Ľuboš Blaha

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Luboš Blaha)
Jump to: navigation, search
Ľuboš Blaha

PhDr. Luboš Blaha, PhD (born 1979) is a Slovak Marxist philosopher, political scientist and politician. Currently, he is a member of parliament for the left-wing SMER-SD party.[1]

He is the Chairman of the Committee of the National Council of the Slovak Republic for European Affairs since 2012. He is also a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.[1]

Between 2006 and 2012, he worked as an advisor to the former Speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic Pavol Paška (SMER-SD).

In 2004–2006, Blaha worked for the Communist Party of Slovakia as the Head of its International Department.[2]

Additionally, Blaha works as a political scientist at the Institute of Political Sciences at the Slovak Academy of Sciences,[3] and teaches at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius (UCM) in Trnava.[4]

Political activity[edit]

Blaha is a Member of National Council of Slovak Republic since 2012. He is the Member of the SMER-SD parliamentary group,[5] although he is not a member of the party. He is considered the most left-wing MP in Slovakia. Blaha is a self-professed Marxist, but he rejects the former Stalinist regime. He endorses modern Western Marxism, radical democratic movements and culturally liberal positions.[6] He is one of the most liberal Members in the SMER-SD parliamentary group in relation to minorities' and human rights issues.[7] However, he has always claimed that in the era of neoliberal globalization the Left must be more substantially focused on socio-economic (radical redistribution of wealth, cooperative ownership, economic democracy) rather than cultural issues. Nevertheless, he supports and often advocates the liberal Left, or the so called New Left.

Politically, he supports classic social democracy with its emphasis on economic issues (Old Left), but he also stands in solidarity with the more radical socialist regimes, including Chavez's Venezuela, Castro's Cuba and Morales's Bolivia. He is often the subject of criticism for his admiration of Karl Marx and Che Guevara.[8] His biggest inspiration is the Scandinavian social model, especially the one in Sweden. He praises particularly the high progressive taxes and worker's project funds (lontagarfondner). In Slovakia, he promotes the cooperative business model such as the Spanish-Basque Mondragón Cooperative Corporation.[9]

He is a foreign policy realist.[10] His opinions are inspired by the school of international political realism (e.g. the ideas of Kenneth Waltz and John Mearsheimer) and neo-Marxism (especially William Robinson, Immanuel Wallerstein and Antonio Negri). He is one of the biggest critics of U.S. foreign policy.[11] He openly criticized not only the war in Iraq, but also the war in Afghanistan.[12] He also criticized the Western involvement in Libya and Syria. He is a critic of the foreign policy of Israel in relation to Palestine.[13] He advocates for the rights of Armenians in relation to the Nagorno-Karabakh and criticizes Turkish foreign policy. He endorses many of the ideas of Noam Chomsky and Slavoj Zizek.[14]

He is one of the greatest defenders of the Russian Federation in Slovakia since the Ukrainian crisis broke out. He is not an apologist for Vladimir Putin's regime, but he perceives the crisis in Ukraine as a geopolitical clash between the West and Russia, and he rejects the one-sided criticism of Russia and the growing Russophobia in Europe.[15] He openly criticized the Sanctions against russia and he describes Russia as a friendly nation that liberated Slovakia from fascism in 1945.[16]

Blaha is very critical towards the European Union, but rejects euroscepticism and nationalism. He considers the EU a neoliberal and elitist project, but he does not see a better alternative for Slovakia than the EU.[17] He supports the fight for a different, better, and more social Europe that will be more left-wing and democratic. In the past, he advocated the project of European basic income, he consistently promotes social economy and cooperatives, and strongly advocates for a "Social Union".

He is the most pronounced critic of the TTIP agreement in Slovakia.[18] He was the first Slovak Member of Parliament to visit the so-called "TTIP Reading Room". He describes the agreement as synonymous with neo-liberalism and the colonization of the European social model by American transnational corporations, and as the Chairman of the National Council of the Slovak Republic for European Affairs he actively supports its intense scrutiny.[19]

During the Greek crisis in 2015, he was the only politician in Slovakia, who openly supported Syriza and defended the arguments of Alexis Tsipras and Yanis Varoufakis. After the breaking-up of Syriza and the agreement between Greece and its creditors, he further criticizes the EU for the "rape of Greece" and for the imposition of a "neo-liberal diktat". He remains a supporter of Syriza.[20]

