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EU is fatally wrong on Catalonia

EU commission: “If a referendum were to be organised in line with the Spanish constitution it would mean that the territory leaving would find itself outside of the European Union.

“Beyond the purely legal aspects of this matter, the Commission believes that these are times for unity and stability, not divisiveness and fragmentation.”

This outrages reaction confirms what we know allready: EU is defending the interests of the capital not of the peoples of Europe. It is as if Josef Stalin or any other dictator spoke again: “these are times of unity and stability and not diviseveness and fragmentation”. EU has mixed up cause and effect: Catalan referendum and wish for independence is the effect of the use of force, political, military and police of the spanish government and their refusal to negotiate. As is brexit the response to non-democrataic nature of EU.

The root of the problem is lack of democracy in both cases. This is alarming, since democracy and existance of EU are based on fundamental values, on human rights, in this case on that of freedom of expression and of selfdetermination of nations. This are fundamental values for the very existance of EU.(Serbia is right to protest, since it is evident that EU has double standards, not the same criteria for Kosovo anad Catalonia. Bigotry is primal sin of EU. On hollydays EU likes to proclaim that it is based on values, and would like to base its influnece in the rest of the world precisely on suposedly european values that it is manifestly ignoring reagreding Catalonia.

It is extreemly alarming that it is now clear that EU is not capable to recognise the ineviatbility of the democratisation of Spain and emnacipation of Catalonia. Because EU is wrong, for it is not Catalans that are divisive and destabilising, it is antidemocratic governement in Madrid and antidemocratic commission in Brussels that are cousing “exits”. Catalans, as all other domocratic peoples aspire to international collaboration of free and equal peoples in Europe. Massive support for immigrants in Catalonia is a clear proof that Catalans re not excluding and chovinistic.

The validity of fundamental human rights on which EU is based, and with it much of the conteporary global civilisation, cannot be denied by any constitution. It may be usefull to remind ourselves, that these principles, with their roots in the european democratic traditions from ancient Greece on, were widely recognised in the age of enlightenment. And it is these principles that were basis for the liberation of the United states, the French ravolution, voting rights for working class and women and liberation of colonies.

So why should Europeans of today support democratic regression?

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Post – komunistična nočna mora: Brodski – Havel (angl.)

‘The Post-Communist Nightmare’: An Exchange
Joseph Brodsky, translated from the Czech by Paul Wilson, reply by Václav Havel FEBRUARY 17, 1994 ISSUE

Dear Mr. President:

I’ve decided to write this letter to you because we have something in common: we both are writers. In this line of work, one weighs words more carefully, I believe, than elsewhere before committing them to paper or, for that matter, to the microphone. Even when one finds oneself engaged in a public affair, one tries to do one’s best to avoid catchwords, Latinate expressions, all manner of jargon. In a dialogue, of course, or with two or more interlocutors around, that’s difficult, and may even strike them as pretentiousness. But in a soliloquy or in a monologue it is, I think, attainable, though of course one always tailors one’s diction to one’s audience.

We have something else in common, Mr. President, and that is our past in our respective police states. To put it less grandly: our prisons, that shortage of space amply made up for by an abundance of time, which, sooner or later, renders one, regardless of one’s temperament, rather contemplative. You spent more time in yours, of course, than I in mine, though I started in mine long before the Prague Spring. Yet in spite of my nearly patriotic belief that the hopelessness of some urine-reeking cement hole in the bowels of Russia awakens one to the arbitrariness of existence faster than what I once pictured as a clean, stuccoed solitary in civilized Prague, as contemplative beings, I think, we might be quite even.

In short, we were pen pals long before I conceived of this letter. But I conceived of it not because of the literalness of my mind, or because our present circumstances are quite different from those of the past (nothing can be more natural than that, and one is not obliged to remain a writer forever: not any more so than to stay a prisoner). I’ve decided to write this letter because a while ago I read the text of one of your most recent speeches, whose conclusions about the past, the present, and the future were so different from mine that I thought, One of us must be wrong. And it is precisely because the present and the future—and not just your own or your country’s but the global one—were involved that I decided to make this an open letter to you. Had the issue been only the past, I wouldn’t have written you this letter at all, or if I had, I’d have marked it “personal.”

The speech of yours that I read was printed in The New York Review of Books and its title was “The Post-Communist Nightmare.”* You begin by reminiscing about a time when you would be avoided in the street by your friends and acquaintances, since in those days you were on dangerous terms with the state and under police surveillance. You proceed to explain the reasons for their avoiding you and suggest, in the usual, grudge-free manner for which you are justly famous, that to those friends and acquaintances you constituted an inconvenience; and “inconveniences”—you cite the conventional wisdom—“are best avoided.” Then for most of your speech you describe the post-Communist reality (in Eastern Europe and by implication in the Balkans) and equate the deportment of the democratic world vis-à-vis that reality to avoiding an inconvenience.

It is a wonderful speech, with a great many wonderful insights and a convincing conclusion; but let me go to your starting point. It occurs to me, Mr. President, that your famous civility benefited your hindsight here rather poorly. Are you so sure you were avoided by those people then and there for reasons of embarrassment and fear of “potential persecution” only, and not because you were, given the seeming stability of the system, written off by them? Are you sure that at least some of them didn’t simply regard you as a marked, doomed man, on whom it would be foolish to waste much time? Don’t you think that instead of, or as well as, being inconvenient (as you insist) you were also a convenient example of the wrong deportment and thus a source of considerable moral comfort, the way the sick are for the healthy majority? Haven’t you imagined them saying to their wives in the evening, “I saw Havel today in the street. He’s had it.” Or do I misjudge the Czech character?

That they were proven wrong and you right matters little. They wrote you off in the first place because even by the standards of our half of the century you were not a martyr. Besides, don’t we all harbor a certain measure of guilt, totally unrelated to the state, of course, but nonetheless palpable? So whenever the arm of the state reaches us, we regard it vaguely as our comeuppance, as a touch of the blunt but nevertheless expected tool of providence. That’s, frankly, the main raison d’être behind the institution of police, plainclothed or uniformed, or at least behind our general inability to resist an arrest. One may be perfectly convinced that the state is wrong, but one is seldom confident of one’s own virtue. Not to mention that it is the same arm that locks one up and sets one free. That’s why one is seldom surprised at being avoided when one gets released, and doesn’t expect a universal embrace.
Such expectations, under such circumstances, would be disappointed because nobody wants to be reminded of the murky complexity of the relations between guilt and getting one’s comeuppance, and in a police state providing such a reminder is what heroic deportment is largely about. It alienates one from others, as any emphasis on virtue does; not to mention that a hero is always best observed from a distance. In no small measure, Mr. President, you were avoided by the people you’ve mentioned precisely because for them you were a sort of test tube of virtue confronting evil, and those people didn’t interfere with the experiment since they had their doubts about both. As such, you again were a convenience, because in the police state absolutes compromise each other since they engender each other. Haven’t you imagined those prudent people saying to their wives in the evening: “I saw Havel today in the street. He’s too good to be true.” Or do I misjudge the Czech character again?

That they were proven wrong and you right, I repeat, matters little. They wrote you off at the time because they were guided by the same relativism and self-interest that I suppose helps them to make a go of it now, under the new dispensation. And as a healthy majority, they no doubt had a significant part in your velvet revolution, which, after all, asserts, the way democracy always does, precisely self-interest. If such is the case, and I’m afraid it is, they’ve paid you back for their excessive prudence, and you preside now over a society which is more theirs than yours.

There is nothing wrong with that. Besides, things might easily have gone the other way: for you, that is; not for them (the revolution was so velvet because the tyranny itself by that time was more woolen than ironclad—otherwise I wouldn’t have this privilege of commenting upon your speech). So all I’m trying to suggest is that by introducing the notion of inconvenience you quite possibly misspoke, for self-interest is always exercised at the expense of others, whether it’s done by individuals or by nations. A better notion would be the vulgarity of the human heart, Mr. President; but then you wouldn’t be able to bring your speech to a ringing conclusion. Certain things come with a pulpit, though one should resist them, writer or no writer. As I am not faced with your task, I’d like to take your argument now where, I think, it could perhaps have gone. I wonder if you’ll disagree with the result.

