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Επαναστάτες- Eric Hobsbawm

b137738Ο E. J. Hobsbawm γεννήθηκε στην Αλεξάνδρεια το 1917, από πατέρα βρετανό πολωνικής καταγωγής και μητέρα αυστριακή εβραϊκής καταγωγής, και σπούδασε στη Βιέννη, το Βερολίνο, το Λονδίνο και το Καίμπριτζ. Ήταν μέλος της Βρετανικής Ακαδημίας και της Αμερικανικής Ακαδημίας Τεχνών και Επιστημών, επίτιμο μέλος του King’s College στο Καίμπριτζ και επίτιμος διδάκτωρ πολλών πανεπιστημίων σε αρκετές χώρες. Δίδαξε ως τη συνταξιοδότησή του στο Birkbeck College του Πανεπιστημίου του Λονδίνου -ένα περιβάλλον/έμπνευση και κίνητρο για το ιστορικό του έργο, όπως ομολόγησε ο ίδιος- και κατόπιν στο New School for Social Research της Νέας Υόρκης. Εκτός από τα διάσημα βιβλία του «The Age of Revolution, 1789-1848» («Η εποχή των επαναστάσεων, 1789-1848», μτφρ. Μαριέτα Οικονομοπούλου, εκδ. Μ.Ι.Ε.Τ.), «The Age of Capital, 1848-1875» («Η εποχή του κεφαλαίου, 1848-1875», μτφρ. Δημοσθένης Κούρτοβικ, εκδ. Μ.Ι.Ε.Τ.), «The Age of Empire, 1875-1914» («Η εποχή των αυτοκρατοριών, 1875-1914», μτφρ. Κωστούλα Σκλαβενίτη, εκδ. Μ.Ι.Ε.Τ.) και «Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century 1914-1991» («Η εποχή των άκρων: ο σύντομος 20ος αιώνας 1914-1991», μτφρ. Βασίλης Καπετανγιάννης, εκδ. Θεμέλιο), έχει συγγράψει και τα βιβλία: «Primitive Rebels», «Labouring Man and Worlds of Labour», «Industry and Empire», «Nations and Nationalism Since 1780», «The Invention of Tradition» («Η επινόηση της παράδοσης», μτφρ. Θανάσης Αθανασίου, εκδ. Θεμέλιο), «The Jazz Scene» («Η σκηνή της τζαζ», μτφρ. Τάκης Τσήρος, εκδ. Εξάντας), «Uncommon People» («Ξεχωριστοί άνθρωποι», μτφρ. Παρασκευάς Ματάλας, εκδ. Θεμέλιο), «Bandits» («Ληστές») και «Globalisation, Democracy and Terrorism» («Παγκοσμιοποίηση, δημοκρατία και τρομοκρατία», μτφρ. Νίκος Κούρκουλος, εκδ. Θεμέλιο), τα οποία έχουν μεταφραστεί σε πολλές γλώσσες, καθώς και την εξαιρετικά ενδιαφέρουσα αυτοβιογραφία του «Interesting Times: A Twentieth-century Life» («Συναρπαστικά χρόνια: μια ζωή στον 20ο αιώνα», μτφρ. Σταματίνα Μανδηλαρά, εκδ. Θεμέλιο). Έφυγε από τη ζωή, την 1η Οκτωβρίου 2012, στο Royal Free Hospital του Λονδίνου, σε ηλικία 95 ετών.

Το βιβλίο «Επαναστάτες» (εκδ. Θεμέλιο, 2008) αποτελείται από μια σειρά δοκιμίων με θέματα σχετικά μεταξύ τους. Το πρώτο μέρος πραγματεύεται την ιστορία του κομμουνισμού και των Κομμουνιστικών Κομμάτων, κυρίως κατά την περίοδο της Κομμουνιστικής Διεθνούς. Το δεύτερο μέρος πραγματεύεται τον αναρχισμό -ένα κίνημα για το οποίο έχει αναζωπυρωθεί τον τελευταίο καιρό το ενδιαφέρον-, και το τρίτο μέρος διάφορες πτυχές του διεθνούς διαλόγου γύρω από τον Μαρξ και το μαρξισμό, που διεξάγεται με ζωηρότητα από τα μέσα της δεκαετίας του ’50. Αναλύει ζητήματα γύρω από την επανάσταση, τον ανταρτοπόλεμο, τη βία και κλείνει με την ενότητα «Διανοούμενοι και ταξική πάλη».

