Conference

The politician and philosopher was the guest speaker at the annual conference of Legacy Pasqual Maragall



"The conflict should not be eradicated, because the specificity of pluralist democracies resides precisely in the conflict, what democracy requires is that others are not seen as enemies that must try to destroy, but as adversaries, whose ideas will be fought, but who will never deny the right to defend them." This was said by Chantal Mouffe, a politician and philosopher, and one of the initiators of the post-Marxist current, was invited, who was the guest speaker at the annual legacy of the legacy Pasqual Maragall, organized annually by the Fundació Catalunya Europa with the support of the RBA Foundation in collaboration with the City Council of Barcelona and the Generalitat of Catalonia, and which was celebrated December 13 in the headquarters of the publishing house

Gemma Sendra, president of the Fundació Catalunya Europa, welcomed the event and emphasized the work carried out by the Foundation confronting the academic world with the social world and the political world. On the other hand, the professor of political science at Pompeu Fabra University, Ferran Requejo, introduced Chantal Mouffe and explained the importance of her thesis in the field of political theory. Requejo said that "Mouffe tells us what politics is and how we can think well. Western political tradition thinks politics from the rationalist point of view, but it is not realistic, the passions are there to stay ",added Requejo. According to UPF professor, Mouffe provides another important reflection point about what the policy should be.

The thesis of the philosopher and political scientist Chantal Mouffe revolves around agonistic theory. To understand this concept, dominant political theories of the present moment must be understood. For Mouffe, there is an increasing incapacity to conceive the problems that our society faces in political terms. This reality that she calls "post-politics" leads to a growing disaffection of democratic and liberal institutions, and this is manifested in a decline in electoral participation and, above all, with the attraction exercised by right-wing populist parties that challenge the establishment of politics.

In part, Mouffe attributes this misunderstanding to the analysis that is made of political reality from one of the current theoretical currents, the deliberative democracy, whose objective is the creation of a rational consensus through deliberative procedures In this theoretical framework, those who insist on the importance of the conflict, says Mouffe, are accused of calling into question the very idea of democracy. For the politician this rationalist perception leads to the current displacement of politics in the legal field, considered the right ground for achieving "impartial" decisions. This perspective, in addition, does not easily understand the formation of collective identities and the crucial role of the affective dimension in the collective forms of identification. The denial of the importance of affections leads to impotence and current incapacity to capture the nature and causes of the new phenomenon of right-wing populism that emerges strongly in Europe.

A rationalist perception leads to the current displacement of politics in the legal field

 



Collective identities deal with the creation of an "us", which can only exist if there are "them". This does not mean that this relationship is antagonistic, but there is always the possibility that this relationship between "us" and "them" becomes a relationship of friends and enemies. This happens when the "others", which until then had only been considered different, begin to be perceived as a threat to their own existence. For Mouffe, agonistic theory does not intend to eradicate conflict, necessary on the other hand to democratic societies, but what is required is that others are not seen as enemies that one must destroy, but as adversaries who are 'they have to fight. What is important is that the conflict does not adopt the form of antagonism (confrontation between enemies), but agonism (confrontation between adversaries). The essential difference is that it shares with the adversary a common loyalty of respect for the ethical-political principles of pluralist democracy, essentially freedom and equality, although there can be a dissent in its interpretation. The agonist struggle is, according to Mouffe, the very condition of a living democracy.

Agonism requires that others are not seen as enemies that one must destroy, but as adversaries that must be fought


For the politician, it is the inability of traditional parties to provide different forms of identification regarding possible alternatives, which has created the right ground for the current emergence of right-wing populism. The rightist populist parties have been the only ones who have tried to mobilize passions and create collective forms of identification. To a large extent, their success is that they provide people with an alternative to the system of neoliberal globalization.

In order to prepare an adequate response, it is essential to understand the political and economic conditions that explain the emergence of these parties. To stop the rise of extreme right parties, a properly political and non-moral response must be designed. This political response can only be given through a movement of leftist populism, which unifies all the democratic struggles of post-democracy. The goal of left-wing populism should be to regain democracy to deepen it and expand it, while left-wing populism wants to limit it to a few. It is therefore necessary to establish a chain of equivalences between feminisms, working class, collective LGTBI, always bearing in mind the ecological dimension, which should be at the center of the project of any movement of the left.

The event ended with the intervention of Pau Villoria, on behalf of the Generalitat de Catalunya and a snack for all attendees.