(en) Fwd: Eu-Conference in Vienna 1998

kurt svensson (ksvensson@hotmail.com)
Fri, 31 Oct 1997 17:45:07 PST

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>Subject: Eu-Conference in Vienna 1998
>Date: Fri, 31 Oct 97 20:24:59 +0100
>From: Anarchistische Buchhandlung <rbh@inode.at>
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>About Austria=B4s EU-presidency (July =B498 - December =B498)
>There is a group in Vienna which has formed in September =B497 to =
>prepare for Austria=B4s EU-presidency =B498. At the moment, the group =
>consists of people from =B3autonomous=B2 and anarchist groups =
>(meaning the so-called independent, undogmatic, leftwing spectrum). =
>We want to take advantage of the (long) time which is left until July =
>=B498, to discuss extensively and with as many people as possible =
>about various topics connected with the European Union. We also want =
>to start this discussion because we had the impression that there was =
>little debate or analysis within the radical leftwing opposition =
>before and during the EU-summit in Amsterdam (in July =B497).
>With this discussion, we want to define our viewpoint as opposed to =
>reformist leftwing groups and concepts. But nevertheless, we will =
>take part at meetings of =B3Euromarch=B2 - groups (the Viennese group =
>is called =B3Initiative for a social, ecological Europe of equal =
>rights=B2 now) and try to contribute to it from a critical distance =
>of solidarity.
>We want to try to discuss and establish contacts in all parts of =
>Austria and internationally from the very beginning for 3 reasons: =
>First, we don=B4t want to stew in our own juice. Second, more brains =
>have more ideas. And third, we are not capable of dealing with every =
>topic in detail. Ideally, a discussion should develop and go on =
>continuously within the EU and especially with groups outside =
>EU-borders. We are looking for all kinds of groups and persons =
>interested. If you are in contact with people from the Czech =
>Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, etc. please send them our =
>texts and/or let us have their adresses.
>For the time being, we send you 2 texts. The first one is written by =
>a few people from the group mentioned earlier. We broach some points =
>which are important to us (=B3Some ideas about Austria=B4s =
>EU-presidency =B498=B2). The second one, a critique of the first one, =
>is written by the Revolutionsbr=E4uhof - RBH, (=B3EU-presidency: =
>Work/labour and money=B2). We will publish these texts in local =
>media. Whatever you can and want to make of it... we would ask you =
>for criticism.
>Of course we already consider actions, campaigns, projects to fit the =
>occasion. But these ideas are not fully developed yet.
>There will be (an) action against the summit in Luxemburg (21st/22nd =
>nov.) in Vienna. Details and leaflets will be sent to you soon.
>We are planning an Austrian-wide meeting at the end of =B497 and an =
>international meeting at the beginning of =B498. You will be given =
>notice of the exact dates.
>Until then, good luck and sorry for translation mistakes
>Vienna, 22nd oct. 1997
>Our adress:
>Infoladen 10, Ernst-Kirchweger-Haus
>=B3Gegen den EU-Gipfel =B998=B2
>PF 173
>Wielandgasse 2-4
>A-1100 Wien
>e-mail: rbh@inode.at
>Some ideas about Austrias EU-presidency =B498
>The following text is an attempt to start a discussion about Austrias =
>EU-presidency (starting in July =B498) and to point out some =
>priorities. The text should be taken as an approach to all the =
>complex topics connected with the European Union, capitalism, racism, =
>To us, the discussion about different conceptions of =B3work=B2 or =
>=B3labour=B2 seems to be a crucial point. It was obvious even at the =
>demonstration against the EU-summit in Amsterdam that there are =
>strong differences within the leftwing EU-opposition: propagating =
>paid work on the one hand or objecting to it on the other were the =
>two positions.
>Many people see no alternative to paid work. They fell it is not a =
>matter of force, but a matter of course (Although everyone is =
>complaining about bad working conditions and low wages). In former =
>times, before the =B3benefits=B2 of a human bourgeois society, people =
>were also forced to work, but the structure of exploitation was =
>different from the means of discipline used in a =B3free=B2 =
>enterprise economy. =B3Working morale=B2 and the compulsion to work =
>had to be brutally enforced upon the proletariat. In course of time =
>it was achieved that the exploitation of industrial workers was =
>guaranteed not primarily by external overseeres, but by a high degree =
>of self-control. On the one hand, this compulsion is due to =
>existential necessities - in this case it also applies to work which =
>is not paid (like subsistence economy or housework). On the other =
>hand it is due to social pressure and the internalisation of a =
>working morale.