Hannah Arendt «Zur Person» Full Interview

In this interview with the German journalist Günter Gaus (October the 28th, 1964) Hannah Arendt addresses a wide range of topics concerning philosophy, gender and politics. Subjects that are of particular importance (for Arendt) are also discussed, drawing on ideas expressed in her earlier works, such as The Origins of Totalitarianism (perhaps the most notable of Arendt’s work, focused on Judaism in Europe, imperialism and the two major totalitarian movements of the twentieth century; Nazism and Stalinism), her controversial Eichmann In Jerusalem and The Human Condition (one of the most important works for the understanding of the Greek polis and democracy). She also elaborates on anti-Semitism and the Auschwitz, whilst outlining the relationship between Germans and Jews, Judaism in Europe before and after the war, and finally Zionism and the state Israel.

Hannah Arendt was born on 14 October 1906 in Hanover. She grew up in Königsberg. Studied philosophy, theology and Greek. Emigrated to France in 1933 and a few years later (1941) moved permanently to the U.S., where she begun working as a freelance journalist, then an editor, and finally a managing director of Jewish Cultural Reconstruction. She also taught political theory at several universities: she initially became Professor at the University of Chicago and later on (1967) University Professor the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York.

Arendt’s political thought provides a clear and original perspective regarding the philosophical roots of occidental political traditions with deep understanding of the Greek and Roman traditions, which have been largely abandoned. Her intellectual work provides an alternative angle on politics and democracy (as a deliberate action, strictly connected with public happiness), by reviving what has been lost through centuries.

Manifesto 2014 (English version)

Read the Greek version here

The collective of Eagainst.com started its operation in December 2010, as an initiative not only for dialogue and counter-information but also to promote philosophical, political and cultural self-education of human beings based on universal values ​​and ideals (such as freedom of speech, the right to education, gender, racial and sexual equality, the right of excluded social groups – like immigrants and unemployed – the opposition to any exploitation of man by man, the review of work and labour and its alienating consequences …). Eagainst.com brings together people from diverse political spaces, mostly ardent supporters of the project of autonomy – as expressed by Cornelius Castoriadis – thinkers of council democracy (inspired by Hannah Arendt) and anarchist supporters (with particular emphasis on Murray Bookchin and Errico Malatesta), or situationists commentators and analysts who do not wish to compromise ideologically with the dominant values ​​that underlie the modern capitalist imaginary but instead seek for political alternatives rejecting at the same time the notion of representation, or even theories acknowledged as a solid truths and doctrinal beliefs. Eagainst.com is consisted by activists, journalists and political writers/researchers who refuse to reproduce social taboos, nationalism or outdated ideological currents. Always posing as a key project the social transformation, according to political, economic and cultural justice and equality, direct deliberative democracy and rejection of any kind of bureaucracy and hierarchy, this collectivity continues to promote in the public dialogue political ideas that remain largely undiscovered, ideas that promote a different understanding not only on the ways and means of social change but also regarding the objectives of that change. Far from trivial and sterile entrenched perceptions, breaking from ideological taboos and all kinds of conservatism, Eagainst.com continues its difficult work, welcoming all who respond to this call for political dialogue.

