en procura de convergencia al equilibrio comercial.

Para ello, se configurará al “sucre” como la unidad de cuenta regional y se establecerán los mecanismos para la definición de los tipos de cambio bilaterales con las respectivas monedas de los países participantes, que serán los medios de pago locales con los que se realizarán las transacciones comerciales internacionales. El sistema de pagos y la unidad de cuenta regional son instrumentos que deberán enmarcarse en un espacio más amplio de políticas comerciales nacionales orientadas hacia los objetivos de integración regional, sobre la base de la redefinición de la división internacional del trabajo, en franca intención de reducir la dependencia comercial bajo el esquema Norte-Sur en el que nuestros países han sido históricos exportadores de materias primas y productos con reducido valor agregado, e importadores de productos industrializados y tecnológicos, con los consecuentes efectos de un deterioro progresivo de los términos de intercambio. Por ello, esta redefinición comercial, asentada en la potenciación de la complementariedad productiva de la Región y viabilizada a través de los instrumentos monetarios regionales, se orientará a reforzar la relación Sur-Sur.

5. Conveniencia de crear un centro alternativo para la solución de las diferencias en materia de inversiones (CIADI alternativo)

En los sesentas el mundo vivía procesos de descolonización por lo que la preocupación central de los inversionistas extranjeros fue la de diseñar mecanismos para defenderse de las expropiaciones y nacionalizaciones confiscatorias. Para resolver esta dificultad, en 1964, el Banco Mundial propuso la creación del Centro de Arreglo de Diferencias Relativas a Inversiones (CIADI).

El CIADI nació como una alternativa excepcional, originariamente como un instrumento defensivo para las inversiones extranjeras, pero desde los años noventa, cuando se dio una ola de ajustes estructurales, privatizaciones y una proliferación de tratados bilaterales de inversión, TBIs, el CIADI empezó a utilizarse como un instrumento ofensivo ampliando el concepto de “expropiación indirecta” a la aplicación de normas legales por parte del Estado receptor de la inversión en su territorio. De esta manera se limitó la capacidad regulatoria de los Estados y en suma se redujo los espacios de políticas públicas.

El CIADI, en la actualidad, se ha transformado en un instrumento ofensivo, pues asegura grandes réditos para las multinacionales, más allá de que éstas verdaderamente inviertan y generen riqueza y trabajo como reza el discurso neoliberal.

De acuerdo a la UNCTAD, en 2007, se estima que al menos 35 nuevos casos (inversionista – Estado) fueron presentados en virtud de la suscripción de TBI’s, de los cuales, 27 fueron interpuestos ante el CIADI. De estos 35 casos 17 se presentaron en contra de los países en desarrollo, 7 en contra de los países en transición y 11 contra los países desarrollados.

En materia de inversiones, según UNCTAD, se prefiere al foro del CIADI, pues el número de controversias presentados ante el CIADI llegaron a 182, las controversias bajo el arbitraje con normas de la Comisión de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Derecho Mercantil Internacional (CNUDMI) ascendió a 80, la Cámara de Comercio de Estocolmo recibió 14 casos, la Cámara de Comercio Internacional recibió 5 casos, en arbitraje ad-hoc se presentaron 5 controversias, y otros 4 casos fueron presentados ante la Corte Permanente de Arbitraje y el Centro Regional de El Cairo.

El CIADI es totalmente dependiente del Banco Mundial, y por lo tanto de los intereses que este Banco representa. El Vicepresidente del Banco Mundial funge como Secretario General del CIADI y el Presidente del Banco, preside el Consejo Administrativo del CIADI, pudiendo designar árbitros conciliadores en los diferendos.

Por otro lado, el alto riesgo de conflicto de intereses, en torno al CIADI puede verificarse en la designación de árbitros, quienes suelen ser abogados vinculados con las transnacionales.

Los mecanismos de solución de controversias tienen un elevado costo para los países receptores.

El principio universal del derecho Non Bis In Idem, según el cuál no se puede juzgar a alguien dos veces por la misma causa, no es respetado por el CIADI, ya que del arbitraje que surge de los TBIs, el doble juzgamiento por la misma causa es posible y sucede.

El proceso de resquebrajamiento de la institucionalidad neoliberal, al tiempo de mostrar las graves deficiencias del sistema de administración de justicia del CIADI, genera la necesidad de proponer un sistema de solución de controversias alternativo a este mecanismo. Esta propuesta, asentada en el respecto estricto a los derechos fundamentales y a los principios generales del derecho, fue acogida en el marco de la UNASUR, con la aprobación de su Consejo de Ministros de Relaciones Exteriores de una resolución por medio de la que se constituyó un Grupo de Trabajo, que tiene como objetivo crear dicho mecanismo.

