Alfredo M. Bonanno
Excluded and Included
The end of ideology has almost arrived, but not quite.
No political apparatus will ever be able to do without it completely. The substantial transformation in the productive structure of capital that has come about all over the world over the past ten years, has emptied nearly all the existing ideological coverings of their meaning. Having said that, one cannot maintain that politics, intended as the managerial and repressive action of the State, has suddenly got closer to people’s needs. New ghosts have turned up on the heels of the old, with characteristics that are not always easy to distinguish, it being a question of ideological coverings that are still in formation. We can only say that their objective is still that of exerting pressure on irrational feelings and instincts so as to solicit behaviour favorable to maintaining the order imposed by the class in power.
Among the most immediate movements that jump to the our attention is the old mirage of freedom, embalmed in all the logical trappings of the old liberal-ism and hastily dusted to justify the sinister operations of managing the new markets of the East. All liberalism bases itself on a precise discrimination between two categories of person: one who can enjoy human and political rights and also more concrete one of life itself, and those who have a reduced form of such rights, which are always susceptible to possible suspension or suppression.
It is not necessary to remember here that that paladin of political freedom, Locke, owed his private fortune to investment in English companies that worked in the slave trade for almost a century. The English revolution itself, which the idea of political liberalism came from, had considered the victory over Spain to be a great conquest, in that with the peace treaty of Utrecht it had obtained the destruction of the Spanish monopoly of the slave trade, so began this activity itself on a vast scale.
In reality, if we look closely we see that the new ideological mantel that is about to be thrown over hastily, by the academic organisations that occupy them-selves with such things, consists of grafting the old liberal hypocrisy on to the social body that seems more disintegrated today than ever before. Only one thing remains beyond all doubt from this old chatter: men are only equal in principle, whereas in practice they are divided into two categories, those who have rights and those who do not. By right one means the possibility access to sources of wealth, to determining change aimed at reducing the difference in the distribution of revenue, in other words, everything that allows one to put one’s hope in a better future, or at least one that is less difficult than the present.
Whether we will be able to see a reduction in the power of States or not, in reality these new political movements are moving at world level towards a phase of managerial opening that might be defined as the possible participation of the inferior strata in the living conditions of the superior, remains to be seen. On the other hand the ideological effect of this perspective is underway, contributing to creating the better conditions for the structuring of the world in an industrial perspective.
The essential point of this process is that only some, and quite a restricted part, of the producers will be able to reach human conditions of life, meaning by human conditions a greater correspondence between occasions offered by the State and capitalism as a whole, and the possibility to exploit them. The rest, the great majority, will have to find room in separation, in that “dirty” work that the old liberals such as Mandeville compared to that of the slaves. Not “dirty” in the sense of the old physical brutalization, but “dirty” in the true sense of the word, in that it dirties intelligence, defiling it, lowering it, reducing it to the level of ma-chines, alienating the most characteristic quality of man, unpredictability.
In this context, where ideological modernisation is walking hand in hand with profound transformations in the structures of production, a coordinated system of real and imaginary processes all based synchronically on flexibility, adapt-ability based on democratic assembly discussion, and the critical refusal of an authority that is no longer concerned with efficiency, the old function of the State as centralizing element of management and repression, is destined to weaken.
And this weakening is in the order of things, in the spirit of the times, if you like.
But here we need to ask ourselves, is this weakening a positive thing? The reply, at least for anarchists, should be yes. And so it would have been had it not run into, in very recent times, problems that it seems useful to us to point out here.
Let us start with the positive aspects. Any reduction in the power of States is something positive that allows greater spaces of freedom, more consistent de-fence movements, an expectation of better times, survival if you like, but also organizational forms of struggle that the great repressive colossi destroy with ease. To participate in struggles that break up States is therefore a positive move, and in this sphere national liberation struggles have, unfortunately not always been occasions for breaking into the monolithicity of power and proposing possible lines of social divergence, alternatives capable of demonstrating practically different roads to take. That has often all been swept away by the sudden arrival of more consistent movements, capitalist restructuring in the first place, imperialist upsetting in the repartition of power at the world level, mechanisms in unequal development, etc.
