We are now entering the Era of Western Despotism

Gianfranco Sanguinetti 22/04/2020
The counter-insurgency approach taken immediately and everywhere by what is improperly called the “war against the virus” confirms the intention behind the “humanitarian” operations of this “war” …

Tradotto da Fausto Giudice
The conversion of the representative democracies of the West to a completely new despotism has, thanks to the virus, taken on the legal figure of “force majeure”” (in jurisprudence force majeure is, as we know, a case of exoneration from responsibility). And so the new virus is, at the same time, the catalyst of the event and the element of distraction of the masses by fear [1].
For all the hypotheses that I had put forward since my book On Terrorism and the State (1979) on the way in which this conversion from formal democracy to real despotism would have taken place, I confess that I had not imagined that it could happen under the pretext of a virus. And yet the ways of the Lord are truly infinite. And also, those of the cunning of Hegelian reason.
The only reference, one can say, as prophetic as it is worrying, is the one I found in an article that Jacques Attali, former head of the EBRD bank, had written in L’Express during the 2009 epidemic:
“If the epidemic is a little more serious, which is possible, since it is transmissible by humans, it will have truly global consequences: economic (models suggest that it could lead to a loss of 3 trillion dollars, or a 5% drop in world GDP) and political (because of the risks of contagion…) We will have to set up a global policy, global stockpiling and therefore global taxation. We will then come, much faster than the economic reason alone would have allowed, to put in place the foundations of a true world government.” [2]
The pandemic was thus being considered: how many simulations had been made by the major insurance companies! And by the protection services of the States. Only a few days ago, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown reiterated the need for a world government: “Gordon Brown has urged world leaders to create a temporary form of global government to tackle the twin medical and economic crises caused by the Covid-19 pandemic..”[3]
It hardly needs to be added that, if such an opportunity can be seized or created, does not make much difference to the case. Once the intention is there, and the strategy drawn up, it is enough to have the pretext, and then to act accordingly. No one among the Heads of State has been caught off guard, if not at the very beginning, by the foolishness of one or another. Afterwards, from Giuseppe Conte to Orban, from Johnson to Trump, etc., all these politicians, however boorish they may be, quickly understood what the virus allowed them to do with old constitutions, rules, and laws. The state of necessity forgives all illegality.
Once terrorism, which it will be agreed has been abused a little too much, has exhausted most of its potentialities, so well experienced everywhere in the first fifteen years of the new century, the time has come to move on to the next stage, as I have been announcing since 2011, in my text ‘From Terrorism to Despotism’.
Moreover, the counter-insurgency approach taken immediately and everywhere by what is quite improperly called the “war against the virus” confirms the intention behind the “humanitarian” operations of this war, which is not against the virus, but against all the rules, rights, guarantees, institutions and peoples of the old world: I am talking about the world and the institutions that have been put in place since the French Revolution, and which are now disappearing before our eyes in a few months, just as quickly as the Soviet Union disappeared. The epidemic will end, but not all the measures, possibilities and consequences that it has triggered and that we are now experiencing. We are delivering a new world in pain.
We are therefore witnessing the decomposition and the end of a world and a civilization, that of bourgeois democracy with its Parliaments, its rights, its powers and counter-powers, which are now completely useless, because laws and coercive measures are dictated by the executive, without being ratified by Parliaments immediately, and where the judiciary and the power of free opinion lose even the appearance of independence, and thus their function as a counterweight.
People are thus abruptly and traumatically accustomed to it (as established by Machiavelli, “evil must be done all at once, so that those to whom it is done do not have time to savour it”): the citizen having already long since disappeared to the benefit of the consumer, the latter is now reduced to the role of a simple patient, over whom one has the right of life and death, to whom one can administer any treatment, or even decide to suppress it, according to his age (productive or unproductive), or according to any other criteria decided arbitrarily and without appeal, at the discretion of the carer, or others. Once imprisoned at home, or in hospital, what can he do against coercion, abuse, arbitrariness?
The Constitutional Charter being suspended, for example in Italy, without raising the slightest objection, not even by the ‘guarantor’ of the institutions, President Mattarella. The subjects, who has become mere anonymous and isolated monads, no longer had any “equality” to assert or rights to claim. The law itself will no longer be normative, but already becomes discretionary, like life and death. We have seen that, under the pretext of coronavirus, in Italy, 13 or 14 unarmed prisoners can be killed immediately and with impunity, without even bothering to give their names, their crimes or their circumstances, and no one cares. We do even better than the Germans in the Stammheim prison. At least for our crimes, they should admire us!
We don’t discuss anything anymore, except money. And a State like Italy is reduced to begging the sinister and illegitimate Eurogroup for the capital needed to transform the democratic form into a despotic one. The same Eurogroup that in 2015 ferociously wanted to expropriate all the Greek public heritage, including the Parthenon, and give it to a fund placed in Luxembourg, under German control: even Der Spiegel then defined the diktats of the Eurogroup as “a catalogue of atrocities” to mortify Greece, and Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, in the Telegraph, wrote that if one wanted to date the end of the European project, it was indeed on that date. Now it has been done. All that remains is the euro, and for the time being.
Neo-liberalism has had nothing to do with the old class struggles, it doesn’t even have the memory of them, it thinks it has erased them even from the dictionary. It still believes itself to be all-powerful; which does not mean that it does not fear them: since it knows well all that it is preparing to inflict on peoples. It is obvious that people will soon go hungry; it is obvious that the unemployed will be crowded; it is obvious that the people who work on the black market (4 million in Italy) will have no support. And those who have a precarious job, and have nothing to lose, will start struggles and sabotage. This explains why the pandemic response strategy is above all a preventive counter-insurgency strategy. We are going to see some nice ones in USAmerica. The FEMA camps will fill up soon.
The new despotism has at least two strong reasons to impose itself in the West: one is to face the internal subversion it provokes and expects; and the other is to prepare for external warfare against the designated enemy, which is also the oldest despotism in history, which we have nothing to learn to since The Book of Prince Shang (4th century B.C.) — a book that all Western strategists will have to hurry to read, with the utmost care. If one has decided to attack Chinese despotism, one must begin by showing that one is better than it on its own ground: that is to say, more efficient, less costly and more effective. In short, a superior despotism. But this remains to be proven.
Thanks to the virus, the fragility of our world has been exposed. The game currently being played is infinitely more dangerous than the virus and will cause many more deaths. Yet the contemporaries seem to be afraid only of the virus…
It would seem that the present time has set itself the task of contradicting what Hegel said about the philosophy of history: “The history of the world is the progress of the consciousness of freedom”” But freedom itself exists only in so far as it struggles with its opposite — he added. Where is it today? When people in France and Italy denounce those who do not obey?
If it took only a simple microbe to precipitate our world into obedience to the most repugnant of despotisms, it means that our world was already so ready for this despotism that a simple microbe was enough for it.
Historians will call the time that is now beginning the Era of Western Despotism.
1] I see that Edward Snowden comes to the same conclusion in the interview, published on April 10, 2020 here