Times of crisis in a business sector can often lead to an overall improvement in the community. Weaker entrants often leave the game ...Those that remain therefore have reduced competition ..3
Citizen Empowerment Versus Democratic Rights
We face two choices: between „totalitarian surveillance and citizen empowerment“ and between „nationalist isolation and global solidarity“ says Financial Times author Yuval Noah Harari reflecting upon the post Corona virus area4. He also urges that „we have to act quickly and decisively“ in order to prevent short term emergency measures to become a permanent pattern of our future life. Harari is also ringing the alarm bell against biometric monitoring on the horizon – a truly frightening vision in an „open society“ as we are used to, at least by name. The Snowdon disclosures about our tapped e-mails and telephones seem to have been forgotten.
As much as the notion of „citizen empowerment“5 sounds good at first glance, but why does Y. N. Harari avoid reference to enshrined democratic rights? It is indeed breath-taking that Western democracies are presently confronted with an unheard of uncontrolled demolition of constitutional rights.
Unheard of? During the night of the burning Reichstag in Berlin, January 1933, the German Nazis turned to emergency laws. The prepared documents had been stored in drawer. The German name of the emergency drawer laws is „Ermächtigungsgesetze“, in English „Empowerment Acts“.
People over Profit
When the People's Republic of China declared their „war on the virus“ early in January, the central political leadership mobilized not only the army but the entire country. What they jugded to be the outbreak of a newly detected lung disease in the industrial hub Wuhan in the Hubei province was met in full combat order. The authorities must have been suspicious about its origin. It was not the first time such an epidemic hit the populous country.6 Despite opposite rumors they worked in closely with the World Health Organization from an early stage on. Their administrative measures were limited in time and focused on the regional outbreak of Covid 19. Their struggle seems to have been successful so far. Their procedures, implying advanced scientific methods and technologies were praised several times by the WHO. Their harsh administrative interventions were guidelined by the slogan 'people over profit'. In the meantime life in Wuhan and Hubei province has been gradually brought back to normal.
Stretching out a Helping Hand to friends and Foes
As soon as the leadership judged the danger as contained, China offered gracious help to other countries in distress. They stretched out their hands to friends and foes alike, as did Cuba, Venezuela and Russia. China's approach to the recent challenges, that hit them first, seem to have been meaningful and cooperative. Chinese globalism is philosophically grounded. Stoic poesy accompanied their first planeload of help to virus stricken Italy.7 “We’re waves from the same sea, leaves from the same tree, flowers from the same garden.” Seneca's words reflect the spirit on which the Chinese New Silk Road Project is based. It is a proposal for global networking, grounded on a basic attitude of humanistic togetherness that comes from far and goes along with the material assistance. The Chinese win-win approach also named as One Belt and Road Project8 is bitterly challenged by the US hegemony.
Fault of „Advanced Technologies“?
In sharp contrast to this cooperative idea which understands the human species in their oneness and consequently seeks to connect countries and continents, Noah Harari is playing the blame and shame game. In his article for the Financial Times he blames first and foremost the Chinese for their wrong approach. In his eyes they were applying alleged „totalitarian surveillance technologies“ surpassing, as he sees it, even KGB surveillance tools. They were wrongly applying face recognizing cameras and alleged biometric monitoring. He by-passes that his home country, Israel has been developping and using such like techniques for quite a while.
Beyond any horror scenarios that will lame resistance by spreading fear, we have to ask: Can technologies develop a life of their own? Or is possible under democratic conditions to apply technologies under strict and permanent public control for the good of the society. While it is necessary to be on the alert and to keep an eye on the maneuvers of authorities the FT journalist is calling for trust. Trust in whom? Harari is recommending general trust in authorities, trust in the media, trust in scientific data from health care experts. Furthermore he calls for 'honest reporting' versus 'conspiracy theories'. What a dichotomy. Who defines the trustworthiness of data collection? Who develops and frames the criteria for honesty and what kind of information is classified by whom as conspiracy? Y.N. Harari does not raise these questions, instead he insists on willing cooperation and compliance with administrative measures. Beyond this he recommends handwashing techniques.
Lost faith in US-leadership role?
Now, we all know who the conspiracists are, according to news outlets like the Financial Times and their creditors. Such labels are easily put upon ordinary citiziens, who question the mainstream legend. Those who raise the slightest doubt vis a vis the officially approved of narrative, whoever expresses dissent will be smeared slandered. Brave and brilliant experts like Edward Snowden or Julian Assange belong to the non-trust-worthy community. They are treated like traitors. Those who dare to express dissent, bloggers, non certified journalists, any alternative medium, any scientist who is questioning the approved of mainstream story are being slandered as conspiracy tellers or fake news spreaders. This has been so ever since 9/11 – another event that shook the world at the beginning of the millennium. The lately revitalized patriot act allows for prosecuting those dissident voices without much ado.
