One of the attitudes I hate most is that of post-Hegelian idealists. Those who in the face of the blatant failure of their way of thinking continue to support it, citing "external motivations" to justify the fact that their way of thinking has proved incorrect. I saw an example of this in my RSS aggregator this morning.
It is, as usual, the Republic, and here I have a screenshot:
There is a catastrophic mistake in this way of thinking. The catastrophic mistake is to think that informal chats are harmless, safe, to the point that relegating something to the "informal chat" is the equivalent of "taking power away from a narrative".
In this vision, the informal chatter, the discussion from the tavern, the bullshit of the bar, are irrelevant on a political scale. So, in the moment when people exalt Hitler in the bar, after a glass of white, everything is fine. It's all right because, in fact, they are ONLY informal chatter.
Obviously it doesn't work. And it doesn't work because – as we are seeing – politics has ALWAYS drawn, through a process of sublimation, to "informal chatter". Let's be clear: Marx's understanding of economics is the same that we can find in any bar, and the conclusions of his theory too.
Just as the whole Gospel could be classified as "informal chatter of an unemployed Jew", and to say it all, even Jehovah's Witnesses who knock on the door on Sunday morning make "informal chatter": only that they have built an empire economic and editorial.
This belief that the informal chatter of the man on the street is "harmless" is the origin of an underestimation which is proving fatal. The things he says and does are bar chatter: when he rings the bell to ask if there is a drug dealer Salvini does not rely on what he has read on Facebook, but on what the diligent local leagues of the place have told him, or what they heard at the bar.
But when a post-Hegelian idealist has evidence that his theory is wrong, he does nothing but increase the complexity of the problem and insert a cosmic element that would have changed the rules of the game.
But it does not work. Bar talk was important long before social media was in fashion.
All regimes have always given weight to bar talk, and not because there really were spies in every bar. The problem was different: it was well known that discontent, mumbling, opinion was discussed informally.
What the regime feared was not that the marauder gave strategic information (which he did not know or could know) to the enemy, what he feared was that the marauder spoke with people about the REAL WAR TREND.
That is, he was afraid that his propaganda would be invalidated by the "informal conversations" of soldiers who told about the disaster that was taking place at the front. In stark contrast to the series of victories boasted by the regime.
In short, there is no need for social networks to understand that "informal chat" among people is powerful ":
"The bar speech, or if you prefer the informal discussion, is exactly the dialectical place where the political opinion of the masses is formed"
It was no coincidence that the communist parties first built leisure clubs, such as SPIM for young people and ARCI clubs, including bars, for old people. Hitler said that if you control the streets you control the nation, Stalin thought that if you control the taverns you control politics.
They were both right.
It is not the first time, however, that populist movements are born. The front of the ordinary man, from which the word "qualunquismo" originates:
And you can investigate as much as you want, but you will always and only find the same things: bar talk. Just as you will find only bar talk in the political contents of the league, M5S, Fratelli d'Italia, LeU, and other extremist formations. The PD has more chatter from the living room, but I am not clear on the limit to define an "informal" chat. Does the dress code count?
In any case, the point is precisely this: in all these years he was wrong not to give weight to the chatter. It was not a habit if the fascist regime put a "decurion" in each apartment building. It was not a habit if the Stasi turned your neighbors into spies. It was not a habit if Stalin put a "political officer" in every group of people. They did it because they knew the tremendous power of chatter.
If we observe the French revolution, we discover the presence of sanculotti. But sanculotto derives from a French expression, ("without socks") which was certainly not the product of a living room of intellectuals. It was rather the product of a popular saying.
There is therefore an elitism, and it is elitism that leads people to believe informal discussions irrelevant, without realizing that they are the place where politics is formed.
As if that were not enough, the article talks about social networks as being different from informal discussions: on the contrary, social discussions are ALWAYS informal discussions. The social network, not being an institution, cannot "clear customs", because what was informal discussion in the bar is still "informal discussion" on social media. It is only a change in the medium, not in content, or in its importance.
If there are millions of Italians on social media that speak badly about Jews, it is because there are millions of Italians OUT of social media that speak badly about Jews. You can also get rid of social media, and there will still be millions of people talking badly about Jews in bars.
Does anyone believe it is an improvement? Does Mrs. Dureghello believe it would be better if millions of Italians wished the ovens only in the evening for dinner, in informal discussions in front of the TV? Would you change anything? Would you prefer that Hitler's return be invoked only in bars, rather than on Facebook? Would it really change anything?
Here we are in the situation in which a dialectic was created, the "customs clearance", which has taken the place of reality. There is no frontier, there is no limit, there is no customs authority: there is only the fact that the social network is a much larger bar.
The truth is that many had built an "echo chamber" OUT of social networks. Elegant neighborhoods for the rich, sophisticated environments for the sophisticated, intellectual environments for the intellectuals. From their ivory towers, these characters had gotten used to ignoring what was said below, they were just "informal chatter". In their tower they heard only carefully selected opinions of highly selected people.
And when social networks finally come, all these "echo chambers" have collapsed. Now hatred comes into his house over the phone, and there is no ivory tower left to count.
When Radio Radicale made the experiment of airing his answering machine, the portrait of the town was creepy. Do you know what people like Dureghello did before?
They changed radio station.
Now with social networks they can no longer. This is the point.
It is not the fascists who came out of the sewers, dear gentlemen.
It is you who have come down from the pear tree.