Nous publions ce petit essai en anglais nous provenant d’un jeune Roumain car il nous semble résumer fort bien une question que pose effectivement le mouvement des gilets jaunes. A savoir pourquoi ces derniers proclament haut et fort leur refus de se situer dans la mouvance d’un parti ou d’un syndicat ...alors même que leurs revendications recoupent dans leur quasi-totalité ce que les partis de gauche et les syndicats, et en particulier La France insoumise de Jean-Luc Mélenchon dans son très récent programme électoral, ont prôné, alors qu’une enquête menée par une équipe de plusieurs dizaines de chercheurs1 a démontré que leurs revendications provenaient en fait largement de l’arsenal traditionnel, voire de l’électorat, des formations de la gauche radicale. En fait, derrière „l’apolitisme” proclamé par ce mouvement de masse, il y a bien fondamentalement du „politique”, c’est-à-dire des revendications visant à modifier radicalement le fonctionnement du „gouvernement de la cité”, mais plusau sens „politicien spécialiste” du terme ni même dans le sens „révolutionnaire professionnel”. Car l’expérience de la dégénérescence des nouveaux „notables de gauche”, des nouveaux „aristocrates ouvriers”, des nouveaux „crétins parlementaires”reprenant en fait beaucoup des comportements de ceux d’avant 1914 dans les pays occidentaux s’est élargie avec l’émergence d’une nomenklatura néo-bourgeoise dans les pays ex-socialistes et post-coloniaux ainsi que dans beaucoup de partis plus ou moins ex-communistes „assagis” dans le reste du monde. La foi dans la capacité d’une „avant-garde” à canaliser le bouleversement social radical souhaité s’est donc éteinte mais l’énergie populaire, elle, se révèle par contre intacte, justement grâce au mouvement des Gilets jaunes qui a démontré que la culture révolutionnaire française existait toujours. Mais dans une spontanéité la plus totale faute d’organisations dans lesquelles ces „rebelles” pourraient placer leur confiance. On peut d’ailleurs penser qu’il en va de même ailleurs, au moins dans tous les pays qui ont connu des révolutions sociales, des ruptures radicales et mentales,donc, au cours de leur histoire.
Chose sur laquelle les „ingénieurs” conséquents, courageux, résolus et intrépides de la transformation sociale radicale doivent désormais absolument réfléchir en pensant comment rompre avec la „bonne éducation” que les adversaires de Gramsci ont su répandre pour imposer leur hégémonie culturelle contre ses propres héritiers proclamés qui n’ont généralement pas su être à la hauteur du Maître.
"Gilets Jaunes" and 100 years of Class War
Florin E. Platon
On 7th December we celebrated Noam Chomsky’s 90th anniversary. I think he couldn’t have expected for a more beautiful gift than the protests of the "Gilets Jaunes".
Born in Philadelphia on December 7, 1928, Chomsky is one of the most rebel thinkers fighting against the injustices and mistification of our reality. In a book review, almost 40 years ago, New York Times described him as “arguably the most important intellectual alive today.” One of his most notorious theory is the „The Manufacturing of Consent”2. If the transition to mass product manufacturing processes had been the start of the Industrial Revolution, we may say that our present ‚Revolution’ is brought up by the mass manufacturing of consent.
Chomsky describes the process with a censored preface written by George Orwell for the „Animal Farm” -
“The introduction is kind of interesting—he basically says what you all know: that the book is a critical, satiric analysis of the totalitarian enemy. But then he addresses himself to the people of free England; he says: You shouldn’t feel too self-righteous. He said in England, a free country—I’m virtually quoting—unpopular ideas can be suppressed without the use of force. And he goes on to give some examples, and, really, just a couple of common-sense explanations, which are to the point. One reason, he says, is: The press is owned by wealthy men who have every reason not to want certain ideas to be expressed. And the other, he says, essentially, is: It’s a ‘good’ education.”
Chomsky explained: “If you have a ‘good’ education, you’ve gone to the best schools, you have internalized the understanding that there’s certain things it just wouldn’t do to say—and I think we can add to that, it wouldn’t do to think. And that’s a powerful mechanism. So, there are things you just don’t think, and you don’t say.”3
We may ask what is a „good education” by the meaning above, now? And it would certainly won’t be what „Gilets Jaunes” are doing it right now these days. Yet what is more troubling is that none of our political forces been up to the task of such „bad education” yet. Even more, what „Gilets Jaunes” are demonstrating is that none of the political forces are representing them, but in fact, more or less, all these political forces are very much part of the problem – They are the „good education”.
„Gilets Jaunes” couldn’t have happen at a better moment, as this year we also celebrate 100 years since the end of First World War, in fact 100 years since the start of the „Working Class Revolution” in whole Europe4. Ignated first in Russia, the 1917 February Revolution5resembles a lot with present day „Gillets Jaunes”. It was in fact the experiment of war brought upon the people of Europe by its elite, in contempt and disregard for the lives and welfare of the common people, brought to destitution and famine.
What the „good education” teaches us as the end of the World War, by means of bravery and patriotism of soldiers, was in fact the abrupt end of it, forced by popular revolutions all over Europe, and the start of 100 years of struggles and fights of the common citizens for their rights and liberties against the rule and exploitation enforced upon them by the elites.
And the „Gilets Jaunes” are doing it right now!
February 3rd, 1918 - Soviet government repudiated and written off all debts - both external and internal - collected by tsarist government, Provisional government, institutions, companies or persons. Since February 3, 1918 - no one owed anything to anybody. Only few month after, 14 countries are sending troops to attack Russia. A failed invasion to be reenacted 20 years later. World War IIwill follow and after it, the Cold War.
