Anti-Austerity; It Begins with Refusal
By Hardt and Negri,Adbusters – We won’t pay your debt. We refuse to be evicted from our houses. We will not submit to austerity measures. Instead we want to appropriate your – or, really, our – wealth.
In certain periods, for instance when the crisis strikes with its hardest blows, and individuals are left to stand alone, the will to resist arises with extreme and desperate force. Where does it come from?
Many philosophers locate the origin of the will in lack, as if in order to want or act one must be focused on what is missing. But that’s not true. The will is born positively from the impulse to affirm a plenitude not a lack, the urge to develop a desire. The will not to pay debts means not only seeking what we don’t have, what has been lost, but also and more importantly affirming and developing what we desire, what is better and more beautiful: the sociality and the fullness of social relationships.
The refusal of debt, therefore, does not mean breaking social ties and legal relationships to create an empty, individualized, fragmented terrain. We flee those bonds and those debts in order to give new meaning to the terms bond and debt, and to discover new social relationships. Marx was being realistic when he spoke about money as the primary social connection in capitalist society. “The individual,” he wrote, “carries his social power, as well as his bond with society, in his pocket.” The refusal of debt aims to destroy the power of money and the bonds it creates and simultaneously to construct new bonds and new forms of debt. We become increasingly indebted to one another, linked not by financial bonds but by social bonds.
Make the Truth
When we refuse to be mediatized, we have not only to stop allowing ourselves to be fooled, believing everything we read in the papers, and simply digesting the truths we are fed, but also we need to break our attention away from the media. It sometimes seems that we are enthralled by video screens and can’t take our eyes off them. How often have you seen people walking (and even driving!) on city streets with their heads down while texting, bumping into each other as if hypnotized? Break the spell and discover a new way to communicate! It is not only or even primarily that we need different information or different technologies. Yes, we need to discover the truth, but also, and more important, we need to make new truths, which can be created only by singularities in networks communicating and being together.