goodbye postmodernism

Michelangelo Pistoletto, Architecture of the Mirror, 1990


Presentation of the newly released book by Stefano G. Azzarà

Stefano G. Azzarà is certainly one of the most important critics of postmodern culture in the country of Gramsci, an angle through which he has examined with special astuteness the detours that the Italian left (and even that of Europe and the West) has been following since at least the fall of the Berlin Wall. However, this is the first time that the theme is covered by his title, as it now appears in this collection of essays, which is also done as a tribute to the great Italian philosopher Domenico Losurdo, with whom the author collaborated at the University of Urbino and in the International Hegel-Marx Society for Dialectical Thought.

It was Domenico Losurdo, in a 2015 seminar held in the city of Naples ‒ the philosophical capital of Europe, seat of the important Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosifici ‒ dedicated to discussing the book Democrazia Cercasi (Democracy Wanted) of the same Azzarà[1], who proposed that the work be entitled goodbye postmodernism[2]. In Losurdo's argument, the reader will be able to see in the concise but penetrating text that introduces this volume, the many farewells that the transformist political culture intended to give to Marxism since the events that ended the Cold War, all of which deserve a response at the height of the critical energy present in the author's book.

And it is about this book that the first chapter of this work, entitled “For a political-philosophical critique of postmodernism”.. It is organized around the discussion of the category of modern democracy, whose crisis postmodernism is a cultural expression. It is not, however, a mere fetishist notion of democracy, democracy as such, but its very historical character, the expression of a regime that, in this condition, is born, develops and dies, although its failure does not exactly mean the advent of democracy. dictatorship, emerging from it what perhaps we could call post-democratic composite forms, such as an authoritarian democracy. It is the framework of Italian Berlusconism, points out the author, defining it as a new-style Bonapartism, adapted to current conditions, that is, the society of the spectacle.

But what did this fading modern democracy consist of? Universal suffrage and formal rights, no doubt, but above all economic and social rights ‒ capable of overcoming the three great discriminations, as Domenico Losurdo said, of class, race and gender[3] ‒, as well as the active participation of social interests, able to self-organize and be represented in the form of trade unions, political parties and parliament. The progress of the post-Second World War, stimulated by the struggles led by the party of Gramsci and Togliatti in the wake of the October Revolution and still as a result of the victory over Nazi-fascism, appear as the high point of this regime, but the Hegelian way of treating the story that the author uses - which Lenin said was “much excellent”[4] ‒, invites us to conclude that this was a construction that dates back to the post-1850s.

It is the time of the formation of the last European national States which, even within unequal and combined processes and thus permeated by the most dramatic struggles, ended up responding to the explosion of the 1789 Revolution – already recalled Gramsci’s critique of Benedetto Croce’s historicism , which “dispenses with the moment of struggle”[5] − through the progressive introduction, stretched over time, of reforming processes that allowed for the dissemination of school systems, health, pensions, the national employment contract and the right to vote.

It is this same Hegelian key, or more precisely, the Marxism that sees itself being escorted by Hegel ‒ an author who has nothing to do with a supposed “conscientialism”, reminds Losurdo in the introduction, warning against a grotesque reading of the German philosopher ‒, which post -modernism intends to leave behind. The latter presents itself, of course, as an expression of the crisis of the Fordist paradigm, which in the wake of major technological mutations sees the factory decompose and undergoes a brutal regression in the form of labor relations, but it also reflects the great turn in world geopolitics which ended the Cold War, giving way to US planetary imperialism.

And this is how, on the philosophical-cultural level, new, hyper-individualistic and hyper-competitive forms of consciousness emerge, replacing the cooperative-solidarity forms, a hallmark of trade unionism and of the great mass parties, also the mainstay of the strongly modern idea of possibility of finding meaning in the historical process and even of leading it from human reason. Incarnated in Italy by the “weak thought” of which Gianni Vattimo speaks[6], it is about that “cultural change” or “sensibility” dear to “authors like Foucault and Lyotard”, the same ones who, emphasizing the “infinitesimal mechanisms” of power and the “language games”, anointed themselves in the unrestricted “ acceptance of the ephemeral, the fragmentary, the discontinuous and the chaotic”[7].

