Interview with FRANCO BIFO BERARDI - by BENEDETTA PINZARI and MARIANNA SICA
Before October 19 you’ve broadcasted a personal reflection focusing ‘the uprising’. What’s supposed to be meant by?
Uprising is a few word coming far between, and even ambiguous, grabbed from military lexicon. I found myself using it in a pamphlet came out a couple of years ago, pointing out with great emphasis that the uprising we have to claim has to be about a physical process A rise in body, having nothing about conscription, but hugely erotic at least. I mean the rebuilt of social fiber that seems to have disappeared. I found pivotal to go back on that item since I see in movement some have felt the appeal in, and the rich ambiguity so far. This is reason that compells to comment upon. The concern of what I disseminated was ‘hope’: hope the process started December 14 2010, with both students in Rome and England raisin harshly but joyfully against barbarism that European financial capitalism was unleashing.
Three years later, things have changed a lot getting worse eventually on social networking and also within the social corpus in European scenario. Again, my message was an attempt to declare we should be able not to deceive ourselves in Armageddon rethoric. One misconception this time no one was shuffled in: a few of ‘anti-squad’ trial is bound to such a circumstance. What I expect now is especially the continuity of the process. It is the only way the uprising baits by angry outbursts and becomes a process of effective social empowerment. Of course, this hope lays beneath; I do not believe we are now witnessing a process with quirks of continuity. Outburst are multiplying in recent weeks - that’s true - moving from the parade in defense of Constitution, nevertheless has to be assessed with all its ambiguity as one among several items of sufference on financial dictatorship.
The strike of the labor unions, then October 19 and anything going on that way - altought eventual - enshrines the rush of struggle: an explosion embodied in everyday life. Will we succeed to overcome this boundary and give continuity to the process of struggle and self-relying? That’s the matter.
A process of continuous - permanent - upheaval, which generalizing item should lie on?
A key-word has been remarked in Bologna a few years ago, still efficient thus too little stressed up to now. Insolvency. Insolvency is the deepest core of a potential uprising of whole European folks. Insolvency truly means refusal to pay a debt that we have not incurred, moreover the refusal to pay the symbolic debt of a say-nothing unfactual democracy in order to reaffirms political subordination, therefore economic subsidiarity. Insolvency, above all. Then, self-organization of cognitive labor. The financial attack affects education and cultural production as first. The self-employed cognitive workers, whose energy is innovative, is the very center of dispared framework of temps.
So that: to me, insolvency and self-organization of cognitive labor stay as the two core themes the front is demanded to build continuity.
Which European - and more generally transnational - scenario should this process settle down?
First and foremost, we should be able to assess what’s the latest on Europe.
Get over the night is not about to come: arguing on a frame of complexity involving non just political but also social and cultural process demands more then just rely on invention or unpredictable, desirable as it can be. We must consider what lies down the depths of socials of European folk and culture too, better in supposed collective psyche of European society.
Something scary underlies, that’s just it. European society, in the political worthlessness hitting labor, is even more unable to bulk up to face and overthrow the offensive. Again, in longlasting impotence condition, Europe witnesses the rise of customary aspects of populism, fascism, racism, fear, aggressiveness, breaking down, sesclusion, depression. These emerging item are actually inflected into politics. Hearing on France - along with Italy is nowadays the most depressed field in Europe - we learn about the election achievement and continuous growth of National Front. Anyone aknowledged by compulsory education knows that’s a foregone conclusion. European Hills can not pretend not to know ‘Nation’ is a word in France - at least in two centuries - has been deeply joined with ‘People’ and the ‘State’, differently from Spain or Italy. In France, the ‘Stability Pact’ of Mrs. Merkel, the breakeven enforcement Goldman Sachs legates demanded - like Mr. Mario Draghi and others on European asset - means but an intolerable offense to the sovereign of State - People - Nation trinity. You may not like it, that’s the way it is.
Right and Left parties have shamefully been in this together in 2005, bargaining a referendum against the so-called European Constitution, in which the National Front and the Left together defeated the European neo-liberalism. This should teach us something, namely France is a country where nationalism and defense of society can merge under attack, as happens nowadays under the pressure of foreign entity policy, such as Germany. Sorry about that, indeed I must admitt we’re about on the edge of fifth Franco-German war, that’s the point. From Napoleon to the Franco-Prussian war, from WWI to WWII, the history of the world over the past two centuries has been marked by the re-emergence of a conflict not only defined nationwide, but arising as diffused morbid nationalism. The European Central Bank has whetted the nature of beast of nationalist attitudes right in the place its morbidity is massive ever more. Are we in time to dismantle this madness, which leads directly to the collapse of the European Union and then to fascism and moreover war, aren’t we? Can we can stop it? These are questions I submit myself first. I also wonder: is there any among European politicians focusing the oddity we are allowing the financial class? Any interested at least in pointing at it despite the weakness of politics nowadays?