Coming from different backgrounds (workers, students, unemployed, artists, academics, writers) we are people with similar problems and concerns, people from different parts of the world who unite our voices under a common purpose: to contribute in the radical change of things. We know that this requires a clear rupture with any kind of transcendental or metaphysical rigid determinism (such as religious beliefs, laws of ancestors, laws of markets, laws of history) – that is called heteronomy – aiming to a world fairer and freer, to a world of political, economic and cultural equality, where processes through direct participation in decision-making will take place, enhancing the feasibility for us to redefine our needs and prioritize the values ​​that govern human communities. We know, of course, that the achievement of these objectives is not an easy task given that a) under the current situation with the rise of extreme right-wing populist, fascist movements and the hardening of state repression (which threatens and violates basic civil, democratic, social and economic rights earned with hard struggles), our efforts may face several risks (although that does not intimidate us), and b) in the era of mass apathy, of de-politicization and generalized poverism/conformity, where public communication is swamped by silence and isolation, the responses may not be broadly accepted in comparison with the initiatives that had significant resonance in the period of great social struggles during the past two centuries. We believe, however, that it is up to us to offer a political impetus for the further expansion of the antagonistic network that aims to the beginning of new struggles, while stressing that human beings are not solely destined for labour and consumption, obeying blindly and unquestioningly commands as slaves. The human (political) being can also create and excel using positive imagination and providing meaning to his/her existence.

In principle, we reject the contemporary global political infrastructure, the concentration of power in the hands of the few which reproduces and perpetuates poverty, inequality and injustice in all areas, leading inevitably to violence and dissolving any bond of social solidarity. The existing political system of liberal oligarchies deprives humanity as it measures every human value in profit (the only dominant value) destroying every spirit of friendship. Values ​​such as political participation, concepts such as consultation and communication are gradually fading away in a world that manufactures human machines, isolated individuals who attempt to disguise the lack of any meaning regarding their existence through consumerism (which is regarded as personal «success» and fulfilment), with lonely individuals who are accept pauperization as a natural condition in this jungle of social Darwinism that characterizes the capitalist imaginary, a dreadful machinery that generates and reproduces indifference, hatred and derision for the less powerful. Thus, we demand equality, ie actual (direct and deliberative) democracy, which according to us is inseparable from justice, equality and isonomy, that is equal participation in political power for all citizens. This requires explicit rupture with parliamentary institutions and any mechanism that perpetuates hierarchy and thus exploitation, heteronomy and alienation into the abyss of insignificance. Having acknowledged that the eutopic (and not utopic) political system we want isn’t going to be achieved through press releases, or ballot boxes, we call into question of the current state of power relations, we challenge all social institutions (such as the state – which gradually throws away its mask revealing its true face, that of a punisher -, or party offices), surpassing the demand for improving, rationalizing, or replacing them with others that will move into the same direction. Thus, we propose to replace all of these institutions that constitute and reproduce the modern capitalist (and ostensibly free) social reality, by political bodies that will allow all citizens to participate in the making (and taking) of decisions concerning public life, popular assemblies in squares, municipalities, workplaces (schools, factories, universities). Equality, friendship, solidarity and human creation for us should be a key objective of these new institutions.

At the same time we reject the imaginary of unlimited economic growth based on the hierarchical structure of the productive capitalist model which serves the interests of a small oligarchy in the arena of global competition that has transformed the entire planet into financial casino, damaging at the same time our natural environment and turning populations into profit machines that blindly execute orders in exchange for survival. Always under the scope of democratic transformation we promote the project of self-organization of production, moving away from the capitalist standards, away from the accumulation of profit in the hands of few, objecting to equal sharing of the wealth (and of course to income equality) while at the same time we incorporate environmental initiatives within the framework of our political program. But as aforementioned, human beings are not born and die having as an intended goal labour/production and consumption. Humans action can also result to worldliness – and this is the raison d’être of genuine politics (of direct democracy and autonomy), which undeniably cannot take place within our, utterly alienated by the imaginary of poverism, societies, deeply eroded by the insignificance of pseudo-individualism. Given that lack of freedom is not something that only concerns the work relationships (the oppression and exploitation of the worker from the employer and the boss) but has also to do with the nature of the production process, we aim not only to provide a more substantial meaning to work and workmanship (by asking ourselves why and for whom we labour?), but also to reduce the work-time, which is undoubtedly necessary for public happiness (namely for the re-emergence of a public realm). Such a system can not exist within the capitalist economic model that leaves no space for real communication between people and instead imprisons everyone to the impotence of private sphere. Extreme adherence to the work ethic, to productivism and profit-making signifies lack of time for reading, for analysis and discussion. Political representation serves exactly this pathology; to let others – some skilled technocrats – undertake the task of political implementation, a task that in fact should be exclusively our concern instead of acknowledging as our ultimate goal only private happiness.

