Andreas Broeckmann on Wed, 15 Sep 2021 13:24:48 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> On the return of the interventionist state 7 fact-check

Dear David,

please, fact-check; this is incorrect:

> the most powerful decision-making body in the EU is
> the European Commission is comprised of unelected officials

You may see deficits in the following procedure, but there are in fact elections and democratic confirmations:

"The president-elect selects potential Vice-Presidents and Commissioners based on suggestions from EU countries. The list of nominees has to be approved by all EU heads of state or government, meeting in the European Council. ... Following Parliament's vote[*], the Commissioners are appointed by the European Council. ..."

(* Remember that, in autumn 2019, the European Parliament rejected the Romanian and Hungarian commissioners-elect first proposed by U. von der Leyen, due to "conflicts of interest.")

If the Commission is ruled, as you claim, by a "neo-liberal orthodoxy", then this selection process shows that the problem is much bigger than just the assembly of Commissioners. (And arguably the EU of 2021 is not any more the EU of 2010.)

Moreover, the "most powerful decision-making body in the EU" is clearly the European Council:

"The members of the European Council are the heads of state or government of the 27 EU member states, the European Council President and the President of the European Commission."

As we have seen in the last years, the role of the European Parliament has been strengthened gradually, if too slowly.

Otherwise, thank you for pointing out some of the problematic concepts and levels of argumentation in the reference text!


Am 15.09.21 um 11:57 schrieb
Thanks Paolo for this very interesting article. Just a few questions that I imagine will be answered by reading the book.

I am unclear what is meant here by ‘the state’. Is it interchangeable with ‘government’? Does the argument that neoliberalism (market fundamentalism) is being replaced by ‘neostatism’ mean that you see neoliberalism as a kind of polity or set of constitutional arrangements rather than an economic orthodoxy?

To take one example the most powerful decision-making body in the EU is the European Commission is comprised of unelected officials whose principal task is to ensure that no national election of a member state will ever overturn the parameters of the neo-liberal orthodoxy. Anyone who doubts this should remember what happened to Greece in the debt crisis of 2009/10. So do you see the Commission as an example of a ‘neostate’? Or is it something else again? Is the EU Commission included in the book?

I am curious whether your analysis of the neo-state addresses the current position of ‘liberal democracy’which (for better or for worse) is in a (over used word) crisis. It seems to me that the liberal view of the state continues to trade on the old the increasingly tired old ruse of making a virtue of obscuring the answer to the question, who governs?  them or us, people or government. This deliberate ambiguity is the beating heart of classical liberalism and seen as a way holding the line between tyranny vs mob rule. But its effect is simply to keep the status quo in place.  This dubious magic trick (once described as the manufacturing of consent) has apart at the seams to be replaced by a techno/populist logic that depends on the ‘manufacture of dissent’.

None of this hall of mirrors would matter if we were not facing a climate emergency that needs decision, action and immediate deep change.

I am looking forward to reading the book.
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