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O texto em ingls foi publicado em Historical Materialism, vol. 15, n 1, 2007.

A seguir vem
a verso em portugus. Em algumas passagens trabalhei mais a verso inglesa do que a
portuguesa, mas quanto ao principal no existem diferenas substanciais.

LEretico della Sinistra. Bruno Rizzi litista Democratico

Alessandro Orsini
Milan: Franco Angeli, 2004

Bruno Rizzi (1901-1977) was during many years an obscure figure. The only one of
his books talked about, La Bureaucratisation du Monde, was published in France in 1939 and
had a very restricted circulation. It was known in some left-wing milieus solely because
Trotsky mentioned it cursorily and very critically in his essay of September 1939, The USSR
in War,1 where he associated Rizzi with Hugo Urbahns. Pierre Naville made an extensive and
more balanced analysis of Rizzis main thesis, especially, so far as I know, in the article La
Bureaucratie et la Rvolution published in Arguments.2 But if afterwards some of the
collaborators of this French review became deservedly well known, and some others
universally famous, between 1956 and 1962, when the first and the last numbers of
Arguments were published, they were almost unnoticed people around an unnoticed review.
Only the multi-shaded leftist movement that proliferated around the world during the second
half of the years 60s and the first half of the 70s and the renewed interest in an extreme-left
criticism of the Soviet system opened the way to mass editions of the first volume of La
Bureaucratisation du Monde, as to the works of several other authors, until then forgotten or
discussed only inside some groupuscules.
Even thereafter Bruno Rizzi is known, when he is known at all, because of that one
single book, and Alessandro Orsinis work conveniently draws our attention to the evolution
of Rizzis thought, since the Trotskist arguments expressed in 1937 in Dove va lU.R.S.S.?
until his last letters. Regrettably, Orsini does not tell, or did not find, Rizzis ideological route

This article is included in a posthumous anthology: Trotsky 1970, pp. 3-21. Concerning Rizzi: pp. 1016. Also brief references to Rizzi in the October 1939 essay Again and Once More Again on the Nature of the
USSR, in Trotsky 1970, p. 24, and in the December 1939 essay A Petty-Bourgeois Opposition in the Socialist
Workers Party, in Trotsky 1970, pp. 52-53.
Navilles article is reproduced in Fischler (ed.) 1975, pp. 166-218.

until 1937, when he was expelled from the Italian Communist Party, and it would be
interesting to know the origin of his ephemeral fancy for Trotskys theories.
But as La Bureaucratisation du Monde is not only a stage in a personal journey, it
must also be judged in the context of left-wing criticism of Soviet Unions evolution. From
this angle Orsinis book is truly wanting, and although it contains a summary of Trotskys
views pertaining to Stalinian USSR (p. 32) it does not situate them in the larger debate.
Believing that socialism was identical with States ownership of the means of
production, Trotsky maintained till the last that Soviet Union kept being a socialist economy.
He believed that the dearth of means of consumption, brought about by USSR economic
isolation, engendered the emergence of a bureaucratic stratum meant to ration out those goods
and to distribute them among the population. Trotsky never tired of repeating that, although
this bureaucracy asserted its own privileges, it was not a social class, because it rested upon
the distribution, not upon the production relationships. Thus, Trotsky inferred that, in spite of
being parasitical, this social stratum was interested in maintaining the socialist production
relationships, as it could not subsist without them.
This paradox seriously limited the aptness of the Trotskist criticism of Stalinism. If
Trotsky lost all his followers inside Soviet Union it was not only because of the political
persecutions. Those persecutions were effective because Trotskys partisans were divided into
two groups. On one side were those who believed that high-speed industrialisation and the
collectivisation of agriculture strengthened the economic foundations of socialism. They
offered their abilities to the five-years plan administration, and were annihilated later. On the
other side were those who rejected the idea that Stalinian economy could be socialist, as they
considered it an odd opinion to maintain when the five-years plans made such an extensive
use of Taylorism and Fordism, in a degree even superior to what happened in the United
In the extreme-left milieu opposed to Stalinism and critical of Trotskism some factions
arose which began to examine the difference between the concept of juridical property
relationships and the concept of social production relationships. State ownership of the means
of production concerned property relationships and should not be a criterion to define
socialism, which should be defined at the more fundamental level of the production
relationships, considered as the organisation of and the control over the labour process. Under
this point of view Soviet Union was labelled by some extreme-left factions as a State
capitalism, and the conceptual panoply of Marxism was applied to define Stalinian

bureaucracy as a capitalist social class. There would exist in Soviet Union an exploitation
regime of the capitalist kind.
Another sort of current of opinion, also originated from the left-wing opposition to
Stalinism and criticism of Trotskism, remained under the influence of the property
relationships concept. If property pertained to the State there would be no market, and without
market there would be no capitalism. If Stalinian society, that everyday experience showed to
be the negation of socialist yearnings, was not capitalist, than it necessarily was something
else. This was the occasion to define a post-capitalist mode of production and to define Soviet
bureaucracy as a new kind of dominant class, based upon a new mode of exploitation. Under
this point of view, the classification of bureaucracy as a social class did not concern the
production process level, considered as a social relationship, but the property relationships
This context explains La Bureaucratisation du Monde, as it explains also other works
from that period, some of them still more forgotten and more unfairly forgotten. To the
reader interested in these matters I recommend Henri Morels excellent bibliographic review,
which classifies and chronologically organises until the end of the second world war the
several currents of opinion critical of Soviet economy and society.3 Notwithstanding the
nearly thirty years elapsed since it was written, it is an indispensable article. Inside Russia, the
evolution to State capitalism and the emergence of a new bureaucratic exploiting class was
exposed already in 1918 among the anarchists and the members of the Left Revolutionary
Socialist Party, and even among the bolchevik party left wing. Since then, those polemics
could only increase, and a book written by Anton Ciliga and published in France in 1938, thus
one year before La Bureaucratisation du Monde, disclosed that the criticism of the Stalinian
regime as a mode of exploitation of the workers by a new dominant social group was taking
place inside the Soviet political prisoners camps.4 Ciligas book could supply copious
information to those people who until then were not conversant with the arguments among the
Russian extreme left or, by ignorance of the languages, had no notice of the theoretical works
produced by the German and Dutch communist ultra left during the 20s and the beginning of
the 30s, although some of these works were translated into French.
Already in a book published in Paris in 1931, Lucien Laurat argued that Soviet
bureaucracy had changed into a new exploiting class.5 The Trotskist faction falls more and

Morel 1977, passim.

Ciliga 1977, pp. 169, 171-73, 202-3, 206, 209, 211-19, 241.
Laurat 1931, pp. 7, 165. A biography of Lucien Laurat in Pann 1988, pp. 337-38.

more behind with reality, charged Laurat. It does not see that the oligarchic bureaucracy is
already formed as a class [...].6 Laurat acknowledged that the socialist branch of the Soviet
economy seemingly kept capitalisms main features, but in his views the absence of private
property and of market competition inside that branch was enough to prove that we were not
dealing here with capitalism.7 Soviet bureaucracy did not lead a State capitalism, maintained
Laurat, and it also did not carry out a capitalist politics subordinated to the private owners
interests.8 [...] what distinguishes Russian revolution from the prior revolutions and prevents
any comparisons, told Laurat, is the emergence of a new leading caste and the formation of
the economic foundations of this caste while the very revolutionary process is going on, since
the seizing of power.9 This is a very interesting book not only because it antedates by eight
years La Bureaucratisation du Monde, but also because the quality of Laurats economic
reasoning and of his social analysis places his book in a very much higher level than Rizzis
one. After a minute study of the Soviet economy internal obstructions, Laurat concluded with
an alternative that today seems prophetic: or USSR will go back to capitalistic private
property or it will constitute a system of public control through the establishment of a
proletarian democracy.10
However, Orsini does not mention Laurat, nor Ciliga, nor the other authors who also
maintained that Soviet economic foundations were not socialist. What is even worst, Orsini
does not tell that the very same polemic that Trotsky engaged against Rizzi was engaged also
against Laurat, against Hugo Urbahns, against Boris Souvarine, against Simone Weil, against
Craipeau, against Yvon, and I am forgetting whom else. With these systematic omissions
Orsini helps to bolster up the myth of Rizzis originality (pp. 17-8, 31), in spite of several
authors or political militants having previously sustained similar opinions. This is particularly
flagrant when we see that Trotsky, in the polemic against Rizzi cited by Orsini (p. 32), begins
attacking Hugo Urbahns and immediately afterwards passes to Rizzi. We ought not to single
out particular authors when the object of Trotskys fury and sarcasm was really a collective
one. To recall this is not even a question of historical justice. The main point is that we can
not understand the theses argued for in La Bureaucratisation du Monde if we do not know
that the different ways of perceiving the juridical property relationships and of ascribing to
them or not ascribing the priority over the social production relationships account for the

Laurat 1931, p. 229.

Laurat 1931, pp. 80-3, 99, 116, 167-68.
Laurat 1931, pp. 152-55.
Laurat 1931, p. 155 (orig. underl.).
Laurat 1931, pp. 231 ff.

disagreements about the criticism of Stalinism. The preponderance that the market topic
acquired later in Rizzis works was rooted in the preponderance already given in the 1939
book to the juridical property relationships concept.
Rizzis argument was strictly directed to the Soviet Communist Partys control over
the central political apparatus, and he was not interested by the production relationships in the
businesses social context. Rizzi stressed State control, not labour processes control, and he put
forward in the scope of the State the transformation taking place on the exploitation system.
A failed attempt to manipulate the capitalist economy is enough to show that the political
power shifts from the capitalist class to the State bureaucracy.11 This would change the
economic operating rules.

State intervention in economic matters indicates that the nature of society and
even of the State is beginning to change. When the process is completed
society will be different and will have a suitable State. [...] as the State keeps
expanding its economic intervention, the economy arrives at a point where it is
no more capitalist [...] Society is changed.12

In Rizzis opinion, the economic system established by the bureaucratic class

suppressed the market, and thence the labour force was no more under the effect of the supply
and demand law. If the bureaucracy exploited the workers in their entirety, through the central
political power and the State syndicalism, then bureaucratic collectivism substituted State
slavery for proletarisation.13 Proletarians change their juridical attire, because they sell no
more their labour forces, as was formerly the usage in the capitalist free market, and they are
in fact bought by the State [...] It is a new kind of collective slavery under the aegis of the
State [...].14 However, considering these questions at a superficial level, Rizzi did not
perceive that capitalisms centralised and statist organisation never superseded the
competition between production units nor annulled labour force mobility in the labour market.
Orsini analyses Rizzis 1939 book and what it tells about the workers situation as if
its only object was to criticise the USSR (pp. 28-31). Only farther on Orsini informs that
Rizzi extended to the whole world his reflections about the bureaucratisation of Soviet


Rizzi 1939, p. 222.

