On 19th July, 2018, I was stunned and honoured to receive the following from Professor Antonia Grunenberg of the Heinrich Boll Foundation, Bremen, Germany.
Berlin, July 19, 2018
Dear Mrs. Pettifor,
it is my great pleasure to inform you in behalf of the international jury of the „Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thinking“ that you have been unanimously selected to be the winner of the prize in 2018.
Die date of the ceremony is December 7, 2018.
The jury pointed out that you, a distinguished scholar, have had the courage to touch a complex topic that keeps influencing European and world affairs as well as the life of people all over the globe: the domination of the political realm by the dynamics of financial speculation.
Your work such as the recently published book “The production of money” (2017), as well as your articles and speeches on related topics meets a public which is becoming more and more critical towards the rationale of the financial “world”.
The jury pointed out that you are criticizing the widespread ideology as if the sphere of money and financial speculation existed separately from the political realm, following a different logic at the same time. However, people all over the world experience that financial capitalism is profiting from political and legal systems. At the same time its executives refuse to take over responsibility for their acts.
The jury appreciates that you are not solely aiming at strengthening state control over the financial system but that you are aiming at the reconstruction of the political sphere and of the ability of the citizens to judge and to act publicly. In your public interventions you are reestablishing the basic question: What is the financial speculation system good for? How is it related to the “common good”?
Last but not least the jury appreciated that you are writing and talking in a language quite clear and understandable. People can follow your arguments without having to have a special academic education, i. e. without being “specialists”. This is what “public discourse” is meant to be.
Since its beginning the network of friends and colleagues representing the „Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thinking“ has been devoted to regain resp. defend the political sphere which means the ability of the citizens to judge and to act together in order to redefine the „common good“.
This is what Hannah Arendt aimed at when she, after the collapse of totalitarian rule in Europe, worked on the reconstruction of political thinking – not as a science for the very few but as a capacity of the citizens.
The award is provided with 10.000 € donated by the „Heinrich Boell-foundation“ (which is linked to the party „The Greens“), and the government of the city republic of Bremen.
The „Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thinking“ has been founded in 1995 by a group of academics as well as politicians and journalists. The prize intends to encourage political thinking in the public sphere. We understand that the political realm is not only a field of interests or of conflicts of different political parties but a realm of judging and acting publicly.
In the course of the years the winners of the prize have been: the Hungarian philosopher Àgnes Heller(1995); the French historian Francois Furet (1996); the German politicians Freimut Duve and Joachim Gauck (1997); the French philosopher Claude Lefort and the German politician Antje Vollmer (1998), the Italian philosophers Massimo Cacciari (1999) ; the Russian human rights activist, Jelena Bonner (2000); the German philosopher Ernst Vollrath and the German-French politician Daniel Cohn-Bendit (2001); the Italian philosopher and politician Gianni Vattimo (2002), the Anglo-Canadian political scientist and writer Michael Ignatieff (2003); the German former Supreme Court member Ernst-Wolfgang Boeckenfoerde (2004); the former President of Latvia, Mrs. Vaira Vike-Freiberga (2005), Julia Kristeva, French philosopher and feminist thinker (2006), the American-British historian Tony Judt (2007); the Russian-Italian sociologist Viktor Zaslavsky (2008); the German philosopher Kurt Flasch (2009); the French philosopher François Jullien (2010); the Iranian-German novelist Navid Kermani (2011), and the Israelian writer Yfaat Weiss (2012), the historian Timothy Snyder (2013), the writer and performer Juri Andruchowytsch und the Russian artists Nadeshda Tolokonnikowa/Maria Aljochina (2014), the historian Christian Teichmann (2016), and, last but not least the French historian Etienne Balibar (2017).
The prize ceremony will take place in the historic city hall of Bremen on Friday, december 7, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.
The prize will be forwarded by the mayor of Bremen (SPD) resp. his/her deputy. The ceremony will be preceded by the addresses of the jury, and the donators; it is followed by your honorary speech (Festrede) as well as by the laudatory speech.