Franco “Bifo” Berardi, founder of the famous Radio Alice in 1976 and one of the most prominent members of Autonomia, is a theorist and media activist. His recent books in English include The Soul at Work: From Alienation to Autonomy; The Uprising: On Poetry and Finance; and After the Future.
From the explosion in border walls to the rise of Donald Trump to the books that they've read along the way, Verso authors reflect on one of the most shocking years in recent history in this 2016 review.
With contributions from: Franco Bifo Berardi, Christine Delphy, Keller Easterling, Nick Estes, Liz Fekete, Amber A'Lee Frost, Andrea Gibbons, Owen Hatherley, Eric Hazan, Helen Hester, Karen L. Ishizuka, Reece Jones, Costas Lapavitsas, Andreas Malm, Geoff Mann, Jane McAlevey, Ed Morales, David Roediger Nick Srnicek and Wolfgang Streeck.
Ninety-nine years after the Soviet Revolution the stage is set for precipitation into global civil war. While the financial class exacerbates its agenda fuelling unemployment and social devastation, the dynamics that led to Nazism are deploying worldwide. Nationalists are repeating what Hitler said to the impoverished workers of Germany: rather than as defeated workers, think of yourself as white warriors so you’ll win. They did not win, but they destroyed Europe. They will not win this time neither, but they are poised to destroy the world.
After two centuries of colonial violence, we are now facing the final showdown. As worker’s internationalism has been destroyed by capital globalisation, a planetary bloodbath is getting almost unavoidable.
After centuries of colonial domination and violence, the dominators of the world are now facing a final showdown: the dispossessed of the world are reclaiming a moral and economic reward that the West is unwilling and unable to pay. The concrete historical debt towards those people that we have exploited cannot be paid because we are forced to pay the abstract financial debt.
The year now coming to an end has abounded with bad news on the political front. After a foul and very long debate on how we could ‘strip’ French citizens of their nationality – ultimately reaching the conclusion that this was impossible with regard to both French laws and international conventions – the government abandoned the bill. Immediately after that, a fresh bill was presented to ‘reform’ the labour code, largely getting rid of the majority of the guarantees enjoyed by workers. There was a mass mobilisation against this plan, lasting across the whole spring and part of summer. It opposed demonstrators in all France’s towns and cities to a police which, as the prime minister Manuel Valls put it, ‘had not been given any orders to show restraint’.
The systematic rejection of migrants at the borders of Europe is not a mere manifestation of brutality, it is symptomatic for the transformation of the Union into a racist fortress: a wave of nationalism and hatred is mounting among the European population.
The Archipelago of Infamy is spreading all around the Mediterranean Sea.
Europeans are building concentration camps on their own territory, and pay their Gauleiters in Turkey, Libya and Egypt to do the dirty job on the Mediterranean shores, where salty sea water has replaced Zyklon B. This is laying the foundation for a racist civil war in the entire Euro-mediterranean area, unless we stop this barbarity.
After the Summer of the Greek humiliation, came the Autumn of rejected migration, then the Winter of European disintegration, before at last the Spring of Donald Trump.