Rizzi 1939, pp. 172-73 (orig. underl.).
Rizzi 1939, p. 343 and 1976, pp. 30, 77-81.
Rizzi 1939, p. 103.

society (p. 36), but he gives no other explanation about the matter. The truth is that Rizzi
tried to expound a global vision including not only the Soviet regime but also democracies
and fascism. Although the books section pertaining to the study of fascism was not
published, we know that in Rizzis opinion Italian fascism and German national-socialism

are in a process of quick bureaucratisation and [...] they already have an anticapitalist character, although Capital is not yet radically suppressed there, as it
is in USSR [...] Europe and the world must become fascist or socialist.
Capitalism has no more prospect of life [...] Bureaucratic Collectivism [...]
rests socially upon the dominant classes which made the State their
headquarters, in Russia, in Italy, in Germany, in Japan, and in the smaller
States [...] This new social form is degenerate, but nevertheless it is active, and
it supersedes more and more Capitalism, which is dead as a propelling

Although Orsini states that, according to Rizzi, in Soviet bureaucratic collectivism the
manifestations of the State showed the same features characteristic of the totalitarian States of
a fascist kind (p. 31), we saw that the convergence did not limit itself to the manifestations
of the State but occurred in the very economic system. And in Rizzis opinion the similarity
did not stop at the totalitarian regimes. The New Deal indicates the initial stages of
capitalisms economic dismemberment and of bureaucracys political crystallisation in
America.16 As the outline of an analogous process was also discernible in France and in
Great-Britain,17 Rizzi inferred that all over the world when capitalism had not been surpassed
it was on the verge of extinction. In its final evolution capitalist economy compels, after a
fashion, the bourgeois State to betray its masters and to transform itself into a bureaucratic
State.18 It is surprising that Orsini does not point out this central thesis of La
Bureaucratisation du Monde.
Orsini states that in his 1939 book Rizzi reached a fundamental intuition, according
to which USSR was a regressive society when compared with the capitalist society (p. 24;
see also pp. 29, 34). Orsini states also that in Rizzis opinion bureaucrats had a strictly


Rizzi 1976, pp. 7-10. See also Rizzi 1939, p. 103 and 1976, pp. 60, 84-8.
Rizzi 1939, p. 219.
Rizzi 1939, pp. 238-39.
Rizzi 1939, p. 140.

parasitic role and did not stimulate the production process (pp. 40-1). But Rizzi maintained
some very different opinions. Supposing, in the fashion of Marxist orthodoxy, that productive
forces develop gradually, he conceded that bureaucratic collectivism was a more progressive
stage than capitalism. In an historical perspective, the task of this society is to raise in an
orderly manner worlds total production [...] wrote Rizzi about bureaucratic collectivism,19
and he declared also that next society will attain the highest limits of production concerning
volume and perhaps also concerning quality [...].20 Moreover, in that book Rizzi claimed that
the union of the proletariats strength with the collectivist bureaucracys strength would allow
the opportunity to proceed with a pacific reorganisation of the world economy, which would
lead to the democratisation of bureaucratic collectivism, in a process heralding the arrival of
the classless society.21 During a long period of political and economic democratisation, the
State would progressively lose its oppressive character and would become a means of
collaboration between the bureaucrats and the workers.22 Anyway, the bureaucracy was about
to solve the two only problems preliminary to the formation of a classless society, as it
substituted collective property for private property, and moreover it was directing production
no more by the profit principle but by the general benefit principle. The final ruling class of
history is so near the classless society that it negates its class and proprietor nature.23
Therefore, communism would be bureaucratic collectivisms sole and ineluctable outcome.
[...] the totalitarian State will lose more and more its political character to keep only its
administrative character. This process will eventually lead to a classless society and to
Socialism.24 Again, anybody who reads only Orsinis book will be completely unaware of
these theses professed by Rizzi in 1939. What is even worst, Orsini claims that Rizzi
believed that planning could never lead to democracy. Its ultimate result would always be
bureaucratic collectivism, which would necessarily impoverish millions of people (p. 42).
Not only Orsini forgets some of La Bureaucratisation du Monde crucial theses, but he
misrepresents Rizzis thought.
In Il Socialismo dalla Religione alla Scienza, written in 1939-43, Rizzi still attributed
to the technocrats a positive role. Orsini quotes some passages of that book where Rizzi
asserted that it will never be possible to abolish the political power of the minority against the


Rizzi 1939, p. 253. See also pp. 250-51, 261.

Rizzi 1939, p. 304.
Rizzi 1939, pp. 305, 331.
Rizzi 1939, pp. 277, 318-20, 329-30.
Rizzi 1939, p. 254.
Rizzi 1939, p. 284. See also pp. 254, 261, 263, 283.

majority, because it is indispensable to social order; and keeping up with this matter Orsini
remembers a passage from La Bureaucratisation du Monde where Rizzi stated that the
production process is necessarily directed by technocrats (p. 57; see also p. 111). But all this
does not prevent Orsini from claiming that Rizzi attributed a parasitic role to the bureaucracy.
The contradiction is even more gross when Orsini describes what he supposes to be Rizzis
original contribution to the democratic litism theory: the distinction between the
necessary conditions of socialism, which were the development of productive forces, and
the sufficient conditions, which were the existence of a political lite fit for leading the
rising social class interests towards better production relationships (p. 116). It is amazing that
Orsini does not know that this distinction was first thought of, or at least was first developed
theoretically, by Lenin. Besides, Orsini misconstrues the specific concept of lite, as it was
formulated by Pareto and by Mosca, confusing it with the generic notion of active minorities;
and he supposes that the concept of lite was synonymous with the notion of revolutionary
vanguard, common in the extreme-left milieu (pp. 116, 129-32). However, these conceptions
are originally distinct, and the concept of lite is not opposed to the notion of vanguard but to
the concept of social class. The transformation of a revolutionary vanguard into an lite
comprehended in a dominant social class marks the mutation of a revolutionary process into a
counter-revolutionary process. Without being in the least troubled by the fact that he showed
that in Rizzis opinion experts were indispensable, State power was inevitable and
revolutionary lites were necessary, Orsini, apparently mentioning Socialismo Infantile, a
work published in 1969-70, tells that in Rizzis views the development of market socialism
would lead to the disappearance of the State (p. 71). Also in a letter from 1970 Rizzi evoked
the abolition of the State following the proliferation of market socialist firms (p. 99). Still
more paradoxically, as Rizzi embraced Robert Michels thesis concerning the inescapably
oligarchic tendency of the parties and trade unions and began criticising the political lites
(pp. 118-23), we wonder at why are the technocrats indispensable to economic activities and
the bureaucrats are not indispensable to political activities, or conversely. Such contradictions,
that deprive Rizzis work of any coherency, are unnoticed by Orsini. Even worst. After
dedicating the pages 118 to 123 of his book to show, with plenty of quotations, that at least
from 1950 onwards Rizzi considered that political parties with permanent positions could not
lead to socialism, Orsini concludes that Rizzi had an highly litist conception of history and
in his view the political lites performed an indispensable leading role in the social changes:
without a political lite equal to the task there will be no socialism (p. 125).

Orsini dismisses to a footnote the topic of the anti-Semitism in La Bureaucratisation

du Monde, which induced the French authorities to forbid the book, and he quotes:

After all, national-socialisms and fascisms racist struggle is only an anticapitalist struggle led by the new social synthesis, in a theoretically misguided
way, but practically just. As always, the blind action of the new ruling class is
more effective than the truly conscious action of the social antithesis. Hitler is
right and we are wrong. We must correct our course and become anti-Semitic
because we are anti-capitalist (p. 26, n. 39).

However, the question is larger and much deeper.

It is larger because it was not in a few sentences, but all along some ten pages, that
Rizzi recommended to the working class a whole anti-Semitic programme.25 It contained,
besides the passage already quoted, assertions such as: [...] the struggle against capitalism is
necessarily identified, even if only in an incomplete way, with the struggle against the Jewish
people26. Rizzi also wrote:

The nazi and fascist movements, which, although without being Marxist are
nevertheless, since a long time and by their own nature, anti-capitalist, show
their anti-capitalism in an unconscious way through their struggle against
Israel. We, Marxists, can have a clearer vision, including the anti-Semitism
within the anti-capitalism. Once again, this proves that proletarians and
dictators are historically placed together in the struggle against capital.27

Orsini forgets as well those cogitations.

But besides being larger the question is much deeper, because it concerns what Rizzi
called new social synthesis. Orsini claims that in Rizzis opinion bureaucracys interests are
always opposed to those of the workers (p. 41), but this is not true. While in capitalism
bourgeoisie and proletariat confronted one the other as thesis and antithesis, in Rizzis opinion
bureaucracy was the historical synthesis of that confrontation. [...] when the new class
already emerged from the antithesis proletariat-bourgeoisie, the proletariat must withdraw


Rizzi 1939, pp. 291-300.

Rizzi 1939, p. 294.
Rizzi 1939, p. 299 (orig. underl.).

from the class struggle, because the cycle is accomplished: thesis antithesis = synthesis;
proletariat bourgeoisie = bureaucracy.28 Proletariat not only should renounce its claim to
the leadership of history, but it also should discard the alliance with the capitalist democracies
and support the bureaucratic collectivist dictatorships, especially fascisms.29 Fascists made
the theoretical mistake of aiming at a collaboration with the bourgeoisie, when, on the
contrary, they shall annihilate it, and anyway they already let it half dead, wrote Rizzi. The
collaboration should be with the proletariat, which nowadays is no more the proletariat, but
the class of the working citizens.30 It was in this context that Rizzi proclaimed: Mussolini
and Hitler lend Lenin a helping hand. Proletarians of France, England and America, lend
Hitler and Mussolini a hand.31 Orsini claims that on the basis of his studies Rizzi managed
to foresee the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact [...] (p. 18). In fact, he should have written that Rizzi
requested the accomplishment of that pact. The anti-Semitism uttered by Rizzi in his 1939
book, which tells a great deal on its own, originates in the plea for the historical abdication of
the proletariat before the bureaucracy. But Orsini does not quote any of those passages and he
not even alludes to them.
Orsini could not examine that question without explaining why he qualifies as antifascist Rizzis attitude since 1939 until the end of the war (pp. 26-8). Italian political police
uneasiness about Rizzi is not enough to describe him ideologically. I wonder why Orsini
relegates to a footnote the information that during the Social Republic Rizzi sent Mussolini a
letter asking his authorisation to start an anti-communist and anti-monarchic newspaper, and
Orsini comments only that Reichs police seized the letter (p. 28, n. 45). However, knowing
the passages from La Bureaucratisation du Monde that I just pointed out, we see that Rizzi
was doing himself what he advised the proletarians of France, England and America: [to]
lend Hitler and Mussolini a hand.
Today, knowing what we know, it is easy to criticise the practical consequences of the
strategy expounded by Rizzi in La Bureaucratisation du Monde, although Orsinis book is
silent about this matter. But even as a theoretical work La Bureaucratisation du Monde is
inadequate and ought not to be considered an explanatory model. On the one hand Rizzi
conceived bureaucracy as a new class, that in USSR was a social fact already concluded, in


Rizzi 1939, p. 282. See also p. 286.

