“Ye Shall have No Other Society but This One!”: Neoliberal Theology

The theological character of the new ordo oeconomicus is clearly shown in its imposition of itself as an irrefutable and irredeemable horizon, as an objectively given totality, insuperable even if only at the symbolic level. It turns us all into followers of a cult without dogma, of a fetishistic incantation and of an omnipresent religion in everyday life, whose dominion extends “on Earth as it does in Heaven.”

We are confronted with commodities, stock market values or the inscrutable will of the market, as if they were emanations of the only surviving divinity: the fetishized economy. The result is an unprecedented vision of the world, which is smuggled in as aseptic, secular, anodyne and purely economic, but which in reality is a position of the highest ideological and religious content. It “unites” (religat, according to the original etymology of religio) all men on the planet to the omnipotence of the market as the sole guiding principle of the totality of fetishized social relations, like the Deus Mortalis referred to in the words of the Book of Job (41:24): non est potestas super terram quae comparetur ei.

That the economy represents the logical and chronological successor of the traditional monotheistic divinity is evidenced not only by the fact that its laws cannot be questioned, since they constitute the inexplicable with which to explain every reality of the market cosmos; it is also deduced from the very self-foundation that the economy began to operate, at least starting from the dialectical phase. Capitalist exchange presents itself, in effect, as a causa sui, according to the most typical prerogative of monotheistic divinity. Not only does it not need external foundations, of a political or philosophical character, but it must neutralize them, promoting the rejection of traditional faith, of contractualism as the political establishment of the social order, or of natural law as truth pre-existent to the self-instituted ordo oeconomicus.

From its abstract phase, the capitalist animal kingdom of the spirit aspires to eliminate the historical and social traces of its genesis, that is, its own condition of product of human action. It must be thought of as prior to any communal substance pre-existent to the network of mercantile exchanges (this is the social-historical deduction of the Lockean critique of the idea of substance), as without cause (this explains, on the social and political level, the Humean destructuring of the idea of cause) and, again, as ahistorically founded on free-trade human nature (the Smithian “invisible hand”). Like the monotheistic divinity, the market economy is not created and is, at the same time, at the origin of the creatio ex nihilo of the socio-political cosmos that considers it dominant as summum ens and as ens entium.

Postmodern men, disenchanted and already indifferent to the great narratives that have paved the way for Modernity, have ceased to believe in everything except the blind and mysterious force of the market, the only surviving Absolute. The market itself acts in its turn as the author of disenchantment with respect to any other value not superimposable or, in any case, not reabsorbable in the pantheon of the market, composed of exchange, consumption and the tenacious faith in the inevitability of economic fundamentalism conceived as the fatality of destiny. The continuous struggles of the secularist front against the monotheisms of tradition reveal here, once again, its misery: it is capital itself that sets aside any traditional form of religion other than that of the market.

Monotheism and polytheism coexist dialectically in the mystical figure of the divinized market, according to the aforementioned form of monocratic absolutism, which harbors within itself the kaleidoscopic plurality of lifestyles and unified customs functional to the sacred fury of unlimited valorization. Even in the common lexicon, as well as in the increasingly stereotyped lexicon of politics, whose sole purpose is to guarantee the non-existence of alternatives, the ordo oeconomicus presents the market in a form that is either singularized or pluralized. The market is pluralized when it offers possibilities of development that should not be missed (the so-called “market opportunities”) or, simply, when they are limited to carrying their existence significantly suprasensible as autonomous and divine entities.

In this, markets reveal themselves to be similar to Epicurus’ gods. Projected in the cosmic space of the interworld, hidden from human gaze and action, they exist self-referentially, indifferent to our needs and sufferings. Compared to them, we, inhabitants of the time of the fractured social bond, are just as many atoms that accidentally aggregate to disintegrate again in the vacuum of the circulation of commodities. And yet the market is once again reordered in the singular, when it assumes the status of a punitive divinity that, like the God of the Old Testament, imposes its inscrutable and non-negotiable will, giving rise to the figure of the imperatives of the market, before which politics and, more generally, human life, are called upon to submit passively.

In an integral rehabilitation of what traditional religions had condemned without appeal as vices (greed, lust, etc.), economic theology expresses itself in an unprecedented religious form that is purely cultic (of worship). It is devoid of dogmatics and theoretical justification, in harmony with its intimately nihilistic nature, because it is based on the unconnected extension of the commodity form to all spheres. That capitalism is a faith is clear from the unshakable confidence that continues to be placed in the market, despite the catastrophes and calamities it generates daily on a planetary scale. It is presented as if it were a God whose goodness cannot be doubted, following the typical recourse of all theodicy and its guarantee that, in the end, evil will not triumph.

Having attained its degree of absoluteness, capital today assumes in fully realized form the status of the new God to which it secretly aspired from its auroral gaze: we thus return to the religious spirit of capitalism of Protestant origin studied by Weber. To corroborate the status of unconditional faith that permeates our connection with the Nomos of the economy and also, in our daily life, the fact that, more and more often, it is not we who choose, but we happily and frivolously trust in brands—that is, in the almost divine guarantee of the griffe (the now disused slogan “in God we trust” gives way to the postmodern “in brand we trust”)—we count on the complicit and increasingly invasive dictatorship of advertising. The latter millimetrically disciplines our desires according to the dual and synergistic movement of its ever-renewed urgency and its diversion to the market: it is not permissible to desire anything that is virtually external to the society of the spectacle. The totalitarian character of a production apparatus that not only determines the socially required roles and attitudes, but also itself informs the needs and aspirations, the dreams and innermost desires of individuals, emerges once again.

The phenomenon of the gadget, that is, the aberration transformed into a commodity, can also be understood from a not-too-distant perspective. Gadgets such as advertising key chains—Debord suggested—not only reveal the umpteenth mystical abandonment to the transcendence of the commodity form: their meticulous collection fulfills a function similar to the accumulation of indulgences, constituting the proof for the adept of the cult of the commodity form of his own condition as a faithful of the religion of planetary alienation and of the creed of truth in money.

As Benjamin anticipated, in his prescient considerations of 1921 on Kapitalismus als Religion, the commodity faith, which satisfies the concerns and anxieties to which in the past the traditional religions responded and which are now increasingly abandoned, is articulated in the form of a religion of permanent worship. It knows no holidays inaccessible to economic transactions or consumerist rituals. It is a religion of daily life that shapes, according to its logic and its liturgy, each of our actions and each of our thoughts: from the moment we sign a check to the moment we make a bank transfer or even the moments when we wander through the temples of merchandise (supermarkets, shopping malls, outlets, etc.).

The religion of capital—which could perhaps be called “capitalism”—is a Deus absconditus (Isaiah 45:15), as can be inferred as soon as we consider that the market corresponds to the first religion that tends to conceal its own God in the very act with which it spasmodically celebrates its cult. It segregates in its own image and likeness an ethic of sacrifice and guilt, periodically immolating peoples on the altar of the market and its unfathomable lex divina. Guilt declines, in the religion of capital, as debit: and this, according to that semantic convergence which is symptomatically made explicit in the German word Schuld—which encompasses both meanings—and shows its operative unity in the capitalist landscape (where debt is also guilt).

The political lexicon is always revealing, for in it is sedimented the spirit of the times. The rhetoric of sacrifice is condensed today in theologomena, so commonplace that it goes unnoticed (“it is necessary to make sacrifices”, “the market demands it of us”, “the debt must be paid off,” “it is the will of Europe,” etc.). It is typical of religious thought: it is always governed by the idea of a salvation which, in the last analysis, does not depend entirely on us and which can, at most, be brought about by sacrificial rites whose most hidden meaning escapes human reason. The only possible economy of salvation today seems to be that which preaches the salvation of the economy, in the two senses of the sacrifice of all reality for the sake of maintaining the ordo oeconomicus and the reabsorption of all soteriological perspective in the immanent dynamics of the market.

The transcendental historical change introduced by the advent of the religion of capital is also made evident by the fact that salvation from the anguish and pain of existence is no longer pursued through the path of traditional religions, as fuga mundi. The only possible salvation, in times of the economic apocalypse and the “universal flood” of global liquidity, becomes unbridled consumption and, therefore, the loss of oneself in the meaninglessness of the world. It provokes that enslavement of the subject to the absolute power of the object which, as we shall see, constitutes the culmination of the reified hellish scenario, determining the oblivion of praxis. The cunning of production consists in generating the illusion that possible salvation resides in the commodity-object and, at the same time, in ensuring that this is characterized by a structural emptiness of substance: the commodity-object dissolves quickly, in the very act with which it is consumed.

Thus, in the order of the religion of capital, the illusion of salvation is punctually frustrated in the emptiness of the object and, at the same time, always re-emerges as itself, in a macabre dance of commodities that are extinguished in consumption only to re-emerge again and again. It is in this perverse circuit that lies the secret of the consumerist liturgy, as a constant search for salvation in an object that continually disappears in consumption and always reappears in circulation. The commodity-object, instead of saving, continues to generate ex novo the disastrous circularity it promised to break. For this reason, the enjoyment proposed by the discourse of the capitalist is unsatisfactory. Its unlimited pursuit gives life to the hell of the compulsive search for the new, which is always equal to itself, typical of the Kierkegaardian aesthetic phase to which Oedipal capitalism condemns humanity. Herein lies, incidentally, the “metonymic character of desire” (Massimo Recalcati), that is, its frenetic drive, in a fluctuation without peace, that leads humanity from one object to another, in the promise of a worldly salvation that, according to the theology of the market, always refers to the next commodity. The condition of lack is not safeguarded as constitutive of existence, but is continually generated as a ruse aimed at the unlimited reproduction of an ephemeral jouissance that is always the same.

The cunning of production exploits to its own advantage this tragic condition of Western man: pretending to want to cure it, it always renews it from scratch, exploiting it with a view to the circuit of self-referential valorization. The dictatorship of advertising is its finishing touch. The latter, through the artifice of fashion, determines the programmed obsolescence of the object, relentlessly declaring the expiration of the merchandise it praised until yesterday. In the words of Debord’s Société du spectacle: “both Stalin and outmoded products are denounced by those who imposed them” (§ 70); and, in this way, the new advertising lie disproves the preceding lie so that it can, in turn, be challenged by the subsequent one.

Diego Fusaro is professor of the History of Philosophy at the IASSP in Milan (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies) where he is also scientific director. He is a scholar of the Philosophy of History, specializing in the thought of Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. His interest is oriented towards German idealism, its precursors (Spinoza) and its followers (Marx), with a particular emphasis on Italian thought (Gramsci or Gentile, among others). he is the author of many books, including Fichte and the Vocation of the IntellectualThe Place of Possibility: Toward a New Philosophy of Praxis, and Marx, again!: The Spectre Returns[This article appears courtesy of Posmodernia].

Featured: Collins St., 5 pm, by John Brack; painted in 1955.

Land and Sea: Globalization as a Fluid Realm

Uncontrolled and uncontrollable, the sea is the realm of immoderation and universal transience, of pirate nomadism and uncontainable wandering: “in the sea it is not possible to sow or even to dig straight lines. The ships that sail the sea leave no trace behind them.” The trails that are drawn in the sea disappear almost instantaneously, without being transferred to the future. They are, precisely for this reason, the symbol of the universal transience of the global liquid society.

Unlike terrestrial spaces, regulated and subject to geographical differences, to natural roots and borders, to rooted and territorialized communities, the open space of the sea is literally uninhabitable. It is crossed without the possibility of being able to inhabit it stably. It is, by its essence, the space of free and perpetual omnidirectional circulation, devoid of barriers and borders, of norms and limitations.

To cross the thalassic surfaces implies the abandonment of terrestrial stability and the acceptance of the possible dangers linked to the absence of solid ground and the eventual encounter with pirates who, in the same way as those of finance and the banking system, carry out raids in the absence of laws to control and limit them.

Without land there is neither political power nor frontier. In a word, there is no νόμος; that is why the thalassic expanse appears as the natural place of deregulation and, consequently, of that falsely libertarian anarchy which in reality secretly coincides with the uncontrolled domination of the strongest, with their freedom to preserve without restrictions their own self-interest.

Marine expansion, like the financial market of planetary flexibility, knows only waves, ebbs and flows, sudden storms and unexpected turbulence. “The trembling of the sea” (Purgatory, I, v. 117) offers no protection and, instead, exposes to the permanent risk of storms, shipwrecks and pirate boardings.

Indeed, it has been the financialization of capitalism that has played a decisive role in its post-bourgeois metamorphosis, which has led it to transit from the solid to the liquid element: finance, in fact, is volatile and unpredictable, the enemy of stability and rootedness.

The sea thus becomes an absolute metaphor for flexible and post-telluric production, aeriform for its immateriality and thalassic for its liquid movement and freed from the political power of the νόμος.

This is true not only for the liquid condition characteristic of cosmo-marketing, but also for the convergent process of deterritorialization—to take up a notion dear to Deleuze and Guattari—that distinguishes the epoch of planetary uprooting, set in motion by the expansion of the globalized market: the sea is perennially unstable in its incessant becoming and, at the same time, prevents any stabilizing action from being implemented. It forces those who venture into it to the perpetual dynamism of navigation and displacement, of nomadism and instability. It is the place of wandering and vagrancy, not of citizenship and communal territoriality.

Hegel already, anticipating Schmitt, had contrasted terrestrial rootedness, centered on the idea of frontier, to maritime limitlessness, where barriers are lacking and the dimension of schlechte Unendlichkeit, the “bad infinitude” of permanent mobility, prevails:

“The sea is something indeterminate, unlimited, infinite, and man, feeling himself in the midst of this infinity, is challenged to cross the boundary. The sea invites man to conquest and rapine, but also to profit and gain. The dry land, the river plain, fixes man to the ground, from which multiple obstacles arise. On the contrary, the sea pushes him beyond these limited circles.”

In Hegel’s perspective, the oceanic extension, open and uncontainable, corresponds to the infinite evil of excessive growth, to the rage to transcend all limits: it is the emblem of Modernity which, forgetting the Greek value of the just limit and of the sacred measure, always ventures recklessly “beyond these limited circles.”

It is in this sense that, in Elements of the Philosophy of Right, as an anticipation of the dichotomy that will be at the center of Schmitt’s reflection, Hegel maintains that “a condition for the principle of family life (Familienlebens) is the earth, a foundation and a stable ground” (§ 247); in contrast, “for industry” (für die Industrie) the “natural element” (natürliches Element) is the sea that opens towards infinity.

The telluric stability of the “ethical roots,” with its solid and solidary dimension, which sinks deep into the earth, draws a space of permanent enmity against the vacillating flow of the thalassic extension of the “system of needs,” where everything is relentlessly subjected to the uprooting of trade and bargaining, of competition and exchange of one and all.

Ethical roots aspire to regulate the anarchic space of the system of needs, subjecting it to the νόμος of communal control. Such a space, for its part, aims at the opposite goal: that is, at its own integral liberation from the power of the νόμος connected with the ethical roots. Moreover, it explicitly tends to produce the uprooting and, therefore, the devitalization of those roots, so that the self in its interest, and with it every human relation, are redefined according to the thalassic logic of unsociable sociability and piratical deregulation.

From this point of view, turbo-chrematistics globalization could rightly be understood for all intents and purposes as the triumph of the thalassic principle over the telluric one and, therefore, as the successful destruction of all surviving ethical rootedness: from that of family life to that of ethics linked to the State form, passing through the intermediate bodies of the population (from schools to trade unions and public health).

We know that the Greeks feared the sea as a mobile space of limitlessness and as a very concrete place of infinite openness, before which Achilles, their most powerful hero, wept: “bursting into tears, he sat far from his own, apart, on the shore of the whitish sea, gazing at the infinite expanse” (apeiron) (Iliad, I, 349-350).

Let us note that in the Homeric poems it is commonplace to associate the sea with the term apeiron, which literally means “without border,” “without limit” and consequently, by extension, “infinite,” “unlimited,” “indeterminate.”

The uniform space of the thalassic immensity, with its structural absence of borders, appears as the opposite not only of the mainland, where roots and ethical communities distributed over the territory and different in culture and traditions prevail; additionally the increasingly unequal “financial integration of the world” is producing the destruction of the properly geographical element, i.e., of the plurality of differentiated and unequal locations, according to what has been defined as the end of geography.

Oceanic expansion is also presented as the antithesis of that sea, limited and perimetered by the land, that is the Mediterranean, where limitlessness is literally “contained,” delimited, because it is enclosed within precise confines that allow, at least to a certain extent, the control and management of the territory.

Unlike the infinity of the ocean, the Mare Nostrum comes to be defined as a figure of that politicized economy that constitutes the essence of the ethical life thematized by Hegel. The Mediterranean then stands as the living image of a sea regulated and subjected to the power of the νόμος, because it is surrounded by land and, to a certain extent, controlled by the latter and subordinated to its demands.

Absent in Hegel, the clear conceptual differentiation between the bounded sea and the borderless ocean-like sea is found in Kant’s work. In The Metaphysics of Morals (1797) he distinguishes between mare clausum and mare liberum.

The former is the sea close to the land, subject to the control of the latter and defensible “as far as the guns that guard the shore can reach.” It is, so to speak, a regulated and disciplined sea, subject to the jurisdiction of the continent and controllable by the political force that governs it.

Such is the essence, as we have recalled, of the Mediterranean, the closed and limited Mare Nostrum, open to plurality and difference, a fertile, pluralistic and multicultural space—as Braudel has exemplarily shown—of the origin and gestation of civilizations (Greeks and Romans, Christians and Muslims).

Thus, in Hegel’s Lectures on the Philosophy of World History, the mare clausum of the Mediterranean is celebrated as the axis of Weltgeschichte, as the space for the flowering of the greatest civilizations that have traversed the history of the human race:

“All the great states of ancient history rest around this navel of the Earth. It is here that Greece, the brightest point of history, is located. In Syria is Jerusalem, the center of Judaism and Christianity. To the southeast of it are Mecca and Medina, cradles of Islam. To the west lie Delphi and Athens, and further west Rome and Carthage; and so to the south Alexandria, which is even more central than Constantinople, where the spiritual fusion of East and West is completed. The Mediterranean is, then, the heart of the Old World, being its motor, its condition of life.”

The mare liberum, on the other hand, is the sea free of controls, indefensible and physiologically uninhabitable: as Kant points out, “no domicile is possible in the open sea” or, we would say, no citizenship. The denied territoriality is accompanied by the thalassic wandering, which turns the navigator into mobilis in mobili.

And also according to this hermeneutic key, which links illimited and mare liberum together, the story of Dante’s Odysseus can be understood: “I launched myself toward the open high seas,” Odysseus declares in the presence of the Florentine poet, confessing his own guilt, which is, in all evidence, a guilt of ὕβϱις, derived from the surpassing of the just limit.

It is not by chance that Dante’s Inferno imagines the death of Odysseus when he sets out “toward the high open sea,” venturing on a voyage impossible because it leads toward the limitless. The Dantesque is one of the possible readings, if we consider that, for example, Elias Canetti of The Tongue Set Free (1977) reads the character of Odysseus in the opposite key, that is, as a figure of diminution and measure, as could be deduced from the gesture with which the hero of Ithaca makes himself “nobody” (οὐδείς) in order to defeat the Cyclops.

Because of its uncontrolled and uncontrollable, unregulated and unregulable nature, the open sea of the oceanic type gives rise to a sort of bellum omnium contra omnes of the aquatic type: by virtue of the absence of political regulation, the open sea remains a space attributable to the logic of status naturae.

It is, therefore, the sign of post-telluric anomie, where only the anarchic logic of piracy can prevail, that is, the status naturae that the globalist animal kingdom of the Spirit has generated by dissolving the telluric framework of ius publicum europaeum.

On the maritime surface, just as on the horizon of the commercial anarchy of the de-sovereignized market, the logic of the strongest prevails once again: that is, the possibility for the latter to “compete” freely and without restrictions with the weaker, according to the rule of free trade in free seas. A quintessential expression of the anomic energy of thalassic extension, the maritime conflict is ab origine unlimited and exempted from legal obligations.