And there is complete relativism, replacing the notion of historically structured totality and the dialectical oppositions of Hegel and Marx that are inherent to it, and thus also the “faith in the general progress that animates the laws of history”, as was dear to the early XNUMXth century Marxism[8]. The same relativism that underlies the neoliberal degeneration of modern democracy, now reduced to doxa television and, more recently, social networks.

The second chapter, “Restoration and postmodern passive revolution in the neoliberal cycle: an intellectual mass transformism”, already published in Brazil as part of the celebrations for the magazine's 25th anniversary Marxist criticism, investigates these historical transformations from a Gramscian perspective that also has a strong Hegelian accent. It is remarkable, for example, the observation, taken from notebook 13, that “in the historical movement one never goes back”, or at least there is no “restoration in whole"[9], a passage with which Azzarà is associated with the research of the German philosopher Jan Rehmann on the “nietzscheani di sinistra”, to frame the critique of postmodernism in the key of a passive revolution, with the “particularity of immediately deriving from the culture of 'gauchismo''', but as lacking in a “unitary popular initiative” as those to which Gramsci referred[10].

After all, this is not exactly a response from capital, but one that is articulated with it from an internal movement, since the transformism that marks the current restorative phase is already inscribed and prefigured in the exasperated individualism of the new Nietzscheans. However, behold, it is precisely by this criterion of interpretation − able to understand the progressive elements of the passive revolution without it being necessary to exalt it “lyrically”, as Gramsci warned[11] −, which avoids the reductionism of marking the struggles conducted by this field as simply reactionary.

The third chapter, "Despite Laclau: populism and hegemony in the crisis of modern democracy”, is perhaps the most innovative for the Brazilian reader. At least if one thinks that works in the field of study under examination have been under debate in Europe for some years now, and that have only recently been published among us. we are talking about The Populist Reasonby Ernesto Laclau[12], e Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, from Laclau and Chantaul Mouffe[13]. Once integrating the “intellectual perspective” that asks the “set of questions related to the theme of postmodernity”[14], the scrutiny to which Azzarà subjects the formulations of these authors could not be less forceful. Starting with the “problematic” use of Gramsci and the bias employed in the concept of hegemony, reworked with a view to distancing itself from Lenin and Marxism, that is to say, from the “classist conception” of society, aiming to adapt it to the “demands of postmodern”[15].

It's not about doing tabula rasa of the arguably somewhat uninformed argument that "Leninism was an alarming impoverishment of the field of Marxist diversity"[16], and thus shrug off the entire set of struggles now in evidence - the struggle against racism, the feminist struggle, the ecological and pacifist struggle, among others. Rather, it is a matter of addressing him with a critique that, taking Losurdo's developments around the theory of class struggle as a starting point ‒ a “general theory of social conflict”[17] ‒, calls into question the operation of “deconstruction” that resulted in shifting Marxism to the polysemic terrain of postmodernism, when one should have proceeded exactly the opposite way.

At the heart of this operation, the Heideggerian affiliation of Laclau and Mouffe's formulations, notably the denunciation of Vorhandenheit[18] and the distinction between being and being. It is through it that the authors organize the “transition from Marxism to post-Marxism”, a change that “is not only” of “ontic content”, but “also ontological”, that is to say, of “a new ontological paradigm”, since that the “problems of a globalized society governed by information” – insist Lacalu and Mouffe – “are unthinkable within the two paradigms” that govern the field of historical materialism, “the Hegelian, and later, the naturalistic”[19].

