Encountering Anti-Emancipatory Forces
Any situation in which one person objectively exploits another person hinders the human pursuit of self-affirmation and self-determination as a mature and responsible person. It constitutes a form of direct, indirect and structural violence, even when domination is sugar-coated by a pretended generosity, aid-giving, charity, paternalisation, or corporate philanthropy. Any domination interferes with the moral-philosophical ability of human beings to be fully human. The pure set-up of domination already establishes violence in some form. Hardly ever in human history has cruelty and bloodshed been initiated by those seeking emancipation. How could they have ever been the initiators of aggression and brutality? Perhaps it occurred in very rare cases where they themselves have been products of violence and have failed to reflect on what had been done to them. Once human beings start to reflect on the existence of domination and violence, they begin to overcome the pathologies that have been loaded onto them by their masters. Oppression and domination would have never existed if there were no preceding conditions of violence that allowed subjugation to flourish.
Typically, violence and brutality during the course of history have been instigated by those cementing domination, those exploiting, and those
© The Author(s) 2017 T. Klikauer, Management Education, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-40778-4_3
failing to recognise Hegel’s “other” on a reciprocal, mutually engaging, equal, and recognitive level. It has almost never been the fully recognised who have caused disaffection but those who have been derecognised and forced to only recognise themselves—the atomistic individuals Durkheim has analysed so brilliantly. Throughout history, the initiators of terror were almost never the helpless, the ones subjected to institutional terror by those in positions of domination. The terrorisation of others came from those who terrorise, those in positions of domination, and those sustaining exploitative relationships. As a rejection to that terror, those subjugated have—at times—sought to fight back by using violent means. But this has not occurred as a rejection of life born in resentment (Nietzsche) but out of a drive towards humanisation. Hegel’s slave uses violence for emancipation, his master out of resentment and to sustain domination.
As a consequence, the dominated, the subjugated, and the tyrannised have never been the source of despotism, brutality, tyranny, and violence. Instead, it was the resentful tyrant who initiated hatred, violence, and death. Not those who have been denied humanity but those who deny it have been the cause of violence. And by doing so, they have almost always negated their own humanity as well. Auschwitz commandant SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer Rudolf Hoss as well as Abu Ghraib torturer Lynndie Rana England negated, at the very least, their own humanity.1 Brutality has rarely been applied by those made weak through domination but by the strong who have sought to make them helpless and powerless. For those who further domination, however, it has always been those seeking emancipation, those they never call human but are given ID- and prisoner numbers and are defamed as
• human resources, rabble, underclass, job seekers, welfare cheats, “those
people”, savages, brutes, natives, subservants, underlings, and
who have been made disaffected and labelled violent, barbaric, wicked, evil, ferocious, and even terrorists. All these labels are applied to those who are forced into subjugation through domination and who dare to react to the structural or other violence engineered by those cementing domination.
Yet, and this might indeed appear to be somewhat paradoxical, it is precisely in the response by those seeking emancipation to the violence that a gesture of humanity may be found.2 Consciously, or perhaps even unconsciously, a simple act of subversion carried out by those seeking emancipation can already initiate humanity. But typically, the violence used by those sustaining domination prevents those seeking emancipation from being fully human. Set against that might also be a response to the violence enshrined in domination that is indeed grounded in a natural yearning for humanity. But as long as those advancing domination dehumanise others and violate their humanity, they themselves become dehumanised. The torturer can never be free of the torture he inflicts.3 But when those seeking emancipation fight to be human by taking away the dominator’s power to dominate, they remain the only source that can restore humanity, convert domination, and also free those who sustain domination.
Yet the latter also remains a domineering class and as long as they are asphyxiated in their structures of domination, they can never free others or themselves. As a consequence, it remains imperative that those seeking emancipation wage the battle to resolve the contradictions that come with domination and in which both—dominated and dominator—are forced to exist. There is hope that most, if not all, contradictions can be resolved by the forces of emancipated human beings dedicated to humanity and against domination and violence.4 This remains the task of emancipatory education. But if the goal of emancipatory education is to enable people to become fully human, it will never achieve this goal by merely reversing the terms of domination. By simply changing “A^to^B” or “B^to^A” domination will not end.
