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Zollo Talks: Staat with G.M. Tamás, Pavlos Roufos & Hannah Proctor

4 April 2020

‘Communism is seen as insensitive to the Home. Yes, it is, as it is concerned about the homeless.’

G.M.Tamás, ‘Words from Budapest’

Exit to the left: This discussion tackles the renewed popularity of the question of national sovereignty within the EU, looking more closely at claims to sovereignty emerging from the Left than the far-right interest in the same. As a catchphrase signifying economic self-determination, it seems more often than not to imply keeping closer tabs on ‘unregulated migration’, another watchword of the current predicament. Calls for ‘open borders’ are decried as merely the friendly, moralist face of ‘neoliberalism’, itself code for class struggle from above. Under what form is such a thing as ‘economic self-determination’ an actual possibility for states participating in the world market and do the options of ‘leaving’ or ‘remaining’ at all provide answers to that question? And how has the convergence of Right and Left over the question of migration come about?

G. M. Tamás, Pavlos Roufos and Hannah Proctor will attempt to unravel what desires, flawed assumptions and historical developments form the basis of this Left nationalism and with what difficulties anti-national praxis has to reckon.

G. M. Tamás is a Hungarian philosopher and political dissident of the communist as well as the post-communist regime. He was a Member of Parliament and the director of the Institute of Philosophy of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He was unemployed for long stretches of time for political reasons, both before and after 1989. He is a well-known essayist whose works deal with post-fascism, nationalism and ethnicism, class theory as well as the aftermath of the collapse of the thing known as real existing socialism.

Pavlos Roufos researches Ordoliberalism and German economic policy at the University of Kassel, writes regularly about the Greek crisis and other incidents in political economy for The Brooklyn Rail and in his book A Happy Future Is A Thing Of The Past, published in 2018 by Reaktion Books.

Hannah Proctor mostly writes about histories and theories of radical psychiatry. She’s just finished her first book Psychologies in Revolution on the Soviet psychiatrist and neurologist Alexander Luria and is working on her second which will be published by Verso and is provisionally titled Burnout: On the Psychic Aftermath of Political Struggle. She writes a regular column on politics and psychology for Tribune magazine and is on the editorial collective of Radical Philosophy.

Virno’s “The Horror of Familiarity” and Tamás’ “On Post-Fascism” were circulated at the original event. You can find PDFs for those essays here and here, respectively.

Ausstieg links: dieses Gespräch widmet sich der in der EU jüngst erweckten Beliebtheit der Frage nach Nationaler Souveränität. Nähere Aufmerksamkeit gilt hierbei den aus linken Kreisen aufkommenden Forderungen nach Souveränität als selbigen vom rechten Rand.

Als Schlagwort, das ökonomische Selbstbestimmung bedeuten soll, kommt es jedoch selten ohne ein Bekenntnis zur Einschränkung der ‘ungeregelten Migration’, ein anderes Kennwort der gegenwärtigen Situation, aus. Rufe nach ‘offenen Grenzen’ werden als das bloß freundliche, moralistische Gesicht des ‘Neoliberalismus’, das Kennwort für Klassenkampf von oben, verschrieen. In welcher Form ist so etwas wie ‘ökonomische Selbstbestimmung’ für Staaten, die sich am Weltmarkt beteiligen, möglich und bieten die Optionen ‘leave’ oder ‘remain’ überhaupt Antworten auf diese Frage? Und wie ist schließlich die Übereinstimmung von Rechts und Links über die Frage der Migration zustande gekommen?

G. M. Tamás, Pavlos Roufos und Hannah Proctor werden versuchen Sehnsüchte, Fehlschlüsse und historische Entwicklungen, die diesem linken Nationalismus zugrunde liegen, zu entwirren und auszuführen, mit welchen Schwierigkeiten sich anti-nationale Praxis konfrontiert sieht.

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