Let us dwell on this point for a moment. For Heidegger, “knowledge of thing does not present itself as vision or correctness of vision”, as it emerges from “'Western metaphysics' since Plato”, whose theory is the prelude to “the world becomes an image” and thus also “man into a constituent and productive subject ”[20]. This metaphysics “is in reality a physics, a wandering between beings”, which forgets “being and truth, which is not exactness of representing, calculation and mastery of beings”, but “unveiling (a-letheia)”, and thus “opening oneself through language”, the “house of being”[21]. And therein lies Heidegger's philosophical program, organized around the “weakening of the essence of technical and metaphysical thought”, and the “activation of a 'nostalgic thought', philosophical-poetic, which involves the search for a supplement of meaning in the density of language”, as well as the search for the “plurality of meanings” of “things”[22], precisely the tour de force of postmodern thought.

This is the path through which Laclau launches himself against “the discourse of political philosophy” that since Plato ‒ “the first to institute it” ‒ questions populism in the “well-delineated molds of a rational community”[23]. This is how, points out Azzarà's critique, having already diluted the category of mode of production and dispensed with the idea of ​​"objective interest", but also without understanding and at the same time simplifying Hegel's dialectic, Laclau launches himself in search of a theory of hegemony founded on the populismità, strictly speaking a return to the fundamentals - this one indeed - still "naturalistic" of the popular community, understood as sharing roots and traditions.

A reading that does not go beyond the “natural and immediate fact of the people”, says Losurdo's criticism of the populist left[24] − not very different from the one that, still in the seventies, and seeking the historical-materialist bases of a (critical) science of space, launched Milton Santos to cultural geography of French and North American extraction, which, attached to the “optics of a technique linked to culture and not to the mode of production”, reached the point of “completely falsifying the debate” “about underdevelopment”[25]

And this is how one can understand Azzarà's warning according to which Laclau ends up reaffirming the liberal philosophy of history, since he is very severe in the face of the experiences of real socialism, but very little critical in the face of the genocidal and colonial character of liberalism. One example among many of the application of the category of totalitarianism to “real socialism”, of which not by chance Heidegger was one of the first formulators, is demonstrated by Azzarà in an article on the historical anti-Semitism of the author of Being and Time, confirmed by the recent publication of the Schwarze Hefte (Black Notebooks) ‒ an anti-Semitism that is not exactly biological, as in the vulgate of Blut und Boden (Blood and Soil), but above all political, anti-Bolshevik[26].

Despite the open rejection of the postulates of Marxism, the populismità ‒ which “claims to be the very logic of being” ‒ conceives the field of leftist struggles as its own, and operates in it through a series of conceptual or, even better, discursive innovations. Taking Jaques Derrida as a starting point, and already informed of Heidegger's critique of Vorhandenheit, the field previously seen as one of grand narratives, governed by structural determination, is now understood as “permeated with undecidables”, with which the notion of undecidability emerges, giving new meaning to the relationship of hegemony[27].

And, since one intends to read Gramsci as the author of “a dimension of hegemony” made “constitutive of the subjectivity” of “historical actors” who no longer recognize themselves “merely” as “class actors”, every hegemonic relationship is not if not the product of a contingent articulation, considered the “central dimension of politics”[28]. And this is how, already separated from the “Hegelian” or “Marxist” notion of “universal class'”, the relationship of hegemony can only emerge from a chain of equivalences in which “a particularity”, without ceasing to be itself (the social actors are all particularities), becomes “the representation of a universality that transcends it” ‒ with what can never be “a definitive achievement”, being, on the contrary, “always reversible”[29].

In this way, populism, “a series of discursive resources that can be used in a very diversified way”, has as its “hard core” the floating or empty signifiers[30]: a name can penetrate the concept “in such a way that in the end, step by step, the core will cease to be a concept and become a name”, “an empty signifier”, moment in which “a historical singularity” appears and “ we no longer have a sectorial agent, such as a 'class': we have a people”[31]. Vargas, Perón, nineteenth-century European ethnic populism and those that emerged in the 1980s, such as the Lega North Italian, but also Lula, Chávez... and potentially Togliatti, had he not been the leader of a “party of communist militants” (if he had not been too communist, perhaps he meant Laclau), the impeding element in the constitution of an “empty signifier” capable of articulating a “plurality of demands”[32].