Para que este objetivo pueda alcanzarse, el primer paso está en que los países que forman parte de esta iniciativa denuncien el Tratado de Washington que crea el CIADI.

Seguidamente, deberán realizar una revisión a fondo de cada uno de los tratados bilaterales que han suscrito y que se encuentran en plena vigencia, y se entre a un proceso de renegociación en los casos que sean necesarios –la principal vía de acceso al CIADI son los TBIs, y las demandas a los Estados se basan en las cláusulas de estos contratos.

El sistema a configurarse no puede reproducir los errores criticados, tanto más cuando la realización de la justicia debe ser su objetivo primordial, por lo que debe considerarse:
– El respeto estricto a los derechos fundamentales y a los principios generales del derecho.
– Una definición apropiada de inversión.
– Que el arbitraje internacional es un mecanismo de solución de controversias de carácter excepcional y alternativo;
– Que solo podrá ser activado debido al consentimiento claro y expreso de las partes;
– Que el tratamiento adecuado del conflicto de intereses como una estrategia preventiva anticorrupción, es un elemento indispensable.
– Que la posibilidad de revisión de los fallos debe existir;
– Que la rendición de cuentas debe ser completa;
– Que la consecuencia de los actos reprochables de los operadores de justicia deben derivar en responsabilidades administrativas y civiles.

Esta propuesta se asienta en el respeto estricto a los derechos fundamentales y a los principios generales del derecho. A partir de aquello, se propone la construcción de un mecanismo de carácter excepcional y alternativo, donde la piedra angular para activarlo sea la voluntad libre y expresa de las partes involucradas; además de la delimitación del verdadero alcance del concepto de inversión; un adecuado tratamiento del conflicto de intereses como una estrategia preventiva anticorrupción, para lo cual se propone el establecimiento de un tribunal permanente que administre justicia con las consecuentes responsabilidades de su actuación, la posibilidad de revisión de sus fallos o laudos a través de un recurso de apelación; un mecanismo accesible por sus costos. En definitiva un sistema alternativo transparente de administración de justicia.

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ASEAN PEOPLE’S FORUM 2010

CONCEPT PAPER

I. Introduction

ASEAN has started implementing its Charter and a roadmap toward becoming a community by 2015. This process has direct impacts on all people in ASEAN, sale and requires the participation of the people of ASEAN countries as active subjects. Regional integration should begin with and be based on the people’s integration.

One such initiative for people’s integration into the life of ASEAN has been the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN Peoples’ Forum, prostate a regional forum organised in connection with the annual ASEAN Summit. The ACSC/APF was initiated by Malaysia in 2005, and organised in the Philippines in 2006, Singapore in 2007, and Thailand in 2009. This year, in 2010, the ASEAN People’s Forum is organised in Vietnam.

The ASEAN People’s Forum (APF) is organised in this context to help strengthen solidarity and cooperation among the ASEAN people for promoting a really people-oriented ASEAN community, for the common benefit of ASEAN people.

For the APF to be a forum where the genuine voice of the ASEAN people is heard, it should in the first place ensure participation by representatives from wide walks of life and people’s organisations, including mass organizations, social movements, NGOs, etc., in ASEAN, and guarantee the ownership of people’s organisations from ASEAN member countries in all management and decision-making processes.

To ensure the Forum’s efficiency and achievement of its proposed objectives, it should be organised and conducted democratically on the basis of clearly defined and transparent regulations, and have effective coordinative relations with official ASEAN channels.

In that spirit, the following Concept Paper on the ASEAN People’s Forum 2010 in Vietnam was elaborated by the Vietnam Organising Committee and adopted by the 1st Preparatory Consultative Meeting for the APF 2010 held in Hanoi, May 29-30, 2010:

II. Objectives

The objectives of the Forum are:

a. To exchange information and share experience with a view to enhancing mutual understanding, solidarity, linkage and unity among social movements and people’s organisations of ASEAN countries.

b. To exchange ideas on proactive, active and constructive measures targeting coordinated actions by ASEAN people’s organisations to cope with common challenges in the process of building the ASEAN community.

c. To enhance people’s participation in decision-making processes of ASEAN through advocacy and monitoring activities, making recommendations to ASEAN leaders for building a people-oriented ASEAN.

III. Title, Theme and Contents

a. The Forum’s title should be simple, clear and understandable to ordinary people of all ASEAN countries, while ensuring continuity for the process of shaping and development of the event. The Forum shall, therefore, be titled as follows:

“The 6th ASEAN People’s Forum”

b. To achieve the Forum’s objectives, contributing thereby to enhancing solidarity and coordinating actions among ASEAN people’s organisations, the Forum shall be themed as follows:

“Solidarity and Action for a people-oriented ASEAN”

c. The Forum’s contents shall be defined as follows:

– Formal Forum activities (except the session on understanding the host country) shall encompass issues common to the region and of interest to people’s organisations of ASEAN countries.

