d . garcia on Wed, 15 Sep 2021 13:56:32 +0200 (CEST)

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

Hi Andreas,
many thanks for the detailed fact-check and yes I should have been more careful.

I do recognise that calling the Commissioners "unelected" was simplistic given that there the EU parliament must approve the appointments presented to them. But if I am honest this generally seems like a bit of a 'rubber stamping' operation
like consulting the kids after the adults have finished 'horse trading'
for these very powerful decision making positions. To my mind this falls well short of the even limited civic accountability we might expect in parliamentary democracy and as you conceded the EU equivalent still remains pretty weak. Why is that?

It may be worth asking ourselves why there has been this reluctance to concede more power to the Parliament if it is not a fear of anything that would disturb
the centrist neoliberal status quo.

But yes I should have been more careful in describing the interesting byzantine
mechanisms for appointing these powerful EU officials.

Best David

On 2021-09-15 12:23, Andreas Broeckmann wrote:
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 d.garcia@new-tactical-research.co.uk:
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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