The Incapacitating Prince
On Fascism’s Gaseous State
”In the corner, Broomstick! Broomstick, no more – hey! I'm your master and I summoned you to serve me and obey!”
– Goethe, The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Imagine for a moment: to please the prince, a master jester offers our sovereign a new, magic potion to freeze the wicked. Imagine he claims this powder can freeze a crowd on the spot, before they can even approach a window (Saturday shopping required). Cold as ice, this enchanting powder would have the virtue, he says, of piercing even the most waterproof lining and mask (FFP2 or FFP3 standard). The substance would make the most robust barricade-builders in our lands drop like flies, mowing down provincial mother and Parisian handyman alike.
One can well imagine the seduction of this infallible charm on the novice magician. The spell's power would aid exhausted halberds – a refreshing breeze for the club deliverymen. What's the point of smashing skulls and carcasses again? Cudgels only enrage the rabble. Even while standing at attention, the baton-bearers realize their hard work won't bring them a cent. The back-breakers and bone-crushers (like the hated Anti-Criminality Brigade or BAC, among other gangs) can't make much hay when their labor provokes the International Criminal Court.
The powder gas is the magical promise to avoid any contact with the people, sparing troops while neutralizing threats. With this new enchantment and confident in his ability, the warlock-prince can quietly mount the summits to observe how his little farce plays out. Behold, he shone anew, afar: “Snow star, wondrous country, where lovers live in harmony”. From his tele-throne, the satisfied enchanter covers the crowd with clichés, projecting his inimitable sarcastic smile far and wide.
The use of this new charm would explain the morning of Saturday, March 16th: the constable stands quietly at a distance, valet standing by, ready for service. The crowd stood abreast oblivion, copiously sprinkled with bewitching elixir in the cauldron that is “the world's most beautiful avenue”.
But did we remember the formula, exactly? Did we pick the right ingredients? Is the dosage off? Maybe we reversed the proportions of incapacitating and irritating? Stuck, sealed in the gas cauldron, the vests were looking for a way out. They hastily rushed the guard and soon took revenge. Woe! Woe! Woe! How can we command the spirits now? And here are the poor windows left defenseless – France weeps for sad Fouquet's. Even the most Promethean princes' creatures can get out of hand. Friends, heed Marx’s warning:
Modern bourgeois society, with its relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the netherworld whom he has called up by his spells.
– The Communist Manifesto