by Andrea Fumagalli – University of Pavia / San Precario Network
I willingly intervene in this assembly, because I have always been interested in understanding the political and social upheavals that aim to improve the living conditions of the men and women of this country, whatever their origin and culture.
I do it, however, in those areas where there is an ideal tension capable of opening up spaces of propositional, cultural and conflict autonomy with respect to the dominant power structure
I hope this is one of them.
At this stage, Italy is experiencing a very strong political and social impasse.
From a social point of view, the crisis, which we can define as a permanent instrument of governance, has invested every area of action and life, restricting more and more spaces of liberation and change.
In the world of work, the degrees of blackmail have multiplied, sharpening the process of subordination, both material and cultural.
In fact, we are witnessing at least three forms of blackmail: the blackmail of need, a classic material device, which hinges on the precarious condition and, therefore, the debtor of life put to work to weaken any conflictual ambition and favor social dumping. The Jobs Act and related provisions have institutionalized this state of affairs. Then we have the blackmail of the imaginary, able to desubject individuals and weaken the surplus potentialities of social cooperation in order to bend them to the voluntary and consenting acceptance of the new command devices: merit and recognition (however decided by the high) “, Not from the” bottom “). And finally, we have the blackmail of the promise: the most ferocious and illusory device for young people,
These three different levels of blackmail mark the subjectivity of work and its social and technical composition today. They also indicate new forms of division of labor. Several inquiries confirm this (from the mini survey on free work at Expo, to those on self-employment of III generation up to the various investigations on the stage).
From this state of the art it is necessary to start again. Here is the “political” challenge. What is the possible process of subjectivation of these working realities? How can the supine individualistic acceptance of this situation of effective exploitation (but not perceived as such by most), between blackmailing the need, the promise and the imaginative illusion, transforming itself into collective conflictual verbality?
Suppose these questions are asked. What are the answers?
On the one hand, there is the managerial-authoritarian vision of that part of Italian capitalism that aims, with modernist demagogy, to extend the exploitation (by dispossession or capture) of that social cooperation, the general intellect, which today forms the basis of a bio-cognitive and immaterial capitalism 2.0, still to be invented (co-working, sharing economy, that mix between returning yuppism and an illusion of an individual realization, a sort of “Californian ideology” (at best, in Mediterranean sauce). Renzi, Sala, the future party of the nation, the Democratic Party all move in unison in this direction with experimentation initially on a local basis. Milan is a forerunner In my opinion, they are our most dangerous and devious opponents.
On the other hand, there is the proposal to reinstate an intervention in the economic policy of yesteryear which deludes itself that the processes of capitalist valorization of today are in continuity with the Fordist industrial paradigm, chasing a social composition of work (and its political representation ) which, if it exists, has nevertheless become a minority, in addition to an advanced age group.
If these are the positions, Renzi wins easily.
In conclusion, we are in a pre-political phase of reconstruction of a conscience and a possible one. This is why I believe an intervention is needed that has the following dual characteristics:
I. Being able to speak and intercept the precarious and unoccupied subjectivities on their terrain of life and perception, which places at the center of its political proposition the construction of a new welfare system which:
to. supports learning and network processes, guaranteeing income continuity rather than work continuity,
b. sets limits to social dumping, introducing minimum forms of labor remuneration according to the reference context (a minimum hourly wage, where working hours can still be accounted for or a tariff where there is a service that does not depend on a time of measurable work)
c. reform the system of social safety nets towards the definition of a basic minimum income, as unconditional as possible, financed by general taxation and not by social contributions, paid to residents (and not only citizens), at an individual (and non-family) level , a primary income, not of a merely welfare nature as an anti-poverty tool but a tool for remunerating that social cooperation and that productive life time that today is not considered in existing contracts and which is the basis of the new exploitation and self-exploitation existing today:
d. guarantees access as free as possible to material and especially intangible common goods.
In a word, a proposal for “common welfare”
II. Being able at the same time to indicate, here and now, a possible space of autonomy of proposition and realization. This means proposing, testing, constructing experiments (from below, outside the political dominant today, even on the left) that allow the development of models of cooperation that cannot be subsumed within the capital valorization cycle, whether characterized by expropriation or by direct consenting exploitation (self-exploitation), however always within a production of exchange value.
Trials that must also have financial autonomy: spaces for self-production, self-organization and self-management of alternative practices, from consumption (for example, gas and alternative food supply chains), to training (self-managed courses, even within University), to culture, art, music, theater (independent centers of artistic production, for example the circuit of occupied theaters but not only still active today, Macao, Kindergarten, Sale Docs, etc.), to the care and assistance (eg self-managed nurseries), to the alternative production of recovered factories (eg Re-Maflow and Officine Zero). Leaving from the cages of the legality-illegality relationship: we remember that some illegality practices, when they have as objective the recovery of real and cultural spaces and the widening of the possibilities of self-determination,
In a word, to create a counter-imaginary, which focuses on the construction of economic autonomy, social self-determination, the right to choose, starting from the right to choose work (beyond the right to work whatever it is): in a word , effective real non-formal democracy.