“For long decades,” your next paragraph begins, “the chief nightmare of the democratic world was communism. Today—three years after it began to collapse like an avalanche—it would seem as though another nightmare has replaced it: postcommunism.” Then you describe in considerable detail the existing modes of the democratic world’s response to the ecological, economic, political, and social catastrophes unraveling where previously one perceived a smooth cloth. You liken these responses to those toward your “inconvenience” and suggest that such a position leads “to a turning away from reality, and ultimately, to resigning oneself to it. It leads to appeasement, even to collaboration. The consequences of such a position may even be suicidal.”

It is here, Mr. President, that I think your metaphor fails you. For neither the Communist nor the post-Communist nightmare amounts to an inconvenience, since it helped, helps, and will for quite some time help the democratic world to externalize evil. And not the democratic world only. To quite a few of us who lived in that nightmare, and especially those who fought it, its presence was a source of considerable moral comfort. For one who fights or resists evil almost automatically perceives oneself as good and skips self-analysis. So perhaps it’s time—for us and for the world at large, democratic or not—to scrub the term communism from the human reality of Eastern Europe so one can recognize that reality for what it was and is: a mirror.

For that is what human evil always is. Geographic names or political terminology provide not a telescope or a window but the reflection of ourselves: of human negative potential. The magnitude of what took place in our parts of the world, and over two thirds of a century, cannot be reduced to “communism.” Catchwords, on the whole, lose more than they retain, and in the case of tens of millions killed and the lives of entire nations subverted, a catchword simply won’t do. Although the ratio of executioners to victims favors the latter, the scale of what happened in our realm suggests, given its technological backwardness at the time, that the former, too, run in the millions, not to mention the complicity of millions more.

Homilies are not my forte, Mr. President; besides, you are a convert. It’s not for me to tell you that what you call “communism” was a breakdown of humanity, and not a political problem. It was a human problem, a problem of our species, and thus of a lingering nature. Neither as a writer nor, moreover, as a leader of a nation should you use terminology that obscures the reality of human evil—terminology, I should add, invented by evil to obscure its own reality. Nor should one refer to it as a nightmare, since that breakdown of humanity wasn’t a nocturnal affair, not in our hemisphere, to say the least.

To this day, the word “communism” remains a convenience, for an -ism suggests a fait accompli. In Slavic languages especially, an -ism, as you know, suggests the foreignness of a phenomenon, and when a word containing an -ism denotes a political system, the system is perceived as an imposition. True, our particular -ism wasn’t conceived on the banks of the Volga or the Vltava, and the fact that it blossomed there with a unique vigor doesn’t bespeak our soil’s exceptional fertility, for it blossomed in different latitudes and extremely diverse cultural zones with equal intensity. This suggests not so much an imposition as our -ism’s rather organic, not to say universal, origins. One should think, therefore, that a bit of self-examination—on the part of the democratic world as well as our own—is in order, rather than ringing calls for mutual “understanding.” (What does this word mean, anyway? What procedure do you propose for this understanding? Under the auspices of the UN, perhaps?)

And if self-examination is unlikely (why should what’s been avoided under duress be done at leisure?), then at least the myth of imposition should be dispelled, since, for one thing, tank crews and fifth columns are biologically indistinguishable. Why don’t we simply start by admitting that an extraordinary anthropological backslide has taken place in our world in this century, regardless of who or what triggered it? That it involved masses acting in their self-interest and, in the process of doing so, reducing their common denominator to the moral minimum? And that the masses’ self-interest—stability of life and its standards, similarly reduced—has been attained at the expense of other masses, albeit numerically inferior? Hence the number of the dead.

It is convenient to treat these matters as an error, as a horrendous political aberration, perhaps imposed upon human beings from an anonymous elsewhere. It is even more convenient if that elsewhere bears a proper geographical or foreign-sounding name, whose spelling obscures its utterly human nature. It was convenient to build navies and defenses against that aberration—as it is convenient to dismantle those defenses and those navies now. It is convenient, I must add, to refer to these matters in a civil manner, Mr. President, from a pulpit today, although I don’t question for a minute the authenticity of your civility, which, I believe, is your very nature. It was convenient to have around this living example of how not to run things in this world and supply this example with an -ism, as it is convenient to supply it nowadays with “know-how” and a “post-.” (And one easily envisions our -ism, embellished with its post-, conveniently sailing on the lips of dimwits into the future.)

For it would be truly inconvenient—for the cowboys of the Western industrial democracies specifically—to recognize the catastrophe that occurred in our part of the world as the first cry of mass society: a cry as it were from the world’s future, and to recognize it not as an -ism but a chasm suddenly gaping in the human heart to swallow up honesty, compassion, civility, justice, and, thus satiated, presenting to the still democratic outside a reasonably perfect, monotonous surface.

Cowboys, however, loathe mirrors—if only because there they may recognize the backward Indians more readily than they would in the open. So they prefer to mount their high horses, scan the Indian-free horizons, deride the Indians’ backwardness, and derive enormous moral comfort from being regarded as cowboys—first of all, by the Indians.

As one who has been likened often to a philosopher king, you can, Mr. President, appreciate better than many how much all of that happened to our “Indian nation” harks back to the Enlightenment, with its idea (from the Age of Discovery, actually), of a noble savage, of man being inherently good but habitually ruined by bad institutions; with its belief that improvement of those institutions will restore man to his initial goodness. So to the admission previously made or hoped for, one should add, I suppose, that it’s precisely the accomplishment of the “Indian” in perfecting those institutions that brought them to that project’s logical end: the police state. Perhaps the manifest bestiality of this achievement should suggest to the “Indians” that they must retreat some way into the interior, that they should render their institutions a bit less perfect. Otherwise they may not get the “cowboys’ ” subsidies for their reservations. And perhaps there is indeed a ratio between man’s goodness and the badness of institutions. If there isn’t, maybe somebody should admit that man isn’t that good.

Isn’t this the juncture at which we find ourselves, Mr. President—or at least you do? Should “Indians” embark on imitating “cowboys,” or should they consult the spirits about other options? May it be that the magnitude of the tragedy that befell them is, in itself, a guarantee that it won’t happen again? May their grief and their memory of what happened in their parts create a greater egalitarian bond than free enterprise and a bicameral legislature? And if they should draft a constitution anyway, maybe they should start by recognizing themselves and their history for the better part of this century as a reminder of Original Sin.

It’s not such a heady concept, as you know. Translated into common parlance, it means that man is dangerous. Apart from being a footnote to our beloved Jean-Jacques, this principle may allow us to build—if not elsewhere, then at least in our realm, so steeped in Fourier, Proudhon, and Blanc at the expense of Burke and Tocqueville—a social order resting on a less self-flattering basis than was our habit, and perhaps with less disastrous consequences. This also may qualify as man’s “new understanding of himself, of his limitations and his place in the world” you call for in your speech.

“We must discover a new relationship to our neighbors, and to the universe,” you say toward the end of your speech, “and its metaphysical order, which is the source of the moral order.” The metaphysical order, Mr. President, should it really exist, is pretty dark, and its structural idiom is its parts’ mutual indifference. The notion that man is dangerous runs, therefore, closest to that order’s implications for human morality. Every writer is a reader, and if you scan your library’s shelves, you must realize that most of the books you’ve got there are either about betrayal or murder. At any rate, it seems more prudent to build society on the premise that man is evil rather than the premise of his goodness. This way at least there is the possibility of making it safe psychologically, if not physically (but perhaps that as well), for most of its members, not to mention that its surprises, which are inevitable, might be of a more pleasant nature.

Maybe the real civility, Mr. President, is not to create illusions. “New understanding,” “global responsibilities,” “pluralistic metaculture” are not much better at the core than the retrospective utopias of the latter-day nationalists or the entrepreneurial fantasies of the nouveaux riches. This sort of stuff is still predicated on the promise, however qualified, of man’s goodness, of his notion of himself as either a fallen or a possible angel. This sort of diction befits, perhaps, the innocents, or demagogues, running the affairs of industrial democracies, but not you, who ought to know the truth about the condition of the human heart.

