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The competition at the bottom

The precariat consists of people forced into low-paying jobs and temporary employment, and accounts for the biggest change in the labor market in 100 years.


The fragile human being of the precariat is the quintessence of individualistic isolation and disrupted social networks. He has broken all communitarian ties, class ties and solidarity, and devotes himself to the dogma of competitive entrepreneurship. This makes him the enemy of the others who are the same in the exploited position as himself – and who is always ready to congratulate himself if he fails. He is utterly helpless and alone, becoming an instrument in the hands of a monstrous capitalism that has unlimited access to his body and soul, his nests and neurons.


The widespread feeling that the world is not the way it should be, should really be called in as a witness to resurrect the gentle, messianic spirit that Walter Benjamin calls "a point of emotional connection between divisive subjects". Instead, it remains a homeless child, backed by today's political circumstances, because it fails to gain a foothold in the isolated, nomadic and monadic subject. Rather, it takes the form of a "passionate rage", inherited by Antonio Gramsci.

The great classrooms that gave voice to the servant's most oppositional utterances now seem to have disappeared into the river of time, hidden as sediments in the meander of oblivion. With them, political and social movements have been dissolved, along with concepts that were once guiding: class solidarity, conflict with the dominions, concerted protests against resignations, organized strikes, the targeted quest for absentee dignity. Where such a situation occurs, the worker's precarious position is often presented as a narrative innenfor the framework of the aforementioned terms, either in an individualized form – an individual who complains of burdensome flexibility requirements – or as a passive class, ie a victim (for exchange) that cannot be removed by the precarious partners, no matter what the situation conscious.

As an example of the runaway pre-war, on a planetary scale, here I just want to remind you of Amazon and Foodora. They are examples of contracted precarization.


With reference to the vulnerable and precarious, Marx says in his text The miserable position of philosophy that the proletarians are "unable to see anything but misery in poverty" – until the possibility of a revolutionary upheaval appears.

That the wailing of individuals often drowns out the rebellion of an organized political subject is nevertheless not only negative: it carries, like a seed, the spark of a critical consciousness – one that does not fit into this distorted world that tries to present itself as natural. 

Translated by Anders  Dunker.
Fusaro is a philosopher and teacher at ISSAP in Milan, and runs the website He is now a regular columnist in Ny Tid.

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