In the present state of affairs, other considerations add themselves to the preceding ones. Not that these make us consider negatively national liberation struggles and all movements that in some way or another aim to disgregate the centralized states of the past, but they are still considerations that put the problem on another framework, more appropriate for the times in which we live.
First of all we must consider the international fluxes that balance different repressive and productive structures of individual states within agreements that imply unions more or less intimate, more or less hybrid, but sufficient to grant that data flow on which every control structure is ultimately based. These sovrastructures will expand in the next years until they will rebuild divisions in the world that we have already seen. These new divisions will have different ideological packaging, but they'll have the function of restoring the old state power for the present decaying forms. One could imagine, justifiably, that the development of nationalism as an ideological element to connect disgregative processes, is a not-that-stupid instrument used to allow otherwise impossible structural adjustments. There is no doubt that the global productive structure today doesn't tolerate the presence of big centralised states, which are too clumsy in their relationship with capital which instead gains more and more capacity to speed up productive processes.
Second of all, we must consider the need to adapt the democratic tool of obtaining consensus to the new productive conditions. If the latter produce a dequalified individual, made unstable by precarious wages not only in his ability to work but also for his psychic composition, meant in its broadest definition, if this individual (as an element of society, family, job sector, of his entertainment environment) is constantly kept in conditions of instability, he can't then be forced to deal with a monolithic state bureaucracy which today appears obsolete. As the individual, through schooling, is denied access to the tools of cultural qualification that should have transformed him from a subject into a citizen of a democratic state, the state apparatus democratizes, calling the subject – because such remains the so called citizen of constitutional rights and freedoms – to maximum collaboration. It wouldn't have been possible to have a democratic restructuring of modern states without a qualitative flattening of single individuals, without breaking traditional organizational forms of the proletariat and, mostly, without the annihilation of that class unity that in the past had often manifested itself in movements, if not revolutionary, capable of stopping and disturbing capital accumulation.
Finally, we need to consider that these disgregative movements act on two levels, of which only the second one seems interesting from the revolutionary point of view. The first of these levels is the official one, promoted by the middle class of more advanced countries, with the aim to rebuild the old monolithic structures of states on more acceptable bases, in the interest of the new productive processes of capital. These bases seem disgregated compared to the previous administrations, because they have to be ideologically more conscious. This official movement of disgregation of states has deep roots, starting from the regionalist thesis that the key to a more efficient state system is a decentralised administration. The substantial failure of regionalism, in states such as Italy (a good example in this field), must not give us illusions of a change of trajectory. The dominant classes need to give illusory participation to dominated classes in the administration of public matters. It's an ancient need, but in the last decades it has become not only a shamelessly violated facade, but a necessary reality. Italian leghismo [movement of the far right secessionist party Lega Nord], a phenomenon that has gained interest not only in Italy, must be tied back to this tendency of disgregation of old monolithic states, and can be considered heir and extreme rationalization of the old regionalism. The transition between these two management methods of public affairs isn't smooth, there is a fracture, maybe not an important one for whom considers states always as an enemy to destroy, but important for whom tries to understand the composition of the enemy to find its weak spots: this fracture is in the ideological insertion based on the simple fact that the upper classes of economically richer regions would benefit in having their own smaller state to manage. This ideological insertion has proven to be necessary to get people involved on an emotional level, unloading the frustrations of the masses, who are distant from the interests of the upper classes, on the classic symbols of diversity: the black, the jew, the immigrant, the thief, the violent, or manufacturing nationalist myths that appear ridiculous, which in the general lack of critical thinking isn't negative and helps connect the masses.
