Article for http://th-rough.eu/ - For a society without "capitalism”, for a "democracy without parliament"
The first idea to forget, when you start to deal with the "social transformation" and to live it every day, is that the "policy" can be a quiet craft used to construct buildings perfect for words. The passions that animate the work of transforming the present social reality are not fed by the "necessity of thought", if anything, some fantasies and visions of corroboration as a "thinking game", the concrete path dual-antagonistic of release from atrocity of a material condition that codetermines individual forms of life to deny and socio-economic formations to change radically and irreversibly. The post-twentieth century social antagonism is characterized by typical multidimensional operations - from economic and normative trade unionism vindictive to armed anti-system struggle - whose goal is to originate a "crisis of the political structure" inside of a general "crisis of situation and conscience ", otherwise it is a failure. The surrealism of the self-styled "symbolic" antagonism, conveyed mostly by "flashmob events", does not fit well to the "social transformation." The transformative planning, conversely, is able to organize, shaking mass proletarian energies, a growing public interest to the material-conscience rebellion discovering critically its purpose - political power - for too many decades absurdly marginalized from the core of the class struggle, not case also by the most eminent personalities of contemporary culture that to the surrealism of the so-called "symbolic" antagonism refer legitimizing the dispersion of subversive energies. From Athens to Paris, Rome, Madrid and elsewhere in Europe and in the "worlds" of interrelated "capitalist globalization" the social struggles and the subversive practices, only when they blend with multiform ingenuity of a revolutionary political organization, make the "social transformation" the privileged ground of an extraordinary adventure of human intelligence, freed from manipulative rhetoric of "reformism" and the "spontaneity", from the anesthetizing banality of “compatibility”, by the habits of certain rebellious and aesthetic intelligencija that plays poorly the Marx's concept of general intellect that in the Grundrisse is defined as widespread social knowledge that the "capital" values for its own purposes, in particular for the technical-technological development as a crucial factor in the production (i.e. combination of technological competences and social intellect , or general social knowledge that determines the growing importance of the machines in the social organization) (1). Customs, the latter, humiliating and, sometimes, even annihilating, when even today, every day, there are those who went to the blast furnaces and who at their computer-telematic workstations to write wanting "give form to the formless and coscience to unconscious”. The "social transformation" does not provide for romance, or "natural" evolution of the productive-social system imagining an impending implosion. The "social transformation" is a complex human construction, which dismantles the obvious appearance of reality, perceived as unchangeable and insurmountable, establishes innovative connections between structure and superstructure, captures references and analogies between indefinite accumulation of wealth (economy) and increase of knowledge (culture), that a small part of the "social body" realizes, while on the other side the bulk undergoes intensive and continuous exploitation and alienation, identifies codes in which to express practices that are beyond the capitalist colonization of reason that a priori comes forward in defining the sphere of the existence of the multitudes subjecting them to the despotism of its logic and its "value system". The antagonism goes areas unknown or deliberately ignored and forbidden of the social contradictions that political-partisan conventions and trade union exorcise as "the mystery of things" in order to impose to the mass imaginary and at the same "undefined inner" a reflection, as a parade, as an existential representation from the Truman Show of the human condition in which choke, remove, deny, hide all the "other reality", that of the conflict and possible liberation, remaining ensnared by the "democracy evaporated" inherited from the twentieth century. The concept of "democracy" per se, from the greek δῆμος (démos, the people) and κράτος (cràtos, power), which etymologically means "government of the people," not only of "direct democracy", is a negation and an affirmation: the denial that the "power" can be delegated and the assertion that the "masses" (popular, worker, student) can exercise it as organized forms' meeting where the participation of all people is the institutional physiology of a State so-called democratic. The concept of democracy seems to abide in the first place at the idea not so much of "ownership", how much of the '"exercise of power". In fact, at its base is the belief that the exercise can not be separated from ownership, and when this happens - the exercise delegated - the ownership is lost, mystified and / or sublimated in the mere ritual of "representation" and reconfigured as expropriation of popular power about political decision oriented to "common goods". In addition, deepening reflection it is clear that "democracy" itself contains a specific concept of ownership of power - specificity not only induced by the indissoluble link between ownership and operation - which comes from the intensity of the definition of the democratic quality of the "sovereign body" . This specific quality, positive, of the sovereign body which alludes to a creative power of the community as such, can be traced in a primordial form, typically the modern age (Swiss or Scottish cities before the first Reformation), in the sacred form in which the power of the assembly is depicted in the thought of the Protestant sects. Subsequently, the Rousseau’s Enlightenment conception clarifies theoretically the distinction between the "general will" and "will of all", where the denial of representation is reflected