Gianluca Costantini
Political Comics

Auschwitz on the Beach – Annulled


Some German newspapers and some Jewish cultural centers have harshly criticised the title of the performance that we were expected to give in Kassel the 24th of August.
As we respect the sensitivity of those persons who feel offended by this title, we cancel the performance, but in the following lines I’m going to reply to arguments that can be interpreted as a misunderstanding or as a sign of hypocrisy and manipulation.
Some of the critical voices, for instance Jorg Steinback author of an article titled Das Ende der Kunst published by the Hessische Allgemeine 18 august) accuse us of relativisation of Nazism, and of the Holocaust, because we dare to name the symbol of inhumanity: Auschwitz in relation to what is happening now all around the Mediterranean sea.
Should we accept the notion that Nazism cannot be contextualised, analysed as a the outcome of a social, political and psychological situation? Should we believe that no sign of Nazism can re emerge in the history of the world?
The identification of Nazism as an exceptional manifestation of the Absolute Evil that cannot be referred to an historical context and that will never re-emerge, is a dangerous form of self-absolution of power. Nazism did not come from a devilish god, as an inexplicable manifestation of Evil, but emerged in a precise social, political and psychological context; it was the effect of the long protracted humiliation of German population, of the impoverishment of German society. The criminal ideology based on racial discrimination, and aimed to racial extermination has to be analysed in this context.
In June 2016, while the British were voting for Brexit and the Americans were listening to Trump, Zbigniew Brzeziński published an article titled “Toward a Global Realignment.” According to Brzeziński: “Periodic massacres of their (…) ancestors by colonists and associated wealth-seekers largely from Western Europe (…) resulted within the past two or so centuries in the slaughter of colonized peoples on a scale comparable to Nazi World War II crimes: literally involving hundreds of thousands and even millions of victims. (…) delayed outrage and grief is a powerful force that is now surfacing, thirsting for revenge, not just in the Muslim Middle East but also very likely beyond.”
Should we accuse Brzesinski of antisemitism, and of relativisation of Nazism? I don’t think so: he writes that Nazism is the most extreme and inhuman manifestation of a long stream of inhumanity that marks the history of modern colonialism, and can re-emerge in contemporary world in multifarious forms: as revenge of the oppressed who are now possessing weapons of mass destruction, and also as racist upheaval of the western white population, disempowered and seeking for supremachist revenge.
The intention of the poetical action that we have decided to cancel is to alert everybody: in our time the extreme inhumanity of Nazism is re-emerging, and the Mediterranean is one of the theatres of this re-emergence.
Ten years of austeritarian politics have enormously impoverished the European workers and social structures, particularly in the Southern countries of the Union. Democracy has been cancelled because political decisions taken by voters have been obliterated for the sake of the bank system rescue: the humiliation of the Syriza government has been the highpoint of this systematic obliteration of democracy.
Political impotence and social impoverishment have resulted in the humiliation of the European workers. The systematic betrayal of leftist parties has generated a widespread consensus to the right wing, and most importantly a wave of xenophobia and racial aggressiveness in large part of the european population.
The modern myth of potency, is failing. The ageing white population is unable to change things by political means. We should not underestimate the meaning of humiliation for the white western population. Humiliated people tend to identify with the humiliator in chief, like the trump victory demonstrates.
In this situation migrants have become the perfect scapegoat. They are deemed responsible of a crisis that has been generated by financial capitalism, and has no connection with the migration.
The prohibitionist politics enforced by the european leading class, in the attempt to gather popular consensus, and systematic rejection have obviously produced an illegal system of transportation and penetration in the fortress Europe. Migrants are obliged to give their money to criminal gangs that make the transportation possible in conditions of extreme precariousness and danger.
As a result countless migrants have died, in their path through the deserts, and in the waters of the Mediterranean sea. The massive casualties are the direct consequence of the refusal of europeans to face their historical and political responsibility.
After the military enforcement of the Balkan borders, and of the Greek borders, now it is the turn of the Italian border, that has been sealed with the help of the Libyan Coast Guard, which is notoriously linked to the smugglers who transport migrants.
Recently the Italian government, betrayed by the European Union, and pressed by the racist political groups (Lega and M5S) has decided to follow the methodology of total rejection adopted by the the majority of countries of the continent.
NGOs have been accused of abetting illegal migration, so they have been obliged to bend to a restrictive code or to leave their place in the Mediterranean. Medicines sans frontiers have decided to leave the field of operation, and other NGO are subjected to judiciary procedures, because they are accused of intelligence with the smugglers. Now the flow of migrants has been reduced thanks to the alliance with the Libyan Coast Guard, who is known to be linked with the network of smugglers.
Migrants pay the smugglers for the passage, during the passage they are halted by the Guard, and brought back to Libia, where they can try again the illegal crossing, paying for the second time. More often they are segregated in camps where they are routinely subjected to violence, slave work, tortures, and death.
In the past decade the european Union has been a machine for financial predation: an unprecedented transfer of resources from the salaried people to the financial system has happened. Now the Union is turning into a machine for rejection and extermination, if we’ll be unable to stop the cynical politics of scapegoating, rejecting and delivering people to executioners.
It’s crystal clear that in the present conditions rejection and externalisation of borders equal extermination. Uncountable migrants have drowned crossing the sea, and countless are being detained, enslaved, tortured and killed all around the Mediterranean: the extermination is based on a racial discrimination. Can I say that this has a strong resemblance with the historical phenomenon named Nazism? It’s not matter of scale, it is not a contest. But the cultural sentiment and political behaviour of European governments and populations are re-staging the sentiment and behaviour of the Germans who identified a scapegoat in the Jewish and Roma communities during the years of the second world war.
We don’t know how many people of Arab, Afghan, African origins have drowned in the mediterranean, how many have died in the camps from the Balkans to Ceuta. What we know is that the present carnage is only the beginning of a massive bloodbath. Should we remain silent?
franco berardi august 21 2017

Italy / Germany

Political Comics


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