This level of disgregation is manifesting itself on a European scale and could tomorrow have a global scale, and it is controlled by upper classes interested in building their own privileged areas, possible castles to barricade in to administer their privileged condition of being part of the included, keeping the excluded at a distance and managing them through the tool of ignorance. The disgregation of the soviet empire caused the push towards this shift, in particular in regions where ethic specificities hadn't been deleted by forty years of forced community. This specificity almost always had to carry the weight of developing and adapting the ideological element to the conditions of ongoing class conflict, to the point of reaching the extreme brutality that we can see in ex-Yugoslavia. Even in different situations in different states, there is a clear tendency that can be summed up in the hypothesis of piloted disgregation, or in the slow transition to another type of administration of public affairs.
The recipe for this transition is complex and has an administrative element and an ideological one. These two elements generate and support each other, without precluding the possibility for repression or a temporary use of power that could be seen as a return to the old ways. Political pragmatism doesn't retreat for such small matters.
But there is the other level of disgregation, the one that enters people's heads and acts on an individual level, and that the state can't avoid because it's forced to manage the disgregation itself and can't propose behavior models and values from the past. The only way it can oppose this lack of a sense of state is through cultural segregation, much more rigid and effective than the physical one we are used to seeing in the past. An apartheid without precedent, unsurmountable because it's based on a lack of desire, because you can't desire what you don't know.
But for now this disgregation is ongoing and parallel to the disappearance of ideological glue, positive for eastern countries and negative for the western block, so called anticommunist. The function that proletarian internationalism had in USSR or China was to be a counterweight to the fear of communism fed by western capitalist interest. Once all this disappeared, big illusions where substituted by smaller ones, small scale ghosts that in some cases where put to practice, such as the different nationalisms acting in europe, in other cases they are still to show themselves.
It's important to reflect on the internal elements of this disgregative erosion of states from below, which is happening not only in states with advanced capitalism. Let's begin with the twilight of the idea of progress. This idea, originated in the enlightenment, according to liberals should have founded the constitutional state first, then the democratic state, allowing everyone to contribute to the improvement of public matters. But the illusions of progress, to use the title of a famous book by Georges Sorel, served to feed the hopes of improvement, both short term reformist ones and long term revolutionary ones. Together in the same fantasy, revolutionaries and reformist politicians shared the waiting for a better future, guaranteed by the objective trajectory of history. This idea, distant from being an empty exercise for loafers, ignited dreams of future universal abundance in millions of men, mixing together utopia and managerial pragmatism. All this has ended, and it added piece by piece to the ongoing disgregation.
In this aspect, marxist and liberal ideologies are the same. They both promised abundance and work for everybody, widespread commodities, even if diversified, and exponential economic growth. It was then found out that demand couldn't sustain itself to infinity and consumers had to split in two sides, one with access to commodities and one with progressive reduction of needs all the way down to survival. On a global scale this is perfectly evident in the conditions of underdeveloped countries, where people die of hunger, disease, medieval plagues, all contrasted with the privileged lifestyle of the dominant class. These contrasts aren't only far away in space, delimited by deserts or swamps, but they're right next to each other in large cities, which is perhaps the most obvious proof of the failure of progressive ideology.
In the constant evolution of social conditions in the last few years there was an acceleration of processes that can now be considered as real changes.
The structure of domination changed from a clear relationship of arbitrary power, to a relationship based on adjustment and compromise. This was followed by an increase of the demand of services compared to the demand of traditional goods (such as durable commodities). This caused the acceleration of productive aspects founded on computer science and the automation of productive sectors resulting in the prevalence of the tertiary sector (trade, tourism, transportation, credit, insurance, public administration, etc.) on others (manufacturing and agriculture).
This doesn't mean that manufacturing lost substance or meaning, but that it will employ a decreasing percentage of workers while maintaining or increasing previous production standards. The same goes for agriculture that will have a powerful acceleration in the processes of productive industrialization and therefore will be distinguished from the manufacturing sector only on the statistical, not social, point of view.
In essence the situation will be that of a transition, not abrupt and clear, but as a tendency. There is no separation between the industrial period and the post-industrial period. We're in the phase of going beyond obsolete productive structures that are restructuring, but not yet in the phase of complete shutting down of factories and computerised production.
There is already a dominating tendency towards disgregation of productive units and towards incentivizing small independent nuclei that embody the logic of self-exploitation within the centralized industrial project; but it will keep being accompanied by slow adjustments within the traditional manufacturing sector.
This discussion is much more relevant for a country such as Italy which is more backwards compared to the japanese or american model.
Ripped out of the factories, in a slow and irreversible process, yesterday's workers are projected in a highly competitive environment that tries to increase their productive capacity, the only acceptable commodity in the computerized logic of productive centers.
Pulverized capitalist conflict is deadly in it's ability to turn off the other conflict, the revolutionary one, which aims to make class contradictions un-cooptable.
The major gains of the inhabitants of "productive islands", their apparent larger "freedom", their possibility to self-determine work hours, the qualitative change (within the logic of market competition guided by the centers that give directives), all this convinces people that they have arrived at the promised land: the kingdom of happiness and well-being. Higher gains and exacerbated "creativity".
These islands of death will surround themselves in ideological barriers and practices aimed to, at first, push everyone who's outside of it back in the sea of impossible survival. So the problem that presents itself is the one concerning the excluded.
First the ones who will be at the margins. Expelled from the productive process, penalized by their incapacity to enter the new competitive logic of capital, often unwilling to settle for the minimum level of survival granted by state subsidies that are more and more seen as ruins of the past in a productive situation that tends to highlight the virtues of the "self-made man". They won't just be the groups ethnically condemned to this social role, but, with the new social change we're talking about, they'll also be the social groups previously involved in sleep inducing wage labor, now sent in an environment of fast and radical change.
Even the residual subsidies that they will be able to get (pre-retirement, unemployment checks, etc.) won't be enough to accept a situation more and more discriminating, even in qualitative terms. Let's not forget that the level of consumption of this stripe of the excluded isn't anywhere near to that of ethnic groups that were never integrated in wage labor. This will certainly bring explosions of "social unrest" of a different kind and the job of the revolutionary will be to connect it to the more elementary push for rebellion.
Then there are the included, those who will suffocate in the "islands" of privilege. Here the discussion that risks becoming more complex is essentialised only if we're willing to give credit to man and his real need for freedom. Almost certainly it will be those "returning back" from this sector who will be the most ruthless executors of the logic of attack against capital in its new configuration. We're going towards a time of bloody clashes and harsh repression. Social peace, dreamed on one hand and feared on the other, remains the most inaccessible myth of that utopia of capital that thought itself heir to the "peaceful" logic of liberalism, that swept away the little dust in the living room and massacred in the kitchen, that provided social security in the homeland and murdered in the colonies.
The new opportunities of small, miserable, obscene daily freedoms will be paid by a deep, cruel and systemic discrimination towards very large social strata. This will mean eventually, within those same privileged strata, the growth of a conscience of the exploitation that will inevitably cause rebellions, even if limited to few individuals, even if limited to the best.
We must add finally that the new capitalist perspective lacks a strong ideological support unlike the way it was in the past, capable of giving support to the exploited, especially in the middle class. For large groups of individuals who in a more or less recent past directly experienced or simply read about liberatory utopias, revolutionary dreams and attempts (though limited and unhappy) of insurrectionary projects, well-being for the sake of itself is far too little.
These last won't be late in reaching the first. Not all the included will live happily the artificial happiness of capital. Many of them will realize that the misery of a part of society poisons the well-being of the remaining part and makes freedom a prison with barbed wire. In the last years the industrial project has taken some changes of trajectory, after the introduction of state control and methods tied to the political interests of managing public opinion.
