The Age of Genocide II

Photo by Carmela Gross


Second part of an article on the situation and impacts of the coup that overthrew Chilean President Salvador Allende

[To read the first part of this article click here]

Crisis and dependency: an exemplary regime

Let us begin, then, with the context of the plot proposed by Pasolini: that of crisis and transition. The plot takes place precisely after the landing of Allied troops and the subsequent political dissolution (24.07.1943, Rome) of the national government of the fascist regime (1922-43). This was followed by the rescue, by Nazi commands, of Mussolini (1883-1945), whose arrest had been decreed by the new government, and the consecutive formation, soon after (23.09.1943) of the protectorate of Salò, self-titled Italian Social Republic and under guarding German troops.

So what does the plot of Salò… brings to light is the very process of forming a new puppet regime. That is to say, generated in a position of intrinsic dependence, whose dynamics will foster the constitution of a political consortium dedicated, nevertheless, to the implementation of a program of daring and innovative pedagogical experiments – an allegory, we will see how, of the process of “passive revolution” .

To immediately establish the links with the previous discussion, let's say that the scene of the crisis,[I] in which the transition of the twenty-one years of the monarchic-fascist regime took place, in Italy, to the Nazi protectorate of the Republic of Salò, installed as a fictitious secession in the northern region of the kingdom (with Rome under the control of the allied troops), alludes or is equivalent – ​​as a dramatic allegory conceived by Pasolini – to the changes resulting from terminal exhaustion, in the central economies,[ii] the cycle of economic expansion; cycle, this one, which would be posthumously dubbed in the media as the “Glorious Thirty” (a designation to which I will return).

Let us also say, to specify the transition in question, that the political-institutional crises (but with an economic background) that marked – unevenly, but combined – the end of the referred cycle (for example, that of 68 in France,[iii] in Mexico, the United States, etc., and, analogously, that in Chile in 1973, which gave rise to the coup), also signaled, in terms of the paradigms of the structural social order, the overcoming of a regulatory political framework.

In other words, Salò… It allegorically evokes the transition from one political regime to another and the subsequent immersion in a totalitarian political-economic cycle, or, perhaps, in “a new reason for the world”, as Dardot and Laval prefer to say.

However, contrary to the minimization by the latter of the founding and functional role of violence in the new order, the critical, radically pessimistic, disturbing and dystopian perspective developed by Pasolini in the film Saló…, shares certain structural features with that of the Bilbao editor. It can be translated synthetically by the hypothesis that the capitalist state apparatuses penetrated from 1968 onwards (and mainly from 1973, with the coup in Chile) into an openly criminal phase, in which no democratic pact or civilizational value was enough to stop their programs. of productive renewal and profitability of financial and patrimonial assets.

New reason, new methods, new pedagogy

This is the historic transition that Salò… prospect, and which must be discussed against the grain of the current view, according to which the cases of Santiago and Moncloa constitute antithetical alternatives. To do so, let us begin by returning to the historical context.

The French economist Jean Fourastié (1907-1990) named “The Glorious Thirty [Les Trentes Glorieuses]” to the construction of the mass consumption market in Western economies, in a book whose subtitle was “The Invisible Revolution from 1946 to 1975 [La Révolution Invisible from 1945 to 1975] ”[iv] However, simultaneously in other countries – and we know this very well in the Third World –, the expansion process was limited to a fleeting mockery of modernization, fictitious and truncated, even though the counterfeiters on duty, in the service of the dictatorships, insisted on refer to “miracles”, with different national epithets. In one way or another and here and there, such expansion, which trumpeted the myth of “full employment”, is already over for the economies of the West.

We are, in fact, entering a different era – that of the irreducibility of structural and permanent, if not increasing, unemployment, which translates into genocides or in total class wars – in which practices of segregation and extermination take on the forums of rationality and colonize all spheres of everyday life. Thus, even if modernization processes remain inherent to the automatic and global expansion of financialized markets, today – instead of claiming social integration – acts of modernization (based on actuarial reasoning) are formulated as “purifying” processes that proclaim to clean up and eliminate practices, categories and social groups considered archaic and inefficient.

Assimilation as genocide

Faced with the new picture given by systematic violence, let us start by revisiting the notion of genocide, invoked by Pasolini to designate the systematic extermination of social and anthropological forms.

