On the threshold of winter

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Six Reflections:

1) Re-founding the European Union... Re-founding on the same pillars and with the same structures that have prompted the present situation? Re-founding based solely on the economy? Re-founding based on money?

It may serve to “save the euro"... But not for saving Europe and the Europeans, which is what really matters. Europe could be saved by reestablishing the democratic principles (social justice, solidarity, equality) that were erroneously replaced with those of the market. Creating a fiscal federation with the capacity (as is the case in the US and UK) to issue currency or eurobonds; and converting NATO into an autonomous security system with immediate cuts in investments in arms and military spending... replacing an economy of speculation, delocalization of production and obedience to rating agencies with an economy of global sustainable development.

In short, replacing the values of the stock exchange with moral values...

2) Creating employment without incentives?

How can employment be created without public works and support for SMEs? I must once again underscore that it is essential to have the autonomy to quickly issue the money needed to reactivate existing enterprises and create new ones. The US has issued 300 billion dollars and the UK has minted 75 billion pounds sterling precisely for this purpose.

In contrast, in the Eurozone there are budget cuts, austerity measures and a reduction in the workforce. This is not the way. The right way is democracy, which has presently been displaced by the markets. It’s now essential to put the people first.

3) Prosecute Judge Garzón!

Prosecute the best-known judge in the whole world because he had the courage and vision to believe that justice is universal! And who believed that there can’t be a good future if we know so little of the past. For the final reconciliation of Spaniards it is essential that those who lost the civil war be able to know exactly what happened and, to the extent possible, to approach and honor the victims. Those who won have already had many years and much help in doing so.

And in view of the source of these accusations, it’s really incredible that they are going to prosecute the person who has most fought to preserve the memory of the past. We have the duty to remember. Our personal and collective memory is a fundamental part of our heritage.

And Judge Garzón will continue to receive the recognition that he deserves, both at home and abroad.

4) New Electoral Law

It is urgent to decide to reform our Electoral Law. Let’s not delay this by saying that it’s not appropriate “because we just had elections", "because the ballot boxes have just spoken"... For a long time political parties and civil society (especially the 15-M movement and internet users) have insistently demanded a change in our electoral law that is inadequate and anti-democratic. This cannot be delayed if we don’t want to have to maintain our present tightrope walker situation and a sense of weakness with respect to representing the will of all Spaniards.

It should be underscored that under the present Law, citizens will simply choose not to vote. And they will adopt this position in support of pluralism and public liberties. It’s that simple.

No more elections under the present unequal system in which there is no correspondence between the number of votes cast and the number of seats won.

In “El País”, citing Primo Levi, Manuel Rivas referred to the "vacanza morale" that is responsible for the present problems in Spain and in Europe. This moral deficit is proving to be very dangerous because, in addition to its “collateral effects” of corruption, fallacies and constantly broken vain promises, it appears to affect citizens who, distracted, preoccupied, patient (in both meanings of the term) and disillusioned with politicians and with everyone else, continue to demonstrate the same routine, submissive and mindless behavior during elections.

5) Press conferences... with no questions allowed?

Journalists should no longer tolerate this lack of respect. Why do they attend press conferences when they know that they will be prevented from exercising their profession? Why don’t they get up and leave when they realize that there won’t be any interaction with the speaker? Why do they stay for sessions in which they are limited to listening to statements from a “talking head”?

I underscore this because one day they will regret having lost their rights and dignity. And the full exercise of the responsibility of journalists is essential for citizens and for genuine democracy.

6) Elections in Russia. It’s good that citizens are protesting. It’s bad that the US is intervening and criticizing.

It’s great to see thousands of citizens in Russia today freely expressing their protests and disagreement!

It’s great!... because I remember the total silence, absolute obedience and complete submission that so impressed me on my first visit to the Soviet Union in 1961. And, later, on several other trips... until Gorbachev. Citizens were for all effects invisible, inexistent. For that reason I am now quite pleased to see citizens who disagree and demonstrate freely.

In contrast, I find it totally inappropriate that Ms. Clinton has not only criticized the elections and their lack of transparency, but has likewise extended her comments to Russia’s position against the deployment of anti-missile shields initiated by President George Bush. In light of the present situation the last thing we need is to increase military spending (already excessive from any perspective) with anti-missile shields!

The United States providing lessons on how to conduct “transparent” and adequate elections? How quickly they forgot the appalling final recount in Florida that gave President George Bush the victory over Al Gore! In the country that pioneered and is the best endowed in computerized technology, votes were actually recounted by looking at the light through a hole in a punch card with one eye shut...

Sooner than many may suspect, good governance will arrive on the voices of the people. Those voices that now, in Russia and in other places, are heard and are being heard. And in support of building, among us all, a strong and efficient United Nations, to finally make the visionary “We, the Peoples” of the UN Charter a reality.