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Last Update: 25/07/2020
- Against the pandemic of capital, social revolution!
- The contagion of revolt spreads… Revolts everywhere!
Against the pandemic of capital, social revolution!
Capitalism is instating terror and repression all over the world in an operation that is unparalleled throughout human history. Confinement of regions, cities and entire countries, massive confinement of human beings who are obligated to remain incarcerated in their own homes, a suspension of the miserable human rights, surveillance, tracking and processing of all movements of the population by means of all kinds of technologies (smartphones, big data, artificial intelligence…) massive lay–offs, the application of States of emergency, of alarm, of siege, etc.
Throughout the globe we are seeing a militarization of the streets spreading in order to control and repress all unauthorized movement. We’re also seeing the eyes of the state being multiplied through submissive and frightened citizens that watch out for any kind of small infringement or questioning of the decrees that are imposed. (1)
In order to buttress this scenario, the spokespersons of the State smother us with details about the spread of what the WHO has denominated as the “COVID–19 Pandemic”.
The retransmission of the number of infected, hospitalized and dead, as well as the rates of mortality and the predictions for contagion, accompanied by images of saturated hospitals and caravans of funeral hearses lining up at the morgue, transpire frenetically before our eyes in full detail while a constant procession of politicians, scientists, military personnel and journalists thrust us into a war against an external enemy called coronavirus, presented as the greatest enemy of humanity, as a pandemic that puts all human life in jeopardy.
We want to make it clear that in saying this we’re not trying to say that the so–called COVID–19 doesn’t exist or that it’s purely an ideological creation of the State. What we’re trying to explain throughout this text is that the pandemic is being used as a tool for counter–insurrection and the restructuring of capitalism, and that what they are trying to sell us as a solution is much worse than the problem. In this sense, though indeed the social occurrence of this pandemic as a result of the terroristic deployment conducted by the state is evident, we don’t yet have elements upon which to evaluate the direct incidence of COVID–19 at a biological level on our health. The details we have at have are those that are presented by the different apparatus of global capitalism (the WHO, the States, scientific organs…), which evidently for us are not reliable since any State can inflate or cover up their statistics. Obviously also the proletarians in retirement homes, jails, psychiatric institutions… denounce that these centers are turning into, more than ever, extermination centers.
That said, the fundamental issue to take into account is that global capitalism has never taken similar measures despite the widespread catastrophe that appears and is expressed on thousands of terrains (pandemics, sicknesses, famines, ecological disasters…) (2) for us there’s nothing humanitarian in the measures against the coronavirus. The State sows the fear and the impotence in an atomized population in order to present itself as the omnipotent protector of humanity. It makes calls for everyone to unite in order to together take up the struggle against this enemy, to make the necessary sacrifices, to collaborate with everything that the authorities dictate, to submit to the directives and the orders of the different apparatus of the State.
This whole spectacular display creates an indispensable covering. The story about the defense of health doesn’t fit. We know that death and widespread catastrophe are the essence of this mode of production and reproduction, where human life and the planet are mere means for valorization, and capital doesn’t give a shit about human well–being —although the different forms of bourgeois management draw up limits in order to not totally destroy the material support for valorization, the depredation of these mediums, their deterioration and destruction end up clearing every hurdle, since this is the natural form under which life develops under capitalism. The destruction of the planet and its inhabitants, the unstoppable and increasing death of millions of humans because of hunger, war, pandemics, toxicity, work, from starvation, from suicide, and a long etcetera, has never been a problem to solve for capitalism, but just collateral damage, or better said, its specific mode of development.
The “solidarity” campaigns, the investigation and the scientific–medical development or any type of legislative measure, are the forms in which capital applies its “solutions” to all the preoccupations that are generated by these grand problems that humanity suffers from under the tyranny of value. Even if we use the same restricted and deceitful criteria that science uses to justify the measures which are now generally taken, (3) meaning, the existence of a virus that threatens the health of the society, we know that in each and every one of the countries where these “measures for containment of the coronavirus” are rolled out, the existence, according to the official data itself, of other virus with a large impact on health has never been a motive of much worry. This is not to say that the State hasn’t been obligated to intervene on account of any specific catastrophe, as it has done on various occasions, in which it always takes the opportunity to introduce measures which at other times would suppose resistance and revolts. Therefore, for us it’s clear that all the measures that capitalism is rolling out in order to “fight against the coronavirus pandemic” don’t have the aim of our health, our care and well–being in mind. It’s fitting to ask why capitalism has created this state of war in this concrete case and, more importantly still, what we as proletarians and revolutionaries must do in this situation.