At first, in his essay “The Genocide”, Pasolini claimed to refer to the Communist Manifesto – which, in fact and in a certain respect, with regard to the term “genocide” in particular, is perhaps not literally accurate. However, if the term is taken in the sense that Pasolini explicitly gave it, in the sense of “assimilation to the way and quality of life of the bourgeoisie” of “broad strata” (sub-proletarians and populations of colonial origin) “that had remained, for so to speak, out of history”,[v] it is possible to recognize that a good part of section I, “Bourgeois and proletarians”, of the Manifest… deal with this process of transformations on a vast scale.[vi] It may also be that, in addition to such historical phenomena, Pasolini had in mind Marx's texts on the civil war in France, which are practically contemporary with the The Manifest and that bring several mentions to the genocide of the insurgents of June 1848…

It doesn't matter. Philological precision here is beside the point and can be set aside. Indeed, more than the issue of establishing the origin of the term, what is required is to situate the meaning and meaning of the figure or key allegory of genocide – to which Pasolini returned several times, as we shall see.[vii]

late modernization

Anyway, from Manifest… Pasolini did extract the notion that the bourgeoisie and capital are reproduced through incessant revolutions. Let us incorporate the meaning into the discussion. It is likely that Pasolini wanted, through the argument, to escape the duality of the polar notions of “reactionary” and “progressive”, as well as the myth of progress and linear historicity – adopted not only by liberals, but also by social-democrats and Stalinists, to great harm to the working class.

It is known that Italy consisted, in turn, for Pasolini, in a nation, in many respects, of the Third World, engulfed in an accelerated and late modernization. Such perception was linked to others, gathered mainly in the form of notes and cinematographic fragments elaborated from Pasolini's trips to India (1969) and Africa (1970).[viii]

Diligently gathering observations of this process, Pasolini developed a fragmentary but systematic approach to the accelerated and delayed process through which peripheral economies and social formations come to be crushed and swallowed by the global system of commodity production.

bourgeois revolutions

What did Pasolini's warning about the “ongoing right-wing revolution” imply? Simply put, it was none other than this precisely, unless I made a major mistake, the ongoing “revolution of the right” to which Pasolini was referring: the accelerated and uneven unification of the world market, and the multiple consequences implied therein, reaching even extensive layers of the Italian population, the urban subproletariat (focused on Accatone [1961] and Mom Rome [1962]) to the population of rural regions. The assertion certainly implied one of the meanings of “revolution” present in the The Manifest, namely: the revolution in the modes of production, as a process inherent to the capitalist dynamics.

Such a proposition differed crucially from the current celebratory view of bourgeois revolutions as a stage of political progress for social and economic formations considered backward. According to Pasolini, when taken substantially as accelerated economic modernizations, bourgeois revolutions do not reach any democratizing form or mode. Rather, they lead precisely to fascist hybridizations, in the form of Bonapartism or Caesarism, which Pasolini seeks precisely to examine, in the case at hand, via the sinister parable or allegory of Salò… and yours passive revolution, verticalized and focused mainly on culture and customs.

Therefore, any effective approximation of the perspective in question, that of Pasolini, must pass, in one way or another, through the theme of passive revolution, posited by Gramsci, as the decisive prism or key critical construct for the analysis of dependent or late modernization. In other words, Pasolini's critique of what he called genocide, brought about by the economic expansion advocated by the PCI, was inseparable from such a notion. It is time, therefore, to specify its terms and to scrutinize Pasolini's use of such a construct.

behind closed doors

The concept of “passive revolution” arose from a critical study by Vincenzo Cuoco (1770-1823) on the reasons for the failure of the Neapolitan revolution of 1799. Schematically conceived by Neapolitan Jacobin intellectuals unable to gain peasant support for their project, the revolution in Naples ended up crushed when the peasants, instigated by the bishop, invaded the city.

Conversely, in France six years earlier, the uprising peasants of the Vendée, supporters of the throne and the Church, had failed to defeat the revolutionary Republic. In Cuoco's comparative examination of the two cases, the idea of ​​passive revolution emerged to designate a frustrated revolution due to the situation of intrinsic dependence (in the Neapolitan case, on Napoleonic troops and the support of the French Republic), and, more than anything, on the insufficiency congeniality of their social bases.

Later, however, in the intellectual circles of the Italian bourgeoisie, such a formula, although originally critical, ended up taking on the opposite connotation. passive revolution it then came to designate, in this new key, something desirable, of course, for a certain ruling social elite: a “revolution without revolution”, like a revolution without popular content, or limited (in terms of the scope of changes and time), in short, frozen. That is to say, essentially along the lines of that revolution that the Girondins sought to establish before the acclamation of the Republic by the Convention (21.09.1792), when they wanted to combine the constitutional state with the monarchical regime, in the light of the English solution after the two revolutions of the XNUMXth century.

In fact, the idea of ​​a revolution behind closed doors and managed by planners – or of an “invisible revolution”, to use the roughly analogous expression, forged a hundred years later by Fourastié –, in fact, constituted the model adopted by the leaders of the Italian unification, in the so-called Risorgimento, under the command of the Piedmontese bourgeoisie in alliance with the monarchical house of Savoy. Analogously, this was also the canon valued by the historicist philosophy of Benedetto Croce (1866-1952), a crucial intellectual reference, but political opponent and target of Gramsci's philosophical polemics.