In Azzarà's reading, this set of discursive articulations ‒ or politics as hermeneutics ‒ cannot protect the state of health of modern democracy, founded on the centrality of organic intellectuals and even more so of the party, the “ontologically privileged agent”. To the extent that the hegemonic politics of Laclau (and Mouffe), engaged in a critique of the classist conception, identifies itself with the limits of the ontological, it cannot but place itself as the “zero degree of politics”, that first “curl”. antagonist of the real that remains “naturalistically” fixed on the surface of things.

And this is how difficult it would be to start from these formulations, which are clearly transpolitical and transideological, to think about the Latin American red wave of the first decades of this century. Lula's party, insists Azzarà, claims to be heir to the modern tradition even from its name, while questioning the Monroe Doctrine, the basis of the classic principle of peoples' self-determination, was more important to understanding the success of these experiences ‒ and the despite all limits, we would add - than the postmodern phenomena of hybridization of politics that Laclau speaks of[33].

The fourth chapter, “The sovereignist turn of Europhobic neoliberalism in Italy. Populist Revolt Against the Great Convergence and the Emergence of a Postmodern Bonapartist Democracy”, returns to the very topical theme of right-wing populism that became government. Without ceasing to shed light on other realities (Trump, Bolsonaro), he examines above all the Italian experience, which has recently known the rise of Alloy North part, a party with xenophobic and separatist roots, to the national government. A process that not by chance was made possible through a political architecture that involved a coalition with the 5 Star Movement (M5S) of comedian Beppe Grillo, himself a self-proclaimed non-party, now winning over ex-communists or old PCI voters.

This is a new phase of the crisis of modern democracy and Bonapartism. up to date, already plenipotentiary in its forms of disintermediation of politics, with the weakening of parties, unions and the emergence of claims around a direct democracy from social networks. All packaged with a critique of parliamentarism and globalism that even takes on the tinges of a Revival of Eurasianism, as the author pointed out in a 2017 interview that criticized a certain frenzy on the left over Donald Trump's victory[34].

The context is that of the reproduction crisis of western societies opened with the exhaustion of Fordism, already marked by revolts of all kinds: against the caste of parties, against the European Union, against official science, against pre-digital means of communication. , against the university caste, and so on. A new incarnation of the organic crises that Gramsci spoke of, noting that type of situation, “delicate and dangerous”, in which the crisis “of the relations between structure and superstructure” leads to the emergence of “solutions of force”, of “obscure powers” represented by providential and charismatic men", of the reinforcement of the power of the "bureaucracy (civil and military), of high finance, of the Church and of all organisms independent of the fluctuations of public opinion"[35]. And here's a big one insight of the book, making us reflect that the organic crisis that now shakes the West cannot be correctly understood if one is not disposed to examine the “cultural change” that brings the marks of postmodernism.

But setting the frame more general of this crisis is not the simple “spatializing description of the facts of the speech”[36], the social uniqueness inscribed in heterotopia”[37], as the postmodern differentialism of Foucault's imposition would say. The background trends of this process must be sought rather in the new materiality of world geoeconomics and geopolitics, a contradictory unfolding of North American globalization exposing what Domenico Losurdo, referring to the process led today by Chinese socialism, insisted was the beginning of the end of the “Colombian era” – this category of the British geographer Halford Mackinder, marking the starting point of the historical “great divergence” that dug a “deep furrow” between the colonialist West and the rest of the world[38].

And here again is the refined formulation of the category of class struggle, conceived not only in its sociological or economic sense, but as a reflection around the political conflict as such, which can even assume institutional forms without this implying negative consequences. A change already noticed by the last Engels, when he pointed out that the changes in the post-1848 class struggle made the “conquest of the right to universal suffrage, of democracy”, “one of the first and most important tasks of the militant proletariat”[39]. The same change, it should be noted, is now supported by Chinese socialism on a global scale, speaking of a “democratic reform” of international institutions as the way to forge a world founded “on respect for state sovereignty” and on the “autonomous choice of way of life”. development"[40]. In Azzarà's terms, a rigorous “concrete universalism”, which has nothing to do with the “particularist sovereignty” now in vogue.

