‘Un pobre diablo’: Schmitt sobre Maquiavelo. (Gerardo Muñoz)

En el libro Lo sguardo di Giano: Saggi su Carl Schmitt, de próxima aparición al inglés y desglosado minuciosamente hace ya varias semanas por Alberto Moreiras, Carlo Galli analiza con lucidez las diferencias entre Carl Schmitt y el autor de Il Principe. Es curioso, como hace notar Galli, que un autor que se pudiera equiparar rápidamente con el llamado “realismo político” figure con tan poca frecuencia en la obra de Schmitt, y lo que es más, termine por generar un llamativo silencio a lo largo de la obra producida tras la segunda guerra mundial; es decir, aquella que asociamos con el viraje de los discursos de la soberanía y el katechon hacia la indagación global del nomos de la tierra y las formas de preservar el ius publicum europaeum. En efecto, tal y como sugiere Galli, en Schmitt habrían dos Maquiavelo paralelos, lo cual supone desde ya lo que pudiéramos llamar la “aporía maquiavélica” en el pensamiento schmittiano.

En primer lugar, un temprano Schmitt vincularía a Maquiavelo a un pontífice de la “tecnificación de la política”, y así uno de los responsables del devenir moderno de la política como actividad íntegramente inmanente (al igual que Spinoza). Como ideológico de los fines políticos, la instrumentalización de la religión del florentino le parece a Schmitt consagrar el vaciamiento mismo de la legitimidad de lo moderno, y en tanto tal, la raíz de la perseverancia del nihilismo como forma de la historicidad epocal que culminaba en el pensamiento de Nietzsche (Galli hace notar, sin abundar mucho en el nexo, la manera en que Maquiavelo aparece repetidamente homologado a Nietzsche). Maquiavelo se ubica en una exterioridad de toda teología política desde el momento en que ésta se asume como artificio de la hegemonía. Al decir de Galli:

“Schmitt lee El Príncipe como un tratado acerca de las dificultades que encuentra el “Príncipe nuevo”, una vez terminada la continuidad de la tradición monárquica, para gobernar en una situación ilegitima. …Por lo tanto Schmitt encuentra en Maquiavelo a un pensador que ha comprendido la crisis epocal que da origen a la modernidad, haciendo de todo poder un poder necesariamente ilegitimo”.

El otro Maquiavelo le ofrece a Schmitt un reverso de aquel signado por la técnica del fundamento político de mando en el vacío de la legitimidad. Es así donde, a partir de los treinta, Schmitt modifica su lectura hacia un Maquiavelo, a la manera del Althusser de la “ausencia determinada”, ahora abierto a lo político como contingencia y a la potestas directa que incide en la apertura situacional más allá de la armadura legalista de normas genéricas erigidas por el derecho positivista. Leído desde El concepto de lo político, Galli propone que el Schmitt de “La era de la política integral” (conferencia leída en la Roma de 1936), y del previo opúsculo “Macchiaveli” (1927) publicado en el Kolnishe Zeitung, reconstruye al pensador renacentista como uno de los precursores de la figura del Estado como aparato katechontico de la Modernidad, capaz de dar forma (gestalt) al nihilismo moderno impulsado ya sea por la crisis de la legitimidad tras la destrucción del complexio oppositorum de la autoridad papal, así como por el triunfo economicista del liberalismo europeo.

Lo que está en juego entonces para Schmitt (como autoridad ante el conflicto), así como para Althusser (para repensar la lucha de clases en tanto el desarrollo desigual y combinado), no es solo la relación Maquiavelo-Modernidad, sino Maquiavelo como la posibilidad de repensar al Estado como dispositivo que, internamente, fuera capaz de mediar entre el sistema categorial moderno y la concreción de lo político como lugar de arbitraje del conflicto. En este sentido, no es casual que Galli cite a Schmitt y recuerde que para el autor de Romanticismo Político “Maquiavelo era un pobre diablo” (ein armer Teufel); expresión no del todo feliz si recordamos, siguiendo a Heinrich Meier (The Lesson of Carl Schmitt) y más recientemente a José Luis Villacañas*, que justamente el último Schmitt de Glossarium, explicaba la aparición de Hitler como figuración del diablo en el intento de dar-forma (Gestalt) a lo político. Así, Maquiavelo significó para Schmitt el representante límite, me gustaría sugerir, de la substancialización de la política que siempre lleva consigo la traza de su destrucción. Como en el póstumo Machiavel et nous de Louis Althusser, aunque por otras muy distintas vías, la lectura de Schmitt sobre Maquiavelo vía Galli dan cuenta de la necesidad de transformar la política hacia otra parte luego de su caída en el origen mismo del republicanismo renacentista en que se quiere pasar a la unificación bajo el arche (la Monarquía).