Mdependent odernization

Gramsci, however, resumed, reworked and deepened Cuoco's original idea, opposing it to Croce's historicist and conservative idealism. Thus, at first, critically re-elaborated to reveal the conservative character of the Risorgimento, the dialectical notion of passive revolution came later to serve Gramsci's establishment of a structural parallel between the liberalism of the Risorgimento and the fascism of the twentieth century - whose character was not merely reactionary , but also innovative, came to light mediated by the notion.[ix]

Finally, detached by Gramsci from a specific historical context – and thus refined critically and conceptually, the notion of passive revolution came to serve, in the new critical key, to decode the specific nature of dependent modernization, that is, conducted from top to bottom and without any change in class, power, and property relations.[X]

In short, at the end of Gramsci's reworking, this concept became mainly a prism for the critical evaluation of conservative reforms that hit peripheral economies and societies, cyclically shaken and swept away by the economic impulses that come from central economies.[xi]

right wing revolution

As a concept and parameter referring to dependent modernization processes, how would the notion of passive revolution serve to specifically specify a “right-wing revolution”? Let us then return to the beginning of such a discussion, proposed by Pasolini. In the June 1973 article on the ongoing right-wing revolution, Pasolini begins with the statement: “In 1971-72, one of the most violent and perhaps most definitive periods of reaction in history began”.[xii]

Pasolini thus described such a revolution as the unfolding of a process of genocide,[xiii] on the march since 1961, that is, since the so-called “(Italian) economic miracle”, which, in turn, Pasolini equated to an internal colonial process.

As a result, two-thirds of the Italian population, who had been “out of history”, had in this course been drawn into the orbit of consumption. This brutal absorption presupposed “the destruction and substitution of values”, argued Pasolini in his text, already mentioned, “O genocide”.[xiv]

To conclude his arguments, Pasolini expressed in all letters what lay at the bottom of his judgment: “When I see around me that young people are losing the old popular values ​​and absorbing the new models imposed by capitalism, thus running the risk of a form of dehumanization, a form of atrocious aphasia, a brutal lack of critical capacity, a factious passivity, I remember that these were exactly the typical characteristics of the SS”.[xv]

Fascisms: the old and the new

This type of intersection in Pasolini's discourse, combining contemporary aspects (massive consumption) with images of “classic” Nazism (the blind obedience of the SS), reveals, it should be noted right away, a real difficulty: that of defining the new fascism.

Pasolini responded to this challenge by initially denying all similarity between the old and the new fascism. Thus, he frequently highlighted the former as “nationalist and clerical” – emphasizing, on the other hand, the absence of such aspects in the new fascism.

At the same time, before an incredulous public in the face of Pasolini's findings, the crossing, like a mounted short circuit, revealed a dialectical strategy to clarify the new danger. In Salò…, this problem of determination also appears and is maximized, in order to reach a formulation.

Indeed, the 1975 film contains a palimpsest in which narrative signs and references interact, from different sources and dates. Where, it is asked, are we led by the juxtaposition – or short circuit – of an eighteenth-century text (Sade's) with Mussolinian fascism – both equally permeated with post-68 allusions?

Simultaneously synthesis and apex of a critical system that focuses on the new fascism, the film Salò… assigns a central place to allusions to TV and youth as consumers of images. like the old ones Freikorps once (in post-1918 Germany),[xvi] television today, as Pasolini points out, prepares, in one way or another, fascism. Hence a sequence in the film, which serves as a corollary, in which both the characters and the contemporary audience of Saló… (film) “tele-see” the tortures (if I may use the neologism).

Therefore, the film requires – like any synthesis – a dialectical approach, as well as the precautions due to its multiple layers and temporalities.

The concept of passive revolution functions as the cornerstone of such a system. It is only on the basis of its signs and its logic that one can understand the rough and merciless accuracy of the narrative, capable of disgusting (with the icy description of horrible situations and details) and of disconcerting.

Late developments, its general law

The plot, as in the proof of a theorem, develops according to logical links and necessary steps. In this way, the fascist chapter appears not as an Italian singularity, but as part of a process unfolding according to a general law. Which one though?

In view of the accumulation of traces and evidence, it is concluded that the object of such a theorem could hardly be more general: it is the historical law of late development processes, conducted under passive revolutions in dependent economies – in which, before, in fact, other revolutions did not take place or failed. In this sense, Pasolini concludes with a dialectical and totalizing historical judgment, of national scope (but not only) and which assumes a diagnosis with an etiological basis:

“All Italians can, in fact, refer to each other as 'fascists', since in all Italians there are some elements of fascism (which, as we will see, are explained by a bourgeois revolution (…) previously frustrated)”.[xvii]

warlords and planners

(It is at issue, therefore, Italy's backwardness before other more industrialized nations, time and time again, implied or evoked in passing: France, Germany, the United States.) We must note that, in the lessons and scenes that they propose, the leaders of such revolutions (i.e. in Salò the four high planners) do no more than embody the examples and points of the Manifest… – and particularly that passage about revolutions of the productive forces and their profane consequences.