This is how we come to the theme of the last chapter, “Sovereignty or the national question? Return of the Hobbsian State and the Revival of Social-Chauvinism in Today's Politics. He continues to reflect on the effects of the organic crisis from which the new Bonapartism emerged, but now noting the confusion that has settled in the European left circles around the national question. The forgetfulness that this question has known in the context of the emergence of postmodernism, given over to different forms of national nihilism – either conceiving the working class as an irreducible totality, or through the emphasis on the individual as an absolute and desiring subjectivity of a nomadic nature –, certainly responds to for this embarrassment, to the point of confusing a part of the left – and confusing the classic theme of the national question in Marxism – with the so-called sovereignty and even with the current forms of social-chauvinism supported by the right.

But no less important in this explanation is the assimilation of the State to a simple class instrument – ​​the structural enemy, incarnation of all evil −, strictly speaking an ahistorical vision of the “objective spirit”, incapable of understanding the State as a field of strength, insists Azzarà. Dialectical reverse of this set of forgetfulness, but also of the historical change associated with the recolonization – even warlike – of the world by the West after the demolition of the Berlin Wall, the organic crisis now presents itself as a broad moral crisis to reach even a part of the left, subjected to all sorts of emotional sterilization and thus involved in the spiral of aggressiveness posed by the dominant order (see the left that rejects the struggle of women, immigrants, the gay movement, mistakenly interpreted as disconnected and even dysfunctional to the struggle of the proletariat and oppressed nations[41]).

And it is in the same way that Azzarà's critique of the left enthusiastic about the Brexit and the disintegration of the European Union, a social order (or socio-spatial, strictly speaking, already a second nature, we could say, once again rescuing the geographer Milton Santos[42]) which, for the author, does not simply respond to the neoliberal and imperialist configuration emanating from the United States, positioning itself, on the contrary, in many themes – from global warming, international trade and even military interventions –, in opposition to it.

It is this same left that, moving away from the national question as it emerged in the heart of Europe after the Bolshevik victory of 1917 – the alliance of the proletariat with the middle sectors to oppose the colonization of the Treaty of Versailles in Germany in the 20s[43] −, ends up allowing itself to be identified, at the limit even to lead alliances – transpolitical and transideological, Of course − with the right and the fraction of capital it represents. Also here, Domenico Losurdo, himself welcoming of today's trends towards the formation of Federative States (European Union, Alba boliviana), and this despite the recognition of the contradictions present there[44], would have said: Goodbye, postmodernism.

* Marcos Aurélio da Silva He is a professor in the Department of Geosciences at Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC).



Stefano G. Azzarà. Goodbye postmodernism: populism and hegemony in the crisis of modern democracy. Translation: Marcos A. da Silva. Florianopolis, Ed. Insular, 2022, 294 pages.



[1] Azzara, GS Democracy Cercasi. Dalla caduta del Muro a Renzi: sconfitta della sinistra, postmodern bonapartism and impotence of philosophy in Italy. Rome: Imprimatur, 2014.

[2] movie reference Goodbye, Lenin!, directed by Wolfgang Becker, 2003.

[3] Losurdo, d. La lotta di class. A political and philosophical story. Rome: Laterza, 2013, p. 91.

[4] Lenin, VI Philosophical Notebooks. Trans. Paula Almeida. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2018, p. 320. Lenin refers to the introduction that Hegel writes to his Philosophy of History, noting that they are “embryos of historical materialism” (p. 317). See Hegel, GWF Philosophy of History. 2 ed. Trans. M. Rodrigues and Hans Harden. Brasília: Editora da UNB, 2008, pp. 11-91. It is time to note a sharp observation by Losurdo about the rejection of Hegelian historicism. He remembers that Marcuse had already pointed out that the argument of the “devaluation of history” was dear to Nazism, but he insists that the idea covers different generations of conservative thought: whether with Malthus at the time of the French Revolution, or with liberals, fascists and Nazis at the turn of the century. from the XNUMXth to the XNUMXth century, or even today, with Alain de Benoist and the European New Right. Losurdo, d. La catastrofe della Germania e l'immagine di Hegel. Napoli: Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici; Milano: Guerriri and Associati, 1987, pp. 130-145.

