Preface

Submitted by Steven. on June 17, 2013

The author of this Report is afflicted with a great
disadvantage: it seems to him that nothing, or almost nothing, must be
treated in a light tone. The 20th Century thinks the opposite, and it
has its reasons for this. Our democracy, which demands the expression of
personal opinions from an infinity of brave people who do not have the
time to form a single one, forces everyone to speak with a thoughtlessness [une légèreté] that we, in our turn, are
obliged to excuse, given the necessities of the times.

Nevertheless, this first disadvantage does not shelter us from an
opposite one: if we refuse to use a light tone, we also reject an
academic or serious style for the good reason that we do not intend to
demonstrate in 50 pages what can be said in five lines. We hope that
this double premise will at least serve to excuse, if not justify, the
trenchant [French in original] tone.

In these first few lines, we would like to thank a number of
illustrious Italians, whom we would name if they were dead, but who at
this moment are occupied with important tasks in our economy and
politics, and thus will be grateful to us for our discretion, given the
undeniably delicate character of the subjects treated herein. All that
we can permit ourselves to do is offer to them these pages, which we
have finally decided to publish under the rubric of this Report,
although, we must confess, we secretly but unsuccessfully nourished the
hope that someone other than us would undertake it. On the other hand,
given the speed of the Italian crisis, and the urgency of adopting
remedies, we have had to resolve ourselves to confiding our opinions in
a published work, because, after their previous distribution in the form
of confidential notes and private conversations, it hasn’t seemed to us
that they have encountered all of the desired audience, precisely “there
where one can do what one pleases” [Dante: là dove si puote ciò che si
vuole
], that is to say, at the summit of economic power.

It is fitting to say immediately that we do not intend to speak for
all of the Italian bourgeoisie, which has been bastardized by its
own illusions of “openness,” but only a part of it, in which one can
distinguish a Truthful elite [French in original] of the
powerful. It is to this elite that what follows is addressed, in an
epoch in which the monopoly on the more or less critical discourse on
contemporary society seems to belong to those who are opposed to it in a
more or less effective manner, while on our side of the barricade one
discerns a pitiful silence and even an ever-more clumsy recourse to
embarrassed justifications for it. As for us, at this moment in which we
break this monopoly, we are quite far from wanting to seek the least
appearance of “dialogue” with our real enemies. We speak to the heart of
our own class so as to perpetuate its hegemony over this society.

Unlike those who critique society so as to revolutionize its bases,
we will not make grand demagogic or pedagogic speeches; and rather than
resorting to our radical critics, we prefer to personally assume the
disgraced grace [Greek in original: αχαριν χαριν], that is to say, the
displeasing honor of criticizing, even pitilessly, that which in our
management of economic and political power must be effectively
criticized with the sole goal of reinforcing efficiency and
domination.

Thus we do not seek to prove that contemporary society is
desirable, and even less to weigh the possibly modifiable aspects
that it compose it. With all the cold veracity that we have adopted for
all the other affirmations contained in this Report, we say that
this society suits us because it exists and we want to maintain
it to maintain our power over it. To speak the truth in these days is an
exacting and time-consuming task, and since we cannot hope to
exclusively encounter impartial readers, we will content ourselves by
being ourselves as we write, even at the price of making accusations
against the politicians who, over the years, have defended our interests
with more good will than success. We must cease to be hypocrites amongst
ourselves, because we are in the process of becoming victims of this
hypocrisy.

Today, from the point of view of the defense of our society, there
only exists a single danger in the world, and it is that the workers
succeed in speaking to each other about their conditions and
aspirations without any intermediaries. All the other dangers are
attached to, or even proceed directly from, the precarious situation that
places before us this primary problem, which in many respects is
concealed and unacknowledged.