Rizzi 1939, pp. 267-70, 276-77, 314-15.
Rizzi 1939, p. 283.
Rizzi 1939, p. 278.


spite of being still in development in the totalitarian States.32 Rizzi wrote in the last chapter
of his criticism of the Soviet regime:

[...] this is a general, not only Russian, phenomenon. In USSR this

phenomenon is mainly bureaucratic, because it originated in the bureaucracy,
but in the totalitarian countries it evolves naturally among the technicians, the
experts, the trade-union and political officers [...] Its raw material comes from
the copious State and para-State bureaucracy, from the companies
administrators, from the army, from the professions and even from the workers
aristocracy. 33

Rizzi mentioned the existence in the fascist regimes of a new ruling class in
development,34 and even in the North-American democracy the prestige and the volume of
the governments bureaucracy increases35. State intervention in the economy, engendered by
the New Deal, had a double social consequence. The bureaucratic class is in a process of
development, whereas the bourgeois class is disintegrating.36 On the other hand, however, it
was only in the Soviet case that Rizzi analysed the historical process of development of the
post-capitalist bureaucracy, and he ascribed to this social class a particular origin, ensuing
exclusively from the path took by the bolshevik revolution. Orsini extols Rizzi because in
1939 he considered that in USSR the revolutionary vanguard first seized power and only
afterwards it established new production relationships. According to Orsini, in this way Rizzi
inverted the traditional relation between superstructure and infrastructure (pp. 29-30; see also
pp. 110-13). But this does not prevent Orsini from writing in another chapter that only in the
last years of his life Rizzi admitted that in its action the political lites could obtain an
absolute pre-eminence above the economy and could invert the structure-superstructure
relation (p. 124). Orsinis book is no less inconsistent than Rizzis work. And as he does not
emphasise that in Rizzis opinion bureaucracy was achieving hegemony all over the world, in
countries where the revolutionary vanguard had not seized power, Orsini praises as a great
discovery what is in fact a most flagrant weakness of Rizzis reasoning.


Rizzi 1976, p. 62.

Rizzi 1976, p. 105.
Rizzi 1976, p. 60.
Rizzi 1939, p. 122.
Rizzi 1939, p. 139.


We ought to say the same thing about the parallel drew by Rizzi between the Stalinian
regime and the feudal system, which Orsini considers a strong point in Rizzis work (pp. 34-6;
see also pp. 160-61). It is truly astonishing, this analogy between a regime distinguished by
the weakness of the central State and by the proliferation of secondary power centres and
another one distinguished by the strength of the central State. But Rizzi fancied that both in
feudalism and in the Soviet regime did not exist a market for goods and for the labour force,
and this was enough for him to proceed with an historical comparison, displaying once again
the superficiality of his opinions. On the other hand, if Soviet Union had really acquired
feudal features, than its convergence with the fascisms and with the New Deal would urge us
to look for evidences of feudalism in Roosevelt administration.
Rizzi did not succeed in giving a general explanation for a general phenomenon, and
we must remember this very serious limitation when we ponder over the claim to present him
as the first author of a theory of managers. Orsini demands this title for Rizzi, arguing that he
was the originator of the new class concept (p. 109). In particular, Orsini opposes him to
James Burnham, against whom Rizzi disputed and whom he charged with plagiarism. In the
chapters pertaining to this matter (pp. 36-43) Orsini mentions the opinions of several authors,
some of them inclined to believe that Burnham copied Rizzis main ideas, the others backing
up Burnhams originality. However, Orsini writes that indeed the question remains
controversial (p. 37) and he concludes that notwithstanding the absence of any evidence of
plagiarism, the suspicion is reasonable (p. 43). But the main point is that Burnham was only
one of the last of a lengthy progeny of left-wing critics whom since 1918 were considering the
Soviet Union an exploiting regime.
In the theoretic studies about managers the real significance falls upon the authors who
propose a development process of this social class in a broad world-wide scope. The primacy
ought to be given here to Jan Waclaw Machayski, one of the too much authors whom Orsini
does not mention, and who published his first work of consequence in 1898-99, in the
Siberian political deportation.37 Machayski considered that the intelligentsia, among whom he
included administrators and technocrats, although without owning means of production, was
capitalist and exploited the manual workers surplus-value through the monopolisation of
learning.38 Thence he deduced a dialectics essential to understanding the twentieth-century
social struggles: the intelligentsia was antagonistic to the proletariat, but at the same time the
intelligentsia took full advantage of the proletarian struggles to attack the bourgeoisie for the

A good anthology of Matchayskis works in Tragtenberg (ed.) 1981.


purpose of changing the profit allocation39. Socialist propaganda, wrote Machayski, was used
to conceal from the proletariat the specific interests of the intellectual workers [...],40 and the
ideal society proclaimed by the Second International benefited exclusively the intelligentsia.41
Machayski predicted that the aim of this kind of socialism was to put the struggle of the
proletariat at the intelligentsias service and to help the intelligentsia seizing State power.42
After defining political life democratisation as the penetration [of the intelligentsia] into
every pore of the bourgeois State, Machayski concluded that in democracy the conveyance
of all means of production to the intelligentsia, who already controls the social government,
would be for them a true paradise. In democracy, the socialisation of the means of production
will be for the workers nothing else than the strengthening of the power organisation that
dominates them and the reinforcement of the State.43 In a text published in Russia in mid
1918, Machayski was thus in position to expose as a myth the thesis that the seizing of power
by the bolshevik party would involve the seizing of power by the working class.44 Machayski
was the first person to think in a coherent and systematic way the distinction between juridical
property relationships and social production relationships and to ponder over the
consequences of this distinction, from an anti-capitalist angle. But as it lets aside the history
of the managers class theory, Orsinis book gives an overstated importance to Rizzi, a late and
inconsistent theorist.
Orsini stresses the importance of the market as a topic in Rizzis works after 1939 (pp.
45 ff), but to understand this ideological evolution we need not to forget that the juridical
property relationships concept was already in the foreground in La Bureaucratisation du
Monde. In Rizzis view the historical drama alternated State property with private property,
each accompanied by its corollary, central planning or market competition, and Rizzi did not
care very much about the management of production and the social relationships established
in the labour process.
It is really surprising that Rizzi assigned to the market the role of an universal
panacea, without being aware of the very deep changes underwent two centuries along by the
capitalist market and without taking into account the effect of oligopolies and financial
institutions on market competition. What Orsini strangely calls Rizzis theorem, the opinion

Tragtenberg (ed.) 1981, pp. 85-6, 90, 110-14, 136, 138-39.

Tragtenberg (ed.) 1981, pp. 86-7.
Tragtenberg (ed.) 1981, p. 88.
Tragtenberg (ed.) 1981, pp. 90-1, 93-5.
Tragtenberg (ed.) 1981, pp. 114-17.
Tragtenberg (ed.) 1981, p. 118.


that the extinction of the market would lead to the collapse of civilisation and culture (p. 46),
is a trivial freedom eulogy of a strictly moral content, although employing words with
economic connotation. The essentially selfish character that Rizzi imputed to the human
beings grounds his notions of market and of freedom (pp. 65-6). This moralistic approach
made Rizzi come close to the anarchists, even if other traits kept him inevitably apart from
that political faction (pp. 58-62).
As far as is possible to disentangle Rizzis ideas, which are at the same time naive and
indistinct, the means to the market socialism ought to be introduced into the sphere of buying
and selling and of competition (pp. 70-2). This kind of theories necessarily confers on the
market a neutral character, surmising that the rules of competition do not benefit only one of
the sides. This is not the place to criticise those notions, but in Rizzis case the contradiction is
too glaring. When he stated in Il Socialismo dalla Religione alla Scienza, a book written in
1939-43, that the market is the foundation and the regulator of every social activity (quot. p.
51, orig. underl.), Rizzi bestowed upon the market the function of determining the social
relationships. And at the same time he admitted that a new kind of social relationships could
develop on the basis of that very same market. Rizzis contradictions do not stop here. In a
1949 text he maintained that Socialism will still be a Society grounded on the market (except
the labour commodity) (quot. p. 59) and also in Socialismo Infantile, published in 1969-70,
he asserted that in his market socialism labour would be no more a commodity (p. 71).
However, in La Bureaucratisation du Monde it had been enough to assume that the labour
force had lost its commodity character for Rizzi to declare the existence of a State
collectivism, founded on collective slavery.45 Ten years later he forgot to explain how it
would be possible to maintain free competition in the market if the main production factor
was excluded from the market. This kind of contradictions, to which Orsini does not pay
attention, deprives Rizzis works of any theoretic seriousness. And it is difficult to keep ones
countenance and to admit that his meditations are not a joke when we see Rizzi, in a long
letter from 1970, striving to accomplish the first practical experiment of a market socialist
firm with a body of municipal police (pp. 99-101).
Even without taking those short-comings into account it is rather peculiar that Orsini
would give such a pre-eminence to what he calls Rizzis theorem. In La Rovina Antica e
lEt Feudale, a work written in 1939-43, Rizzi affirmed that in ancient Rome took place an
underconsumption crisis, brought about by the expansion of slavery, which led to the decline

Tragtenberg (ed.) 1981, pp. 141 ff.


of the market, to the proliferation of a State bureaucracy, and to the collapse of civilisation
(pp. 48-9). In the same way, through its offensive against the market modern totalitarianism
would led to a civilisation crisis (pp. 49-50). Orsini thinks that Rizzi established a true
sociological law, according to which, in a given social formation, the level of oppression and
of men by mens exploitation is in an inversely proportional relationship to the development
of trade transactions (p. 50) and he adds that, in Rizzis opinion, the market is the
prerequisite for democracy and freedom, a true independent variable of human progress (p.
56). However, bourgeois thought has been continuously reiterating this thesis, which was
already banal long before Rizzis La Rovina Antica e lEt Feudale. And even in spite of
pointing out that with this book Rizzi recaptured a central feature of the liberal tradition (p.
52), Orsini insists in awarding him a pioneer role. Now, if we must ascribe that theorem to
somebody, the preference will undoubtedly be for the old physiocrats. They explained that as
God established harmony among the elements of nature, he established it also among the
elements of society, provided that society conformed to natural order. Therefore, as market
competition manifested Gods purpose, every contradiction between the human beings and
the society would vanish and freedom would be initiated. But we do not need to go back until
the eighteenth century to trace Rizzis descent.
Market competition broadened its scope when Darwin used it as an inspiration, or a
model, or an analogy for the biological selection in the demarcation of species. The survival
of the fittest was a commonplace in eugenics, as it was in economics, and besides it
exculpated the massacres accompanying capitalist imperialism. That notion was often
identified with the Marxist notion of class struggle. Georges Sorel and his revolutionary
syndicalist followers, for instance, viewed market competition from the Darwinian standpoint
of the selection of the strongest, and therefore they objected to any kind of State intervention
that would suppress or even mitigate competition. Free competition was in their opinion an
indispensable condition of social struggle and opened the way to socialism. Anything
hindering that struggle would devitalise the social classes, and consequently would endanger
the very civilisation. Before the first world war this theses obtained a favourable reception in
the Italian extreme left, chiefly in the milieus where Marxist influence consorted with interest
in anarchism. And as revolutionary syndicalists were, together with the arditi46 and the
futurists, one of the three original components of the fascist movement, the notions about a
relation between market, social virility and culture permeated the whole political spectrum.

