translationcollective

August 15, 2010

Radiography of a Regime

Filed under: english — translationcollective @ 11:36 am

L.

In the country we were born in, there is nothing liberated or free. In Italy, as it is the case a bit anywhere else, we are about to attend an unprecedented »authoritarian turn«, which is about to implicate every aspect of our lives. We find ourselves facing a totalitarian and totalitarizing apparatus of propaganda and control, a system that crushes and paralyses us. Resigned and used to »captivity«, it deafens and blinds us for the suffering of ourselves and others. In the tragedy, there would be some paradox comfort to be found, if one could state that cynicism got the upper hand, but reality is much worse: What is taking its course here is a process of dehumanization of the individuals, it is the antechamber of barbarism.

As products of modernity we do not refuse the pain and the unjustices, we incorporate them as norm. They are nothing strange to us, nothing distant, nothing to weather. They are unavoidable and a part of ourselves, as a whole they represent a world that can´t be different. We are the brides promised to the society, and as such we resign ourselves to the altar, fulfilling our duty without love and without hope, knowing only that this is how it is, as simple as that, that there is nothing to do about it, that our mothers, our grandmothers all did the same. Love and felicity are not taken into consideration. They do not exist, because we do not know them, because the meaning of these words are empty, deported to rhetorics, dead.

The dehumanized human is the legitimate child of totalitarian society. As a slave, he is not complice to authority, he becomes authority, because he is a slave. The slave ceases to be a slave by the time she becomes aware of her chains, in the moment when he tries to free himself, in the nights when she dreams to escape: the dehumanized human does not recognize his chains anymore, he does not have dreams that break his role, she does not think about fleeing, as she does not manage to think of an elsewhere, of another place, another world.

This process of disappropriation of the individuals is the maximum expansion of authority, the crest, on which power reaches its total completion, this is the never fully achieved utopia of any regime. One could argue, that the common denominator of this era is the incapacity to recognize oneself, to unattach oneself as individuals from social alienation – and would it be only for a moment. Quenched by everyday life and buried underneath the norm we anesthesize all of our ability to feel, ourselves as well as the others surrounding us. So this is not simply about a lack of empathy, it is about the total annulment of the me, of the personal quest for felicity.

The state has always adopted the means and exercise of authority to the needs of politics and economy. Just as little as he exists separately from market and finances, he is not exclusively forming their armed wing. State and economy are inherently linked, thus is does not make sense to compartmentalize them into different degrees of responsibility. So, the ideological forms governments were forced or willing to chose in the course of history reflect to a large part the degree of possible or actual conflictuality. That means, that the state, beyong the principles and political ideas of the powerful, has to protect itself and preserve the functioning of the machinery of state and economy, by turning itself into the mediator and fire brigade of social conflict. At all times the »dreams« of power and the ideologies imposed by politicians had to be adoptes to the needs of political leadership – and had always been intrinsically linked: As soon as the temparature of social conflict is beginning to increase, the web of repression and control is tightened. Looking at the past, one could also see, how the ideologies themselves were created and constituted, how they developed out of the preceding conflictuality.

One is getting aware of the actual nature of the state quickly, if one looks into what is rhetorically called democracy and the route it is taking: The government knows all too well that the present social conditions will get worse, and that the herds of anger can only spread. So urgent preventive measures have to be taken.

We face a speedy change of the legislative system and the orgenization of coercion, serving not only oppression, but as well to measure degree and potency of social conflictuality, to assess the limits of tolerance of the population, and to accustom them to the situation of a permanant state of emergency. The present crisis will not be a bed of roses for the subordinated classes, and fear and desparation will inevitably lead to a radicalization of the conflicts, and to diffuse and »chaotic« situations. In such a context there will be only one dark horse left in the game: we do not and we cannot know, whether the near future will be a future of civil war or a future of social war. The only thing certain is, that there will be war.