Seeing things from the technical side allows you to observe how the productive organization is transforming. The activity that takes place in a precise location, for example the factory, is not important anymore but there is growth in the long distance distribution in the territory. This is allowing the development of industrial projects with a better and more balanced distribution of productive units in the territory, deleting an aspect of past social unbalance: ghettos and industrial super-concentrations, zones with high pollution and systemic destruction of ecosystems. Capital now looks to an ecological future, taking from environmentalists and espousing an ideology of saving natural resources that makes it seem possible to build the city of the future with a "human face", socialist or not.
The real reason that pushes the capitalist project towards these far away lands of yesterday's utopia is very simple and not philanthropic, it's based on the necessity to reduce to a minimum class unrest, dulling the effective antagonism of struggle with a sugary progressive adjustment founded on unlimited trust on technology.
Of course the best offers will be made to the included in order to avoid defection, which will tomorrow be the real thorn in the side of capitalism since individuals coming from the productive process who will adopt revolutionary projects will have real means to put in service of revolution against the hegemony of exploitation.
Bu this hope to govern the world through "good" technology already reveals itself to be unfounded because it doesn't take into account the problem of the physical dimension to give to the ghetto of the excluded. The latter could be recycled in a project garden in a mix of happiness and sacrifice, but only to an extent.
Tension and constant explosions of rage will put in serious peril the utopia of the exploiters. This was already visible. The issues of competition e monopoly threatened to involve productive structures in a series of reoccurring "crises". Production crises, mostly. It was necessary by the old mentality to reach the so called "economies of scale", and this was only possible by always increasing the volume of production so that you could better distribute fixed costs. From this came the standardization of productive processes; accumulation in the places where productive units are, chaotically distributed according to a colonizing logic (for example the "cathedrals in the desert" in Sicily); product uniformity; the segmentation of work and capital; etc.
The first corrections came from massive state intervention. The opportunities opened up by this presence were many. The state, no longer passive spectator, simple "cashier" of capital, but active operator, "banker" and entrepreneur.
To sum up, decrease of production of use value and increase of production of exchange value in terms of reaching social peace.
Capital found a partial solution, ending its competitive period. The state helped, in anticipation of total transformation of economic production into the production of social peace. This last utopian project is obviously unreachable. Sooner or later the machine breaks.
The new productive process, often called post-industrial, allows low costs even for commodities of small volumes of production; it allows noteworthy modifications to production even without capital increase; it develops the possibility for never before seen changes in the uniformity of products. This opens up horizons of "freedom" for the middle classes, for the productive class, for the same golden isolation of managerial classes, horizons that used to be inconceivable. It reminds me of the freedom of the nazi teutonic knights' castle. Around the manor, full of arms, there is only the peace of graveyards.
None of the authors of post-industrial neocapitalist ideology asked himself what to do about the danger that will come from there.
Future revolts will get more bloody and terrible. They will be even more so when we'll know how to transform them into mass insurrections.
The negative selection towards those who will be excluded from the teutonic knights' castle will be produced by not only unemployment, but mostly by a lack of real accessibility to data. The new productive model will necessarily have to decrease availability to knowledge of data. This is only in part a consequence of digitalisation of society. It's mostly one of the conditions of new domination, programmed at least twenty years ago and culminating in a mass schooling that's been emptied of appropriate cultural instruments.
In the times of the industrial revolution the advent of machines caused a reduction in the self-determination skills of the masses of workers, therefore their shackling in factories, destroying the previous farmer culture and giving to capital a workforce unable to "understand" the new mechanized world that was being born; similarly now the digital revolution, tied to the process of adjustment of capitalist contradictions done by the state, is about to give the factory proletariat to a new type of mechanism, equipped with a language that will only be comprehensible to a privileged minority. The rest will be pushed back and forced to share the fate of the ghetto.
Old knowledge, even the one filtered by intellectuals through the mirror of ideology, will be coded in machine language and made incomprehensible with the new necessities. This will be a historical occasion to discover the lacking content of the ideological stupidity we were fed in the last two centuries.
Capital will move towards abandoning anything that isn't immediately translatable in this new generalized language. Traditional education processes will be depleted more and more of content showing their real (and selective) substance as commodity.