And you are, one would imagine, in a good position not only to convey your knowledge to people, but also to cure that heart condition somewhat: to help them to become like yourself. Since what made you the way you are was not your penal experience but the books you’ve read, I’d suggest, for starters, serialization of some of those books in the country’s major dailies. Given the population figure of Czechia, this can be done, even by decree, although I don’t think your parliament would object. By giving your people Proust, Kafka, Faulkner, Platonov, Camus, or Joyce, you may turn at least one nation in the heart of Europe into a civilized people.

That may do more good for the future of the world than emulating cowboys. Also, it would be a real postcommunism, not the doctrine’s meltdown, with the attendant “hatred of the world, self-affirmation at all costs, and the unparalleled flourishing of selfishness” that dog you now. For there is no other antidote to the vulgarity of the human heart than doubt and good taste, which one finds fused in works of great literature, as well as your own. If man’s negative potential is best manifested by murder, his positive potential is best manifested by art.

Why, you may ask, don’t I make a similar crackpot suggestion to the President of the country of which I am a citizen? Because he is not a writer; and when he is a reader, he often reads trash. Because cowboys believe in law, and reduce democracy to people’s equality before it: i.e., to the well-policed prairie. Whereas what I suggest to you is equality before culture. You should decide which deal is better for your people, which book it is better to throw at them. If I were you, though, I’d start with your own library, because apparently you did not learn about moral imperatives in a law school.

Yours sincerely,
Joseph Brodsky

Václav Havel replies:

I am honored that you chose to reply to the speech I delivered at the George Washington University, later published in the New York Review of Books as “The Post-Communist Nightmare.”

You go into so many serious and distressing matters concerning not just the recent past in Eastern and Central Europe, but the present and future of the whole world, that to give you an adequate response I would have to write an essay at least as long and detailed as yours. At the moment, though, this doesn’t seem productive, for two reasons. In the first place, however tempting it may be to discuss such matters now, it would be irresponsible without first undertaking a closer and more comprehensive study of the issues. In the second place, the world is changing from hour to hour, compelling us constantly to reassess our views. Look at the Middle East, or the former Yugoslavia, or many places in the old Soviet Union, or South Africa, or even relatively peaceful Central Europe.

But my main reason for suggesting that we postpone a more thorough discussion of these matters until sometime in the near future is this: our minds appear to be working on the same problem, but using a different set of facts. As you point out, our views are shaped by experiences that coincide on some points, and differ significantly in others. We each lived under totalitarianism, but in different surroundings, and we lived that reality through feelings, thoughts, and instincts that were of a different nature.

The strongest impression I have from your letter is that a misunderstanding has occurred between two people who essentially understand each other. To put it another way: we don’t really disagree at all, we merely have a different way of thinking about commensurate experiences that vary in their details.

I will mention only one example. You say that under the totalitarian regime, I was not so much an “inconvenience” for my friends and acquaintances as “a source of…moral comfort, the way the sick are for the healthy majority.” This observation is clearly based on your experience with totalitarianism in Soviet Russia. The Czech experience was somewhat different.

Though we were subjected to varying types and degrees of totalitarianism over a long period of time, it was not long enough for this experience to sink as deeply into the consciousness of several generations as it did in Russia, and other parts of the Soviet Union.

Some members of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, at least from Stalin’s death onward, silently ran their lives with a mixture of personal pragmatism and opportunism. Even some who were not Party members managed to maintain relatively well-paying careers as long as it didn’t come out that, privately, they told too many jokes at the expense of the Party leaders or that they were sometimes highly critical of the system.

By the late Seventies, this phenomenon had existed for a long time, and it was only at the end of the decade that we coined an expression—“the gray zone”—to describe it. The term applied mainly to a stratum of educated people—some Party members, some not—who were aware that the system, should it continue, would eventually destroy us, both morally as individuals and professionally as artists, scholars, and intellectuals. At the same time, these people felt that the right thing to do under the circumstances was to continue working in their laboratories, publishing houses, research institutes, and so on, so that they themselves would not forget their subjects, and so that their professions and areas of expertise would not atrophy.

But what could historians, poets, or writers do? Such a compromise was not open to them. They couldn’t publish and earn a living in their field without going against their consciences and denying their own understanding of reality. They chose instead, therefore, to wash windows, to work as night-watchmen on construction sites, or as stokers in heating plants, or as technicians measuring water flow in remote parts of the country.

These people formed the core of those who signed the human rights initiative, Charter 77. They were not, just as I was not, a “comfort” to those secret critics of the regime in the “gray zone,” but were indeed an inconvenience, a living reproach. Their very existence prompted those in the gray zone to ask if there wasn’t more they ought to be doing to hasten the regime’s demise than simply complaining about it in secret.

In Soviet Russia, opposing both the brutal power of the state and the ingrained beliefs of most citizens must have required great moral power, a brave intellect, and special talents. I can imagine, for instance, that after you were sent to prison many people expressed their relief in a way you suggest some Czechs might have done in my case, by dismissing you and your cause as lost: “He’s had it!”

But there is a difference. For ordinary people in your country of birth, any change aiming at a freer system, at freedom of thought and action, was a step into the unknown. Thanks to your moral strength and talent, you and a relatively small number of other authors continued the work of the great Russian poets, novelists, and essayists of the nineteenth century, and of that handful of irrepressible artists with names like Akhmatova, Tsvetaeva, Mandelstam, Babel, Zoshchenko, and even Pasternak and others.

You longed for freedom, and you won it. When your friends, both intimate and distant, saw you go off to prison to pay for that victory, they might well have said that they were in no danger of experiencing the inconvenience of freedom. Perhaps they gained some dark satisfaction from that.

By contrast, Czechs and Slovaks enjoyed a considerable degree of freedom and democracy in the late nineteenth century under the Austro-Hungarian constitutional monarchy, and even more during Czechoslovakia’s First Republic. The traditions of those times live on in family life and in books. Thus, though the renewal of freedom is difficult and inconvenient in our country too, freedom was never a completely unknown aspect of time, space, and thought. Several generations of people here know it as a living and inspiring experience. That is what made our struggle so different from your practically private—and pioneering—struggle to win freedom of thought and action.

I repeat: I am heartened by your response. But it seems to me that the special circumstances of this discussion—the fact that despite the similarity of the language we use, we are not really talking about the same thing at all—can only be resolved in direct personal conversation.

Let’s set a date to meet sometime in the near future to try to understand better why thoughts as parallel as those expressed in your open letter and my speech have caused a disagreement which may be no more than a misunderstanding.

—Translated from the Czech by Paul Wilson

Nacionalne medijske politike, (tudi filmske), v globaliziranem svetu – National media policies in the globalized world