Rizzi 1939, p. 103.


Besides, they had a notorious influence upon Mussolini. The theme of a degeneration of
civilisation, or even a racial degeneration, so important in the conservative thought, was thus
intertwined with the panegyric of the market.
What Orsini calls Rizzis theorem ought to be examined in that context, and a
passage from Il Socialismo dalle Religione alla Scienza where Rizzi states that human beings
differentiate from animals because they need faith and beliefs (pp. 57-8) seems directly
inspired by the Sorelian theory of myths. Moreover, Rizzi, as Orsini states, had a true
admiration for Robert Michels (p. 114), and Orsini considers that Michels had a very deep
influence upon Rizzi (pp. 114-15). Now, Michels, who had been very close to the
revolutionary syndicalists and who accompanied them when they converged with Enrico
Corradinis radical nationalists, was pleased with Mussolinis rise to power. In 1928 Michels
joined the National Fascist Party and from the next year he was a professor with the Political
Science Fascist Faculty, just founded at Perugia. But Orsini neither remembers Robert
Michels connection with the revolutionary syndicalism nor his connection with fascism, and
thus he misses the opportunity to show that the development of Rizzis thought extended the
intersection of a certain extreme left and the radical and nationalist right.
Rizzis endeavour from 1939 onwards to join socialism to market was in no way
original. When the French fascist Pierre Drieu la Rochelle wrote in February 1945, a short
while before his suicide, that liberal socialism is the original meaning of every fascist
statism,47 he was expressing the market socialism which had been the farthest horizon
reached by right-wing populists. Twenty five years later, in Socialismo Infantile, Rizzi
deemed necessary the alliance between Liberalism and Socialism to save the Market and a
whole Civilisation (quot. p. 52), and Orsini comments that Rizzis thesis resumed a crucial
theme permeating the whole liberal thought: the citizens guarantees against the abuse of
power (p. 52). But the short quotation from Drieu la Rochelle, for those who have no time to
read some exhaustive books about this subject, points out that the alliance between
Liberalism and Socialism had also been a theme permeating the whole fascist thought.
Economic statism in the fascist regimes was bigger or smaller according to each country, and
even within each regime it changed according to the occasion. But never has fascism
discarded the market and never gave up joining statism to liberalism.
The silence that surrounded Rizzis work, the conspiracy of silence (pp. 19, 55, 73-4,
89, 90, 93, 94), was not due to hard luck or to ill will. In 1939 Rizzi considered bureaucratic

The arditi were a kind of voluntary commandos during the first world war.


collectivism a beneficial stage in the liberation of humanity and he did his best to bring
together communists and fascists, even accepting anti-Semitism as a modality of anticapitalism, and in 1943 he tried to participate in the double campaign of Mussolinis Social
Republic against communism and against monarchy. After the war he was obviously a
nuisance for one side and for what remained of the other. And, if possible, he was still more
troublesome for the democrats, to whom Rizzis work recalled that the close connection
between fascism and liberalism had never been discontinued. Oversimplifying the criticism of
planning and the eulogy of free market (p. 54), Rizzi was indistinguishable from any banal
liberal or neo-liberal post-war publicist, chiefly because he systematically confused all kinds
of planning with a sole one, the Soviet planning (pp. 141-49). Rizzis uniqueness in Italian
politics after the second world war consisted in calling socialism what truly was an extreme
liberalism, as he identified the public sector with the Soviet state economy (pp. 76 ff). He
went so far as to write to the Industrial Confederation chairman proposing a common action
against the State economic intervention measures announced by the centre-left government
(pp. 89-91). But not even here Rizzi was original, because already before the first world war
the revolutionary syndicalists praised the employers entrepreneurial spirit, reckoning it the
best stimulus to the class struggle. Rizzi merely removed from this attitude its connotation of
violence and enunciated it in terms of social peace (pp. 67-8, 101). Orsini can state that
Rizzis theses were an absolute exception (p. 78) in post-war social-democracy only because
he re-enacts the trick he also used to display La Bureaucratisation du Monde as a work
without predecessors and to extol Rizzis theorem not to mention all the other authors that
in several countries already before, sometimes long before, were telling the same thing, and
telling it better. Here Rizzi was less pretentious and in the 1963 letter to the Industrial
Confederation chairman he commented his own opinions saying that it is not [...] a solitary
instance and adding that in France, in England, in America etc., and in embryo also in Italy a
socialist movement is forming, which is even more opposed than liberalism to the economic
intervention of the State (quot. p. 90).
This book by Alessandro Orsini endeavours to turn Bruno Rizzi palatable to nowadays
taste, expurgating everything that neo-liberals are not fond of. Not only Orsini does not
manage to demonstrate that Rizzi was a great political thinker, still less an original thinker,
but he also misrepresents the ideas stated by Rizzi in his most expressive work, La


Quoted in Srant 1959, p. 238.


Bureaucratisation du Monde, and he does not help to elucidate the historical environment
from where those ideas emerged nor the path they took.

Joo Bernardo


Ciliga, Anton 1977, Au Pays du Mensonge Dconcertant. Dix Ans derrire le Rideau de Fer,
Paris: Gallimard and Union Gnrale dditions (10/18) [1st ed.: Au Pays du Grand
Mensonge, Paris, 1938. 2nd ed., limited issue: 1950].
Fischler, Claude (ed.) 1975, La Bureaucratie. Arguments 1, Paris: Union Gnrale dditions
Laurat, Lucien 1931, Lconomie Sovitique. Sa Dynamique, son Mcanisme, Paris: Valois.
Morel, Henri E. 1977, As Discusses sobre a Natureza dos Pases de Leste (at Segunda
Guerra Mundial): Nota Bibliogrfica, in A Natureza da URSS (Antologia), edited by
Artur J. Castro Neves, Oporto: Afrontamento.
Pann, J.-L. 1988, Laurat Lucien, in Dictionnaire Biographique du Mouvement Ouvrier
Franais, edited by Jean Maitron and Claude Pennetier, 4th Part: 1914-1939. De la
Premire la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, Volume 33, Paris: Les ditions Ouvrires.
Rizzi, Bruno 1939, Quo Vadis, Amrica? (Est-ce un New Deal?), Paris: authors edition.
Rizzi, Bruno 1976, LU.R.S.S.: Collectivisme Bureaucratique (La Proprit de Classe), Paris:
Champ Libre [1st ed.: La Bureaucratisation du Monde, 1st Part, Paris, 1939].
Srant, Paul 1959, Le Romantisme Fasciste. tude sur lOeuvre Politique de quelques
crivains Franais, Paris: Fasquelle.
Tragtenberg, Maurcio (ed.) 1981, Marxismo Heterodoxo, So Paulo: Brasiliense.
Trotsky, Leon 1970, In Defense of Marxism (Against the Petty-Bourgeois Opposition), New
York: Pathfinder.


Alessandro ORSINI (2004) LEretico della Sinistra. Bruno Rizzi litista Democratico, Milo:
Franco Angeli.

Bruno Rizzi conhecido, quando o , pela sua obra La Bureaucratisation du Monde,

publicada em 1939, e o livro de Alessandro Orsini tem o interesse de chamar a ateno para a
evoluo do pensamento de Rizzi desde as teses trotskistas expressas em 1937 em Dove va
lU.R.S.S.? at s suas ltimas cartas. Mas pena que Orsini no diga, ou no tenha
averiguado, qual foi o percurso ideolgico de Rizzi at 1937, data em que foi expulso do
Partido Comunista Italiano, porque seria interessante saber como se gerou a sua simpatia
episdica pelas ideias de Trotsky.
Todavia, La Bureaucratisation du Monde no apenas uma etapa de um percurso
pessoal e deve ser apreciada igualmente no contexto da crtica de esquerda evoluo da
Unio Sovitica. Nesta perspectiva o livro de Orsini francamente deficiente, e se bem que
ele relate muito sumariamente as teses defendidas por Trotsky a respeito da URSS staliniana
(pg. 32), no as insere no ambiente de debates mais vasto.
Confundindo socialismo com apropriao dos meios de produo pelo Estado, Trotsky
defendeu at morrer que a Unio Sovitica continuava a ser uma economia socialista. Na sua
opinio, a escassez de bens de consumo, resultante do isolamento econmico da URSS no
plano mundial, suscitara o aparecimento de uma camada burocrtica destinada a organizar o
racionamento desses bens e a sua distribuio entre a populao. Embora assegurando os seus
prprios privilgios, esta burocracia no era uma classe, repetia incansavelmente Trotsky,
porque a sua razo de ser se definia no nvel da distribuio e no no das relaes de
produo. E assim Trotsky chegava concluso de que essa camada social, apesar de
parasitria, tinha interesse em preservar as relaes de produo socialistas, sem as quais ela
no podia subsistir.
Este paradoxo limitou seriamente as capacidades de crtica do trotskismo ao
stalinismo. No foi s devido represso staliniana que Trotsky perdeu a totalidade dos seus
seguidores na Unio Sovitica. A represso pde ser eficaz porque os meios trotskistas se
encontravam profundamente divididos entre aqueles que achavam que a industrializao
acelerada e a colectivizao da agricultura reforavam a base econmica socialista, e portanto
se puseram ao servio da administrao dos planos quinquenais, s para serem liquidados
alguns anos depois; e aqueles que se recusaram a considerar a economia stalinana como
socialista. Para estes, quando os planos quinquenais introduziram extensamente o taylorismo e