Instead of language there will be a new canon for behavior made up of more or less precise rules and based on those old democratizing processes and assembly functions that capital has already perfectly learned how to control. This will have the double use of keeping busy the excluded and making them "participate" to the administration of public affairs.
Tomorrow's computerised society might perhaps have clean seas and an "almost" perfect protection of the limited resources of the environment, but it would be a jungle of rules and prohibitions sadly internalized and transformed in a deep personal decision to take part in collective well-being. Without orienting language the excluded won't be able to read between the lines of the communications of the powerful and will end up without any voice other than a revolt that will be spontaneous, irrational and destructively for its own sake.
The same collaboration of the included disgusted by the fictitious freedom of capital, revolutionary bringers of a small part of that technology that they'll manage to take away from the hands of capital, won't be enough to build a bridge or give a language to base a wise and correct counter-information on.
The organizing work of future insurrections will have to solve this problem, build from scratch the terms of a communication that is about to be interrupted and in its closing moment it might erupt spontaneously and uncontrollably in demonstrations of unprecedented violence.
We shouldn't picture the ghetto as the garbage slums of the past, made up of the superfluous trash thrown at the miserable. The new ghetto, coded in the rules of the new language, will be a passive user of future technology, and will also have rudimentary skills that allow to use the tools that, rather than satisfy needs, are needs themselves.
These gestures will be so impoverished that they'll be effective in lowering the quality of life in the ghetto.
Even objects of high productive complexity will be available for reasonably low costs and advertised with that stressed sense of exclusivity that excites consumers enthralled by the projects of capital. With mutated productive conditions we won't have repeated series production of the same object with great difficulty for modifications and technological development, but even in the ghetto we'll have a reproduction of articulated, flexible, interchangeable processes able to use (at low cost) the new ideas of control and impact demand, guiding it a realizing the conditions for social peace.
This apparent simplification of life for both the included and excluded, this technological "freedom" stimulates the dreams of economists and sociologists who, having always been good people, let themselves go in picturing an interclassist society capable of "living well" without awakening the monsters of class war, communism, anarchy.
The lost of interest for worker unions and the emptying of the reformist meaning that these organizations had in the past, their becoming just a transmission belt for the masters' orders, are seen as proof of the end of class war and the coming of an interclassist reality, all parallel to the coming of post-industrial society.
This makes no sense for several reasons. Syndicalism (of every type) lost its revolutionary meaning (if it ever had any), even its reformist one, not because class war is over but because the conditions for the struggle have changed. We are in front of a continuation with contradictions that are getting more and more elevated and unsolvable.
Schematically we can reconstruct two phases.
In the industrial period competition of capital and a productive process based on manufacturing prevail. The main economic sector is the secondary one, that uses produced energy as its transforming resource and financial capital as its strategic resource. The technology of this period is essentially mechanics and the main social figure of production if the factory worker. The methodology for projects is empiricism, based on experimentation, while the organization of productive processes as a whole is based on infinite economic growth.
In the post-industrial period we're going towards, but haven't yet fully reached especially in Italy, the state prevails on capitalist competition and imposes its systems of consent manufacturing and orders production mostly in order to obtain social peace. The technical mode of production is replaced by data elaboration and the transformation of services. The main economic sector is the tertiary (services), quaternary (specialized finance), quinary (research, free time, education, public administration). The main transforming resource is information which is made up of a complex system of data transmission while the main strategic resource is knowledge, which is slowly replacing financial capital. Technology abandons its mechanical component and moves to its intellectual one, the typical figure that uses this technology isn't the factory worker but the technician, the professional, the scientist. The methodology for projects is founded on abstract theory and not experimentation, while the organization of productive processes is based on the codification of theoretical knowledge.
It's the twilight of worker centrality. Pointing its attention to the productive industrial phase marxism considered fundamental the contribution of the working class to the revolutionary solution to social contradictions. From this came a deep conditioning of the revolutionary movement's strategy inspired by the goal of conquering power.