A propos globalisation, I once wrote somewhere. “As we have managed to survive electrification, we may very well survive globalisation too”. This may be an inside pun for those of us, fortunate enough to have survived noble but dangerous experiment of communism, which a bearded gentleman once described as “socialism with electricity.” Yet I am convinced that the sentence hints at an appropriate approach to globalisation problem. Anyway, this was my preconception, or maybe a hypothesis on the subject of “national visions” prior to my chairing the conference in Ebeltoft. The hypothesis was not taken out of thin air, of course. Rather I drew such conclusions knowing the film situation in Slovenia well, and knowing also, that the situation elsewhere is not fundamentally different.
What should one not do in order to understand the problem of national cinemas in a globalized world, and thus maybe have a slight chance to influence its impact on us? One should not polarise one’s attitude about it. One should not present the issue as “for” and “against.” Not surprisingly it polarising is exactly what is taking place, framing the issue as globalisation versus almost everything else in our world. The pros are preaching gospel of progress, the possibilities of globalisation to make everybody rich and happy – how many times has this not happened since the steam engine – and the anti’s, the luddites, warn for all the disastrous consequences of globalisation. In my mind both lines of arguments are right. But both also draw wrong conclusions.
History informs us that the promises of the optimists have never been fulfilled, and that phenomena such as globalisation have ultimately always served a small minority, and damaged the vast majority of men. Now, we know that the gap between the rich and the poor countries in the world is growing, and there is not even a utopian idea about how to do something about it! This gap is as much about culture as it is about anything else.
The crucial question then remains, can we avoid globalisation? To my mind we cannot, since it is a political and economic process based on technological change. The trains made the first world war an efficient industrial slaughterhouse. We must admit, though, that trains fulfilled other functions too. If our forefathers had stopped the development of heavy industry, they might have stopped a war. But Mr. Lud and his followers were wrong, not necessarily in principle, but because on that there was never any choice.
The situation is similar in our area. Regarding the prospect of national cinemas and other media, we are either pros or anti. Here also we are engaged in useless fights, since we will not be given the choice. The world media market, especially cinema, has, as we know, been globalized for a long time. It is probably a good indicator of how globalisation will be for other areas. The almost total domination of the globalized “Hollywood” film industry (which is in fact super-national and is not the American cinema!) on the world market is an undisputed fact. Yet neither globalized Hollywood or the USA are to be blamed for this. They are only pursuing their best interests in a market economy. It is we, (the rest of the world), who are not doing the same, so we are responsible for our own failures. This is so, in spite of the fact that this globalized Hollywood domination is not solely the result of the superiority of whatever kind of product. The U.S. government, is of course helpful in giving a highly profitable segment of its economy and public relations, (soft power), assistance. Rightly so. The enhancement of trade is one of the roles of governments. Our governments should follow their example.
Cinema and audio-visual media are, as we know, highly profitable economic activities. In the coming world – that is here already! – of the informational economy (and culture), the audio-visual sector will play a pivotal role. But cinema and audio-visual media are also providers of popular and more serious culture, and thus play many other important non-economic roles. Popular culture is an increasingly important instrument of socialisation, personal, cultural, ethnical, political, sexual … So it is legitimate to insist that certain part of the “market cake” should be reserved for local, national, regional culture, primarily for cultural, but also for other reasons. What is culturally functional for US audiences is not necessarily also functional for the audiences of the rest of the world, and the present media market is surely not so fair, that we can naively claim that the audiences are freely making their own choice and buying the product of that choice.
If it is the case that this segment of mass culture fulfills an important public interest, it is fair to demand that media market should be regulated by that public interest. On that basis, nations have every reason to resist the attempts of the American government to include the audiovisual media under the rubric of “free trade” and to eliminate the public interest, as a reason to regulate this particular market. As it says on the Ingmar Bergman’s puppet theatre in his film Fanny and Alexander: This is not for entertainment only!
The crucial question is: are or are not films, as mass culture products, solely entertainment commodities? The answer is, of course, that they are more than just commodities. Then we may conclude that we need national (or regional, or local), films (visions), and in order to have them, we need national (or local, or regional) film policy.
Let us not delude ourselves into believing the national might not be the most important aspect, even if it is the case that other identities may transcend national ones. Even if national identity necessarily is of a minor, and sometimes questionable importance, it is only the state that may still have the necessary power to implement appropriate film policy, as part of a national cultural policy. We should keep in mind that we are contesting powerful multi- and supra-national corporations, often assisted by the only remaining super power state.
Nations will assert their interest only if they have a clearly articulated political will to do that. Who can articulate that will? Who can lobby for it? I think that I am not exaggerating if I say that it is us, critics `and scholars, film makers and film teachers who have the responsibility do that. Who else is there?
The Ebeltoft conference was highly informative to me, because it more-or-less clearly demonstrated the place of national cinemas between the ever present threat of the globalized “Hollywood” industry and its own aesthetic, cultural, local, national or regional ambitions. It emerged clearly, I hope, that the formula of a universal story for global audiences serves perfectly globalized Hollywood’s legitimate goal of making money.
Film as expression and a moulder of local, regional or national culture (vision), film as art, is surely not global in the Hollywood sense. It is global in a different way.. It becomes global and universal only on the level of artistic quality. The history of film art does not consist of globalized Hollywood product designed for a universal market. In fact such products are as a rule ignored by history of film art, eliminated from it. What becomes film history and thus truly global and universal, are films as expressions of local (regional, national) culture, including American, with high, and therefore universal aesthetic quality.
Such cinema needs protection. There is no doubt about that. The question is only what kind of protection. Here there is a difference between the American, or perhaps English- speaking independent producer and director and others. American independent producers or directors can gamble on being chosen by a major global distributor. Others can’t, so they will likely get protection from the state, not necessarily in the form of subsidies, but surely by some kind of special conditions imposed on the market. The fact that protection can also spoil film makers by removing their concern for the audience, does not change the core argument. There are some examples of effective film policies in the world: Denmark, especially at this very moment, and other Scandinavian states, Ireland, Australia, France, Canada, for example. … There are many unfortunate examples of no film policy, of what of happens if the a totally free market prevails. There are so many that it is of no use even to mention them.
It was interesting to see during Ebeltoft interventions how we are influenced in our attitude towards national “visions” in the context of global according to our place and power on the world cinema market. Americans seem to be, by and large, supporters of free and unrestricted market, and that goes even for US independent producers. Consequently they do not feel much for “national visions” either. Europeans are more in favour of the national cinemas and regulated markets. Indians are happy with their domination of domestic cinema on the home market and do not find the subject relevant or pressing. They have do deal with the same problem within India itself, where Bollywood in India plays the role of globalized Hollywood in the world. Ibero- Americans on the contrary, see the issue of national culture and with it national film as a highly pressing matter. In their minds globalisation, also in the film area, is perceived as just another form of (also cultural) colonisation.
By and large I believe the conference has suggested some extremely important issues to reflect (and act)upon.
Igor Koršič
Ljubljana, Decembe 2000
(published in CILECT news)

P.S. Žal ni nihče v Sloveniji poslušal key note speakerja v Ebeltoftu na Danskem leta 2000. (Nihče v Sloveniji tudi ni podprl njegove aktivne vloge v mednarodnem prostoru, čeprav je deset let, dokler se ni utrudil, brez domače podpore ostal v upravnem odboru CILECT, in pridobil za Slovenjo nekaj deset tisoč $ in pripadajočega ugleda). Pri nas sta med tem bila v modi ( v Financah in Sobotni prilogi) Mičo Mrkaić in Samo Rugelj. Sicer bi v Sloveniji danes (2017) lahko imeli popolnoma drugačno medijsko politiko in kulturo.

Globalni napad na svobodo medijev in samoodločbo narodov – Global attack on freedom of media and national selfdetermination

Svetovni mediji in organizacije za zaščito človekovih pravic molčijo, medtem ko poteka ukinjanje svobode medijev v ZDA in Rusiji. Najprej so ZDA prisilile ruski mediji v ZDA kot sta RT in Sputnik da se prijavita kot tuja agenta. To pomeni, da bodo morali redno oddajati finančna poročila in svoje novice opramljali disclaimerji, deklaracijami, da je medij tuji agent. Pri tem so uporabili zakon iz leta 1938, ko bil uporabljen zadnjikrat proti nacistični Nemčiji. Med medanrodnimi televizijami RT izstopa po kvaliteti, uravnoteženosti in objektivnosti. RT zaposljuje vrsto vrhunskih novinarjev iz ZDA in VB, kot je Larry King. Na RT redno nastopajo politiki in vrhunski strokovnjaki iz vseh koncev sveta. Utemljitev za ta ukrep so očitki ameriških obveščevalnih služb, da televizija vnaša razdor v ameriško družbo in dvom v njihov demokratični sistem, saj poročajo o problemih: o rasizmu, o nasilju, o težavah z volitvami … Rusija se je odzvala z recipročnim ukrepom, vendar mora najprej sprejeti nove zakone, ki jim bo take ukrepe omogočila.

Tudi samoodločba narodov je na udaru. Po dogajanju v Kataloniji je kitajsko zunanje ministrstvo izrazilo zadovoljstvo, saj je očitno, da suverenost držav in nedotakljivost mednarodnih meja pridobivata na veljavi.