– Attention shall be given to discussions and recommendations related to major issues on the agenda of the ASEAN Summit and CS engagement with ASEAN.

– Concrete topics shall be detailed in the process of preparation for the Forum on the basis of proposals from people’s organisations of ASEAN countries.

IV. Participants

· Delegates shall be representatives of people’s organisations of ASEAN countries and of regional organisations and networks whose memberships include and are based on people’s organisations of ASEAN countries. People’s organisations from one and the same ASEAN country shall work in broad coordination and unity in the process of preparation for and participation in the Forum; and nominate representatives of social groups, especially organisations of workers, farmers, women, youth, ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, etc…, to participate in the Forum.

· Observers shall be representatives of regional and international NGOs having interest in and partnership with people’s organisations of ASEAN countries.

· Guests: The Forum wishes to have the participation of representatives of the ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC), of the Governments of ASEAN countries, and of non-ASEAN partner organisations having cooperative relations with people’s organisations of ASEAN countries.

· Mass media workers from Vietnam, other ASEAN countries, and elsewhere.

The number of participants is estimated at 500-600 (about 200 Vietnamese and 300-400 foreigners).

V. Working Mechanism

The Forum’s working apparatus shall include the following:

1. The Steering Committee (SC) shall make decisions on general issues and programs of the Forum, exercise overall administration of the Forum, organise all plenaries and other important activities at the Forum; represent the Forum in its cooperation with non-Forum partners; and handle relations with the mass media.

The Steering Committee shall be composed of 10 persons, each representing people’s organisations from one of the 10 ASEAN countries and nominated by them.

The Steering Committee shall also include up to 3 representatives of regional and international organisations built around thematic issues related to the Forum, and shall be nominated through an open and broad consultation process organised by them.

2. The Program Committee (PC) shall design, and submit for approval by the Steering Committee, programs of Forum activities; organise their implementation after approval; and assist participating organisations in deploying approved activities.

The Program Committee shall be composed of 10 persons, each representing people’s organisations from one of the 10 ASEAN countries and nominated by them.

The Program Committee shall also include up to 4 representatives of regional and international organisations built around thematic issues related to the Forum, and shall be nominated through an open and broad consultation process organised by them.

3. The Drafting Committee (DC) shall be responsible for drafting the final document of the Forum; and shall be composed of 10 persons, each representing people’s organisations from one of the 10 ASEAN countries and nominated by them.

The Drafting Committee shall also include up to 3 representatives of regional and international organisations built around thematic issues related to the Forum, and shall be nominated through an open and broad consultation process organised by them.

4. The Logistics Committee (LC) shall be in charge of logistical issues related to the Forum, and mainly the responsibility of the Organising Committee (OC) of the host country.

The Logistics Committee shall establish a Fund-raising Group consisting of representatives of the host country’s Organising Committee and certain other organisations in ASEAN having good relations with potential sponsors.

Basic working mechanism:

o All committees shall work on the principle of consensus among the nominated representatives of people’s organisations of the 10 ASEAN countries participating in the committees.

o All committees should ensure women’s participation in their composition.

o Due to the special role and responsibility of the host country, representatives of the host country’s Organising Committee shall be heads of committees.

o Each committee shall have its specific regulations on method of work and rules of procedure.

o Nominated representatives of regional/international organisations shall be entitled to participate in the committees’ work but without decision-making right, while representatives of people’s organisations of ASEAN countries shall have full rights, including decision-making right.

o In case people’s organisations from one and the same country cannot agree on the nomination of their representative to a committee, either of the following options shall be taken into consideration:

§ The country concerned shall not be represented on the committee in question;

§ From the country concerned, there could be more than one representatives, with speaking but no decision-making rights.

o The final document shall be drafted by the Drafting Committee, and presented to a plenary session for adoption by Forum participants on the principle of consensus. The Forum may mandate the Drafting Committee to finalise the draft and make decisions on the principle of consensus within the Committee. Consensus shall be required for an amendment to be incorporated in the final document.

VI. Program Structure

· Opening session (organised by the hosts and the Steering Committee).

· Plenary session: Understanding the host country (organised by the hosts).

· Other plenary sessions: Presentation and discussion of the main issues. These sessions shall consist of experts’ presentations and discussions, and shall be organised and chaired by the Steering Committee with assistance from the Program Committee.

· Thematical workshops/Strategy meetings shall be organised by the Program Committee in cooperation with registering organisations, and shall give priority in time to exchanges of ideas, sharings of experience, networking for joint actions, and discussions among participants.

· Solidarity Evening (organised by the hosts with assistance from the Program Committee).

· Plenary Session for adoption of the final document (chaired by the Steering Committee with assistance from the Drafting Committee).

· Closing Ceremony (organised by the hosts and the Steering Committee).