Blaha has been one of the most resounding opponents of the mandatory quota proposals during migration crisis.[21] His arguments are based on human rights (not forcing refugees to be settled in countries in which they do not want to live), on tactical thinking (Central European societies are not ready for shock solutions, they need time and sensitive approach), and on political realism (mandatory quotas in these societies would only favor fascists and the political far-right). He has criticized "bleeding-heart liberals" for their contempt of the people who are afraid of uncontrolled migration, calling them "racists" and "xenophobes". However, he strongly refuses and condemns islamophobia and advocates for the solidarity of Slovakia with the EU, be it material, financial or personal.[22]

He is the author of the Declaration of the NC SR, in which all Slovak parliamentary groups declared their opposition to the quotas and emphasized other forms of solidarity, systemic solutions and the fight against right-wing extremists taking advantage of the migration crisis.[23]

In the 2016 election campaign, he demonstrated his disenchantment with the EU and stressed the four issues which he sees as the main failures of Europe: Greece, Russia, TTIP and the migration crisis. There were other main themes of his election campaign in addition to the criticism of the European Union – resistance to capitalism and exploitation; resistance to Western imperialism and propaganda; fight for peace. Blaha espouses socialism, anti-capitalism, alter-globalism and moderate pacifism.[24] Thus, he is marked as "communist" and "Russian agent" by critics.[25]

Blaha is consistently one of the most pronounced representatives of anti-fascism amongst Slovak politicians. After the 2016 elections, when the neo-Nazi party Kotleba-LSNS got elected into the Slovak parliament, he has launched a Facebook-based series he calls "Re-educating Marian" (Marian Kotleba), in which is concentrates his criticism of the extreme right.[26] Blaha condemns any signs of racism, xenophobia and fascism, he considers them as criminal offenses. He uncompromisingly refuses the fascist Slovak state under the presidency Jozef Tiso (1939–1945). He opines that fascists belong to jail, not to parliament.[27]

Books[edit]