We have no doubt. The war against the coronavirus is a war against the worldwide proletariat. The state measures justified by the coronavirus are a qualitative leap, decisive and homogeneous, in the global counter–insurrection and in the bourgeois intentions to attempt to initiate a new cycle of the accumulation of capital. And in the face of this war the proletariat only has two paths: to sacrifice their lives in it or to oppose themselves to it in order to defend their human needs.
It’s certain that we live in a social system accustomed to confinement. To confining the food and basic necessities, to confine us in flats, in cars, in shopping malls, in centers of domestication of children, in centers of work, in centers for the elderly (retirement homes), in health centers, in incarceration centers, in centers of recreation or of vacation… and these measures make another turn of the screw in this system of isolation and of privatization, transforming the world into a grand concentration camp. (4) But it can’t be ignored that all of this is happening precisely when the capitalist catastrophe is reaching new heights, when the antagonism between life and capital has arrived to levels even more unsustainable than in the past. The destruction of the Earth, the depredation of its resources, the poisoning of all that exists, the sharpening of all the mechanisms of exploitation and plundering of the human being and the whole natural world, which are aspects inherent to this mode of production of the species that is determined by the economy, are reaching unbearable limits for the mere existence of living beings. The very dynamic of the valorization of capital, in which it has ever more difficulties in renovating its reproductive cycles because of the growing devalorization that is congenital to it, is carrying the contradictions of this system to its limits. We’re on the way to a devalorization without precedents. The nosedive of fictitious capital, which sustained the cycles of capitalist production with pins, foreshadows on the horizon. The financial crisis of recent years, the first explosion of which developed in 2008, expresses the exhaustion of the mechanism of artificial respiration that kept the world economy alive. Today, when all capital is sustained on the basis of the incessant reproduction of fictitious capital, of tons of debts and all kinds of financial injections that permit capital to continue sucking the blood out of the worldwide proletariat, the bourgeoisie are beginning to become conscious that the fiction cannot escape the very logic upon which it was built, it cannot unencumber itself from the law of value, and all this gigantesque accumulation of capital precipitates towards its breakdown.
It’s clear that, first of all, we can’t ignore another even more decisive issue. All of this “war against the coronavirus” is happening precisely when the catastrophe which the bourgeois has placed on the backs of the proletariat projected grand upheavals, already promised by the wave of struggles that coalesced in 2019 and the start of 2020 in dozens of countries. (5) The unleashing of a conflagration that would raze the whole capitalist order is a problem that returns to being the topic of the day in circles of the bourgeoisie, and a hope that returns to the hearts of the proletarians.
That’s why for years the counter–insurrectional operations have multiplied throughout the world. Though indeed, every manual against the insurrection has as its base the destruction of the autonomy of the proletariat, the forms in which this has materialized throughout history have been multiple. Imperialist war, which has never ceased to develop, has always been the recourse par excellence to transform the antagonism between classes into a fight between bourgeois fractions, reestablishing national unity against an exterior enemy, destroying the indomitable, making another turn of the screw to the miserable conditions of the proletariat —imposing war and post–war sacrifices— and generating a material and human destruction, sufficiently ample to invigorate the process of capitalist reproduction, opening up a new phase of expansion.
