Kairos n°22


The same question often comes up, the same discourse according to which we should no longer denounce but only propose something else; that the description of the state of the world is so hopeless that it confines us to inaction and laziness. If it is true that the denunciation of the established order should not be sufficient in itself, certain precisions seem important to us here: all proposals of an « other thing » are inevitably anchored in the criticism of what is, otherwise we would not speak about « other » or « alternative », it is there, simple logic. Thus, to say where we are talking about, to state the reasons for the energy that people put into a project, to « politicize » it, in the sense that it is inscribed in a new form of management of the city, is from the outset to take the risk of divergences, to avoid the soft consensus, but also to express the aspect of struggle that all proposals that do not fit into those formatted by the dominant system inevitably have. This does not preclude disagreement, but at least this ground of opposition must be recognized:

- This other world that we draw does not have for vocation to cohabit next to the old one — the destructive capitalist system — but hopes for its dissolution in order to, in the long run, arrive at a decent society expurgated of the mechanics of power that characterize our current society. It is necessary to remember this, and those who only aim at enjoyment and « passive cohabitation » should explain to us how they will change while maintaining the structures that have led us to where we are today(1). Because various functions of the capitalist society are the very ones that prevent or complicate the emergence of something else (whether it be marketing and advertising, television and its debilitating programs, the ideology of work, programmed obsolescence, large surfaces, mass tourism, etc.);

- denunciation is a necessity, socially and subjectively. Our societies and our minds need it, because in the face of the media consensus, the denial of reality, the continuation of the same — and therefore the aggravation and the sure way to the worst — « to denounce », in the sense of stating another discourse(2)This is salutary and brings together those who previously thought they were atomized. It just feels good.

Denouncing is therefore, according to us, a democratic necessity, remembering that various media organs continue to give the impression that « things are not so serious… », denouncing therefore nothing… — except the false denunciations, those beneficial to the audimat and to the market shares; from where the capital importance in this work to stop on those who are supposed to inform us, to forget them constituting a serious error: « Not to fight against the dominant information system is a miscalculation as well as an intellectual mistake. Especially since media criticism often serves as an entry point into politics for new generations, as saturated with news and commentary as they are defiant of professional journalism. »(3).

It is certainly not enough to denounce the situation and the question remains: « How can we go beyond the statement of failure », « how can we criticize the established order without feeding resignation and defeatism? »(4). We are convinced that linking the multiple local struggles that are already taking place is the beginning of a solution. In this choice, the alternatives that are not palliative measures to the system in place will naturally select themselves and therefore, in an implicit way or in the form of something like a charter, will agree on a certain number of basic principles, and in particular on a deep criticism of this society that inhibits the emergence of a new, finally decent one.

In this fight, we must necessarily say and repeat that the continuation of the same leads us to the worst. One will thus prefer to speak sometimes, here and there, of apocalypse, in order to avoid the worst, instead of saying nothing and inevitably building the catastrophe:  » « It is better to listen to the prophecy of misfortune than to that of happiness ». This is not because of a masochistic taste for the apocalypse, but precisely to ward it off, the ostrich policy being in any case a form of suicidal optimism. It is blissful (and passive) optimism that will lead us to disaster much more surely than an enlightened catastrophist attitude that only reflects a really worrying situation.(5).

In short, « one must not act without understanding, nor understand without acting, one must understand to act »(6).

So why denounce? To act, of course!

Alexandre Penasse

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