In contrast to their subjects, the government are well aware of this and already set in motion preparations. The reports of NATO clearly display a concern and a perspective regarding internal warfare, or, more precisely, regarding various herds of civil wars to inflame the streets of Europe in the coming years. The policians feel the need to militarize the terrain, to get people used to conditions of war and repression: so Italy was oficially became one of the major areas for this experiment to start.

Therefore, there is not the slightest fascist urgency existing in this country. The ever more back-breaking laws and the militarization of the urban quarters, the racist propaganda and the permanent »security measures« are not the product of the minds of a handful of populists in the government in Italy. This is about a way more comprehensive project, that at least includes all countries of the atlantic alliance.

Considering the specific conditions in Italy, one can formulate the hypotheses, that the illusion of the participation of the subjects in the maintenance of power was finaly unveiled. Democracy had been a »red herring« to strengthen the politics of separation and exclusion in a pacified situation. now that the sitution has changed and the democratic form displays its limits, it is simply substituted by other, more openly authoritarian forms.

Get us right, we do not complain about the absence of democracy, certainly not. The fact, that the state is showing its real nature more directly is also to our advantage.

For sure, democracy will continue to be used in the vocabulary, the political language and the rhetorics of the government. It is not imaginable, that the language of power is constantly adapted to its practices, but, as history teaches us in every way, the words of the contemporary world had been emptied of their actual sense. Therefore, no nostalgia for democracy, she had been nothing but a respresentation of authority and a cause of opression and exploitation, as any other form of government. Its function, that is inclusion – even though symbolic – of the subjects into the decisions of the dominant classes, is simply outdated. Through the mechanism of parliamentary delegation, power succeeded in securing its position managing class dialectics. Now, that such dialectics had disappeared, buried underneath the modifications of produciton and the new models of exploitation, it seems that the need for representation does not exist anymore. The fact that a person in the highest ranks of the state can allow himself to openly say that »the parliament ist useless« without causing any reaction shows that the time of political diatribes and the »two fronts« is defintively outdated. This mainly shows that the political, as well as the practical role of the »police of the proletariat«, which the Italian left has always played, is not needed anymore.

In what each day more ressembles the official abolition of representation, which created the illusion that power counts on anything, we paradoxically achieved real participation in the decisions. Through the very decision to absolutely hand oneself over to power and to renounce all dialectics, a real choice was made, not a symbolic one: The »popular will« of a dictatureship. In a society where power is en route to achieve the utopia of depriving the subjects of their dreams, their reason and their ideas, the presupposition of representation is missing, leaving its place to the fact of completely handing over oneself to the arbitrariness of authority.

One has to start from these premises to understand the current »crisis« in Italy, or better, the agony of the left. In the experiment that is under way, social-democratic progressism has no place anymore. Events went ahead of it, it lost its role of the »tribune of the plebs«. The archaic demoratic scandal, that Italy would be not a pluralist country anymore, since there is no more representation of the left in parliament, does not change much: the reality is, that the left doesn´t suit anymore to manage this society. To be more precise, the positions of »the left« in Italy (linked to the welfare state, to respect for legality, to the struggle against the mafia) are in no way adapted to the current evolution of politics and economy. It is, for instance, not by chance that the dispute of power is taking place amongst different factions which substantially have the same program, even if they have different slogans. Once reached this level, the state neither has the intention nor the possibility to return. In every situation of »transition«, of »crisis«, of social or economic restructuring, or whatever name one gives to it, power has any interest to bet on the acceleration of autoritarism and militarization. There is no doubt, that the economic debacle and the drastic fall of spending power of the subaltern classes cannot be avoided, not by »social buffers« (which mutual funds and the decline of productivity do not allow for), nor by unrestrained »zero growth«. At this point it seems obvious that even the most »adventurous« hypothesis of social-democracy inscribes itself only to the horizon of utopia. Adding to this the Italien particularity to have, in the past as today, on a political and an economical level, a clientist and mafia management of all these structures. In fact, this penomena has taken such an extent, that this prevents to trat it like simple corruption, as this would signify the existance of a »healthy« part, which does not exist. The development of an underground economy has just been one of the numerous means that capitalism used to consolidate, and this by the way is also the reason why it is completely inconceivable to eradicate it with a single strike: This system, with its transtions and changes, restructures and modifies itself because of exigences, and not because of political lines or legalist principles.

