Corporatism and Syndicalism (V)
Since the fascist era, much has been said about "corporatism", systems of representation of professions and social interests, state bodies based on this criterion. It is interesting to note that after the fall of fascism, these same groups who, by succeeding it, posed themselves as gravediggers and destroyers of all its vestiges, come back however to demand with insistence to continue the reconstruction of many organs of this social system as the Councils of work and economy.
Fascists certainly did not invent corporatism and the republic of professions; not only do these constitute very old historical or utopian ideas and models of society, but they were, in recent times and with the convergence of illegitimate but sometimes perennial tendencies of the proletarian movement, elevated to programmatic level in the Constitution of Carnaro by the supporters of d'Annunzio, to quote only one example among many, and this before Mussolini's Labour Charter (whose drafting surpasses at least, from the literary point of view, largely the grandiloquent articulations of the current post-fascist constitutional charter).
These modern-day statutes, based on the classification of citizens by social type, are wrongly traced completely back to the traditions of medieval corporatism with which they have nothing in common.
The guilds of the Middle Ages supervised craftsmen who all made their contribution, even material, to production - some the most experienced, the most intelligent or simply the oldest - as managers of small businesses, others as apprentices, helpers or assistants to the master. The life of the orders of nobility and clergy, which were not based on their contribution to economic life and productive activity but on birth and military or ecclesiastical rank, took place outside this framework. The church and the brotherhoods, as well as chivalry and aristocracy, were not parallel guilds and opposed to the guilds of craftsmen, they did not weigh their economic exploitation on the back of the artisanal class but mainly on that of the workers of the earth, serfs and deprived of even corporative right, deprived of "state". This medieval corporatism was thus uniclassist, not interclassist, insofar as the class of employers did not exist as a decisive element of the regime. One could call it monopolar corporatism, as opposed to bipolar corporatism which will gradually establish itself in the wage system.
The liberal bourgeois regime, and repeating it a thousand times is useful, negated and overcame under the pressure of the new bursting productive forces and the interests of the capitalists, every division of the social agglomeration not only into castes, but also according to different legal regulations. It proclaimed the same law for all, nobles or plebeians, clerics or laity, it built the figure, very fictitious, of the citizen as a social atom with an equal bond for all to the state bridge, and it masked under this series of mighty bullshit a new, worse, better producer of misery, class domination.
When the organisation of the economic interests of the newly exploited, the wage labourers, became unstoppable, the law, as we previously mentioned, had to admit the trade union principle, which extended to all categories and finally became a weapon of the capitalist groups themselves.
The very modern type of order that not only wants to recognise but also to introduce these associative bodies constitutionally into the State is an original product of the capitalist world and has nothing to do with a return to guilds.
This capitalist corporatism is bipolar, it sees two strata in front, two faces of the economy only possible in the modern world, the employers and the workers, the employed, those to whom nothing is given to possess beyond their ability to produce. It does not organise people as citizens classified by professional order or by social category and layer, but it organises interests that are no longer, in the bourgeois economy, those of individual natural persons but those of forces that tend to become anonymous.
The bourgeois "immortal principles" of 1789, although they are once again convinced of their philosophical emptiness, are not betrayed in what they had of substantially revolutionary and therefore anti-medieval in them at their proclamation: employer, worker, civil servant or a member of a liberal profession one becomes, one is not born, according to the codes.
If we did not believe in the trick of the democratic mechanism that the naive bourgeois would have given as a weapon to their subordinates - that is, the proletarian voters being much more numerous than the possessing voters, they only have to reach out to peacefully obtain power - one cannot all the less see where the defect lies in the totalitarian and corporatist one.
To put it simply, workers vote according to their number, or better still their union leaders vote for them, while employers vote according to "the volume of economic interests" they represent in their enterprises, namely according to the number of workers they have, and more so according to fixed capital besides the wage bill...
Yet all this has seduced many in the workers' camp, who have fallen into pitiful confusion with class trade unionism, with the various economistic constructions, and thus the lack of organisation and revolutionary struggle, such as the network of factory councils, up to the Soviets of the Russian October Revolution, forgetting that they were once again - here too, it's not the Middle Ages that reappear... by all the gods! - monopolar, namely that the company director represented absolutely nothing there since he was not counted either for the number of his employees, nor for the legal stupidity that he is alone.
All this seems so simple and clear and yet we see a great uproar for such representation of the interests of the category that all contemporary legislators are willing to admit.
The dissent between red and white corporatists in the drafting of this worsened and incorrect copy of the fascist Charter concerns secondary points, whether councilors should be appointed by the State among its civil servants, by the trade unions among their representatives, or else by yet another consultation and cretinisation "at the base" of the electoral bodies.
Instead, it is a substantial process of the mode of ordering of the capitalist regime, which with these forced frameworks tends to the suppression of the autonomous trade unions and the abolition of the strike, which the leftists, as veritable simpletons, want in the constitution that clear premise that is - see Mussolini - the prohibition of lockout.
The question of claims, in the context of constitutional laws for the economic organs of the state, applies to the question of the Supreme Constitutional Court - above that remains only the good god.
Here too vague demands that it be "democratically designated" without understanding that it is a matter of a magistracy and therefore of the most exquisitely conservative form that can be given, direct instrument of the ruling class, with the faculty of destroying even every expression of the "elective" bodies of the same combines of the various parties, as long as they exist. On our behalf...
The "battles" of the parties "of the working class" are all equal: whether they are fought with Terracini's refined distinction or with Di Vittorio's ambiguous triviality.
Battaglia comunista, n. 6, January 9th - Feburary 16th 1949.
Translation by Libri Incogniti