At the base of this logic there was the hegelian misunderstanding, fueled by Marx, that the dialectical contrast between proletariat and bourgeoisie could be brought to extreme by indirectly strenghtening the proletariat through strenghtening capital and the state. This way any successful repression was interpreted as the anti-chamber of future proletarian victory. All in a progressive vision, typical of the enlightenment, of building "spirit" in the material world.
With interesting modifications this old idea of class war lasted until yesterday, at least in some dreams full of nightmares dreamed up by the survivors of old projects of glory and conquest. On the theoretical level a serious critical analysis of this purely fantastical situation was never produced.
There was only an acknowledgement that worker centrality was delocated somewhere else. First, shyly, in the sense of a territorial scattering of factories. Then, more decisively, in the sense of a progressive substitution of classic secondary sector productive processes with tertiary ones.
Even anarchists have had their illusions, even these have come to an end. They never had the illusion of worker centrality, but they've often seen the role of work as fundamental, with manufacturing leading agriculture. This was fueled by anarcho-syndicalism.
The last fires of this tendency were seen with the enthusiasm that was born, and later died, for the spanish CNT rising from the ashes, fueled particularly from those who today appear as the most radical adherents to the new "ways" of reformist anarchism.
The base conception that feeds this form of worker centrality (different from the marxist one but not as much as commonly believed) is the shadow of the party. Most of the anarchist movement acted for a long time as a synthesis organization, therefore with some of the weights of a party. Some comrades may object that these statements are too generic, but they can't deny that the mentality that sustains the synthesis relationship that a specific anarchist organization has with the outside reality of the movement is a relationship close to the classic "party" form.
Good intentions, alone, are not enough.
This mentality has come to an end. Not only in the youngest comrades that want an open and informal relationship with the revolutionary movement, but more importantly it has come to an end in the social reality itself.
If the typical productive conditions of the industry made seem reasonable a syndicalist struggle or a strategy based on a synthesis organization, today in a deeply changed reality with a post-industrial perspective the only possible strategy for anarchists is the informal one, meaning that groups of comrades uniting with precise objectives, based on affinity, contribute to create base nuclei that aim to reach mid-term goals and, in the meantime, build the conditions to transform situations of revolt into situations of insurrection.
The marxist party is dead.
So is the anarchist synthesis organization. When I read critiques such as the one developed by social ecologists, who speak of the death of anarchism, I realize that it's a language misunderstanding, together with a lack of ability to delve deep in problems. What is dead to them, and to me too, is the anarchism that thought itself to be an organizational reference point for the next revolution, that saw itself as a synthesis structure aimed to sum up all the different ways in which human creativity coalesces to break state structures of consent and repression. What died is the static anarchism of traditional organizations, based on quantitative demands. The hope of seeing social revolution as something that must necessarily result from our struggles revealed to be unfounded. It may happen or it may not.
Determinism is dead, and the blind law of cause and effect died with it. The revolutionary means we employ, including insurrection, don't necessarily lead to social revolution. In reality there isn't the causal model that positivists of the last century were fond of. Precisely because of this revolution becomes possible.
Reducing transfer time of data, decisions are accelerated. Making these times zero (as it happens when we say "in real time") decisions aren't accelerated, but transformed. They become something different.
Modifying projects, the elements of productive investment also change transferring from traditional capital (mostly financial) to future capital (mostly intellectual).
The management of the different is one of the base elements of real time.
But power, perfecting the relationship between politics and economics, stopping the contradictions of competition, organizing the manufacturing of consent, and most importantly programming all this in real time, definitively cuts out a large portion of society: the excluded.
The change in speed of productive operations will mostly determine a cultural and linguistic change. Here we have the greatest danger for the ghettoised.
In order to deny the legitimacy of power and produce "diversified behaviors" a shared language is needed, if not of interests. The same thing was done by parties and unions. The community of language translated into a fictitious clash of class factions, characterized by demands of improvement and by the resistance to grant them.