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Podpora Kataloniji na AVAAZ, Proclamation on Katalonia and democracy on AVAAZ

Dogajajo se čudne stvari. To proklamacijo DSP so na AVAAZ nekako zamrznili. Začel sem sumiti, da smo ovirani od kakšne druge agencije, denimo East Stratcoma? Celo Guardian je objavil poročilo o tem, da poročanje mednarodnih ruskih medijev v EU povezujejo z ruskim vmešavanjem. Nihče ne pove, da je tako razmišljanje nezaslišano. Da postavlja pod vprašaj svobodo medijev, to sveto osnovno načelo demokracije. Ne pristali smo na logki resničnih novic (naših news) in lažnih (njihovih). Guardian poroča, da se ne strinjajo vsi v EU, zamolči kdo se ne, ne zaradi svobode medijev, ampak zaradi želje po umirjanju odnosov z Rusijo zaradi trgovski interesov. Ruska mednarodna televzija, mimogrede odlična, se mora prijaviti v ZDA kot tuji agent, v skladu z zakonom oporabljnenim za naci Nemčijo leta 1939. Kaj se vendar dogaja? Ža zdavnaj bi morali zvoniti vsi alarmi na tej in oni strani Atlantika. Dogaja se pa nasprotno, rusko histerijo nenehoma napihuje liberalna stran, clo vsi satirični šovi, ne pa denimo Foxnews.

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Proclamation for Catalonia and Europe

We Slovene writers and other workers in culture are asking the people, the citizens of EU states, to support our demand that our elected governments as well as unelected EU bureaucrats stop insisting that the freedom of Catalans is an internal matter for Spain. Such repressive constitutionalism legitimizes and even encourages the use of force by the Spanish state against the people of Catalonia and thus fuels civil war.

To pretend that constitutions are above human rights is a denial of the basic European and universal human values upon which democracies of European Union are built.

Catalans cannot hope for support for their democratic aspirations from the EU as it currently is. European history is a disgraceful history of betrayals. From selling Czechoslovakia to Hitler in Munich to preaching to the besieged Bosnians in Sarajevo to negotiate with Milošević, Europe has learned nothing. Therefore we need a different Europe and different EU. A Europe with a memory, one that will learn from the mistakes of the past, in order to unconditionally defend freedom and democracy for everyone for the future.

The free Catalan culture that is developing in accordance with the self‐determination of the Catalan people cannot be an internal matter. Culture and language are part of the irreplaceable and precious human heritage and cultural diversity of the world. This heritage in all its diversity should be protected in the interest of humankind.

We are asking the people, the citizens of EU states, to demand that our elected representatives stop claiming in our name that the conflict between Catalan elected representatives and the Catalans that voted in the referendum on October 1 for the independence of Catalonia and the Spanish state should be resolved in accordance with the Spanish constitution. The rights of expression and self‐determination come before any constitution. These rights are above any state, super state, capital, military or any other vested interest.

The Europe of regions has long been talked about. Existing national states are not god given. For a number of reasons, more EU will inevitably sooner or later produce more
Catalonias all over the continent. We demand that our elected representatives and unelected EU bureaucrats take this process they themselves are generating into account and act accordingly.

EU bureaucrats should for example stop making pronouncements on the number of EU states to their liking and other similarly scandalous and inappropriate statements. Being unelected, they have no mandate to express anything other than what EU states authorize.

We are therefore asking the people, citizens of EU states, to unconditionally demand that our elected governments and unelected EU bureaucrats condemn every use of violence against the citizens and noncitizens of EU states that are peacefully exercising their inalienable right of self expression. And this includes holding referendums for independence.

We are asking the people, citizens of EU, states to demand that our elected governments and unelected EU bureaucrats stop ignoring our basic rights and explicitly or implicitly

endorsing the use of any kind of violence and intimidation of citizens peacefully expressing their fundamental rights. Nobody should beat us for expressing our thoughts and the right to self‐determination.

We are asking the people, citizens of EU states, to support the independence of Catalonia, when the majority of the people of Catalonia vote for it. The Spanish and other EU states, our elected representatives, as well as unelected EU bureaucrats, must respect the right of Catalans as well as other peoples of Europe to decide on their own future.

We are asking the people, citizens of EU states, to support Catalonia in order to help the European Union to respect its own fundamental values.

Ljubljana, November 4, 2017

Slovene writers and other workers in culture

Katalonskih sanj ne bodo uničili s silo, The Catalan dream will not be extinguished by force

The Catalan dream will not be extinguished by force
Matthew d’Ancona

Secession from Spain would be unwise for many reasons. But in this age of hectic change, the search for identity cannot simply be dismissed
Sunday 29 October 2017

It’s remarkable what you can learn in Slovenia. At a conference on politics, security and development in Bled earlier this year, I was lucky enough to chat to the Catalan delegates, proudly representing the interests and wisdom of their ancient principality. With considerable poise and dignity, they seemed to me to be channelling Pericles on the Athenians: we do not imitate, but are a model to others.

So I am not surprised that Madrid is as frightened as it evidently is by Catalonia’s unilateral declaration of independence. This is not a tinpot province threatening to secede as a means of squeezing a bridge or two out of central government. Recognised as a distinct political entity since the 12th century, it has always treasured its autonomy – lost under Franco and recovered after his death in 1975. Since Friday, its separation from Spain to become a fully functioning sovereign state, though still improbable, is quite conceivable.

Madrid appears determined to inflame separatist emotions rather than to seek a diplomatic solution to the crisis
This alone represents a terrible defeat for Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, whose response was to order the sacking of the entire Catalan government, the closure of Barcelona’s ministries, the dismissal of Catalonia’s police chief and the dissolution of its regional parliament. Though Madrid has generously declared that Carles Puigdemont, the deposed Catalan president, is welcome to run in the snap election on 21 December, he remains, confusingly, at risk of arrest for rebellion.

There are all sorts of cogent arguments against secession – the best of which is that Catalonia itself is profoundly divided on the question. The region has a low credit rating, and debts that have more than tripled since 2009. It is not remotely ready to manage its own defence, currency, utilities, border controls and infrastructure. An absolute rupture from Spain would make Brexit seem a mere bagatelle.

Yet Madrid – aided by Brussels – appears determined to inflame separatist emotions rather than seek a diplomatic solution to the crisis. The independence referendum held on 1 October may have been technically illegal, as Spain’s constitutional court asserted, but the often brutal manner in which the poll was obstructed by the national police and Guardia Civil made such appeals to the rule of law seem like a preposterous fig leaf for street-level authoritarianism.

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While the Spanish government pontificated, social media fizzed with shocking video of officers in riot gear using violence to prevent Catalan citizens from peacefully casting their votes. At that point, the question changed from “Is this referendum meaningful?” to “How are such scenes possible on the streets of a modern liberal democracy?”

Rajoy’s strategy has been spectacularly unnuanced. At every turn, he has scorned the independence movement as no more than a plot “to liquidate our constitution”, a “criminal” conspiracy, and “a clear violation of the laws, of democracy, of the rights of all”. King Felipe VI has loftily chastised Catalans for trying “to break the unity of Spain and its national sovereignty, which is the right of all Spaniards to democratically decide their lives together”. With dependable insensitivity, Jean-Claude Juncker declaredon Saturday: “There isn’t room in Europe for other fractures or other cracks – we’ve had enough of those.” The Brussels naughty step is getting rather crowded.

Because of Spain’s singular history, the integrity of the nation has special significance. In a country governed by a military dictator between 1939 and 1975, the threat of disaggregation and lawlessness is especially vivid.

But in an age of hectic change such as ours, history must be granted a vote rather than a veto. Bad memories may explain present errors, but they do not excuse them. And Rajoy is proving himself unequal to the moment. Simply asserting that the rules have been broken and will be enforced is a pitiful approach to a hugely complex cultural dilemma.

Take a step back: if the early 21st century has a unifying theme, it is that the rules-based order that seemed triumphant in 1989 faces a series of fundamental challenges. Prime among them is a burgeoning of the secessionist impulse, of tribalism and populist resistance to distant elites. In this era of disruption, nomadism and technological revolution, the appeal of place and space has returned. A longing for what Heidegger called wohnen – “dwelling” – is suddenly resurgent. In some instances, as in Charlottesville, this takes the form of a despicable blood-and-soil nativism. But the instinct is not always reprehensible. For Catalans to crave their own nation is not intrinsically wrong, whatever its impracticalities and inconveniences.

