On calls for collective responsibility

That of “collective responsibility” is a very complex concept and for some reasons also dangerous because it can become a sophisticated weapon to solve with words and propaganda practical and nuanced situations that require the enactment of the first principle of a working society which is to delegate functions. For example, adopting the point of view of collective responsibility as it often happens in these times, we are all responsible for climate change, we are all responsible for violence against women, we are all responsible for the genocide in Palestine, and we are called to answer for this responsibility from the activists of certain groups and in a certain way they are all right. But when does this responsibility end? Does it stop at the urgent, present matters of the moment, or it is a true sense of awareness of the world’s issues? And if it were like this, would we be responsible for homeless people as well? Would we be responsible for all the migrants? For civil war in Congo that finances the smartphone industry? Would we be responsible for mafia killings because we smoke weed? Or of the Amazon deforestation because we consume meat? Are we responsible for building speculations because we accept to pay for overpriced housing in metropolitan areas? Should we be responsible for inflation because we keep buying groceries even though the prices were raised?  Are we responsible for all the violence against LGBT people? Are we responsible for our country’s culture when we don’t read or go to the cinema? Are we responsible for the actors’ strike because we are subscribed to Netflix?

As you can probably notice this level of responsibility is just foolish and it would require a way to put all these issues in a sort of hierarchy, ordered by importance, which would imply more moral problems, but in simple terms a human being like this would end up neurotic, desperate and above all always guilty, no matter the level of involvement: a sort of original sinner. This guilt would not lead to anything good though, like all other emotions of guilt. This is to say that the scope of a movement should not be the whole community of people, but the structures of power and responsibility (political, legislative and military structures) and it is exactly in the strategic book of capitalist politics to move the blame from the power to the community, to “paralyze” all matters and to remove responsibility from power structures, putting them to safety.

How to feel “clean” then with our own interests in a world in which we are responsible for everything? The only way would be that which we see on social media, to participate only in the most urgent, daily matter, the most “visible”, forgetting all of the other “invisible” questiosn”, in a sort of perennial moral performance. But this kind of “soldier”, the occasional soldier, is weak, because he is not skilled in the war he is waging that particular day, it is not his life goal: he won’t achieve change. Our polemic energy, fragmented in hundreds of different questions, is not able to change any of them.

To make all matters equally urgent and to make everyone responsible for them means overloading with moral responsibility a human being, bringing him to inaction, suppression of his individual will and responsibility, and denying him the necessary blindness that is needed to concentrate on our own destiny and on our own “vital matter”, bringing it to its best expression, the only one that can make a difference.

I’ve seen many of these people. I’m sure you have seen them too.