The Democratic Party has removed the end of an era. I hope in Majorino. And in the Third Pole

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The Democratic Party on Prof. Recalcati’s couch: Full-blown removal, does not want to acknowledge the end of an era

Massimo Recalcati doesn’t need many introductions. Psychoanalyst of the Lacanian school, he is also well known as an essayist, television presenter and playwright. Furthermore, his clear positioning in politics has also been discussed for some time. Close to the Democratic Party, in 2017 he promoted the birth of the party school named after Pier Paolo Pasolini and yesterday (January 24) he wrote an article entitled “Exam of electoral conscience” in “Republic”: a heartfelt endorsement for Pierfrancesco Majorino and, at the same time, a series of very clear-cut considerations on the almost existential crisis of the Democratic Party.

In his article he speaks of the Democratic Party as a “patient in a post-traumatic condition: he repeats without respite exactly what shattered him. He happens clinically in subjects who have suffered trauma: instead of changing, separating themselves from what made them ill, they repeat the same script incessantly ”. Should we therefore think that the solution to the problems of the Democratic Party is to be found in the clinic?

“No, the solution can only be political. The clinical figure of the post-traumatic patient who tends to constantly repeat the horror of the trauma suffered was a metaphor for framing the current condition of the Democratic Party: instead of introducing a discontinuity with the past, the party continues to inexorably repeat the same mistakes. It’s a push stronger than him. Freud would define it as a real compulsion to repeat: feuds, currents, nominalist battles, formalisms, occupation of positions of power, calculations, tactics without long thoughts, conflicts and personal recriminations… Instead, a real cut, an invention would be needed , a strong, unequivocal, poetic and revolutionary gesture at the same time, of discontinuity….”

We have repeatedly written that, after the electoral collapse of September 25, the Democratic Party instead of reacting adopted thanatosis, pretending to be dead like opossums. How do you explain this attitude?

“A full blown takedown. We do not want to take radical note of the end of an era. Repression in psychoanalysis means not wanting to know about it, refusing to take note of a painful reality. The leadership of the party defeated in the elections should have resigned the following day. Even the constant references to Renzism as a scourge that has poisoned the party by distorting it appear highly symptomatic to me. Renzi was, albeit for a short time, a strong wind in a field of the dead. His season could really mark a reformist turning point in our country. It was a great missed opportunity for the entire center left. In this outcome Renzi himself certainly has great personal-characteristic and political responsibilities. Those policies are not reduced only to the referendum but, for example, have profoundly affected the world of education. There a historical bond was broken and the center left lost an important part of its people that was and must be recovered. More generally, I also believe that an effective generational change has been lacking which is not only a change of faces and names, but should also be of lexicon, vision, practices, party organization…. We are now in a swamp. No wind blows anymore. This is why I look with hope at what is happening in Lombardy with Majorino and also at the third pole… They are certainly politically different dynamics but at least they are dynamics! Stones in the pond, openings, collective movements… The fact that in Lombardy it has not been possible to agree on a unitary candidacy between the PD and the third pole was yet another symptom of the difficulty of giving life to a movement when everyone claims to own it… It is an old knot of politics. We should always remember that true paternity is not identified with property but with a deed of donation….I dream of a radically reformist center-left that includes the Third Pole and a new Democratic Party, but which is also open to the progressive forces that move in civil society…”.

You explained very effectively why you will give your vote to Majorino: do you believe that in the event of victory in Lombardy, the Democratic Party can also relaunch itself at a national level or are they two different stories?

“It would be just a breath of fresh air at the bedside of a dying person. It takes a collective effort of invention, poetry, regeneration. Majorino’s political laboratory cannot be reduced to the confines of a party. It is, I hope, a larger undertaking. More than reviving a party in crisis or in a coma, it should be the opening of a new political season.The sterile logic of alliances must give way to the force of aggregation of a movement that is structured from below, plural, pragmatic, non-ideological. A new leadership should be able to facilitate this aggregation and not to govern it from above. What I read as a boy in a newspaper of the extra-parliamentary left applies, if you like, in its broadest meaning: it is not the organization that generates the revolution, but it is the revolution that generates the organization. It was Majorino’s singular movement that created a field that did not exist before or existed only in electoral and reductively partisan terms”.

You wrote that the discussion on the future of the Democratic Party “takes on increasingly farcical tones, revealing a profound unease”. Which of the four motions do you think is most suitable for relaunching the party?

“Frankly, the more I listen to the candidates, who all have my personal esteem, the more I fail to notice substantial differences between them. Neither between them, nor between them and, moreover, Letta’s program. I think this is a big problem.”

Already ten years ago, in “Homeland without fathers – Psychopathology of Italian politics”, you highlighted how right-wing politics responds to profound needs such as fear, sometimes resulting in racism and xenophobia. How should the left, often accused of being too rational and not knowing how to speak “to the belly” of the people, behave?

“’Lost souls seek a sovereign and the sovereign seeks lost souls, wrote Spinoza’. In moments of loss, the master holding a stick can be a dangerous temptation. But fear is not just a phenomenon that arises from illiteracy or political barbarism. It is also a real condition of life for many, especially those who live in precarious conditions and on the outskirts of big cities. We know it well. I also think of Milan. There are slices of city where the state is absent. A sense of security does not mean militarization, but making people feel that the state is always present especially for the weakest. I dream, for example, of cities that have more centers and fewer suburbs. But also a society where merit matters more than blood. A reformist centre-left should above all restore value to the instance of singular and collective desire as the heart of every political action. This means reviving the new generations by removing them from the easy illusions of populism. It means investing in culture, in the formation of the new ruling classes of the party, in the beauty and nobility of political action. But this also means recovering from the left the value of words such as those of merit and security… Merit is not a meme of solidarity, just as security is not the enemy of hospitality”.

The candidates for the Pd secretariat, from left: Bonaccini, De Micheli, Cuperlo and Schlein

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