Although they are very well known, I ask permission to recall some of their phrases: “The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production and, in this way, the relations of production and, with them, all the relations of society. The preservation of the old modes of production in an unaltered form was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all the old industrial classes. The constant revolution of production, the uninterrupted disturbances of all social conditions, the permanent uncertainties and agitations distinguished the bourgeois epoch from all previous ones. All firm, solid relationships, with their series of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, were swept away, all new ones became antiquated before they could ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned (…)”.[xviii]

Anatomy and tasks of modernization

After all, from such dynamics – that of the capitalist regime – derive colonialism, slavery, in short, the exploitation of labor in various forms, and, in the case highlighted by Pasolini, the consumer society. In summary and in other words, the modernization of the productive system is finally engendered. From this process and for its development, the topics of the pedagogical efforts developed by the ladies instructors also come. These practice under the supervision and mentorship of the four planners, all supported by the Nazi troops who watch outside the walls so that the experiment takes place. The passive revolution on canvas is, therefore, carried out in the shadow of such an apparatus and conditioned by it.

Inside, we should notice two things right away: an, that the four members of the junta allegorically express the dominant forces of the Risorgimento – that is, the Piedmontese bourgeoisie, supported by the latifundio, and its associate, the royal house of Savoy –, both leading a bloc that also includes, in Saló…, associated representatives of the intelligentsia, the bureaucracy and the high clergy.

These were the forces, expressive of the dominant social groups, that imposed themselves on the popular, urban and rural sectors, led by Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882) and Giuseppe Mazzini (1805-1872), establishing, in the process and in the form of unification (of Italy), the paradigmatic molds of what would later be called by Gramsci passive revolution.

And two, the second aspect to note is that the four caudillos or master planners vertically and rigorously implement the tasks of modernization imposed on the dependent economies; tasks that include, for example, in illustrative example, in villa-Salò laboratory, the reuse of excrements, under strict accounting control by the so-called “president”, fulfilling the function of an expert chicago boy.

For those who learn to consume the sufferings of others, the supreme reward will be to accompany the master planners to the capital of the regime (the city of Salò), that is to say, according to Pasolini, to the consumer society.[xx] And so, in a scene in which routine TV viewing is invoked, the Duke gropes and gropes – like a private to scrutinize the point of his delicacy –, the degree of sexual arousal of a young guard (Umberto) and concludes: – “eri ready (Are you ready)!" [xx]

The pedagogy of the free market

The horror, both political and ethical, culminates in the sequence in which the accusations erupt, one by one. They begin with a free exchange proposal, presented by a young man with an angelic appearance, who approaches the Monsignor (one of the grand planners), holding him by the arm. The guri sounds like a street vendor in a metropolis where precariousness and unemployment shape work relations. The horror – aggravated by the childlike manner and angelic complexion of the young men and women who propose infamous exchanges, one after the other – comes from the obvious demonstration that the efforts of the formative pedagogy of modernization have been successful.

In the modernization process staged in Salò…, the project of the master-planners presupposes an agreement in which the daughters of each of the big four are offered as guarantee or surety. They are also exchanged among the junta members as slaves and merchandise.

potlatch or initial capital, gender patriarchy and despotism, original accumulation and property are therefore evoked to describe the bases of the contractual regime of the four. Trade will drive the consortium of planners.

In the transition from the economy of the gift to that of the market, a stage of the passive revolution is allegorized. Playing the world game of dispossession, trade and planning – now without any sacred precepts –, the infamous legislators, who play the leading role in the educational program in force in the republic of Saló, outline the paths of the free market.

The mortal sacrifice of Iphigenia – offered by her father to the deities of wind, weather and sea, according to the plot of the Athenian tragedy, Iphigenia (ca. 414 BC), by Euripides (ca. 480 BC – 406 BC) – was given in exchange for favorable conditions for the navigation of Agamemnon's fleet, which was to embark on its way to Troy. In turn, in villa located in Salò…, the conversion of their own daughters into objects of expenditure, investment or exchange, of economic relations, in short, brings the planners into the orbit of commerce and the free market. Such a farce is not only didactic, therefore, but very current.

The passive revolution seen from below

According to the dialectical perspective of the narrative, set up by Pasolini, let us now examine, from the opposite perspective (that is, from below), the demonstration of the pedagogical path towards the free market and consumption. In "Giovanni unhappy [Unhappy Young People]”, a posthumous text, written simultaneously with the preparation of Salò...[xxx] Pasolini explained the suffering of youth – as a victim or object of sacrifice, such is its role in the scenic progress of Salò – as a burden implied in a passive revolution: “One of the most mysterious themes of Greek tragic theater is that of the predestination of children to pay for the mistakes of their parents (…) It is the chorus, a democratic chorus, which claims to be the depository of this truth”.[xxiii]

Vicious circle

Pasolini thus posed the question of a collective historical bond. History weighs heavily, one is not immune to it. On the contrary, someone can be condemned in advance if (unknowingly and involuntarily) he repeats the mistakes of the preceding generation and follows – without breaking it – a causal chain of history…[xxiii]

