Friday, March 31, 2006

New International (iv)

Parts one through three being here, here (since edited) and here .

From "Not Utopia, the Im-possible", in Paper Machine:

THOMAS ASSHEUER: You have yourself demonstrated very well, in Specters of Marx, that Francis Fukuyama's thesis of the end of history was refuted from the moment of its propagation, and even before. Liberal societies, which he praises, cannot resolve their social problems. What is momre, "globalization" creates serious social problems in the world. Once again, then, the most important question is that of justice. Looking particularly at the global situation, what might be the contribution of philosophy? In Specters of Marx you speak of the "New International." Could you specify some ideas and political projects linked to this New International?

DERRIDA: I am thinking of a worldwide solidarity, often silent, but ever more effective. It is no longer defined like the organization of the socialist internationals (but I keep the old term International to recall something of the spirit of revolution and justice that was meant to unite the workers and the oppressed across national boundaries). It is not recognized in states or international organizations dominated by particular state powers. It is closer to nongovernmental organizations, to some projects called "humanitarian"; but it also goes beyond them and calls for a profound change in international law and its implementation.

Today this International has the figure of suffering and compassion for the ten wounds of the "world order" that I enumerate in Specters of Marx. It shouts about what is so little spoken of both in political rhetoric and in the discourse of "engaged intellectuals," even among card-carrying champions of human rights. To give a few examples of the form of the macrostatistics we so easily forget about, I am thinking of the millions of children who die every year because of water; of the nearly 50 percent of women who are beaten, or victims of violence that sometimes leads to murder (60 million women dead, 30 million women maimed); of the 33 million AIDS sufferers (of whom 90 percent are in Africa, although only 5 percent of the AIDS research bubget is allocated to them and drug therapy remains inaccessible outside small Western milieux); I am thinking of the selective infanticides of girls in India and the monstrous working conditions of children in numerous countries; I am thinking of the facdt that there are, I believe, a billion illiterate people and 140 million children who have no formal education; I am thinking of the keeping of the death sentence and the conditions of its application in the United States (the only Western democracy in this situation, and a country that does not recognize the convention concerning children's rights either and proceeds, when they reach the age ofo majority, to the carrying out of sentences that were pronounced against minors; and so on). I cite from memory these figures published in major official reports in order to give some idea of the order of magnitude of the problems that call for an "international" solidarity and for which no state, no party, no trade union, and no organization of citizens really takes responsibility. Those who belong to this International are all the suffering, and all who are not without feeling for the scale of these emergencies–all those who, whatever civic or national groups they belong to, are determined to turn politics, law, and ethics in their direction. (Derrida, 125-126)

-Paper Machine, 2005, translated by Rachel Bowlby

No comments: