We citizens of Europe have to complete the revolution of 1848 today

Today the citizens of Europe have to complete 1848

Today, we citizens of Europe, have to complete what we started in 1848, to unite Europe as a parliamentary democracy with a common constitution.

1848 was the first beating of the Pulse of Europe

The European citizen revolutions of 1848 are the best help our common history can offer to understand our challenge in Europe today. 1848 was when the Pulse of Europe was beating for the first time as a political movement of European citizens in the streets of cities all over our continent.

Similar technological and social change sparked revolution

Today, as in 1848, Europe is in turmoil due to a social and political crisis sparked by technological and social revolutions. In the years leading to 1848 this was the industrial revolution, the French revolution, in the years leading to today this is digitalisation, financialisation of capitalism, the revolutions from the Solidanoc shipyards, over Prague until East-Berlin that reunited Europe.

Parliamentary democracy needs to pacify nationalism

Today, as in 1848, nationalism is a big factor. In 1848 its inherent dangers led to failure, bloodshed and decades of anti-democratic rule. The revolutions of 1848 against the system of Metternich of 1815 could have led to a war destroying all of Europe. Counterrevolution was motivated and strong to stop this threat. Therefore, as foreseen in article 188 of the constitution drafted in the Paulskirche of Frankfurt and similar in Wien, the struggle of nations for the freedom to live their language and culture can only be preserved in a democratically united Europe.

Only parliamentarians can bring the social justice that diplomats cannot provide

In 1848 and 49, the poor revolted against their suffering when it peaked in a crises of global trade and economic downturn. The Liberals used this revolutionary momentum to draft democratic constitutions to take power into their hands. Today, the poor again suffer from the weaknesses of a system where still the diplomats dominate the rules in the Council of the Member States instead of the parliamentarians, be it in the Bundestag, the Assemblee Nationale, the Sejm or in the European Parliament. Diplomats are unable to achieve the democratic momentum necessary for tax justice and to gurantee civic rights where threatened by the excessive emergency of Hollande and Valls, the attack on free media by Berlusconi, Orban and Kaczynski. Only parliamentarians, openly and democratically elected by all citizens have the souveignity to achieve the justice and solidarity to truely answer the original yearning of the people.

Fighting racism is the basis, not just the aim

1848 and following years saw attacks on machines, Jews and other ugly excesses. They are as wrong today as they were back then. No social injustice justifies racism or even racist violence against fellow humans. The fight against racism cannot wait until the successful end of our struggle, it has to be its basis.

Sources

https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europäische_Revolutionen_1848/1849

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Ein Banker, ein BILD-Leser und ein Ausländer haben 20 Kekse

Die kürzeste und beste Zusammenfassung der politischen Problemen unserer Tage:

Ein Banker, ein BILD-Zeitungsleser und ein Asylbewerber sitzen am Tisch mit 20 Keksen. Der Banker nimmt sich 19 Kekse und sagt zum BILD-Zeitungsleser: “Pass auf, der Asylbewerber nimmt Dir Deinen Keks weg!”

Kekse-Geschichte von Dies Irae in Freital

Kekse-Geschichte von Dies Irae in Freital

Das Plakat wurde von der Künstergruppe Dies Irae im sächsischen Freital aufgehängt, wo ein wütender ausländerfeindlicher Mob zuvor Flüchtlinge in einem Bus bedroht hatte: http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/plakat-aktion-kuenstler-trollt-freitaler-fremdenfeinde-1.2580470

Aber stimmt das Bild der Keks-Geschichte?

Kekse sind in der Geschichte Symbol für die Vermögensverteilung. Diese Verteilung gibt es relativ gut geschätzt für Deutschland und grober auch weltweit. Ganz genau ist es schwer zu sagen, weil die Vermögensverteilung nicht mehr erhoben wird, seit die Erhebung der Vermögensteuer ausgesetzt wurde. In den öffentlich durchgeführten Befragungen werden die Superreichen nicht genauer untersucht. Sehr wahrscheinlich ist die Verteilung also noch etwas extremer als es die offizielle Statistik sagt.

Ja fast, 18 von 20 Keksen gehören den reichsten 30 Prozent der Bevölkerung in Deutschland

Die Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (BpB) zeigt in der besten dafür verfügbaren Grafik die Verteilung des Vermögens für Perzentile, also eine Aufteilung der Bevölkerung in 10 gleich große Gruppen sortiert nach ihrem Reichtum.

Verteilung des Vermögen in Deutschland im Jahr 2007

Verteilung des Vermögen in Deutschland im Jahr 2007

Die reichsten 10 Prozent besitzen 61 Prozent des Vermögens, in der Geschichte also 12 von 20 Keksen. Die reichsten 30 Prozent der Bevölkerung besitzen 91 Prozent des Vermögens, also 18 von 20 Keksen. Bei einer Vereinfachung der Bevölkerung auf 3 Personen müsste der reichste, der Banker, also 18 von 20 Keksen haben.