o fordismo na Unio Sovitica e lhe deram propores que jamais atingiria nos prprios
Estados Unidos, parecia estranho sustentar que a base econmica do stalinismo era socialista.
Nos meios de extrema-esquerda opostos ao stalinismo e crticos do trotskismo surgiu
um tipo de correntes que comeou a investigar a diferena entre o conceito de relaes
jurdicas de propriedade e o conceito de relaes sociais de produo. A apropriao estatal
dos meios de produo dizia respeito s relaes de propriedade e no servia para definir o
socialismo, que se definiria no nvel mais profundo das relaes de produo, pensadas
enquanto sistema de trabalho e controlo sobre o processo de trabalho. Deste modo a Unio
Sovitica foi classificada por certas correntes de extrema-esquerda como um capitalismo de
Estado e o arsenal conceptual do marxismo foi empregue para definir a burocracia staliniana
como uma classe capitalista. Na Unio Sovitica existiria um regime de explorao de tipo
Outro tipo de correntes de opinio, procedentes tambm da oposio de esquerda ao
stalinismo e da crtica ao trotskismo, mantiveram-se sob a hegemonia do conceito de relaes
de propriedade. Se a propriedade era estatal no existiria mercado, e se no existia mercado
no existia capitalismo. A sociedade staliniana, que a experincia prtica mostrava ser
contrria aos anseios do socialismo, no sendo tambm capitalista, seria obrigatoriamente
outra coisa. Assim nasceu a necessidade de definir um modo de produo ps-capitalista e de
definir a burocracia sovitica como um novo tipo de classe dominante, assente num novo
modo de explorao. Neste caso a classificao da burocracia como uma classe social no se
efectuou ao nvel do processo de produo entendido como um relacionamento social, mas ao
nvel das relaes de propriedade.
neste contexto que se situa La Bureaucratisation du Monde, como se situam vrias
outras obras dessa poca, algumas ainda mais esquecidas e mais injustamente esquecidas.
Remeto o leitor interessado por estas questes para a excelente resenha bibliogrfica de Henri
Morel, que organiza cronologicamente e classifica as vrias correntes crticas da economia e
da sociedade soviticas at ao final da segunda guerra mundial48. Apesar de contar quase trs
dcadas, trata-se de um artigo imprescindvel. Na Rssia, j em 1918 que nos meios
anarquistas e entre os socialistas-revolucionrios de esquerda, bem como na ala esquerda do
prprio partido bolchevista, comeara a ser denunciada a evoluo para o capitalismo de
Estado e o aparecimento de uma nova classe exploradora burocrtica. De ento em diante
estas polmicas tiveram muitos motivos para se desenvolver, e um livro de Anton Ciliga


H. E. Morel (1977) passim.


publicado em Frana em 1938, portanto um ano antes de La Bureaucratisation du Monde,

revelou que nos campos de prisioneiros polticos soviticos estava a ser feita a crtica ao
regime staliniano enquanto forma de explorao dos trabalhadores por uma nova camada
social dominante49. Nesta obra de Ciliga podia encontrar ampla informao quem at ento
no tivesse tido acesso aos debates ocorridos na extrema-esquerda russa e que, por ignorncia
lingustica, no conhecesse a produo terica da ultra-esquerda comunista alem e holandesa
durante a dcada de 1920 e os primeiros anos da dcada seguinte, embora esta se encontrasse
parcialmente traduzida em francs.
Alis, j num livro publicado em Paris em 1931, Lucien Laurat considerava que a
burocracia sovitica se tinha convertido numa nova classe exploradora50. A faco
trotskista tem um atraso cada vez maior perante a realidade, acusou Laurat. Ela no v que
a oligarquia burocrtica est j constituda enquanto classe [...]51. Laurat reconhecia que o
sector socialista da economia sovitica tinha conservado formalmente as principais categorias
do capitalismo, mas na sua opinio bastava a ausncia de propriedade privada e de
concorrncia mercantil no interior deste sector para mostrar que no se tratava de
capitalismo52. Nem a burocracia sovitica encabeava um capitalismo de Estado, afirmava
Laurat, nem executava uma poltica capitalista ao servio dos interesses dos proprietrios
privados53. [...] o que distingue a revoluo russa das revolues anteriores e impede
qualquer comparao, escreveu ele, o aparecimento de uma nova casta dirigente e a
formao dos alicerces econmicos desta casta durante o prprio decurso do processo
revolucionrio, desde a conquista do poder54. O interesse desta obra no se deve apenas ao
facto de ser oito anos anterior a La Bureaucratisation du Monde, mas a qualidade da
argumentao econmica de Laurat e da sua anlise social colocam o seu livro num plano
muitssimo superior ao do livro de Rizzi. Depois de estudar com detalhe os bloqueamentos
internos da economia sovitica, nomeadamente no que dizia respeito ao sistema de
acumulao, Laurat concluiu indicando uma alternativa que hoje nos aparece proftica: ou a
URSS regressava propriedade privada capitalista ou estabelecia um controlo pblico atravs
da instaurao de uma democracia proletria55.


A. Ciliga (1977) 169, 171-173, 202-203, 206, 209, 211-219, 241.

L. Laurat (1931) 7, 165. Encontra-se uma biografia de Lucien Laurat em J.-L. Pann (1988) 337-338.
L. Laurat (1931) 229.
Id., ibid., 80-83, 99, 116, 167-168.
Id., ibid., 152-155.
Id., ibid., 155 (sub. orig.).
Id., ibid., 231 e segs.


Todavia, nem Laurat nem Ciliga nem os outros autores que negavam igualmente o
carcter socialista da base econmica sovitica so referidos por Orsini. Pior ainda, Orsini no
menciona o facto de a mesmssima polmica que Trotsky conduziu contra Rizzi ter sido
conduzida contra Laurat, contra Hugo Urbahns, contra Boris Souvarine, contra Simone Weil,
contra Craipeau, contra Yvon, contra outros ainda. Com estas lacunas sistemticas Orsini
contribui para alimentar o mito da originalidade de Rizzi (pgs. 17-18, 31), quando antes dele
numerosos autores ou activistas polticos haviam j defendido posies semelhantes. Nem
sequer se trata aqui de justia histrica. O fundamental que as teses defendidas em La
Bureaucratisation du Monde no podem ser entendidas se ignorarmos que as diferentes
formas de conceber as relaes jurdicas de propriedade e de lhes conferir ou no a prioridade
relativamente s relaes sociais de produo explicam a divergncia nas perspectivas de
crtica ao stalinismo. O predomnio que o tema do mercado assumiu posteriormente na obra
de Rizzi encontra as suas razes no predomnio que j na sua obra de 1939 ele atribura ao
conceito de relaes jurdicas de propriedade.
Rizzi discorreu apenas no plano do controlo exercido pelo Partido Comunista
sovitico sobre o aparelho poltico central e manteve-se alheio s relaes de produo
estabelecidas no quadro social das empresas. Foi o controlo do Estado, no dos processos de
trabalho, a assumir importncia na obra de Rizzi, e foi no mbito do Estado que ele
apresentou as transformaes operadas no sistema de explorao. Basta a tentativa frustrada
de manobrar a economia capitalista para indicar a passagem do poder poltico da classe
capitalista para a burocracia do Estado56. Ficariam assim alteradas as normas de
funcionamento da economia. A interveno do Estado na economia constitui o comeo de
uma mudana de natureza da sociedade e do prprio Estado. Terminado o processo, a
sociedade estar diferente e ter um Estado que lhe apropriado. [...] a economia, fora de
se estatizar, chega ao ponto em que j no capitalista [...] a Sociedade est mudada57. Na
opinio de Rizzi, o sistema econmico implantado pela classe burocrtica teria abolido o
mercado e, portanto, a fora de trabalho j no estaria exposta s leis da oferta e da procura.
Se a explorao era exercida pela burocracia sobre a globalidade dos trabalhadores, atravs do
poder poltico central e da estatizao dos sindicatos, ento o colectivismo burocrtico teria
substitudo a proletarizao por um escravismo de Estado58. Os proletrios mudam de
roupagem jurdica, visto que no vendem mais as suas foras de trabalho, como sucedia


B. Rizzi (1939) 222.

Id., ibid., 172-173 (subs. orig.).
Id., ibid., 343; id. (1976) 30, 77-81.


outrora no mercado livre capitalista, mas so na realidade comprados pelo Estado [...]
Trata-se de uma nova forma de escravismo colectivo sob a gide do Estado [...]59. No nvel
superficial em que abordava estas questes, Rizzi no se apercebeu, porm, de que a
organizao centralizada e estatal do capitalismo jamais superou a concorrncia entre
unidades produtivas nem aboliu a mobilidade da mo-de-obra no mercado de trabalho.
Orsini apresenta a obra de Rizzi de 1939 e as consideraes que ele a teceu acerca da
situao dos trabalhadores como se tivessem como objecto nico a crtica URSS (pgs. 2831). S mais adiante ele indica que Rizzi ampliava ao mundo inteiro as suas reflexes acerca
da burocratizao da sociedade sovitica (pg. 36), sem no entanto dar explicaes acerca do
assunto. O certo que Rizzi pretendeu formular uma viso global que inclusse tanto o regime
sovitico como as democracias e os fascismos, e embora a parte do livro dedicada anlise do
fascismo no tivesse sido publicada, sabemos que na opinio do autor o fascismo italiano e o
nacional-socialismo alemo esto em vias de rpida burocratizao e [...] adquiriram j um
carcter anticapitalista, se bem que o Capital ainda no tenha sido a suprimido radicalmente,
como sucedeu na URSS [...] A Europa e o mundo devem ser fascizados ou socializados. O
capitalismo j no tem mais possibilidades de vida [...] O Colectivismo Burocrtico [...] tem a
sua base social nas classes dominantes que fizeram do Estado a sua sede, na Rssia, na Itlia,
na Alemanha, no Japo e nos Estados mais pequenos [...] Esta nova forma social
degenerada, mas apesar disto activa, e impe-se cada vez mais a um Capitalismo que est
morto enquanto sistema propulsor60. Embora Orsini escreva que segundo Rizzi no
colectivismo burocrtico sovitico as manifestaes estatais apresentavam as mesmas
caractersticas prprias dos Estados totalitrios de tipo facista (pg. 31), vimos que a
convergncia no se resumia s manifestaes estatais, mas incidia no prprio sistema
econmico. E para Rizzi a semelhana no parava nos regimes totalitrios. O New Deal
indica o ponto inicial do desmembramento econmico capitalista e da cristalizao poltica
da burocracia na Amrica61. Como um processo idntico se esboaria tambm na Frana e na
Gr-Bretanha62, Rizzi conclua que por todo o mundo o capitalismo, quando no fora
ultrapassado, estava moribundo. Na sua evoluo final a economia capitalista de certo modo
obriga o Estado burgus a trair os seus senhores e a transformar-se num Estado


Id. (1939) 103.