I return to Pasolini's explanation in his own words: “(…) Children who do not free themselves from the mistakes of their parents are unhappy: no other mark of guilt is as decisive and unforgivable as unhappiness. It would be very easy and, in a political and historical sense, it would be immoral for children to be justified by the mistakes made by their parents, in what they retain as evil, repulsive, inhuman. Negative paternal inheritance could partially excuse them, but they themselves are responsible for what remains. There are no innocent children. Thyestes is guilty. But his children are too. And it's fair that they should be punished too, for that fraction of the crimes they didn't commit – because they didn't know how to get rid of those crimes”.[xxv]

The great condemnation to accelerated and late modernization

Again, let us ask ourselves: what is that chain of errors, whose historical origin appears with the Risorgimento – and of which the fascist pedagogy of consumption forms a link?

In the end, the preceding error, of having failed to make an effective revolution,[xxiv] will now be expiated by the condemnation of late modernization – that is, by the condemnation of complying with the stages of modernization. Which? These appear step by step in the narrative of Salò…, through the various infernal circles, marking stages of learning, equally evocative of the pedagogical and expiatory course of souls in A Divine Comedy (1320/1420), by Dante Alighieri (1265-1321).

Such is the theorem that Salò… demonstrates: preparation for the market. This goes through the willingness to consume and has permanent dependence and subjection as a corollary. Steps that constitute the crystallization of the formative process of the new fascism, in which distinction is rewarded by the possibility of accompanying and supporting the grand masters in the city of Salò, capital of the passive revolution regime.

Hence, during the demonstration, the display of emblems of modernity – starting with the aphasia of young people in the face of the colossal monopoly of discourse, an exclusive prerogative of master planners – by analogy with the imperial power of today's media conglomerates (1975). The parade brings other modern emblems, notably modernist art and architecture.

Modernist art, used as an alibi, constitutes the proper sign of extensive aestheticization, practiced in the pedagogical laboratory set up by the planners of Salò... Such art appears on the walls of villa, in the poetry recited by Ezra Pound (1885-1972) that arrives on the radio, in the modernist furniture of the environments, in short, within every environment proper to the passive revolution. Hence, the film's emphasis on showing the upper floor of the villa the private rooms of the grand planners, full of modernist signs (from the outset, it is left aside, in the perspective put by Saló..., any generic admiration or cult of modern art or modernism. Not without reason, because – unlike what happened in Nazism, which labeled modern art, as a whole, “degenerate art” – in Italy, large sectors of modern art and architecture allowed themselves to be embraced or embraced, like the futurists, the regime ).

From tragedy to farce

Pasolini strove for a dialectical construction. Therefore, opposing terms, such as grand planners and their young victims, or intervening planning and the passivity of high consumption, or even liberalism and totalitarianism (all of them, antithetical at first sight), all come to be explicitly stated. – as the plot develops dialectically – in a state of mutual determination in the face of its opposite.

At the same time, thirty-two years after the film Salò, the book by Naomi Klein, The Doctrine…, brought to light a global neoliberal conspiracy, through a narrative posed no longer, such as Saló…, as an allegory or parable, with an intricate and not immediate plot, but, in this case, put in clear and objective terms, as it usually happens in current investigative journalism.

In this sense, the schemes of the financial elites, revealed by Naomi Klein, are arranged after the theses and scenes referred to in Sade's text, such as the farce after the tragedy in Marx's famous formula, which opens the 18 Brumaire.

In fact, Sade's text, at the time, already constituted a didactic farce.[xxv] before the tragedy of colonization, slavery and dispossession, which could be detected as the parodic reverse of the Enlightenment, already at that time (1785), in full globalized expansion of the mercantile-colonial process.

Thus, Sade effectively anticipated some of Marx's steps – making advances to which Marx himself would somehow attest (so to speak) through frequent recourse, as a writer, to the terms of vampirism and the like, for metaphorical representations of capitalism.[xxviii]

Let us conclude, evoking Benjamin: arriving at a conception of history that corresponds to the “state of exception” in which we live, which, as we know, is not exceptional – but rather “the same thing as always, [but] (...) always worse” [Foucault dixit], to paraphrase the honoree of this colloquium –, this is, in one way or another, the necessary condition, although insufficient, to strengthen our position against fascism – be it the old or the new, it remains to be added.[xxviii]

another youth

I beg permission for one last consideration, now addressed especially to Chilean students: when Pasolini dealt with the phenomenon, today called by Dardot and Laval of “capitalist subjectivation”, he stated, as we have seen, about the Italian youth of his time, that they consisted of “ unhappy young people” – because they didn’t know how to “free themselves from the mistakes of their parents”.[xxix]

For my part, I think that a similar statement would not fit in relation to the combative legions of today's Chilean youth, who, through their struggle, imposed, in addition to the demand for a public, free and universal education, also the objective of the public and democratic refoundation of the Chilean State, thus facing the commitments of the concertation – conceived, as much as the negotiated program of the nefarious and conciliatory Brazilian transition (1984-85), based on the fallacy of the Moncloa pacts, taken as a model.