As Schmitt has specified, “the sea does not constitute a state territory,” it is subtracted from the legal order and from the jurisdictions guaranteed by the political: its extension is intrinsically depoliticized and open, and “is, therefore, free from any type of spatial authority of the State.” The thalassic extension appears, then, as the space taken away from state power and its fundamental functions, from law to citizenship.

“The maritime realm knows no borders, no obligations, no rights, no control. It is presented as the unregulated space par excellence, as the locus naturalis of pirates, corsairs and all those who recognize no law other than that of the strongest: precisely because ‘no law applies at sea,’ it is inaccessible to law and human order, forming the space for a free confrontation of forces.”

The boundless vastness of the open sea “constitutes a free zone of free predation. Here the privateer, the pirate, can exercise his evil trade with a good conscience” and, above all, without legal impediments. Perhaps it is also from this perspective that the text composed by Hugo Grotius in 1609, programmatically entitled, Mare liberum and directed against English monopolistic pretensions, can be explained.

Indeed, as we know, the capitalist economy, which begins to develop also in the Mediterranean capital of Genoa, arises mainly in the oceanic spaces of the “English ports” evoked by Bloch, where the thalassic dimension (mare clausum) is overcome and we venture into the oceanic (mare liberum) in search of an unlimited expansion of profits. In the words of Carl Schmitt in his Land and Sea:

“England became the queen of the sea, and around her maritime dominion over the entire globe she built a British empire spread over every continent. The English world thought in terms of footholds and lines of communication… The age of free trade was also the age of the free display of England’s industrial and economic superiority. Free seas and free world markets were united in an idea of freedom of which only England could be the bearer and the guardian.”

Like the navigator, at an unprecedented distance from the mainland and at the mercy of storms, the precarious man navigates “by eye” between drifts and shipwrecks, be they labor or existential, in what, with Guicciardini, we could rightly characterize as “a sea agitated by the winds.”
Uprooted and subjected to the gales that constantly batter the sea far from coastal protections, the cybernaut of thalassic globalization is projected into a dimension of constant insecurity and piratical competitiveness, which will strike at the very possibility of his existence. The latter does not adopt solid and stable forms, always fluctuating between the waves of the market, on which it has been transformed into a dependent variable.

In the framework of the “vulnerable society,” it is the markets, like the sea for the cybernaut, that decide the survival of the inhabitant of the thalassic late-modernity, deprived of any communal roots and of any frontier that could protect him and provide him with a certain stability in his daily life.

Diego Fusaro is professor of the History of Philosophy at the IASSP in Milan (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies) where he is also scientific director. He is a scholar of the Philosophy of History, specializing in the thought of Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. His interest is oriented towards German idealism, its precursors (Spinoza) and its followers (Marx), with a particular emphasis on Italian thought (Gramsci or Gentile, among others). he is the author of many books, including Fichte and the Vocation of the IntellectualThe Place of Possibility: Toward a New Philosophy of Praxis, and Marx, again!: The Spectre Returns[This article appears courtesy of Posmodernia].

Featured: Sail through Rough Seas, by Henry Moore, no date.

Homo cosmopoliticus: Adam Smith and Globalist Subjectivity

“The proprietor of stock is necessarily a citizen of the world” (Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, Book V, Chapter II, Article II).

The perverted universality of globalism can be considered fulfilled in the verification of the logic that was already outlined by Smith in The Wealth of Nations:

The proprietor of stock is necessarily a citizen of the world, and is not necessarily attached to any particular country. He would be apt to abandon the country in which he was exposed to a vexatious inquisition, in order to be assessed to a burdensome tax, and would remove his stock to some other country where he could either carry on his business, or enjoy his fortune more at his ease (Book V, Chapter II, Article II).

Following Smith’s thesis, it goes without saying that the liberal Right of Money is cosmopolitan and vocationally non-border. Capital is, by its essence, stateless and deterritorialized (“not necessarily attached to any particular country”).

Moreover, if we venture beyond Smith, it is founded on the reduction of the whole world to its “homeland” of reference: it is cosmopolitan precisely because, in order to realize itself in an “ab-solute” form, it must neutralize national barriers and saturate the globe, reducing it to a smooth plane for the omnidirectional displacement of the flows of commodities and commodified persons, of speculative capital and consumer desires.

The possessor of capital is, therefore, “necessarily a citizen of the world,” free to move and circulate in order “carry on his business, or enjoy his fortune more at his ease.” And this, as is evident, according to that logic of profit which, if during a historical period coincided with the space of imperialist nationalism, today finds its own ubi consistam in denationalization and in the opening of all material and immaterial frontiers.

From this point of view, homo cosmopoliticus seems to be the most genuine product of that cosmomarket anthropology and of that rootlessness inscribed in its original code, against which De Maistre’s theorem remains largely valid, according to which we never find the “man” qua talis, but always the Frenchman, the Italian or the Russian (and since Montesquieu—De Maistre ironically added—we learned that the Persian also exists).

Once again, the Left of Custom, trapped in the “Ptolemaic phase,” deludes itself into thinking that it fights against power, when in reality it sustains it, fully defending its interests and intervening against any project of emancipation of the oppressed with respect to the auri sacra fames of turbo-capital.

It fights the very idea of national rootedness, confusing it with its pernicious and dangerous drift that was capitalist nationalism, without realizing that today it has been completely surpassed by the new non-border globocracy, which is the first to use the anti-nationalist rhetoric to demonize, no longer the nationalist imperialism that for a time it supported, but the very idea of Nation and, with it, of the Gramscian national-popular as the basis of cultural, identitarian, political and social resistance of the oppressed against the intrinsically undemocratic market cosmopolitanism.

In this scenario emerges, with clear outlines, the structural incompatibility of capitalist cosmopolitanism with proletarian internationalism or, more generically, of the classes today dominated. Internationalism implies a nexus of socialist solidarity inter nationes and, therefore, the opposite of the cosmopolitan annihilation of nations carried out by global-capitalism following Smith’s theorem and, if you will, according to Trotsky’s cosmopolitical perspective of communism, as deconstructed by Gramsci in the Prison Notebooks.

The internationalism of the national-popular Servant does not coincide, then, either with the conquering nationalism of the historical Right (which was the expressive function of imperialist capitalism in its dialectical phase), or with the capitalist cosmopolitanism of the de-sovereignized and post-national market (which is the project defended in our day, structurally, by the liberal Right of Money and superstructurally by the libertarian Left of Custom).

From what has been exposed, it is again inferred that, in order to break the yoke of liberal Glebalism, we must first of all deconstruct the hegemony of the single thought that sanctifies the really-given power relation. In particular, it is necessary to dismantle the ideological architecture of the champagne Left of Custom, which superstructurally legitimizes the structure of the dominance of the financial Right of Money.

The ideological fraud of the nationalist Right—if it still intends to use, for heuristic purposes, the obsolete and, in fact, “useless” Right-Left dichotomy—lies in presenting a certain authoritarian and non-democratic sovereignty, as if it were the real opposition to capitalist cosmopolitanism, which is precisely its other face (rectius, the culmination).

The imposture of the champagne and rainbow Lefts consists, on the other hand, in smuggling in as socialist internationalism what, strictly speaking, is liberal cosmopolitanism; that is to say, the sphere of conflict favorable to the competitivist Lord.

With an attitude that always oscillates between incomprehension of the power relation and its active legitimization, the champagne Left surreptitiously believes—and here is the core of its error—that “the contrast of cosmopolitanism implies a repudiation of internationalism;” on the contrary, it is socialist internationalism that carries implicitly a firm rejection of both imperialist nationalism and liberal cosmopolitanism. There can be no socialist internationalism in the absence of national States which recognize each other as free and brotherly.

By the way, it was the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 that certified the acknowledged “conversion of the Italian communists to neoliberalism.” On that occasion, the definitive and integrally cosmopolitan forma mentis of the market-friendly Left was forged, now convinced that any opposition to non-border globalism was no longer the possible defense of the dominated classes against the offensive of the unified market without borders, but the path of identitarian and regressive closure, which would necessarily have to be combined with the right-wing quadrant of politics.

Bobbio was undoubtedly right when, in his successful book, Destra e sinistra (Right and Left), he pointed to the “great problem of inequality between men and peoples” as the unresolved knot in the post-1989 world. However, this impeccable diagnosis coexisted, in Bobbio’s works, with the unreal ideal-typical identification of the Left with the defense of that equality, with respect to which the really-existing new Left, converted to liberal cosmopolitanism, had already said goodbye in an evident manner for some time.

If historically the Left—as Bobbio also admitted—was based on the connection between freedom and equality and used the action of the State as an instrument of action upon reality, with a view to implementing that end, how could the post-Marxist new Left still call itself “Left,” which to the questions of equality and labor rights had now placed individualist liberalization and the rainbow rights of the individual consumer before the questions of equality and labor rights; that to the struggle for equality and freedom of colonized peoples had preferred unconditional support for the abstractly humanitarian and concretely imperialist interventionism of the dollar thalassocracy; and that, even before the eticizing power of the State as a means to achieve equality, had chosen to adhere to the de-sovereignizing globalization which is the means that guarantees the ever growing hegemony of the ruling class?

Diego Fusaro is professor of the History of Philosophy at the IASSP in Milan (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies) where he is also scientific director. He is a scholar of the Philosophy of History, specializing in the thought of Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. His interest is oriented towards German idealism, its precursors (Spinoza) and its followers (Marx), with a particular emphasis on Italian thought (Gramsci or Gentile, among others). he is the author of many books, including Fichte and the Vocation of the IntellectualThe Place of Possibility: Toward a New Philosophy of Praxis, and Marx, again!: The Spectre Returns[This article appears courtesy of Posmodernia].

Featured: Folio 13 from The Nuremberg Chronicle, or the Schedelsche Weltchronik, or Liber Chronicarum (Book of Chronicles); published in 1493.

Neoliberal Globalization: A New Religious Faith

Using Gramsci’s syntax, ideology exists when “a given class succeeds in presenting and having the conditions of its existence and of its class development accepted as a universal principle, as a conception of the world, as a religion.”