Back to October 19, MSM have built and acted a narrative in attempt to shout the setting process down, then have built up a climate of tension and penalization around it by the customary device of fear. Just taking a look at the strong engagement in October 19 it would seem that the mechanism of fear has failed: what is such a failure due to?
I remember the days before Genoa in 2001, there were rumors some bastards referred infected blood would have been fired on the police or even that three hundred and thirty coffins were about to be delivered in Genoa.
These days I have heard that Rome hospitals were compelled to make room in order to keep the loan of injuried. The device of fear may have but played up a few since instead of 80-90.000 people there could have been 200,000. Actually doesn’t prove alarm device may no longer work, but rather that people have non more of fear, the loan of anger have passed danger levels by, everybody knows, even figures as Alfano. Anyway, we cannot content: lonely anger cannot benefit any society. Anger without a plan, not set into life forms, re-asset, autonomy, threatens to become self-harming. The facts of Rome struggle have been impressive for size indeed: 25,000 people were expected, three times more there were at least. Numbers don’t make bulk alone, anyway. We can not just attempt montly to encore performance, despite concrete matters. Ritual works efficiently on a symbolic field, due to self-recognition moods that should not be underestimated, then this should pull somewhere forward. In everyday life, labor, school, university, proximity relationships. As long as we fail to pour in daily life that empowerment, the ritual is about to reply uselessly.
Another significant mainstream media mystification of folk in October 19 is about its composition and the attempt to depict temps, squatters, migrants, students who have overwhelmed Rome as a young hopeless, failed, moan and parasite bunch, opposed to a startupper attitude youth, got in the game with its own skills, dynamic and engaged in achieving its own desires. How the square of October 19 was according to you, minding its actual composition, claims and expressions?
One of the weakness in social struggles and efforts lies in the unease to reconnect and match the temp work - as generally ment - cognitive labor and traditionally intended employment. That’s one of the most dramatic tricks nowadays, so textural I'm not even sure that we will ever overcome. In recent years we have faced an outburst of workers' riot: mind Sardinia, Taranto, the role Fiom has been playing in this. Indeed, we are not able to compose all these but just in squares, as a temporary performance, within a process involving self-organization of society with student movement moreover with eventual bursts of precarious. Breafly, what are we in the need of? Political intuition, a buzzword maybe. The plan is a basic income for everyone, disjoined from contingency of work. Even more essential to me has to be a working-time general reduction plan, merry melodies, I know! But as long as we realize working time is the heart of contemporary slavery and barriers between employed and unemployed, or between youth and elders, we’ll not get to the core. As long as we realize that topic must be but one, we will fend, always. Think about this matter of ageless shame: thirty years have been passed trying to persuade us young people upcoming income subdues to elder laborers durability. I crack up twice since politicians keep repeating while folks partly believes it’s true. That’s illogical even before being unjustifiable to society and politics. Therefore, a cultural offensive about can probably be a keystones allowing us to rebuild a common - not just mentioning the Saturday afternoon glory - now unfit in soundness of unifying and groupware autonomy.
Do you think overall is there any grounding in mainstream media mirroring a fracture within society among a mass of downgraded asking home and income and a supposed party of "cognitivevs" building by self-entrepreneurship a way to outdo the crisis? About the previous topic of working-time, which is the way a startupper exploits himself or has been capitalized everyday?
In the Nineties, to go back to recent history, the split between temp and cognitive labor had its foundation and real wage in the way that the cognitivevs were empowered in trade and appeal regarding companies progression. Since the beginning of the new decade this scenario has changed. Reasons are still to be catched up in what had happened between classic and new capital, within labor structure. In the last ten, more, fifteen years, however, there is no longer any privileged status of cognitive labor. Some exceptions in enrichment and cognitive self-ventures fortune still restist, the same cognitivevs and temps merge, being the most of. It’s fair that cognitive worker is then forced to exert himself on a permanent violence, more than any other is compelled to live as continuos trial his role in society. A cultural critique about need to be moved going precisely to capture the effects of self- violence and self- impoverishment that entails. I recently read a book by an English author - Jonathan Crary - titled "24/7", twenty four hours a day and seven days a week. It is a book on sleep, in which the author explains how the early twentieth century humanity slept ten hours a night, in the sixties the average sleeping time was eight hours per night, while today the typical American sleeps six hours per night. Something has happened indeed. Those who are forced to undersleep, not only ache and lapse life quality, but also piss off even in everyday issues. That's why self-exploitation does not produce enrichment neither for society, nor for the worker.
* Translation by Manuela Costa.