Catalan leader vows ‘peaceful resistance’ as Madrid takes control of region
Read more
Those of us who still value rules-based internationalism have to acknowledge that not everyone is at ease on the rollercoaster of modernity. That much was made clear by last year’s EU referendum and the election of Donald Trump. The notion that politics is simply a branch of economics is no longer sustainable (if, indeed, it ever was). The issue of identity has assumed a fresh importance that we ignore at our peril.

It takes pathological form in the ugly “identitarian” movements of the European far right. But it also infuses the politics of the mainstream – from Catalan separatism to parliament’s scrutiny of the EU withdrawal bill. The primal need to belong, to be more than a tiny cog in a global machine, is asserting itself with astonishing force. As Sebastian Junger writes in his book Tribe: “Humans don’t mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary.”

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I am deeply suspicious of the populism that offers easy solutions to complex problems: secession, like hostility to immigration, cannot possibly be the panacea that its champions typically claim. I still believe in the liberal order, viable nation-states and the supranational agreements that make possible global collaboration between them. But it is idle to pretend in 2017 that this order is in especially good shape.

We are in the foothills of a formidable debate about its future, and how it should be adapted to address the inequities of globalisation, the transformative power of technology, and the fears of communities great and small that they will be swept away by the hurricane of change. If the Catalan crisis has a lesson to date, it is that Madrid’s answer – repressive constitutionalism, so to speak – is no answer at all. Saying the same, only louder, will not preserve the integrity of Spain or of anything else. In the unfolding of history, the greatest mistake is to believe there is a script.

• Matthew d’Ancona is a Guardian columnist

Kakšna železnica, takšna država – užaljeni zagovorniki nedelujoče države

Neke vrste okrogla miza o pošastnem stanju potniškega prometa na železnici na TV 1, 25. 10. 17.
Na eni strani predstavnica civilne družbe in raziskovalec, nekdanji sodelavec pri strategiji razvoja SŽ iz leta 1995.
Na tej strani tudi prispevki z eksperti in bivšimi ministri, ki vsi pričajo o poraznem stanju zapostavljenega potniškega prometa.
Na drugi strani dva državna uradnika, eden predstavnik SŽ, drugi predstavnik direkcije za železnice.
Že oddaja sama govori o zapostavljenem in neizkorščenem poštniškme prometu SŽ: koga pošljejo na TV, kdaj je oddaja na sporedu (17,30)?!
Stanje: Obupno zastareli, akutno premali vozni park (gomulke), v zanemarjeni infrastrukturi, po tirih iz 19. stoletja, s hitrostjo izpred sto let prevaža pretežno šolsko mladino in upokojence pod pragom revščine. Tisti ki v to niso primorani, ker si ne morejo privoščiti avtomobilov, si s tako železnico nimajo kaj pomagati. Potniški promet je za razliko od dobičkonosnega tovornega, javni servis. Namenjen državljanom.
Država je leta 1995 spisala edino dokončano startegijo, ki je niti niso poskusili uresničiti. Minister Vlačič je tudi pisal ambiciozne načrte, vendar so bili nedokončani in z novo vlado opuščeni. (Deloval je veselo privoščljiv.) On je celo predvidel več variant železniške povezave z Brnikom. Zdaj že take misli na ministrstvu zavračajo s češ, pride v poštev, ko bo štiri milijone potnikov. Nič o tem, da je kot v železniškem potniškem prometu, število potnikov odvisno od kakovosti dostopa do letališča.
Skratka naše železnice v groznem stanju izpred sto let z hudim pomanjkanjem vlakov. Okrog nas, v Benetkah, na Dunaju, v MUnchnu se hitre evropske proge končajo. Potniški promert za naš čas pa je že v Beljaku in Gorici, če ne že v Zagrebu in na Balatonu. Sosedi gradijo hitre proge ob naših mejah, kar nas dela za enklavo zaostajanja, ki bo časom postal popolnoma odveč in nezanimiva.
Kaj na to predstvnika državnih železnic in direkcije: Vlaki so resda stari, so pa skrbno negovani in varni, vozijo z evropskimi zamudami, direkcija piše nove strategije in pospešeno popravlja stare proge. Predstavniki direkcije izgleda kar hud, češ, čemu takšni očitki, saj je stanje normalno, potniki se vendar vozjo v napih valakih, ki se premikajo. Predstavnik SŽ še prizna, da to in ono ni v redu, predstavnik direkcije pa užaljneo brani državo pred očitki, češ nič ni narobe in dela se na tem, da bi bilo še bolje.
Kot da oba predstavnika države naučeno igrata nesposobnost in nemabicionznost v prid argumentom po privatizaciji železnic.

Od kod ta kultura samozagovarjanja, ta popolna odsotnost samo kritičnosti? Tradicija, ki je v reku, da ne pluvaj v žlico, ki te hrani? Okostenelost (visoko) šolskega sistema, ki proizvaja vdane uradnike za 19. stoletje? Avtoritarnost, ki se nam vse od cesarja in starojugolsovanskih diktatur do komunizma? Neoliberalni prezir do še tega bednega ostanka države? Kje že se je izpopolnjeval minister? Kje že se je predsednik države naučil “zmagovalne miselnosti”?

Barbari pred vrati (in že v mestu)

Zanimivo ozadje novih lastnikov Pop TV in glavobol za državo
avgust 29, 2017
By jpdamjan

O prevzemu družbe Proplus, ki med drugim vključuje Pop TV, Kanal A in ostale tematske programe, ki jo je od CME sklada odkupila Skupina United Group, se je pri nas sicer precej pisalo. Vendar pa je ostalo precej informacij še nerazkritih ali pa ne postavljenih v kontekst. Zame so zanimiva predvsem spodnja dejstva, morala pa bi biti tudi za regulatorje, finančno upravo in obveščevalno-varnostno službo.

Prvo dejstvo je, da je Skupina United Group že lastnica telekomunikacijskega podjetja Telemach, ki je s prevzemom Tušmobila postal kompletni ponudnik telekomunikacijskih storitev in dejansko drugi največji igralec na telekomunikacijskem trgu, Vendar je bil Telemach do sedaj zgolj ponudnik dostopa do vsebin, ne pa samih vsebin, to pa je postal s prevzemom Proplusa. Ta prevzem je, kot je opozoril kolega Marko Milosavljević iz FDV, v nasprotju z veljavnim zakonom o medijih, ki v prvem odstavku 61. člena izrecno prepoveduje, da bi ponudnik telekomunikacijskih storitev smel biti izdajatelj radijskega ali televizijskega programa in smel razširjati programske ali oglaševalske vsebine.

61. člen
(1) Operater, ki izvaja telekomunikacijske storitve, določene v 111. členu tega zakona ali v zakonu, ki ureja telekomunikacije, ne more biti tudi izdajatelj radijskega ali televizijskega programa in ne sme razširjati programskih ali oglaševalskih vsebin, razen kadar pridobi dovoljenje za izvajanje radijske ali televizijske dejavnosti iz 105. člena tega zakona.

Drugo zanimivo dejstvo, ki ga je treba razumeti v zgornjem oziru, je tudi nedavni obisk Davida H. Petraeusa, predsednika KKR Global Instituta, ki je skoraj 78% lastnik Skupine United Group, pri predsedniku slovenske vlade Miru Cerarju, finančni ministrici Mateji Vraničar Erman in ministru za javno upravo Borisu Koprivnikarju. KKR Global Institute je veja največjega private equity sklada na svetu KKR (Kohlberg, Kravis & Roberts). KKR upravlja s skoraj 100 milijardami dolarjev premoženja, ima sedež v davčni oazi, solastnik (s 50 mio evri) pa je tudi Evropska banka za obnovo in razvoj, EBRD), od leta 2013 pa se intenzivneje ukvarja tudi z naložbami v telekomunikacije prek KKR Global Instituta.