positively in the manifestation of inner political quality of the general will, his way of expressing themselves. The "will of all", on the other hand, is not so characteristic of the "representation", as the precariousness of its formation, being the "sovereign body" which refers to the will of all, internally divided and atomistic disrupted. In the Western capitalist countries soon the subversive potential of state institutions that modern "democracy" contains, is isolated, opposed, sterilized. This does not seem to derive much from the force of old regimes in the process of irreversible disintegration, as in the same internal crisis of the bourgeoisie power, which, after measuring the effects of democratic practices (from this point of view, the original antagonistic impact of the so-called "fourth state" and the same modalities of industrial production, which provided political and cultural identity to the "proletariat", were emblematic) and heterogenesis of the purposes of this specific historical mobilization, rejects, with the consequences to appreciate " variable dictatorship ", the experience itself. Only in the early decades of the twentieth century, the nature of " historical democracy " (created by the bourgeoisie in power), it is clarified definitively. Lenin in "State and Revolution" (written in August-September 1917, published for the first time as a pamphlet in the same year), writes: "The capitalist society, considered in its most favorable conditions for development, offers us in the Democratic Republic a democracy more or less complete. But this democracy is always compressed in the narrow framework of capitalist exploitation, and remains, after all, a democracy for the minority, only for the propertied classes, only for the rich. Freedom in capitalist society always remains about what was in ancient Greek republics: freedom for the slave owners. Today's wage slaves, by virtue of capitalist exploitation, are so suffocated from want and misery, which "have a very different thoughts that democracy", "the policy", so that, in the peaceful and ordered course of events, the majority of the population is cut off from the political and social life. Democracy for an insignificant minority, democracy for the rich: this is the democracy of capitalist society. If we look more closely at the mechanism of capitalist democracy, always and everywhere - both in the "minutes", in the minute details of the alleged electoral legislation (duration of residence, exclusion of women, etc.), both in the operation of representative institutions, both in the obstacles that hinder the right of assembly (public buildings are not for the "poor"!), both in the purely capitalist organization of the daily press, etc.. we will see restrictions on restrictions on democratism. These restrictions, deletions, exclusions, obstacles for the poor, seem minutes, especially to those who have never known want and never have approached the oppressed classes nor the lives of the masses that constitute them (and there are nine-tenths, if not the ninety-nine hundredths of bourgeois publicists and politicians), but, when added together, these restrictions exclude the poor from politics and active participation in democracy. Marx grasped perfectly this essential feature of capitalist democracy, when, in his analysis of the experience of the Commune, said: at the oppressed are allowed to decide, once every few years, whome between the representatives of the ruling class will represent them and oppress them in Parliament!". Nevertheless, the concept of democracy lives in the history of bourgeois political thought and, above all, in the vicissitudes of the struggle between classes, as temptation in social control as an ideal claimed to be decisive, if realized, of social contradictions, as nostalgia of the Periclean age (460-429 BC.), restorative yearning of the polis considered as an example of radical democracy forgetting that it provided in the social body, the presence of slaves. The democratic ideal becomes unbearable of the "progressive" bourgeois ideology and, in his first appearance in the laws for the period up to the present days, the reference universe, unique and indisputable, of the social conflict and the exercise of power, forcibly shifting from the "participation "to" representation". The "liberal constitutions" totally deny the progressive determination of democracy, as Karl Marx in “The Class Struggles in France from 1848 to 1850”, he denounced the trend and advance it urged the antidote. Faced with new control requirements that the "mass democracy" in the capitalistic era of the mature industrialization proposes, in the face of revolutionary threats that the new proletarian forces express (passing from the political trade-unonismo to the political organization), the bourgeois constitutionalism plays the card of the democratic rhetoric acknowledging some dictates of the so-called "government of the people". These are institutions such as the granting of the popular initiative or referendum on the bill (for example, in the Weimar Constitution and the Italian one), in fact subjected to substantial limits and ineffective. In other words, the needs of the concentration of power got the better of any possibility of real democratic debate between classes, ending with functionalize the instruments and institutions of democracy to the preservation of power by the capitalist-bourgeois elite and the suppression of class autonomy and initiatives of social groups excluded even from the forms of institutional representation. It is still Lenin, with clarity, explains: "The Scheidemann and Kautsky speak of "pure democracy" and "democracy" in general to deceive the masses and to hide the bourgeois character of the current democracy. The bourgeoisie continue to hold in his hands the whole apparatus of state power, let a handful of exploiters continue to use the old bourgeois state machine! It goes without saying that the bourgeoisie is pleased to call "free", "equal", "democratic", "universal" elections carried out under these conditions, because these words are used to conceal the truth, serve to conceal the fact that the ownership of means of production and political power remains in the hands of the exploiters and that it is therefore impossible to speak of actual freedom, effective equality for the exploited, i.e., the vast majority of the population. For the bourgeoisie is beneficial and necessary to conceal from the people the bourgeois character of modern democracy, to present this democracy as a democracy in general or as a "pure democracy", and Scheidemann, Kautsky as well as by repeating these things, have virtually abandoned the positions side with the proletariat and line up with the bourgeoisie.".