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Re: <nettime> notes from the DIEM25 launch
Alexander Karschnia on Mon, 28 Mar 2016 11:06:01 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> notes from the DIEM25 launch

It would be really interesting to get a report on the gathering in Rome.

I wrote a report on the Berlin gathering in German, luckily someone
translated it into English and republished it here:


An important topic that came up in the discussions here was the economic
question. How to combine the economic with the democratic question. The
latest books of the Berlin-based theorist Joseph Vogl is called „The
Sovereignity-effect“. It deals with the institution of central banks. In
his genealogy of central banks it is striking to see how they are
deliberately designed to be intransparent and undemocratic. How they have
become a sovereign of their own. Vogl tells their fascinating story,
focussing on the Bank of England (as opponent to the French revolutionary
government), and the founding of the Fed 100 years ago – but it really
becomes explosive when he describes how the German Bundesbank was founded
after the war and how the ECB was modelled after it. The peculiar
cirumstances about the foundation of the German Bundesbank is that it was
founded before any other political institution came into existance in
Western Germany: it existed prior to the government or parliament! This
tells a lot about how it is conceived: it is intended to be isolated or
„immunised“ from the democratic sovereign. It is really worthwhile to
compare the description of the eurogroup by Varoufakis with the analysis of
Vogl: informal networks that form exclaves or islands within the
governments, a club of central bankers who become the highest authority in
all question related to money. With no democratic mandate whatsover!

Now in this context it is interesting to re-read Foucaults lecture on the
„birth of bio-politics“: in depth he describes the rise of neoliberalism
with respect to German and Austrian liberals, the so-called „Ordoliberals“
from Freiburg. If we want to discuss neoliberalism, we should start with
them, for example Hayek who inspired the anarcho-capitalists from the US.
(It was Hayek after all who came up with the idea of a „denationalization
of money“.) If we want to discuss the „deficit of democracy“ in Europe, we
have to discuss how it is a structural requirement of the working of the
ECB. Democracy in Europe has been re-defined after WW II in this way: as
„market-confirm democracy“. This term is younger, it is product of the
ongoing crisis. It was put in Merkel's mouth by her opponent and now
partner from the social-democrats. But it is much older – from 1948: the
founding of the Bundesbank that put „price-stability“ as highest value:
much higher than the unstable will of the people. If we want to discuss the
situation in Europe, we should start here, looking back on 1948. Since the
EZB started working in 1998, it is 1948 all over Europe. It is the
realization and radicalization of the „ideal of a market liberated from
politics by politics“. If it continues to work this way, maybe soon it will
be 1933.

2016-03-24 11:47 GMT+01:00 Geert Lovink <geert {AT} xs4all.nl>:

> Dear nettimers, below is a digest of a few recent messages sent to the
> DiEM members, which might be of interest for the discussion on this list. I
> promise not to forward everything. Was anyone there last night in Rome?
> Best, Geert

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