  • BLAHA, Ľuboš. Social Justice and Identity. Bratislava: Veda, 2006. 164 p. ISBN 8022408913.
  • BLAHA, Ľuboš. Back to Marx? (A Welfare State, Economic Democracy and Theories of Justice). Bratislava: Veda, 2009. 526 p. ISBN 9788022410779.
    • The book deals with the most recent questions related to left-wing values. The emphasis is placed on the so-called theories of analytical Marxism and social liberalism, while it critically analyzes the concepts of well-known contemporary philosophers such as John Rawls, Robert Nozick and Amartya Sen. The book deals with other analytical Marxists and socialist theorists as well. It focuses on the works and theories of Rodney Peffer, John Roemer and Kai Nielsen. Blaha contemplates the future of the left-wing thinking and the institutions of the welfare state. It offers a broad overview of the modern left-wing thinking, which can be inspiring for both the Social democracy, and the Radical Left. The monograph is divided into three parts. The first part presents, in detail, the institution of the welfare state. The second part offers an analysis and critique of the Rawlsian theory of justice as well as the neo-Marxist contributions to social justice theories. The third part encompasses an analysis of the values of freedom, ownership, efficiency, economic democracy and finally the author's own concept, i.e. the Anti-accidental theory of justice based on the notion of pure effort. The book is inspired by humanist Marxism, egalitarian liberalism and communitarianism. The value of social justice represents the nature of left-wing thinking and politics. In his Anti-accidental theory of justice, Blaha develops the idea of the elimination of the "natural lottery", a term coined by John Rawls. He criticizes classical liberalism, which leaves wealth distribution to the market mechanism and is not interested in additional redistribution mechanisms. Blaha, on the other hand, builds on the critical analysis of Marx's merit criteria of justice which Marx implicitly demonstrated with the credo "to each according to his contribution". This criterion de facto refers to the skills, talent and performance of an individual, although it is not possible for him to influence his innate potential. The only thing that one can really influence is not his work, but his willingness to work, his diligence. Blaha distinguishes between two types of effort in his theory – conditioned and pure. He defines diligence as pure effort, i.e. one that is not subject to material conditions or innate capacities of an individual. The author comes to the conclusion that a just wealth distribution is one based on merit and performance evaluation, i.e. when it reflects the motto "to each according to his diligence". In addition to this merit criterion, if we added the criterion of needs (which he argues is an essential component of the concept of social justice), we would come to a just distribution. That is possible only in an environment of self-governed production (or economic democracy), and thus in the context of democratic socialism. In addition to the purely philosophical reflections, the reader can find an analysis of self-governed worker cooperatives (e.g. the Basque Mondragón Corporation), a defense of democratic socialism, the welfare state, economic democracy or positive discrimination. The author also engages right-wing theorists, particularly in connection to the values of freedom, efficiency and ownership.
  • BLAHA, Ľuboš.The Matrix of Capitalism – An Approaching Revolution? Bratislava: Veda, 2011. 176 p. ISBN 9788022412308.
    • On the basis current radical social theories, the author presents an interpretation of modern society, according to which we all live in a sort of a “matrix“. Our dreams and aspirations, opinions and beliefs, desires and fears, all are being controlled by mass media, advertising agencies, entertainment experts, politicians, faux intellectuals etc. Everything happens in order to maintain the system that is in favor of the one percent of the richest and most powerful people in the world. The system is held together not only by repressive forces, but mostly by ideological machineries of the state, especially by the corporate mass media, which indoctrinate people and dumb down the general quality of public discourse. As a result of this, people voluntarily suffer their own impoverishment and slave away for others who get richer and richer off of their work. The book consists of two large chapters: the author presents and analyses neo–Marxist concepts (critical concept of the Frankfurt School, Althusser's and Poulantzas's structuralism, cultural studies of S. Hall), analyses the critical insights of Noam Chomsky with an emphasis on topics like media manipulation and systematic political indoctrination, which affect the official public discourse (except for the cultural patterns of conduct of marginalized groups). Building upon the works of Frederic Jameson and James Scott, Blaha contemplates whether we have a chance to escape from the matrix of capitalism. He proposes the value of truth as an ideal of social emancipation as an opposition to total media manipulation. This can become a driving force for new social revolutions.
  • BLAHA, Ľuboš. The European Social Model – What's Next? Bratislava: Veda, 2014. 480 p. ISBN 9788022413961.
    • “The European Social Model – What’s Next?” is Blaha’s latest work so far. He is the editor as well as a co-author. Amongst other contributions the book contains chapters by Jan Keller, Michal Polák, Michael Hauser and Christian Schweiger. Blaha's study draws attention to the structural causes which make it very difficult to create a meaningful social dimension of the European Union. Those are, for instance, the ideological shift of the social democratic parties to the right, the contractual setting of European integration, which favors the free market or the so-called social nationalism of EU member states. Blaha therefore questions the validity of Jürgen Habermas's claim that only a united Europe could face the neoliberal pressures of globalization. It seems that this claim is normatively valid, but the EU is itself a neoliberal and elitist project. Blaha points to alternatives, which could move the EU to a "Social Europe" – for example a European basic income, social economy and harmonized social benefits.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "www.nrsr.sk". 
  2. ^ »Wir lehnen Privatisierungen ab«, in: junge Welt, 17 June 2006.
  3. ^ "www.upv.sav.sk". 
  4. ^ "www.fsvucm.sk". 
  5. ^ http://www.nrsr.sk/web/Default.aspx?sid=poslanci/poslanec&PoslanecID=885
  6. ^ http://www.tyzden.sk/casopis/16186/som-marxista/
  7. ^ http://www.aktuality.sk/clanok/273723/pomoze-smer-homosexualom-dedit-po-sebe-im-nestaci/
  8. ^ "lubosblaha.blogspot.sk/". 
  9. ^ "www.webnoviny.sk". 
  10. ^ "www.parlamentnelisty.sk". 
  11. ^ "www.parlamentnilisty.cz". 
  12. ^ "www.sme.sk". 
  13. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSH5poR41k0
  14. ^ "www.aktuality.sk". 
  15. ^ "www.aktuality.sk". 
  16. ^ "www.topky.sk". 
  17. ^ "www.aktuality.sk". 
  18. ^ "www.aktuality.sk". 
  19. ^ "www.aktualne.sk". 
  20. ^ "www.aktuality.sk". 
  21. ^ "www.parlamentnelisty.sk". 
  22. ^ "www.europskenoviny.sk". 
  23. ^ "www.nrsr.sk". 
  24. ^ "www.aktuality.sk". 
  25. ^ "www.sme.sk". 
  26. ^ "www.hnonline.sk". 
  27. ^ "www.europskenoviny.sk". 

External links[edit]