So there is neither a democracy that needs to be exhumed, nor a fascism just around the corner. We are not submitted to a banal dictatorship, an authoritarian regime, that imposes its power exclusively with brute force: We are facing a form of domination, which has no parallel in history. We are confronted with a society erected after the image of a hypertrophic concentration camp, where people are dehumanized and eliminated on a large scale.

The last years we attended the erosion of the old possibilities of rupture. We saw the suspicion of strangers becoming racial hatred. We were subjected to an offensive of the state, which hit all poor in an indicriminate manner. We saw the rests of class struggle dissolve itself in barbarism. We are about to attend an attack against he subaltern classes coming from all sides, an attack, that only very few people so far tried to oppose, an attack, in which parts of the exploited participate in a masochist way. If we look around ourselves, we find »at best« ululations invoking democracy, a passive indignation about the rapid proliferation of organized groups of the extreme right (supported by the government and the secirity forces), or an embarrassing and hypocrite scandal about mafia.strick politics, that pillages all resources. The majority remains silent or applaudes the work of the government, the meager opposition tends to confine itself to the symbolic sphere, not able to leave the separations that prevent them to conceive oppression in its complexity. The few struggles present in Italy silt up in partial critique and remain restricted to specific topics. Such an approach, certainly useful in a pacified context or in retreat, becaomes counter-productive in an era, where a new form of regime is about to assert itself with all its force.

The urgency of the situation often induces the few individuals in struggle to build their positiones – and the practices that arise from it – from negative definitions axially symmetrical to the projects of the enemy, instead of developing and spreading their own projects.

A good example of this is the exhumation of the cadaver of antifascism, the flag under which the living dead of the left regroup in the name of a democratic urgency. Getting out of their way alll critics, who affirm that fascist race-hatered and also the fascist ideology were and are only one of the multiple forms that capitalism prefers to equip itself with in certain moments to face its own exigencies and its own defense.

The fact that the neo-fascist phenomenon is absolutely secondary to democracy (and its useful ally) and that the new form of totalitarism goes far beyond the problem of race-hatred, is something that the dying left hardly seems to touch. Incidentally, for the grandsons of Lenin and Togliatti [historical leader of the Communist Party in Italy] the urgency of fascism is the only argument that still grants to them visibility nd a role – even if its a symbolic one. That the left is playing their last card in order to exist and nourishes – as they always did – the separation of critique and the partitioning of struggles, is nothing new. But still one has to ask: Why do anarchists and libertarians hep them in this task?

Sure, we are »antifascists«, in a sense that we are enemies of fascism, but we are also enemies of democracy and any other form of government and state. This might sound anal, but in times where the Anti and the No became an ideology and a political practice, it might be better to once again remind of this. Revolutionaries should rather develop a project that crashes domination in its entirity, and not limit their critique to to its secondary and utilitarist aspects. In such a project it is obviously necessary that the theoretical and practical critique equally crashes fascism and racism, but this must not lead us to loose sight of the objective of general subversion of society. This might be more difficult, considering the fact that it is way harder to move outside of the rhetorics and the ideology of the Resistance than to exploit commonplaces, but power is about to take off its mask for the first time, and this is not the moment to blow the occasion to transform partial critique into revolutionary critique. All the more, that we regard it not only as »disputable« to unite with the enemies of freedom to confront other enemies, it also never »brought luck« for us throughout history.