The culmination outlined by Gramsci is entirely relevant if reference is made to the ideology of globalization as a nature that has always been given, irreversible and physiological (globalismus sive natura). In the framework of the post-1989 New World Order and what has been defined as “the great chessboard,” it is presented to all intents and purposes as a “universal principle,” because it is indistinctly accepted in all latitudes of the planet (it is what we could call the globalization of the concept of globalization) and, at the same time, it is also embraced by the pole of the dominated, who should oppose it with the utmost firmness. It is presented as an unquestionable and universally valid truth, which only asks to be ratified and accepted according to the modality of an adaequatio that is both cognitive and political.

Globalization shows itself then, as a “conception of the world;” that is, as an articulated and all-embracing system, because it has been structured in the form of a unitary and systematic perspective, centered on denationalizing cosmopolitanism and on the elimination of all material and immaterial limitations to the free circulation of commodities and marketized persons, to the flows of liquid financial capital and to the infinite extension of the competitive interests of the dominant classes.

Finally, it takes the form of a “religion,” because it is increasingly experienced as an unquestionable faith and largely situated beyond the principles of rational Socratic discussion: whoever does not unthinkingly and with fideistic credentials accept the new globalized order will be immediately ostracized, silenced and stigmatized by the language police and the gendarmes of thought as a heretic or as an infidel, dangerously threatening the stability of the mundialist catechesis and its main articles of faith (free movement, integral openness of all material and immaterial reality, borderless competitiveness, etc. ). Globalization thus coincides with the new idolatrous monotheism of the global market, typical of an era that has ceased to believe in God, but not in capital.

In general terms, globalization is nothing other than the theory that describes, reflects and, in turn, prescribes and glorifies the post-Westphalian class-based New World Order, which emerged and stabilized after 1989 and—to take up Lasch’s formula—was ideologically elevated to the rank of true and only heaven. Such is the world entirely subsumed under capital and under the American-centric imperialism of liberalized private capital markets, with collateral export of free market democracy and free desire, and of the anthropology of homo cosmopoliticus.

The symbolic power of the concept of globalization is so invasive that it literally makes it impossible for anyone who dares to question the concept to gain access to public discourse. It is, in this sense, more akin to a religion of obligatory creed than to a theory subject to free discussion and hermeneutics embedded in dialogical reason.

Through categories that have become cornerstones of the capitalist neo-language, any attempt to curb the invasiveness of the market and to challenge the absolute domination of the globalized and American-centric economy is demonized as “totalitarianism,” “fascism,” “Stalinism,” or even “rojipardismo” (red-fascism), the diabolical synthesis of all three. Liberal fundamentalism and globalist free-market totalitarianism also evidence their inability to admit, even ex hypothesi, the theoretical possibility of alternative modes of existence and production.

Any idea of a possible control of the economy and of an eventual regulation of the market and of the open society (with built-in financial despotism) would lead unfailingly, according to the title of a well-known study by Hayek, towards “The Road to Serfdom.” Hayek states it without euphemism: “socialism means slavery.”

Obviously, the theorem of von Hayek and his acolytes does not take into account the fact that totalitarianism is not only the result of political planning, but can also be the consequence of a private competitive action of political rules. In the present Europe, by the way, the danger is not to be identified with nationalism and the return of traditional totalitarianisms, but rather with Hayekian market liberalism and the invisible violence of the subtle club of depoliticized economics.

It is therefore imperative to decolonize the imaginary of current hegemonic conceptions of globalization and try to redefine its contents in an alternative way. To this end, it is necessary to re-understand Marxian social relations as mobile and conflictive, where the gaze flooded with ideology only registers things that are inert and aseptic, rigid and immutable.

In other words, it is necessary to deconstruct the hegemonic image of globalization, showing its non-neutral but class-based character.

When analyzed from the perspective of the globalist ruling classes, globalization may indeed appear enthusiastic and very worthy of praise and empowerment.

For example, Amartya Sen celebrates it most insistently for its greater efficiency in the international division of labor, for the fall in production costs, for the exponential increase in productivity and—to a decidedly more questionable extent—for the reduction of poverty and the general improvement in living and working conditions.

Suffice it to recall, at a first glance at the new millennium, that Europe has 20 million unemployed, 50 million poor and 5 million homeless; and all this while, in the last twenty years in the same Europe, total income has risen by between 50 and 70 percent.

This confirms, in a way that is difficult to refute, the class character of globalization and the progress it generates. From the perspective of the dominated (and thus seen “from below”), it is identified with the very concrete hell of the new technocapitalist power relation, which was consolidated on a planetary scale after 1989 with the intensification of exploitation and commodification, of classism and imperialism.

To this hermeneutic duplicity, which presides over the duplicity of classes in the very fractured post-1989 context, returns the endless debate that has interested and continues to interest the two foci of this frontal contraposition: on the one hand, the apologists of globalization; and on the other, those engaged in the elaboration of the cahier de doléances du mondialisme.

The former (who as a whole can be called “globalists,” despite the kaleidoscopic plurality of their positions), extol the virtues of making the world a market. On the contrary, the latter (who only partially coincide with those whom the public debate has baptized with the name of “sovereigntists”), emphasize the contradictions and the eminently regressive character with respect to the previous framework centered on national sovereignties.

In short, and without delving into the intricacies of a debate that is practically unmanageable because of the quantity of content and diversity of approaches, the panegyrists of globalism insist on how globalization extends the industrial revolution, progress and the conquests of the West to the entire world; or, in other words, how it “universalizes” the achievements of a humanity somehow understood as “superior” and, therefore, entitled to organize the “single file” of linear development of all the peoples of the planet.

Even the most soberly skeptical authors on the axiological value of globalization, such as Stiglitz, seem to suffer from a magnetic and ultimately unjustified attraction to the work of turning the world into a market. In the view of Stiglitz and his reformist optimism, this process, which at the same time also “planetarizes” capitalist inequality and misery, deserves not to be abandoned because of the developments and changes to which it might give rise.

Diego Fusaro is professor of History of Philosophy at the IASSP in Milan (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies) where he is also scientific director. He is a scholar of the Philosophy of History, specializing in the thought of Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. His interest is oriented towards German idealism, its precursors (Spinoza) and its followers (Marx), with a particular emphasis on Italian thought (Gramsci or Gentile, among others). he is the author of many books, including Fichte and the Vocation of the IntellectualThe Place of Possibility: Toward a New Philosophy of Praxis, and Marx, again!: The Spectre ReturnsThis article appears courtesy of Posmodernia.

Featured: Playing Chess. Cafe “Dominic,” St. Petersburg, by Hugo Karlovich Bakmanson; painted in 1909.

Why does Financial Capitalism Hate Sovereign States?

The semantic and symbolic ambivalence of the term “Globalization” is what, de facto, makes possible the transformation of the process of unification of the global sphere of economy and toxic finance, of lifestyles and expressive and linguistic modes, into “an ineluctable destiny and a political project of universal liberation at the end of a natural evolution, into a civic and ethical ideal that, in the name of the supposed link between democracy and market, promises a political emancipation to the peoples of all countries.”

Indeed, the persuasive “ideology of globalization” openly promises emancipation and access to modernization, in an overcoming of trivial forms of existence, but also of political forms judged as “pre-modern,” i.e., incompatible with the new globalized order; and, secretly, it aims exclusively at the destruction of cultural and linguistic differences, of production and relationship with the world, so that all the peoples of the planet are subsumed under the depoliticized and borderless ordo oeconomicus, without States and without any dimension of meaning superior to the sovereign market.

It promises the full implementation of “global democracy” in the same act with which it eliminates the still perfectible democracies that existed during the second half of the nineteenth century, in the spaces of sovereign nation-states; in their place, it establishes the dictatorship of the cosmopolitan ruling class, hidden under the mask of the sacra voluntas of the Stateless markets. Returning to Marx’s grammar in his On the Questionn of Free Trade (Discours sur la question du libre-échange), (1848), the dominant pole returns once again to “designate with the name of universal fraternity exploitation in its cosmopolitan form (Désigner par le nom de fraternité universelle l’exploitation à son état cosmopolite).”

The “Inglobalization,” that is to say, the Westoxication linked to the neutralizing inclusion of all the peoples of the planet within the armored walls of the New World Order, entails at the same time the “Glebalization” of the peoples, condemned to capitalist polarization and the associated forms of super-exploitation; it thus favors the “passage to the West” of every area of the planet under the glamorous dictatorship of “Globalitarianism;” that is to say of the totalitarianism of the class civilization of the market. To the latter—which is all the more totalitarian, the more it manages to smuggle as freedom the slavery it generates on a planetary scale—Adorno’s words fit: “the new world is a single concentration camp that believes itself to be a paradise because there is nothing to compare it with.”

This occurs simultaneously with the reduction of humanity as a whole to the condition of a post-bourgeois and post-proletarian replebeianized mass, without Identity and without Culture. The whole world is redefined as a single depoliticized market, as a smooth and borderless plane for the unlimited flow of commodities and commodified human beings. The co-essential logic of technocapitalist globalism lies in its tendency to make all human beings “encompassed in the flow of globality.”

In this scenario of refeudalization of the capitalist bond, the most modest and elementary demands for a dignified existence acquire the appearance of luxuries inaccessible in the present, typical of those who for a time were accustomed to “living beyond their means.”

Consequently, the globalist ideology represents, to all intents and purposes, the most emblematic superstructural culmination of the de-eticized and absolute “system of needs.” The dialectical phase of capitalism was still governed by the State as a power at the service of economic mechanisms. And it is for this reason that Marx and his epigones, in the concrete historical framework in which they worked and acted, raised, by contrast, the issue of the internationalist way as a moment of conflict and counterposition with respect to the historically determined capitalist relation of force.

In its logic of development, which leads it from the antithetical-dialectical to the synthetic-speculative phase, capital enters into conflict with the State, just as it does with the bourgeoisie, with which it had coexisted and of which it had availed itself for a good part of the time of the modern adventure. It must overcome them in order to be able to impose itself absolutely. Technocapitalism absolutus is, for this very reason, post-bourgeois and anti-bourgeois.

More precisely, it must de-sovereignize the States in order to impose as the only sovereign reality the depoliticized and borderless capitalist market, with the annexed redefinition of the bourgeois pole and the proletarian pole as the new polychromatic, consumerist and unified plebs.