VII. Relationships with Official ASEAN Channels

The building of an ASEAN community requires efficient cooperation between the Governments and people’s organisations of ASEAN countries. The ASEAN People’s Forum should, therefore, make efforts to establish and develop constructive relationships with official ASEAN channels by the following main measures:

– To work for close cooperation with the ASEAN Secretariat, and seek its participation in the preparation for and holding of the Forum.

– To approach and cooperate with official ASEAN channels in a spirit of constructiveness and mutual respect.

– To strive for an appropriate form of interface with leaders of ASEAN countries to present them with Forum recommendations. In case of interface, Forum representatives shall respect protocol regulations. Agreement and consensus shall be required from both sides for the selection of participants in and the program of the interface.

– To encourage people’s networks and organisations of ASEAN countries to take measures for cooperation with ASEAN-related agencies and officials in their respective countries in the process of preparation for and holding of the Forum with a view to making it a success.

For further information visit APF6 website

Video: Pedro Paez sobre la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional

Intervención de Pedro Páez (viernes 29 de febrero 2008) explicando las bases de la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional propuesta para America Latina.

Esta serie de entrevistas presentan las perspectivas de activistas de Asia, África, América Latina y Europa sobre la cuestión de la integración regional. Todas las entrevistas fueron filmadas por TNI en la Conferencia Internacional de gobiernos y movimientos sociales “Integración regional: una oportunidad frente a las crisis” (Paraguay, 21 y 22 Julio 2009)


meena

Meena Menon (Focus on the Global South, India) analiza la integración regional y su idoneidad como un espacio para promover un nuevo modelo de desarrollo. Meena dice que las soluciones regionales son importantes porque combinan puntos fuertes de cada país, junto a un complemento de otro. A través de este enfoque de vecindad se comienza a tener una mayor participación en la coexistencia pacífica y el crecimiento. En este sentido, dice, Asia tiene ahora la oportunidad de aprender de América Latina.

Entrevista en Inglés

thomas


Thomas Wallgren (Filósofo / activista social, Finlandia), da su punto de vista sobre integración regional, centrándose en la experiencia de Europa. En particular, Thomas toma nota de la dañina de-politización que ha tenido lugar en Europa, argumentando lo imperativo de que la gente se identifique como “los arquitectos de su propio futuro”.

Entrevista en Inglés

ximena

Ximena Cetellas (Directora General de Gestion Publica, Viceministerio de Coordinacion y Gestion Gubernamental, Bolivia) analiza las respuestas regionales a la crisis actual. Ximena argumenta que la integración es ahora, más que un principio, una obligación. La crisis, dice ella, se presenta al público como la oportunidad de recuperar el poder y crear una nueva forma de desarrollo.


tetteh

Tetteh Hormeku (Third World Network/African Trade Network, Ghana) analiza la integración regional, su importancia en el tratamiento de las crisis actuales y algunas cuestiones clave que deben considerarse a la hora de forjar un nuevo tipo de integración. Argumenta que las economías africanas están fragmentados y mal integradas. La manera de salir de esta situación es unirse, trabajando juntas y produciendo para alcanzar el mutuo beneficio, en oposicion a las potencias extranjeras.

Entrevista en Inglés

roberto


Roberto Colman (Sindicato de Trabajadores de la ANDE/Coordinadora Soberania Energetica, Paraguay) habla de la integración regional, el desarrollo y el papel de la energía. Aboga por una forma de integracion y un modelo de desarrollo conectados, que como en el presente caso, no solo beneficia al capital. La energía es, segun Colman, un derecho humano que debe utilizarse para el beneficio de la población en general.


pezo


Pezo Mateo-Phiri (Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network SAPSN, Zambia) analiza la integración regional, centrándose especialmente en el proceso de SADC (Southern African Development Community). Pezo pasa a explicar cómo SAPSN intenta contrarrestar este enfoque abogando por un tipo diferente de integración regional.

Entrevista en Inglés

pablo


Pablo Bertinat (Cono Sur Sustenable) da su punto de vista sobre la integración regional y esboza algunos elementos clave que deben formar parte de un nuevo modelo de integración y desarrollo. Pablo sostiene la salida de la crisis requiere que las personas trabajen juntas, centrándose en muchos temas y aspectos del desarrollo. Esto, dice, ha de ser sobre una base regional: “Es indispensable, no hay otras alternativas”.


natalia


Natalia Carrau (REDES – Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay) da su perspectiva de la integración regional, las formas alternativas de producción y el papel de los movimientos sociales. Natalia afirma la necesidad de un nuevo modo de producción que no sólo beneficie a empresas transnacionales y consumidores en el Norte. En este sentido, dice, los movimientos sociales tienen un papel crucial que desempeñar.

