Jun 112011
 

Stubborn refusal of an order untenable

 

The protests that break in Europe this year against the austerity policies – in Greece and France, but also to a lesser extent, Ireland, Italy, Spain – gave birth to two fictions.

 

The first forged by the authorities and the media, based on a depoliticization of the crisis: fiscal restraint measures enacted by governments are not staged as a political choice, but as a technical response to financial imperatives. The moral is that if we want the economy stabilizes, we must tighten our belts. The other story, that the strikers and demonstrators, postulates that the austerity measures are only one tool in the hands of capital to dismantle the last vestiges of the welfare state. In one case, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) appears as an arbitrator to have heart to enforce order and discipline in all, he once again plays the role of surrogate for the global finance.

If these two perspectives, each containing some elements of truth, one as both are fundamentally flawed. The defense strategy of European leaders obviously does not take into account that the huge deficit of public budgets is largely a result of tens of billions wasted on rescuing banks, and credit granted in Athens will be used primarily to repay his debt to French and German banks. European aid to Greece has no other function than to help the private banking sector. Opposite, the argument of the discontented again betrays the poverty of the contemporary left: it contains no programmatic component, just a blanket refusal of losing the social gains. The utopian social movement no longer consists in changing the system, but to convince himself that he can reconcile with the maintenance of the welfare state. This defensive position called an objection difficult to refute: if we remain in the nails of globalized capitalist system, we have no other option but to accept the sacrifices imposed on workers, students and retirees.

One thing is certain: after decades of welfare state during which the cuts were limited and always accompanied by the promise that things would return to normal one day, we are now entering a permanent state of economic emergency. A new era, bringing with it the promise of austerity plans always tougher, even more drastic savings on health, pensions and education, and an increased job insecurity. Back to the wall, the left faces the formidable challenge of explaining the economic crisis is primarily a crisis policy – it is nothing natural that the existing system results from a series of decisions inherently political – while remaining aware that this system, as long as it is within its frame, obeys a pseudo-natural logic that one can not flout the rules without causing an economic disaster.

It would be illusory to hope that the crisis is still at work have only limited impact and that European capitalism will continue to ensure a standard of living for a majority of the population. And what a stunning design of radicalism than relying solely on the assistance of the circumstances to mitigate the damage of the crisis … This is certainly not anti-capitalists who are missing. We are literally inundated with accusations against the horrors of capitalism: day after day unfurl the investigative journalism, television coverage and best-selling books devoted to industrial vandalize the environment, bankers corrupt fatten huge bonus while their chests siphoning public money, vendors chains ready-to-wear that employ children twelve hours a day.

Yet, as sharp as these criticisms may seem, they blunted the sheath leaving: they never challenge the liberal-democratic framework within which capitalism has its ravages. The purpose, expressed or implied, is invariably regulate capitalism – under pressure from the media, legislators or police investigations honest – and certainly not to challenge the institutional mechanisms of bourgeois rule of law.

Revolutions …
yes, but well away

This is where the Marxist analysis retains all its freshness, perhaps today more than ever. For Marx, the question of freedom does not lie at the forefront in the political sphere, at least one referred to by international institutions when they consider a country: the elections they are free, independent judges, human rights respected? The key to true freedom is to be sought rather in the network “apolitical” social relationships, from work to family, where it is not the political reform that would bring needed change, but a transformation of relations social unit of production.

Not because we do not ask voters to determine who should own what, or to comment on management standards in force in their workplace. Needless to hope that the political consent to extend democracy to these areas relegated from her, by organizing the banks, “democratic” civilian control. In this area, the radical changes lie beyond the sphere of legal rights.

Sometimes, of course, that democratic procedures lead to social achievements. But they nonetheless remain a cog in the bourgeois state apparatus, whose role is to ensure the optimum reproduction of capital. Two fetishes have to be overturned at once: that of “democratic institutions” on the one hand, but also to their negative counterpart, violence.

At the heart of the Marxist concept of class struggle, the prevailing idea that social life “peaceful” clear victory (temporary) of the dominant class. From the standpoint of the oppressed, the very existence of the state as an apparatus of the ruling class, is an act of violence. The creed that violence is never legitimate, but sometimes necessary, is largely insufficient. In a radical and emancipatory perspective, the terms of the assumption should be reversed: the violence of the oppressed is always legitimate – even as their status is due to violence – but not necessary: ??the choice of whether or not to force against the enemy is strictly a strategic consideration.