>Work/Labour, as we find it today, has little to do with joy. The =
>constant repetition of the same capitalist work is a prison for our =
>abilities, it steals precious time. It leaves us only with =B3spare =
>time=B2, which is there to absorb our inactivity. And even this is =
>strongly commercialised - for the profits of a so-called =B3leisure =
>We are not making demands like =B3Full employment is the most =
>important goal!=B2. Our aim is a fundamental criticism of what =
>=B3work=B2, in a capitalist sense, is all about anyway. What=B4s the =
>use of work? Who gains what? Our conception of =B3work=B2 includes =
>more than just paid work, it includes reproduction and housework as =
>well. We are oriented not by the demands of capitalism, but by the =
>demand of developing an emancipatory social climate.
>We want to =B3liberate work=B2: Unlike common judgements, it isn=B4t =
>the case that people who are =B3out of work=B2 don=B4t want to get =
>involved in any activity (in addition to the invisible reproduction =
>field which is necessary anyway). Life and society (re)produce =
>=B3living work=B2 even without the silent compulsion to earn money. =
>This isn=B4t possible within the system, but only if you go beyond =
>the inner and outer limits of the system. This means individual, but =
>especially collective rejection of work (as far as possible) and the =
>attempt to (self-)organise opposition.
>We criticise the demand for full employment - but are there other =
>demands which can rather help us overcome the system? The demand for =
>a basic salary for everyone is more likeable, because thus, there =
>would be no more compulsion to earn money. But in the current =
>situation of capitalism a basic salary also means to support =
>capitalists indirectly, because they would have to pay lower wages. =
>Anyway, the discussion is only beginning...
>Another topic is the discussion about referring to national concerns =
>in the countries of the EU. Nationalism (be it on a nation state =
>level or EU-level) is nothing we can refer to. On a nation state =
>level, nationalism means discrimination of migrants, emphasising =
>=B3one=B4s own culture and tradition=B2, chauvinist behaviour towards =
>other =B3cultures=B2. On a European level nationalism means =
>surveillance of all outer EU-borders in order to make them =
>=B3leakproof=B2 (as it happens in Austria now), it means a =
>Europe-wide standardisation of police methods in order to fight =
>so-called illegal immigration, =B3organised=B2 crime, drug =
>traffic,etc. (All of this is laid down in the Schengen treaty which =
>should come into effct in Austria on 1st of April =B498.)
>The ideological pseudo-struggle about the =B3EURO=B2 also plays an =
>important role: it isn=B4t pure coincidence that the richest =
>countries produce the strongest opposition against the EURO. People =
>are supposed to fear the poor, who could benefit from a weak EURO. =
>For leftwing people, the question EURO - yes or no - should be =
>secondary. There are no own values clung to =B3money=B2, but only =
>those values that produce social conflicts everyday. This means that =
>the values that are clung to =B3money=B2 can be changed. =B3EURO=B2 =
>is only an expression of an abstract value which dictates human =
>relationships. =B3Money=B2 is still =B3money=B2, whether it is called =
>EURO or =B3Schilling=B2.
>Even if a great ammount of trade still happens within the EU, the =
>development of capitalism already goes beyond European borders. A =
>struggle against the EURO involves two dangers: On the one hand, =
>there is the danger of supporting national concepts and institutions, =
>on the other hand the danger of a fixation: European institutions as =
>a new limited and limiting field of activity. The Unions, as well as =
>political and social movements were always restricted to nation state =
>contexts - despite all internationalistic rhetoric. For both =
>EURO-opponents and supporters there is the danger of remaining within =
>a European level. Our aim is to make it clear from the very =
>beginning, that we have nothing to do with national concepts - be it =
>a nation state or the EU.
>A social union (as demanded by reformists) is nothing else than a =
>conventional social democratic keynesianistic project on a European =
>level: a transfer of nation state concepts. Projects like this can =
>only work when other parts of the world are excluded. This is already =
>superseded by the development of capitalism, but it is also a step =
>towards a new kind of nationalism/racism (like in the concept of =
>=B3struggle of cultures=B2).
>Pro-European supporters of a social union (=B3competitive Europe=B2) =
>find themselves shoulder to shoulder with opponents, who want to =
>organise work/labour on a nation state level (=B3Austria first=B2).