Once this true danger has been defined, it is a question of
exorcising it, and not seeing false dangers in its place. Yet our
politicians only seem preoccupied with saving their own reputations, and
too often this comes too late. But, on the contrary, it is saving our
basis,
which is economic above all, with which they must occupy
themselves. For example, we have noted the stupidity that currently
dominates the debate, conducted under the heading of “the Communist
question,” among the principal political leaders, as if this were a
problem that was so embarrassing as to be “new,” as if we ourselves –
and several others, who are certainly no less qualified – had not
already set the form, timing and conditions that will render the
official entrance of the Italian Communist Party [ICP] into the sphere
of power useful for both sides, and as if the Communist leaders had not,
during the most recent meetings that we have held, already unofficially
accepted even the most unfavorable aspects of the project that at this
moment, with the prudence that is now necessary, they are attempting to
get the rank and file of their party, which believes itself to be the
most radical, to accept. This imaginary political debate, which does not
even serve the majority parties by assuring them of the support of
moderate voters – which is a superfluous concern, since the voters
always vote as they are told to vote – , cannot mislead the intelligent
conservatives, either in Italy or abroad, because we know that it is no
longer a question, at the current moment, of seeing if we more or less
need the ICP, given that no one can doubt the utility that this party
has been to us during the last few, very difficult years, when it would
have been so easy for its leaders to harm us and perhaps in an
irreparable fashion, but instead a question of us being in a position to
offer this party sufficient guarantees so that it will not run the risk
– once it is openly allied with our management of power – of being
involved in our possible ruin, for which the ICP would ipso facto
find itself sharing the responsibility and the consequences by, at the
same time, losing its own basis among the workers who, no longer having
any illusions about the most minimal changes in their fate – a fate that
is indeed hardly enviable – and no doubt estimating this to be a
betrayal by their leadership, would react freely, beyond any control and
against all control. That’s the real question; that’s the real
danger.

We know quite well that the Communist parties have many times
furnished proof of their aptitude at collaborating in the management of
bourgeois society, but we must not rely on such a general certitude, as
if it would confer upon our power a reserve of unlimited security, that
is to say, a recourse that would be sufficient in every case no
matter what “the day and hour” of the supreme danger would be, as if
this recourse would not itself be a historical force among others, as if
this force wouldn’t be susceptible of wearing out, either through
inaction or an action that was too maladroitly or too tardily engaged
in. The height [of folly] for us would be finding ourselves, precisely
ourselves, to be the last dupes of the Communist myth by betting on the
fantasy of its omnipotence, which we ourselves have supported at the
times in which it was advantageous for us to combat it. We must never
forget that the only effective power is ours, and that it is
nevertheless threatened. Thus, it isn’t sufficient to know that the
Communist Party is ready to manage society for our profit; we must also
have a place to offer it in a capitalist society that still merits
being managed.
Who doesn’t understand that, if the State and civil
society continue to deteriorate at such a dramatic speed under the
pressure of truly irreconcilable enemies whom we – the Communists and us
– have in common, the Communists, caught up with us in the same
disaster, will find themselves as incapable of helping us as the
Austrian-Hungarian Empire or the Kingdom of Jerusalem? If, at that
moment, the Communists deplore the fact that they can no longer maintain
the existing order, that will be a subjective event that will not offer
us any consolation! And if the Communists, by once again taking up the
weapons of counter-revolution, crush the attempt to set up a classless
society in Italy, they would certainly merit the recognition of the
property-owning classes in America and Russia, in Europe and in China,
and they could be admitted more or less quickly into the UN as the
masters of our country, but we – the real dominant class in Italy, the
particular class that can even call itself the founders of the universal
bourgeoisie of modern times and the millennium that it has
effectively imposed on the entire world – will no longer be here. We
will endlessly experience how salty is the taste [Dante:
Paradiso, XVII, 58] of the bread of exile in London or
Madrid.

What we must save isn’t only [the] capitalism that maintains the market
economy and salaried employment, but, rather, capitalism in the
only historical form that suits us,
which, moreover, can quite
easily be shown to be the effectively superior form of economic
development. If we don’t even know how to offer the Communists a
chance to save this form of capitalism, they will confine
themselves, as much as they can, to saving another form of it,
the unfortunately rustic character of which one has seen in Russia for
more than a half-century. The new class of property-owners that this
inferior form produces, one knows well, leaves us no existence locally,
just as it also suppresses – everywhere in which its crude dictatorship
takes the place of the one that we don’t fear to call ours – the
totality of the superior values that give existence a meaning.