Id. (1976) 7-10. Ver ainda id. (1939) 103 e (1976) 60, 84-88.
Id. (1939) 219.
Id., ibid., 238-239.


burocrtico63. Estranhamente, Orsini no d o devido relevo a esta tese central de La

Bureaucratisation du Monde.
Orsini afirma que Rizzi chegou a uma intuio fundamental na sua obra de 1939,
segundo a qual a URSS seria uma sociedade regressiva em comparao com a capitalista
(pg. 24; ver igualmente as pgs. 29 e 34). Por outro lado, Orsini afirma que Rizzi atribua aos
burocratas um papel estritamente parasitrio, considerando que eles no estimulavam o
processo produtivo (pgs. 40-41). Mas Rizzi sustentou opinies muito diferentes. Presumindo,
tal como ensinava a ortodoxia marxista, que as foras produtivas se caracterizam por um
crescimento gradual, ele admitiu que o colectivismo burocrtico correspondesse a um estdio
mais progressivo do que o capitalismo. Sob o ponto de vista histrico, esta sociedade tem
como tarefa elevar de maneira ordenada a produo total do mundo [...] escreveu Rizzi
referindo-se ao colectivismo burocrtico64, e afirmou ainda que a prxima sociedade atingir
os limites mximos da produo quanto ao volume e talvez tambm quanto qualidade
[...]65. Alm disso, nesta sua obra Rizzi defendia que a conjugao de foras entre o
proletariado e a burocracia colectivista forneceria a oportunidade de reorganizar
pacificamente a economia mundial, o que levaria os colectivismos burocrticos a
democratizarem-se, num processo precursor do advento da sociedade sem classes66. Durante
um longo perodo de democratizao tanto poltica como econmica o Estado perderia
gradualmente o seu carcter opressor e tornar-se-ia um rgo de colaborao entre os
burocratas e os trabalhadores67. Alis, a burocracia estaria em vias de resolver os dois nicos
problemas prvios constituio de uma sociedade sem classes, j que havia substitudo a
propriedade privada pela propriedade colectiva e teria alm disso deixado de orientar a
produo pelo critrio do lucro, substituindo-lhe o princpio do interesse geral. A derradeira
classe dirigente da histria encontra-se situada to perto da sociedade sem classes que nega a
sua qualidade de classe e de proprietria68. Por isso o comunismo seria o resultado nico e
inevitvel do colectivismo burocrtico. [...] o Estado totalitrio perder cada vez mais as suas
caractersticas polticas, para conservar unicamente as caractersticas administrativas. No fim
deste processo teremos uma sociedade sem classes e o Socialismo69. Uma vez mais, quem
leia apenas o livro de Orsini fica na total ignorncia destas teses sustentadas por Rizzi em

Id., ibid., 140.

Id., ibid., 253. Ver igualmente as pgs. 250-251 e 261.
Id., ibid., 304.
Id., ibid., 305, 331.
Id., ibid., 277, 318-320, 329-330.
Id., ibid., 254.


1939. Pior ainda, Orsini pretende que Rizzi estava convencido de que a planificao nunca
teria podido conduzir democracia. O seu resultado final teria sido sempre o colectivismo
burocrtico, que teria obrigatoriamente colocado na pobreza milhes de pessoas (pg. 42).
Orsini no se limita a esquecer algumas teses fundamentais de La Bureaucratisation du
Monde, mas desnatura o pensamento de Rizzi.
Alis, em Il Socialismo dalla Religione alla Scienza, escrito em 1939-1943, Rizzi
continuou a atribuir tecnocracia uma funo positiva. Orsini cita passagens desta obra em
que Rizzi sustentou que jamais se poderia eliminar o poder poltico exercido por uma minoria
contra a maioria, porque ele era indispensvel manuteno da ordem social, e recorda a este
respeito uma passagem de La Bureaucratisation du Monde em que Rizzi afirmou que o
processo produtivo era necessariamente dirigido por tecnocratas (pg. 57; ver tambm a pg.
111), mas nada disto impede Orsini de pretender que Rizzi atribuiu burocracia um papel
parasitrio. A contradio ainda mais flagrante quando Orsini descreve o que ele considera
ter sido a contribuio original de Rizzi para a teoria do elitismo democrtico: a distino
entre as condies necessrias para o socialismo, que consistiriam no desenvolvimento
das foras produtivas, e as condies suficientes, que consistiriam na existncia de uma
elite poltica apta a guiar os interesses da classe social ascendente em direco a relaes de
produo melhores (pg. 116). estranho que Orsini ignore que esta distino, ou pelo
menos a sua primeira formulao terica desenvolvida, se deve a Lenin. Alm disso, Orsini
confunde a noo genrica de minorias activas com o conceito especfico de elite, tal como
Pareto e Mosca o formularam, e supe que este conceito de elite era sinnimo da noo de
vanguarda revolucionria, corrente nos meios de extrema-esquerda (pgs. 116, 129-132).
Trata-se, todavia, de concepes originariamente distintas, e o conceito de elite no se ope
noo de vanguarda mas ao conceito de classe social. A converso de uma vanguarda
revolucionria numa elite pertencente a uma classe social dominante assinala a transformao
de um processo revolucionrio num processo contra-revolucionrio. Sem se inquietar com o
facto de ter mostrado que na opinio de Rizzi os tcnicos seriam indispensveis, o poder de
Estado seria inevitvel e a elite revolucionria seria necessria, Orsini, referindo-se
aparentemente a Socialismo Infantile, uma obra publicada em 1969-1970, indica que, segundo
Rizzi, o Estado desapareceria com o desenvolvimento do socialismo de mercado (pg. 71).
Tambm numa carta de 1970 Rizzi evocou a abolio do Estado na sequncia da proliferao
das empresas socialistas de mercado (pg. 99). Mais paradoxalmente ainda, Rizzi, adoptando


Id., ibid., 284. Ver igualmente as pgs. 254, 261, 263 e 283.


as ideias de Michels acerca da tendncia inevitavelmente oligrquica das organizaes

partidrias e sindicais, passou a criticar as elites polticas (pgs. 118-123), sem que se
compreenda por que razo, se os tcnicos seriam indispensveis s actividades econmicas, os
burocratas no seriam tambm indispensveis s actividades polticas, ou inversamente.
Contradies como estas retiram qualquer coerncia terica obra de Rizzi, mas passam
despercebidas a Orsini. Pior ainda. Depois de dedicar as pgs. 118-123 do seu livro a mostrar,
com abundantes citaes, que pelo menos a partir de 1950 Rizzi passou a considerar que os
partidos com cargos inamovveis no podiam levar ao socialismo, Orsini conclui que Rizzi
tinha uma concepo acentuadamente elitista da histria e na sua opinio as elites polticas
desempenhavam uma funo dirigente indispensvel nas mudanas sociais: sem uma elite
poltica altura da tarefa no h socialismo (pg. 125).
Orsini remete para uma nota de rodap a questo do anti-semitismo em La
Bureaucratisation du Monde, que teria servido s autoridades francesas para proibir o livro, e
cita a seguinte passagem: A luta racista do nacional-socialismo e do fascismo no , no
fundo, seno uma luta anticapitalista conduzida pela nova sntese social, de uma maneira
errada na teoria, mas justa na prtica. A aco cega, como sempre, da nova classe dirigente
revela-se mais eficaz do que a aco verdadeiramente consciente da anttese social. Hitler tem
razo e somos ns que estamos errados. Precisamos de corrigir o rumo e de nos tornarmos
antijudaicos porque somos anticapitalistas (pg. 26, n. 39). O problema , no entanto, mais
amplo e muito mais profundo.
mais amplo porque no foi em algumas frases, mas ao longo de uma dezena de
pginas, que Rizzi props classe operria todo um programa de anti-semitismo70, que
inclua, alm da passagem mencionada, afirmaes como a de que [...] a luta contra o
capitalismo se identifica forosamente, mesmo que s de forma parcial, com a luta contra o
povo judeu71. Os movimentos nazi e fascista, escreveu ainda Rizzi, que, embora no
sendo marxistas, so, no entanto, desde h muito e pela sua prpria natureza anticapitalistas,
manifestam o seu anticapitalismo de um modo inconsciente atravs da sua luta contra Israel.
Ns, marxistas, podemos ter uma viso mais clara, incluindo o antijudasmo no
anticapitalismo. Isto prova, uma vez mais, que proletrios e ditadores esto situados
historicamente uns ao lado dos outros na luta contra o capital72. Tambm estas consideraes
so esquecidas por Orsini.


Id., ibid., 291-300.

Id., ibid., 294.
Id., ibid., 299 (sub. orig.).


Mas alm de mais amplo o problema muito mais profundo, porque diz respeito ao
que Rizzi denominava nova sntese social. Orsini pretende que na opinio de Rizzi os
interesses da burocracia so sempre opostos aos dos trabalhadores (pg. 41), mas isto
falso. Enquanto no capitalismo a burguesia e o proletariado se enfrentavam como tese e
anttese, a burocracia formava, na opinio de Rizzi, a sntese histrica desse confronto. [...]
no momento em que da anttese proletariado-burguesia saiu j a nova classe, o proletariado
deve retirar-se da luta de classes, porque o ciclo est cumprido: tese anttese = sntese;
proletariado burguesia = burocracia73. Alm de dever abdicar das suas pretenses
conduo da histria, o proletariado devia abandonar a aliana com as democracias
capitalistas e apoiar as ditaduras colectivistas burocrticas, especialmente os fascismos74. Os
fascistas cometeram o erro terico de pretender colaborar com a burguesia, quando, pelo
contrrio, devero liquid-la, e alis j a deixaram meio morta, escreveu Rizzi. A
colaborao deve fazer-se com o proletariado, que hoje j no o proletariado, mas a classe
dos cidados trabalhadores75. Foi neste contexto que Rizzi proclamou: Mussolini e Hitler
do a mo a Lenin. Proletrios da Frana, da Inglaterra e da Amrica, dem a mo a Hitler e a
Mussolini76. Orsini pretende que Rizzi, com base nos seus estudos, conseguiu prever o
pacto Ribbentrop-Molotov [...] (pg. 18). Na verdade ele deveria ter escrito que Rizzi apelou
para a realizao desse pacto. O anti-semitismo expresso por Rizzi na sua obra de 1939, j por
si muitssimo significativo, decorre da defesa da abdicao histrica do proletariado perante a
burocracia. Mas Orsini no cita nenhuma destas passagens nem sequer lhes faz referncia.
Se o fizesse teria de explicar como pode classificar de antifascista a posio assumida
por Rizzi desde 1939 at ao final da guerra (pgs. 26-28). No bastam as inquietaes da
polcia poltica italiana acerca do personagem para o qualificar ideologicamente. curioso
que Orsini remeta para uma nota de rodap a informao de que Rizzi, durante o perodo da
Repblica Social, enviou uma carta a Mussolini pedindo-lhe autorizao para fundar um
jornal anticomunista e antimonrquico, mas tudo o que Orsini daqui conclui que a polcia
do Reich interceptou a carta (pg. 28, n. 45). No entanto, conhecendo-se as passagens de La
Bureaucratisation du Monde que pus em evidncia nesta resenha, vemos que Rizzi estava a
fazer ele prprio o que aconselhara aos proletrios da Frana, da Inglaterra e da Amrica,
[dar] a mo a Hitler e a Mussolini.


