Well, the one on the left was on the right…

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Without suggesting anything… (photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash)

In Italy, the matter of what is the right and what is the left suggests the approach of the 5 Stars Movement or a famous song by Giorgio Gaber, who 20 years ago sang that the differences between right and left were already minimal…

Today there are the enthusiasts of the 5SM (actually less than before these two last governments in 3 years) and, on the other hand, those who can’t really stand them, all without half measures. But have you seen that now all the other parties are magically showing their approach? “We will decide on the specific theme or proposal”: left and right wings are saying, but they all ridiculed 5SM when it proposed this scheme for the first time (actually real “politics” with the fear of losing the founding values).

In any case, there are also many of those that aren’t still able to express, because they live the impasse, still preferring the old disappointing parties or the abstention instead of a new “free association of citizens”? I am among them: I admit that after many years of voting I feel stuck in the middle of abstension.

One important reason lies precisely in this “ambiguous” nature: being neither right nor left makes them a bit of the right and a bit of the left. So everything looks very much the same and you can’t make up your mind, because those who are convinced of the left or right cannot pass over that part that does not correspond to them. Which does not correspond to their fondative “values”.

But what are these values ​​of the right and the left? Are we now talking about stereotypes or reality?

The “denominations right and left”, for the two opposite sides of the political arena, was born in France shortly before the French Revolution. In May 1789 the General States were summoned by the King among the clergy, nobility and the third state. The latter was divided between the conservative exponents, headed by Pierre de Malouet and seated to the right of the President, and the radicals by Honoré de Mirabeau on the left. This division reappeared later: “on the right a current aimed at maintaining monarchical powers prevailed, on the left was the more revolutionary component” (Wikipedia).

And even today, if the right is to be described in political language: “we refer to the component of Parliament who sits to the right of the President of the Assembly and which traditionally refers to conservative or reactionary components”. And the left that “sits on the left and, in general, is the set of egalitarian and progressive positions, diametrically opposed to those of the right”.

“There is a lot of talk about who goes right and who goes left, but the decisive thing is to move forward, and moving forward means moving towards social justice”. Alcide De Gasperi was the first Prime Minister immediately after the II World War. “He is considered by many one of the fathers of modern Europe. It is no coincidence that one of his most famous speeches is on August 10, 1946 at the Peace Conference held in Paris”.

But in reality things seem to be taking an even different turn. The “fluidity” that the digital age imposes on our lives is reflected in every aspect: the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman already said that it would have invested the whole of society, from work to love. And now it is also hitting politics. People are fed up with the now empty dichotomy between left and right. They are looking for a more honest adherence to reality.

From 1700 to nowadays, many things have changed: “after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the political debate between Right and Left has abandoned the exclusively theoretical issues and has concentrated on decidedly practical issues”. In the passage, however, it is as if a series of theoretical “values” of differentiation of the two have crystallized, for example the social solidarity of the left versus the individual responsibility of the right. And it was understood that “in the impact between thought and reality, it’s not true that we put value before the interpretation or management of a fact: values ​​do not exist in themselves, they are only manifestations of something deeper, that is the way which we interpret the world ”.

Rocco La Gioia from the online magazine describes these two ways of human approach to the world: one is theoretical and the other works by models. The first seeks to recover a harmonious relationship with the outside world, solutions are developed, reality is governed by identifying principles capable of enriching the interventions with meaning, according to a bottom-up approach; with the second, a model considered to be optimal is applied to reality, principles are sought by modeling reality on the basis of themselves, and reality is governed by cloaking it with meaning, according to a top-down approach.

It may not be intuitive, but the first orientation pertains to right-wing policies, the second to left-wing ones… consequently, the differences between the two don’t lie in adherence to a system of values, but rather in a theoretical disposition: “the first of a strictly objective character with a realistic result, the second of a strictly subjective character with an ethical result”. In this way the Right remains on “phenomenology“, elaborating “a program made up of freedom, individual responsibility and a separate state”. The Left, on the other hand, slips “on elements with an ethical content, made up of solidarity, equality and a guaranteeing State”.