In homage to the intransigent and uncompromising willingness of a large portion of Chilean youth to fight, I want to leave you with something that is part of my job as a historian, that is: to synthesize yesterday's material with current struggles.

It is about remembering the words of a social fighter, whose memory and words I am very honored to be able to evoke here:

“Social processes cannot be stopped

neither with crime nor with force (…)

Much sooner rather than later, the great avenues will open again, through which the free man will pass”.[xxx]

*Luiz Renato Martins he is professor-advisor of PPG in Economic History (FFLCH-USP) and Visual Arts (ECA-USP); and author, among other books, of The Long Roots of Formalism in Brazil (Haymarket/ HMBS).

To read the first part of the article click on



Pier Paolo PASOLINI, Salò at 120 Giornate di Sodoma, 35 mm, 117 minutes, color, vo, in Italian, Italy and France, 1975; DVD version consulted: ditto, British Film Institute copy, ;

________________, Script Corsari, Milano, Garzanti, 1975; ed. Brazilian: Corsair Writings, trans. Maria Betânia Amoroso, São Paulo, Ed. 34, 2020;

________________, Lettres Luthériennes/ Petit Traité Pédagogique (Lutheran Letter, Torino, Einaudi, 1976), trans. Anne Rocchi Pullberg, Paris, Seuil, 2000;

AF de SADE, Les 120 Journées de Sodome ou l'École du Libertinage, preface by Annie Le Brun, Le Tripode/ Méteores, 2014.

I thank the deferences of all the organizers of the event, in the persons of prof. Esteban Radiszcz (Dept. of Psychology/ Faculty of Social Sciences) and Margarita Iglesias Saldaña (Michel Foucault Chair). Thanks also to prof. Gabriela Pinilla (Univ. District Francisco Caldas, Bogotá) for translating the text into Spanish, and for collaborating with the collection of images and historical documents by: Natalie Roth, Rafael Padial and Gustavo Motta (whom I also thank for reviewing and updating bibliography)



[I] As for the consequences of the ongoing economic crisis at the time of the Salò…, Gunder Frank presented at the aforementioned 1975 conference an analysis contemporary with that of Pasolini, in which he anticipated the changes that the crisis would bring, causing the transition to a model of dystopian capitalism: “I suspect that the next watchword will be the of 'national unity' governments, in an attempt to politically dominate the economic crisis. And I think these national unity governments will be destined to prepare the ground for a '1984'. In some places, perhaps, it will be impossible to establish a government of national unity and there may simply be a military coup that will impose a '1984' directly, without going through a long and extensive process. In England, this perspective is already being discussed, including in the press. That is to say, we will have an increasingly acute class struggle, around the issue of reorganizing the economy and society, in the face of the economic crisis. As I said before, one of the main ways to try to overcome this crisis is through the introduction of new technologies, but only when the right time comes, when the economy has been reorganized, and the rate of profit rises again, it is that it can be done. Then this new technology will be introduced…” It is worth noting that Gundar Frank used, in the absence of the currently current designation of “neoliberalism”, the Orwellian metaphor of “1984”, to allegorize the features of the new capitalist cycle, at that time still in the process of implantation in the ill-fated living laboratory of Santiago and on which AGF would write, in the following months, the two open letters mentioned above (see note 21 above). Cf. AG FRANK, “Economic crisis…”, op. cit., p. 55.

[ii] In 1975, the crisis of capitalism had become an explicit subject in the headlines of newspapers around the world. In order to directly discuss the crisis, the national representatives of the main industrialized economies met between November 15 and 17.11.1975, XNUMX, in Rambouillet, near Paris, at the invitation of the President of France. As a result of the success of the meeting, the meetings became annual.

[iii] The economic expansion (already permeated by the crisis) of the so-called “Pompidou years” (1969-74), which followed the De Gaulle decade (1958-69), corresponded in France to the last grimace of the previous expansion model. But even so, 1968 ceased to serve as a harbinger and sign of the political and economic limits of the bloodless model.

[iv] See J. FOURASTIE, Les Trente Glorieuses ou la Révolution Invisible de 1946 à 1975, Paris, Fayard/Pluriel, 1979.

[v] Cf. PP PASOLINI, « Il genocide », on. cit., pp. 281-2; ditto, "The Genocide", op. cit., p. 263-4.

[vi] Pasolini alluded in passing and generically to the Manifest... The mention occurred during an oral intervention, at the party of the newspaper l'Unit, and was transcribed by the journal Rebirth, from the PCI. The magazine published the text, under the title “Il genocide”, in the 27.09.1974 edition. It is possible that the transcription was approximate, inaccurate and inaccurate, leaving out specifications and other explanations. The book of journalistic interventions, Script Corsari, in which the text was republished, was released a few weeks after Pasolini's assassination (02.11.1975), therefore probably without the author's revision. See PP PASOLINI, « Il genocide », on. cit., pp. 281-7; ditto, "The Genocide", op. cit., p. 263-8.