Immer ungleicher: Nur die ohnehin Reichsten werden immer reicher

Die dem Kommunismus unverdächtige Bertelsmann-Stiftung zeigt: 2002 bis 2012 wurden nur die ohnehin mit Abstand reichsten deutschen Haushalte noch deutlich reicher.

Veränderung der Einkommen von Haushalten in Deutschland zwischen 2002 und 2012: nur die ohnehin Reichsten werden noch reicher

Veränderung der Einkommen von Haushalten in Deutschland zwischen 2002 und 2012: nur die ohnehin Reichsten werden noch reicher

Weltweit besitzt 1% mehr als die 99% anderen, 8 Superreiche besitzen mehr als 3,6 Milliarden andere Menschen

In einer Studie von Januar 2017 zeigt die NGO Oxfam, dass die Vermögensverteilung weitweit noch viel extremer ist. Die 8 reichsten Menschen besitzen demnach mehr als 3.600.000.000 andere. Ein Prozent aller Menschen besitzt mehr als die 99 Prozent anderen. Solche Besitzverhältnisse machen globale Chancengleichheit von Anfang an unmöglich. Demokratie kann so kaum funktionieren.

Welche Partei ändert das nach der Bundestagswahl 2017 am ehesten?

Die Tagesschau hat die Wahlprogramme der Parteien zur Bundestagswahl 2017 kurz zusammengefasst: https://www.tagesschau.de/wahl/parteien_und_programme/programmvergleich-steuern100.html Die ersten beiden Sätze fasses es gut zusammen: “Union und FDP sprechen sich strikt gegen Steuererhöhungen aus, die anderen Parteien halten sie dagegen für unvermeidbar. SPD, Grüne und Linkspartei wollen eine Vermögenssteuer beziehungsweise Vermögensabgabe einführen…” Während die Linken vielleicht das radikalste Umverteilungsprogramm haben, werden die Grünen aus ihrem ähnlichen Programm am wahrscheinlichsten konkrete Regierungspolitik machen.

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A banker, a worker and an immigrant have 20 cookies

The best story summing up the political problems of our days:

A banker, a worker, and an immigrant are sitting at a table with 20 cookies. The banker takes 19 cookies and warns the worker: “Watch out, the immigrant is going to take your cookie away.”

The cookie story published by The Other 98%

The cookie story published by The Other 98%

The Facebook page “TheOther98%” published this image as a post back in 2015.

Globally, 1% owns more than the 99% others, 8 super rich individuals own more than 3.6 bn other humans

In a study published in January 2017 the NGO Oxfam shows how extreme distribution of wealth is globally. The richest 8 human beings own more than 3.600.000.000 others. Just one percent owns more than the 99 percent others. Such distribution of wealth leaves no equal chances at the start of live and throws democracy into crisis.

Income distribution: getting worse since the mid-1970s

Stan Sorscher from the Economic Opportunity Institute writes more to explain this graph. In any case, this comparison in growth of productivity versus average real earnings of workers shows pretty clearly where in time we have to search for answers for growing inequality.

increase in wages versus increase in productivity from 1945 to 2015

increase in wages versus increase in productivity from 1945 to 2015

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Gallery of political heroes – give values a face

why political heroes

Political values are abstract. That makes it difficult to discuss them. That is a pity because to build a political community feeling, this is an important thing to do. To solve this, you can tell your values in stories of real people who embody those values. You give values a face and thereby make it easier to speak about them.

Epic and fairytale stories have heroes. Are human beings perfect enough to qualify as political heros? While we know about human imperfection, I believe we are all used to  have heroes, it is just the question who fills the void best: the national history narrative filling our squares with statues of warriors and monarchs, a religion with their saints, Disney or a progressive political movement? The European Parliament awards each year the Sakharov prize for a similar purpose.

Here you go, my personal list of political heroes: for you to question and discuss and meant as my question to you: Who would be your political heroes?

my gallery

Jürgen Habermas, political philosopher, because he convinced me during studies of his communicative theory as the best foundation available for a global political system.

