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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 27th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Once a month, on Sunday 11am, the Burgtheater main hall is taken over by Ms. Alexandra Foederl-Schmidtdt, the editor of “Der Standard” who chairs a podium-discussion loaded with local and foreign intellectual lights.
She is backed in the endeavor not just by the theater direction and her paper’s foundation, but also by the Erste Bank Foundation and most important by IWM – the Vienna Institute for Human Sciences – an NGO run now by Shalini Randeria, Rector of IWM, Professor of Social Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute in Geneva with strong involvement of Ivan Krastev, Chair of the Board at the Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia (Bulgaria).

Look at the ways the USA and the EU Member States are evolving these days, I would like to p0int out the last podium discussion – that of February 19, 2017 titled: “Do We Live In Revolutionary Times? and my intent is also to announce next meeting – it will be held March 5, 2017. The title of the next meeting will be

“EUROPE, USA: WHAT CHANGES WITH TRUMP.”

The panel for the upcoming March discussion, under Ms. Foederl-Schmidt leadership, will include Ivan Krastev of IWM, Judy Dempsey, Senior Fellow Carnegie Europe, Allison Smale, Chief Correspondent of the New York Times in Berlin, Robert Dornhelm, Writer and Film Director, and Jim Kolbe, a former Republican member of US Congress.

Now regarding the February meeting of this EUROPE IN DISCOURSE SERIES:
the question – “DO WE LIVE IN REVOLUTIONARY TIMES” was addressed by Karel Schwarzenberg, former Czech Foreign Minister, Hans Christian Stroebele, a founding member of the Green Party of Germany, Phillip Blom, Writer and history journalist from Vienna, and the magical Agnes Heller, a boiling philosopher, born in Budapest in 1929, fled Hungary in 1956 to Australia, made an impact in many English speaking countries and is listed at 97 years young as emerita at the New School for Social Research in New York.

Among the many points presented in the discussion I will try to mention those that seemed to me as having made most impact.

Prof. Heller wants to start with defining democracy – what does it mean today? States like Iraq, Turkey, or Russia have democracy but these are not the same. We want a Liberal Democracy in the West. But look at Greece, Portugal, or Spain – there is no unity at the EU on their meaning.

The crises, yes – there is something positive in them. People start to see that there is something to lose.

Prof. Blom says that we are not living in a Weimar Republic. We are too rich and have a civil Society. Next revolution will not be in uniform but rather it will come as a normalization process.

The National Socialism was no Socialism, and the Italian Fascism was no Nazism. In 1945 the World was as exhausted as Europe after the Napoleon Wars. The revolution came only in 1956 and he sees today a similarity to 1968. “WE WILL NOT GET FASCISM BUT SOME NEW STUPIDITY!”

Stroebele says that the real question remains the lack of distribution of wealth. The problem is with migrants from a country like Iraq that saw no part in the wealth.
Europe is to be blamed because it used its agriculture power and destroyed the agriculture in
the countries it touched. The corn in the Midwest is cheaper then in Mexico and sending it there makes Mexico poorer. If you want to help – give them money. To this Ms. Heller said
“I loved it.” She wrote a book – “FROM UTOPIA TO DYSTOPIA.”

She added that historians and philosopher do not deal with hope but with facts.

Prof. Heller returned to the subject by saying revolution is a European concept. In the 20’s there was a belief in independence and freedom. This was a political revolution. Today people do not trust this. Also – too few children in Europe. Change is not in the cards.

Stroebele: the French revolution was a revolution of poverty. Now you can build walls but the Africans will come nevertheless.

Heller: you are right – the problem is not European but Global.

Schwarzenberg: We must bring the jobs to Africa.

Blom: Digitalization will lead to less jobs not more. The business model is so damaged it cannot be sustained. We must have politicians that ask what society needs in 30 years.
To have such politicians we must want to have them.

He also said that there will be migration from Mexico, and Trump reheats ideas from 100 years ago under belief that humans are not equal. He may even conclude that Humans are not the most clever apes.

Schwarzenberg’s conclusion was that in Gatopardo: We must change everything in order to remain where we are.

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Other events at the IWM building at are:

March 2nd, 6:00 pm — lecture by Rainer Bauboeck

DEMOCRATIC INCLUSION: A PLURALISTIC THEORY OF CITIZENSHIP.

March 9th, 6:00 pm — book presentation by Luuk van Middelaar

A WAY OUT OF CRISIS: THE EU AND THE ART OF POLITICAL IMPROVISATION.

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