The presidential elections in France have given the opportunity of a fabulous media show. The editorialists of the French editorial offices, after having built their champions and locked the debate, ridiculed the « small » candidates and their ideas in a cynicism to which one would almost begin to get used if one was not careful. Ambient journalism, which is rampant in all the major media, peddles the one-track thinking (growth plus purchasing power equals freedom) presented as the right thinking, protected as it is from reality by the parapet of the powerful to whom it polishes its boots(1).
Are we better off in Belgium? Are our journalists also, like the star hosts of TF1, France 2, Canal Plus and others, watchdogs of this system? Some of them anyway. Didn’t François De Brigode, presenter of the RTBF news program, call on the Soir website(2) for « intelligent management » of the strike, a technique of workers’ struggle that is « perhaps (sic) not outdated »? Seeing violence always in the hands of the same people — the strikers — and not in the hands of others — the promoters of the stifling of the employees — M. De Brigode did not fail to instrumentalize the small hassles caused by the strike to add a layer to the dangerous stupidity of the « austerity » measures imposed from above (for others, not for me): « it must be said that many people do not understand this strike, because the measures that are in question are decided and people realize that the current situation requires such emergency measures. »
« Emergency measures »! But what is the urgency? And what measures should be taken as a result? Is it a matter of paying off the banks very quickly, whatever the cost, or is it a matter of finding solutions to avoid the fall already visible in Greece?
They are not alone, the trade unions are not doing any better (with the notable exception of the CNE), getting lost in an inconsistent productivist logic. The magazine Syndicats recently headlined: « No growth without purchasing power », thinking that « it is not possible to run on one leg. The expenses of consumers (workers, beneficiaries…) cannot stop either(3) ». Isn’t the consumer society the one that is leading us to disaster, right before our eyes? And what about the limits to the exploitation of nature for the needs of productivism? Exit for this union! First the short term, the rest « we’ll see later » … but after that, it will be too late. The sacrosanct growth that guides all the thought and action of social democrats, whereas we should first set ecological and social goals and then determine the means to achieve them. But the priority is elsewhere: « First of all, our numbers are good. After that, it’s true that it’s good to be the favorite journalist of the Belgians, but if the viewers could press « La Une » even more often, I would be even more satisfied(4) ». Can’t wait for season 2 of « The Voice »!
To state the unspoken, to make the complicated understandable, to oppose the inadmissible, to transmit knowledge, to whisper what must pass with finesse, to emancipate and undo this fear, including that of words. Like this very big word: « anti-productivism ». Yikes! A whole world put in abyss in one time! Behind it lies a sum of positive things: growth of links, of non-market exchanges, of knowledge sharing, growth of autonomy, of self-production, growth of the capacity to think…
There are fears that this system generates and that it would not want to do without, like the one that is born when, aware of the ambient absurdity, one tries to denounce its causes. What happened to our freedom of speech when a newspaper vendor criticizing the omnipotence of a newspaper distributor — AMP — asks us not to mention his name? What did we do with it, when a musician who testified to the cultural censorship organized by the mass media refused, ten days before the closing of our newspaper, to have his interview published, even under a pseudonym?
Overcoming this fear is essential to take the path of decent societies. Could they do it on their own? And how do you choose these companies if you can’t even tell them?
Acting takes on another dimension when social atomization and anomie give way to conviviality and community. There is reason to rejoice: everywhere the collective is cultivated, born, reborn and strengthened. Often with a festive air!
- Voir « DSK, Hollande, etc… » Reportage de Julien Brygo, Pierre Carles et Aurore Van Opstal.
- 18 janvier 2012, www.lesoir.be
- Magazine Syndicats, 27 avril 2012.
- François De Brigode, dans le supplément télé de la Dernière Heure, 28 avril 2012.