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International Conference for Europe of World Social Science and Humanities Network  and Instituto Universitário de Lisboa,

6-8 December 2019, Lisbon, Portugal „Living in a world of nation states“

Vortrag am 7.12.2019

“Living in a world of nations states as dissatisfied and threatened citizen and the search of a way out. The hurt Leviathan and his antagonists in the alternative autonomous spaces”


All over the world, one can see the yearning for the return to security, happiness and prosperity that awaits within a better functioning nation state. In the lecture the question will be investigated whether the improvement of the nation-state is possible or whether other forms of social organization better serve the longing of the citizens.

With capitalism, the nation-states emerged as its political shell, and the nation-state was always a product of the different phases of capitalist development. The socialist states represented an intermediate stage between the capitalist and socialist society. In the following communist society the state was to be abolished, but previously the socialist society and with it also the socialist state disappeared. In accordance with the global state of development of capitalist society and its position within the world capitalist system, various types of states developed. Along with industrial capitalism and welfare enhancement for its citizens in highly developed countries, developing countries have created developing states in which state and less independent entrepreneurship has become a motor of development, the so called developing strategies of “import substitution”, protecting local citizens and economies from the pressure of the world market and the influence of the developed countries. But, the dependence on the industrialized countries could not be reduced in the end.

The crisis of the Fordist accumulation regime in the highly developed capitalist countries, the increasing dependence of developing countries, and the growing economic and legitimacy difficulties in the socialist countries led to the emergence of the neoliberal phase of capitalism with the financialization and globalization of entrepreneurship of capitalism and the disappearance of the socialist states. In the neo-liberal phase of capitalism, the entanglement of large economic groups took place worldwide, the involvement of the national state actors by the economic groups, which severely curtailed their welfare and social skills. In this context, social inequalities grew worldwide, within states and between states. Concomitants were military cartoons in Asia and Latin America and the increase in power of the military-industrial complex. The crash of entire regions in poverty and misery could not be prevented by affected nation states. New wars and worldwide refugee movements are the result of neoliberal development. The new turbo-capitalism and withdrawal to national borders cannot curb the negative consequences of capitalism, but generates xenophobic attitudes, racism, nationalism, extremist political attitudes, warmongering and quasi-dictatorships. In addition to the hot wars in North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, emerging new power centers made up of nation-states are in dangerous tensions with each other, carrying the potential for the outbreak of a global warlike conflict.

With the failure of the socialist state model and the negative consequences of neoliberal capitalism and today's turbo-capitalism, political theories, which reject the nation-state as a way of life and as a political organization, are experiencing a renewed renaissance. They prefer other governmental and institutional forms of political organization, which also have a counterpart other than the capitalist model of society. The most important point of this approach is the replacement of domination, one of the most important structural features of the national state, by the administration of things through the community.

In the lecture various contemporary theories are presented, which prefer to organize the society not by states, but by the community and thus to find a way out of the dilemmas of our time. Practical examples of non-state social forms of organization in autonomous alternative spaces like the Zapatista communities will also be presented. These are societies characterized by self-determination, grassroots democracy, diversity, collective ownership, sustainable approach to nature, gender equality, active nonviolence and a high level of education, health and welfare. At the end the question should be answered, if the expectation of more security, happiness and welfare can be expected by a better functioning nation state or if this expectation is an illusion and other social forms of organization represent an alternative to the dilemmas of our time.

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