Altiero Spinelli, politician and philosopher, for defining and defending Federalism to protect democracy and peace against nationalism in theory and in the European Parliament

Jawaharlal Nehru, leader of the Indian independence movement and first Prime Minister, for establishing and safeguarding the world’s largest democracy by peaceful means

Edward Snowden, whistleblower in a US military contractor, for exposing the threats for our freedom looming from the military-industrial complex and modern use of data

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, US president, for defending democracy against the great depression with his New Deal

Chelsea Manning, whistleblower in the US military, for exposing war crimes in Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and Afghanistan

Wangari Maathai, politician, for fighting against corruption and to protect the nature of Africa

Jon Stewart, comedian, for creating a genre of comedy that is more informative than journalism and protecting sanity in times of insanity

Simon Hix, political scientist, for demonstrating how close the European integration brought us already to what we know from national democracies and the USA

Pierre Bourdieu, social philosopher, for developing sociological concepts like Habitus to make us understand the positioning of individuals within society

Petra Kelly, politician, former General Secretary of Young European Federalists, for co-founding the Greens as European political movement for feminist, ecologist, democratic change

Nelson Mandela, politician, for leading South Africa out of its Apartheid policy in a peaceful struggle

Malala Yousafzai, campaigner for education of girls in the particularly patriarchal society of Pakistan

Elinor Ostrom, economist, for developing the concept of the commons in economics

John Maynard Keynes, economist, because he explained economics more comprehensive than most and suggested recipes that followed today still would help a lot.

Ai Weiwei for being one of the most important voices of opposition in China, speaking up in Chinese symbols for freedom, rule of law and solidarity and inspiring me with some of the best modern and political art I know.

Anna Politkowskaja, journalist, for exposing war crimes in Chechnya despite threats for her life until she was shot

Antoine Deltour, whistleblower and accountant, for exposing tax deals between Luxembourg and big companies and giving power to the fight for tax justice in the EU

Hanna Arendt, political philosopher, for defining lessons learned from the authoritarian threat for our democracy

Joe Hill, migrant worker, unionist and singer, for organising workers with political and artistic means that became legend

Magnus Hirschfeld, a founder of the German gay movement and of a scientific way to deal with sexuality, for freeing sexuality of traditional taboos

Martin Luther King, for making the USA less racist towards black people with non-violent political means

Sophie Scholl, student and activist, for fighting Nazi Facism in Munich

Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of modern printing in the West, for allowing knowledge to spread and the information age to start (and for coming from Mainz like me)

rejected

  • Rosa Luxemburg
  • Rosa Parks

candidates

  • Simone Veil
  • Clara Zetkin
  • Ruth Ginsberg
  • Audre Lourde
  • Mossadeh
  • Alliende
  • Albert Schweizer
  • Bonhoeffer
  • Helen Clark, Neuseeländische Premierministerin
  • Frida Carlo
  • Tucholsky
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Balkans trip 2017: Albania, Macedonia and Greece in July and August

Map: https://www.google.com/maps/placelists/list/1aRQPMvEjuQEShaDCcdbFNwW0ue4

Tue 18 to Fri 21 Jul

Kassel for documenta 14 (++++), my review: http://chrisbeck.de/documenta-14/

Fri 21 Jul to Mon 24 Jul

Berlin for Rundlauf (days of the open door) in Universität der Künste (UdK, Berlin’s finest art university) and the Liebermann Villa next to the Wannsee.

Mon 24 July

Berlin to Thessaloniki, White tower (+/-), evening tour with Giannis from Roman gate to Muslim-Jew Mosque-synagoge and Micropolis (+++) for dinner

AirBnB with Konstantinos (+++)

Tue 25 July

Thessaloniki: morning tour with Giannis from Sophia church back to start, fish lunch in old market with live music, Archeological museum (+++), sunset at Ano Poli

Wed 26 July

Thessaloniki: beach, Byzantine museum, getting to know our AirBnB-flatmate from Syria who works in the EU’s asylum agency

Thu 27 July

Thessaloniki: Roman forum, Mosaic church (+++) in Ano Poli, lunch in Ano Poli, Old port (+++) with photography museum, Thessaloniki to Skopje by bus and train, traditional Macedonian dinner

Fri 28 July

Skopje to Ohrid, two nice monestaries (Saint Jovan Bigorski) in Mavrovo (???) with approachable nuns and nice view, amazing fast food, going for a beer

informal AirBnB for 80€ for 4 persons and 2 nights with wifi, central location, parking

Sat 29 July

Ohrid

Sun 30 July

Ohrid: fish soup, monastery by the water, beach with Techno music next to the foam party, Roman theater and fortress, to Skopje by car
CS with friends

Mon 31 July

Skopje: sleeping out, Disneyland-center, old bazaar, Italian dinner

Tue 1 Aug

Skopje: post office, National museum, lake Matka

Wed 2 Aug

Skopje-Tirana bus

Hotel Europa (++), very good room, with mirror on the ceiling, good breakfast yet no proper advice even on further transport

Thu 3 Aug

Tirana to Shkoder by bus, walk through Shkoder, dinner at Florian’s Guesthouse

Florian’s backpacker (+++) for 23€ in double, wifi, excellent assistance for further trips, getting to know amazing travel companions over a dinner in Florian’s Guesthouse for 5€. Location is not perfect but better than the 1st impression, shared bathroom with cold showers is simple but useful.