(excerpt from Democracy and dictatorship, written in Moscow December 23, 1918 and published in Pravda, No. 2 of January 3, 1919). Heavily amended by revolutionary working practice (the Soviet experience), "democracy" becomes an instrument of re-appropriation by the exploited masses, of the ownership of the means of production and - simultaneously - the institutional political superstructure that holds the resources, relegating the background of the dual-antagonistic conflict capital-labor the negation of bourgeois formalism of representation, however, "subjectively" expressed that so much damage has caused and continues to provide to the proletariat. It is in the revolutionary practice, from the Paris Commune of 1871 to the onset of the European "council movement", essentially identifiable with the Soviet revolution of 1917, which opens a concrete horizon to escape from harmful logical bourgeois-democratic, political and cultural place to garrison preservation of the existing social hierarchy which aims to establish subordination momentous. The Russians’ Soviet, the Germans rate, the Boards Italians, the British shop stewards are actually a single substance: the "government of the people". Workers' control of production activities and the socio-political life, positions on the basis of terms of reference and revocability of the same are the pins around which rotates the proletarian responsible participation and the need of building the material basis of communism allowing a proper and unprecedented relationship between function of avant-garde and mass control of the same. The "dictatorship of the proletariat" is the inevitable transitional form of power management - the management of which is entrusted to the political party - useful for laying the foundations of the systemic historic defeat of capitalism. For Lenin, in fact, "1. The development of the revolutionary movement of the proletariat in every country, are making desperate attempts of the bourgeoisie and their agents in the workers' organizations in order to find the ideological and political arguments to defend the rule of the exploiters. Among these arguments are put particular emphasis on the condemnation of the dictatorship and the defense of democracy. The falsity and hypocrisy of this argument, repeated in all the tones on capitalist press and at the Conference of the yellow international, held in Bern in February 1919, are obvious to anyone who does not want to betray the fundamental principles of socialism. 2. First of all, this argument employs the concepts of "democracy in general" and "dictatorship in general" without posing the question of what class it is. Set so the problem, outside or above classes, as if it were the whole people, is an outright play of the fundamental doctrine of socialism, namely, its theory of the class struggle, which is recognized in words but forgotten in made by those socialists who have gone to the bourgeoisie. In fact, in no civilized capitalist country does "democracy in general", but there is only bourgeois democracy and the dictatorship of which we speak is not the "dictatorship in general", but the dictatorship of the oppressed class, i.e., the proletariat, over its oppressors and exploiters, i.e., the bourgeoisie, in order to break the resistance of the exploiters in their fight for their domain. 3. History shows that no oppressed class ever did, or could access the domain without going through a period of dictatorship, i.e., the conquest of political power and forcible suppression of the angrier resistance, more desperate, that stops in no crime, which is the one that always offered by the exploiters. The bourgeoisie, whose domain is defended today by socialists who railed against the "dictatorship in general" and will bend over backwards to enhance the "democracy in general", came to power in developed countries at the cost of a series of uprisings and civil wars, with the violent repression of kings, feudal lords, slave owners and their attempts at restoration. The socialists of all countries, in their books and pamphlets, in the resolutions of their congresses, in their propaganda speeches, explained to the people thousands and millions of times the class character of these bourgeois revolutions, and this bourgeois dictatorship. And so, when the present defense of bourgeois democracy with talk about "democracy in general", and the present cries and cries against the dictatorship of the proletariat pretending to cry out against the "dictatorship in general", that does not betray socialism, in fact go to the bourgeoisie, the proletariat denied the right to own proletarian revolution, defend bourgeois reformism in the historical moment in which it has failed all over the world and the war created a revolutionary situation "(excerpt from Lenin," Theses and report on bourgeois democracy and the dictatorship of the proletariat ", March 6, 1919, Collected Works, vol. 28, p.461-462). ____________________________________________ 1) It is in this regard that Paolo Virno writes (in "General Intellect" in post-Fordist Lexicon - Dictionary of ideas of the mutation, Milan, Feltrinelli, 2001), adapting the concept to the current post-Fordist era of immaterial labor: «Living labor embodies, therefore, the general intellect or "social brain" of which Marx spoke of as "the main pillar of production and wealth." The general intellect no longer coincides today with the fixed capital, ie the knowledge congealed in the system of machines, but it is one with the linguistic cooperation of a multitude of living subjects».