Id., ibid., 282. Ver igualmente a pg. 286.

Id., ibid., 267-270, 276-277, 314-315.
Id., ibid., 283.
Id., ibid., 278.


Hoje, com a lio dos acontecimentos, fcil criticar as implicaes prticas da

estratgia defendida por Rizzi em La Bureaucratisation du Monde, embora o livro de Orsini
deixe este problema em branco. Mas tambm sob o ponto de vista terico aquela obra de
Rizzi sofre uma deficincia grave, que anula as suas pretenses a constituir um modelo
explicativo. Por um lado, Rizzi pretendia que a burocracia era uma nova classe, que na
URSS representava um facto social j completado, embora estivesse ainda em formao nos
Estados totalitrios77. No ltimo captulo da sua crtica ao regime sovitico Rizzi escreveu:
[...] este fenmeno geral e no s russo. Na URSS este fenmeno sobretudo burocrtico,
porque nasceu da burocracia, mas nos pases totalitrios ele gera-se naturalmente no meio dos
tcnicos, dos especialistas, dos funcionrios sindicais e partidrios [...] A sua matria-prima
provm da numerosssima burocracia estatal e paraestatal, dos administradores de sociedades
annimas, do exrcito, das profisses liberais e da prpria aristocracia operria78. Rizzi
referiu-se existncia nos regimes fascistas de uma nova classe dirigente em formao79, e
mesmo na democracia norte-americana a burocracia governamental v aumentar o seu
prestgio e o seu volume80. A interveno do Estado na economia, suscitada pelo New Deal,
teria provocado um duplo efeito social. A classe burocrtica est em vias de formao,
enquanto a classe burguesa se desagrega81. Por outro lado, todavia, o caso sovitico foi o
nico em que Rizzi analisou o processo histrico de formao da burocracia ps-capitalista, e
ao faz-lo atribuiu a esta classe social razes circunstanciais, estritamente decorrentes da
forma como evolura a revoluo bolchevista. Orsini elogia Rizzi pelo facto de em 1939 ele
ter considerado que na URSS a vanguarda revolucionria comeara por tomar o poder e s em
seguida instaurara novas relaes de produo. Deste modo, escreve Orsini, Rizzi inverteu a
relao tradicionalmente estabelecida entre a superestrutura e a infra-estrutura (pgs. 29-30;
ver igualmente as pgs. 110-113). Alis, isto no impede Orsini de escrever noutro captulo
que s nos ltimos anos da sua vida Rizzi reconheceu aco das elites polticas a
possibilidade de exercer um primado absoluto sobre a economia e de inverter a relao
estrutura-superestrutura (pg. 124). O livro de Orsini no menos incongruente do que a
obra de Rizzi. E como no salienta o facto de Rizzi ter considerado que a burocracia estava
em vias de adquirir a hegemonia no resto do mundo, onde no ocorrera qualquer conquista do


Id. (1976) 62.

Id., ibid., 105.
Id., ibid., 60.
Id. (1939) 122.
Id., ibid., 139.


poder pela vanguarda revolucionria, Orsini pode apresentar como uma grande descoberta o
que na verdade constitui uma das mais notrias fraquezas da argumentao de Rizzi.
O mesmo se deve observar acerca da aproximao estabelecida por Rizzi entre o
regime staliniano e o sistema feudal, que Orsini considera como um ponto forte da obra de
Rizzi (pgs. 34-36; ver tambm as pgs. 160-161). deveras extraordinria essa analogia
entre um regime caracterizado pela reduo do Estado central e pela proliferao de centros
de poder secundrios e outro regime caracterizado pelo reforo do Estado central. Mas Rizzi
imaginava que o mercado de bens e de fora de trabalho no existia no feudalismo nem no
regime sovitico, e isto bastou-lhe para estabelecer identificaes histricas, o que mais uma
vez revela a superficialidade das suas opinies. Por outro lado, se a Unio Sovitica tivesse
assumido uma feio feudal, ento a convergncia com os fascismos e com o New Deal
obrigaria a detectar traos de feudalismo na administrao de Roosevelt.
Rizzi no conseguiu apresentar uma explicao geral para um fenmeno geral, e
perante esta grave limitao que devem ser analisadas as pretenses a consider-lo como o
iniciador de uma teoria dos gestores. Orsini reivindica este ttulo para Rizzi, escrevendo que
ele foi o primeiro a introduzir o conceito de nova classe (pg. 109). Nomeadamente,
Orsini contrape-no a James Burnham, contra quem Rizzi sustentou uma polmica, acusandoo de plgio. Nos captulos que dedica ao assunto (pgs. 36-43) Orsini cita opinies de vrios
autores, uns favorveis tese de que Burnham se limitou a copiar as ideias principais de Rizzi
e outros que sustentam a originalidade de Burnham. Por seu lado, Orsini considera que a
questo permanece decididamente controversa (pg. 37) e conclui que, apesar de no
existirem provas de plgio, as suspeitas so justificadas (pg. 43). O principal, no entanto,
que o prprio Burnham foi apenas um dos ltimos numa longa linhagem de crticos de
esquerda que desde 1918 vinham a analisar a Unio Sovitica em termos de um regime de
Na formulao de teorias acerca dos gestores s assume verdadeira importncia quem
for capaz de apresentar para esta classe social um processo de formao generalizado no
mbito mundial, e aqui a primazia deve ser dada a Jan Waclaw Matchayski, um dos muitos
autores que Orsini deixa sem qualquer referncia, e que publicou a sua primeira obra
relevante em 1898-1899 nos meios da deportao poltica siberiana82. Matchayski defendia
que os intelectuais, entre os quais inclua os administradores e os tecnocratas, embora no
fossem proprietrios de meios de produo, eram capitalistas e exploravam a mais-valia aos


Encontra-se uma boa antologia de textos de Matchayski em M. Tragtenberg (1981 org.).


trabalhadores manuais, graas ao monoplio exercido sobre o conhecimento83. Daqui

Matchayski deduziu uma dialctica fundamental para a compreenso das lutas sociais do
sculo XX: os intelectuais eram contrrios ao proletariado, mas ao mesmo tempo
aproveitavam as lutas proletrias para atacar a burguesia com a finalidade de alterar a
repartio do lucro84. A propaganda socialista, escrevia Matchayski, servia para dissimular
aos olhos do proletariado os interesses especficos dos trabalhadores intelectuais [...]85, e o
modelo de sociedade preconizado pela Segunda Internacional servia exclusivamente os
interesses dos intelectuais86. O objectivo deste tipo de socialismo, profetizava Matchayski, era
colocar as lutas proletrias ao servio dos intelectuais e ajud-los a conquistarem o poder de
Estado87. Depois de classificar a democratizao da vida poltica como a penetrao [da
intelligentsia] em todos os poros do Estado burgus, Matchayski concluiu que numa
democracia a transmisso de todos os meios de produo para as mos da intelligentsia, que
detm j o governo social, constituir para ela um verdadeiro paraso. Numa democracia, a
socializao dos meios de produo nada pode prometer aos trabalhadores alm do reforo da
organizao do poder que os domina e do fortalecimento do Estado88. Assim, num texto
publicado na Rssia em meados de 1918 Matchayski estava em condies para denunciar
como um mito a tese de que a tomada do poder pelo partido bolchevista tivesse implicado a
tomada do poder pela classe operria89. Matchayski foi o primeiro a pensar de maneira
coerente e sistemtica a distino entre relaes jurdicas de propriedade e relaes sociais de
produo e a reflectir sobre as implicaes desta distino, segundo um ponto de vista
anticapitalista. s porque deixa de lado a histria da teoria da classe dos gestores que o livro
de Orsini pode atribuir uma importncia to exagerada a Rizzi, terico tardio e incoerente.
Orsini chama a ateno para a importncia que o tema do mercado assumiu nas obras
de Rizzi posteriores a 1939 (pgs. 45 e segs.), mas esta evoluo ideolgica s se pode
compreender se no esquecermos o lugar predominante j atribudo ao conceito de relaes
jurdicas de propriedade em La Bureaucratisation du Monde. Para Rizzi o drama histrico
processava-se na alternncia entre propriedade de Estado e propriedade particular, com os
respectivos corolrios, planificao central ou concorrncia no mercado, sem que a


Id., ibid., 85-86, 90, 110-114, 136, 138-139.

Id., ibid., 86-87.
Id., ibid., 88.
Id., ibid., 90-91, 93-95.
Id., ibid., 114-117.
Id., ibid., 118.
Id., ibid., 141 e segs.


administrao da produo e as relaes sociais estabelecidas nos processos de trabalho

assumissem um lugar significativo.
verdadeiramente surpreendente que Rizzi tivesse referido o mercado como uma
panaceia universal, sem se aperceber das profundssimas transformaes operadas ao longo de
dois sculos no mercado capitalista e parecendo ignorar os efeitos dos oligoplios e das
instituies financeiras sobre a proclamada concorrncia mercantil. O que Orsini
estranhamente denomina teorema de Rizzi, a noo de que a extino do mercado levaria
runa da civilizao e da cultura (pg. 46), uma vulgar apologia da liberdade feita num plano
estritamente moral, ainda que usando termos de conotao econmica. O carcter
fundamentalmente egosta que Rizzi atribua aos seres humanos constitui o fundamento das
suas concepes de mercado e de liberdade (pgs. 65-66). Este moralismo aproximou Rizzi
dos anarquistas, apesar de outros aspectos o separarem inevitavelmente dessa corrente poltica
(pgs. 58-62).
Tanto quanto possvel deslindar as ideias de Rizzi, que so ao mesmo tempo
simplistas e confusas, era no mbito das compras e vendas e da concorrncia que se deveriam
implantar os mecanismos necessrios ao estabelecimento do socialismo de mercado (pgs. 7072). Teorias deste tipo atribuem necessariamente ao mercado um carcter neutro, supondo que
as regras da concorrncia no esto viciadas para um dos lados. No aqui o lugar para fazer
a crtica destas concepes, mas a contradio demasiado gritante na caso de Rizzi. Ao
afirmar em Il Socialismo dalla Religione alla Scienza, uma obra escrita em 1939-1943, que o
mercado o fundamento e o regulador de qualquer actividade social (cit. na pg. 51, sub.
orig.), Rizzi estava a conferir ao mercado uma funo determinante das relaes sociais, ao
mesmo tempo que admitia que um novo tipo de relaes sociais podia desenvolver-se com
base naquele mesmo mercado. As contradies de Rizzi no param aqui. Num texto de 1949
ele defendia que o Socialismo ser ainda uma Sociedade fundada sobre o mercado (excepto
a mercadoria trabalho) (cit. na pg. 59) e tambm em Socialismo Infantile, publicado em
1969-1970, proclamava que no seu socialismo de mercado o trabalho deixaria de ser uma
mercadoria (pg. 71). Todavia, em La Bureaucratisation du Monde bastara que Rizzi
considerasse que a fora de trabalho havia deixado de ser uma mercadoria para que ele
definisse a existncia de um colectivismo de Estado, assente num escravismo colectivo 90. Dez
anos depois ele esquecia-se de explicar como seria possvel haver uma livre concorrncia
mercantil se o principal factor de produo estava excludo do mercado. Contradies deste