Who is now the man to deplore 'the lost faith in US' leadership role' during the last couple of years? Without mentioning the name of the present US president, every FT reader knows, that he is refering to Donald Trump. Blaming the real estate investor who became US president for his albeit hampered efforts to withdraw US forces from foreign theaters of war is an easy game. But is Y.N. Harari really suggesting that US foreign policy has been more trustworthy before Donald Trump took over the Oval Office? Has the US-Israeli journalist forgotten about Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945? Has the bombing of North Korea into Stone Age in the early fifties passed by him unnoticed? The US army dropping of Agent Orange in Vietnam? Has he lost track of the silent bombing of Laos and Cambodia, the Bay of Pigs, the illegal bombing of Yugoslavia, the starving of children in Irak? Did the well grounded questioning of the official version of 9/11 by US scientists, engineers, architects and its terrible fall out the world over leave him completely untouched? What about the ongoing US war on Afghanistan, Irak, Yemen, the destruction of Libya and Syria, the constant threatening and blockading of Iran, the recent illegal murder of its leaders? Only a small portion of these crimes against international law and against humanity can be put on President Trump's account. What kind of leadership role does Harari have in mind to fill in the allegedly 'deplorable void' that Donald Trump's reluctance in maintaining US hegemony over the world has left? Does he regret the Obama / Biden / Hillary Clinton /Susan Rice era? Perhaps. But most certainly, the overall vast majority of the world's citizens will do better without their warmongering. They can easily do without the nearly 1000 US military posts around the world and the 400 bio laboraties around China and Russia.
Globalism versus Nationalism?
The term globalism commands the adjunct neoliberal. Neoliberal globalism, however, is a strategy that has been causing mayhem and major distress the world over. The term nationalism on the other hand must not be confounded with chauvinism. Unfortunately, ever since the German NAZIS violated and misused 'nationalism9for their own disastrous an inhumane ends the phenomenon is connoted negatively in the Western hemisphere. Terminology shapes our minds, therefore uncounted hirelings of the empire, spin doctors do nothing else than defining words and their meaning for us. They are payed for twisting our way of thinking, even our emotions through certain stratagems, such as globalism versus nationalism, good versus evil, healthy versus lethal.
When FT writer Noah Harari is calling for 'a global plan of action', even for global governance in times of crisis, this may sound progressive and positive especially in the ears of young international travelers, but think twice. You may not be aware that the notion of globalism has been poisoned by its companion neoliberalism. Whereas neoliberal globalism has ruined millions of people, has caused havoc to the environment the world over, nationalist movements in the past helped create constitutional rights, develop sovereign nations, where anti colonial, anti hegemonic liberation movements that lead to better lives for the many.
Since 1989 the stratagem “globalism” served for hegemonic purposes. After the Fall of the Berlin Wall with all its disastrous consequences for uncounted numbers of people, the United States of America have claimed undisputed hegemony until 2014. This situation began to gradually change after the brutal destruction of prosperous Libya. As the US orchestrated a similar strategy of aggression against Syria, the „globalists“ were challenged for the first time by the double veto from China and Russia in the UN Security Council.
For more than 30 years neoliberal globalism has brought about harsh austerity measures and war. Countries and leaders who would not comply were destroyed or physically removed. Neoliberal globalism born in the USA ( to be more precise her Deep State, namely her arms industry, her finance sector and her intelligence machinery) became very slowly recognized for what it was. The destruction of humanistic and national cultural traditions, family values, educational standards, health security through privatization politics accompanied by military action and terror was understood to be the consequence of PNAC-strategies and neoliberal policies. More people became aware that projects representing social awareness had been replaced by identity politics and costless fostering of minority rights which consequently had lead to the rise of right wing populism. The historic 'Left' in all its shades while succumbing to the fake values of US enforced identity politics lost its teeth and left a real void. The void was filled by the global rise of populism.
Wether we like it or not, Donald Trump with all his defaults and weaknesses is part of the populist opposition to the above mentioned illnesses of neoliberal globalism. His 'MAGA' resolve to Make America Great Again implies the recognition of real US weakness. His rise to power reflects the status of decay in which the US hegemony finds itself. Trumps gut feeling tells him that the national interests of the American people demand to stop the unhealthy overstretch of the US Empire. This is why the realtor wants to bring US-troops back home. May the Europeans, may NATO protect themselves against allegedly aggressive Russia and pay for it. The powers that still be will of course bitterly challenge Trump's plans which do not suit them at all. The war machine needs an enemy. Having gotten rid of Kennedy and others who stood in their way before and after him, they are equally conspiring Donald Trump him with all conceivable means, playing the card of moral superiority. The FT is clearly one of their instruments.
Neoliberal Globalism is Chauvinism
In the meantime, making an effort to defend the national interests of a people is not bad thing. It is what elected politicians are supposed to do. Globalism on the contrary is a term invented by the hegemonic forces to veil their imperial interests. Its substance is chauvinism as it implies power over those considered weak and poor. This reality is covered under human rights rights rhetoric, under false flag terminology like „Responsibility to Protect“ and good governance proposals. Those leader who dear to defend the economic, cultural, social interests of their very nations are smeared and slandered by the globalist players. True sovereignists are labelled by those who want to keep their power over as chauvinists, nationalists, racists, misogynists and what else not. Mr. Harari and the paper he is writing for are mouthpieces of the global players. He knows how to make people believe that they represent their needs, human rights and progressive ideas.