But asking for something presupposes a "community" with who owns what is being demanded. Now the global repressive project aims to disband this community. Not necessarily through prison walls, ghettos, peripheral cities, great industrial areas; instead this is done by decentralizing production, improving services, ecologising productive mentality, in the utter segregation of the excluded. This segregation will be achieved by progressively depriving them of a common language that until today they had with the other side of society. They won't know what to ask.
The manufacturing of consent was founded, in the industrial period, on a possible participation to the benefits of production. In a period when the possibilities of modifying capital are practically infinite, precisely to achieve this perspective, the couple capital-state will need a language for itself, separate from that of the excluded.
Inaccessibility to the language of power will cause a segregation even more effective than the traditional borders of the ghetto. The always increasing difficulty of understanding the language of power will make the latter more and more difficult until it becomes absolutely "other". From that moment it will disappear from the desires of the excluded, remaining completely ignored. From that moment the included will be "other" to the excluded, and vice-versa.
In the repressive project this alienation is necessary. The fundamental concepts of the past, such as solidarity, communism, revolution, anarchy, were based on the recognized importance of equality. But for the teutonic knights living in the castle, the excluded won't be men but objects, just like for our ancestors slaves were only things you could buy and sell.
We don't have a feeling of equality towards a dog, this is because this animal only barks, it doesn't speak our language. Because of this we can love it, but we necessary feel it as "other" and don't mind its fate, at least not at the level of the whole dog species, and we prefer to be fond of the dog that provides services such as companionship, affection, or ferocity towards our enemies.
The same happens for all those who don't share our language. Note that I'm referring to "language" as a specific way of communicating, not a national language. Our progressive and revolutionary tradition made us understand that all men are equal, regardless of differences in skin or national language. Instead here we have a possible development of the repressive project aiming to deprive the excluded of the possibility of communicating with the included. Reducing the availability of the written word, slowly replacing newspapers and the printing press with with words transmitted through cables, images, colors and music, tomorrow's power might build a language appropriate only for the excluded who will then elaborate many ways, even creative ones, of linguistic reproduction, but always within their own code, completely cut out from the code of the included, therefore from any possible understanding of their world. Its a short path from a lack of understanding to disinterest and mental closure.
In this sense reformism is on its way to die. Making demands won't be possible, because there won't be the knowledge necessary to know what to demand from a world that has stopped being of interest or saying anything comprehensible. Cut out of the language of the included, the excluded will also be cut out of the technology built by the former. They'll maybe live in a better world, more breathable, with decreased danger of apocalyptic conflict, with progressive weakening of tensions on economic bases, but there will be an increase of tensions on an irrational base.
From the peripheral areas of the planet where the penetration of the exploitation project, despite its "real time", will find obstacles of ethnic and geographical nature, to the central zones with a more advanced degree of class division, there will be a move away from economic struggle towards irrational struggle.
The included and their projects of control will reach for the goal of gaining consensus by reducing the economic difficulties of the excluded, they'll even give them prepared languages aimed to a partial and sclerotic use of technology, they'll be able to prevent explosions of irrational violence, the one born from feeling useless, boredom and the lethal atmosphere of the ghetto.
The mass movements that our comrades today are impressed by, keeping them awake for their dangerousness (and uselessness, they say), point to the most reasonably foreseeable development of tomorrow's struggles.
Many young people aren't able, already in the present, to come to a critical evaluation of the situation they're in. Deprived of that minimum level of culture that schooling once used to give them, bombarded with messages based on gratuitous and aimless violence, they're pushed in a thousand ways to an irrational, spontaneous rebellion that lacks those "political" goals that previous generations believed to see clearly.
The "places" of these collective explosions and their ways are very different. The occasions too. But it can be traced back to insufferability for the management of death imposed by the capital-state couple.
It's pointless to get scared in front of these manifestations because they lack those key elements that tradition had taught us to be the indicators of revolutionary instances in mass movements.
It's not about getting scared but about getting in action before it's too late.