[5] Gramsci, A. Quaderni del Carcere. The cure di Valentino Gerratana. Torino: Einaudi, 1975, p. 1209.

[6] Vattimo, G. The end of modernity: nihilism and hermeneutics in postmodern culture. Trans. Edward Brandao. São Paulo: Martins Fontes, 2002.

[7] Harvey, D. The Postmodern Condition. A survey of cultural change. Trans. Adail U. Sobral and Maria S. Gonçalves. São Paulo: Loyola, 2013, pp. 45 et seq.

[8] Azzarà, SG Sul marxismo del XXI century: ricordando Domenico Losurdo. In: Azzarà, SG, Ercolani, P., Susca, E. (eds.). Domenico Losurdo brings philosophy, history and politics. Napoli: La scuola di Pitagora, 2020, p. 165. As the author points out in this article in memory of Losurdo, it is precisely the loss of meaning of the idea of ​​progress and historical “necessity” that marks the depth of the philosophical crisis inherent to postmodernism. But he insists that it is mandatory here to understand “the difference between mechanical necessity and that very different 'necessity' that is proper to the historical movement.” (p. 166).

[9] Gramsci, A., op. cit. P. 1619.

[10] Rehman, J. I nietzscheani di sinistra. Deleuze, Foucault and il postmodernismo: una descostruzione. The cure by Stefano G. Azzarà. Rome: Odradek, 2009, p. 21.

[11] Gramsci, A. op. cit., p. 1209.

[12] Laclau, E. the populist reason. Trans. Carlos Eugênio M. de Moura. Sao Paulo: Three Stars, 2018.

[13] Laclau, E. and Mouffe, C. Hegemony and socialist strategy. For a radical democratic policy. Trans. Joanildo A. Burity, Josias de Paula Jr. and Aecio Amaral. São Paulo: Intermeios; Brasilia: CNPq, 2015.

[14] Same, pp. 33-34.

[15] For a recent discussion of Lenin's heritage of the Gramscian concept of hegemony see Fresu, G. Lenin reader of Marx: dialectics and determinism in the history of the labor movement. Trans. Rita Coitinho. São Paulo: Anita Garibaldi; Maurício Grabois Foundation, 2016, pp. 18-19. The criticism of Laclau and Mouffe's “decontextualized references” to the Prison Notebooks, responsible for establishing a “post-Marxist image” of Gramsci, also appears in Thomas, PD The Gramscian Moment. Philosophy, Hegemony and Marxism”, Haymarket Books, Chicago (Illinois), 2010, p. 11 (note 48).

[16] Laclau, E. and Mouffe, C. op. cit., p. 35.

[17] Losurdo, D. 2015, op. cit., p. 63.

[18] In the explanatory notes of the Brazilian edition of Being and Time the noun Vorhandenheit is defined as “being simply given”, adding that it is formed from the noun 'Hand' (= hand) and the preposition 'vor' (= before, in the spatial sense and before, in the temporal sense). It designates the way of being of the thing as what is 'naively' assumed as substantiality of being”. Heidegger, M. Being and Time. Trans. Marcia Sa Cavalcante. 10a Petrópolis: Voices, 2015, p. 563.

[19] Laclau, E. and Mouffe, C. op. quote, pp. 36-7. The translators' note reads: “The distinction between the ontic and the ontological is clearly inspired by the 'ontological difference' between the Heideggerian Being and the entity”. Same, p. 48.

[20] Bodey, R. The philosophy of the nine hundred (and oltre). Milano: Feltrinelli, 2015, p. 137.

[21] Ditto, p. 138.