While this may appear rather simplistic, it actually is not because it is not a horizontal “A^to^B” exchange but a vertical—qualitative—one that eliminates domination altogether. The solution depends on the departure of those who spread domination as a dominant class in business, education, and society. However, the restraints imposed by those cementing domination still seek to assure that the dominated can hardly reassume a position of humanity. Meanwhile, all too many acts that maintain domination prevent people from being more fully human, keeping them asphyxiated in domineering personal relationships, facing an authoritarian teacher, a bossy boss, and so on. Unfortunately, the restraints do not “in-themselves” indicate that the dominated will automatically be emancipated. Perhaps even more unfortunate is the potential danger that there might be a moment when even well-crafted emancipatory structures might solidify into a new form of dominating bureaucracy. With that, the humanist dimension would be lost and we could no longer speak of emancipation.
There must be an insistence to find an authentic emancipatory solution “for” those furthering domination. A simple reversal of positions can never end contradictions. Emancipation is not about moving from one pole to the other. Nor does it rest on—as hallucinogenic reformers believe—a reformatory replacement of those furthering domination with new ones, as they will continue to subjugate those seeking emancipation, albeit in the name of social appeasement, soft-paternalism, consum- erist advancements, social democracy, third ways, better management, enlightened bureaucracies, charity, and faked compassion.5
But even when contradictions of domination are finally resolved, authentically establishing an emancipatory situation through the genuine liberation of those who were dominated, those who have always furthered domination might not feel liberated at all. On the contrary, they might consider themselves to be oppressed once their privileges and powers have disappeared. Conditioned by decades of oppressing others, any situation other than their former might appear to them as a “new” form of domination. For decades, the privileged were able to consume, eat, dress, be educated, have access to global first-class air travel, and listen to Bach and Beethoven concerts while millions did not eat, had no clothes, and could never study nor travel.
Any restriction on their privileged way of luxury and extravagance— even in the name of humanity, the moral rights of the community of victims—appears to them as a profound violation of their highly individualistic “rights” (!) to luxurious consumption. And this might be so even though they never had any thought—bar respect—for the millions who suffered in “goods-supplying” sweatshops with no access to medicine and suffering or even dying of starvation, malnutrition, and undernourishment whilst being confined to living in pain, sorrow, and despair.6 Meanwhile, for those sustaining domination, the term “human being” almost exclusively only ever refers to themselves. Other people are things, assets, chattel, labourers, underlings, servants, human resources, or simply numbers in the infamous headcount. For those furthering domination, there exists only one right: their right to live lustrous and with privileges over and above the rights of humanity and the protection of the common global environment.7 They will only ever make minor concessions because having servants and human resources at their disposal remains indispensable for their existence and privilege.
The behaviours and ways of understanding the world and people will necessarily make those cementing domination resist emancipation. This resistance can be explained by their experience of inventing, using, and relying on domination as a dominant class. Once a situation of domination has been established, it shapes an entire way of life and behaviour for those caught up in it and impacts on those who cement domination as well as on those who seek emancipation. Both are submerged in domination and structured violence while they also bear the scars of domination. The situation of domination reveals that their inception rests on acts of brutality, which are always initiated by those with the power to create and maintain domination. Their inhumanity becomes a process that is perpetuated and often passed on from one generation to the next. Those who become the heirs are shaped in the climate of domination. It is this domineering climate that generates and regenerates those cementing domination with a strong conviction of owning the world and the people in it.8
Apart from direct, corporate, and material ownership of the world and the people in it, those cementing domination hardly ever understand these processes. They cannot exist without ownership but have lost contact with the world the moment they started to own or believed to own it.9 Those who further the attitudes of ownership, private property, and domination tend to transform everything surrounding them into objects of ownership and domination. This is the “thing”-thinking or the “thingification-of-everything”—a turning of everything and anything into a thing as a possession to be dominated. The earth, animals, water, real estate, property, education, production, people as human resources, even time—everything is reduced to the status of a mere object at the disposal of those with privileges that advance domination. In their unrestrained eagerness to possess, dominate, and own, those who further domination develop a conviction that it is possible for them to transform everything into objects of their purchasing power. Their strictly commodity-driven, consumerist, and hyper-materialistic concepts of existence are found in ideologies such as the following:
“Everyone and everything has its price”
“everything is for sale”, and “the privatisation of everything”.