Tras la publicación del ensayo sobre el tropo del Leviatán en Hobbes, Schmitt vuelve a su posición originaria en torno a Maquiavelo, puesto que ya ni la idea de Estado Total (tesis que le habría traído problemas con los propios ideólogos del Nacional Socialismo) resulta convincente como katechon de lo moderno. Más allá del “concepto de lo político”, Maquiavelo prescindía de un concepto jurídico de la soberanía, y por lo tanto de la excepción decisionista, lo cual ahora parecía mucho menos útil que la máquina inoperante y mortal (el Leviatán) desde la cual Hobbes intentó responder a las aporías de la legitimidad moderna polarizadas entre soberanía y biopolitica, entre autoridad y obediencia voluntaria (auctoritas non veritas facit legem). Aparece así, nos dice Galli, un “Maquiavelo demasiado humano” incapaz de haber imaginado la insuficiencia de la máquina-Estado (Hobbes) a partir del diseño de la “política como energía” (virtud).

Sin querer homologarlas, ni mucho menos pretender establecer una equivalencia mutua, el descubrimiento de la insuficiencia de Maquiavelo para Schmitt tiene resonancias con el reverso de otras de sus importantes lecturas, ya aludidas, durante la segunda mitad del siglo veinte: me refiero, a aquella llevada a cabo por Althusser, quien reconstruye un Maquiavelo de la práctica teórica concreta, expuesto al momento aleatorio, cuyo vacío signa el momento inicial de la forma política sin principios.

Por lo que el regreso a Maquiavelo, en ambos, explicita la destrucción de una cierta política de la afirmación, y el comienzo de un pensamiento “infrapolítico” y situacional donde la pregunta por los comienzos deviene inherente al interregno contemporáneo ya marcado no solo por las transformaciones fácticas de la política internacional, sino por el derrumbe abismal de sus matrices categoriales. Maquiavelo es ahí el síntoma de una promesa a encarar el nihilismo que se abre como sombra de lo moderno.

Nota:

*José Luis Villacañas estudia la relación entre la concepción del genio y la forma (gestalt) en Schmitt en una reciente intervención “Carl Schmitt: una autocrítica”, leída en el marco de la conferencia “Literatura / Posthegemonia / Infrapolitica”, Universidad Complutense, 16-18 de Junio, 2014.

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Althusser’s Machiavelli, 2. (Alberto Moreiras)

First of all, do take a look at Jon Beasley-Murray’s previous blog on Althusser’s Machiavelli: http://posthegemony.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/machiavelli-and-us/.  What follows, and what antecedes in my previous post, are just an elaboration of it.

In “La récurrence du vide chez Louis Althusser,” another essay published as an appendix to the book edition in French of Machiavel et nous, Francois Matheron quotes a private communication from Althusser to some of his friends: “It so happens we have a certain number of definite means that we are the only ones to have. It just happens that, as a function of this transitory privilege, we are the only ones that can occupy, and that occupy, an empty space: the space of Marxist-Leninist theory, and more particularly the place of Marxist-Leninist philosophy” (224-25).   It is an intriguing text, where Althusser is saying “we are here, we might as well use it.”   Or even: “we are here. We must use it. If not us, then who?” Which means that the space Althusser and his friends occupy is the mere occasion to launch the possibility of a beginning, of a political beginning.   The occasion binds the political agent to the very extent that the political agent is only an agent seeking an occasion. It is a structural place, in the sense that it is a particular site within the general structure, but it is more than anything a conjunctural place.   From which to make a leap, were it the case that Fortune helped.   In the meantime, one is not in politics, but preparing for politics. Preparing the necessary virtue. Thinking under the conjuncture. Waiting in active waiting.

This means, a political objective must be in place, which we need to understand under the figure of “determinate absence” (Machiavel 137).   It is not there, or rather, it is there but under the form of a void that must be filled.   And it will only be filled if an encounter were to happen that cannot be anticipated, only desired.   A political act is always an absolute beginning because its event is aleatory.

Althusser and his friends are therefore preparing themselves to take on the role of the New Prince, which they understand can only happen from within the Party.   The Party is seen as a necessary part of the conjuncture, as a necessary part of political virtue, but also as a necessary part of historical Fortune. In the name of a political objective, which is no longer, for Althusser and his friends, the constitution of a lasting national State, but rather the constitution of the state of communism. This complicates the notion of “determinate absence.” For Machiavelli, the determinate absence could only be filled by the absolute solitude of the New Prince.   But the absolute solitude of the Prince can hardly be translated to the solitude of the Party.   There is no solitude to the Party, witness Althusser’s own words to his friends.

Althusser has of course denied that Machiavelli must be understood as a democratic republican, and even more so that he has any secret or esoteric intentions.   Everything is out in the open if one cares to understand The Prince in the context of the Discourses.   What is at stake is the creation of a new political space, a lasting national Italian space, without tyranny, with laws that can protect the people. Against whom? Not just against foreign agents, but particularly against the grossi, the dominant class.   The dominant class is characterized by its desire to command, by its desire to oppress. The small people, the people as such, only care about their own safety. Freedom is for them freedom from oppression.   If the Prince must on occasion act as a scoundrel, well, it can be forgiven if it is done for the sake of a lasting national constitution without tyranny.   But it won’t be forgiven if it results in tyranny.