[22] Same, pp. 142-3.

[23] Laclau, E., op. cit., p. 27.

[24] Losurdo, D. Marxism or populism? In: Imperialism and the European question. In: Alessandroni. E. (org.). Napoli: La scuola di Pitagora, 2019, p. 88.

[25] Santos, M. For a new geography. From the critique of geography to a critical geography. 6 ed. São Paulo: Edusp, 2008, p. 37.

[26] Azzarà, SG Heidegger 'innocent': an exorcism of the postmodern left. In: Marxist critique, No 42, 2016. For a critique of the category of totalitarianism, see Losurdo, D. Western Marxism: how he was born, how he died, how he can be reborn. Trans. Ana M. Chiarini and Diego SC Ferreira. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2018.

[27] Laclau, E. and Mouffe, C., op. cit., p. 38.

[28] ID Ib. pp. 39-40. ID Ib. pp. 39-40. It is worth remembering here the interpretation that Peter Thomas makes of the passages in which Gramsci discusses the relationship between the “objective” and the “subjective”, insisting that if Gramsci is a critic of “objectivism”, this criticism “also involves a rejection of the philosophies of the subject". Thomas, PD op. cit., p. XXIV. In fact, Gramsci operates on the ground of historical totality and not pure subjectivism. Hence, he associated the “subjective” with the “doctrine of superstructures”, even referring to a “struggle for objectivity”. Gramsci, A., op. cit. P. 1420.

[29] Laclau, E. and Mouffe, C., op. cit., 40-41.

[30] Laclau, E. 2018, op. cit. P. 254.

[31] Ditto, p. 264.

[32] References to the recent Latin American experience are in the introduction to the Brazilian edition of The Populist Reason, op. cit., pp. 20-21. The reference to Togliatti and European populisms with an ethnic background is part of the “saga of populism” presented in chapter 7, appearing mainly on pages 262-268 et seq.

[33] If it is possible to say that the Kirchners' Argentina is the country in which "the real political process" was "closer to Lacau's hypothesis", even so, Azzarà insists, it is an experience linked to "modern emancipationism", when but not because the classic Latin American populism – read in chapter 4 – has a “very different” meaning from the forms assumed by postmodernism. Regarding Latin American populism, one can read the studies of Francisco Weffort, who defines it as a “(tacit) alliance between sectors of different social classes”, in which “hegemony always meets the interests linked to the dominant classes , but impossible to achieve without meeting some basic aspirations of the popular classes", such as the "demand for employment, greater consumption possibilities and the right to participate in State affairs". As far as the “party system” is concerned, it is not a question of its dissolution, as in the postmodern form (see below the example of the 5 Stars Italian), but of its “little autonomy in relation to the State”. Weffort, F. Populism in Brazilian politics. 4a ed. Peace and Land, 1980, pp. 75-6.

[34] Azzarà, SG Globalisti contro sovranisti: un conflict tutto interna alle classi dominanti. In: The Common Good, March, 2017. Eurasianism was criticized by Gramsci in the Notebooks. It was a movement that, back in 1921, tended to establish a “review of the behavior of emigrant intellectuals” regarding Soviet Russia, understanding it “more Asian than Western”. According to Gramsci, Eurasians “are not Bolsheviks, but they are enemies of democracy and western parliamentarism. They often behave like Russian fascists, like friends of a strong State in which discipline, authority, hierarchy have to dominate the mass”; its members “salute the existing state order in the Russia of the Soviets, despite the fact that they contemplate substituting the national ideology for the proletarian one”. Gramsci, A. op. cit., pp. 180-181. The passage, very illustrative, can be read in the light of the references to Lenin made in notebook 7, where it is noted, precisely with regard to the relationship between the “national” and the “international”, the dialectic present in the great Russian revolutionary, defined as “deeply national and deeply European”. Gramsci, A. op. cit., p. 866. An example of today's re-edition of Eurasianism can be found in the theories of the Russian Aleksander Dugin, whose intellectual history immediately reminds us of Gramsci's criticism referred to here. His intellectual life began in the 80s with participation in a culture circle 'underground' of name Yuzhinsky, whose origins date back to Moscow in the 60s. The group's intellectual interests were fascism, Nazism, nationalism, occultism, and mysticism. The group was anti-Soviet, sympathizing with Nazism not necessarily out of love for Hitler or anti-Semitism, but because it was "a clear historical enemy" (a colorful historical foe) of their own government. See Teitelbaum, B. War for Eternity. The Return of Traditionalism and the Rise of the Populist Right. London: Penguin Books, 2020, pp. 41 and 94-6.