Imagine we would have lived under the regime of Stalin or Hitler: Had we fought against antisemitism? Yes, for sure. But had we fought exclusively against antisemitism, had we made this to be our parole? Surely not. Our critiqu and our actions would have been directed – as it had been done by our comrades back then – against the entirity of cnditions imposed by the regime as well as against the regime itself (of which the persecution of the jews was only one aspect). Even the very small minority of the libertarian movement, in which the habit of compartmetalization was the most solid, had understood under these circumstances (as it became necessary for state and capital to equip itself with particularly authoritarian systems of government) that this would not be the time of partiality anymore, that a crfitique had to be set up which included all structures of domination and which would lay the basis – even at the price to be out on a limb in the beginning – for future liberation.

If this argumentation is valid for the dictatorships of the past, th even mois will be the case even more for the totalitarism of today (becoming increasingly globalized) and that, which awaits us in the near future.

The deeply anchored habit to exclusively determine oneself through the »negative«, that is to oppose thhis or that project of domination, at best domination itself, has been very laudale. It is this tension, that preserved (at least parts of the movement) from falling into the shit of politics and which developed a »healthy destructive« tension. These arguments were particularly valuable in the moments of retreat that we experience the last 20/25 years. But in the current context, whose premisis evinces pretty clear the expansion of civil war, it is even more important to take the risk of debeloping a projectuality, that pass beyond the purely negative critique.

A risk, because the projectuality and the perspectives all have to be invented. Because the political and economical transformations, and in this of the social conditions, had unfortunately been so important, that it is rather difficult to haul out something from the past, from »our« history. So we do not have any other chance than to gad about and try to prepare for confronting current and future situations by getting aware, that we will only have two choices at our disposal: to be submitted to civil war or to contribute to »displace the axis« and become protagonists of social war.

In times of »crisis« or restructuring, it has always been the states themselves to unleash the worst: authoritarian and populist regimes, wars, racist propaganda, terror. In these situations, people often placed themselves where they were told to, and fought on different fronts, but always under the banner of the exigencies of the state and the market. For us there has always been only two »fronts«: One towards authority, and one towards freedom. Let us keep on fighting on our side of the barricade, for liberation.

The not reformable character of the existant is obvious. If one does nt decide to drop everything until final annihilation, the revolutionary hypothesis inevitably returns to the scene.

It is not anymore about sensitizing the subaltern classes for the different calamities of the world, but to begin to practice and construct insurrectional possibilities. If the attack comes from all sides, it needs to respond from all sides, this kind of self defence is our starting point to simultanously practice self-organisation and refine an ethics in rupture. If it is true, that there are no liberared spaces and circumstances within totalitarian society, than the possibility to conquer these spaces and circumstances in an insurgence is no less true.

Recently, we repeatedly saw various uprisings occur in different cities in Europe and the world, but the same time we saw the objective limitations of the diffusion of the »rupture« and the preservation of an »enduring conflict«. To the question »how to acchieve a revolt?« it needs to be added »how to act in order to achieve that the revolt is expanding and not coming to a halt?«, and moreover »how is it possible to successfully keep a territory once it is liberated? How to obtain the time necessary to render the subversion of circumstances irrecuperable?«. And finally, »how do we achieve, that content outdistances the form, and politics is blown away by ethics?« This is the moment to once again put the antique revolutionary dilemma on the agenda: Where do we want to go?

And we see this horizon drawing closer. Without lapsing into optimism, above all as the risks of civil war remain very present, the consuetude of living amidst social pacification stumped us as such we have struggle thinking of the »revolutionary hypothesis«, or she is discredited as abstract or vanguard. Now that history and capitalist delusion (right through the duality civil war/social war) »offer« the posibility to experiment with insurrection, the revolutionary movements pay the price for all the years of waiting and its ideology.

Don´t think to find hypothesis launched here in the name of an urgency, solely the urgency to formulate hypotheses. So, the practice of each one of us, who formulates it, in the hope and determination »not to miss the boat once more«; in retrieved conviction – visceral and not ideological – that everything is possible because we can do everything.

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