Protagoras’ (490-420 BC) moral-philosophical concept of “man is the measure of all things” is converted into “money is the measure of all things” with fallacies such as eternal growth, endless resource extraction, the commercialisation of the natural environment, and profits as primary goals of a world turned into a business transaction. For those who further domination only having more is worthwhile—even at the cost of environmental destruction. Their counterparts are despised as the “have- nots”. For the privileged few to be is to have, to possess, to own, and to dominate, as well as to remain part of the “having” class rather than being part of the billions of “have-not-so-muchs” or “have-nots”.
As beneficiaries of global domination, those who cement it can never comprehend that if having is a condition of being, it is a necessary condition for all humanity—not just the privileged few. This is why their generosity, charity, aid programmes, and philanthropy remain false and hypocritical. To them, humanity remains their exclusive right, seen as their inherited and inherent right and property. Seeking humanisation and emancipation of all “others”—of people and nature—appears to them as subversion or an act of terrorism. And typically, those furthering domination do not perceive their monopoly over education or their ownership of substantial privileges and definitional media powers over public knowledge as a problem. The means to enforce domination often occur through what French philosopher Louis Althusser (1918-1990) calls the ideological apparatus. The combination of the
• ideological media apparatus: corporate mass media (NewsCorp, Fox
News, CNN, tabloid-TV, and tabloid-newspapers, etc.), and the
• ideological business apparatus : the ideology of neo-liberalism and Managerialism but also managerial regimes, human resource management, global corporations, business, corporate lobbying, think tanks, and so on
has the power to dehumanise people at a global level while camouflaging the contradictions of capitalism.10 With the level of global reach achieved, they can never see that in their hallucinogenic idea of homo economicus lies the deeply egoistic pursuit of having, owning, and domineering that defines their rather possessive socio-economic class. They no longer just “are”—as being able to “be”—in order to be human. Instead, they merely own, have, and dominate. To the owning class and its servants in the managerial elite—CEOs, top managers, and so on—the right to own and have more is inalienable. It seems as if this is almost the only right that counts. While being rather doubtful, this “right” remains one that they acquired or inherited and, according to their own ideology, mostly through their own effort with their courage to be entrepreneurial and take risks, even though most wealth in today’s world is simply inherited and risks are offloaded onto others under what economics calls “externalities”.
All this has never hindered the eternal drive to more growth, owning more, and dominating more. This ideology continues with the self-belief that if others do not have more, it is because they are hopeless, incompetent, idle, and lazy. Yet worst of all is the business elite’s unjustifiable and ideological self-belief in the thanklessness towards their generous gesture, charity, and philanthropy, handed out to the dominated class, the dispossessed, and the homeless. It is precisely because the dominated are seen as ungrateful, resentful, and envious that those seeking emancipation are regarded as potential enemies who must be watched, monitored, controlled, supervised, and administered. It is for them—not the pacified majority asphyxiated by hegemonic ideology and crypto-satisfied by petit bourgeois consumerism—that the Benthamian and Foucaultian panoptical surveillance exists at all.11
If the humanisation of those seeking emancipation is framed as subversion, so is their quest for human freedom. And indeed, to those seeking to cement domination, these moves are deeply subversive as they challenge the latter’s self-invented entitlement to dominate others.
As a consequence, there is a need for relentless surveillance and control. Their relationships are not linear because the more those who further domination control those who seek emancipation, the more they change them into apparently inanimate things, unruly elements, and subversives and the more the world becomes a global panopticon of mass surveillance and ideological mass deception whilst the people in it become dehumanised “things” to be administered, managed, controlled, and supervised. With the quest for emancipation comes the brutal fight of those who live and breathe domination. The tendency of those cementing domination renders everything and everyone they encounter dull and lifeless—an item or object to be managed and supervised. But it goes even further. The eagerness to control, own, possess, restrain, manage, and rule unquestionably corresponds to a socio-pathological tendency to sadism.12
Social pathologies such as sadism can indeed be seen as forms of perverted worshipping, recognising death rather than life. Thus, one of the characteristics of those furthering domination is their necrophilic view of the world.13 The concept of “necrocapitalism” enters the scene because it shows how capitalist profit-making, and corporate violence and death are intertwined, to say the least.14 During the course of exposed examples of necrocapitalism remains the tobacco industry killing roughly 100 million of its customers during the cause of the twentieth century.15 Management training furthering domination tends to eliminate this fact in favour of designing training modules and case studies on, for example, company strategy, marketing successes, supply chain management, and so on16— anything but the corporate genocide of millions.