In the state of economic emergency as we know, it is obvious that we are dealing not with blind financial movements, but carefully considered strategic interventions by governments and financial institutions, which intend to solve the crisis by their own criteria and to their own advantage. How in these conditions, does not consider a cons-offensive?

Such considerations can qu’ébranler comfort of radical intellectuals. To lead a soft and protected, they are not tempted to build disaster-scenarios to justify the conservation of their living standards? For many of them, whether a revolution is to occur, it is well away from home – in Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela – so they warm the heart while ensuring the promotion of their careers. Yet with the collapse of the welfare state in advanced industrial economies, the radical intellectuals could find their moment of truth: they wanted real change, now they can have it.

Nothing justifies the state of emergency economic Permanent lead the left to abandon the patient’s intellectual work without immediate practical utility. Yet gradually disappears true function of thought. Not propose solutions to problems facing “the company” – that is to say the State and the Capital – but think about the very way in which these issues arise. That is to say, ask about how we perceive a problem.

During the last period of post-1968 capitalism, economy itself – the logic of the market and competition – has emerged as the hegemonic ideology. In the field of education, for example, school is less an independent public service market, pampered by the state and the sanctuary of enlightened values ??- freedom, equality, fraternity. Under liturgical formula “to lower costs, improved efficiency,” she let herself be overwhelmed by various forms of public-private partnership. In the political sphere, the electoral system that organizes and legitimate power seems increasingly model themselves on free enterprise: the poll is designed as a commercial transaction in which voters will “buy” section that could preserve better social order, punish criminals, etc..

Under the same principle, functions once reserved to the police, as the management of prisons, are now privatized. The army is no longer based on conscription but mercenaries. Even the state bureaucracy has lost its universal Hegelian, as shown in the satiety device Berlusconi. In Italy today, is the basic bourgeois who exercises direct statutory authority, operating it openly and without scruples for the sole purpose of protecting its interests. Even the relationships between couples not lean against the laws of the market: speed dating, internet dating or marriage agencies, the services offered to prospective partners encourage them to think of themselves as commodities, which are responsible extol the virtues and select the best pictures.

The confines of such a constellation, the very idea of ??a radical transformation of society like an impossible dream. But this is impossible, just that we should stop and make us think. Today, the division between what is possible and what is not organized in a strange way, with the same excess in the definition of each category. On the one hand, in the field of entertainment and technology, we insists that “nothing is impossible”: we can enjoy a wide range of sexual services, encyclopedic archive of songs, films and television series We are available via download, we can even travel in space (if we are billionaires). And we are promised that in the near future, it is “possible” to optimize our physical and mental manipulation by the human genome. Even the dream of immortality technognostique now seems within reach, by transforming our identities downloadable applications on different devices.

In the socio-economic, however, our age is characterized by a belief in humanity when fully mature, having been able to abandon old utopias millennia and accept the constraints of reality (read: the capitalist reality) with all the impossible that arm. “You can not” is his motto, his first commandment: you can not get involved in large class actions, which will be completed necessarily totalitarian terror, you can not hang with the welfare state , or lose your competitiveness and economic crises, you can not cut global market, except to swear allegiance to North Korea. Ecology, in its ideological, adds to the inventory on its own prohibitions, these values ??famous floor – no more than two degrees of global warming – based on expert opinion.

“The impossible happens”

Today, the dominant ideology seeks to persuade us of the impossibility of radical change, the inability of the abolition of capitalism, the impossibility of creating a democracy that does not reduce not a corrupt parliamentary game, scoring at the same time to render invisible the antagonism that runs through our society. Therefore Jacques Lacan, to overcome ideological barriers, substituted for the phrase “everything is possible” the most sober observation that “the impossible happens.”

MM. Evo Morales in Bolivia, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela or the Maoist government of Nepal have come to power through democratic elections “fair”, not the insurgency. Their situation is no less “objectively” desperate they are against the current flow of the story and why can not rely on any “objective tendency”. All they can do is improvise in an apparently hopeless. But is that this does not give them as exceptional freedom? And are not we all left, in the same boat?

Our current situation is the exact opposite of that prevailing in the early twentieth century, when the left knew what to do, but had to wait patiently for the right moment to take action. Today, we do not know what we should do, but we must act now because our inaction could soon have devastating consequences. More than ever, we are forced to live as if we were free.

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