tiziana on Mon, 10 Mar 2003 21:32:23 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> There is no America and Europe

Greetings to all nettimers,

this is a translation of a posting by Franco Berardi to the Italian mailing
list rekombinant. Franco Berardi is a well known author of many books on
politics, technology and the psychochemical mutations of informational
cultures (including Mutation and Cyberpunk; The Nefarious Utopia of Workers'
Power; The Unhappines Factory; and the booklet "When the Fatherland Calls,
Tell It to Hang Itself: Manifesto for a Creative Desertion). Thought might
interest the list which is after all an interesting cross-continental,
internationalist experiment.




Some days ago I witnessed a debate on the USA/conflict on the Italian TV
current affairs programme the Infidel by Gad Lerner. There was an interview
with Dani Cohn  Bendit that impressed me. The position of Cohn, Bendit,
Fischer, Sofri, and Liberation has recently undergone a mutation, that makes
of it the most interesting nucleus of contemporary Europeanism, an evolution
of the culture of 1968 that connects the liberal and reformist legacies in
order to combine them in a form of cosmopolitan and humanist

What is emerging from this perspective is an opposition between American
hegemony and European autonomy that finds its content in the defense of
civil rights and in a liberalism moderated by socialdemocracy.

Is this project realistic?
Can we consider the great Europe, the Europe of the national states and of
the powerful financial capital as a force that is capable of imposing
respect for human rights?
More radically: does a Europe still exist after the divisions of the last
few weeks? Can we see in the french-german hegemony a new European project
autonomous from the USA?  I see a serious danger of european nationalism in
this perspective. A European nationalism that presents itself as the
opposition to the war rhetoric of the Bush Administration appears to us
today as close to the anti-military and pacificist front, but isn't this an
optical illusion? Isn't the danger of a new nationalism founded on the
anti-american prejudice just around the corner?

The last months have seen a quick and brutal maturation of contradictions
that are implicit in the European construction, during the crisis that we
are going through, even more if this will result in a war, it will become
necessary to carefully avoid an identification 'national-european.' To avoid
this europeist and anti-american nationalism there is no other way that to
transform the european consciousness into an internationalist consciousness.

There is a danger in the European appraoch, that has emerged clearly in the
past few weeks. The European perspective offers a representation of
international reality as an opposition between the USA and the EU, but in
opposing the virtues of the European approach to the brutality of the
unilateral American approach, it risks to represent the situation in
nationalist-european terms and thus produce and anti-americanism effect.

The global movement against the war cannot, in any way, be reduced to this
perspective. It is obviously tre that there is a strategic opposition
between the american hegemonism and the French-German axis. But on this
basis we will built nothing else than the ground for a new cold war that
will oppose (there are all the conditions for this) an anglo-american
capitalism to a French-German capitalism. It would be as if the twentieth
century never existed, or better, it would be as if in the twentieth century
would have been produced nothing new except for the atomic bomb. The new
world order would thus be the pre-1914 order plus weapons of mass

There is no America and Europe. We have to reject this representation. There
is a democratic public opinion of euro-americans against the war., There is
a public opinion against war that is largely majoritarian in Europe and
close to half in the USA. This is the point.
The European destinies at this point count very litte. Maybe, Europe will
come out of this war dead. What counts is the new emergence of
internationalism. Internationalism, that in the last twenty years has been
reduced to solidarity with the losers, during the current global crisis
should acquire the power  of a majoritarian political perspective.

Forget Europe then? Not at all. We have to oppose the reduction of the
concept of Europe to a national, geopolitical or economic entity. We have to
affirm a concept of Europe as a principle of extensive, bottom-up,
post-nationalist construction. The best to have come out of the european
experience was just this: the creation of networks that do not coincide with
any territory and that are projected towards areas that are distant from the
historical-geographical Europe.

At the same time we need to elaborate a discourse on the future of the
United States of America that is free from anti-americanism.
Anti-americanism is the worst of intellectual dangers. Today's America is
close to a kind of military fascism. The Bush administration is resolutely
going towards the imposition of a violent, oligarchic, fascist regime.

In an article entitled  "Gaining an empire losing democracy?" Norman
Mailer writes : "The combination of corporate and military power and flag
fanaticism has created a pre-fascist atmosphere in the USA"
It is difficult to dismiss the feeling that the Bush clan is as dangerous as
the German nationalsocialist party, with on top access to weapons of total
destruction that luckily Hitler did not possess.
But the USA are not like Germany in the thirties.
We need to leverage the contradictions between American libertarian and
democratic culture and Bushist Nazism, if we want to come out of the trap
that the ideology of preemptive war has by now pre-arranged. Only revolution
in the USA could free humanity from the dangers of global fascism, certainly
not the opposition of the ancient european virtues and the vices of american
hegemonism,. Bush is first of all the enemy of the americans. It is in the
USA that the global movement will defeat Bush, its nationalist fury and the
neo-liberalism that has produced this folly.

Rekombinant   http://www.rekombinant.org

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