Fri 4 Aug

Shkoder to Theth by organised minibus, Blue Eye hike (+++), Lock in Tower (++)

Dritan Tethorja Guesthouse (++++) for 25€ per dorm bed, incl breakfast and dinner, Tel. 0685619086 or 0682449605 with amazing location, the most friendly staff and atmosphere ever, delighting self-grown and made food; camping possible; no facilities in case of bad weather, no wifi, cold showers; atmosphere might change with other travellers.

Sat 5

hike from Theth to Valbona (++++)

Guesthouse in Valbona (++)

Sun 6

Valbona to Shkoder, Marubi photo museum (+++), bus to Tirana
Vila Ada Hotel (+++/-), excellent room, wifi, with breakfast for 40€ for a 3 person room, central, but no advice for travelling

Marubi photography museum (+++), my review: http://chrisbeck.de/marubi-phototheque-in-shkoder-albania

Shkoder to Triana by bus, dinner there

Mon 7

Tirana to Fieri (–) by bus, central square and dinner in hotel
Hotel Green House (+/—, former Hotel Real) was the worse experience of our trip. Good room with wifi despite broken light but no resto despite such promise, big difficulties to organise food, lethargic staff, mostly not speaking English.

Tue 8

Apollonia (++), monastery, to Berat by minibus, organising laundry, dinner with Lorenc

Apollonia (++) is significantly less interesting than Butrint and is not worth the also otherwise ungratifying stop at Fier.

Lorenc Guesthouse (++/–), yet due to his overbooking not in his Guesthouse but in the Hotel of a friend for 23€, good fish in his garden but appaled by his support of Trump and Le Pen. Other travellers confirmed that Lorenc overbooks constantly and is unreliable when providing guidance on bus times, trips etc.

Wed 9

Berat (++++): castle with Onufi museum for icon paintings, amazing views, excellent lunch on roof top with view of garden and old town.

The museum-town of Berat is the most beaufiul place after the valley of Theth and would have deserved another day just to enjoy atmosphere and views further.

Thu 10

Berat to Gjirokaster by bus and taxi (with bus at 8h30 to Levan and from there by taxi since the connecting bus left without us; because 8h bus left full at 7h30 after Chris needed breakfast), meeting Russel and Kathy, Gjirokaster (+++) castle with excellent museum, and upper old town, dinner in iconic steep street

Hotel Sopotni (++) with the charm of old communist times for 8€ per person, perfect location, lethagic staff, shared bathroom, no AC, wifi only of neighbourig resto

Fri 11

Gjirokaster to Përmet by bus, Benja thermal springs and Rafting in Petrum

Funky Guesthouse (+++) for 23€ with excellent room and guidance for thermal springs and rafting (50€ per couple with Polish family of Barbara and Jarek with Adam)

Sat 12

Përmet to Saranda by bus, archeological site of Butrint (+++), meeting Patrick and Nikki from Canada, incl dinner with them by the seaside

XXX Hostel for 30€ (we paid 3000 Leke) in double with wifi, no breakfast

Sun 13

Saranda to Himare, city beach of Himare

Himara Hostel (++), in tent for 7€ per person + 2€ for tent with air matress in a beautiful garden with wifi, shared bathroom and kitchen, incl good breakfast. They offered us a room by mail which we indicated interest but did not clearly confirm. On arrival this was already given to others. Staff changes often, the owner is not always there but can give helpful advice when present.

Himare Kamping would have been closer to the beach and cheaper (1800 Leke for tent for 2 persons) but in the uncozy backyard of a high hotel building with noisy bar and no entrance control.

Gjipe eco camping, directly behind the beach (between Dhermi and Himare on the same road) would have been an interesting alternative that seemed cozy and perfectly situated.

Mon 14

Gjipe beach

Gjipe beach was my favorite compromise of not less people but providing infrastructure of less dense 2 lines of sunbeds (300 Leke for 2) with either umbrellas or square roofs, resto serving grilled fish (1000 Leke) and salads (350 Leke), bar with decent music, public shower. Facilities are some meters from the beach half way into the beautiful canyon behind the beach.

