Another explanation for the far-right's win in Europe
July 1, 2024
Heidi Venegas
(San José, Costa Rica)

The results of the recent European elections, the media coverage around it, and the acts of vandalism that occurred days after the electoral count are things I would like to analyze in light of the contributions of the Chilean intellectual Lucy Oporto. Oporto has gained relevance for her writing on fascism and its relationship to the behaviors of what she calls the “lumpen.” She clarifies that this is not necessarily related to right-wing positions. Hers is a novel, disruptive and inquisitive contribution for what it reveals and illuminates in the current environment with all of its political taboos.

 

Center and right-wing parties in several European Union countries won the recent elections to the European Parliament. While much of the media emphasizes that the winners are far-right parties, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also claims to have scored a win for her centrist party, which helped her to secure a second five-year term as European Commission president.

 

On Monday, June 10, the day after the electoral contests, there were protests in several cities in Europe. Citizens expressed their discontent with the results, even with riots and vandalism.

 

At the time this happened, I was writing a lengthy article about the Chilean intellectual Lucy Oporto. She has studied fascism deeply, and her contribution gained more relevance after October 2019 with the social outbreak in several Chilean cities, and particularly in the capital of Santiago where there were also riots and vandalism.

 

Oporto positions herself as left-wing but clarifies that she is not interested in that distinction, nor in her work being instrumentalized for political purposes. She has even at times been branded as right-wing, as she is always ready for dialogue with all kinds of people from different political positions. However, her preference for the late former president Salvador Allende and her criticism for the Pinochet dictatorship is evident.

 

Oporto contributes three very interesting concepts in her analysis of what she calls post-fascism or the darkness of postmodernism, which contextualizes what we are facing these days. Namely, she discusses lumpenconsumerism, lumpenfascism and narcofascism in a context where what prevails is a social decomposition of vast sectors of the population.

 

The right has always been seen as directly related to fascism. But Lucy Oporto’s contribution is very clarifying in this context, as she says that there is no such univocal relationship. Fascism, she maintains, is homogenization, and totalitarianism is control and domination. She uses the example of China. It delves into the fascist spirit, not as a right-wing position, but as a way of dominating, destroying and homogenizing Life. Both fascist and totalitarian. 

 

Now, when I saw the vandalism, robberies and such after the European elections, Lucy Oporto's concept immediately came to mind: lumpenconsumerism, which is a process of spiritual and moral decadence. In both the Chilean riots Oporto discusses and in the European post elections, people were not protesting but rather destroying.

 

The work of the Italian writer and film director, Pier Paolo Pasolini, is in agreement. He sees this “having” before “being” as a destructive variant of the consumer society. Having things is more important than being who I am. And also, since we cannot have all this, let's destroy it, in a rage for not having. Or if my party doesn't win the election, then I riot and vandalize cities and towns. The vandals following the EU elections were not respecting democracy at all.

 

It's interesting that in Pasolini’s thinking, to have, to possess and to destroy is true fascism. That rage at not having has homogenized people in what we know today as the consumer society. It has nothing to do with political leanings.

 

The French political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville warned us about this homogenization, because he felt it can end up destroying political rights. Individual rights, for example. That desire for equality where having is identified with being. If I don't have, I am not. Thinking emptied of all spirituality.
 

Having clarity about what affects us is key, because ideological reasoning can prevent us from observing reality and discerning between what is good and what is not. Arm ourselves with strength, Oporto urges, when faced with the obvious degradation of values: beauty, goodness, Truth. Everything is defenestrated by the industry of debasement, everything based on the market power and interest of the consumer society, which is nothing other than objectifying people.

 

European elections and the future of the EU is important to all of us. There is no higher reference than the roots of our civilization in the humanism of ancient Greece and the European Renaissance. Oporto tells us that it’s a reference of perfection of the spirit that generates a greater culture.

 

If there does not exist such a horizon that allows one to grow, we fall into fascism. Everything ends in consumption, in the accumulation of things. There is no interest in culture. It becomes only the logic of consumption.

 

The post-election headlines and the vandalism of stores made me think. On the one hand, I pondered the sensationalism and the bias of the headlines. They also make me ask myself: what does robbing stores have to do with protesting the results of an election?

 

Oporto and other thinkers help us to answer that question.

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Luca Mazzacane

Love the fact that you mentioned Pasolini in your article, a great one!

4 days ago

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