The dialectical character of the nation-state has been emphasized, among others, by Ralf Dahrendorf of The Modern Social Conflict (1988): “Historically at least, the nation-state has been a necessary condition of progress when unfortunately it has become a source of regression and inhumanity.” On the one hand, it guaranteed the rights associated with citizenship, the general democratic and social conquests of the subaltern classes: it generated “domesticity” connected to an immunological structure that protected its inhabitants. And on the other hand, it provoked the pathologies of imperialism and nationalism as instruments of the dominant pole. It is Engels himself who lets emerge this contradiction embedded in the figure of the national state, which guarantees its dialectical character:

The State, since it was born of the need to curb class antagonisms, but at the same time arose in the midst of the conflict of these classes, is as a rule the State of the most powerful class which, through it, also becomes politically dominant.

In short, the State is ultimately an instrument of the ruling class, but it arises to “curb” class antagonisms, to allow the dominated not to be disintegrated and (at least from the point of view of the figure of the citoyen) to have equal rights.

Even as Dahrendorf has pointed out, “no less important benefit of the nation-state was that it generalized the ancient idea of citizenship,” transforming it into a universal right for all the inhabitants of the nation-state. On this same basis, “constitutional norms were introduced to prevent wealth from being translated into the power to deny citizenship rights to others.”

In other words, the nation-state, which originally favored the genesis of modern capitalism and later also figured on multiple occasions as its protector, also dialectically became the locus of the rights and conquests of the oppressed classes. Therefore, it also ended up being a brake against the unstoppable voracity of capital, delimiting a space of rights and protections inaccessible to the purely undemocratic logic of the market.

In this perspective, Marx’s analysis according to which “modern state power is nothing more than a committee that administers the common affairs of the entire bourgeois class (ein Ausschuß, der die gemeinschaftlichen Geschäfte der ganzen Bourgeoisklasse verwaltet),” becomes true only in the context of inverted Keynesianism and the absolute primacy of the economic.

Hegel’s interpretation is more well-founded: the State was essentially the guarantor of the primacy of the political and of the solidary protection of the community, the wall that knew how to discipline the “wild beast” of the market and the “ethical tragedies” of the system of needs. And it ended, in congruence, by entering into conflict with that capitalism which had also originally found in it its own locus naturalis. In its fundamental lines, this explains the enmity between the national state and globalist capital, which has become the central figure of the post-1989 era.

The de-sovereignization of the nation-states is presented, within the framework of the New World Order, as a fundamental moment of the depoliticization of the economy and of the aggression against the State form as a compendium of eticity and the possibility of regulating the market.

Diego Fusaro is professor of History of Philosophy at the IASSP in Milan (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies) where he is also scientific director. He is a scholar of the Philosophy of History, specializing in the thought of Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. His interest is oriented towards German idealism, its precursors (Spinoza) and its followers (Marx), with a particular emphasis on Italian thought (Gramsci or Gentile, among others). he is the author of many books, including Fichte and the Vocation of the IntellectualThe Place of Possibility: Toward a New Philosophy of Praxis, and Marx, again!: The Spectre ReturnsThis article appears courtesy of Posmodernia.

The Elusive Liberal Category of “Totalitarianism”

Among the philosophical-political categories that enjoy the greatest success in the order of neoliberal discourse, both Right and Left, is that of “Totalitarianism,” especially in the sense conceptualized by Hannah Arendt in her work, The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951). Through this category, the entire history of the “short century” is reinterpreted teratomorphically as a succession of despotic and genocidal governments, red and black, enemies of the open society advocated by Popper. The horror of the short century would be determined, however, by the capitalist happy ending of the End of History (patented by Fukuyama) and the triumph of universal freedom (translated in real terms as that of the planetary free market). All of human history would thus unfold in the neoliberal order, assumed in a way that is anything but ideologically neutral, as the end (final) and as the end (finality) of history as such—according to the double meaning of the Greek motto τέλος.

The high ideological content of this narrative emerges from whatever perspective it is observed. First of all, the entire twentieth century, which—as Badiou reminds us—was the “century of political passion,” resolves itself entirely in the gloomy reign of terror and genocide, of the gulags and the barbed wire of the extermination camps; horrors that were very much present, ça va sans dire, but that certainly cannot lead to ignoring all that was different and better produced during the “short century.” Thanks to the far from neutral identification between Novecento and Totalitarianism, there is in fact no trace left of the utopian passion for the overcoming of the prose of capitalism, nor of the social conquests of the working classes, nor even of the achievements in terms of democratic rights and practices obtained, thanks to the framework of sovereign nation-states. According to the “advertising” theorem of the nouveaux philosophes—themselves celebrated in their time as a commercial product of the culture industry—the Gulag becomes the truth of any authentically socialist aspiration. And, synergistically, the barbed-wire netting of Auschwitz becomes the truth of all defense of the national state, of sovereignty and of tradition.

In addition to mortgaging the utopian dimension open to the projection of better futures, anti-totalitarian rhetoric fulfills an apologetic function with respect to the present itself. In fact, it suggests that, although replete with contradictions and injustices, the neoliberal order remains preferable to the red and black totalitarian horrors that traversed the “short century.” In this way, the reified present ceases to be fought against because of the contradictions that innervate it (exploitation and misery, inequality and the constant hemorrhaging of rights); on the contrary, it is defended against the possible return of fascism and communism.

The victory of the capitalist power relation (Berlin, 1989) can thus be ideologically elevated to a definitive fact of Weltgeschichte. The latter, after the “immense power of the negative,” carried out its own autotelic process of implementing the free circulation of commodities and marketized persons. Anyone who unthinkingly fails to recognize the identification between freedom and the free market, between democracy and capitalism, perhaps even trying to bring back to life the waking dream of better freedoms and of an exodus from the steel cage of non-border techno-capital, will for that very reason be ostracized and vilified as “totalitarian,” as “anti-democratic” and as “illiberal;” or, Popper would say, as the “enemy of the open society” which, by the way, is among the most closed societies in history, considering the degree of socio-economic exclusion, in terms of fundamental rights and basic goods, to which an increasing number of human beings are condemned.

The anti-totalitarian rhetoric works at full capacity, thanks to its symmetrical activation from the liberal Right and the champagne Left. The former accuses the Left—in all its degrees and in any of its colors—of being in collusion with the “red totalitarian madness” of Maoism and Stalinism. And thus it ensures that it remains tied to neoliberal dogma, without possible openings to greater political control of the market and possible extensions of social rights; practices that in themselves are immediately pointed out as a return to red totalitarianism. In analogous terms, the champagne Left accuses the liberalish Right of being permanently tempted by the “black or black totalitarian madness,” Mussolinian or Hitlerian. And thus it ensures that the liberal neo-right remains at all times equally tied to the neo-liberal creed, immediately delegitimizing as “fascism” any attempt to re-sovereignize the national state, to resist market globalization and to protect the cultural and traditional identities of peoples. This reveals, once again, how Right and Left have introjected the core of neoliberal fundamentalism, according to which—with von Hayek’s syntax—any political attempt to counteract free competition and the deregulated market leads inexorably to the “road to serfdom.”

By virtue of this logic-illogic of reciprocal neoliberal vigilance (reconfirming the function deployed today by the right-left cleavage as a mere ideological simulacrum for the benefit of the ruling class), the liberal Right and the champagne Left mutually guarantee their own stable permanence within the perimeters of the Politically Correct Unique Thought of the liberal matrix. This focuses the supreme enemy on the Keynesian sovereign state and regulator of the economy, automatically identifying it with red and black totalitarianism or, not infrequently, with the ens imaginationis of “red and black totalitarianism.” And as a result of the entire process, capitalism itself re-emerges again, more and more ennobled and ideologically legitimized: In fact, today it is presented—both from the Right and from the Left—as the kingdom of freedom, as the best of all possible worlds; or, in any case, as the only possible one in the time of disenchantment that remains after the red and black totalitarian atrocities.

Diego Fusaro is professor of History of Philosophy at the IASSP in Milan (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies) where he is also scientific director. He is a scholar of the Philosophy of History, specializing in the thought of Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. His interest is oriented towards German idealism, its precursors (Spinoza) and its followers (Marx), with a particular emphasis on Italian thought (Gramsci or Gentile, among others). he is the author of many books, including Fichte and the Vocation of the IntellectualThe Place of Possibility: Toward a New Philosophy of Praxis, and Marx, again!: The Spectre ReturnsThis article appears courtesy of Posmodernia.

Featured: Don Quixote de la Left, by Jordan Henderson; painted in 2022.

Land of Roots versus Sea of Finance

Today’s society presents itself as “liquid,” if not “aeriform,” according to Berman’s diagnosis of the modern dissolution of stable forms in the air. This depends eminently on the fact that in it there is no reality that can escape the quality that distinguishes liquids, which is the adaptability to the container that houses them and, therefore, the assumption of the forms that are conferred on them at any given moment.

Thus, Hegel characterizes water in the Encyclopedia (§ 284): “it has no singularity of being per se, and therefore has in itself no solidity (Starrheit) and determination (Bestimmung).” For this reason, having no figure of its own, it “receives the limitation of the figure only from without” and “outwardly seeks it.” Its “peculiar state” is Bestimmungslosigkeit, the “lack of determination,” which is what makes it intrinsically adaptive in a universal and undifferentiated sense.

Bauman is right when he states that “this age of ours excels in dismantling structures and liquefying models, every kind of structure and every kind of model, by chance and without warning.” The aspect that, however, he fails to make explicit with due emphasis in his analysis is that this form is neither extemporaneous nor accidental.

On the contrary, it corresponds to the lines dictated by neoliberal policies and by the evolution of the flexible global market, to which everything is called upon to adapt. Because if this aspect is eliminated, only the effects are considered while overlooking the causes; and, for this very reason, the gaze is diverted from the class-based power relationship as the real basis for the liquefaction of ties and identities. The robust relationship that connects the superstructure of postmodern precariousness with the structure of globalized capital, flexible and centered on the figure of flow, is lost sight of.

