We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Some of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

This is not a social state any more

by Christoph Butterwegge Saturday, Apr. 24, 2010 at 9:57 AM
mbatko@yahoo.com

Building community centers (as in Vancouver BC), redistributing income and assets from top to bottom, reducing working hours, expanding the public non-profit sector and accepting housing, education and health care as rights not privileges would be important steps to a bright future.

‘THIS IS NOT A SOCIAL STATE ANY MORE”

Interview with Christoph Butterwegge

Poverty is not limited to seniors, unemployed and foreigners. Christoph Butterwegge, professor of political science at the University of Koln, on secret poverty and political shows

[This interview published in: Freitag, 4/4/2010 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.freitag.de/politik/1013-das-ist-kein-sozialstaat-mehr-interview-butterwege.]



Freitag: The debate over social division and performance justice is more vehement and pointed this spring. Westerwelle’s phrase about “late Roman decadence” may enter the history of political phrases. Westerwelle, the conservative FDP chairperson, has been sharply criticized. What is the greatest social-political problem in Germany?

Christoph Butterwegge: That relative poverty has spread so intensely in a well-to-do country like Germany. In Germany, growing riches on one side face extreme social problems on the other side. I see the great danger of society disintegrating or falling apart – above all when polarization increases in the course of a greater economic crisis.

We have been warned of social division for decades. Isn’t “falling apart” an exaggeration?

No, the situation has changed. Poverty is no longer limited to the classical groups: seniors, unemployed and foreigners (migrants). Today poverty reaches into the middle of society, as seen for example in the broad low-wage sector that did not exist before. Poverty grasps more and more groups of the population and destroys the social-political culture of our country. Hartz IV is depressing for those affected and makes anxious those who fear becoming unemployed and soon sinking to the income support level. The division is real. Some have enough money and can buy social security on a welfare market. Others have no social security and depend increasingly on private charity and food donations of the “food banks.” This has nothing to do with the social state as known in the past.

You once called this the development to the “soup-kitchen state.”

It may sound alarmist but we are heading for a welfare-, alms- and soup kitchen state if no social-political change of course occurs. But the public debate goes in the opposite direction. The stricken themselves are blamed instead of recognizing poverty as a structural problem of a neoliberal society oriented in competition and consumption that leads to the exclusion of a growing part of the population. The social problems of people are not in the foreground but their laziness and social misuse. That is regular propaganda… A new round of social cuts is rung in.

This is in contradiction to political campaigns like the “European Year against Poverty and Social Exclusion.” What can this initiative accomplish?

At least the European Union is setting the right signal. Even if it is a pure symbolic policy, the initiative is positive in sensitizing people and awakening consciousness for the problem of growing poverty. On the other side, the European Union has a credibility problem since its policy of privatization, deregulation and economizing of the social deepens the gulf between poverty and wealth.

Can promoting individual projects – the German social minister Ursula von der Leyen spoke of “light- towers” change anything in the problems you addressed?

What use is a light-tower when the light goes out behind the dike or levee? The children and youth projects promoted in the European Year are prestige projects. PR-actions and shows in which the female minister sings to encourage the afflicted do not change their miserable situation. A summer c amp for children from disadvantaged families can be very beautiful in the isolated case. But it does not deliver them from their poverty. Such projects are hardly useful when nothing changes in government policy.

Do you have any expectations for the European Year against Poverty?

I hope poverty will not be whitewashed, glossed over, relativized and ideologically de-contaminated in the public realm, the media and academia as in the past. Only persons who take the problem of poverty seriously can combat the social division in their own country.



Christoph Butterwegge, b. 1951, is one of the best known German poverty researchers. The political scientist teaches at the University of Koln. His last book is titled “Poverty in a Rich Land. How the problem is trivialized and repressed” (Armut in einem reichen Land. Wie das Problem verharmlost und verdrangt wird,” Campus Verlag).

RELATED LINKS:

www.freembtranslations.com

www.informationclearinghouse.info

www.socialistproject.ca

www.worklessparty.org

Report this post as:

© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy