(Wed) 4 May, 2016 / 19.00 - 21.00 / Cinema Europe

Rastko Močnik: What Is to Be Done? Politicisation of Labour Movement as Criticism of Fascism

Moderator: Dimitrije Birač

Rastko Močnik is one of the most renowned sociologists of the region, whose lecture within 9th Subversive Festival takes place in the context of workers’ dissatisfaction, student revolt against the clericalization of education, and unfavourable economic and demographic indicators. The timing could almost not be better for Močnik’s visit since Croatian government has clearly showed that it is about to, with stress on further privatization, implement fiscal consolidation; i.e. to slash its budget, which of course includes cuts in spending on social security and pensions. Thus our socioeconomic situation is such that it calls for Močnik’s critical analysis, which could help us grasp this reality.

The topic of the lecture What Is to Be Done? Politicisation of Labour Movement as Criticism of Fascism, shall be devoted to the following key issues: the criticism of the existing socioeconomic system through criticism of fascist tendencies in society, the elaboration of the concept of fascism in general, and the understanding of the necessity of politically organizing the labour movement as the only way of developing and strengthening class consciousness.

In recent years we have witnessed a powerful attack of the capital on the labour movement, which in the region in itself lacks unity, exhibits a low level of class consciousness, is disorganized and unsuccessfully governed by the part of trade union leadership. All of this takes place at the moment when our social system cannot secure its own reproduction without lowering the standards of living for the majority of society. The weak class position of workers in Croatia, accompanied by unfavourable environment, strengthens contradictory tendencies of petite bourgeoisie. The latter is, in its class nature, fickle and in a permanent state of flux between, what is more probable, joining the workers (to economically fail) and less probable, to join the big bourgeoisie (to economically prosper). There isn’t any doubt about what it would choose if it could, but in given conditions its basic demand, as a result of this dynamic position, is capitalism without capitalists; in other words, it wants to abolish all the evils of capitalism and at the same time maintain private ownership and the law of profit – because it wants to make use of all benefits of the system and economically prosper without accepting the risk that comes with it.

And these are usually the tendencies where fascism gains sway, but since in Croatia they are on a relatively low level, we cannot speak of the fascization of society. The problem of pronouncing everything and anything as fascism is that, when real fascism starts to develop, it will be very hard to detect since our focus will be on the wrong causes and symptoms. It is therefore important to elaborate the very concept of fascism, how and why it develops, as well as why in the current situation our society isn’t headed there – yet.

The basic solution for dealing with fascism is a strong positioning of the labour movement. Workers should organize not just to accomplish their partial aims more efficiently, but also because for the development of fascism destroying the labour movement is the condition sine qua non. Therefore, while organized labour movement prevents capital from imposing its demands, as well as from further diminishing the standards of living, politically organized labour movement also develops and strengthens its political and class consciousness, and the capacity for struggle, which is crucial for preventing the fascization of society.