Marian: What different groups do you refer to in your work?
Thierry Aymar:When we talk about communism today, we often associate it with religion and especially Islamic fundamentalism. This shorthand is misleading. It misleads us as to the essence of the societal phenomenon. This is more comprehensive. The essence of communism is privilege: certain advantages reserved for the members of the society in question, from which outsiders are necessarily excluded. There is a religious community, but there is also the family, the participatory gender, the participatory nationalism, etc.
Communism is often criticized for its universal denial, and for pretending to be an enemy of the common good by exacerbating idiosyncrasies. You see in him the negation of the individual. It is original…
Universalism necessarily leads us towards the only recognition of the rights of individuals, who are seen as private and subjective individual beings. Any societal classification of human beings (Blacks, Muslims, French, Parisians, women) involves arbitrary shorthand to explain their behaviour. It is absurd to think that these groups can form homogeneous blocks. Individual motives, tastes, values, and paths vary within and beyond these so-called “communities”.
Thus, one claims in the name of community membership that a part of the ‘social pie’ is greater than the contribution of the individual.
But above all, and most seriously, this classification prevents all individuals from being treated equally because participatoryism is based mainly on the idea of privileges: if certain rights are granted to members of society, they cannot be granted to members of society. other societies. Otherwise, they would form a single entity. Only the recognition of individuals allows everyone to be treated like others, without any discrimination whatsoever.
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How communalism exacerbated the denial of the individual?
gangrene phenomenon. From the moment we succeed in imposing the idea that collective identity trumps individual identity, it becomes possible to monopolize the product of individuals’ labor without offering them an equivalent in return. Thus one claims in the name of the membership of one’s society that a part of the ‘social pie’ is greater than one’s contribution. In the face of this cultural hegemony of community rights, the creators of looted values must form communities in order to benefit socially from the protection afforded by the collective identity principle.
“The whole society turns into a vast agglomeration of societies”
To resist this project of predation, they are forced to use their opponents’ weapons. Then each devotes more and more resources and time to the formation of the identity of the community. Through this process of pollution, the whole society turns into a vast agglomeration of societies. Each does not understand the other as an individual, but as a representative of a social institution whose services must be obtained in order to exploit other societies or, on the contrary, to better defend themselves against it.
But what you describe is not new on the scale of history…
Admittedly, but for a long time, economic growth made it possible to mitigate the consequences of this phenomenon of predation. The national communism in the developed countries allowed their members to take advantage of privileges and incomes numerous enough to mitigate opposition within them. Globalization, with the removal of entry barriers, has reduced the size of the ‘franchise pie’. And keep it for the benefit of what means strip it from others. The losers in the process of redistribution form themselves into alternative societies to defend their share of the pie. Hence this identity movement, which has grown over the past twenty or thirty years, with more and more tensions and conflicts.
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You mentioned in your book the topic of social networks. It is hard to imagine how they participated in the phenomenon you describe because they give voice to individuals in the public sphere…
I am a strong supporter of digital technologies because they allow democratic access to information previously reserved for elites. It is a wonderful learning opportunity. How many people have learned DIY through blogs or videos? But on social issues, digital technologies have fostered a deeply troubling bias. The evolution of social networks has led to a preference for lonely thinking. People will search the Internet for information consistent with their biases; They only interact with like-minded individuals and thus reinforce their biases through the logic of numbers.
“People use networks a lot to discover trends within their community.”
They are increasingly divided into digital tribes. Moreover, the effect of deliberations is diminished because these networks are enriched with emotions through bell, show, pretense, etc. Thinking-enhancing vectors are finding fewer and fewer audiences, which can be seen in the poor quality of discussions…People are using networks much more today to learn about trends within their reference community and how to reflect them themselves.
You emphasize another paradox: in our modern societies, which are often described as being more tolerant of women’s liberation, struggles against racism and so on, bigotry is on the rise. How is this possible?
In the name of multiculturalism, it is now forbidden to attack and discriminate against someone on the basis of their gender, sexual orientation, origin, etc. This is actually great progress. But this does not mean that people are more tolerant than before. Only community identity is respected, not individual identity perceived in the subjective sense of the term. Most people spend their time belittling others, denigrating them, and making fun of people who don’t share their values, worldviews, and ways of dressing.
“Citizenship brings us back to the national community”
Subjectivity poses a threat to the construction of a society’s identity, the strength of its representation in the minds of its members, and thus the efficiency of the rent-collecting system. He should be severely punished. It is a matter of cutting off all prominent heads, and condemning all ideas that are unlike others. To satisfy the mass production of public opinion and submit to the speed of all minds. Belief in the objectivity of group representations and intolerance toward individual singularities are two sides of the same coin.
You explain that we cannot oppose the principle of citizenship to these new forms of participatoryism. why ?
Because citizenship brings us back to national sectarianism. What does it mean to be a citizen of a country? Take advantage of privileges that are not granted to citizens of other countries. We cannot think of the concept of nationalism or sovereignty without introducing the concept of exclusion.
So what could be opposed to communism?
The individual conceived as a subjective being and a community of exchange. True inclusion must be based on exchange because exchange allows for inclusion without exclusion. Now, exchange is necessarily an exchange between subjective beings. When people coexist with one another, and value each other, it is always because of their personal characteristics, and not thanks to collective identities, which are only social constructs and not an epistemological fact.
“A group that includes without exclusion is not called a community, but a community.”
In truth, we do not exchange with a French or Muslim man, but with someone who interests us because of his individual peculiarities. So I would like people to see each other as individuals and not as representatives of society. A group that includes without exception is not called a community, but a community. The latter is thus incompatible with the recognition within it of groups that can be identified by their privileges (formal or informal). It simply consists of individuals whose only relationship style is reciprocity. This only creates mutually beneficial relationships and thus sets the stage for peace.
* Thierry Aymar, Regression society: Sectarianism attacks the individualAube editions, 130 pages, 15 euros