Edoardo Sanguineti (in this case it’s interesting to compare what Wikipedia has to say about him in English, German, and Italian), Italian Poet and Anarchist and since the 1960ies next to Umberto Ecco and Giorgio Manganelli one of the leading Italian intellectuals, in January 2007 during the “Lectio Magistralis” in honor of Pietro Ingrao in Rome’s Sala Refettorio della Camera shocked Italian public saying that a new class hatred is needed and postulated the “end of politeness.” Was it the confused speech of an incurable old communist? Or was it a well calculated attack of one of the leading Intellectuals in front of hundreds of people of Rome’s High Society? In the following I’m citing statements Sanguineti made in Italian media before:
In a world in which 98 per cent of the people live under precarious conditions or in misery real luxury is to still permit oneself to be gentle with the others. No, nowadays we are obliged to be rough in order to make it clear for everybody that we are living in an inhuman world. (il manifesto, 31.03.2006)
The powerful hate the proletarian and the hate has to be returned. class hatred has to be restored in order to regive light to the working class. (il manifesto 07.01.2007)
I certainly don’t want to emphasize a term as “class hatred”, a term which might sound rough, without coming back to the intention the one who coined it had. The intention actually wasn’t mere aggressivity or civil disobedience. On ther contrary it was the knowledge that history was made of class struggle… There’s only one rule: everybody has – in the name of responsibility – to know exactly what he is talking about. To measure the weight of the words one uses because in certain circumstances words actually are stones… It’s very important that the proletarian regains consciousness of himself, also via public demonstrations. Even though no ring-a-ring-o’roses will ever solve the problems. (L’Unità 20.10.2003)
It has been Walter Benjamin who talked about the “philosophical value of class hatred”… Benjamin – as did Antonio Gramsci in Italy – lamented that if the accent is put mechanically (meccanicamente), positivistically on the idea of progress one looses the aspect that the purpose of a policy of “the left” is not prospective felicity but the assertion of former and present injustice in the name of the oppressed class. Hatred is a force.
Q: But who nowadays are “proletarians”?
Sanguineti: Everybody, even you and me. The problem of nowadays proletariat is that it consists of three quarters of the population, but many don’t know this.
(Interview of LA STAMPA 06.01.2007 see the whole interview here. (in Italian))