The solitude of the Prince is then compensated, at a second or later moment, by the Prince becoming the people.   This is the politics of the day-after, in other words, not the politics of the act of political irruption, not the politics of the aleatory encounter that might enable a change in the coordinates of the situation, even an impossible change (a change that only becomes possible after it happens, but could not have been predicted).   One supposes the Party must follow a similar course, since the Party is the new Prince. The Party must become the people, even if only after power has been taken, that is, starting the day after. This might be the task prospectively self-assigned to Marxist-Leninist philosophy and his agents, Althusser and his friends.  Discussing this, still allegorically, still in the name of an exegesis of Machiavelli´s work, is presumably the object of the last extant chapter in Machiavel et nous (which we know was left unfinished).

It has to do with the development of the Marxist State apparatus, and Althusser’s first interest is then showing the similarity between Machiavelli’s take and the Marxist one. For Althusser, Machiavelli would already be signaling in the direction of Gramsci’s definition of the state, “une hégémonie (consentement) bardée de coercition (force)” (147). Beasley-Murray is right, in his blog entry mentioned above, that what follows is a fundamental endorsement of hegemony theory through the analysis of the Machiavellian popular army, the function of base ideologies (religion) and secondary ideologies, and particularly of the Prince as state individual.

And it is in the analysis of the latter that a curious contradiction comes up. The Prince must “become the people,” but it turns out to be a fake becoming.   The Prince is before all, through his or her very virtue, a master of what Kant would have called radical evil, that is, a master at making political appearances look like righteous behavior. It is always a matter of fooling the people, then, either with the truth, that is, by conforming to the ideology that supports the state (religion, laws), or with a falsity meant to appear as a truth. That is, even the Prince’s righteous behavior appears as a form of deceit, once it is accepted that the capability of becoming evil is also proper to the Prince. Because the people, il volgo, want to be content, the Prince must do everything he or she can to keep them ideologically content—and this is of course the limit of the hegemonic model Althusser establishes Machiavelli proposes, and Althusser seems to sanction.   “Parmi tous les tromperies possibles, il en est une qui intéresse le Prince: la tromperie par excellence, celle qui présente aux hommes l’apparence mëme en laquelle ils croient, qu’ils se reconnaissent, oú ils se reconnaissent, disons oú leur idéologies se reconnaït en eux, celle des lois morales et religieuses” (169).

The fakely-becoming-people of the Prince is never addressed as such except as a political necessity.   But it marks a gap, or a “vide,” to use one of Althusser’s favorite words, in the very conception of politics proposed. Politics takes absolute priority, for the sake of its end, true (Althusser has argued earlier that the prevalence of the end makes Machiavelli´s theory anything but a form of pragmatism: “only results count, but it is only the end that judges the results that count” [161]), except that the end, politically speaking, is the necessary becoming people of the Prince, which is barred through the essential falsity of the Prince’s political action. When we transpose this situation to the actions of the Party, either before or after it takes power, we can see how unsatisfactory the theory becomes.   Just as unsatisfactory as the history we know.   If, as Althusser puts it, the Prince looks, not for the love, but for the “friendship” of the people (172), even as State individual, then the friendship gained in the political game remains a function not just of consent and coercion, but of duped concern sustained in the violence of the constant ruse (in addition to coercion based on force).   Bad friendship, which may be all hegemony can offer at best. Althusser calls it “ideological politics” (173).

It is clear that Althusser’s text does not manage to resolve the tension between politics as aleatory encounter, as the virtuous ability to seize the unforeseeable conjuncture and to keep itself within the rigor of the unforeseeable, and the hegemonic politics of the day-after, which are no longer aleatory politics, but a politics determined to gain and accumulate at the cost of perfectly foreseeable and presumably systematically organized state duping.   Critics have become accustomed to accepting something like two Althussers that can find no common ground. Beasley-Murray associates posthegemony to the Althusser of the encounter, to the extent that the notion of the aleatory encounter as master trope of political action excludes and must even denounce hegemonic procedures of constitution.

But does infrapolitics figure here?  Clearly, Althusser’s intent, whether it is the first or the other Althusser, is to theorize the political as such.   That it is an insufficient and broken theorization (and I do recommend Francois Matheron’s “’Des problèmes qu’il faudra bien appeler d’un autre nom et peut-ëtre politique’”), that politics ends up offering a disappointing result, may point the way towards the need for infrapolitical reflection.   So far we can only see it in the definition of il volgo as those who do not have the desire to command and opress but would rather be left alone in their everyday life, would rather reject the false friendship of the Prince who prides herself or himself in her or his capability for evil and ruses.

If we may understand infrapolitics as the region of historical facticity, the factical opening of historical space, that is, of spatial temporality for a life, for any life, infrapolitical reflection is first of all a destruction of political inconsistency, which ceaselessly hijacks both time and space (it is not only that, as Marx puts it in the Grundrisse, all economy is an economy of time, but all politics are equally a politics of time). It is as a destroyer of political inconsistency, which may be politics’ only consistency, that Althusser’s essay on Machiavelli may be claimed to be part of the infrapolitical archive.   When it comes to infrapolitics, perhaps the people will decide that they have better things to do than to prepare for politics, than to wait in active waiting for an event of beginning.   Perhaps, after all, thinking under the conjuncture may enable us to dismiss the conjuncture, and to look for something else.