A useful example was the recurring dispute on the Italian “Statute of workers” article 18 (real and compulsory labor protection): the Right believed that the article must change because reality requires its fluidity to stabilize the work, the Left believed that it must be maintained because of in itself it sanctions the stability of work as a value. It would therefore be incorrect to state that work is only protected by one of the two: both consider it a “social value to be pursued”. And, in any case, it was an act from the left than then changed it in 2015. Confirming all the confusion.

It is the perennial clash between objective reality and “social contract”: both must be always taken into account, allowing us to live with and within that reality… and then maybe the 5SM were right, it is no longer a time of divisions, but of overcoming the two visions. Or would it be better to speak of union?

Always talking about the Italian reality, twenty years of Berlusconian inaction (a partly distorted and completely corrupt right) has generated angry and disappointed people, demoralized and hungry for change, while nothing around seemed to be moving, no new proposals. A whole country that went on ad personam, by turning off everything, from politics to culture, without no mention to the “femenine narration as a nice object” we have been enduring… until the 5SM arrived, an Italian novelty, indeed unique in the world. And today new imitations, like happened for the new Berlusconi around the world – Johnson, Trump, Putin, Orban, Bolsonaro… – actually they all are worse. If only because they are more powerful…

Yet many were unable, and are unable, to vote for 5SM. Me too.

Is it beacause of the 5SM “ways”? “The pissed off”, “the forced one”, “the incompetent but honest”… how a political party arises is no small matter. As long as it is not the excuse and the “total” meter of judgement beforehand, in order not to enter into the merits of important issues.

Or perhaps those on the left don’t like that all these great ideas and attentions for the most fragile, children, disabled, citizenship income, active citizenship and many beautiful things… are only designed for the Italians (Italians)? When it happens to talk about others, you no longer feel that great spirit of community and cooperation that seems to characterize the Movement, on the contrary, a certain “frost” falls. And that’s perhaps what the right likes: “stay on the ordinary”, as the M5S mayoral candidate in Roma said. And then she won in 2016.

“The fascisms are advancing” “Who cares, right and left are outdated categories”

Let’s talk about her, Virginia Raggi and her program. Nice plan for the efficiency of transport, a city designed also for cyclists and pedestrians, a freer and safer trade, attention to school, the fight against waste and “Capitol Mafia“, that ugly name that stinks of gigantic. (The opponent, ex radical now Democratic Party, Roberto Giachetti, also said more or less the same). So: they both promised great attention to the citizen, on the other hand “attention” is what the citizens (who votes) want. But how do the 5SM behave with others who are not citizens in Rome, and Italy in general, for various reasons? From tourists to immigrants (who stay) and migrants (who are passing through), Roma and all those of the first, second and third generation who live in conditions of semi-clandestinity? They are not citizens, in fact, so we can speak of them in other terms. That is in economic terms, in terms of order, safety, or decorum. Terms that are also real, but which should be accompanied by other more… “ethical” aspects. Eg: slums and Rom camps must be cleared – who lives there agree and all we agree. But one thing is doing it because we believe scandalous, in the 21st century, to still ghettoize parts of the population – Giachetti -, one thing is doing it because Mafia pockets the money – Raggi. The first is a right assumption, the other is a right consequence, which however is used as a prerequisite.

Fluidity teaches that in the reality “black and white” exist, but more often there are shades of them, and the key to living well is adapting to them. Not everything is ethics, there is also the real, but not everything is individualism, there is also a world to be preserved together. This approach would virtuously combine left and right in a policy that does not become an immobile and formless center, but is able to think about everyone without forgetting “how things are”. The 5SM certainly anticipated this vision, this “third way” that has some postmodernism, but on the result of overcoming or merging or whatever it is, we still have to work a lot.


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