[vii] Another relevant intervention in this regard was the article “Il mio Beggar in Tv dopo il genocide”, Corriere della Sera, 8.10.1975. See PP PASOLINI, “Mon Accatone à la télévision après le genocide [My Accatone on TV after the genocide]”, en idem, Letters …, op. cit., pp. 179-87.

[viii] See PP PASOLINI, Appunti per un Film sull'India [Notes for a Film about India], Italia, Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI), 1968, 25”; idem, Appunti per un'Orestiade Africana [Notes for an African Orestiade], Italia, IDI Cinematografia/ I Film Dell'Orso/ RAI Radiotelevisione Italiana, 1970, 65'; idem, Carnet de notes pour une Orestie Africaine (en complément: Notes pour un film sur l'Inde), DVD et livre (nouveau master restauré, vo/ sous-titres français), Paris/ Bologna, Carlotta-Films/ Cineteca Bologna, April 2009, 71'.

[ix] “Wouldn't fascism be precisely the form of 'passive revolution' proper to the 236th century, as liberalism was that of the XNUMXth century?” Cf. Antonio GRAMSCI, §<XNUMX>, “Points pour un essei sur Croce [Points for an essay on Gramsci]”, in Antonio GRAMSCI, Prison Cahiers. Cahiers 6, 7, 8 and 9, av.-propos, notices et notes de Robert Paris, trans. Monique Aymard et Paolo Fulchignoni, Paris, Éditions Gallimard, 1983, p. 397. For other notes by Gramsci on Cuoco's concept, see also §<25>, “Risorgimento”, and §<240>, “Points pour un essei sur Croce. Histoire éthico-politique or histoire speculative? [Points for an essay on Gramsci. Ethical-political history or speculative history?]”, in idem, respectively, p. 273 and p. 399. For an expanded and updated discussion of the notion, see also Alvaro BIANCHI, “Passive revolution: past tense of the future”, in Marxist Criticism, no. 23, Campinas, 2006, pp. 34-57; and see also Neil DAVIDSON, “Scotland: Birthplace of Passive Revolution?”, in idem, We Cannot Escape History: States and Revolutions, Chicago, Haymarket Books, 2015, pp. 85-102.

[X] Peter Thomas thus summarized the result of the critical transformation operated by Gramsci: “… passive revolution, as a concept, no longer refers primarily to a recognizable and particular event. Rather, in this final usage, passive revolution took on a more general meaning, as a logic of a certain type of modernization. In a certain sense, the concept has become almost synonymous with modernity, which is now seen as a melancholy fiction in which the mass of humanity is reduced to mere spectators of history…” Cf. Peter THOMAS, “Modernity as 'passive revolution': Gramsci and the Fundamental Concepts of Historical Materialism,” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association/ Revue de la Société historique du Canada, vol 17, nº 2, 2006, pp. 61-78; the version on line can be found at Scholar, url:>, accessed on 22.01.2019, DOI: 10.7202/016590ar.

[xi] Regarding the interrelation, in Gramsci's notebooks, between the concepts of "hegemony" and "passive revolution" - the latter operating, for Gramsci, as the opposite of the construction of the apparatus of "proletarian hegemony", and this, in turn, as a concept in convergence with that of “permanent revolution” – see idem, “Hegemony, passive revolution and the modern Prince”, Thesis Eleven, url:>, accessed on 22.01.2019, DOI: 10.1177/0725513613493991. On proletarian protagonism as the main vector of the theory of “permanent revolution”, see León TROTSKY, The Permanent Revolution, Mexico, Thomas Guinta/Trotsky Memorial Trust and Fundación Federico Engels Mexico, 2006; see also Michael LÖWY, The Politics of Combined and Uneven Development: The Theory of Permanent Revolution, Chicago, Haymarket Books, 2010. Finally, in the new critical register, the concept of passive revolution can be seen in parallel with the notions of “Bonapartism” (Marx and Trotsky) and of “Caesarism” (Gramsci). In this way, the notion of passive revolution can be coupled, as the negative correlate of the notion of “permanent revolution”, by Trotsky (1879-1940), as a tool of meaning at the same time opposite and complementary to the latter. By the way, this is precisely the core of the interpretative proposal of the book by Peter Thomas, Revolutions, Passive and Permanent, now in the process of being translated, to be released in 2022 by the Ideias Baratas collection, by Sundermann (São Paulo).

[xii] Cf. PP PASOLINI, “La prima…”, on. cit., P. 24; ditto, “The first…”, on. cit., P. 47.

[xiii] See idem, “Il genocide”, on. cit., pp. 281-2; ditto, "The Genocide", op. cit., p. 263-4.

