Bifo, "International Future Humanity"

"International Future Humanity"

Franco Berardi (Bifo)

Some days ago I witnessed a debate on the USA/conflict on the Italian TV

current affairs programme the Infidel by Gad Lerner. There was an interview

with Dani Cohn Bendit that impressed me. The position of Cohn, Bendit,

Fischer, Sofri, and Liberation has recently undergone a mutation, that makes

of it the most interesting nucleus of contemporary Europeanism, an evolution

of the culture of 1968 that connects the liberal and reformist legacies in

order to combine them in a form of cosmopolitan and humanist

neo-enlightenment.What is emerging from this perspective is an opposition between American

hegemony and European autonomy that finds its content in the defense of

civil rights and in a liberalism moderated by socialdemocracy.

Is this project realistic?

Can we consider the great Europe, the Europe of the national states and of

the powerful financial capital as a force that is capable of imposing

respect for human rights?

More radically: does a Europe still exist after the divisions of the last

few weeks? Can we see in the french-german hegemony a new European project

autonomous from the USA? I see a serious danger of european nationalism in

this perspective. A European nationalism that presents itself as the

opposition to the war rhetoric of the Bush Administration appears to us

today as close to the anti-military and pacificist front, but isn't this an

optical illusion? Isn't the danger of a new nationalism founded on the

anti-american prejudice just around the corner?

The last months have seen a quick and brutal maturation of contradictions

that are implicit in the European construction, during the crisis that we

are going through, even more if this will result in a war, it will become

necessary to carefully avoid an identification 'national-european.' To avoid

this europeist and anti-american nationalism there is no other way that to

transform the european consciousness into an internationalist consciousness.

There is a danger in the European approach, that has emerged clearly in the

past few weeks. The European perspective offers a representation of

international reality as an opposition between the USA and the EU, but in

opposing the virtues of the European approach to the brutality of the

unilateral American approach, it risks to represent the situation in

nationalist-european terms and thus produce and anti-americanism effect.

The global movement against the war cannot, in any way, be reduced to this

perspective. It is obviously tre that there is a strategic opposition

between the american hegemonism and the French-German axis. But on this

basis we will built nothing else than the ground for a new cold war that

will oppose (there are all the conditions for this) an anglo-american

capitalism to a French-German capitalism. It would be as if the twentieth

century never existed, or better, it would be as if in the twentieth century

would have been produced nothing new except for the atomic bomb. The new

world order would thus be the pre-1914 order plus weapons of mass


There is no America and Europe. We have to reject this representation. There

is a democratic public opinion of euro-americans against the war., There is

a public opinion against war that is largely majoritarian in Europe and

close to half in the USA. This is the point.

The European destinies at this point count very litte. Maybe, Europe will

come out of this war dead. What counts is the new emergence of

internationalism. Internationalism, that in the last twenty years has been

reduced to solidarity with the losers, during the current global crisis

should acquire the power of a majoritarian political perspective.

Forget Europe then? Not at all. We have to oppose the reduction of the

concept of Europe to a national, geopolitical or economic entity. We have to

affirm a concept of Europe as a principle of extensive, bottom-up,

post-nationalist construction. The best to have come out of the european

experience was just this: the creation of networks that do not coincide with

any territory and that are projected towards areas that are distant from the

historical-geographical Europe.

At the same time we need to elaborate a discourse on the future of the

United States of America that is free from anti-americanism.

Anti-americanism is the worst of intellectual dangers. Today's America is

close to a kind of military fascism. The Bush administration is resolutely

going towards the imposition of a violent, oligarchic, fascist regime.

In an article entitled "Gaining an empire losing democracy?" Norman

Mailer writes : "The combination of corporate and military power and flag

fanaticism has created a pre-fascist atmosphere in the USA"

It is difficult to dismiss the feeling that the Bush clan is as dangerous as

the German nationalsocialist party, with on top access to weapons of total

destruction that luckily Hitler did not possess.

But the USA are not like Germany in the thirties.

We need to leverage the contradictions between American libertarian and

democratic culture and Bushist Nazism, if we want to come out of the trap

that the ideology of preemptive war has by now pre-arranged. Only revolution

in the USA could free humanity from the dangers of global fascism, certainly

not the opposition of the ancient european virtues and the vices of american

hegemonism,. Bush is first of all the enemy of the americans. It is in the

USA that the global movement will defeat Bush, its nationalist fury and the

neo-liberalism that has produced this folly.