Tue 15

Himarë beach, peddlng to more secluded Filikurit beach

Wed 16

Himare castle, Gjipe beach

Thu 17

Himare to Corfu by ferry, Corfu old town

ferry serice by Ionian was 39€ per person, helpful to avoid the bus to Sarandë but was late (8h40 instead of 8h15 and took much more than the promised 30 mins until 10h10 in Albanian time, 11h10 in Greek time)

AirBnB with Victor, for 96€ in an entire appartment, 1 km/15 min from center of old town, for us with extra serive collecting us and bringing us to the airport

Fri 18

plane from Corfu to Charleroi, shuttle bus to Brussels

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Mainz – was sehen und machen

Mainz: Was sehen und machen

  • Dom und Marktplatz: absolutes Zentrum, Symbol der Stadt
  • Gutenberg-Museum: Der Erfinder des Druckens mit beweglichen Lettern ist der größte Sohn der Stadt. Liebevolle Modelle erklären aber auch, dass Chinesen und Koreaner die Idee schon früher hatten, dabei nur mit ihren vielen Buchstaben haderten.
  • Isis-Heiligtum in der Römerpassage: kostenloses, kleines aber liebevolles Museum eines ca. 2000 Jahre alten Tempels der ägyptischen Gottheit im Keller des Einkaufszentrums “Römerpassage” mit Opfergaben und Verwünschungen der Geber
  • Rathaus: brutalistisches Baudenkmal aus der Zeit als Mainz zu 70 Prozent kriegszerstört war. Nicht den Ratssaal verpassen, in dem auch die rechtsrheinischen Stadtteile selbstverständlich zum Stadtgebiet gehören.
  • Augustinergasse vom Dom und Leichhof über den Kirschgarten (mit dem “Haus zum Aschaffenberg”) bis zum Brauhaus oder Bahnhof Römisches Theater (früher Mainz-Süd)
  • Römerschiffe-Museum: Gute Erklärung, warum die Stadt an der Mündung des Main in den Rhein für die Römer so bedeutsam wurde.
  • Landesmuseum: leicht am goldenen Pferd auf dem Dach über dem Eingang erkennbar. Ausstellung reicht von den Römern bis zur klassischen Malerei. In einer Sonderausstellung wird auch der Grabstein eines aus Aleppo kommenden römischen Soldaten gezeigt. Syrer sind in Mainz nichts neues.
  • Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum: Beste Einführung in die römische Geschichte der 2000 Jahre alten Stadt.
  • Platz der Mainzer Republik: aktuell (2017) nur eine Baustelle, aber mit der Lage am Landtag Rheinland-Pfalz eine schöne Hommage an die französisch-revolutionäre Geschichte der Stadt.
  • Kulturclub “schon schön”: Entspanntes, alternatives Café mit selbstgemachten Getränken, Kuchen und Snacks, Poesie-Zeitung nahe am Landtag, Landesmuseum und Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseum.
  • Kunsthalle Mainz (Am Zollhafen): Museum für Gegenwartskunst mit wechselnden Ausstellungen am frisch aufgewerteten Nord-Hafen.
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Marubi Photothèque in Shkodër, Albania

If you visit Shkodër in Northern Albania (or nearby Southern Montenegro) I recommend to visit the Marubi Photothèque, a collection of historical photos from 1858 until 1940s. It is officially called the "Marubi National Museum of Photography – Muzeu Kombëtar i Fotografisë Marubi". Days before my visit on 6 August 2017 it was reopened after modernisations. You find it in Shkodër's main pedestrian road full of bars and restaurants and just steps away from the mosque and Democracy square rondell where busses to other cities arrive and leave.

The photos show you the VIPs and normal people of the city's modern history, events from the times Ottoman, Italian fascist, king Zog's and communist rule. Good explanations and interactive special rooms make the museum particularly worth a visit of at least 30-60 mins.

The collection contains the works of Italian immigrant Pietro Marubbi who escaped Italy after the defeat of Garibaldi in 1836. He changed his name to Pjetër Marubi. His apprentice Kel continued and adopted the same last name after the death of his master. Kel's son Gegë saved the collection through troubled times and donated it to the Albanian state.

Excellent explanation and interactive rooms

One example for the museum's good explanations is the introduction to the many pictures displaying political manifestations in support of respective (new) regimes. It explains the phrase "Rroftë", in English "Long Live". You can then find this phrase again in photos from Fascist and Communist times. With just this one word you have a much better understanding of what the events where actually about. The text makes it easier to think about political gatherings and reconnect to the people displayed.

Another example are interactive rooms such as one about portrait photography as practised by Marubi for affluent clients. The museum offers the same background as Marubi used it. You can reproduce selfies in a similar style like the historic photos displayed in the same room.

Directions and opening times

Rruga Kolë Idromeno 32, Shkodër
http://marubi.gov.al
Open daily 9h-19h30

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documenta 14: my top 10 of modern art in 2017

"documenta" is the probably biggest modern art exhibition. Every 5 years the city of Kassel in central Germany presents international artworks to give herself some importance which the city otherwise lacks. Here I list my personal favourite exhibits. My top 10 consists currently of 13 works.

