Can We All Just Be Like Berlin?

Can We All Just Be Like Berlin?

By Joshua Tartakovsky, 14 May 2016   Why do we all like Berlin so much? It is quiet, it is peaceful. It is still not too commercial. It is cheap. Decent food. Many good bars. In Berlin the ‘alternative’ is the *main* stream. Everywhere one goes there are alternative places. One can live the moment whether by having a beer with friends in a Biergarten and taking in the scent of flowers, watching the sunset over the lake while leaning back on a chair, or losing oneself on the dance floor to minimal techno.  Then there are museums, libraries and public spaces. One can enjoy a lazy afternoon in the sun and buy a cheap beer. One can read under the sun. Rent is not too high and living is affordable. People work fewer hours and make enough to get by. Yes, they earn less. But things are not that expensive. They have more free-time. Rather than having more things they have Life itself. From the detached analytical perspective that focuses on statistics only, Berliners are suffering. But is zero percent growth so bad? What’s so horrible about having old things that function well; a comfortable sofa in a home that provides for everything one needs? If Berlin is that awful, how come we long to return there after a short vacation as we go back to working crazy hours in London without a chance to catch our breath? And is having more time for sex such a bad thing? Capitalism has not been maxed out here yet. People are content with little, but they have the most precious...
A Strategy For Our Times When Democracy Is A Vestige

A Strategy For Our Times When Democracy Is A Vestige

Joshua Tartakovsky,  13 April 2016 Despite a massive fear campaign that by voting against an EU-Ukraine Association Agreement they would be “helping Putin,” the Dutch courageously defied the EU neoliberal powers with a majority voting No. 32% of the public participated while the Parliament said that it would respect a participation of over 30%. But several days later EU and the Ukrainian President seemed to reach a deal that would provide for a visa-free status for Ukrainians to come to the EU. The vote of the Dutch was ignored. (Of course, anyone who knows the history of EU referendums should realize that this would be the case, with the referendums given to the Irish over and over again (2011, 2012) until the desirable ‘Yes’ was achieved.) In the United States, erroneous ballots were handed over and delegates voted en masse for Ted Cruz and not for Donald Trump. GOP Colorado also tweeted shortly after that ‘Never Trump.’  The tweet was then deleted. There is a good reason to believe that the GOP establishment will do everything in its power to prevent Trump’s nomination. He challenges the status quo too much. The delegates will move en masse to Cruz at the end. That will defy the popular will of the voters, but who is naive enough to assume we still have democracy? If Trump managed by an odd miracle, for now quite unlikely, to get the delegates anyway, he might be assassinated at some point. Either way, even if the public votes for him which it seems largely willing to do, the powers that be will never allow him to...
INTERVIEW WITH DIMITRIS KAZAKIS LEADER OF EPAM. PART 2

INTERVIEW WITH DIMITRIS KAZAKIS LEADER OF EPAM. PART 2

By Joshua Tartakovsky, 21 March 2016 Maybe you can talk about that a little bit… It’s easy. If I am Mr. Buffet, I know we are not talking about Buffet but a financial elite… in order to create new situation of more profit for my own investment capital, I cannot deal with different states. And I have more then, nominally, we have more than 327 trillion dollars in terms of investment capital worldwide. Controlled by 40 banks… even less. 40 banks. 327 trillion… We have a GDP, a world GDP, from 75 to 77 trillion dollars. And they are only for investment. We’re not talking about derivatives or other aspects of the financial market. We’re talking about 327 trillion dollars. So in order to create opportunities for my capital to provide new, or even more profit, for my portal, we have to destroy and re-destroy the whole… I cannot provide more out of the normal economic cycle. We have to destroy and recreate the cycle itself. And there’s no way I can do that if we have normal states or people or national economies, things like that. We tried that through financial means. We saw that. And we saw how the whole market was destroyed back in 2007 up to 2008. After that, they recreated the whole market and right now they have even a worse situation then back in 2007. So, in order to subsist that kind of a situation in the financial market, we need an army, we need political means – the economy cannot provide any more. You will see that the big international corporations are avoiding...
Socialist Economist Dimitris Kazakis: Syriza Has No Plan B

Socialist Economist Dimitris Kazakis: Syriza Has No Plan B

Dimitris Kazakis (source: http://www.candianews.gr) Wednesday, 20 May 2015 00:00By Joshua Tartakovsky, Truthout | Interview We live in times when national sovereignty is being eroded in favor of global capital. Syriza plans to continue with austerity and has made no serious plan B. All actions taken so far reveal that Syriza intends to continue with the austerity program and in the summer Greece will probably sign a new contract of continued austerity. The question remains whether the people will rise against the loss of sovereignty. This interview was conducted on April 1, 2015, with Dimitris Kazakis, leader of the United Popular Front (E.PA.M). The party opposes austerity and was founded in 2011 by people who participated in anti-memorandum demonstrations in Greece. Kazakis is a socialist economist who worked in the private sector in the past. The interview has been amended and shortened. Joshua Tartakovsky: Do you think that the current government has some kind of plan B in mind or are they just trying their best? Dimitris Kazakis: I don’t think they even have a plan A. In the first week after the elections, they tried some general idea, like the European Convention on debt issues. The European Union rejected it so they [the Greek government] abandoned the whole idea. On the second level, they tried to negotiate some kind of elimination of debt, but nobody wanted it, and they did not want to go into a confrontation with the lenders, so they lost ground. Since the agreement of February 20, the Greek government abided by the rules of the loan agreement. The agreement of February 20 had contradictions in it. It...