In The Uprising, published in January this year, Berardi uses poetry as an example when sketching an alternative way to face the neo-liberal forces and cynicism dominating today’s society. His background is in the marxist Italian Autonomia movement of the 1970′s, that engaged large numbers of Italian workers, students, unemployed, housewives and others, in the struggle to turn the internal conflicts in the Italian society in the proletariat’s favour. Their actions and analyses of the structures and dynamics of the class society remain as one of the most interesting contributions to the European Left in the 1970′s.
In The Uprising Berardi addresses how the financial powers of today are based on the explotation of precarious, cognitive work, and how the economy has become more abstract, separated from physical goods and work hours. It is language and money, not bodies, that produce value. Language is reduced to currency and social behaviour is caught in inescapable patterns of interaction, run by global interfaces.
When facing the all-including, automatized reality of neoliberalism Berardi suggests poetry and the voice as a potential reactivation of the social, affective body: ”Poetry is the insolvency in the field od enunciation […] Insolvency is not only a refusal to pay the costs of the economic crises provoked by the financial class, but it is also a rejection of the symbolic debt embodied in the cultural abd psychic normalization of daily life […] The history of capitalist domination cannot be dissociated from the production and privatization of need – i.e., the creation of cultural and psychic habits of dependence. Social insolvencey means independence from the list of priorities that capitalist conformism has imposed on society.
Franco «Bifo» Berardi lives in Bologna and is working in the Italian Autonomia tradition. He was formerly a close associate of Félix Guattari and has authored more than twenty books. Books available in English translation includes The Soul at Work – From Alienation to Autonomy, Semiotext(e) 2009 and After the Future, AK Press 2011.
Beata Berggren, Martin Högström, Peter Thörneby
Franco «Bifo» Berardi
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