This text by Enda Deburca highlights the denial of class antagonism and suggests reasons for this-
Liberal democracy and capitalism do not exist. Masking the violence of class war!
Society does not exist.
“I think we’ve been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it’s the government’s job to cope with it. “I have a problem, I’ll get a grant.”
“I’m homeless, the government must house me.” They’re casting their problem n society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society.”
Thatcher was fed this quote by her Anglo American neo conservative think tank who used it in order to negate any subjective relation to the other. An ideological subversion of the radical connotations (that political fantasy always underpinning) reality) which was being espoused by the hated french poststructuralists.
The response by capitalists was to understand that the bleeding of capital to the nanny state could now be curtailed, assuaged of guilt. This amounts to an erosion of the ethical relation to the other. The historical collective Other with its now ahistorical ethical implication was coldly rejected.
Welfare could now be posited as a misrecognised capitalist answer to the call of the humanist charitable Other, capitalists wanted a get out clause, “there is no such thing as society” its meaning now suverted in order to carry out the project of erosion of the welfare state.
During the 1980s the capitalist class stopped seeking to answer the demands of an ethical Other who no longer exists.
The post structural logic of identification as misrecognition was appropriated in the erosion of the subjective, politically resopnsible relation to the Other.
This amounts to the erosion of subjective responsibility and allows for the ideological, go ahead, for a guilt free reduction of the subject of the other to the status of an object or instrument of my enjoyment/production.
Lacan defines violence as this precise reduction of the other to the status of an object / instrument of my enjoyment. The denial of the subjective desire of the other as real subject of exploitation. This ideological step also promotes the repression of class antagonism (class war).
The assumption of a liberal, non-antagonistic, relationship to the other ideologically masks the real violence of capitalist production and negates the superegoic, sadism of subject to object. Class war has become the business of privatised charitable individual market players.
No such thing as society: there is an ideological reduction of human relations to instrumental productivity, the role of the state reduced to one of increased super-egoic , monitoring of service providers financial accounts and of citizen clients in terms of productivity. Success of social, health and educational policy is measured and must be exhibited in quantifiable demonstrations of competence, outcomes and financial accountability involving ever more statistical sociological and behavioural evidence gathering. In a competitive cost effectively run economy system services traditionally availed of by working class communities, such as social housing, homeless drop in centres, community centres, advice centres and mental health and substance use services,library services, are tendered out. Whilst the means of production and distribution are privately owned the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market.
The traditional left has swallowed the free market pill of a non antagonistic politics that would provide ever-rising standards of living, abandoned socialist poltics for the immediate enjoyment of the good times, no more boom and bust, sunday supplement lifestyle.
Savage cuts to local govts, scrapping of maintenance allowance, together withunprecedented hikes in university fees that price and frightens working class out of the education “market”, a vast overhaul of the NHS is at this moment in time escalating. In its speed of introduction Cameron states that he is building on the reforms introduced by Tony Blair.
The dismantling of the welfare state continues at pace while the liberal media and theorists of left attempt to regather and adapt to the economic downturn.
“there is no such thing as society” means that there exists no absolute system that we can step outside of and show to be breaking its own rules,
as in the symptomatic greed of the bonus bankers and the sticky fingered politicians who sign over nation states as bad clients to private, finance investment speculators. All symptoms of what remains a globally brutalising antagonistic class struggle in which the sadist misrecognises through the prism of non antagonistic liberal democratic fantasy its private violating self for its ideal image of global humanist charitable Godhead.