The text below is written by Boris Kagarlitsky
before the EU-summit
where EU leaders gathered to decide about immigration policy
, facing the biggest demonstration
in Finland for last decade.
The borders and inner order of Fortress Europe are built in Tampere. Here we referate what Russian
thinker Boris Kagarlitsky (BK) writes about "new barbarians". First of all BK notes that despite
of "political and ideological powers capital has today unstability, uncertainess and awareness of crisis
increases". His starting point is "economical bankrupt of neoliberalism" that doesn't however lead us
automatically to "fracturing of hegemony of neoliberal ideology" -- even in the future. The bankrupt
exposes itself basically in the unability of ruling elite to solve ever-growing problems while simultaneously
it "is able to suppress every alternative proposal".
Accroding to BK the problems lays here: "Where the choices are missing the basis of representative democracy
has gone." But unlike 30's democratical structures will not collapse in no time -- even though
reappearing of fascism is the important feature of this crisis -- but the slowly degenerate.
BK sees the case of Ruanda as a warning for the mankind: "It's false sense of security to think that
hunger, bloodshed and economical collapse in periferias would save the centre" because "the perishing of
civilizations of Antics started in no other way but with collapses of periferias".
And this is how we come to Tampere. "If western Europeans and northern Americans are 'the new Romans'
it means that the rest -- i.e. eastern Europeans, Africans, Latins and Asians who live in
periferias of western world -- are 'the new barbarians'." BK says this isn't a poor joke but the serious vision of the future.
Together with Soviet Union collapsed the belief in the former model of civilization. After that it was
fashionable to keep on saying that we have to "integrate", "accomodate ourselves" the western 'civilazed'
world. "They have won, we have lost", notes BK about this view of thinking but he reminds that "even
the most primitive tribes have their own culture, their own values and institutions" that should be respected.
But while these things are in contact with "the winning civilization" everything is shaken. "The losers see
themselves as barbarians if it is so that the others represent civilization." In addition, 'kopernicanical turn'
leads into the loss of self-esteem and into the thought that "they live, we just exist". They enjoy
"the progress" while we remain in "the stagnation". They are fully developed humans, we are just creatures
from a lower level.
BK says that two civilizations can have a dialogue but the barbarians cannot question principles of
civilization. All they can do is to copy them. Then BK notes out: "And of course, the barbarians
implement civilization in a barbaric way." They are able to control obvious signs of civilization but
otherwise the implementation is doomed to fail because 'the secret' of civilization lays in its evolution
that cannot be copied. And now, this leads us into the problem that "harder we try to join into 'the civilization
of the world' more barbaric we become .. and more dangerous to our neighbours". The unfulfilled dream of
joining into (western) civilization leads into cronic unstability and into series of catastrophes, disappointments
and conflicts of different types.
BK says that "the barbarians are already on the door". The selfsatisfied representatives of western
civilization (who are just now gathering in Tampere) ofcourse refuse to let the barbarians into their
civilization. But "more the barbarians admire civilization bigger will be their disappointment that they
are kept outside of it". The agreements of Maastricht and Schengen -- the symbols of uniting Europe in the
West -- are the symbols of new division for eastern Europeans. (And now they will add Tampere into the list.)
The attempt to copy a civilization is the first step. According to BK it is followed by the disappointment
caused by the failure and now "the barbarians become aggressive". It is not their goals that change but
their means. They do not try to join into the western civilization anymore but they try to enjoy its fruits.
BK compares the current situation analogically to the Rome of 5th century. Both epochs are distinguished by
"aggressive self-belief" -- there's no opposition against the hegemony. BK quotes American economist
Lester C. Thurow (The Future of Capitalism 1996) who makes a similar analogue: Thurow says that the
destruction of Rome didn't start from military defeat but from the situation where "the public was
replaced by the private". This is what is happening today.
BK acknowledges that the West cannot and does not want to alter its system which has essential part in
suppression and exploitation of the periferia. This doesn't give anything to "the barbarians" but
the dependency on the civilization. That's why millions of people are on their way from periferia to the
Boris Kagarlitsky summarizes:
"The first barbarians come in as emigrants and even as honourable guests. They are welcome because
the labour is needed ... But soon the influx of people becomes unmanagable. 'The centers' try to
cover themselves from periferia building up borders. The struggle against illegal immigration becomes
one of the main duties of the state. But there is no way to dam the influx.. millions of hopeless people
will break down the borders. They organize themselves, learn how to fight back and become conscious of
their strengths and rights.
After the peaceful immigrants comes the fighters. More the civilization defends itself against the invasion
of barbarians more there will be violent conflicts. As the time goes by the military forces of centers
cannot anymore control the situation and civilization starts to crack down."
What we have to do is to find an alternative for this "Fortress-Europe" constructed in Tampere by the leaders
of the EU; even they do not want to do so implicitely -- their work is still supported by the western European neofascists. The danger is that before the western civilization
cracks down by the pressure from "the new barbarians" "the civilizated people" of the West have themselves
become the barbarians whose views are distinguished by racism and fascism.
As Boris Kagarlitsky puts it: "The break down of civilizations happens there where is no choices."
There also lays the problem of "no alternatives -politics" of globalization.