[35] Gramsci, A., op. cit., pp. 1578-9 and 1603.

[36] Foucault, M. On Geography. In: microphysics do power. 28 ed. Trans. Robert Machado. Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra, 2014, p. 253.

[37] Foucault, M. Espacio, Saber y Poder. In: The power, a magnificent beast: about power, prison and life. 5 ed. Trans. Horacio Pons. Buenos Aires: Siglo Veintiuno, 2019, pp. 154-5.

[38] Losurdo, D. 2013, op. cit., p. 313.

[39] Engels, F. Preface. In: Marx, Carl. Class struggles in France from 1848 to 1850. Trans. Nelio Schneider. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2012, p. 21. As is known, Engels' original was altered by the reformism of the Second International, seeking to convey the idea that, by valuing parliamentary and propaganda work, Engels was proclaiming the end of street fights and even the era of revolutions. See Fresu, G., 2016, op. cit., p. 53.

[40] Bertozzi, DA La Cina della Reforma: A Historical-Ideological Path. In: Marx Ventuno, No 2-3, 2015, p. 68.

[41] “Class struggle almost never presents itself in its pure state, it almost never limits itself to involving directly antagonistic subjects”, and “it is precisely thanks to this lack of 'purity' that it can lead to a victorious social revolution”. Losurdo, D. 2013, op. cit. P. 27. The criticism addressed to Althusser's anti-humanism also recalls that “class struggles” – this category must always be declined in the plural, insists Losurdo −, “far from having a merely economic dimension, are struggles for recognition. ” Losurdo, D. 2018, op. cit. P. 79. The criticism of Althusser can also be read in Losurdo, D. 2013, pp. 87-92.

[42] Santos, M., op. cit., pp. 246-7.

[43] Azzarà himself is the author of an interesting recent study in this regard, discussing the positions of Clara Zetkin and above all Karl Radek in the 20s, the latter a kind of pioneer among Leninists who dedicated themselves to thinking about the problem of hegemony and its intertwining with the national question. It is, strictly speaking, the problem of the fronts in the struggle for hegemony. Azzara, SG Comunisti, fascisti and questione nazionale. Germania 1923: rossobruno front or war of egemony? Milano-Udine: Mimesis, 2018.

[44] Losurdo, D. 2019, op. cit. pp. 23-4. See in particular the chapters that criticize the readings that tend to place the European Union on the same plane as US “planetary imperialism”. But this was not the case with the Colombian FARCs, recalls Losurdo, and even with Cuba and China, always very aware of this difference (pp. 85-6). As Azzarà referred to in a Leninist key, it is about that inability to “identify the main conflict” that marks the “very serious political illiteracy” of our time. Azzarà, SG 2020, op. cit., p. 166. The article by Emiliano Alessandroni that integrates this posthumous volume by Losurdo as an appendix recalls that Gramsci also spoke in favor of a European Union, insisting that “the historical process tends towards this union and that there are many material forces that only in this union can develop”. Alessandroni, E. Economicism or dialectics? A Marxist Approccio to the European Question. In: Losurdo, D. 2019, op. cit. P. 455. As we noted earlier, it is a question, in Gramsci's view, not of the annulment of the national question, but of its understanding through that dialectic that was able to retain Lenin, presenting himself at the same time as “profoundly national and profoundly European”, or internationalist. Gramsci, op. quote, p. 866.

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