In other words, we forget the fact that today the absolute flexibility of forms coexists dialectically with the absolute rigidity of the “container;” that is, with globalized capitalism in the anonymity of the liquid-financial markets, which seeks to make precariousness eternal and to make of itself an ineluctable destiny for the peoples of the planet. It sets itself up as the new global container, which gives shape to all the material and symbolic realities contained in it and previously transferred to the liquid state.

As our study Essere senza tempo (Bompiani, 2010) underlines, the total mobilization of entities, characteristic of the flexible mode of capitalist production, unfolds within the framework of the historical immobilism of a time that aspires to make precariousness an irreversible future: plus ça change, plus cést la même chose.

Its configuration is that of the Weberian steel cage with indestructible bars. Inside it, however, everything is possible; the possibilities being coextensive with respect to individual exchange value. Moreover, all values, identities and norms have been nihilistically “transvalued.”

The metaphor of liquidity is indeed quite effective in highlighting the essence of flexible accumulation and of the society of fluid displacement of people (abstractly free to move and concretely obliged to do so) and of financial capitals in the absence of barriers and borders, “dissolved” and removed along with every “solid” and stable instance of the preceding dialectical and Fordist, proletarian and bourgeois structure. Such is the essence of what the hegemonic relation of force spreads in all senses as the “new categorical imperative: let us fluidify everything!”

Among the properties of water is also that omnipresence and that capacity to penetrate and invade all spaces, to break down all barriers and erode even the most solid rocks. They correspond perfectly to the characteristics of the universal flexibility of liquid-financial cosmo-marketing which, with reference to the post-Fordist era, has been defined as the end of organized capitalism.

Flexibility, having saturated every real and imaginary space, is indeed aujourd’hui partout. Water, conceived by Thales as the principle of being, becomes today the ἀρχή of capitalist reality, which renders everything liquid and invades every space, overrunning dykes and obstacles.

This dynamic can be illuminated by referring to the philosophical duo, Land and Sea, canonized by Schmitt and previously codified by Hegel, who asserts this in the lessons on Weltgeschichte:

“The most universal type of determination of nature, which has importance in history, is that constituted by the relationship between Sea and Land.”

According to this heuristically fruitful analogy, the dynamics of the transnational market and global precariousness are, by definition, maritime.

The struggle between capitalist globalization and the national rootedness of peoples is, by the same token, a clash between the maritime and the terrestrial elements, within the framework of the class conflict between the thalassic Lord and the telluric Servant. The terrestrial element of settlements and places, of roots and stabilities, is opposed to the maritime element of flows and homogeneous surfaces, of displacements and uprootings.

The thalassic Lord aspires to make liquid every solid element linked to the stability of the ethical, so that the being in its totality is redefined according to the liquid logic of market globalization; the openness of cosmopolitan capital figuratively coincides with the open and unlimited sea, with its homogeneous expansion, on which it is possible to navigate omnidirectionally; but then also with the peculiarity of the liquid element itself, which tends to saturate every space.

For his part, the “Glebalized” Servant must aspire, instead, to resist this dynamic, imposing the primacy of the telluric dimension of rootedness and borders as walls against deterritorialization, the mobilization of beings and globalist omni-homogenization: unlike the sea, whose essence lies in that flowing by virtue of which—Heraclitus would say—”always different waters flow” (ἕτερα καὶ ἕτερα ὕδατα ἐπιρρρεῖ), the earth is the plurality of stable and localized spaces. It is traversed by boundaries and differences, by borders and walls.

The Nomos of the earth represents the concrete space of the plurality of peoples and of their possibility of giving themselves a law and a history, living permanently, according to that figure of the roots that accompanies the image of the terroir. The intercontinental migratory flows are opposed to the rooted stability of the peoples, just as the flows of liquid-financial capital mark an antithesis with respect to the work of the solidary community in its circumscribed spaces and in its equitable sharing of goods.

The conflict which, as has been pointed out, runs through the post-1989 battlefield, and which sees confronted, in Lafay’s words, “on the one hand, the process of globalization, driven by business and favored by lower transportation and communications costs; on the other, the permanence of nations, tied to their own territory, which seek to organize themselves within regional frameworks defined by ties of geographical or historical proximity.”

The New World Order is developing in a space as smooth as the extension of the pineapple, without borders or fixed points, without highs or lows. The triumph of flows over solid roots, of permanent navigation over stable life, of unlimited openness over territories bounded by borders, designs a reality in which all that is light floats on the surface and what has weight sinks into the abyss. In the words of Castells:

“The space of flows is a structuring practice of elites and dominant interests…. In the space of flows there is no place for resistance to domination. I oppose the space of flows to the spaces of places that are themselves fragmented, segregated and resistant to domination, and therefore to the space of flows.”

Thus understood, the class struggle presents itself, in the context of the New World Order, as a gigantomachy that sees the global flows of cosmopolitan openness (commodities, values, information, etc.) as opposed to the “solid” places of national communities, which oppose this fluidification and seek stability and rootedness to protect themselves from the elements of unhappy globalism.

In this enmity between the thalassic element of the flows of capital (of desires, commodities, marketized persons, stock values, etc.) and the telluric dimension of the “places of the self-production of vital worlds,” the only possibility of success, for the dominated pole, passes through the reconquest of the State and of politics as a power capable of limiting the insatiable voracity of the self-valorization of value.

Diego Fusaro is professor of History of Philosophy at the IASSP in Milan (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies) where he is also scientific director. He is a scholar of the Philosophy of History, specializing in the thought of Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. His interest is oriented towards German idealism, its precursors (Spinoza) and its followers (Marx), with a particular emphasis on Italian thought (Gramsci or Gentile, among others). he is the author of many books, including Fichte and the Vocation of the IntellectualThe Place of Possibility: Toward a New Philosophy of Praxis, and Marx, again!: The Spectre Returns[This article appears courtesy of Posmodernia].

Featured: Clifftop Walk at Pourville, by Claude Monet; painted in 1882.

Lifestyle-Linke : The Left of Marketed Lifestyles

Phenomena such as gay pride are presented by the order of discourse as essential moments of emancipation from a residual and homophobic patriarchy. In reality, they are simply manifestations of social adaptation to the American way of life of postmodern capitalism, completed with the substitution of the class struggle by a conflict of gender and “sexual tastes” that is, by definition, interclassist and, therefore, functional to the maintenance of the dominant order. The latter succeeds, time after time, in completely eliminating the political priority of the dominated classes from the sphere of appearance, that is, it suppresses, or at least attenuates, the asymmetrical contradiction between capital and labor. This contradiction is ideologically deposed in favor of a completely abstract gender conflict, whereby the rich homosexual and the poor homosexual converge on the same side in the fictitious struggle for the conquest of individual consumer rights.

The domestication of any revolutionary anti-systemic impulse is carried out through the distraction brought about by the conflicts of “diversity” and through adherence to the modules of postmodern coolness. This translates into the ostentation of extravagance and eccentricity which, while confirming the rupture with the old order of bourgeois and proletarian values, are fully compatible with the logic of postmodern and neo-hedonist turbo-capitalism, which promotes any transgression that is functional to the conquest of new spaces for the market and any anti-conformism that conforms to the new scheme of economic and consumerist deregulation. Life within the bars of the technocapitalist cage has not ceased to degrade between extravagance and alienation. And the left, as le parti du mouvement et de la transgression, reconfirms itself as part of the theoretical-practical sanctification of the triumphal march of capital and the ruling classes.

Nor should we overlook the fact that the post-heroic era has long since replaced the hero with the victim: being a victim—that is, a subject who has done nothing, but to whom something has been done—confers prestige and immunity from criticism. Whether it is a group, an individual or the environment itself, the victim is the passive subject par excellence; it coincides with the one who has suffered and therefore deserves respect, in the triumph of that resilience which, not by chance, is the “virtue” that cosmopolitan magnates most appreciate in the subaltern masses. Moreover, the victim has a right by definition, insofar as something has been taken from him: from the weakness of having suffered, one passes, without interruption, to the claim of vindication and the desire for compensation.

Child of the “culture of narcissism,” of rampant egocracy and of the new culture of the vindictive victim, the jus omnium in omnia seems to set itself up as the ultimate foundation of the civilization of the integral individualistic liberalization of consumption and customs. The whimsical rainbow battles, which in the left quadrant have replaced the “red” struggles against capital and against imperialism, are ultimately resolved in demands for capital and for imperialism: for capital, since they are, de facto, liberal-progressive battles against every traditional limit still resistant to the individualist liberalization of consumptions and customs; for imperialism, since they pass without any reservation to the direct support of the “civilizing mission”—with built-in bombardment of the dollar civilization and its moralistic interventionism in the name of take-out civil rights—in those areas of the world not yet subsumed under the capitalist mode of production and existence.

In coherence with the new postmodern regime of power, typical of the nihilistic civilization of the rainbow, it is individual desire—and only this—that will assume the status of law in the absence of the Law. Once again, the anarchoid rebelliousness of the post-Marxist rainbow left does not oppose neoliberal power, but rather supports and ideologically sanctifies it. At the same time, as has become evident since the post-bourgeois and ultra-capitalist shift of 1968, it is no longer authoritarian and centered on the hypertrophy of the Law, but has itself become anarcho-capitalist and lax, permissive and hedonistic.

On the one hand, through the battles for rainbow-hued whims, the glamorous neo-left definitively has abandoned the field of the anti-capitalist struggle against exploitation and classism, which it now accepts as physiological, if not as fecundly “creative”: it deals only with irrelevant problems with respect to the question of labor, the economy and the social—matters that are handled in a sovereign manner by the right wing of money.

On the other hand, with the whims of rainbow consumption, the left of the power-suit, besides favoring the distraction of the masses from the social question and the struggle against capital, promotes the dissolution of society into an atomism of “desiring machines”—to take up Deleuze’s definition: the desiring machines demand that each of their individual consumption whims be legally recognized as law. In this way, the left becomes Lifestyle-Linke, which places centrality not on labor and social rights, but on liberalized individual lifestyles. Instead of the people and the working class, in the discursive order of the bosses’ neo-left, there are now only individuals conceived as desiring machines. They must be “orthopedized,” freed from any residual link with communities and traditions and, dulcis in fundo, crushed under the model of the consumer, who has as many rights as his whims transformed into merchandise according to the money at his disposal.