>A fixation on this topic increases the pressure (which is already =
>strong) on those who have a job (=B3accept lower wages to keep the =
>job=B2) and it also puts pressure on those who are out of work to =
>take any job. With the job situation getting worse, the =
>institutionally organised compulsion to work gets stronger.
>One aspect of the discussion about the EURO are the criteria of =
>stability, which are allegedly necessary to keep the currency stable. =
>This is all about putting through neoliberal programs, which are =
>necessary with or without EURO under the pressure of international =
>capitalism. Alternatively, they have their sights on a redistribution =
>within the individual states. Yet the (neoliberal) demands of =
>rightwing populists are very similar to those measures demanded by =
>government in order to put through the EURO.
>As for the social measures allegedly necessary for putting through =
>the EURO: it has to be made clear that problems are not caused by the =
>EURO, but by the development of capitalism. Thus, the movement =
>against the EU-summit should put a main emphasis on the struggle =
>against social cutbacks in general, with or without EU.
>The EURO could founder on a big social opposition in the individual =
>states of Europe, so that neoliberal measures cannot be put through, =
>so that the EURO is not =B3stable=B2 enough according to capitalist =
>criteria. But the EURO could also founder on other reasons: if the =
>EURO founders because there are =B3good=B2 arguments against it which =
>have developed in the richer nations because people fear the new =
>currency could be =B3weak=B2 or if the arguments are based on =
>sentimentality for the own currency and identity, there will be only =
>nationalistic (or regional) narrow-mindedness left.
>The EU-summit provides us, radical movements, with a dilemma: if we =
>are focussing on a struggle against EU-institutions, nationalistic =
>movements (esp. in rich EU-countries) can take advantage of it. If =
>our main emphasis is =B3another Europe=B2, we support reformists who =
>want to create a Europe of different cultures in different nations, =
>especially if we are dealing with a =B3critical accompanying=B2 of =
>the ruling class.
>To support struggles against concrete injustice (be it regional or =
>international) can be a way out of the dilemma. This includes a =
>struggle against measures of everyday capitalism, like strikes or =
>demonstrations against the redundancies at Renault Vilvoorde, but it =
>also includes opposition against all the consequences of European =
>policy, like racist measures (e.g. restrictive anti-migration laws) =
>which must be seen in direct connection with the Schengen treaty.
>There is still almost one year left for us to prepare for the =
>EU-presidency, or rather the EU-summit. We won=B4t waste this time, =
>we will meet and work continuously from now on. Of course next year, =
>it won=B4t be over from one day to the next - capitalism and ist =
>European form will still exist then, most probably. Therefore, =
>international alliances of antiracist, feminist, independent groups, =
>initiatives of people out of work, action groups etc. have to combine =
>and exchange forms of opposition - as a long-term project.
>EU-presidency: work/labour and money
>When Austria takes over the EU-presidency next year, it will be =
>necessary to protest not only against the latest social cutbacks =
>caused by EU-policy. Campaigns of such kinds can be expected from the =
>Unions, the Churches and all kinds of abstruse groups. Various =
>nationalists will also take the opportunity to spread their =
>reactionary propaganda.
>Radical leftwing criticism must not be restricted to current events, =
>but we must include the EU in general - as a capitalist project - as =
>well as Austria as a nation state. We must make it clear that:
>On the one hand, Austria as a nation state is not at all willing to =
>protect =B3its=B2 proletariat from exploitation by =B3non-Austrian=B2 =
>capitalists, but Austrian capitalists will use their state Austria to =
>gain a competitive advantage from a repression (which is adequate =
>from their point of view) of the Austrian proletariate.
>On the other hand it is exactly in accordance with Austrian =
>capitalists=B4 wishes to push ahead European integration in order to =
>assert themselves against competitors with the help of the EU.
>Both options require an increased =B3class war from above=B2 to make =
>work cheaper and thus to raise profits.
>The conception of work/labour is necessarily a central point of a =
>campaign dealing with Austria=B4s EU-presidency, taking into account =
>the orientation of the EU and its capitalist policy. The EU simply is =
>a capitalist project to exploit labour more efficiently. Putting =
>work/labour in the centre means to propagate a struggle against =
>work/labour. There is no existence more wretched than that of a =
>labourer. Capitalist work is always alienated work and you can never =
>gain from it. It is always an overexertion as a means, it never =
>satisfies any needs directly. Work/labour means to sell yourself. And =
>it doesn=B4t help to =B3expand=B2 the term; find a positive meaning =
>which includes things that don=B4t fit in capitalism. Reproduction is =
>(partly!) seperated from the exploitation of labour and therefore it =
>is not regarded as (social) =B3work=B2. This is useful for =
>capitalism, because certain work is supplied more or less for free. =
>Capitalism uses so-called =B3superstructural phenomena=B2 like =
>religion, family, various cultural crap etc. so that this work still =
>serves its capitalist purpose. And there is almost nothing which =
>can=B4t be subordinated to this purpose. And the more it seems to be =
>critical, admonitary or even revolutional, the better its function as =
>being integrable into the exploitational context. And isn=B4t it =
>really splendid when the people involved don=B4t know anything about =
>this function.