Meanwhile, in order to maintain domination, those who further it also seek to annihilate the inquisitive and creative powers that characterise human life. Today, even science, education, and technology are converted into ideologies as unquestionable instruments for the purpose of enhancing domination in order to maintain a domineering social order through ideological manipulation and even physical repression.17 In this scenario, those seeking emancipation remain mere objects, servants, and human resources who have almost no purposes except for those “pre”scribed to them by those cementing domination.
All this leads to yet another important issue. It is the very real possibility that certain members of the class that promote domination might start joining the enlightened community of those seeking emancipation in their struggle for humanity. These enlightened people often act because they realise that a humanised world can never be achieved without ending suffering, violence, and domination. Many recognise that true humanity and the humanisation of the world can only ever be achieved “with” people—never “for” people, “never without” people, and definitely never “against” people. This has been seen throughout the history of struggles against domination and, at least historically, has often played an elementary role. But when the members of the domineering class, who play their assigned roles of being supervisors, exploiters, and controllers, stop being no more than numb beneficiaries of exploitation while moving to the side of the still dominated, they almost always carry with them the signs and scars of their origin. Their engrained prejudices and deformations often include a distinctive lack of self-esteem, habitually found in an inability to think autonomously and beyond present structures of domination. It is for this reason that they continuously run the danger of falling back into outright resentment and types of faked charity, generosity, and philanthropy that might just be as destructive as the controlling powers of the domineering elites. The faked generosity and simulated kindness of those furthering domination is always nurtured by their unjust order of domination—a subjugating order that, in their eyes, must be maintained in order to legitimise their compassion and generosity.
Those who might have truly converted to the cause of emancipation might sincerely and authentically desire to transform the unjust order of domination. Some privileged tend to believe that they must be the executors of a reformist move from domination to emancipation and call for “reform”. But under the ideological guidance of neo-liberalism even “reform” has been used against “those to be reformed”. From their privileged position of being above, the “reformers” tend to talk about “the need for reforms” and “the people” yet they never trust them. Trusting the emancipatory potential of people remains one of the most vital preconditions for substantive—not reformist and cosmetic—change. Hence, the crucial task remains: How to separate the simulated converts from real emancipators? Perhaps a person truly engaged in emancipation might be identified by a fundamental trust in the emancipatory potentials of people rather than by actions “for” people. Emancipation can never come without trust in the emancipatory potentials of people.
Meanwhile, those who dependably commit themselves to the human ability to develop emancipatory potentials are asked to re-evaluate themselves constantly in the light of the “domination^to^emancipation” trajectory. It is imperative to note that the “domination^to^emancipation” conversion remains highly crucial and does not allow for hesitant, wavering, volatile, or ambivalent behaviours. To affirm a serious commitment to emancipation, one might consider oneself to be somewhat of a proprietor of critical emancipatory wisdom that can never be given to people or being imposed on others. Those joining emancipation can no longer retain the old ways of domination under the guise of reformistic quasi-emancipation. As a consequence, anyone showing confidence in the cause of emancipation will remain unable to fully enter into the community of emancipation unless acknowledging the norm setting powers of Dussel’s “community of victims”. It is this community that has, in a process of critical self-reflection, set out parameters for emancipation. But when those moving from domination to emancipation still approach a community with apprehension, unease and distrust at each step they take along the way to full emancipation, they may not be able to join such a community. When they continue to doubt what they express and remain fearful towards each suggestion the community offers, when they still attempt to impose their status on others, they seem to be asphyxiated in their nostalgic origins.
Quite often the “domination^to^emancipation” move requires somewhat of a rather profound “rebirth”. Those who undergo it must take on a new form of existence. They can no longer remain the “Willing Executors” of domination. Only through a conscious affiliation with emancipation can they understand the characteristic ways of ethical living. This demands an awareness of a wide range of diverse reflections on structures of anti-domination. One of the key characteristics is a dichotomy of those seeking emancipation set against those asphyxiated in domination. In other words, new images—such as that of emancipation—have to be internalised. Equally, it is not until they “excavate” their buried immoral consciousness that those who previously supported domination can turn towards their own consciousness. Only then can they overcome the fatalistic attitudes of domination. Even a manager trained in enforcing domination can begin to feel the courage to overcome a dependence on structures of domination once he realises that he—himself—was made dependent on domination. Until then, he will still go along with the domination enforcing attitudes of his superiors, believing in myths such as the following:
“What can I do? I’m only a manager.”