In this sense, the case of the “surrogate womb,” which the politically correct neo-language has shamelessly re-baptized as “surrogate motherhood,” continues to be emblematic. In most of their actions, neoliberal leftists are no longer able to recognize in such a practice the culmination of alienation, exploitation and objectification, derived from the fact that the woman’s womb is degraded to a “warehouse for sale,” the unborn child is sullied as a commodity on demand, and women of the lower classes are degraded and condemned to resort to these practices because of their own economic condition. Having internalized the “omnimercizing” gaze of capital and the anthropology of free desire, the “sinistrash” vigorously defends the abomination of the surrogate uterus as an expression of “freedom of choice” and as a “civil right,” as an “opportunity” and as a “desire” that must be legally protected. Once again, in the triumph of progressive neoliberalism, the mercantile conquest of the totality of the world of life no longer finds in the left a bulwark of opposition, but one of its theoretical justifications; and this, once again, on the basis of the forma mentis, according to which every taboo and every limit must be broken because precisely therein lies the ultimate reason for progress.

As shown in our Difendere chi siamo (Rizzoli, 2020), the globocratic-financial system aspires to deconstruct every collective identity (Nation and Class, People and State, Community and Homeland) and, in general, every identity ut sic. Indeed, it recognizes in the very concept of identity an inopportune redoubt of resistance to the generalization of the culture of nothingness proper to the commodity and its postmodern relativistic nihilism. More concretely, the dialectical dynamics of the development of capital proceeds by destroying resistant collective identities and, at the same time, by protecting and “inventing” identities that are organic to the consumer society, all the more so if they succeed in horizontally dividing the ranks of the offended. The only identities permitted and celebrated in the time of omni-homologizing disidentification coincide with those of the global-capitalist minorities; that is, with those proper to the social actors whose ideology represents the envelope of moral legitimization of the new social order, centered on financial capitalism sans frontières for liberal-libertarian atom-consumers.

What greater success of neocapitalist power than that obtained by provoking the homosexual exploited and the heterosexual exploited to fight among themselves instead of cooperating from below against the exploiter, whether homosexual or heterosexual? The sectoral micro-conflicts promoted by the new symbolic order of the postmodern lefts are per definitionem horizontal and interclassist, therefore functional to the reproduction of neoliberal power: they completely eliminate from the sphere of appearance the political, social and economic priorities of the dominated classes. And they replace them, in a distractive and compensatory way, by abstract and horizontal struggles; struggles thanks to which the rich homosexual and the poor homosexual, the exploiting woman and the exploited woman, the black plutocrat and the indigent black, converge fictitiously on the same side of the struggle.

The class struggle of the bottom against the top is thus fragmented and made invisible thanks to the artificial production of internal battles—”diversitarian” struggles—in the ranks of the offended, now divided according to differentiations promoted ad hoc by the order of hegemonic discourse. And the left, which—to say it with Norberto Bobbio—was originally on the side of equality, is increasingly taking the side of differences and the defense of diversity; and this not only because, adhering to neoliberalism, it advocates the competitive and asymmetrical vision of society, but also insofar as it assumes as its own front of struggle and political-cultural organization the “diversitarian” battle for differences and for minorities.

Moreover, these vindicatory and differentialist battles—from feminist movements to gay pride—do not seek to overthrow the dominant structures, but to obtain full recognition within them as minorities. The excluded show themselves to be included in the same way that they denounce their exclusion; in effect, they do not challenge a system that is based on exclusion (and which, as such, deserves to be abolished), but selfishly reproach themselves for not having been included in that system. Which is, literally, all inclusive, since it aspires to include everything and everyone within its alienated perimeters by affirming a single distinction—the economic one. Herein lies the false homogenizing interclassism of the civilization of the markets, which breaks down all difference, so that in this way the economic differentiation that is the foundation of classism can reign everywhere, without limitation.

The Black Lives Matter protest phenomenon, elevated by sinistrash to its own design, can also be interpreted under the same parameters. The declared objective of this protest revolt, which broke out in 2020, was not the sacrosanct recognition of the equal dignity and equality of all men, black or white. It was, instead, the creation—or empowerment—of a “sectoral” conflict developed horizontally between blacks and whites, implying, without too much dissimulation, that white men were, as such and without exception, guilty.

Diego Fusaro is professor of History of Philosophy at the IASSP in Milan (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies) where he is also scientific director. He is a scholar of the Philosophy of History, specializing in the thought of Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. His interest is oriented towards German idealism, its precursors (Spinoza) and its followers (Marx), with a particular emphasis on Italian thought (Gramsci or Gentile, among others). he is the author of many books, including Fichte and the Vocation of the IntellectualThe Place of Possibility: Toward a New Philosophy of Praxis, and Marx, again!: The Spectre Returns[This article appears courtesy of Posmodernia].

Featured: Merry-Go-Round, by Mark Gertler; painted in 1916.

The Dictatorship of the Financial Plutocracy

Thanks to the processes of supranationalization and the order of the dominant discourse, the peoples themselves are increasingly convinced that fundamental decisions do not depend on their sovereign will, but on the markets and stock exchanges, on “external links” and on higher sources of transnational meaning. This is the reality that the peoples, from below, simply “must” second electorally, voting always and only as the superior rationality of the market and its agents demands.

“The markets will teach Italians to vote the right way,” solemnly affirmed, in 2018, the European Commissioner for Financial Programming and Budget, Günther Oettinger, condensing in one sentence the meaning of “market-compatible democracy.” And, in convergent terms, the Eurotechnocrat Jean-Claude Juncker had categorically stated that “there can be no democratic choice against the European treaties” (Le Figaro, 29.1.2015). Theses such as those just mentioned, about a supposedly necessary separation of popular representation and the sphere of political decision-making, would have been considered until recently as reactionary, authoritarian and inadmissible attacks on democracy. With the crisis of 1989, on the other hand, they became hegemonic in the order of the dominant logo—to such an extent that anyone who dared to challenge them in any way was repudiated as “populist” and “sovereigntist.”

The neoliberal right and left are today applying the same economic and social recipes. And the latter are no longer the result of democratic political negotiation, since the economic and monetary sovereignty of sovereign nation states has disappeared. Therefore, the recipes are imposed autocratically from supranational financial institutions, which in turn are not democratically legitimized (ECB, IMF, etc.). And since both the progressive right and the caviar left do not question the processes of de-democratizing supranationalization of decision-making (which, by the way, they mostly favor), both end up legitimizing the sovereignty of the post-national economy and, with it, that of the stateless class of neoliberal plutocracy, which always hides behind the apparent anonymity of “sensibly suprasensible” entities such as the Markets, the Stock Exchanges or the International Community.

Even in 1990, Norberto Bobbio maintained that “by the left today is understood the force that is on the side of those who are below, as well as by the right that which is on the side of those who are above.” Even then, Bobbio described in detail the nature of cleavage in the framework of modern dialectical capitalism; in whose spaces, indeed, the left had represented the interests of the dominated (those at the bottom) and the right those of the dominant (those at the top). However, Bobbio failed to decipher the obsolescence of this hermeneutic scheme in the framework of the new absolute-totalitarian capitalism—in his scenario, as should be clear by now, the left, no less than the right, represents the part, the interests and the perspective of those at the top.

Therefore, overcoming the treacherous right-left dichotomy, it is essential to re-sovereignize the economy in order to restore the primacy of sovereign decision-making; and, finally, to establish popular sovereignty, id est. democracy as κράτος of the δῆμος. For popular sovereignty coincides with a community master of its own destiny, therefore capable of deciding autonomously the key issues of its own existence. The dichotomy between socialism and barbarism has not ceased to be valid; with the fundamental novitas, however, that both the right and the left have openly placed themselves on the side of barbarism. And consequently, a new democratic socialism après la gauche must be shaped.

Intellectuals organic to capital—the new postmodern clergy—and politics subsumed under neoliberal power—progressive right and caviar left—keep the dominated classes, the national-popular Servant, inside the globalized cavern of capital. They convince the dominated that it is the only viable system. And they induce them to choose among fictitious alternatives, which are also based on the assumption of the neoliberal cavern as an ineluctable destiny, if not as the best of all possible worlds. Against the new mental order and the mappa mundi forged by the intellectual clergy in support of the dominant pole, we must have the courage to admit that the antithesis between right and left exists today only virtually, as an ideological prosthesis to manipulate the consensus and domesticate it in the capitalist sense, according to the typical device of “repressive tolerance” through which the global citizen is given the “free” choice of adherence to systemic needs. In fact, the choice is non-existent insofar as the two options, within which it is called to be exercised, share, at bottom, a common identity—right and left express in different ways the same content in the order of turbo-capitalism. And, in this way, they provoke the exercise of a manipulated choice, in which the two parties involved, perfectly interchangeable, feed the idea of the possible alternative, in reality non-existent. Thus, the real alternation between right and left guarantees not the alternative, but its impossibility.

It is for this reason that, in order to carry out the “gestalt reorientation” that will allow us to understand the present and orient ourselves in its spaces with thought and action, it is necessary to say goodbye, without hesitation and without remorse, to the already worn-out and useless dichotomy between right and left. That is why the abandonment of the dichotomy must not run aground in the shallows of disenchantment and the appeasement of all political passion for the rejuvenation of the world—the enduring passion of anti-capitalism and of the operative search for ennobling ulteriorities must, instead, be determined in the theoretical-practical attempt to theorize and operate new schemes and new maps, new syntheses and new fronts with which to relive the “dream of a thing” and the anti-adaptive pathos fueled by the desires for greater and better freedom. To paraphrase the Adorno of Minima Moralia, freedom is not exercised by choosing between a right and a left that are perfectly interchangeable and equally allied to the status quo. It is exercised by rejecting, without possible mediations, the manipulated choice and proposing real alternatives that think and act differently, beyond the alienated horizon of capital. We must reject alternation, in order to bring the alternative back to life.

Diego Fusaro is professor of History of Philosophy at the IASSP in Milan (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies) where he is also scientific director. He is a scholar of the Philosophy of History, specializing in the thought of Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. His interest is oriented towards German idealism, its precursors (Spinoza) and its followers (Marx), with a particular emphasis on Italian thought (Gramsci or Gentile, among others). he is the author of many books, including Fichte and the Vocation of the IntellectualThe Place of Possibility: Toward a New Philosophy of Praxis, and Marx, again!: The Spectre Returns[This article appears courtesy of Posmodernia].