B. Rizzi (1939) 103.


tipo, que escapam ateno de Orsini, impedem a obra de Rizzi de assumir qualquer
seriedade terica. E difcil manter a compostura e dar importncia s suas lucubraes
quando vemos Rizzi, numa longa carta de 1970, empenhado em usar um corpo de polcia
municipal para realizar a sua primeira experincia prtica de empresa socialista de mercado
(pgs. 99-101).
Mesmo sem ter em conta essas limitaes, estranho que Orsini d um to grande
relevo ao que denomina teorema de Rizzi. Em La Rovina Antica e lEt Feudale, obra
escrita em 1939-1943, Rizzi defendeu que na Roma antiga teria ocorrido uma crise de
subconsumo, devida generalizao do escravismo, a qual teria levado ao declnio do
mercado, proliferao de uma burocracia estatal e ao colapso civilizacional (pgs. 48-49).
Do mesmo modo, o ataque conduzido pelo totalitarismo moderno contra o mercado levaria
crise da civilizao (pg. 49-50). Orsini considera que Rizzi estabeleceu uma lei sociolgica
propriamente dita, segundo a qual, numa dada formao social, o nvel de opresso e de
explorao do homem pelo homem est numa relao inversamente proporcional ao
desenvolvimento das trocas comerciais (pg. 50) e acrescenta que para Rizzi o mercado o
pressuposto da democracia e da liberdade, verdadeira varivel independente do progresso
humano (pg. 56). Todavia, o pensamento burgus tem repetido incessantemente esta tese, a
tal ponto que ela era j uma banalidade muito antes de Rizzi ter escrito La Rovina Antica e
lEt Feudale. E apesar de Orsini indicar que com esta sua obra Rizzi recuperava um aspecto
central da tradio liberal (pg. 52), nem por isso deixa de lhe conferir um papel pioneiro.
Ora, se se quiser atribuir a algum aquele teorema o precedente cabe sem dvida aos velhos
fisiocratas. Assim como Deus estabelecia a harmonia entre os elementos da natureza,
ensinavam os fisiocratas, ele estabelecia-a igualmente entre os elementos da sociedade, com a
condio de a sociedade corresponder ordem natural. Nestes termos, a concorrncia no
mercado era uma manifestao dos desgnios divinos, desaparecendo qualquer contradio
entre o ser humano e a sociedade e instaurando-se a liberdade. Mas no que diz respeito ao
pensamento de Rizzi as linhas de filiao foram menos remotas e no necessrio recuar at
ao sculo XVIII.
Darwin atribuiu concorrncia no mercado um mbito muito genrico, na medida em
que ela lhe serviu de inspirao, ou de modelo, ou de analogia, para a seleco biolgica na
demarcao das espcies. A sobrevivncia do mais apto era um lugar-comum tanto na
eugenia como na economia, e alm disso justificava as chacinas de massa que acompanharam
o imperialismo capitalista. Essa noo foi assimilada frequentemente noo marxista de luta
de classes. Georges Sorel e os seus discpulos sindicalistas revolucionrios, por exemplo,

consideravam a concorrncia no mercado na perspectiva darwiniana da seleco do mais

forte, e por isso se opunham a qualquer tipo de interveno estatal que suprimisse ou sequer
atenuasse a concorrncia. A livre concorrncia era para eles uma condio indispensvel
luta social e uma via de aproximao ao socialismo, e tudo o que dificultasse essa luta teria
como efeito desvitalizar as classes sociais e, portanto, poria em risco a prpria civilizao.
Estas teses beneficiaram de grande audincia antes da primeira guerra mundial na extremaesquerda italiana, sobretudo nos meios onde a influncia marxista se conjugava com o
interesse pelo anarquismo. E como os sindicalistas revolucionrios foram, junto com os
arditi91 e os futuristas, uma das trs componentes originrias do movimento fascista, as ideias
acerca da relao entre mercado, virilidade social e cultura difundiram-se em todo o espectro
poltico. Alis, elas exerceram uma notvel influncia sobre o prprio Mussolini. O tema da
degenerescncia civilizacional, ou mesmo da degenerescncia racial, que teve uma to grande
importncia no pensamento conservador, encontrou-se assim estreitamente unido com a
apologia do mercado.
neste contexto que devemos apreciar o que Orsini denomina teorema de Rizzi, e
uma passagem de Il Socialismo dalle Religione alla Scienza onde Rizzi afirma que o ser
humano se distingue dos animais por necessitar de f e de crenas (pgs. 57-58) parece
directamente inspirada pela teoria soreliana dos mitos. Alm disso, Rizzi, nas palavras de
Orsini, tinha uma sincera admirao por Robert Michels (pg. 114), e Orsini considera que
a influncia de Michels sobre Rizzi foi muito profunda (pgs. 114-115). Ora, Michels, que
estivera estreitamente ligado aos sindicalistas revolucionrios e os acompanhara na
convergncia com os nacionalistas radicais de Enrico Corradini, viu com agrado a subida de
Mussolini ao poder. Em 1928 Michels tornou-se membro do Partido Nacional Fascista e
desde o ano seguinte foi um dos professores da Faculdade Fascista de Cincias Polticas, que
acabara de ser fundada em Perugia. Mas Orsini nem recorda a relao de Robert Michels com
o sindicalismo revolucionrio nem a sua relao com o fascismo, perdendo assim a
oportunidade de mostrar como o desenvolvimento das ideias de Rizzi prolongou o
cruzamento de uma certa extrema-esquerda com a direita nacionalista e radical.
A preocupao de Rizzi, de 1939 em diante, de conjugar o socialismo com o mercado
nada teve de original. Quando o fascista francs Pierre Drieu la Rochelle escreveu em
Fevereiro de 1945, pouco antes de se suicidar, que o socialismo liberal a frmula


Os arditi eram uma espcie de comandos voluntrios durante a primeira guerra mundial.


primitiva de todo o estatismo fascista92, ele estava a enunciar esse socialismo de mercado
que havia sido o horizonte mais longnquo alcanado pelo populismo de extrema-direita.
Vinte e cinco anos mais tarde, em Socialismo Infantile, Rizzi considerava necessria a
aliana do Liberalismo e do Socialismo para salvar o Mercado e toda uma Civilizao (cit.
na pg. 52), e Orsini comenta que com esta tese Rizzi retomava um tema crucial que
atravessa todo o pensamento liberal: as garantias do cidado contra os abusos do poder (pg.
52). Mas a breve citao de Drieu la Rochelle, para quem no tiver tempo de ler algumas
obras exaustivas que foram dedicadas ao assunto, mostra que a aliana do Liberalismo e do
Socialismo foi igualmente um tema que atravessou todo o pensamento fascista. A estatizao
da economia nos regimes fascistas foi maior ou menor consoante os pases e mesmo no
interior de cada regime variou consoante as pocas, mas em nenhum caso o fascismo ps de
parte o mercado ou deixou de considerar necessria a conjugao do estatismo com o
O silenciamento da obra de Rizzi, a conjura do silncio (pgs. 19, 55, 73-74, 89, 93,
94), no se deveu a azares nem a ms vontades. Em 1939 Rizzi considerou o colectivismo
burocrtico como uma etapa benfica na libertao da humanidade e fez o possvel por
estimular a aproximao entre os comunistas e os fascistas, aceitando inclusivamente o antisemitismo como uma forma de anticapitalismo, e em 1943 ofereceu os seus prstimos a
Mussolini na dupla campanha da Repblica Social, contra o comunismo e contra a monarquia.
Depois da guerra ele era evidentemente incmodo para uns e para o que restava dos outros. E
era mais incmodo ainda, se possvel, para os democratas, a quem a obra de Rizzi recordava
que as estreitas relaes do fascismo com o liberalismo jamais haviam sido cortadas. Nos
termos simplistas em que, como o livro de Orsini mostra (pg. 54), Rizzi prosseguiu no psguerra a crtica planificao e a apologia do livre mercado, ele no se distinguiu de qualquer
vulgar publicista liberal ou neoliberal, sobretudo porque confundiu sistematicamente todos os
tipos de planificao com um nico, a planificao sovitica (pgs. 141-149). A singularidade
de Rizzi no panorama poltico italiano posterior segunda guerra mundial consistiu em
chamar socialismo quilo que era na verdade um extremo liberalismo, assimilando o sector
pblico economia de Estado sovitica (pgs. 76 e segs.), a tal ponto que em 1963 escreveu
ao presidente da Confederao da Indstria propondo-lhe uma aco comum contra as
medidas de interveno econmica estatal previstas pelo governo de centro-esquerda (pgs.
89-91). Mas nem aqui Rizzi foi original, porque j antes da primeira guerra mundial os


Citado em P. Srant (1959) 238.


sindicalistas revolucionrios elogiavam o esprito empresarial dos patres, vendo nele o

melhor estmulo luta de classes. Rizzi limitou-se a retirar a esta atitude as suas conotaes
violentas e a formul-la em termos de paz social (pgs. 67-68, 101). Orsini s pode considerar
que as teses de Rizzi representavam uma excepo absoluta (pg. 78) na social-democracia
do ps-guerra graas mesma operao com que apresenta La Bureaucratisation du Monde
como uma obra sem precedentes ou com que assinala a existncia de um teorema de Rizzi
no mencionar todos os outros autores que numa multiplicidade de pases j antes, por vezes
muito antes, diziam o mesmo, e o diziam melhor. Alis, Rizzi foi aqui mais modesto e na
carta enviada em 1963 ao presidente da Confederao da Indstria comentou as suas prprias
posies dizendo que no se trata [...] de um caso isolado e acrescentado que na Frana,
na Inglaterra, na Amrica etc. e embrionariamente tambm em Itlia est em formao um
movimento socialista mais contrrio ainda do que o liberalismo interveno econmica do
Estado (cit. na pg. 90).
Este livro de Alessandro Orsini surge como uma tentativa de apaladar Bruno Rizzi ao
gosto dos nossos dias, expurgando-a de tudo aquilo que os neoliberais no gostam. Alm de
no conseguir demonstrar que Rizzi foi um grande pensador poltico, muito menos um
pensador original, Orsini desvirtua as ideias defendidas por Rizzi em La Bureaucratisation du
Monde, a sua obra mais significativa, e no contribui para esclarecer o quadro histrico em
que elas surgiram e nem a forma como depois se desenvolveram.

Joo Bernardo


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