[xiv] “…I consider that the destruction and replacement of values ​​in Italian society today leads, even without mass murders and shootings, to the suppression of large swathes of society”. Cf. ditto, “Il genocide”, on. cit., P. 281; ditto, "The Genocide", op. cit., pp. 263.

[xv] Cf. ditto, “Il genocide”, on. cit., P. 287; ditto, "The Genocide", op. cit., P. 268.

[xvi] About the history, since 1919, of the Freikorps in Germany and its active collaboration with student youth, for the emergence of a movement (with a racist and nationalist nature) called itself volkisch, see Arthur ROSENBERG, “Fascism as a mass movement”, translated by Jairus Banaji, in Historical Materialism/ Research in Critical Marxist Theory, 20.1, pp.144-89,>, accessed on 22.01.2019, Leiden (Netherlands), Brill, 2012, pp. 175-9. Rosenberg situates the appearance of commands (Freikorps) as the first sign of “a complete disintegration of the normal power of the State” (p. 153). Partly based on Trotsky's vivid descriptions (in the style of 18 B…), Rosemberg's analysis aims to establish the historical forms proper to the expansion of fascism. Thus, he observes the process from the germ, taking the example of the pogroms, mounted by the Black Centuries in Tsarist Russia (1905), until its full outbreak as a massive and electoral phenomenon, in the cases of Italy and Germany, see Idem, pp. 153-6, and 164.

[xvii] Cf. PP PASOLINI, «Chapitre deux: Comment tu dois m'imaginer [Chapter two : How you must imagine me]», in idem, Letters…, op. cit., p. 26.

[xviii] Cf. Karl MARX and Friedrich ENGELS, The Communist Manifesto, trans. Maria Lucia Como, André Carone review, Rio de Janeiro, Paz e Terra, 1998, pp. 13-4; Karl Marx and Frederick ENGELS, The Communist Manifesto, edited by Phil Gasper, Chicago, Haymarket, 2005, p. 44.

[xx] For those who resist, the solution given is programmed extermination – as Pasolini anticipated a few hours before he was assassinated – when he suggested as the title of his final interview: “We are all in danger”. Cf. Furio COLOMBO, “Nous sommes tous en danger” (The last interview by Pasolini), in F. COLOMBO & Gian Carlo FERRETTI, L'Ultima Intervista by Pasolini, trans. Hélène Frappat, Paris, Allia, 2010, p. 23.

[xx] It is not by chance that the young guard bears the name of the last king of Italy (May-June 1946), Umberto II (1904-1983), of Savoy, educated under fascism and who, under Mussolini, rose to the generalate.

[xxx] See PP PASOLINI, « La jeunesse malheureuse », in idem, Letters…, on. cit. pp. 7-17.

[xxiii] See Idem, P. 9

[xxiii] VIEW Idem, P. 15.

[xxv] See Same, ib..

[xxiv] Pasolini's diagnosis, which is based on the Gramscian notion of passive revolution, has a parallel with Trotsky’s judgment on the situation in France in 1935: “A revolutionary situation is formed by the reciprocal action of objective and subjective factors. If the party of the proletariat proves incapable of analyzing the trends of the pre-revolutionary situation in time, and of actively intervening in its development, a counter-revolutionary situation will inevitably arise instead of a revolutionary situation.” Cf. Léon TROTSKY, “Encore une fois, où va la France? (mars 1935) », in idem Writings, volume II, p. 51, apoud H. WEBER, op. cit., p. 15; text “Encore une fois…” available at:>, accessed on 22.01.2019.

[xxv] Thus begins Sade's text: "The considerable wars that Louis XIV had to wage during the course of his reign, exhausting the finances of the State and the faculties of the people, nevertheless allowed the enrichment of an enormous number of these leeches, always lurking of public calamities, which they give rise to instead of alleviating, and that to have the possibility of extracting profits, with more advantages.» Cf. DAF of SADE, Les 120 Journées…, op. cit., p. 13. That is, as Pasolini pointedly noted, any resemblance to the present not mere coincidence, but rather the result of Sade's perspicacity.

[xxviii] See by the way, David McNALLY, Monsters of the Market. Zombies, Vampires and Global Capitalism, Chicago (IL), Haymarket Books, 2012.

[xxviii] See Walter BENJAMIN, “Thesis VIII”, in Michael Löwy, Walter Benjamin: Fire Warning, trans. Wanda NC Brandt, trans. from theses Jeanne Marie Gagnebin and Marcos Lutz Müller, São Paulo, Boitempo, 2005, p. 83.

[xxix] Cf. PP PASOLINI, “La jeunesse… », on. cit., P. 15.

[xxx] Cf. Salvador ALLENDE, “Alocuciones radiales del 11 de Septiembre de 1973” [Radio speeches of September 11, 1973]. The first ones issued by Radio Corporación; the last one, by Radio Magallanes/ 9:10 am, in idem, Open the Great Alamedas / Speeches, Santiago de Chile, Libros del Ciudadano, 2013, pp. 73-5.

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