Therefore, we reject any notion of bureaucratisation and we do not believe in change through the means that the system itself has created, means that keep us trapped in the world of impotence, conformity, entertainment and spectacle. Hence, we are not only looking for a public space as a key component of the participatory democracy we aim, but also for public time as an important tool to achieve our goals. Of course, for us the meaning of bureaucracy is not only confined to the hierarchical structures of the state apparatus, it does not solely refer to dialectic between rulers and the ruled (or in the workplace between masters and labourers, as mentioned above). The entire bureaucratization for our lives is characterized by the sheer totality of capitalist (and every heteronomous) imaginary that embraces every aspect of human activity and condition. It is located in the education system which produces «technocrats» who perpetuate the existing structures by prioritizing specific needs, it is incarnated in the psychological and anthropological approaches of the contemporary world, in short, it is an objective of (self)manipulation. We can see it on the Media (TV, magazines, radio, books), in all the institutions of mass culture. It is also located even in science which no longer serves the people but the large economic interests. We intent thus to challenge all the sociological narratives which proclaim that human beings are incapable of freedom and that the need for guidance by a skilled artisan, a polar economist is always required. The phrase of Sophocles «there is no more fearful or admirable being than a human» denotes explicitly the capabilities of human beings for self-creation and freedom.

To counter the current political challenges, we declare that the time to rise up and act collectively through a joint new network of revolutionary agenda is here. Through open assemblies, councils and open political bodies in every square, where communication and interaction will become possible, we aim to liberate ourselves. Not as lenders and borrowers, not as rich and poor, not as prosecutors and defendants, but as equal and free citizens, if we do not wish concepts such as democracy and freedom to become forgotten entries in encyclopedic dictionaries and history books.

Hannah Arendt – Περί Βίας

Γραμμένο το 1968, με αφορμή τη φοιτητική εξέγερση στο πανεπιστήμιο Κολούμπια, το κλασικό αυτό δοκίμιο αποδεικνύεται επίκαιρο σε μια εποχή που, διαψεύδοντας την επαγγελία της οικουμενικής ειρήνης και συμφιλίωσης, χαρακτηρίζεται από την αφανή μεταλλαγή των μορφών κυριαρχίας και των τεχνολογιών μαζικής καταστροφής και από την αναζωπύρωση εστιών στρατιωτικής βίας και τρομοκρατίας σε όλο τον πλανήτη.

Για την Άρεντ η δύναμη (power) αντιστοιχεί στην ικανότητα του ανθρώπου, όχι απλώς να πράττει, αλλά να πράττει από κοινού. Η δύναμη δεν είναι ποτέ κτήμα ενός ατόμου’ ανήκει σε μια ομάδα και συνεχίζει να υπάρχει μόνο όσο καιρό η ομάδα μένει μαζί. Η βία (violence) διακρίνεται για τον εργαλειακό χαρακτήρα της. Φαινομενολογικά βρίσκεται κοντά στη ρώμη (strength ατομική κραταιότητα) , αφού τα όργανα της βίας σχεδιάζονται και χρησιμοποιούνται με σκοπό τον πολλαπλασιασμό της φυσικής ρώμης, μέχρις ότου γίνουν ικανά να την υποκαταστήσουν. H πιο ακραία μορφή δύναμης είναι το όλοι εναντίον ενός, η ακραία μορφή βίας είναι το ένας εναντίον όλων.

Hannah Arendt – Between Past and Future

This book – initially published in 1961 by The Viking Press in the United States and by Faber and Faber Ltd in Great Britain – is consisted by a collection of eight exercises in political thought and offers a key account of western politics. Arendt analyzes the philosophical roots of occidental political traditions with deep understanding of the Greek and Roman traditions, which have been largely abandoned.

Arendt attempts to propose solutions for humans to re-think about their role in the world by reviving what has been lost through centuries, given that modern philosophy has not succeeded in helping humans to live correctly. Arendt’s clarity of thought should be read, admired, and emulated.