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The Bilderberg Group and the project of European unification Prof. Mike Peters Introduction Despite their reputation for 'empiricism', British academics have tended to treat political power by means of abstract concepts rather than empirical information about the actions of determinate individuals and groups e.
Giddens,; Scott, After a brief efflorescence of empirical studies of the so-called 'Establishment' in the early s, sociologists in Britain became diverted from empirical investigation of power, as the study of national and international power-structures became conducted under the aegis of increasingly abstract theoretical categories derived from Marxism, and in particular by a wave of concepts based on Poulantzas's 'structuralist' critique of Miliband, and was followed by ever more esoteric discussions of the 'theory' of the state e.
Jessop,culminating in the hegemony of a post-Marxist version of Gramsci's conception of 'hegemony' - in which 'struggle' is posited without any identifiable human beings as its active protagonists, and with the stakes reduced to ideas rather than concrete interests. This was in sharp contrast with the USA, where the impetus of C.
Wright Mills's pioneering study of the network of interests involved in the Cold War Mills, was continued by a flourishing group of scholars. There has been nothing in Britain of comparable scope or detail to the work conducted in the USA by G.
The present article is concerned with one specific facet of American power-structure research which, I believe, has important implications for the study of power in the UK. This is the subject of power-elite networks and forums, conceptualised as arenas for the conduct of intra-capitalist and inter-corporate strategic debates and long-range social planning, from which wider 'democratic' interference is carefully excluded.
The particular institution about which I will present information is the so-called 'Bilderberg Group', which is an interesting example of this kind of power-elite forum.
It is one among a number of little-publicised institutions which have played an important role providing a means for debates and discussions to take place amongst different capitalist groups and different national governments over long-term planning issues and, especially, in Co-ordinating strategic policy at an international level.
|The Unification of Germany and Italy - Research Paper||The two regions that were to be unified shared much history together; ever since they were last united as one under the Holy Roman Empire.|
|Contributor Archives||The Colosseum in Rome, built c. The Roman Empire at its greatest extent, AD.|
|Culture of Germany - history, people, clothing, traditions, women, beliefs, food, customs, family||Related link pages The Unification of Germany as guided by Bismarck During the summer ofand into the summer ofthe Prussian Government invited other north German States to enter into a fresh "Erfurt" union on the basis of a new Constitution - to be that accepted by the Frankfurt Parliament ofbut altered so far as might be found necessary. The union was to be a voluntary one.|
|Alternative Names||The territories east of the Oder-Neisse lineceded to Poland and the Soviet Union, are shown as white as is the likewise detached Saar Protectorate. Berlin is the multinational area within the Soviet zone.|
Other such bodies on this trans-national scale include the Council on Foreign Relations CFR in the USA, with its UK sister organisation, the Royal Institute of International Affairs otherwise known simply as Chatham House and the Trilateral Commission which itself grew out of Bilderberg meetings and has been essentially a more globalist version of the latter, since it incorporates Japanese representatives.
Each of these bodies will The unification of germany and italy history essay mentioned in what follows. One of the 'functions' such institutions appear to serve is that of 'mediating' between the economic interests of private capital and the requirement of a general interest on the part of the capitalist class as a whole.
To anticipate what will be said later, I believe that one of the key assumptions often made by structural Marxists, namely that the capitalist class is always divided into competing fractions which have no mechanisms for co-ordination other than the state, is not empirically sustainable.
Part of this misconception, it could be said, derives from an over-literal understanding of the concept of the 'market' as constituting the only social relation amongst different fractions of capital.
Bilderberg is one of these mechanisms. The Context As the second world war drew to a close, the capitalist class in Western Europe was under severe threat from an upsurge of working class radicalism, the management of which required a strategy more sophisticated than conventional repression, and the first steps were taken, by political panes of both left and right, to develop 'corporatist' programmes based on a kind of national protectionism.
By contrast, in the USA, the war had brought to dominance an internationally-oriented capitalist class who saw very clearly that their interests lay in a thorough 'liberalisation' 1 of the world market, abolition of tariffs etc. Only the false wisdom of hindsight could make the eventual Atlantic Alliance system that emerged by seem preordained by 'objective' historical forces.
Indeed, so used have we become to hearing phrases like 'American imperialism' and witnessing US interventions throughout the world that we can forget just how difficult it was for this internationally oriented fraction of the American capitalist class to impose its agenda upon the US state: In this paper I will not be looking in any detail at how these interests influenced the US government during and after the Second World War, but rather at how they succeeded in effecting the integration of the Western European capitalist class into a new Atlantic alliance system The period is highly complex and debate still rages over the origin and nature of the 'Cold War': And die recent work of.
Alan Milward, for example, has thrown into question many of the received assumptions about the causes and consequences of the 'supranational' institutions created in Europe in the aftermath of the war Milward, and ; Anderson, The beginnings of a clarification of these events were made with the pioneering analysis of Kees Van der Pijl, in conjunction with other Dutch Marxist scholars Fennema, Overbeek etc.
With the collapse of the USSR and the subsequent 'coming out' of veteran anti-Communists now prepared to open up some of their dubious accomplishments to outside scrutiny Peter Coleman, Brian Crozier e.
The Marshall Plan is named after the speech on June 5 by US Secretary of State Marshall, which invited European countries to join in a co-operative plan for economic reconstruction, with explicit requirements for trade liberalisation and increases in productivity.
Well over influential individuals academics and business leadersat least 5 cabinet levels departments and 12 separate government agencies, bureaux or offices were involved in this. There were altogether meetings and no less than separate documents produced.
I find it frankly astonishing that virtually none of the British academic scholarship on this period even acknowledges the existence of the CFR, let alone the War and Peace Study Groups.
Evidence is surely required to show that they had no influence, if that is what scholars believe. The plan which Marshall presented in his speech had already been outlined in the proposals of a CFR study group of headed by the lawyer Charles M. To trace the origin of the movement for European unification, however, requires that we go back to May 8 and an address given at Chatham House by a Pole named Joseph Retinger.
In this talk he outlined a plan for a federal Europe in which the states would relinquish part of their sovereignty. During the war Retinger worked closely with van Zeeland and other exile leaders who would become prominent in the Bilderberg network, including Paul Rijkens, whom we will meet again shortly.
The ideas adumbrated by Retinger were not new: One might just note here the assumption of the need for a 'great power' status as well as the almost taken-for-granted racism which informed Retinger's thinking: Mr Leffingwell, senior partner in J.
John Foster Dulles also agreed to help.
The names mentioned above are significant in the present context: US funding for the European Movement extended beyondmost of it going to the European Youth Campaign, initiated by John McCloy, whose own career virtually personifies the Atlantic ruling class as a whole: Morgan financier and later US ambassador to Britainafter which he became a director of both the Chase Manhattan Bank and the Ford Foundation in He was also an active member of the Bilderberg Group, becoming chair of the Council on Foreign Relations itself.
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