Noam Chomsky strikes again against the official view, explaining why the West been opposing Russia ever since 1917 -
„The great concern (of the West) was that the Soviet Union was presenting itself as a model of modernization within a single generation. And that was raising a lot of troubles not only in the Third World, but also in the rich countries. They didn’t care about Russian aggression, Stalin’s terror and anything, wasn’t bothering anybody, in fact Truman admired Stalin (...) The problem was, what they were affraid of, was the economic growth, which was, especially in Third World, considered quite impressive. Same is true with Cuba (...) The problem with Castro, he (Arthur Schlesinger) said, is the spread of Castro’s ideea of taking matters into your own hands which has a great appeal to people in Latin America, most of whom live in terrific poverty and oppression and are trying to find a more decent life, and with the model of Cuba are likely to do all sorts of things (...), he said, in the background the Soviet Union is presenting itself as a model of modernization in a single generation, so we have to overthrow the government”6.
100 years of the Establishment fight to implement its unchallenged dominance gave birth to the present Globalist Neoliberalism. And these are not isolated individuals or corporations, but all the clergy of Neoliberalism that beholds and control power – from big monopolies and world wide corporations to state governments, institutions, media and education. It is what Noam Chomsky fought his entire life to bring into light.
„You can’t have Capitalist Democracy! The Freedom (of the libertarianism) is not the freedom of working persons to control their work, their life and so on, it’s their Freedom to submit themselves to control by a higher authority... that’s called Freedom, but not Democracy!”7(Noam Chomsky)
Yet most intriguing is that despite his whole life struggle, Noam Chomsky and many others as well, seems somehow to have failed to bring up the consciousness and awareness of the people on the matters to which they are so painfuly subjected and oppressed, enough to make them act and raise against it. And ironically, Chomsky foresaw this as well – as very part of the „Manufacturing of Consent” is the Establishment’s simulacre of its own critique.
While we are all used with Propaganda, the Neoliberals went a step further, understanding that in the age of mass-communication, the actual spectrum of an individual attention is limited and very much selective according to the information that is served and ranked for him. While in a classic totalitarian regime you achieve control through coercition, in the totalitarian Neoliberalism, the control is achieved by cultivating the mass-media ready-made selective reality. Once your attention is caught and kept busy in this confined space of simulated critique, your attention will be nullified to anything else and especially to what could be indeed the true critique of the system.
“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum”
Noam Chomsky, The Common Good
It is why the Gillets Jaunes found no representation and no support in the present political forces. None of these parties were calling for what the Gillets Jaunes are asking for. And even after days of protests, these parties were unable to understand that their purpose is to enact the will of the people, and not to accomodate people’s fight in their own political frame, be it left, right, green or else.
“The gilets jaunes have blown up the old political categories,” one French media activist told ROAR on Saturday night, after a long day of riots in the capital. “They reject all political leaders, all political parties and any form of political mediation. No one really knows how to confront or deal with this movement — not the media, not the government, nor anyone else. What we are witnessing is unprecedented in French history.”8
Involuntarily or not, what these parties are achieving is exactly the acceptable critique of the system. It is only logical to be like that, since nothing really changed through all these political strife, and the very reason for the Gillets Jaunes to have been forced to fight themselves for the changes nobody deliver.
Ironically, 90 years ago, in 1928, the year Noam Chomsky was born, at the Congress of the Communist Party, Stalin was declaring that the main threat to socialism came not from the right but from non-Marxist socialists and social democrats, whom he called "social fascists". It is nothing short of what Engels was also calling as - „The Bourgeois Socialists... (aimed) to maintain this society while getting rid of the evils which are an inherent part of it. They propose systems of reform which under the pretense of re-organizing society, are in fact intended to preserve it."
This is the „good education” that Orwell was speaking of. These progresives, radicals, or whatever they call themselves, not only that are programed to think in this „strictly limited spectrum of acceptable opinion”, but they have also developed a totalitarianism of thought, to attack, discredit and censor any opinion that contradicts their core belief. It is what Frantz Fanon was describing talking about cognitive dissonance –
„And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.” (Frantz Fanon)
When all the philosophers and thinkers, activists and politicians are failing, the Humanity’s Social Body proves to have a wisdom, a perception of reality that pushes us in the right direction. Or more simple said – the decent mind of the common citizen and his instopable moral imperative of action. If only we would follow these, we would have no need of politicians and politics anymore.
That’s the lesson that the Gilets Jaunes are delivering us today!
Florin E. Platon
1„ ‘Gilets jaunes’ : Une enquête pionnière sur la ‘révolte des revenus modestes’”, Le Monde, 12/12/2018. On notera ici que l’ex- „quotidien de référence” de la gauche intellectuelle réformiste devenu de fait au cours des dernières trente années de régressions sociales, et grâce à un changement opportun de propriétaire, l’organe de fait de la domestication libérale des „élites” bien pensantes et donc de „bonne éducation” issues de la gauche, joue ici très bien son rôle d’analyste pénétrant d’une réalité sociale qui l’a choqué et contre laquelle la bourgeoisie doit imaginer désormais des réactions adaptées pour réussir à imposer une nouvelle vague de politiques ...réactionnaires, qui pourront être „soft” façon Le Monde, ou plus dures style Napoléon III, Thiers, Pétain ou ...Sissi.
2Pour la réédition française corrigée par rapport à la première traduction défectueuse de ce livre écrit en fait par Edward Herman en auteur principal et Noam Chomsky comme spécialiste du langage, Edward Herman, Noam Chomsky, Fabrique un Consentement – La gestion politique des médias de masse, Bruxelles, Investig’Action, 2018