The Italian Connection Part 1

7 ..17

From this point of view, the repeated prudent considerations that refrain us from making public our positions, seem to me to confirm that same absence of a serious politics of psychoanalysis that has allowed this law to be approved in its ambiguous terms: precisely the ones that we should submit for discussion. We all know that law 56 has been approved in its form, precisely, because Italian analysts have always worried more about defending the interests of their associative parishes than the fundamental principles of their practice. If it were to maintain this silence, Spaziozero would limit itself to satisfy the need for an ‘auto-comforting’ of those who support it, as it is each time, when, even in our meetings, each one of us carries on enouncing his or her position without being able to articulate it with that of others. It seems evident to me that, in this way, a clear political position of the movement will never emerge. When we know that only a minority of Italian analysts adhere to it, would a theoretical discussion among ourselves be enough to justify the existence of Spaziozero?
Spaziozero emerged in order to confront a problem regarding the politics of psychoanalysis. Now, as I pointed out during our last meeting in Bologna, the politics of psychoanalysis is such only on the condition that it is the politics of psychoanalysis, and not a prudent silence. Of course, prudence is a virtue. But where does prudence end and cowardice begin? What would we risk if we were to publicly assert our position? To elicit a clarification with regard to the meaning of the law that is contrary to our expectations. But it is certainly not by avoiding such a risk that Spaziozero may elicit greater clarity about its significance. If what some of us fear truly happened, this would be enough to raise the problem to a general political level, on which, at last, we would have the opportunity to intervene in a honest and open way. As I said in Bologna, given that law 56 is about to be reviewed, to miss the current opportunity to make this happen would, instead, condemn us to the failure of our movement.
On this point, it is true that at our last meeting we approved the suggestion to gather the necessary signatures for a petition to the Ministero dell’Università e della Ricerca Scientifica – MURST (1). However, gathering more than a thousand signatures requires from us an immediately political commitment, which cannot be assumed in a ‘prudent manner’. No one can request from others that they subscribe to a theoretical position of which he himself is not persuaded. Therefore, I am afraid that, when we meet again next autumn, the signatures gathered will amount to a total of… none. The problem is not tactical, but concerns the total strategy of the movement. In order to be completely open and ‘democratic’, Spaziozero risks remaining a timid attempt at an intellectual ‘auto-comforting’ of the analysts who support it, without stopping the largest Italian associations from manoeuvring, in the usual way, so as to ensure the legal monopoly of psychoanalytic formation, from which law 56 emerged. Spaziozero, instead, must truly become what it is: a movement constituted around an exigency that is not only psychoanalytic, but also ethical and judicial, defendable in public, and, therefore, politically.
The problem for us is not simply one of defending some analysts who, were they not to be formally recognised as psychotherapists, could become the victims of this or that accusation in this or that court. Rather, it is one of clarifying that the right to form oneself as an analyst cannot depend on any legal regulation. In other words, as the best legal exponents have always known, rights are not reducible to the application of the law [emphasis placed by the editors of the Italian journal Scibbolet]. Can the practice of psychoanalysis depend, instead, on the law?