>All these battles about EU, EURO and globalisation are nothing more =
>than a cunning attempt at covering up an enforced class war of =
>capitalists against workers. So both fractions, defenders of any =
>national culture and identity as well as propagandists of =B3tearing =
>down borders=B2 and of European integration, are parts of the same =
>strategy: an increased exploitation by (also indirect) cuts in wages, =
>improvement (Verwohlfeilerung) of capitalist circulation by reducing =
>=B3bureaucratic borders=B2, a split of the working classes by of =
>nationalism and racism to make use of regional differences in the =
>social structure of society.
>All of this is not new: Neither capitalism nor exploitation have =
>changed much. Of course: capitalist propaganda is efficiently spread: =
>=B3The end of history=B2, the fall of the Berlin Wall, victory. And =
>now there should be nothing else. And what=B4s new about it? =
>Capitalism controls the world market - that was old hat even in the =
>days of Lenin. Capitalism affects all areas of life - the basis of =
>Marx=B4 criticism of capitalism (Kapitalkritik). And this is new: the =
>totalitarianism of products (Waren) is declared a law of nature, =
>hidden in the genes or somewhere, and totalitarianism only means to =
>equate fascism with communism. Any usage of the term =B3total=B2 (won =
>back by the revanchist reaction) is rejected - especially within the =
>Left as well - and therefore the global trap is presented (suited to =
>the media and talk-show-compatible). And an anti-capitalist policy =
>can=B4t work like this. A denial of class war by reinterpreting it =
>implies the impossibility of liberation from exploitation and =
>It isn=B4t nationalistic to be against the formation of a new =
>=B3super state=B2 which will have a monopoly on violence/power that =
>is modernised and extended by the introduction of new instruments of =
>power (Schengen treaty!). Just as it isn=B4t internationalistic to =
>guarantee free trade. Cause it is surely not the intention of the EU =
>to support or obstruct the united boozing of Finnish and Portugese =
>people. And it isn=B4t the object of the EURO to spare us the =
>nuisance of exchanging money in our holidays. And there is one thing =
>that EURO, Schilling and money in general have in common: we have =
>bread etc. not because of money, but at best in spite of money.
>Zitat Karli
>As an absolut wareform (Warenform) money expresses the human =
>existence of a total ware. Here it doesn=B4t matter whether the money =
>is called EURO or Schilling. But that doesn=B4t mean that it =
>doesn=B4t matter that capitalists put a new reserve currency on the =
>world market. Neither Schilling nor Austria can protect you from =
>exploitation. A struggle against the EURO cannot mean a conservation =
>of the Schilling, but a struggle against money - as such. The name =
>doesn=B4t matter, what matters is the economic power/violence which =
>presents itself in this special manifestation of money as EURO. And =
>the EURO will be a more efficient means of power than the Schilling =
>ever was.
>About the campaign: We could ask ourselves: who do we want to reach =
>with our protest? Do we want to celebrate an =B3autonomous=B2 =
>festival of opposition? Or do we want to struggle together with those =
>who are on the receiving end of EU, labour and EURO? If we choose the =
>latter, we have to destroy some illusions. Which is arduous, no =
>doubt. We have to convince people, by agitation and propaganda, in =
>other words: public relations work in every form, but massively. This =
>means radical political criticism, carried out with strictly legal =
>methods. Why? Because we can achieve incomparably more, because we =
>can reach incomparably more people, because we could really change =
>something politically. This is all about instigating the widest =
>public debate about the EU. About the fact that the EU isn=B4t simply =
>an economic alliance, but a new form(ation) of state, a new world =
>power, which is incomparably more powerful than the old nation states =
>ever were and which therefore can cause incomparably more damage. We =
>think that there is every chance of leading a political campaign =
>against the EU during Austria=B4s presidency.
>Revolutionsbr=E4uhof (RBH)

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