We talk about everything except work: at the Festival of Despair it is one of the most important themes

The umpteenth, specious government crisis has all the characteristics of a settling of scores, indifferent to the fate of the country. But, beyond the opinions on Mario Draghi and Giuseppe Conte, there is a dramatic and undeniable fact that marks a tragicomic distance of the parliamentary class from civil society. In the daily controversies, in the headlines, in the mellifluous or vitriolic declarations of the political exponents of the last few years, everything has been talked about (elegant dinners, privacy, immigrants, same-sex marriages, vaccines, pandemic management, balance of the majority, changes of shirts continuous, asterisks and elimination of the national team), except for the big absentee: the job.

We live in an economic crisis perennial for fourteen years, made even more dramatic by the two-year pandemic. Capitalism is evidently imploding and folding in on itself, yet no political force from the right or from the center (the left in fact does not exist) talks about work. The situation is desperate.

It is no coincidence that the work will be one of the important themes of the sixth edition of Festival of Despair which is taking place in Andria until July 27th. A festival that hosts some of the most prominent names in the contemporary philosophical panorama such as Ilaria Gaspari and the couple from Tlon, Maura Gancitano and Andrea Colamedici, volcanic intellectuals such as Guido Vitiello, brilliant artists such as Ivan Talarico (all figures I have already talked about on these columns); in addition, the program presents interventions that promise to be very interesting such as that of Alessandro Paolucci on drug experiments by figures such as Walter Benjamin and Ernst Jünger, but above all, as regards the theme introduced, it addresses the theme of work through the words of the writer Luciano Bianciardi.

Actor Vittorio Continelli, in fact, will try his hand at a reading with an ironic title: “They don’t pay me enough to read Pasolini, settle for Bianciardi”. Luciano Bianciardi was among the first writers to guess, precisely in the years of the economic boom, the dangerous slope of the dominant capitalist mentality. In his most famous book, The bitter life (which will inspire the homonymous film by Carlo Lizzani with Ugo Tognazzi), with a dry and effective style at the service of a ruthless realism, Bianciardi had denounced the smiling hypocrisy of well-being in the post-war period, focusing not only on deaths from accidents on the work, but also on the consequences of consumerism on the value of human relationships.

Here, among many, is one of the most prophetic reflections taken from Bianciardi’s book on the self-destructive spiral of consumerism:

Gross and net production, cumulative and per capita national income, absolute and relative employment, the number of cars in circulation and household appliances in operation, the rate of call girls, hourly wages, tram tickets and the total number of vehicles circulating on said vehicle, the consumption of poultry, the discount rate, the average age, the average height, the average valetudinary age, the average productivity and the hourly average at the Giro d’Italia. Everything in the medium has increased, they say happy. And those who deny it, however, also propose them to increase, and not to talk, the middle school; the average tax rate, middle school and middle classes. They will raise needs never felt before. Anyone who does not have a car will have it, and then we will give two per family, and then one each, we will also give each one a television, two televisions, two refrigerators, two automatic washing machines, three radios, the electric razor, the bathroom scale, hairdryer, bidet and hot water. To everyone. As long as everyone works, as long as they are ready to walk around, to make dust, to stamp their feet, to fiddle with each other from morning to evening. I object.

An author to reread, whose words resonate as a warning even more peremptory today that we are in the decreasing curve of that socio-economic phenomenon he described.

We are also very pleased to report how the Desperation Festival will conclude this edition with the show of the Teatro Koreja company, written by Gianluigi Gherzi and Fabrizio Saccomanno – previewed at the Salone Off in Turin on the occasion of the International Book Fair – Alessandro, A song for the life and works of Alessandro Leogrande: a dedication to one of the greatest intellectuals of my generationwho passed away too soon, and I strongly advise you to urgently recover the works and interventions.

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