No Problem Solved From Top to Bottom
But there is no solution to the basic needs of the human species and of the environment that protects us in circumventing the people on a national scale. No health issue can be solved, no security guaranteed, no poverty to be overcome without taking into consideration familiar, communal, regional, national concerns. Draconian authoritarian measures will solve no problem. Democracies that deserve the name must therefore do everything to defend the constitutionally guaranteed rights of their citizens in order to protect the needs of their peoples. This can only be done through elected leaders on a national scale. Legal opposition, the very essence of democratic societies has to be organized on a national scale. Health care institutions are to be funded properly and to be made functional on a local, a regional, a national scale. Due procedure is never a luxury. Functioning administrative, public bodies, power control are essential to serve the needs of the people. Top to bottom procedures are bound to only work for a minority.
Any meaningful call for a 'Global Plan of Action' must be developed form bottom to top, not vice versa. 'Decisive action' which Mr. Harari advocates for, is a means of dictatorship, which never ever led to good of a people.
Any international cooperation, can only be based on the cooperation and under the control of nation states and their elected leadership. Action plans must be worked out through existing interactive, more or sometimes unfortunately less, democratically justified bodies like the UN, the G20, the WTO, the WHO, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization et al. More transparency and democratic decision making procedures are necessary if we want avoid mal use of power. Democratic procedures take time. Global dictatorship, 'decisive action' by a hegemonic power will always enforce its decisions through brutal force that has never ever been healthy. The foundation of security, the salvation of health issues, rely on the governance of nation state. They must be taken out of private hands. This why in times of crises, nations naturally close their borders. Especially in times of an allegedly exponential spreading lethal virus this sound like a wise decision.
Coronavirus a Major Test for Democracy!
But what ever decisions are taken on a national scale citizens, people of all nations have to be encouraged to critique and question raising. They must be allowed to organize against authoritarian measures if they feel it necessary. Times of crisis are a test to individual thinking and enlightened reasoning, a time for expressing doubt vis a vis administrative measures. Doubt, not trust is the demand of the hour. We have to listen to critical voices, we must get better informed, we must raise more questions. The mass media and experts chosen by the same personnel that have deserved public mistrust for quite a while must be under scrutiny.
Whereas the journalist Y. Noah Harari is rightfully warning against biometric data collecting, the financial elite behind his news outlet FT are not known as paragons of democracy, of people oriented thinking. Consequently Mr. Harari is finger pointing against China and North Korea, publicly denounced enemies. At the same time he misses completely out on the economic and social fallout of the draconic measures taken in terms of shutting down small business, schools, universities, cultural and sports events, religious cult services, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, the confinement of the elderly and sick people in our Western societies. This is a well known technique of projection and blame shifting.
Millions of people laid off, millions of bankruptcies will of course help clear the field for the big players. The Corona crisis will help the Masters of the Universe to hide their bankruptcy with its expected fall out for the many. The virus comes handy to help shift the blame on the virus.
Democracy will be buried. If we are not on the alert, the cure will be worse than the disease. If people do not collectively stand up and demand their democratic rights back, their right to control the spending of public money, the right to speak out against an indeed lethal brainwashing machine.
The most serious infection comes with the very contagious virus that is softening our brain.
As human beings, as citizens of democratically structured societies we must wake up to this enormous danger and reclaim our dignity, reclaim our right to question elected politicians, to question scientific and journalistic experts, men and women who have for now chosen to judge what is good for the rest of us. We simply can not allow our minds and our daily lives to be controlled for a any period of time.
No biometric data collecting machine will be able to set critical thinking out of control, if we, the people resist in time.
Irene Eckert, March 29, 2020
1Churchill quote see: https://realbusiness.co.uk/as-said-by-winston-churchill-never-waste-a-good-crisis
2In response to Yuval Noah Harari the world after coronavirus, Financial Times https://www.ft.com/coronavirusfree, German:https://www.nzz.ch/feuilleton/coronavirus-yuval-noah-harari-ueber-die-welt-nach-der-pandemie-ld.1547988
3Andrew Low, managing director of JE Invest and the owner of DiscussingBusiness.com. https://realbusiness.co.uk/as-said-by-winston-churchill-never-waste-a-good-crisis
4 Yuval Noah Harari the world after coronavirus https://www.ft.com/content/19d90308-6858-11ea-a3c9-1fe6fedcca75 last visited 31/30/20
5 „Citizen empowerment defines opportunities and accessibility provided to citizens by their leaders and representatives“ https://www.igi-global.com/dictionary/methodologies-for-engineering-learning-and-teaching-melt/50714 Citizen empowerment is a relatively new term, aiming at or focusing on individuals, identity groups, civil society, NGOs rather than the people of a national state in its entity, namely their enshrined citizen rights!
6See the most insigthful articles by Pepe Escobar , published in AsiaTimes (Honkong), The Saker and other néws outlets
7See Pepe Escobar https://asiatimes.com/2020/03/we-are-all-stoics-now/
9 Socialism, too, but that is another story, to be told another time. But to be clear, the NAZIS were neither nationalists nor socialists.