What we have said here are banalities, obvious facts. Those who do
not accept them are sleepwalkers who haven’t for a moment reflected on
the fact we will lose all of our reasons for managing a world in which
our objective advantages have been suppressed from the moment that it
will no longer be possible for anyone to enjoy them. Capitalists must
not forget that they are also human beings, and as such they cannot
accept the uncontrolled degradation of all human beings and thus
the personal conditions of life that they especially enjoy.

We would like to prevent an objection, nay, a reproach, that could be
addressed to us, and that we judge to be absolutely unfounded when it
comes to our Report: namely, that we herein reveal secrets that
we have come to know over the last few years, which, when it comes to
State secrets, have certainly not been few and far between, and that we
divulge them without preoccupying ourselves with the possibly dangerous
consequences they will cause in public opinion. Well! We can immediately
reassure anyone who fears this: if one takes into account the double
presupposition, which is too neglected in our country, that, on the one
hand, he who always lies will never be believed, and, on the other, the
truth is destined to forge its route with a force that can override the
most powerful lies, whose destiny it is, on the contrary, to lose all of
their strength when and to the extent that they are repeated, then we will see that the small number of naked truths that we have decided
to reveal in this pamphlet can no longer be kept quiet without our
running the risk that, in a short period, one or another of them will be
put to seditious ends.

Moreover, our remarks will be quick, and we will never dwell on
anything for too long, supposing that the readers to whom we are
addressing ourselves through special means, and who are the very people
with whom we have done business during these last few years, are
sufficiently up-to-date concerning a good part of the delicate details,
of which we will content ourselves with a quick review, that they will
grasp the insinuations or allusions to facts or individuals, while all
this will completely escape those will live at a distance from the
centers of power in our society.

Instead of the celebrated phrase loqui prohibeor et tacere non
possum
[Latin for “I am prohibited from speaking and I cannot keep
quiet”], we prefer the honesty of omnia non dicam, sed quae dicam
omnia vera
[Latin for “I will not say everything, but everything
that I say will be true”].


*

Perhaps it might useless for me to specify, before concluding this
preface, that we are not in the habit of writing books, not because we
don’t love reading them, but precisely because we love them more than
this century seems to permit us. This is why, personally speaking, we
are grateful for those who today do not write them and we abhor
the amateur or professional writers of our times, in which illiterate
intellectuals unsuccessfully pursue the remission of their ignorance by
publishing the proofs of it in a multitude of unreadable volumes,
volumes that our culture industry undertakes to erect as a kind of
barricade against true culture, which is currently out of fashion. If we
ourselves have taken up the pen, this should rather be interpreted as
our manner of payment of a una tantum [Latin for “unique”] tax to the
troubled Republic. And, if we have wanted to give to this Report
the literary form of the pamphlet, which has been out of fashion for two
centuries, this is only because it possesses the double advantage of
being easy to read and quick to write. In it we address ourselves to men
for whom the time to read is less than the necessity to act. And if
we ourselves reject the method of reading quickly what appears to be
important, without exhaustively treating each question that is raised,
perhaps we might leave [behind] some monumental work of which the
historians will one day make use to shed light on the years in
question here, but in such case we would lack the time to confront and
master (such is our intention) the crucial problems that we limit
ourselves herein to sketching out, because we are not in the habit of
believing that real difficulties can be resolved through writing.
Thus, this pamphlet must be read as it was written: in one sitting,
following the mood of the moment – a mood that, in this case, cannot be
better than the gravity of the moment allows.

As for the fact that the author of this text has used a pseudonym:
this was done to respect the tradition of the pamphleteer, illustrated
by the Fronde under Mazarin [France between 1649 and 1652] and by Junius
in 18th Century England. Moreover, we are sure to be easily recognized
by all those who have had the occasion to encounter us over the course
of the last 30 years. Finally, for all the others, we prefer that it
isn’t our name that encourages the most rigorous reflection, but the
seriousness of what we evoke.

Censor
June 1975