Petraeus je po pisanju Večera “predstavil rezultate investicije v Telemach ter splošne aktivnosti, ki jih KKR načrtuje v Sloveniji. Med prihodnjimi aktivnostmi je Petraeus poudaril možnost investicij KKR Global Instituta v slovenske mobilne komunikacije ter možnosti povezovanja na področju internetne varnosti.“

Petraeus je najbrž lobiral za vladno privoljenje kot regulatorja za prevzem Proplusa, kar sedanji medijski zakon skupini United Group prepoveduje. Vendar ne samo to, njegovo matično podjetje KKR se je ne dolgo nazaj denimo zanimalo tudi za prevzem slovenske slabe banke (DUTB), kar bi bil za KKR mačji kašelj. Najbrž ni odveč sum, da bi tukaj lahko prišlo do kakšne “vezane trgovine”.

S tem je povezano tretje zanimivo dejstvo, to je pa je sam gospod Petraeus. David Petraeus namreč ni kdorsibodi, pač pa je upokojeni general ameriške vojske, ki je bil poveljnik mednarodnih vojaških sil v Iraku (2004-2008), nato pa v času predsednika Baracka Obame glavni poveljnik ameriških vojaških sil (2008-2010), nato poveljnik ameriških vojaških sil v Afganistanu (2010-2011) in nato vodja ameriške osrednje obveščevalne službe CIA (2011-2012). Ne da bi želel karkoli špekulirati, vendar je zanimivo, da je finančni sklad KKR za svojega glavnega stratega in lobista na področju telekomunikacij, z aktivnostmi predvsem v Vzhodni Evropi, zaposlil upokojenega glavnega poveljnika ameriških vojaških sil in vodjo ameriške osrednje obveščevalne službe CIA. No, če bi bil jaz predsednik vlade, bi me malce zaskrbelo, da dobršen del telekomunikacijskega trga (Telemach je glavni ponudnik integriranih paketnih telekomunikacjskih storitev na našem trgu in zdaj še digitalnih medijskih vsebin), kontrolirajo ameriška podjetja z vezmi do njene vojske in tajnih služb. Lahko, da je zadeva nedolžna in povsem slučajna, vendar jaz ne verjamem v pravljice o rdeči kapici in bi me zelo skrbelo, če bi moj dostop do telekomunikacij in medijskih vsebin nadzirale tuje države prek svojih podjetij.

Četrto zanimivo dejstvo pa je španovija med KKR in srbsko-slovenskim poslovnežem Draganom Šolakom. Slednji je 22.11% lastnik skupine United Group in njen predsednik uprave, ta družba pa obvladuje velik del telekomunikacijskega in TV trga v vseh državah nekdanje Jugoslavije (SBB, Telemach, TV N1, Sportklub, Total TV, NetTV, Grand) s prihodki blizu pol milijarde evrov (v 2016). Zanimivo je, da Šolak, kot je pred dvema mesecema v hrvaškem Nacionalu prek analize dokumentov “Malta files” razkril slovenski raziskovalni novinar Blaž Zgaga (med drugim znan po trilogiji o trgovini z orožjem in razkritju t.i. Football Leaks, sicer pa član mednarodne raziskovalne novinarske mreže), prek finančne hobotnice podjetij s sedeži v različnih davčnih oazah prenakazuje denar iz posameznih hčerinskih družb in se nato prek podjetij na Malti in Cipru izogne plačilu davkov, ta denar pa nato prek Švice in Lihtenštajna kanalizira naprej sebi oziroma svojim družbam. Kratek opis te hobotnice najdete spodaj:

“Dragan Šolak, srpsko-slovenački biznismen, strastveni igrač golfa i vlasnik više golf terena, vila i privatnih aviona, 2015. godine bio je vlasnik 22,11 odsto udela u „United media grupi” preko kompanije „Gerrard enterprises LLC” sa ostrva Man, dok je 4,99 odsto bilo u vlasništvu firme „Cable management company LTD” sa Britanskih Devičanskih Ostrva. Vlasnica te kompanije najverovatnije je njegova supruga Gordana Šolak”, navodi se u tekstu „Nacionala” od 6. juna ove godine, i dodaje zanimljiva informacija o Šolakovom okruženju:

„Slovenački preduzetnik Tomaž Jeločnik, koji je 2013. u Sloveniji osuđen zbog utaje poreza, njihov je glavni operativac za poslove u državama s niskim stopama poreza. Jeločnik je direktor kompanije ‘United media distribution AG’ u Švajcarskoj i ‘United media limited’ na Kipru, koja je 3. aprila 2014. osnovala ćerku firmu ‘United media Malta limited’ u Florijani na Malti. Ta kompanija, u kojoj nema nijedne zaposlene osobe, osnovana je kako bi hrvatski pružatelji usluga interneta i televizijskih programa na njen račun uplaćivali naknade za televizijska prava i licence. Od avgusta 2014. do avgusta 2015, ‘United media Malta limited’ primila je 6,7 miliona evra od Hrvatskog Telekoma, Iskona i Vipneta, a na Malti je platila samo 27.000 evra poreza.”

„Hrvatski Telekom, Iskon i Vipnet svakog meseca ukupno su uplaćivali 413.673 evra na Maltu, dok je malteška kompanija svakog meseca prebacivala 401.614 evra od ‘prava na emitovanje’ na Kipar. Malteška kompanija je svakog meseca zarađivala samo 12.059 evra, od čega je u razdoblju između avgusta 2014. i avgusta 2015. uz dodatak jednomesečnog prihoda od hrvatskih operatera napravila 565.586 evra prihoda pre oporezivanja, na šta je platila 27.007 evra poreza ili 4,7 odsto. Da je veći deo od 6,1 milion ‘operativnih troškova’ ili ‘prava na emitovanje’ završilo na Kipru, proizilazi iz izjave finansijske direktorke kiparske firme”, navodi „Nacional”. Oni u tekstu podsećaju na reči Ligije Fratilu, rumunske direktorke kiparskog ogranka UML, koja je 2014. zvanično rekla da će njihova „malteška firma poslovati u Hrvatskoj i na Kipru”

Najmanje 800.000 evra s Malte je primila firma koja je pod imenom ‘United media distribution AG’ osnovana 10. aprila 2015. u poreski ugodnom švajcarskom kantonu Cug. U Cirih se preselila 17. juna 2015, a nekoliko dana kasnije, 24. juna 2015, dobila današnji naziv – ‘United media network AG’. Direktori su, pored (osuđenog za utaju poreza, prim. aut.) Slovenca Jeločnika, i švajcarski advokat Volfram Andreas Kuoni, čija je kancelarija na istoj adresi kao i firma iz Šolakove imperije”

Vir: Express (po Nacionalu)

Iz zgoraj zapisanih dejstev izhaja troje, pri čemer še ne vem, kaj od trojega je huje:

Telekomunikacijski in medijski trg se s prevzemom Proplusa s strani Skupine United Group nevarno – dostopovno in vsebinsko – integrira, pri čemer ima ponudnik dostopa do telekomunikacijskih storitev dominantni (monopolni) položaj tudi pri ponudbi medijskih vsebin in oglaševalskih storitev (70% tržni delež). Regulator trga (AVK) takšne integracije, ki je tudi v nasprotju z medijskim zakonom, ne bi smel dopustiti.
Kontrolo nad telekomunikacijskimi stritvami in medisjkimi vsebinami dobivajo tuja podjetja, povezana z ameriško vojsko in tajnimi službami. Kakorkoli zgornje zveni kot špekulacija, pa si vseeno velja pogledati na Wikileaksu, kako ameriške obveščevalne službe prek Googla in Facebooka nadzirajo osebne komunikacije večine prebivalcev zahodnih držav.
Slovenski telekomunikacijski in medijski trg pospešeno operativno obvladuje poslovnež, ki prek finančne hobotnice podjetij v davčnih oazah utajuje davke v matičnih državah, pri tem pa se “šlepa” na največji svetovni finančni sklad, ki mu s svojim dostopom do vrha politike daje imuniteto.
Te zadeve bi morale vznemiriti regulatorje trga, obveščevalno-varnostno službo in finančno upravo, saj gre za strateške zadeve nacionalnega pomena.