This documenta 14 fascinated me for full 2 days from 10 to 19h in many of the exhibition venues. Who ever has the option to visit the Kassel part of the exhibition until 17 September should do so. I love the international and political diversity of presented artworks. Positive surprise was the quality of videos. I missed some of the more multi-media exhibits which I particularly enjoyed in documenta 13 of 2012. They combined projections, music and fixed materials and excited many and not just one sense at once. From a local I learned how earlier documenta exhibitions involved Kassel's citizens more as e.g. when Joseph Beuys as curator asked the citizens to finance one tree for each of a big pile of stone columns. Thanks to this art performance "Stadtverwaldung statt Stadtverwaltung" 7000 trees remain until today all over the city.

Byzantine icon of pro-abortion heroes

Stelios Faitakis: "Fortunately absurdity is lost (but they have hoped for much more) (2014)" in Fridericianum ground floor. The painting of acryl on MDF is done in the style of old Byzantine icons but shows the modern conflict on abortion. A group of women is holding a banner with instruments used, an angry man from the bigger opposing group kicks one woman in her belly. Green embryos float over the image. Icons often show martyrs who died for their faith. To show a woman in favour of abortion as a victim in Jesus pose seems to predict those who fight for the legalisation of abortion today will be the heros of tomorrow.

When the flood hits waiting people

Bill Viola: "The Raft (2004)" in Fridericianum. Video installation of 10:30 min about a group of people waiting like at a bus stop when suddenly water floods in from right and left. The formerly serious looking people suddenly look wet and miserable. From the early distance some turn towards others to help, others are just too shocked. The video turns normal Westerners into people looking like refugees from a boat which drowned. In a time when too many call the influx of refugees a "flood", the video shows how a real flood looks like.

Temple of democracy made of forbidden books

Marta Minujin: "Parthenon of Books (2017)" next to the Fridericianum. The artist built the first such Parthenon in 1983 in Buenos Aires with books which the Argentinian military dictatorship had confiscated and kept in cellars until the country returned to democracy. The building refers to the first democracy in ancient Greece and its ideal.

Sewage pipes as living rooms


Hiwa K (*1975 in Sulaimaniyya, Kurdish Iraq): "When We Were Exhaling Images" in front of documenta Halle. 20 sewage pipes in 4 rows above each other are furnished as apartments including a bathroom, a herbal garden, kitchen, desk for Japanese calligraphy and of course beds. The artist or a friend of his spend a part of their escape from Iraq in such pipes. According to an interview with RBB https://www.rbb-online.de/kultur/beitrag/2017/06/berliner-kuenstler-hiwa-k-bei-documenta.html the artists sees life in horizontal instead of vertical also as critique of societal vertical hierarchies and as reminder to consumers to reduce to the real needs, since a pipe does not allow much space and makes it difficult to discard waste without loosing already scarce space.

Haunted by a leopard tank

Regina José Galindo: "La Sombra (The Shadow, 2017)" in Bellevue/Neue Galerie 2. The 11 min video performance with Leopard tank is simple but the resulting image is strong. The video supplied the only strong postcard I could find. Like a shadow, the tank follows the artist who runs herself across what looks like a military testing area. The tank is obviously not at full speed, follows her dangerously close but never really gets too close. Her description refers to arms exports from rich countries to poor ones in conflicts, including in the Americas. This can connect well with Kassel as one of the centers of German military production. Less directly, it can refer to the German past of the Nazi era that still follows like a shadow.

Art to overcome colonialism

Pélagie Gbaguidi (*1965 in Dakar, living in Brussels): The Missing Link. Dicolonisation Education by Mrs Smiling Stone (2017) in Neue Galerie, ground floor. School furniture, photographies, long paper bands with drawings hanging from the high ceiling and papers with text in a glass shelf inform about the Code Noire. This French law by king Louis IVX from 1685 regulates how humans are enslaved, their ownership and trade including legalising forced labour, rape and killing based on black skin colour. It takes until 1848 for France to abolish this law, well beyond 1789. The artwork probably wants to be the "missing link" between rich European and less visible African art. Personally, I cannot connect well to the drawings based on unlearning artistic techniques to achieve results closer to the supposed innocence of children. In this case, the political purpose for me overrides the lack of fascination by the artwork itself. Yet, the bright papers filing the long space set the cruel texts citied from the Code Noire in a good perspective to let it sink in how colonialism affects all societies involved deeply until today.