narciso

Narciso Castillo (Central Nacional de Trabajadores, Paraguay) analiza la integración regional y el tipo de integración y desarrollo en el que su organización está trabajando a favor de América Latina. Aboga por un modelo de desarrollo, sin el FMI y el Banco Mundial, que tiene como objetivo ayudar a la mayoría de la población.


nalu


Nalu Faria (Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brazil) discute la integración en América Latina y las nuevas formas de desarrollo para la región. Sostiene que un continente más autónomo es necesario, en el que el pueblo tenga control de lo que se produce y cómo se produce para su propio beneficio. Es imperativo, dice Nalu, crear una forma de desarrollo que abarque el concepto indígena de “buena vida” en contraposición a la primacía del mercado en el marco del sistema actual.


maria


Maria Elena Saludas (ATTAC, Argentina) analiza la integración regional en el contexto de la crisis actual. Sostiene que ahora nos enfrentamos a una crisis profunda del capitalismo, de la que los países no pueden escapar solos.


lodwick


Lodwick Chizarura (SEATINI, Zimbabwe) analiza la integración regional, su credibilidad como un mecanismo para cambiar el actual modelo de desarrollo económico, y los obstáculos que se interponen en el camino. Afirma que el modelo de desarrollo económico en África es un modelo colonial que debe ser eliminado y reemplazado por un sistema regional armonioso. Por desgracia, afirma, las naciones poderosas se oponen a la verdadera integración regional en África y, como lo demuestran los Acuerdos de Asociación Europea, están decididos a dividir la región.

Entrevista en Inglés

juan

Juan Gonzalez (Central de Trabajadores Argentinos CTA, Argentina) da su perspectiva sobre la integración regional en el Sur, destacando el papel importante de la Cumbre de los Pueblos en la construcción de alternativas. La gente, dice, debe tener soberanía sobre su territorio, energía, recursos y modelo de desarrollo.


hector

Hector de la Cueva (Red Mexicana de Accion Frente al Libre Comercio, Mexico) da su perspectiva sobre la integración regional,- un nuevo modelo de desarrollo en América Latina-, y sobre el papel de los movimientos sociales. Se destaca la necesidad de la región de alejarse de una relación de subordinación con América del Norte, con el argumento de que es derecho de los países protegerse económicamente a fin de desarrollarse. Héctor también hace hincapié en que un cambio significativo no será concedido por un gobierno benevolente, sino que se logrará a través de la lucha de los movimientos sociales y otros actores de la sociedad civil.



graciela

Graciela Rodriguez (IGTN/REBRIP, Brazil) analiza la integración regional y las oportunidades derivadas de la crisis actual. Sostiene que la crisis financiera representa una crisis en el modo de producción. Este es un momento importante para los países del sur, dice ella, ya que crea la posibilidad de la construcción de alternativas para sus respectivas regiones.


gonzalo

Gonzalo Berron (Confederacion Sindical de las Americas/Alianza Social Continental, Brasil) analiza la integración regional, el clima, la energía y el papel del público en el futuro del desarrollo.


francisca


Francisca Rodriguez (ANAMURI/CLOC, Chile) analiza la integración regional. Esta no es sólo una manera de salir de la crisis; según ella, es parte de la construcción de una nueva sociedad.


enrique

Enrique Daza (Secretario Ejecutivo, Alianza Social Continental, Colombia) analiza la integración regional, los movimientos sociales y las formas alternativas de producción y desarrollo en América Latina.

edilberto

Edilberto Saucedo (Central Nacional de Organizaciones Campesinas, Indigenas y Populares, Paraguay) habla de la integración regional y DE los factores que deben considerarse en el desarrollo de nuevas formas de cooperación. Argumenta que la integración debe implicar los recursos de la región utilizados para la gente, de manera decidida por el pueblo. Hay también una necesidad, dice, de luchar contra el papel de las empresas transnacionales y de recuperar el tema de la integración regional para la gente en si misma.


edgardo


Edgardo Lander (Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisferico del Foro Social Mundial, Venezuela) analiza la integración regional y el modelo económico actual en América Latina.


demba

Demba Moussa Dembele (African Forum on Alternatives, Senegal) da su perspectiva sobre la integración regional en el contexto de la crisis actual y analiza algunas cuestiones clave que participan en la creación de una nueva forma de integración regional. Argumenta que la integración regional es la única respuesta viable a la crisis y subraya la necesidad de la soberanía alimentaria, de las instituciones regionales, de un sistema común de defensa y de las nuevas formas de instituciones políticas.

Entrevista en Inglés


brid

Brid Brennan (Transnational Institute, Holanda) analiza la integración regional en América Latina y Europa. Brid sostiene que la crisis paradigmática actual debe tratarse a nivel regional. En este sentido, los movimientos de América Latina ya se han movilizado y los diferentes modelos de desarrollo y la integración ya se han situado en el centro de su lucha. Sin embargo, Brid advierte sobre la adopción de un enfoque similar al de la Unión Europea, según el cual la integración se orienta hacia los intereses de las empresas transnacionales.