When superficially analysed, this sort of rather common defeatism is sometimes interpreted as submissiveness and pacification. In the ideological arsenal of domination, this has quite often been linked to a so-called national character—in whatever nation it might be!18 Meanwhile, despair and fatalism in the guise of manageability is harvested from a historical and socio-economical ideology planted by those cementing domination. It is not, and has never been, an essential human characteristic of people but is almost always related to the power of domination and ideologies such as destiny, fate, nation, and fortune. This inevitably strengthens fatalistic and paternalistic perceptions—a distorted view of reality. Under the sway of managerial ideologies and “free market” mythologies, those cementing domination—especially business managers—remain submerged in what is falsely called “human nature”.19 They remain unable to move towards emancipation while harvesting the fruits of exploitation ideologically framed as “organisational objectives”. In the religious-ideological mindset, domination and exploitation are presented as “The Will of the Lord”. Just as when Goldman Sachs CEO—Lloyd Blankfein—claims:20
“I’m doing God’s Work”
This is driven by a hallucinogenic self-delusion that without order, domination, subordination, and God, we will be condemned to disorder, the breakdown of society, chaos, violence and, worst of all, anarchy, even though anarchy remains the very opposite.21 Submerged in such God- given but invented managerial realities, those seeking emancipation can clearly perceive the ideological content of a managerial “order” that serves the interests of those cementing domination. When enhancing the asphyxiating confinements of such religious-managerial but deeply ideological orders, those who operate domination have, at times, shown what might be called “horizontal violence” in addition to vertical “top- down” violence. This occurs especially in situations when ideological asphyxiation fails or is perceived to be too weak to sustain domination. These moments expose those seeking emancipation to their violence and brutality for all the wrong reasons.
It is quite possible that, in the course of aggressive behaviour, those unconscious of emancipation and the “ethics of resistance” remain trapped inside the lower end of the “domination versus emancipation” duality. Meanwhile, those cementing domination continue to exist within their structures, even—or perhaps particularly—when they brutally attack those who further emancipation. On the contrary, at certain times those seeking emancipation might sense a tempting appeal of those furthering domination and their way of existence based on petit bourgeois wealth, extravagances, and luxury. Sharing the way of life founded on domination might even become an overriding ambition. In their alienation from emancipation, some might even want to bear a resemblance to those cementing domination. They might seek to duplicate them, following their methods and ideologies. This tragic spectacle can perhaps be seen more frequently in the lumpenproletariat and the middle-class than in working-class people who are still part of a proletarian milieu.22 Some of these “willing executioners” might even crave to be equal to those of the ruling elite. But from all that, some questions may arise: How can
- • the ruling elite ever look after people while periodically insulting them in their tabloid-TV programmes and domination-stabilising newspapers?23
- • they deny themselves the nastiness and insults their media outlets serve up to others?
- • they demonise those seeking emancipation and yet pretend to be altruistic philanthropists?
Being exposed to the ideology day in, day out has, in some cases, even led to a kind of self-depreciation that can become quite characteristic. Often, this is derived from long-term exposure to the ideologies of the ruling elites that may result in an internalisation of their opinion, their attitudes, their ideologies, even, at least partly, in their way of life found in petit bourgeois consumerism as portrayed by “their” media. Especially when exposed to continuous exploitation, for example, in employment, they often hear that “these people” are
• job seekers, welfare cheats, useless, lazy, incompetent, good for nothing, know nothing, unproductive, of bad character, deserve what they got, incapable of learning, sick and idle, of bad character, and wasteful.
The daily barrage of insults through tabloid-TV often results in the fact that all too many have become persuaded that it is “their own fault”. Individualising the brutal structure of capitalism has always maintained domination. This is powerfully supported through ideologies such as egoism offloading the pathologies of capitalism onto the individual. Meanwhile, inside managerial regimes, workers are made to feel inferior to management because managerial systems and ideologies such as Managerialism make managers appear to be the only ones with the knowledge and the ability to run things. Tellingly, these “others” are labelled “non-managerial staff’. This shows the definitional power of management and its institutional position of domination over all others. And it extends well beyond the realms of companies.