jueves, 1 de febrero de 2007

Entrevista a David Held

David Held - The model is the Velvet revolutions not the war in Iraq (01/07/2007)

Progressive politics need to retain some core values but at the same time address the modern agenda of human rights, gender issues, and environmental problems. Centre –left political forces and civil society movements ought to be effective in bridging the divide between principle and policy.

An interview to Panos Papoulias for Re-Public

Globalization is here to stay

Panos Papoulias: In one of your recent works, The Global Covenant, you speak of the need of reform in the process of globalisation. Which are, in your opinion, the main directions towards which this reform should be targeted?

David Held: Well, there have been two main currents of thought about globalisation. The first is the conventional and well-known neoliberal position, which essentially argues that markets are the key drivers of reform and development. Most of the dominant advocates and most of the dominant institutions of the international order create and sustain rules to enhance that project. On the other side, there are those who argue that the problem is neoliberal globalisation and globalisation itself and we need more local and national solutions to our futures.

I take the position which is neither one nor the other. I think that they are deep problems in the neoliberal version of globalisation, but I also think that globalisation is here to stay. The world has become more interconnected, the IT revolution and the internet are driving new forms of human communication. This is reshaping not just communications themselves, but the nature of doing business, the nature of doing politics; they change the infrastructure of social and economic development. So, I think that underneath the discussion about the future of globalisation today we need to separate various things: that the increasing interconnectedness of the world is here to stay, the question of what should it be is what is at stake.

I think that the neoliberal solution has failed, that is market fundamentalism, on the one side, and the forces of anti-globalisation movements, on the other, do not have a serious answer to the problems of global interconnectedness and to the fact that increasingly the fate and fortunes of each and every country on crucial things –from trade rules to environmental rules- cannot be dealt with local or national solutions.

Is civil society progressive?

PP: You have briefly referred to the shortcomings of the anti-globalisation movements in terms of their response to the issues that stem from the increased level of global interconnectedness. Would you care to elaborate further on the role of social movements in relation to global reform?

DH: I take the view that you can not assume that global movements are necessarily noble or wise; they have to show that in the nature of their politics and in the nature of the work they do. In the United States you can find endless social groups in favour of abortion and just as many against abortion; they are all of them organizations of civil society but not all of them are progressive. The progressive nature of civil society is something that needs to be thought about independently, to some extent, of the movements themselves.

To answer your question generally, I think that in the last 20 to 30 years, beginning with changes in environmental politics driven by the green movements all the way forward to the birth of movements around globalisation, social movements have been tremendously important in putting pressure to change the globalisation agenda, to move it away from the neoliberal model, to press for greater democratisation and accountability of global processes and also national institutions, and have put new issues on the agenda in quite fundamental forms. However, many of these movements act in isolation of each other. There is OXFAM at the forefront of debates about trade, debt, and even poverty. There are the Medicins sans Frontiers doing fantastic work around health and health delivery, and so on. Many multiple groups are doing important work, shifting the agenda on the ground as well as more globally.

We have seen in the last 20 to 30 years a breakthrough of social movements that have shifted the agenda from trade and debt to the environment, sustainability, poverty, and so on. It is the role of intellectuals, of political parties, and so on to discuss this agenda, not simply to accept it just because it has come out of civil society. In other words, we also need to know what makes some contributions of civil society progressive and others not.

The challenges of the centre-left

PP: What would you consider then to be the essence of a progressive civil society or progressivism in politics?

DH: The essence of progressivism today has at its core key principles of global justice, key principles of democracy and accountability, key concerns with the environment and sustainability. It also acknowledges that markets are here to stay but need to be embedded in new kinds of rules. We must accept that if we were to push that agenda successfully we also have to recognise that the dominant powers of the world are not just going to accept it, unless it can also speak to some of their concerns, which are security issues, not just terrorism but also the problem of rogue states and nuclear proliferation. These sorts of issues are not popular in the centre-left. It seems to me that in order for progressivism to meet the challenges of governance, it needs to articulate the concerns of civil society, but also to tackle the conventional agenda. You would not convince the electorate that the centre-left has a competent answer to the questions of governance unless it can infuse its values into these big challenges.

PP: Would you say that the centre-left embodies ideas of what the left used to be 30-40 years ago?

DH: We have to always remember that the left was never embodied in a single, coherent voice and just as much today there are many voices in the centre-left. To some extent that is a good thing: the problem of the interpretation of the world is so complex that there is room for different judgments and positions.

The centre-left needs to be democratic, it needs to be tolerant, it needs to be pluralist, it needs to be open to alternative views. But, what marks it out as opposed to the centre-right is a commitment to certain core values. In my view those core values are some of the traditional values of socialism, but also a set of values that socialism did not properly understand or articulate. It seems to me that Marxist and some other socialist positions just got bits of modern politics wrong. They didn’t understand the state: they thought the state would wither away. They didn’t understand the nature of modern electorates, which are much more diffused and much more fragmented. They didn’t understand the problem of rights and liberties.
So, today the centre-left needs to take the classical concerns of social justice and emancipation at its heart. But, today that agenda needs to be articulated together with the human rights regime, with gender concerns, with environmental sustainability, and a whole range of issues which were not part of the traditional left. To translate the key values of a progressive centre-left into public policy means very hard policy thinking and policy work. It’s not enough anymore for the centre-left to be merely critical and sceptical, it has to articulate a policy that is plausible, feasible, and practical.

PP: You are talking about a mixture of ethical ontology, political ideology, and pragmatism?

DH: Yes, but pragmatism does not have to be a surrender to what we have. That is why I am fiercely critical in all of my work of two sets of policy choices which have shaped the nature of globalisation in recent times: the Washington consensus, on the one side, and the Washington security doctrine, on the other. These are pernicious policy packages; both, it seems to me, rest on misunderstandings of the world as we know it, both can be shown on the basis of evidence to produce counter-productive results.

La entrevista completa en: http://www.re-public.gr/en/?p=26

No hay comentarios.: