Zero hunger, zero hypocrisy!
By Flo Osrainik
[This article published on March 5, 2021 is translated from the German on the Internet, Zero Hunger, Zero Heuchelei! - Neue Debatte (neue-debatte.com)]
ZeroHunger, steaks for everyone. (Photo: Kyle Mackie, Unsplash.com)
Plato defined oligarchy as the lawless rule of the rich who act only out of self-interest. After decades of globally increasing oligarchy as well as lots of double standards, we are in an extremely critical situation. Thousands of people starve to death every day, and probably many more fall ill.
Due to the restrictive corona measures of governments, which lead to a fusion of state and corporate power, the deadly hunger virus is now spreading extremely fast across the planet, plunging millions of people into poverty.
Authoritarian restrictions violate fundamental and human rights: they exacerbate systemic suffering and wipe out numerous human lives as well as economic livelihoods. In the face of such devastation, taking this harmful action to extremes with "ZeroCovid slogans" (1) is highly irresponsible and would prolong the lockdown into eternity. The motto should rather be: ZeroHunger, ZeroHypocrisy!
The system has failed! It has permanently restricted the lives of billions of people for a long time and causes masses of starvation deaths every year, every month, every week, every day and every hour. That is why we need a real change of the system and no further running in the completely wrong direction aggravated by Corona restrictions. Nor must the goal be just a few hunger deaths - it must be ZERO.
We need a common global strategy immediately to effectively combat continued human rights abuses. In any case, the race against the hunger virus fueled by Corona politics cannot be won with the payment of development (how much of it goes where?) and aid money - into the throats of the powerful pharmaceutical corporations - in a structure of corruption, greed for growth, repression, propaganda and wars of aggression.
In addition to a consistent peace policy and a global lockdown for the production companies of cartridges and cannons, I therefore demand that worldwide poverty be fought immediately in such a determined and purposeful manner that every death from hunger is immediately avoided. Because: This goal serves exclusively the well-being and health of the people.
Failure to make consistent efforts to defeat the hunger virus would only expose the actions of international politics in the context of the Corona crisis as clumsy hypocrisy and mass murder, or at the very least as negligent killing of the suffering on an industrial scale.
The concerted action of governments in the last twelve months has shown that it would be very possible to put an end to the spread and even the existence of the hunger virus and to banish systemic starvation to the chamber of horrors of human aberrations and aberrations. Utopian does not exist anymore, virus is called the magic word - and together we create that!
I orient myself therefore simply at the new corona reality, the reason and the international humanity. However, the eradication of the hunger virus, which is deadly for people of all ages, can only succeed if all measures are designed and implemented collectively. That is why I call for:
1. down to zero together.
The first goal is to reduce the number of hunger deaths to zero. To defeat the hunger virus, action must be taken quickly and simultaneously worldwide. For example, with unconditional and unbureaucratic transfer payments, freely accessible emergency medical care, and mandatory distribution of surplus basic and food items to those in need through public-private partnerships across all national borders.
Once this first goal of life-saving measures is achieved, further arrangements for sustainable system change can be adopted and implemented in a second step. Third, we need a shared long-term vision and, based on it, regional, national, continental and global action plans.
Basic supplies for the many millions of people in need must be stabilized and secured through a control strategy. In particular, children threatened by the hunger virus must receive priority assistance.
To achieve this most important goal, we need an immediate and solidary resumption of general life. Opening means: we resume direct, social contact with our fellow human beings, and especially with the poor, the sick and the weak.
We actively approach these people, reach out to them and offer our help! Measures cannot be successful if they hit the wrong people and turn masses into new people in need of help. We must abolish the socially harmful sectors of the economy, the production of weapons, the environmental pollution attributable to them, the greed for growth or the speculation with basic and foodstuffs and promote healthy living.
Utilities, services, stores, cultural sites, clubs, schools or other places of meeting, as well as means of transportation, must be opened immediately and made accessible to everyone without harassment. Exploitation, apartheid, exclusion, defamation and surveillance of people must end immediately.
All people have a right to a self-determined life in a solidary and democratic society that deserves this name. With this appeal, all forces are called upon to immediately commit themselves to measures against world hunger and to implement them.
2. nobody must be left behind
People can only live in dignity if their basic and human rights are respected and if it is possible to provide them with the most basic necessities. Therefore, a comprehensive rescue package along the lines of the rapid international donor conferences for the pharmaceutical industry in the Corona crisis or for the banks in the last financial crisis must now be put in place without delay for the army of the poor.
People who are particularly hard hit by the negative effects of the prevailing system must receive immediate support. This applies to people in catastrophic housing conditions, with low incomes, without adequate medical care, in war and crisis zones, or the homeless.
Collective accommodations must be dissolved, refugees must be cared for, received and housed in a humane manner. Wars of aggression to conquer markets and resources or the destruction of local markets must be ended by decisive international action and those responsible held accountable in independent courts.
Failure by those responsible to provide assistance is to be punished more severely than any violation of Corona restrictions, effective immediately. Any political or diplomatic immunity must be immediately lifted, as well as replaced with global immunity from the hunger virus.
3. expansion of the social health infrastructure
The entire health and care sector must be expanded worldwide in a sustainable manner. The privatization and closure of hospitals must be reversed.
All people must be provided with free basic medical care. The budget in this area must be significantly increased by the international community. Medical facilities must be put into planning immediately when needed, staff must be increased, and wages must be raised decisively.
The systemic pursuit of profit in the health sector is damaging to collective health, as the Corona crisis also shows. The operation of hospitals must serve the general benefit and not the individual profit maximization and should therefore be based on solidarity. The sick and the needy are not to be enriched.
4. basic goods and food are global common goods
Hunger and poverty can only be defeated globally by working together. Public and private companies, organizations and initiatives must therefore immediately support and implement the necessary steps for a sustainable system change. Water, air and food as well as a minimum of medical care, co-determination, freedom and peace are unconditionally available to all people.
International politics has shown how to coordinate, network and act together at the global level.
These common goods and elementary rights have to come before profit, profit maximization and the dogma of eternal growth. They are not to be put up for discussion or played off against other rights.
5. solidary financing
The necessary measures cost money. Some societies in the world, especially in colonial and industrialized nations, have captured and accumulated enormous wealth over the centuries, but only a few wealthy people own it. With this concentrated wealth, politics is influenced and controlled, which is why it is an imperial and global oligarchy that has little to do with freedom, solidarity and democracy. Already with a part of this wealth all measures to eradicate poverty and hunger can be financed. Money is not an obstacle; politics has also proven that in the Corona crisis.
Therefore, in summary, I demand nothing less than a rapid end to world hunger, a change of system necessary for this, and an end to the unprecedented world-wide and intolerable hypocrisy.
I demand the reversal of all privatizations and closures in the health sector during the Corona crisis, a total lockdown for the war and propaganda industry as well as all stock exchanges for speculation with common goods, a free basic supply, an immediate worldwide opening and the obligatory reintroduction of human rights.
We must strike down the political and media double standards. All forces have to unite for ZeroHunger and ZeroHypocrisy. There is a contradiction between human rights such as the defense of self-determination and co-determination and the authoritarian state that positions the monopoly of violence against people and human rights for capitalist corporations.
Contrary to superficial claims, it is not and has not been about the welfare of the many, the eradication of systemic poverty and war, but about the establishment of digital totalitarianism and the expansion of power of the globally ruling oligarchy. The unity of freedom - self-determination - and solidarity - community - is the crucial key to a human rights-based strategy for ZeroHunger and ZeroHypocrisy.
Sources and Notes
Editorial Note: The article by Flo Osrainik appeared on Rubikon - Magazine for the Critical Mass and was adapted from New Debate. The work is licensed under a Creative Commons license (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International). It may be distributed and reproduced subject to the terms of the license.
The Corona Dossier
Under false flag against freedom, human rights and democracy
The Corona Dossier by Flo Osrainik.(Cover: Rubikon Verlag)
Review: The Corona Dossier
"(...) Flo Osrainik outlines the prehistory and background of the pandemic and names those who have long determined the pace of global politics behind the scenes."
"Aptly, the author also interprets the 'Corona regime' as a muscle play of state authority with which governments unleashed the wrecking ball on the democratic façade in the countries of the 'free world.'"
- Roland Rottenfußer (Editor-in-Chief of 'Behind the Headlines')
"This dossier will one day be a standard work. Hopefully in the not-too-distant future. Because in it - meticulously, with a wealth of evidence and a sharp eye for context - pretty much everything has been compiled that you shouldn't know, but must know."
- Walter van Rossum (Investigative Journalist)
"A year ago, a thing from the microbiological wonder world provided an ominous melange of shareholders, bureaucrats, technocrats, lobbyists and power-crazed political careerists with the pitch to seize our civilization. The population is being prescribed the exitus of free thinking by means of a pandemic Jericho trumpet, while society is being transformed into an unprecedented dictatorship of profit."
- Gunther Sosna (New Debate Initiator)
Ullrich Mies (Photo: Rubikon)
"After (...) one year of Corona crisis, it is undoubtedly clear for the critical observer of time: it was and is not at all about Corona for the centers of power, rather the produced consequential damages were and are the real goal of the operation and shall swear Western capitalism to a completely new regime of profit."
Editor and freelance journalist | Website
Born and raised in Munich, Germany, Flo Osrainik is an editor and freelance journalist. He lives and works in Munich and Istanbul. His topics are society and global affairs. He has contributed to RT Deutsch, junge Welt, Telepolis, amerika21, Hintergrund and the weblog NEOPresse, among others. He is also a volunteer editor at acTVism Munich and a member of Freischreiber, a professional association of freelance journalists.
Under capitalism, everything becomes a commodity, including these sheep in Australia. (Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur, Unsplash.com)
Under the Christmas tree: hunger and the cannibalistic world order
December 24, 2020
Super natural. (Photo: Marija Zaric, Unsplash.com)
The price of profit: globally rising poverty, declining education, lousy health
January 23, 2018
Austrian NGOs call for sustainable development policies. (Illustration: New Debate)
Confronting climate change globally
November 18, 2019
In "People & Nature"
All is right what you write, Flo Osrainik. All correct! The restrictive corona measures of the governments show that the powerful could also go in the direction of ZeroHunger, ZeroHypocrisy. However, the oligarchs and the people in the reGovments, who are bought with participation in power and money, will not do that. As long as we do not insist: We are the sovereign - and you only our representatives. http://www.pfingsten-in-berlin.de
A simple law can stop corporations from exploiting people and the environment
By Lena Krainz
[This article published on March 4, 2021 is translated from the German on the Internet, Lieferkettengesetz: Damit Konzerne Menschen und Umwelt nicht ausbeuten (kontrast.at).]
By the time a T-shirt lands in a store in Austria, it has traveled thousands of miles, from cotton production to sewing and dyeing to finishing. But who is responsible for ensuring that human rights and environmental standards are met along the way? At present, no one. Corporations voluntarily protect neither human rights nor labor rights. A supply chain law can change that!
PEOPLE ARE EXPLOITED FOR CARPETS, SPREADS, T-SHIRTS AND CIGARETTES
Indian boys, younger than 6, knotting carpets - inhaling wool residue every day. Girls rolling cigarettes. Indonesian workers who cultivate fields of oil palms and inhale herbicides - so we eat palm oil in cookies and spreads. Far too often, globally traded goods are produced under inhumane conditions.
"We import human rights violations with the products that are on our shelves," criticizes SPÖ Member of Parliament Petra Bayr. We consume what has been produced under exploitation. Do we then simply have to consume something else? Shifting the responsibility to the end consumer is not enough - it is up to the production and distribution companies to fulfill their obligations. After all, they decide who they commission to do what. They look for low-cost suppliers and accept that people and the environment will be harmed. Every supplier is a link in a chain - and this is precisely where initiatives for a supply chain law in Austria come in.
INTERNATIONAL INITIATIVES AND PARTIES CALL FOR A SUPPLY CHAIN LAW
A study in the EU Commission shows that only every 3rd European company checks its supply chains with regard to human rights and environmental impacts. In several countries, there are therefore initiatives to adopt supply chain laws.
While France already passed a corresponding law in 2017 and in 2020 the majority of the Swiss voted in favor of the corporate responsibility initiative, there was also recently agreement on a supply chain law in Germany. There should still be a draft at EU level in 2021.
Two campaigns are working in Austria to ensure that human rights and environmental standards are respected in global supply chains. More than 10 NGOs, AK and ÖGB are jointly calling for the petition "Human rights need laws" as part of their campaign. The SPÖ also supports this alliance. The Social Democrats demand that international corporations that sell products or offer services in Austria must review their supply chains. If they discover that human, labor or environmental rights are being disregarded, they should have to take action. Those affected should be able to sue the corporation in Austrian courts in the event of damage - and there should not only be fines, but also the termination of public contracts.
In addition, the "Initiative Supply Chain Act Austria" has been running since November 2020. It wants a law that "holds corporations accountable locally and makes a national contribution to the European debate."
SELF-COMMITMENT BY COMPANIES IS NOT ENOUGH
Environmental protection is also ignored for the cheap and fast production of goods that are in high demand. A well-known example is the clearing of rainforests for beef imports.
Although about 400 companies voluntarily committed to deforestation-free production in 2010, 1.1 million km2 have been cut down since then. That's more than the area of Austria, Germany and France combined.
The mining of lithium, a light metal used in cell phones and electric cars, also causes severe damage to the environment. Against the backdrop of digitalization, we will probably need this raw material to an even greater extent in the future. Although there are already more environmentally friendly mining options, corporations prefer to resort to the cheaper, extremely water-intensive variant.
This shows that profit-oriented corporations do not automatically pay attention to the well-being of people and the environment. Hoping for voluntary commitment will not end exploitation. A supply chain law puts the onus on corporations because they will not change anything on their own initiative.
A supply chain law in Austria would prevent deforestation of rainforests.
Example of deforestation: A rainforest in Madagascar (Source: Cunningchrisw/Wikicommons/CC BY-SA 4.0)
The issue of supply chains in Parliament.
MORE ON THE TOPIC
Symbolic world market
How to make the world market more humane
Child labor "When 70 million children are working like slaves, I can't sit back"
Corporations must also be responsible for their suppliers - that's the only way to end child labor and the destruction of the earth.
The social democratic magazine Kontrast.at accompanies current politics with its articles. We look at society, the state and the economy from a progressive, emancipatory point of view. Kontrast casts a social justice eye on the world.
The new unhomeliness. How Corona is getting people out of the habit of living
Interview with Florian Roetzer
[This interview published on March 14, 2021 is translated from the German on the Internet, Die neue Unheimeligkeit. Wie Corona den Menschen das Wohnen abgewöhnt. (nachdenkseiten.de).]
Are you still living or are you already climbing the walls? Corona has thoroughly spoiled being at home for more than a few. For others, it has become a fortress against an invisible enemy. With "Sein und Wohnen" (Being and Living), Florian Rötzer provides the right reading material for this unwell time. His philosophical foray through the millennia reveals much that is worth knowing and some curiosities about a topic that has received little attention to date. In an interview with NachDenkSeiten, he talks about places of refuge and prisons before, during and after the pandemic, dirt as a feel-good factor and the new unhappiness under the sign of cyber cities and surveillance. Ralf Wurzbacher spoke with the journalist and publicist.
Personal details: Florian Rötzer, born in 1953, is a freelance author and publicist specializing in media theory and aesthetics. From 1996 to December 31, 2020, he was editor-in-chief of the online magazine Telepolis and publisher of the Telepolis book and eBook series. His publications include "Telepolis. Urbanity in the Digital Age" (1995), "Smart Cities in the Cyberwar" (2015), and currently at Westend-Verlag "Being and Living. Philosophical Ramblings on the History and Meaning of Living."
Mr. Rötzer, it should be as homely as possible in one's own home. Does that still apply in times of Corona, and to what extent has the pandemic changed your own feeling or perception of "being at home"?
In times of pandemic, the home should actually become even more of a refuge. But when you are forced to lock yourself in, no longer allow guests in, and access to the public outside the house or apartment door is restricted, the home becomes a trap. Especially when all activities must now be performed here and everyone is almost always there. Many have perceived and experienced their homes in a new way, furnished them differently. But for many, the apartment has also become cramped, especially for the many singles who often find themselves confined to just one room. We endure this mainly because the apartments and houses are directly connected to the world public via the media and are networked with other apartments, houses and also the people on the streets, thus becoming cells of a global system as well. We therefore learn that the private space has increasingly inverted into a public one and that we are also connected to the "outside" with home offices, tele-education in schools and universities, online shopping et cetera.
