We all resist so much. We have to. Or do we?
What are we actually resisting all the time? As academics, as scholars we take pride in our capacity to critique, analyse, deconstruct. To what end?
I am as responsible as the professor next to you. I wrote aplenty about neoliberalism, capitalism, democracy, the deficiencies of the state, the EU, the constitution, participation, emancipation.
For a while I felt secure behind the veil of critique that shields academia from real life. My job was to deconstruct I told myself, not to propose policy solutions. This was a job for the politicians.
Alas, the politicians offered no solutions. People like me took power in Greece, in Portugal, threaten to take power in Spain. Even in the US a ‘socialist’ candidate is making headway, unheard of.
But there is often a pronounced lack of governance from the professionals of critique. The best example is Prof. Varoufakis. We have written similar stuff in similar ways based on different, yet consistent literature. We reference Stigliz, Krugman, Marx, Foucault. We critique away. But, when the crisis reaches us, we come face to face with life, then we need to propose policy as well as to whinge about the inequalities of capitalism, the deficiencies of the EU, the errors of bureaucracy. We need to propose solutions that help, rather than hurt the population.
We need to improve the lives of real people, rather than the abstractions of voters, citizens, activists.
Why all this reflection you may wonder? Who cares what I critique anyway? The reason for this post is the inauguration of Varoufakis DiEM25, the lurch into Utopia.
Thinking ‘Utopia’ is exactly why we got into this mess to begin with. Tsipras and his band of merry bandits were thinking Utopia. Had no vision as to how to run an actual country with actual breathing people (and yes this includes breathing people who need to feed, beyond the Syriza close and dear who get cushy state jobs).
Varoufakis, urging us to debate, think, engage with the abstract aim of ‘improving’ the EU is asking us to continue to do what we have been doing already. Sit on the couch and pen blog posts about democracy and participation.
Greece is sinking, Europe is disintegrating. Varoufakis and his buddies are dreaming. Let them dream, but the rest of us need to wake up.