The coronavirus pandemic presents all the characteristics of imperialist war: the exterior enemy, the national unity, the war economy, the sacrifices for the homeland or the “common good”, the collaborators, the deaths, the economic restructuring, etc. (6) Like every imperialist war it supposes short term losses (although certain sectors see their profits skyrocket), but it contains the material basis to generate a new phase of accumulation. This process of the reanimation of moribund capital, which is applying itself under the cover of the war against coronavirus and which implies the attack on the living conditions of the proletariat, brings along the propulsion of a new phase of accumulation that can only be developed upon a destruction of capital of unusual and unknown dimensions and consequences. It’s clear that in a dynamic where fictitious capital represents the axis where accumulation is sustained, the destruction will commence from this terrain. The current partial and temporary paralyzation of the production and circulation of commodities requires extraordinary quantities of fictitious capital in order to maintain the social fabric, in addition to centralizing a large part of capital in the military and health sectors. Nevertheless, this inundation of fiction in order to alleviate the paralysis of the market, which already contained an unsustainable over–accumulation of fictitious capital but circulated in a large part exclusively through financial markets, implies dumping enormous masses of fiction from these financial markets into actual market exchange, which exposes all this capital to its destruction through the coercive correction which, sooner than later, the market will realize with respect to the symbolic value. That’s to say, the devaluation of the coin, the despotic imposition of a law that the bourgeoisie had thought to have circumvented, will create a devaluation without precedents that will imply the general insolvency of businesses, of States, the massive cancellation of debts, and of course, the bourgeois endeavor for a global restructuration of capital (centralizing itself in new fields, purging others, consolidating new mechanisms of circulation…) trying to resume a new cycle of accumulation. It’s obvious that, before and above all, this context can only be developed by making the proletariat swallow a sacrifice that will beckon them towards a massive breakdown, which will extend conditions all over that make survival increasingly more impossible. On the other hand, it will also push the proletariat to rebel, to defend their interests against the catastrophe of capital. This is the future that worldwide capitalism has reserved for humanity: a sharpening of the catastrophe or revolution. (7)
In this context is better understood the actions of all the States, the confinement, putting the army on the street, the surveillance of the population, the tightening of the belt of all proletarians and the announcement by the State of harder sacrifices to come. The State is evaluating how the proletariat reacts in the face of the states of emergency and has managed to momentarily cause the retraction of developing protests and revolts like those in France, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Algeria, Hong Kong, Chile, etc.
In Chile, before the numerous officials of the State could present even one death, and before any health measure was implemented, the State declared a state of emergency. In such a way the States utilize the pandemic in order to recover the social peace in zones that have seen protests and revolts in recent years, in addition to rolling out in other places an environment favorable to the repression of protests against the exasperating measures that are being prepared, determining the capacity for social control that they have over their territory, where the hubs of rebellion are concentrated, what aspects to improve in order to better assure the surveillance and dominion over the territory, etc. Throughout the history of capitalism, in the measure in which it has come to impose new adjustments and turns of the screw to the exploitation, more or less collective resistance, revolts, and insurrections have occurred. For this reason it was surprising, at first, to see the massive acceptance on part of the proletariat of the measure applied by the States, facilitated, without a doubt, by the new situation in which they found themselves and the mediatic force of the State apparatus. Nevertheless, some proletarians announced by means of their first rebuttals of all of these measures, their refusal to follow the trumpets of the State, to subject themselves to the regime of terror and to accept the worsening of their living conditions. Little by little we see how the gestures, cries, mobilizations and protests begin to reproduce.
Despite the difficult conditions that the State imposes by means of the confinement and isolation, our class tries to organize its response to the attack launched by the State. Not only are small acts of disobedience reproduced, which the State represses with fines, arrests, and accusations of lack of solidarity (like the elderly that walk around with a loaf of bread, the parents that gather children together in the household that has the biggest garden, the youth that traverse the forests with the excuse of searching for firewood, those that question the official version in terms of health issues, those that warn where there are checkpoints and point out the snitches, those that invent all kinds of tricks and ruses… all acts that express our most human need to break the incarceration and beckon to break the isolation), but also protests and confrontations in the streets occur. The province of Hubei, the first location to be subjected to the state of emergency, is experiencing protests and confrontations in many cities. In the Philippines the confinement was challenged by holding demonstrations that demanded food and other basic products. In Algeria, proletarians refused to suspend demonstrations that had been building up one after the other before the confinement. India, the immigrant workers confronted the police. In Italy actions were organized to the cry of “We together must retake what they take away from us”. The riots in the jails and the detention centers for illegal immigrants travel from country to county. The looting and the call to not pay rent, added to the strikes of those that continue to work are beginning to take place in some locations. The networks of mutual aid and funding–pools for resistance as well.
The different national States try to settle or contain these protests by using the advantages that the state of emergency allows them. The president of the Philippines was clear with respect to affirming that he would execute anybody who avoids confinement. On the other hand, they have announced small concessions such as the temporary liberation of 100,000 prisoners in Iran, or the creation of social vouchers for food in Italy. Other States, trying to anticipate the protests, throw miserable carrots which we are convinced will neither serve to placate the hunger nor the necessities that were repressed for centuries by a capitalism which today tightens the screw anew.
These first skirmishes that organize against the worldwide state of emergency advance the notion that the proletariat will not remain enclosed in their homes to watch how they are carried off to the slaughterhouse, nor will they accept being sacrificed for the economy. But we need to organize this whole rebuttal internationally and further it until it pierces the heart of the capitalist beast. To bring the fear to the other side, so that the panic moves on to the ranks of the bourgeoisie. May the fear over the coronavirus pandemic transform into fear about the pandemic of revolution.
The war against the coronavirus is a war against the worldwide proletariat!
Let’s impose our human needs against the needs of global capitalism!
April 2nd, 2020
1 To clarify, in spite of the state of emergency and the confinement, declared in dozens of countries around the world, capital continues to keep the productive sectors that it considers necessary in function, obligating the proletarians of these sectors to go to work and secluding them in their homes when they have finished. Even in the counties with the largest level of paralysis in production and circulation, the decree of “only essential work”, creating the appearance that it is only for our human needs, is so ambiguous and flexible precisely in order to not create an obstacle for the necessities of capital.
2 We don’t believe it’s relevant in this text to go further into questions related to the concrete origin of COVID–19. Firstly, because we cannot affirm anything with clarity in not having sufficient elements to do so, and secondly, because the most important thing is to understand that the production and diffusion of the current pandemics are a result of the capitalist mode of production and circulation. See: Social Contagion, by Chuang (chuangcn.org/2020/02/social-contagion/) and The Pandemics of Capital (barbaria.net/2020/03/29/the-pandemics-of-capital/) by Grupo Barbaria.
3 We want to clarify, although we cannot go more into detail in this small text, that we don’t only reject that the healing of a sickness is a medical act, as the health system and the capitalist system would have us believe, but that our conception of what is a sickness, a virus, and more generally, our conception of what caring for health is, is at the antipodes of science. Certainly, science, if it’s for anything, is for developing the necessary conditions for capitalism to continue functioning, to continue annihilating and crushing everything, hurdling obstacles, exceeding limitations, etc. Its different articulations permit capital adaption and phagocytosis.
This is not to say that we endorse or propose an “alternative” system or approach. The techno–scientific system rapidly condemns its critics under the label of “pseudoscience”, but our critique of the dominant and totalitarian system of knowledge under the capitalist system also points out the phenomena that are cataloged in such a way. Furthermore, these “alternative therapies” increasingly act more as escape valves and techniques that complement “official medicine”.
4 Clearly this grand concentration camp is not the same for everyone. It is not only reflected in aspects which we have commented in an earlier note in relation to work, but also the confinement itself is experienced in a totally different way. Remember the “I’m staying home” campaign, promoted through videos in which some celebrities, from their “little gardens” or the interior of their “modest mansions” harangued about staying at home, and which was mimicked by thousands of citizens from the matchboxes in which they live.
5 See our text “International revolt against global capitalism” at http://www.en.proletariosinternacionalistas.org/international-revolt-2/
6 We’re not only referring to the deaths that have been associated with COVID–19 by the States, but we’re including those generated by the state with its measures. Among some comrades it’s being discussed whether to characterize it also as a chemical war directly against the proletariat (which doesn’t imply speaking of premeditation —although we know that our enemy has already used it in the past and has not ceased to develop investigation in this field— but its objective effect), concretely against the sectors that capital considers nonproductive and that pose heavy burdens to the coffers of the States, and these sectors are precisely where the coronavirus is striking: the elderly, prisoners, those with immunodeficiencies…
7 We’re not affirming that this process is immediately developing, but we are indeed affirming that under “the coronavirus pandemic” this process has initiated a qualitative leap towards its unfolding.
