CriticAtac is a social, intellectual and political critique group. Our group’s ideology is mainly leftist, but we are no ideological faction and don’t go around patting each other on the shoulders for the brilliant and concerted line of our ideas. We are quite diverse, due among others to the fact that one of our main aims was to come up with something new in a rather worn out, inarticulate, routinary and authoritative public space.
Primarily, we are not an academic group. We’d like to think that we produce ideas, but just as much as we focus on producing original ideas, we promote all ideas we believe are crucial, strive to get people engaged in matters of politics and society, and to attract new audiences to a space of debate that is now under collapse. There are too many lacking a voice and never represented, while too little and too predictable are those “writing the agenda”.
We want out of the idealising swamp that public space has been pushed into by the interwar rooted Romanian intellectual mainstream. We’re not interested into blatant ranting about “Culture”, self-pitying speeches on Romania, elitism and atrocious condescension of those in various positions of power. We want to discuss about tangible matters, significant to each of us and to society at large, and to bring back ideology and utopia into our discourse, on the one hand and a grasp of reality, on the other.
Present civil society is too much like politic, craves power too much and hasn’t managed to provide the basic elements for a project of society. Its cohabitation with power and alleviant dreams of Westernisation is all it is left with. The dominant public intellectual figure is still that of the bookish-philosophical-aphoristic author who believes that “engagement” means signing every once in a while some open letter to the GDS (Group for Social Dialogue). The rule of this model largely explains the political freeze, social apathy and level of participation in any field, which is denounced by everyone and encouraged by none.
As great supporters of the market, today’s mainstream intellectuals have learnt how to entertain the public, and perpetuate a captive cultural market leading nowhere. Intellectually, we have a “free market” where the prevailing success criteria are legacies and oligopolistic arrangements. We’re also in a serious gridlock for topics: anticommunism, obsession of “Westernisation”, compulsive pro-capitalism, aggressive elitism seem to be the Bovarist themes that have taken us nowhere for the past 20 years, also due among others to the fact that they are not meant to take us all anywhere.
Our intention is to discuss matters fundamental to society: equality, the individual and societal right to having one’s own path, discrimination and privileges, inequality and equal opportunities, employees and employers relations, relations between the society and the state, the state’s role, recent history, future of the political system, etc.; we equally aim to discuss this in a relevant and accessible manner. However, we’re not interested in sham anti-corporate activism, fanatical “environmentalism”, or en vogue criticism lacking the arguments of the “consumer society”.
We want to discuss about banks, the health system, trade unions, state institutions and services, elections, public policies, the Church, urbanism and any other topic of major public interest. We want to discuss these issues thoroughly in terms of the theoretic grounds, and with no academicism, snobbery or flatulence, in a manner directly relevant to all those potentially interested in such issues.
We will not be making party politics – limitation and automatism in the current political system is so deeply rooted that the best politics can only be made out of its grounds. We want to have a political impact from outside the establishment but not from the position of a civil society flirting with the political system, or from the position of a civil society condescendingly suggesting public policies or providential political strategies to parties. All the aforesaid are top level games where the separation between the civil and the politic does no longer matter much. Instead, we aim to introduce into the equation what is more wanting at present: the idea that representative democracy must represent everyone and that politics should not only be made by some narrow political, technocratic, intellectual elites. But before devising any elaborate proposals of public policies, we want to radically reshape the perspective on the issues we all are faced with today.
We promote a sharp critical discourse, of no lampoonist tones, but that is neither restrained nor prudish. There are plenty of those who utter atrocities in the most evasive, civil and elegant terms. CriticAtac therefore means: will for relaxed critical discourse, will to go beyond the various thematic, cultural or political obsessions, will to overcome the fears paralysing our public space: fear of taking risks, fear of our own past, fear of an opinion different to the generally accepted.