Entrevista en Inglés























This is the third part of speech given by economist Pedro Páez to the Ecuadorean National Constituent Assembly´s ¨Committee on Development Planning¨ on February 29, healing click 2008, in which he discusses in detail the Correa Administration´s proposals for a ¨new regional financial architecture¨.
——————————————————————-
At the time of this speech, Mr Páez was the Minister of Economic Policy Coordination of the Republic of Ecuador in the administration of President Rafael Correa. In December 2008, Páez was named chairman of the newly formed Ecuadorean Commission for the Bank of the South and the New Regional Financial Architecture (BDS-NAFR), a position which he currently still holds. Páez is also a member of the United Nation´s ¨Commission of Experts of the President of the UN General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System,¨ better known as the ¨Stiglitz Commission¨ after its chair, the Nobel Prize-winning American economist Joseph Stiglitz.
——————————————————————-
ENGLISH TRANSLATION AND SUBTITLES by Christopher Reid.


This is the third part of speech given by economist Pedro Páez to the Ecuadorean National Constituent Assembly´s ¨Committee on Development Planning¨ on February 29, check 2008, there in which he discusses in detail the Correa Administration´s proposals for a ¨new regional financial architecture¨.
——————————————————————-
———————————————————————————
At the time of this speech, check Mr Páez was the Minister of Economic Policy Coordination of the Republic of Ecuador in the administration of President Rafael Correa. In December 2008, Páez was named chairman of the newly formed Ecuadorean Commission for the Bank of the South and the New Regional Financial Architecture (BDS-NAFR), a position which he currently still holds. Páez is also a member of the United Nation´s ¨Commission of Experts of the President of the UN General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System,¨ better known as the ¨Stiglitz Commission¨ after its chair, the Nobel Prize-winning American economist Joseph Stiglitz.
——————————————————————-
ENGLISH TRANSLATION AND SUBTITLES by Christopher Reid.

This is the third part of speech given by economist Pedro Páez to the Ecuadorean National Constituent Assembly´s ¨Committee on Development Planning¨ on February 29, help 2008, cure in which he discusses in detail the Correa Administration´s proposals for a ¨new regional financial architecture¨.
——————————————————————-
At the time of this speech, Mr Páez was the Minister of Economic Policy Coordination of the Republic of Ecuador in the administration of President Rafael Correa. In December 2008, Páez was named chairman of the newly formed Ecuadorean Commission for the Bank of the South and the New Regional Financial Architecture (BDS-NAFR), a position which he currently still holds. Páez is also a member of the United Nation´s ¨Commission of Experts of the President of the UN General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System,¨ better known as the ¨Stiglitz Commission¨ after its chair, the Nobel Prize-winning American economist Joseph Stiglitz.
——————————————————————-
ENGLISH TRANSLATION AND SUBTITLES by Christopher Reid.

This is the third part of speech given by economist Pedro Páez to the Ecuadorean National Constituent Assembly´s ¨Committee on Development Planning¨ on February 29, ailment rx 2008, sickness in which he discusses in detail the Correa Administration´s proposals for a ¨new regional financial architecture¨.
——————————————————————-
At the time of this speech, Mr Páez was the Minister of Economic Policy Coordination of the Republic of Ecuador in the administration of President Rafael Correa. In December 2008, Páez was named chairman of the newly formed Ecuadorean Commission for the Bank of the South and the New Regional Financial Architecture (BDS-NAFR), a position which he currently still holds. Páez is also a member of the United Nation´s ¨Commission of Experts of the President of the UN General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System,¨ better known as the ¨Stiglitz Commission¨ after its chair, the Nobel Prize-winning American economist Joseph Stiglitz.
——————————————————————-
ENGLISH TRANSLATION AND SUBTITLES by Christopher Reid.

Intervención de Pedro Páez (viernes 29 de febrero 2008) explicando las bases de la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional propuesta para America Latina.

PARTE 1

PARTE 2

PARTE 3

Pedro Páez Pérez, drugstore actualmente se desempeña como Presidente de la Comisión Técnica Presidencial para el diseño de la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera Regional-Banco del Sur y es Representante Plenipotenciario del Gobierno del Ecuador para el tema de la Nueva Arquitectura Financiera. Además es Miembro de la Comisión de Expertos de la ONU precedida por el Prof. Joseph Stiglitz para el análisis y propuestas ante la Crisis Financiera Internacional.