In your new book "Being and Living," you write about the ambivalence between the home as a shelter, a place of security and intimacy on the one hand, and as a prison on the other. Where do you personally feel safer from the virus?
Yes, already in the apartment - and still now. But I also have the privilege of living in the middle of Munich in a spacious apartment in an old building. In Germany, the ban on going out was not quite as strict as in other countries. If you can get out several times a day, it's bearable. If one is anxious, encounters outside the apartment will probably seem more dangerous for infections. Inside the home, one can control who has access and also take technical precautions against "intruders," such as using air filters. However, indoor areas in general - and also fellow human beings - are under suspicion. This is not new, by the way. As early as 1866, the American engineer and hygienist Louise Leeds said, "Man's breath is his greatest enemy." In the background is the individualization reinforced by epidemics through social distancing.
Was it actually a curse or a blessing for you that your book had to be published at a time when the ceiling was falling on many people because of lockdown and quarantine measures?
It was already an older project that I had been writing on the side for a while. I discovered for myself, which is not unknown, how strongly epidemics have influenced life and living together with technology in the history of the last centuries. If you will, it was a blessing, although I was more interested in philosophical matters and less in "beautiful living" and how that has changed in concrete terms.
Your book is the "first comprehensive attempt at a philosophy of living," you write, and on 280 pages you outline various forms of living, starting with single-celled organisms, through apes, early humans and nomads, to the most diverse forms of sedentarism. In the process, epochal caesuras appear again and again, depending on political, economic, cultural, technical developments or even health crises, as they were triggered again and again by epidemics. Do you think Corona has a similarly revolutionary potential in terms of how and where people will live in the future?
The Corona pandemic does not bring anything essentially new, even if it is the first global event that has been studied more than ever before by the sciences in real time and steered by the advice of scientists, so it has become a first global social experiment. However, the crisis reinforces tendencies that were already there before: that is, the withdrawal from society, the sanitization of the body and the living world, and the further digitalization and automation of many areas of life and work.
Which also affects the way we live?
Of course, although these developments existed even before that. But the pandemic is clearly advancing the utopia or dystopia, at any rate the business model of cyber cities and their cells, the smart homes, i.e. the model of cities in which as far as possible everything and everyone is networked and monitored for the purpose of optimization. In a sense, the home becomes an autonomous vehicle that adapts, obeys and responds to the user, but at the same time registers everything and makes him part of a self-controlling system. To stay in the picture, the user is no longer at the wheel and throttle; he becomes a passenger in the home as well. This will also change cities. Inner cities will become deserted again, for example, as offices, stores and universities move into virtual space, and the home office will break down the spatial link between the home and the workplace.
What role could the invisible enemy from "outside" play in all this, even in post-Corona times? Will the home of the future perhaps become even more of an aseptic fortress against germs, viruses and bacteria than it is today?
In any case, the tendency can be observed since the 19th century, when the hygiene movement and state hygiene policies began to take hold and the great cleaning began. In this process, the fight against odors and perfuming played a major role. This has also been described as a history of civilization, with new rules of behavior and cleanliness, what one may and may not do, how to eat, sleep, keep the body and the home clean. An example: Until the end of the 19th century, it was still common practice to spit on the floor. Only gradually did the spittoon become established in rooms as a defense against tuberculosis, which then remained in the hallways until people - apart from soccer players - lost the compulsion to spit at all.
And then, at some point, the virus appeared on the scene.
Yes, and the discovery of bacteria is fought in the bodies and on the surfaces. Only desirable things should still live in the rooms. Former co-inhabitants like mice, cockroaches, bugs, flies, spiders up to dust mites and microorganisms are eradicated with all means and tools. Now it's a matter of filtering the air to remove bacteria and viruses, as well as fine dust and other particles, including smelly ones. This goes so far as to recommend not only measuring indoor CO2 levels through sensors, but also saying not to enter a room where the level is above 800 ppm.
Windows and doors are airtight in new houses, vacuuming robots are constantly on the move in the rooms, accompanied perhaps by UV robots that sterilize all surfaces. Increasingly, the operation of devices is contactless through gesture, eye or voice control. The long-term goal or endpoint may be the conditions under which the elementary components of the digital world, the chips, are manufactured: hostile clean rooms in which people not only protect themselves with protective clothing but also avoid becoming spreaders of skin and hair particles. This would then be the turning of cleanliness against the embodied human being, much like the immune system can turn against its own body.
