The social conflicts also are always a fight for concepts, for the "definition power" about the way the problems can be approached. It could also be said that the problems are defined, almost naturally, in accordance with the criteria of the logic of the dominant system. The concepts assume then the corresponding colour to the chameleon's aspect. It doesn't exist an expressed prohibition or a censorship, because the mechanism of the concepts construction and the process of the definition flow in a subtler way. A certain speech form is manifested in a certain way and, suddenly, everybody begins to speak the same language, seemingly with deep conviction. Mainly in the socio-economic plane, it has been instituted in the scientific investigation, in the media and in the political class a general regulation of the speech, a "speech of the consent" that works in a much more rigid way because it has not been fixed administratively.
This situation is based on the fact that the science, the media and the politics cannot work in a way so stupid and automatic like the invisible hand of the market. They institute the "subjective" side in relationship to the "objective" laws of the system. Thus the conformity with the capitalist imperatives is never given by itself, but rather has to be produced in a discursive process. An essential function of this speech consists on the participants line up themselves ones against others basing in the capitalist "meteorological bulletin", to which is necessary to adapt all the social and cultural relationships. The regulation of the speech serves precisely for that. In such a sense, science, media and political class constitute a kind of cartel that keeps vigil so that nobody leaves the rails. A general frame is instituted where on one side, the own clientele is entangled in the marketing verbosity, and on the other is held by the brake.
The semantics of the ideological control is dominated by those who show the basic power to define what the "reality" is and, in consequence, the "Realpolitik" [realistic politics]. The cartel semantic dominant today has erected in principle of the reality the demands of the capitalist administration of the crisis and has redefined, in correspondence, the concept of reform. The old and social "pathos", emancipator of the reformist, just as it was constituted in the course of the historical development, of the collective engagement, of the "state of well-being" and of the public service, is now, precisely, on the contrary, instrumented for the contra-reformation. The campaigns of privatisation and social restrictions are subordinated to the motto: "We are the modernity". The more private, the cheaper and the better.
Everybody worries for the possibility about making the "reformations" against "the eternal past". The commitment for the "conformation of the society" is intended. For example: does the expense decreased in a 5% or 10%? Does a hospital or a nursery have to be closed? Do the benefits of the sick persons of cancer or the handicapped have to be eliminated? Does any benefit increase in 1%, but the taxes are tripled in any other point? "Improvements for people" is called now any deterioration level where it is possible to descend, with reformer's gesture. The political fight is limited to know who has more ability to sell the cuttings more and more hard. The political left is threatened to "be reduced to the insignificance" if it doesn't do " convincing reforms ". The "electorate will" -this way is allowed to glimpse the semantics of the control - overflows of " realism " and " citizens' maturity" if it is avid in fact of low wages, of the destruction of the social security system, and of privatisations.
This dominant regulation of the speech is as worn out as the announcement of an imminent progress, insistently repeated since many years ago. If the things continue thus, the word " reformer ", before respectable, will be in danger of becoming a vulgar offence with which the average man will designate a bad neighbour or an aggressive dog. The brainwashing doesn't always work. The dominant power of definition of the reality can be broken by a wide contra-realism. In this sense, an extensive and deep campaign against the project of low wages would be a Kulturkampf [cultural fight], an offensive for a civilized level, much more than a simple social politics in the limits of the political arithmetic. A contra- "Realpolitik", that relentlessly questioned the whole ramifications, bends and complicities of the repressive administration of the social security and of the work, would have the possibility to be successful in the masses level.
This is applied, in the first place, to a serious fight for the maintenance of the public services as part of a minimum "standard" of life. People are fed up with the railroads by shares, the mail by shares, and the threat of the water by shares, as of the medications of second class and the system of cheap (no) teaching. The "contra-fire" (Pierre Bourdieu) doesn't have to be the eternal return to the past of the state bureaucratic tradition. A concept of public service is also conceivable under the form of self-managed societies without lucrative aims that would be those in charged of directing the infrastructures. The orientation toward a value of public use would not be beyond the form of the value, but it would be a moment of emancipating transformation.
If the capitalism cannot maintain the civilization level, neither has to be accepted with reverences. On the contrary, the conclusion should be reached that the capitalism "accepts" less and less the human beings. The necessity of ways of organized representation of those socially excluded of the citizenship won't be easily resolved as it happened to the refugees of the Second World War, absorbed by the "economic miracle", but rather, on the contrary, it will increase; and not only in East Germany. The arithmetic of the semantic and political dominant cartel cannot give them voice, can only direct its voice toward the gear of the nationalist and racist resentment. Let us say the truth: it is not to announce the faith in the state, but the personal responsibility, a responsibility in the non-bureaucratic sense of an autonomous social contra-movement, and not in the sense of a faith in the market, strongly authoritarian and happily resigned.
Title original: "Gegenrealismus", published in Neues Deutschland, Berlin, October 2002. Translation to Portuguese: José Paulo Vaz. Spanish version: Round Desk. Translation into English: Comunistes de Catalunya : email@example.com