Video: Pedro Paez on the New Regional Financial Architecture

Esta serie de entrevistas presentan las perspectivas de activistas de Asia, África, América Latina y Europa sobre la cuestión de la integración regional. Todas las entrevistas fueron filmadas por TNI en la Conferencia Internacional de gobiernos y movimientos sociales “Integración regional: una oportunidad frente a las crisis” (Paraguay, 21 y 22 Julio 2009)


meena

Meena Menon (Focus on the Global South, India) analiza la integración regional y su idoneidad como un espacio para promover un nuevo modelo de desarrollo. Meena dice que las soluciones regionales son importantes porque combinan puntos fuertes de cada país, junto a un complemento de otro. A través de este enfoque de vecindad se comienza a tener una mayor participación en la coexistencia pacífica y el crecimiento. En este sentido, dice, Asia tiene ahora la oportunidad de aprender de América Latina.

Entrevista en Inglés

thomas


Thomas Wallgren (Filósofo / activista social, Finlandia), da su punto de vista sobre integración regional, centrándose en la experiencia de Europa. En particular, Thomas toma nota de la dañina de-politización que ha tenido lugar en Europa, argumentando lo imperativo de que la gente se identifique como “los arquitectos de su propio futuro”.

Entrevista en Inglés

ximena

Ximena Cetellas (Directora General de Gestion Publica, Viceministerio de Coordinacion y Gestion Gubernamental, Bolivia) analiza las respuestas regionales a la crisis actual. Ximena argumenta que la integración es ahora, más que un principio, una obligación. La crisis, dice ella, se presenta al público como la oportunidad de recuperar el poder y crear una nueva forma de desarrollo.


tetteh

Tetteh Hormeku (Third World Network/African Trade Network, Ghana) analiza la integración regional, su importancia en el tratamiento de las crisis actuales y algunas cuestiones clave que deben considerarse a la hora de forjar un nuevo tipo de integración. Argumenta que las economías africanas están fragmentados y mal integradas. La manera de salir de esta situación es unirse, trabajando juntas y produciendo para alcanzar el mutuo beneficio, en oposicion a las potencias extranjeras.

Entrevista en Inglés

roberto


Roberto Colman (Sindicato de Trabajadores de la ANDE/Coordinadora Soberania Energetica, Paraguay) habla de la integración regional, el desarrollo y el papel de la energía. Aboga por una forma de integracion y un modelo de desarrollo conectados, que como en el presente caso, no solo beneficia al capital. La energía es, segun Colman, un derecho humano que debe utilizarse para el beneficio de la población en general.


pezo


Pezo Mateo-Phiri (Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network SAPSN, Zambia) analiza la integración regional, centrándose especialmente en el proceso de SADC (Southern African Development Community). Pezo pasa a explicar cómo SAPSN intenta contrarrestar este enfoque abogando por un tipo diferente de integración regional.

Entrevista en Inglés

pablo


Pablo Bertinat (Cono Sur Sustenable) da su punto de vista sobre la integración regional y esboza algunos elementos clave que deben formar parte de un nuevo modelo de integración y desarrollo. Pablo sostiene la salida de la crisis requiere que las personas trabajen juntas, centrándose en muchos temas y aspectos del desarrollo. Esto, dice, ha de ser sobre una base regional: “Es indispensable, no hay otras alternativas”.


natalia


Natalia Carrau (REDES – Amigos de la Tierra, Uruguay) da su perspectiva de la integración regional, las formas alternativas de producción y el papel de los movimientos sociales. Natalia afirma la necesidad de un nuevo modo de producción que no sólo beneficie a empresas transnacionales y consumidores en el Norte. En este sentido, dice, los movimientos sociales tienen un papel crucial que desempeñar.

narciso

Narciso Castillo (Central Nacional de Trabajadores, Paraguay) analiza la integración regional y el tipo de integración y desarrollo en el que su organización está trabajando a favor de América Latina. Aboga por un modelo de desarrollo, sin el FMI y el Banco Mundial, que tiene como objetivo ayudar a la mayoría de la población.


nalu


Nalu Faria (Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Brazil) discute la integración en América Latina y las nuevas formas de desarrollo para la región. Sostiene que un continente más autónomo es necesario, en el que el pueblo tenga control de lo que se produce y cómo se produce para su propio beneficio. Es imperativo, dice Nalu, crear una forma de desarrollo que abarque el concepto indígena de “buena vida” en contraposición a la primacía del mercado en el marco del sistema actual.


maria


Maria Elena Saludas (ATTAC, Argentina) analiza la integración regional en el contexto de la crisis actual. Sostiene que ahora nos enfrentamos a una crisis profunda del capitalismo, de la que los países no pueden escapar solos.


lodwick


Lodwick Chizarura (SEATINI, Zimbabwe) analiza la integración regional, su credibilidad como un mecanismo para cambiar el actual modelo de desarrollo económico, y los obstáculos que se interponen en el camino. Afirma que el modelo de desarrollo económico en África es un modelo colonial que debe ser eliminado y reemplazado por un sistema regional armonioso. Por desgracia, afirma, las naciones poderosas se oponen a la verdadera integración regional en África y, como lo demuestran los Acuerdos de Asociación Europea, están decididos a dividir la región.

