Santiago López Petit,
Originally in Spanish
The phrase, “that’s life” was the capitalist slogan that for years marked neoliberalism’s triumph over our bodies. In hospitals, in schools, in factories… confronted with any demand, their reply was always the same: “that’s life”. In other words, shut up, obey, put your head down… because what is coming will surely be worse. This sensation of generalized impotence had found its way deep inside, like a worm feeding on us, even up to our own will to live. What is there to fight for? What to fight against? What can I do alone?
The unease grew bit by bit. The indignation and rage at seeing our lives being crushed on a daily basis, turned into a kleenex to be used and then thrown away. Meanwhile, the Arab world caught fire. What had seemed impossible was suddenly happening. My uneasiness is also yours, and yours and his and hers… the politicization of the uneasiness outside of the traditional codes allows us to move beyond the impasse in which we were stuck. The marvelous phrase, “real democracy, now” is a good start to the rebellion. It is only a scream, and a scream does not need explication. A scream of disgust against this world, and, at the same time, a scream full of life that forces shut the mouths of all the politicians, that interrupts their monologues, sinking them like the frauds that they are.
Taking the plazas was a collective delirium against common sense – the common sense that like the Jiminy Cricket of our conscience keeps saying to us, what is this for? – it is the street talking. We are talking. Then we see that we do not need flags and banners to identify ourselves. We are simply those that say, enough, we want to live.
This wanting to live is not mine alone, but is what I share in the knowing smile across the packed plaza, in the joy of being together. What is the Puerta del Sol? What is the Plaza Catalunya? What are all these open plazas? A space of anonymity, a black hole. The self-organization of a collective force. The concrete and practical invention of another world. Of another way of living, of thinking, of loving. This is what scares Power the most, now that it can’t control it. This force of resistance and creativity that expresses itself through so many invented phrases, in discussion groups, in the multitudinous meetings, in the kitchens, in each and every corner. They introduce policies to stop us whenever they can. Or journalists to ask us, but what do you want? Who are your spokespeople? Experts and pundits, cheap thinkers, paid to deactivate any collective force that emerges. No, they will never know who we are. This makes them tremble. Them. Them, the same people that have declared us in the plaza to be illegal. They will not know who we are nor will they know what we want. We don’t have to give alternatives. This is not a show of weakness, but of true force. Alternatives are always a trap because they are given within what already is, but we, in turn, reject what is. What we want is what we are already doing. What we want is for the world we have opened in every plaza to spread like the wind of liberty. In the occupied plazas, words go back to having their original meaning: dignity, rebellion, us… and then the State of the Parties appears to us like a completely degilitimized empty shell.
Many of us ask ourselves how to go forward. In reality, it’s easy because with the plaza occupied everything becomes very simple. We have to continue taking apart those institutions that organize the submission and exploitation of our lives. We have to defend our slogans, “nobody represents us,” “we are not merchandise”… until the end, because this is the life we have won today. Let this destituent power that lies inside of us act as the incessant rain that soaks the ground. But let’s be smart. Let’s build a strategy with targets based on all of our discussions that will allow us to better articulate our rage, that enables us to stay true to our word. But let’s not forget, that this targeting strategy can only be imposed by the force of its radical simplicity and through direct action. For this the plazas must overflow and become a counterpower. It is custom to say that the path is made by walking. That’s not true. The path is made by fleeing the path. Let’s always remember that what defines us is the dark power (potencia) of life and what unites us is the force of anonymity.