by Daniel García Andújar, Ivan de La Nuez, Carlos Garaicoa
in the frame work of the exhibition „Postcapital. Politics, City, Money”, La Virreina, Barcelona, 2006

With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the communist bloc, Eastern European countries entered a phase termed “postcommunist.” Within barely a decade, this diverse process—sometimes peaceful, other times violent (as in the countries of former Yugoslavia)—became the focus of attention for programs, studies, diagnostics, theories, warnings, criticism, and applause by analysts as diverse as Ralph Dahrendorf and Slavoj Žižek, Timothy Garton Ash and Grzegorz Ekiert, Vesna Pusić and Tibor Papp, John le Carré and Frederick Jameson, Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt . . .

The West, under the umbrella of a range of emergency measures—a postmodern, and stingier, version of the former Marshall Plan for Europe following the Second World War—laid down a series of economic, political, and doctrinal recipes with a view to establish a free-market order in the former communist territories. Whether by means of shock therapies, as in Russia, or through more moderate programs, their efforts were aimed at converting those countries to capitalism and the market economy—all according to the basic rules of liberal democracy and the reformulation of their international relations (life under the rulings made by the IMF, entry into the European Union, NATO membership, etc.).

Barely two decades later (seventeen years to be exact), we see that, in spite of theories about the end of history—having presaged a boring and relaxed eternity for capitalism—the West is involved in a process of changes that are only just beginning to be considered in their full magnitude. From both the right and the left, from Robert Kaplan to the penultimate recycling of Francis Fukuyama, as well as Ulrich Beck and Oskar Lafontaine, the belief that the world order had been resting on a secure foundation started to explode in worrying fashion.

Without its dancing partner in the modern era (socialism), we have started to discover liberalism as being more and more orthodox and less and less democratic. The old East-West standoff has given way to a confrontation between the West and the Arab world, between Christianity and Islam, between democracy and terrorism. And all this has given rise to a new geopolitical map, the beginnings of which may be situated, chronologically, in the attacks on September 11, 2001 in the United States.

To sum it up in a sentence: the Berlin Wall also collapsed on the West. And quasi-sacred terms, having played a leading role in bringing down the governments and the borders in the former communist empire countries—“solidarity,” “transparency”—were buried under the rubble of the old walls and the foundations of the new walls being put up in new global politics. We call this situation “postcapital.”

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