A bookshelf of shame for justice

Maria Eichhorn: "Rose Valland Institute (2017)" in Neue Gallerie incl. "Unrechtmäßig aus jüdischem Eigentum erworbene Bücher". The artist is concerned with restitution, to try to give back stolen art to their rightful owners, here mostly property of Jews either stolen or forcefully bought during Nazi rule. The most eye-catching part of the artwork is a shelf full of books taken from Berlin's State Library where I works for months on my graduation thesis. These books are all labeled "nicht entleihbar" (cannot be borrowed) since their ownership is unclear or disputed. For a book lover like me this shows the consequences of slow restitution in a painful example of interesting books which become inaccessible.

Feminism from Pakistan of the 1980s

Lala Rukh: Posters, flyers, screenprinting manual, and other materials relating to the Women's Action Forum, Lahore (1980s-90s) in documenta Halle including "The Unholy Trinity (1986)" and "Crimes against Women (1985)". While in European debates too often Muslims are generally dismissed as anti-feminist, it is beautiful to see how feminists already fought 30 years ago for women rights as far away as Pakistan.

Calculations for order

George Lappas: "Abacus (1983)" in Fridericianum ground floor. The installations is made up of parallel metal ropes with some metal balls fixed on them. They span accross sand on the ground a bit like the net on a tennis court and in other forms. The balls on the ropes form something that could be a help for calculation alike an abacus as the title suggests yet also musical notes. To me, the notion of calculation and the proximity to many artworks on migration and the similarity of the metal net to a border fence rather suggests the double sided issues on regulating migration by point systems. The symmetry and simplicity of this work evokes a peace which it starts to question again.

Immigration as a game for grown ups

Vlasis Caniaris: Hopscotch (1974) in Fridericianum ground floor. The installation shows used cloth and suitcases of immigrants around chalk boxes on the floor like in a children jumping game. Caniaris does probably not suggest that migration would be as easy like children game. Migrants rather feel in many of the described institutions treated like children, spending time as purposeful as in games. Also, winning new chances in the life far away from the old home requires the skills to navigate through the institutions as children need skills to jump through the boxes in the right order.

An ode to the vacuum cleaner

Roee Rosen: "The Dust Channel" in Palais Bellevue, 3rd floor. The video shows the praise of vacuum cleaners and how refugees are seen as dirt. It criticises the obsession of the Israeli majority society with being clean and pure which extends into racist treatment of everyone who is not white or Jewish. Careful: You have to wait in line to get into the next level of the building. If you do not have plenty of time: skip it.

From fasting Buddha to the Bengal famine of 1943


The ground floor of Neue Galerie hosts another thematic collection opened by a fasting Buddha from around 200 before Christ and leading to the Bengal famine of 1943 in British India which caused around 2 million deaths by starvation and subsequent diseases. Diverse analysis of causes as presented in https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bengal_famine_of_1943 includes decisions of the British war cabinet to prioritise the needs of the British army fighting Nazi Germany over the needs of the starving rural poor. The famine contributed to a change of world opinion on colonialism and helped to free not just India from foreign rule. Art displayed is either too antique to be modern or impressive much more politically than artistically. Yet, this collection connected important dots from my own visit to West-Bengal in 2006, school knowledge about the 2nd World War and anti-colonial convictions.

Dreams woven into a bedsheet

Janine Antoni (*1964 in Freeport, Bahamas): "Slumber (1994)" in Fridericianum ground floor. The artist slept at in a bed while her eye movements were recorded as REM diagram by a machine. At day she transposed the diagram into a woven bedsheet ending up on the same bed. While this seems largely a beautiful but not a political idea, sleep is essential and the beauty of this artwork lies in its meditative quality.

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“Kein Kapitalismus ist auch keine Lösung” von Ulrike Herrmann, 2016: eine Leseempfehlung

Unsere Brüsseler Lesegruppe diskutierte "Kein Kapitalismus ist auch keine Lösung" am 6 Juli 2017

Unsere Brüsseler Lesegruppe diskutierte “Kein Kapitalismus ist auch keine Lösung” am 6 Juli 2017

Gut zu lesen, erhellender Überblick, überzeugende Beispiele: Ulrike Herrmanns Verteidigung des Kapitalismus gegen seine vorgeblichen Bannerträger der Mainstream-Ökonomie ist zu empfehlen. Die taz-Redakteurin schließt ihr Buch mit Beispielen für ihren Untertitel: “Was wir von Smith, Marx und Keynes lernen können”:

  • Adam Smith lehrt, dass Arbeitsteilung nur im Team funktioniert. Die Leistung des einzelnen hängt wesentlich von der Zuarbeit anderer ab. Deshalb lässt sich der Lohn von Busfahrern nur durch ihren Arbeitsort verstehen, nicht durch ihre Grenzproduktivität.
  • John Maynard Keynes erklärt, dass Arbeitslosigkeit nur wenig durch Arbeitsmärkte erklärt wird. Denn ob Anleger in echte Firmen investieren, die dann Arbeitskräfte einstellen oder in Finanzspekulation, die einem Herdentrieb gegen jede von der Neoklassik angenommene Rationalität folgt, ist eine Frage der Finanzmarktregulierung.
  • Mit Keynes und Smith erklärt Herrmann, dass der Euro nur zu retten ist, wenn Deutschland nicht nur Exportweltmeister, sondern gleichzeitig auch Importweltmeister wird. Höhere Löhne in Deutschland würden das Land nicht ärmer, sondern reicher machen. Schon Adam Smith erklärte, dass “beggar-thy-neighbour”-Politik nicht funktioniert. “Kapitalistische Länder können nur gemeinsam reich werden, nicht gegeneinander”. Eine brandaktuelle Diagnose während über die Zukunft der EU, der G7 und G20 diskutiert wird.

Herrmanns Abschlussplädoyer: “Der Kapitalismus ist das einzige dynamische System, das die Menschheit je hervorgebracht hat. Die Ökonomie sollte ihn erforschen, statt ihn aus ihrer Theorie zu verbannen.”

Die würzige Kürze und ihr Witz gehen auf Kosten der Vollständigkeit. Natürlich bietet auch die Mainstream-Ökonomie mehr als das von ihr beschriebene Versagen in den Grundannahmen und die ausgefallene Vorhersage der Finanzkrise von 2008. Ob der Kapitalismus dynamisch genug ist, sich auch an eine Welt ohne Wachstum anzupassen und an die planetaren Grenzen, das beantwortet Herrmann hier gar nicht. Als Einstieg in einige der wichtigsten ökonomischen Denker hat es mir aber viel Spaß gemacht.

Der Titel entspricht zwar Ulrike Herrmanns Überzeugung. Aber diskutiert wird die Frage nicht. Gäbe es gangbare Alternativen zum Kapitalismus? Darauf gibt dieses Buch keine Antwort. Einstweilen ist aber die behandelte Frage ja schon spannend genug: Wie kann dieser Kapitalismus für mehr Menschen besser funktionieren?

Das Buch kostet 18 EUR im Westend-Verlag oder kann bei mir zu Hause ausgeliehen werden.

Kein Kapitalismus ist auch keine Lösung

http://www.ardmediathek.de/tv/ttt-titel-thesen-temperamente/Kein-Kapitalismus-ist-auch-keine-L%C3%B6sung/Das-Erste/Video?bcastId=431902&documentId=38500692

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Ein Euro-Finanzminister für mehr Transparenz und Demokratie in der Eurozone – Präsentation zum Runterladen

EZB, EU-Kommission, Präsident Macron und anderen schlagenen einen EU-Finanzminister vor, der dem Europaparlament verantwortlich ist, Der Finanzminister könnte europäische Wirtschafts- und Finanzpolitik aus dem verschlossenen Hinterzimmer der Eurogruppe holen und transparenter machen. So würde die Politikrichtung (ab)wählbar und durch die Europäische Demokratie gestaltbar werden.

Im Sammelband “Zukunft der Eurozone” habe ich mit Daniela Schwarzer, Jeromin Zettelmeyer, Henrik Enderlein und anderen beschrieben, warum das wichtig ist. Meine Präsentation für die Jungen Europäischen Föderalisten Rheinland-Pfalz (JEF Rlp) vom 10.06.2017 erklärt die Zusammenhänge.

Meine Präsentation zum Runterladen: http://chrisbeck.de/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Euro-FinMin_2017-06-10_JEFrlp.pdf

Hier einzelne Grafiken aus der Präsentation:

Mehr Transparenz mit einem Euro-Finanzminister: Eurogruppe und ESM werden durch öffentliche Parlamentsdebatten transparenter

Mehr Transparenz mit einem Euro-Finanzminister: Eurogruppe und ESM werden durch öffentliche Parlamentsdebatten transparenter

EU-Institutionen und wie sie interagieren: Die Präsentation startet von den wichtigsten Institutionen, zeigt die Probleme auf und erklärt dann, wie der Finanzminister sie lösen helfen kann.

EU-Institutionen und wie sie interagieren: Die Präsentation startet von den wichtigsten Institutionen, zeigt die Probleme auf und erklärt dann, wie der Finanzminister sie lösen helfen kann.

Rodrik-Trilemma: Dani Rodrik erläutert, warum sich von den 3 Zielen Globalisierung, Demokratie und nationale Selbstbestimmung immer nur 2 gleichzeitig verwirklichen lassen.

Rodrik-Trilemma: Dani Rodrik erläutert, warum sich von den 3 Zielen Globalisierung, Demokratie und nationale Selbstbestimmung immer nur 2 gleichzeitig verwirklichen lassen.

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