File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2003/lyotard.0302, message 139


Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2003 21:26:33 +0000
Subject: Anti Americanism and Anti-Europeanism


All
The below text is from M. Hardt - taken from the Guardian on Friday.

The question to ask of it is whether the analysis of the nation-state is 
correct and whether the appearance on the recent peace-marches of vast 
numbers of people who are identifying with 'peace' - rather than the 
warfare that the neo-liberal globalisers require to resolve there 
current economic and developing ideological crisis. If the protesters 
are truly functioning as 'anti-american' then perhaps you can help me 
understand what is so wrong with being 'anti-american' ?  Where did the 
fixation of being nice to the 'rich' and the 'powerful' come from?

Enjoy -

regards
steve

(Paul Legrande (situationist) - once said to a noted French Philosopher 
"...why are you making such a fuss about culture, it's simply a 
resource...")


Michael Hardt wrote:

"There is a new anti-Europeanism in Washington. The United States, of 
course, has a long tradition of ideological conflict with Europe. The 
old anti-Europeanism generally protested against the overwhelming power 
of European states, their arrogance, and their imperialist endeavours. 
Today, however, the relationship is reversed. The new anti-Europeanism 
is based on the US position of power and it protests instead against 
European states failing to yield to its power and support its projects.
The most immediate issue for Washington is the European lack of support 
for the US plans for war on Iraq. And Washington's primary strategy in 
recent weeks is to divide and conquer. On one hand, Defence Secretary 
Rumsfeld, with his usual brazen condescension, calls those European 
nations who question the US project, primarily France and Germany, "the 
old Europe", dismissing them as unimportant. The recent Wall Street 
Journal letter of support for the US war effort, on the other hand, 
signed by Blair, Berlusconi and Aznar, poses the other side of the divide.
In a broader framework, the entire project of US unilateralism, which 
extends well beyond this coming war with Iraq, is itself necessarily 
anti-European. The unilateralists in Washington are threatened by the 
idea that Europe, or any other cluster of states, could compete with its 
power on equal terms. (The rising value of the euro with respect to the 
dollar contributes, of course, to the perception of two potentially 
equal and competing power blocs.) Bush, Rumsfeld and their ilk will not 
accept the possibility of a bi-polar world. They left that behind with 
the cold war. Any threats to the uni-polar order must be dismissed or 
destroyed. Washington's new anti-Europeanism is really an expression of 
their unilateralist project.
Corresponding in part to the new US anti-Europeanism, there is today in 
Europe and across the world a growing anti-Americanism. In particular, 
the coordinated protests last weekend against the war were animated by 
various kinds of anti-Americanism - and that is inevitable. The US 
government has left no doubt that it is the author of this war and so 
protest against the war must, inevitably, be also protest against the 
United States.
This anti-Americanism, however, although certainly justifiable, is a 
trap. The problem is, not only does it tend to create an overly unified 
and homogeneous view of the United States, obscuring the wide margins of 
dissent in the nation, but also that, mirroring the new US 
anti-Europeanism, it tends to reinforce the notion that our political 
alternatives rest on the major nations and power blocs. It contributes 
to the impression, for instance, that the leaders of Europe represent 
our primary political path - the moral, multilateralist alternative to 
the bellicose, unilateralist Americans. This anti-Americanism of the 
anti-war movements tends to close down the horizons of our political 
imagination and limit us to a bi-polar (or worse, nationalist) view of 
the world.
The globalisation protest movements were far superior to the anti-war 
movements in this regard. They not only recognised the complex and 
plural nature of the forces that dominate capitalist globalisation today 
- the dominant nation states, certainly, but also the International 
Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation, the major corporations, and 
so forth - but they imagined an alternative, democratic globalisation 
consisting of plural exchanges across national and regional borders 
based on equality and freedom.
One of the great achievements of the globalisation protest movements, in 
other words, has been to put an end to thinking of politics as a contest 
among nations or blocs of nations. Internationalism has been reinvented 
as a politics of global network connections with a global vision of 
possible futures. In this context, anti-Europeanism and anti-Americanism 
no longer make sense.
It is unfortunate but inevitable that much of the energies that had been 
active in the globalisation protests have now at least temporarily been 
redirected against the war. We need to oppose this war, but we must also 
look beyond it and avoid being drawn into the trap of its narrow 
political logic. While opposing the war we must maintain the expansive 
political vision and open horizons that the globalisation movements have 
achieved. We can leave to Bush, Chirac, Blair, and Schröder the tired 
game of anti-Europeanism and anti-Americanism....."



   

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