That sounds like a nice and healthy scenario. Couldn't it also run exactly the other way around: Back to man and nature, because one has had to miss them for so long?
After the Corona-induced encapsulation, we will of course again enjoy closeness and immersion in crowds. At the same time, however, the distancing and virtualization will continue, with the compulsion for cleanliness and the tendency toward singeing. The sterilization of architecture existed before the pandemic. The tendency for interiors to shine cleanly, like airports, with as few traces of life as possible adhering to their surfaces, ultimately means maintaining distance and reducing the mixing of respiratory streams and bodily fluids. I also assume that in the course of this, asexualization will continue to increase.
It is astonishing how little attention was paid to hygiene and cleanliness in the Western Occident over long stretches of the Middle Ages and into modern times. You have described this impressively in your book. People surrounded themselves with dirt almost out of conviction, especially members of the higher classes. What was the background to this?
Since ancient times, there has been the theory that diseases are caused by miasms, by exhalations from the soil. This did not prevent people until the fall of the Roman Empire and, for example, the neighboring Muslims from washing and caring for the body. This not only served cleanliness, but was simply part of the social culture that people pursued in baths, for example. In the late Middle Ages, however, presumably due to Christianity's contempt for the body, bathing and body culture had fallen into disrepair, and the theory arose - also connected with the onset of plague epidemics - that dangerous vapors penetrate into the body through the pores, which is why protection against disease consists in sealing them off. Dirt or not washing therefore protected against disease. Large parts of Europe sank into dirt and abstinence from washing in reaction to the epidemics. This also affected cities and homes, which sank into filth and stench.
Another theme of your book is the relationship between "dwelling" and "home" in the sense of being rooted to the "soil." For Martin Heidegger, the two belonged together, and he already understood the moon landing as man's alienation from the earth. As a counterpart, you present the "philosophy of being unhoused" by Vilém Flusser, who also propagated something like a new nomadism against the background of the great migration movements in the 20th century. Why is this approach more congenial to you than the other?
Heidegger's philosophy is backward-looking and conservative in a bad sense. Basically, he defends the identitarian blood-and-soil ideology that everything belongs in its place, that being human is linked to sedentariness and a non-urban life. Homeland then becomes a defense of the place to which one feels bound against strangers. Especially since Heidegger's thinking also lacks any reference to a social life with different perspectives.
Flusser, on the other hand, had to flee from the murder and racism of the Germans and, out of the forced experience of groundlessness, has developed a forward-looking philosophy that is turned towards the present of globalization and migration and also constructively incorporates technology. We are indeed dependent on being able to live in order to withdraw and protect ourselves, but we find home where we can meet and communicate with our friends and other people, which the digital media make possible even over spatial distance.
That's why Flusser didn't think much of Zionism, that is, of returning to the fatherland Israel. He wanted to be able to be at home anywhere in the world. This is also the point of departure for his criticism of the refugees themselves, who only want to look for a new home in a foreign land. For him, nomads, migrants and refugees are the future, while the sedentary who build fortresses are on the losing side. But they would have to recognize the liberation from the place as the home and experience the freedom rush of the groundlessness in the interhumanity. His conception of man is also corresponding. For Flusser, man is not a subject, but a project. He designs himself into the future and plays with the possibilities, including those of living and working.
But isn't that too emphatic, if not naïve, an approach? Today, flight from hunger and war often enough does not lead to a new "home," but to a refugee shelter, homelessness, or deportation back into misery. In view of the worldwide crises and the distribution struggles still to come, where will this lead, if not to mass "homelessness"?
Flusser was lucky; he didn't end up on the street or in a refugee shelter, but was taken in by members of his wife's family and immediately found work. While digital nomads can choose where they live and travel between countries, political and poverty refugees are warded off and, at best, end up in camps and shelters for the time being. As waves of migration will continue to grow, we are now in a transitional period with sharp conflicts and even wars between the settled and the uprooted, who are also fighting over scarce housing and lack of resources.
But societies will have no choice but to become immigration and host countries in order to survive economically themselves. For a long time, after all, the U.S. was a model for how this could be done, admittedly at the expense of the Native American population. But if you look around, we have long been living in societies that are melting pots and in which the link between housing and home is dissolving.