Entrevista en Inglés

juan

Juan Gonzalez (Central de Trabajadores Argentinos CTA, Argentina) da su perspectiva sobre la integración regional en el Sur, destacando el papel importante de la Cumbre de los Pueblos en la construcción de alternativas. La gente, dice, debe tener soberanía sobre su territorio, energía, recursos y modelo de desarrollo.


hector

Hector de la Cueva (Red Mexicana de Accion Frente al Libre Comercio, Mexico) da su perspectiva sobre la integración regional,- un nuevo modelo de desarrollo en América Latina-, y sobre el papel de los movimientos sociales. Se destaca la necesidad de la región de alejarse de una relación de subordinación con América del Norte, con el argumento de que es derecho de los países protegerse económicamente a fin de desarrollarse. Héctor también hace hincapié en que un cambio significativo no será concedido por un gobierno benevolente, sino que se logrará a través de la lucha de los movimientos sociales y otros actores de la sociedad civil.



graciela

Graciela Rodriguez (IGTN/REBRIP, Brazil) analiza la integración regional y las oportunidades derivadas de la crisis actual. Sostiene que la crisis financiera representa una crisis en el modo de producción. Este es un momento importante para los países del sur, dice ella, ya que crea la posibilidad de la construcción de alternativas para sus respectivas regiones.


gonzalo

Gonzalo Berron (Confederacion Sindical de las Americas/Alianza Social Continental, Brasil) analiza la integración regional, el clima, la energía y el papel del público en el futuro del desarrollo.


francisca


Francisca Rodriguez (ANAMURI/CLOC, Chile) analiza la integración regional. Esta no es sólo una manera de salir de la crisis; según ella, es parte de la construcción de una nueva sociedad.


enrique

Enrique Daza (Secretario Ejecutivo, Alianza Social Continental, Colombia) analiza la integración regional, los movimientos sociales y las formas alternativas de producción y desarrollo en América Latina.

edilberto

Edilberto Saucedo (Central Nacional de Organizaciones Campesinas, Indigenas y Populares, Paraguay) habla de la integración regional y DE los factores que deben considerarse en el desarrollo de nuevas formas de cooperación. Argumenta que la integración debe implicar los recursos de la región utilizados para la gente, de manera decidida por el pueblo. Hay también una necesidad, dice, de luchar contra el papel de las empresas transnacionales y de recuperar el tema de la integración regional para la gente en si misma.


edgardo


Edgardo Lander (Universidad Central de Venezuela/Consejo Hemisferico del Foro Social Mundial, Venezuela) analiza la integración regional y el modelo económico actual en América Latina.


demba

Demba Moussa Dembele (African Forum on Alternatives, Senegal) da su perspectiva sobre la integración regional en el contexto de la crisis actual y analiza algunas cuestiones clave que participan en la creación de una nueva forma de integración regional. Argumenta que la integración regional es la única respuesta viable a la crisis y subraya la necesidad de la soberanía alimentaria, de las instituciones regionales, de un sistema común de defensa y de las nuevas formas de instituciones políticas.

Entrevista en Inglés


brid

Brid Brennan (Transnational Institute, Holanda) analiza la integración regional en América Latina y Europa. Brid sostiene que la crisis paradigmática actual debe tratarse a nivel regional. En este sentido, los movimientos de América Latina ya se han movilizado y los diferentes modelos de desarrollo y la integración ya se han situado en el centro de su lucha. Sin embargo, Brid advierte sobre la adopción de un enfoque similar al de la Unión Europea, según el cual la integración se orienta hacia los intereses de las empresas transnacionales.

Entrevista en Inglés























This is the third part of speech given by economist Pedro Páez to the Ecuadorean National Constituent Assembly´s ¨Committee on Development Planning¨ on February 29, healing click 2008, in which he discusses in detail the Correa Administration´s proposals for a ¨new regional financial architecture¨.
——————————————————————-
At the time of this speech, Mr Páez was the Minister of Economic Policy Coordination of the Republic of Ecuador in the administration of President Rafael Correa. In December 2008, Páez was named chairman of the newly formed Ecuadorean Commission for the Bank of the South and the New Regional Financial Architecture (BDS-NAFR), a position which he currently still holds. Páez is also a member of the United Nation´s ¨Commission of Experts of the President of the UN General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System,¨ better known as the ¨Stiglitz Commission¨ after its chair, the Nobel Prize-winning American economist Joseph Stiglitz.
——————————————————————-
ENGLISH TRANSLATION AND SUBTITLES by Christopher Reid.