Wildcat (Germany) on the crisis and struggles in Italy

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subprole's picture
Joined: 29-01-11
Apr 26 2011 02:01
Wildcat (Germany) on the crisis and struggles in Italy


(...) The struggles of the last year appeared against this background of economic and social dislocation, with the institutional and political crisis of the Berlusconi government superimposed. If in recent years precarization as a psychological and ideological means of governing labour power has pitted everyone against everyone else, these struggles seem slowly to be picking up the red thread of the collective dimension. If fear and resignation continue to prevail among many workers and students, many others sucked into the crisis respond, as we have seen, with practices of openness towards other social and working subjects.

In Rome as in Athens with the attempted assault on parliament and in London with the successful assault on the Tory headquarters, this has culminated in a tough response to the violent self-referentiality of a political class which has cut off every relation to so-called 'civil society'. If the demonstrators have been violent, this has been in order to end the violence of European governments. This latter violence, manifest today in states-of-exception-become-the-norm and continuous emergency government, cannot be contained within the limits of the legal state [Stato di diritto]5, because it constitutes and expresses the nature of the state itself. Just as the police baton charges express the 'democratic' nature of the maintenance of public order in the name of the people. The undisguised violence of the state today is not the result of a 'deficit of democracy', to be corrected by a bit of democratic participation and 'civil society'; it is the outcome of a process begun symbolically in 1987 with Margaret Thatcher's words: there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families.

That phrase was not a beginning but already an epilogue to a series of struggles and conflicts. It initiated a new round of attack on every remaining echo of the 'common' and 'collective': rights, work contracts, health, services, housing. These rights and collective contracts did not grow through some natural maturing of legal civilization: they were won by the struggles of the labour movement, which defended them as far as it could. These collective rights are an anomaly in the normal course of the modern state, which whenever it is necessary or useful to do so redefines the relation between power on one hand and the mass of individuals on the other, hollowing from the root or abolishing the supposed guarantees or presumed rights regarded as the 'normality' of the legal state by politicians and unions of the 'left', whether moderate or radical. It is not a question of putting the state machinery back on the rails of juridical normality, but of restoring the anomaly.

The deception of the '80s and '90s is not a matter of a political class that failed to care for its children, but of the neutralization of politics through legal rights. The so-called left wanted to democratize the state through creation of new rights to be conceded to individuals and disadvantaged minorities. As this logic gradually acquired legitimacy even among the representatives of the labour movement, collective rights were undermined and the right of the working class to exercise violence in their defence was eroded. This perspective was generalized, at least until a few months ago.

The current mobilizations have cut across this perspective, revealing the deception of political representation and bearing witness to a conflict between struggle for rights and for common goods. (...)

Steven.'s picture
Joined: 27-06-06
Apr 30 2011 10:14

We have copies of all Wildcat Germany articles in English in our library - if someone had a chance to post this in our library as well that would be great. If not I will try to get to it at some point but currently have a massive to do list already. Cheers for posting about this here!