Featured: Allegory of Greed, Egbert van Heemskerck the Younger; painted ca. 17th-18th century.

We Don’t Need to Save the EU. We Need to Save Ourselves from the EU!

The European Union appears as the negation of the history of the European continent, which over time has always been an archipelago of cultural and linguistic particularities and pluralities; the same ones that, following a topos that tenaciously runs from Machiavelli to the Montesquieu of The Spirit of the Laws, constitute the specific difference that distinguishes the Europe of multiple states and freedoms in the plural from Asian “despotism.”

From this perspective, the European Union is nothing more than the post-1989 implementation of the globalization project, based on the autocratic primacy of the market, on the homologation of humanity under the banner of the commodity form and on the moralistic imperialism of Atlantist traction deployed against governments not yet globalized. Thus understood, the European Union is the implementation in the old continent of the McDonaldization of society described by George Ritzer.

This project—which in essence is posed as the “suicide of Europe”—aims at the integral Americanization of the European space through the unconditional imposition of the transoceanic subculture of unlimited consumption, the deconstruction of the social model of economy with state intervention, the individualistic privatization of society, and the eradication of any identity other than the free-market creed of the financialized economy.

The repeatedly claimed possibility of a “sovereign Europe” cannot become a reality through the European Union which, as it is designed, is governed by the double fundamentum of the de-sovereignization of the economy and socio-political Americanization. In this light, the various theses of those—such as Antonio Negri and Etienne Balibar, among others—who have sought to see in the European Union a means of developing an alternative democratic policy to American global neoliberalism (it was precisely in order to imitate and implement it that the so-called “European integration” took place under the tutelage of the ECB) reveal its true nature as a mirage.

By its essence, the European Union as “passive revolution” (Gramsci), as “neutralization” (Schmitt) and as the triumph of capital after the strife of the twentieth century, is presented as the victory of the transatlantic monocultural project of a Europe inserted into the global market without borders, without nations, without traditions, without cultures, without limitations, in which the intrinsic reification of “the American way of life” is destined to be replicated also in a new “European way of life.”

Depoliticization, mediated by the annihilation of democratic sovereign states, advances in parallel with the Americanization of the old continent, that is to say, with the imposition on the peoples of Europe of the atomized model of unlimited competitiveness, typical of the imperialist thalassocracy of the Stars and Stripes of the Atlantic Leviathan.

There is nothing strange, then, that what Hegel, in his Lectures on the Philosophy of History, related to the American reality, where the state, already at that time, acted as “an external institution for the protection of property” and moved by the purpose of fostering “a society having its origin in individuals understood as atoms” similar and competitive, is increasingly occurring in the old continent.

The secret of the “European dictatorship” is hidden in the private and transnational currency called the Euro—true and authentic pillar of liberalism as a method of government—which makes devaluations and public investments impossible, with the obvious consequence that the only way to recover competitiveness is the “internal devaluation;” that is, the devaluation of wages (a measure entirely consistent with the massacre of classes typical of the post-1989 scenario). The latter, complemented by the persistent policies developed under the slogan of cuts in public spending and “waste”—that is how social rights are contemptuously apostrophized in the liberal neo-liberal language—provokes social genocides to the detriment of the peoples, the workers and the middleclass, and to the benefit of the unintelligent expertocracy and the unelected technocrats coming from the mists of Brussels and the International Monetary Fund.

Once again, far from being a neutral mediator of commercial exchange, the Euro acts as a method of liberal government; or, if Luciano Gallino’s image is preferred, as a “straitjacket” to prevent social policies in favor of the classes that live from their work. In other words, it emerges as a deflationary mechanism devised ad hoc to prevent nation-states from financing themselves by minting money or issuing bonds guaranteed by a State Bank—weighed down by such restrictions, states are forced to bow to the market, de facto recognizing its superiority.

As Carlo Galli states, “the Euro was an objective openly pursued by the elites as an ‘external support’ to limit the economic sovereignty of Parliament, preventing ‘social drift.'” Its aim is, in all respects, the destruction of the old European model of state-moderated capitalism, replaced by the American type of savage privatizations and the suppression of any residue of the welfare state. Herein lies the essence of the Euro as a “threat to the future of Europe,” according to Joseph Stiglitz’s icastic (and unequivocal) formula.

In this respect, it is not at all surprising that among the most fervent supporters of the subtraction of the monopoly of currency from the national states appears von Hayek, the tutelary numen of liberalism, the champion of the ruling class. The latter, in view of the triumph of the Market over the State, of Capital over Labor and of Economics over Politics, expressly proposes the denationalization of currency. More specifically, he suggests “withdrawing from the state the monopoly on currency and replacing it by a competition between private banks supplying money in exactly the same way as any other enterprise supplies goods or services.”

Hayek’s teleological orientation is well known. It coincides with the neutralization of democratic control of the capitalist economy by the state. In a rigorously syllogistic way, if it is necessary to annul democratic control, and the latter is based on the sovereignty of the state, which in turn implies national sovereignty over the currency as its essential moment, the consequence is very clear: it is necessary to de-sovereignize the currency in order to be able, in this way, to proceed to the de-democratization of control over the economy.

A miniature paradigm of the liberal open society, the European Union has turned into reality this syllogism developed, moreover with commendable clarity, by von Hayek. And in order to conceal its own profoundly anti-democratic status (marktkonforme Demokratie, according to the oxymoronic expression used by the German ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel), it must continually devise, using the intellectual class mediating consensus, formulas and narratives to reassure the European peoples and the dominated classes, so that the latter, more solito, will meekly accept their own subordination.

In this, the rhetoric of the everlasting fight against red and black totalitarianisms, elevated by the order of discourse to ever latent threats to the “democratic” space of the European Union as totalitarian management, plays a leading role—as a non plus ultra of mass distraction: with the not too subtle consequence of the recurrent appeal to the logical fallacy, hegemonic in the public discourse (journalistic, academic, television and radio), according to which any critic of the European integration would be, by the mere fact of being so, a Nazi in pectore. Applying Orwell’s prophecy, “the past is whatever the Party chooses to make it” for the sake of the sanctification of the existing order.

To put this whole process into practice, the new mental order, managed by the administrators of consensus and the masters of discourse, is essential—with the extravagant “verbal hygiene” they impose, it becomes impossible even to name the contradictions that surface everywhere. Following the teachings of Jacques Ellul’s Histoire de la propagande, “propaganda must be total” and must employ all the means at its disposal, assuming also the cynical assertion, difficult to refute, that it is always easier to deceive man than to make him understand that he has been deceived.

As Gustave Le Bon had already shown in his The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind (1895)—initiating a line of thought destined to be developed by Freud in Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (1921)—the power of words does not depend on their meaning, but on the images they are capable of arousing. They dispense the user from the fatigue of reflection and, with a limited stock of formulas, prefigure the order of thought, discourse and imagination.

Le Bon ventures to argue that the men of power rename with popular, or at any rate inoffensive, names, realities that with their original denominations were detested by the multitudes. And he insists on the premises of repetition and contagion. On the one hand, infinitely repeated, falsehood passes for truth and infiltrates the minds of the masses, reshaping them. On the other hand, ideas exert a power of contagion over the masses, analogous to that of “microbes”—the image is Le Bon’s. These considerations can, by extension, be applied to the new mental order of the politically correct and ethically corrupt single thought, which has turned the European Union into a monotheistic religion—the Europeanist cosmopolitanism which, with its specific “anti-religion of the single currency,” considers any possible return to the state dimension a “capital sin.” With Nietzsche’s syntax, through the integral mediatization of the real managed by the hegemonic pole, “the real world ended up becoming a fable” (die wahre Welt endlich zur Fabel wurde).

In this way transformed, thanks to the intellectual priesthood, into an unreflective automatism of thought, even the welfare function, developed during the late twentieth century by the sovereign and democratic national state, which was the concrete arena in which the class conflict took place and the instrument through which social policies for the benefit of the working classes were made possible, is irresponsibly omitted once again. Also forgotten is the fact that, paradoxical as it may seem at first sight, the intuition of an integration of the European nations within the framework of a supranational union of German traction was conceived, in one of its earliest and most emphatic formulations, by the National Socialists themselves; that is, by the authors of the totalitarianism from which, by the irony of history, the Eurocrats in Brussels claim to protect the old continent.

In 1943, for example, Hitler himself aspired to overcome the disorder of the divided small nations which is what he expressly defined as “the anachronistic division of Europe into individual states,” in order to bring about the creation of the Grossraum of a united Europe with German hegemony. And even Hermann Göring, president of the Reichstag, had presented, in 1940, a plan for “the large-scale economic unification of Europe;” and this “with a view to the creation of a European monetary union” (sic!).

Naturally, the above is not intended to support the absurd and unfounded thesis that the Brussels bureaucrats are today the direct continuators of the Nazi project. They are, sic et simpliciter, the leaders of the new glamorous totalitarianism of the markets, concentrated on the figure of economic violence. It is simply a matter of challenging the locus communis according to which anyone who does not adhere, unthinkingly and immediately, to the ideal of European integration under the sign of the single currency is automatically considered a Nazi.

As we have already stressed on other occasions, the rejection of the European Union model starts, at least in our case, from the Marxian perspective of the emancipation of the universal human from capitalist contradictions, of which the European Union itself constitutes one of its maximum expressions.

Diego Fusaro is professor of History of Philosophy at the IASSP in Milan (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies) where he is also scientific director. He is a scholar of the Philosophy of History, specializing in the thought of Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. His interest is oriented towards German idealism, its precursors (Spinoza) and its followers (Marx), with a particular emphasis on Italian thought (Gramsci or Gentile, among others). he is the author of many books, including Fichte and the Vocation of the IntellectualThe Place of Possibility: Toward a New Philosophy of Praxis, and Marx, again!: The Spectre Returns[This article appears courtesy of Posmodernia].

Featured: Deserter, by Tomasz Alen Kopera; painted in 2004.