Nacionalni program za kulturo – Vsesplošno klofanje namesto javnih in strokovnih razprav

Nemogoče je spregledati dejstvo, da javne in “strokovne” razprave tako o NPK kot o drugih političnih projektih pri nas ne služijo iskanju najboljših rešitev ampak vsesplošnem medsebojnem obračunavanju, ki še najbolj spominja na splošne pretepe na nekdanjih gasilskih veselicah. Pretep se je običajno začel tako da je nekdo zakričal “Auf biks!”. To je bil signal, da se je vsak spoprijel s svojimi, običajno namišljneimi sovražniki, s konkurenco pri družicah, mejnih sporih in podobnem. Potem je padalo križem in poprek. Še po drugi vojni je bilo pri tem nemalo mrtvih. Veselični pretepi so legalizirali reševanje preganjavic z napadanjem praviloma namišljneih sovražnikov, tekmecev in škodljivcev nasploh. “Auf biks” Ministrstva za kulturo, je bil tokrat očitno strokovno in politično ne dovolj usklajen predlog NPK, ki ga je dalo v javno razpravo. Vse kaže da ga vsi deležniki razumejo got grožnjo, ki pomeni da je v nevarnosti status quo, t.j. njihove pridobljene ugodnosti.

V ozračju vsesplošnega, najpogostje utemeljenega nezaupanja o namerah oblasti. drugače tudi biti ne more. Ne samo kulturna politika, ampak kar vsa politika v poosamosvojitveni Sloveniji je razen redkih izjem zgolj kradla javno, skupno dobro, kar celo nihče ne zanika. Vse od poniklega denarja od trgovine orožja, denacionalizacije in privatizacije, avtocestnega križa, prilaščanje denarja za zdravstvo, nepripravljnenosti odgovornih za zdravstvo prevzeti odgovornost za sistemske strokovne katastrofe … itn, itd. Bilo bi čudno, če ne bi bili vsi oškodovani državljani prežeti z globokim nezaupanjem. Nezaupanje in sumničneje vseh proti vsem, še zlati tistim, ki v imeni države predlagajo kakršenkoli projekte za skupnost, je morda največja značilnost naše nacionalne kulture. Da ne bom naprtil vsega samostojni Sloveniji, priznam, da sem to obsedenost s vsesplošnim sumnjičenjem zaznal že prej. Še zlasti so bili sumljivi posamezniki, ki so se za kaj posebej potrudili, in za to žrtvovali svoje osebne interese. Le kaj imajo za bregom, kakšne prednosti zase skrivajo za smuljivo dobronamernostjo, se je spraševalo vsepovsod. Seveda je prejšnji sistem proizvajal nezaupanje do obalsti s svojim temeljnim ustrojem, z demnevno samoupravo, za katero pa smo vsi vedeli, da je upravljana. Tega “vrhovna oblast” niti ni skrivala.

Družbe z večstoletno demokratično tradicijo se kljub temu, da jih ne pesti akutno nezupanje vseh proti vsem, trudijo, da s svojimi postopki javnih razprav zaupanje utrjujejo. Medtem ko je pri nas za upravljanje z javnimi intresi odločilno načelo “arm’s length principle” neznano in se prevaja tudi s “podaljšano roko politike “(!), se denimo na Švedskem trudijo da bi zaščitili strokovnost odločitev v kulturi celo z dvakratno oddaljneostjo od politike in države.

Znano je, da je Slovenija po indeksu koruptivnosti uvrščena tam okrog devetdesetega mesta: Poleg dejanske razširjenosti korupcije je to tudi jasen pokazatelj vseslošnega nezaupanja, saj raziskave ugotavljajo zaznavo korupcije med nami samimi. Zaradi na več načinov dokazanega hipertrofiranega nezaupnaja bi zato v naših procesih sperejemanja skupnih projektov morali procese sprejemanja prilagoditi tem danostim.

Naše javne strokovne razprave so običajno same sebi namen, zgolj formalnost, ki jo mora zaradi videza vsak predlagatelj izvesti. Treba je pač zadostiti zakonu. Zato so (namerno?) gradiva preobsežna in nestrukturirana, nerazumljiva in roki za javno razpravo prekratki. Predvsem pa je gradivo nestrukturirano. Kako naj na primer verjamemo vladi o drugem tiru, ko je pa odgovorni minister nastopil svoj mandat z vehementno izjavo, da drugega tira ne rabimo? In ni nikoli čutil potrwbe da bi pojasnil zakaj je svoje stališče spremenil. Državljaninismo nikoli seznanjeni z različnimi variantami, ampak samo z enim koceptom- Nikoli niso bile predložene realne analize razlik med predvidenimi stroški v Avstriji, na Kitajskem in pri nas. Tudie neki drugi, do valde kritični strokovnjaki predtsavijo popolnoam drugačen projekt, kot edini mogoč, brez variant.

Kar precej butalsko skrivamo dejstvo, da vsaka različica pomeni pluse in minuse. In da se moramo na koncu odločiti, katere minuse bom sprejeli za izbrane pluse. Menda ni projekta, ki bi pomenil eno in edino možno izvedbo, kot nam dopovedujeje tako predlagetelji kot kritiki. Seveda je treba predstaviti projekte tako s prednostmi kot s pomanjkljivostmi. Nezupanje, strah pred kritiko in nesposobnost za javno razparvo, so verjetno vzrko da alterantive zamolčimo.

Nacionalna kulturna politika je nujno kompleksna. Tvegal bom trditev, da so strokovne razprarve, razen z paranoično prepriljivostjo pogojen s samim centraliziranim, etatističnim sistemom te politike ki smo ga zgradili po osamosvojitvi. Ker je področje kulture od izraznega plesa, knjižnic do filma nadvse raznoliko, krovni predlog že v načelu ne bo mogel zadovoljiti vseh posamičnih interesov, ki izhajajo iz popolnom različnih pogojev, v katerih različne stroke delujejo. Decentralizacija v taki ali drugačni obliki je zato nujnost. Narekuje jo heterogenost področja kulture.

Namesto da poslušamo in beremo pavšalne in neargumentirane ocene o tem, kaj je moderno in kaj zasatarelo, usmerjeno v prihodnost ipd, bi morali začeti razpravlajti o temeljnih alternativah med katerimi moramo izbirati. Ker je ključno vparašanje kdo, kako in o čem naj odloča v kulturi, moramo izbirati nekje med varianto, ko o vsem odloča minister in drugo možnostjo, ko minister, v vladi, družbi in tujini zastopa finančne in strateške interese kulture, promovira pomen kulture a družbo, skrbi za analitično spremljanje njenega delovanja, za nadzor zakonitosti in gospodarnosti. Medtem za konkeretno odločanje o programih skrbe avtonomne stroke same. Izbirati bi morali med “modeli”, ki izhajajo iz “arm’s length principle”, ki omogočajo strokam avtonomnost, in modelom “arm in arm”, kot je to ustrezno in izvirno poimenovala arhitektaka sedanjega sistema. Gre za model popolne zlizanosti kulture z neoliberalno politiko in državo. Argumenti, ki jih navajajo kritiki proti prvi varianati (s takimi ali drugačnimi agnecijami), “councili” itd, so zgovorni. Agencije bodo omogočale reze, povečale stroške… Dokler smo pod perotmi politike, na ministrstvu, v vladi, v strankah, v EU, pod cesarjem …, smo na varnem.

Moj namen ni opredeljevati se za eno ali drugo skrajnost, saj je med obema neskončno vmesnih variant, od katerih ima vsaka svoje prednosti in poamanjkljivosti. Želim le izpostaviti, da pred novim modelom kulture nujno potrebujemo novi model z drugače zastavljenimi in drugače izvedenimi javnimi in strokovnimi razpravami na vseh ravneh, od kabineta, do razprav z zavodi, društvi, agnecijami, lokalnimi skupnostmi, ustvarjalci, vlado, parlamentom, strankami in javnostjo.

Začeti moramo se predlaganjem kratkih in jedrnatih različic s prednostmi in pomanjkljivostm, in tako omogočiti strokam, da se odločijo kaj natančno si želijo, v kakšnem sistemu želijo delovali da bodo delali in ustvarjali bolj učinkovito.