FLASHBACK | The Last Twenty Years of Social Liquidation


August 27, 2013

by Miguel Amorós

“In the society of the spectacle protest is a form of leisure and the tragic pathos of the class struggle must recede before hilarity, relaxation and festival, genuine forms of the neo-contestatory spirit which has found in pot and pan-banging, whistles, and costume parades its most suitable means of expression and in software, blogs and cell-phones its best weapons.”

The last twenty years of social liquidation - Miguel Amorós

In this 2006 lecture, Miguel Amorós depicts the previous twenty years as a period of radical changes for the emancipatory project, beginning with “the disappearance of the workers milieu” in the 1980s and the simultaneous rise of a new youth movement which, because it “started from zero” as a result of its lack of historical memory, was in part drawn to violence (“immediate confrontation”), and in part to the practice of “neo-contestatory”, “festive” forms of simulated struggle (“In the society of the spectacle protest is a form of leisure”), only to be “absorbed by the dynamic of survival in a hostile environment” as “the fifth wheel of the electoral bandwagon of social democracy”.

Concerning the Degeneration of Revolutionary Ideals after the End of the Working Class in the West

“The present period is one of those when everything that seems normally to constitute a reason for living dwindles away, when one must, on pain of sinking into confusion or apathy, call everything into question again.”1

On July 19, 1936 the Spanish proletariat responded to Franco’s coup d’état by unleashing a social revolution. On February 23, 1981 another coup d’état took place, one that met with the most absolute indifference of the proletarians, who hardly bothered to change the station on their radios or TVs. This contrast of attitudes reflects the fact that the proletariat was in 1936 the principal social factor in politics, while in 1981 it was not even an auxiliary factor for the interests of others. If the coup of 1936 was directed against the proletariat, the coup of 1981 was a settling of accounts between different factions of power. Not even in the most alarmist analyses was the workers’ predilection for struggle taken into consideration for the simple reason that it was minimal. The perpetrators of the coup d’état ignored the proletariat because it was no more than a secondary figure of political rhetoric, one that was historically finished.