The contagion of revolt spreads… Revolts everywhere!
Since we published our previous text at the end of March, (1) the unfolding of events has only further confirmed what we had there denounced: the war against the coronavirus is a war against the worldwide proletariat. The declaration of the pandemic was the scapegoat, an excellent opportunity and cover for imposing a whole series of brutal measures that despotically demand the dictatorship of profit. It’s a matter of subjecting the proletariat to all kinds austerity measures, imposing even more intensive and extended workdays upon some proletarians in exchange for increasingly more precarious wages, facilitating layoffs for others, exterminating enormous swathes of excess population, assuring their implementation by means of control and terror, halting the wave of revolts of 2019 and reinitiating a new cycle of accumulation.
The isolation that capital tries to impose represents the negation of the proletariat as a revolutionary class, the alienation of its community of struggle, in order to destroy not only its current process of associationism, but its future potential (which is already evinced in the current struggles). That is the true objective of the state of alarm: (2) to specify the necessities that are intrinsic to the capitalist social relationship.
Despite the fact that, at first, this whole war had managed to paralyze the proletariat, what’s certain is that our class soon felt to the bone what the whole thing was really about: the material conditions that they suffered all over the world were not due to the “pandemic” (3) but due to the necessities of the valorization of capital.
The first signs that the proletariat comprehended this reality were left patently clear in the expressions of the struggle that we saluted in our previous text. The riots and revolts in the jails of numerous countries, the protests in Hubei, the looting and conflicts in Italy or Panama, the extension of acts of disobedience to the measures of the State of alarm and confinement… were the skirmishes which announced that the proletariat was prepared to retake the wave of struggles against capitalism that initiated in 2019.
We also said that the tons of fictitious capital which have maintained, with an ever more decisive importance, the flows of capital for decades already, and which have now been massively injected into real mercantile exchange, with a massive creation of symbols of value without any backing or limit, would create a devaluation without precedents, a destruction of capital of unforeseeable consequences that would push the proletariat to the limit. Lebanon, the first country to see a revolt spread in its territory against the state of alarm, was at the same time the first to see its coin hit rock bottom. The Lebanese State, which had declared bankruptcy and declared a default on its debts, saw how the dramatic increase in the prices of commodities expressed a drastic reduction in the value that the coin claims to represent (as much as two thirds). The proletarians that still had a few miserable bills available with which to cover a portion of their basic needs (since the grand majority couldn’t even do that) saw how quickly these bills evaporated.
Confined in their homes, with the prohibition of every kind of reunion and with the soldiers sweeping the streets, the situation turned dramatic. The prospects were either to bow the head and, confined, accept the funeral that was being prepared for them, or to bet on life. Once more, the proletariat placed their bets on life by taking to the streets in mass. Since then, the call to revolt has returned to illuminate the darkness of this world, extending to different regions, breaking the confinement, the prohibitions of reunions and mobilizations, the repression and the whole package of measures of the state of emergency. In Iraq, Iran, Panama, France, Columbia, Venezuela, The USA, etc., the wave of struggles initiated in 2019 was retaken, putting the plans of the bourgeoisie for restructuring into question and forcefully presenting a different “new normality” from the one that the worldwide bourgeoisie wants to impose.
From Lebanon to the USA…
The “night of the molotovs” was the first serious backlash that worldwide capitalism received in its “war against the coronavirus”. Towards the middle of April, the major cities of Lebanon experienced protests and confrontations that were responded to by the soldiers with their habitual brutality. On April 26th live rounds were fired on a demonstration, killing the youth Fawaz Fouad and injuring thirty demonstrators. This same night a formidable proletarian response was unleashed, in what was to be called the night of the molotovs. The soldiers found themselves overwhelmed by the generalized rupture of the state of emergency and by the hail of molotov cocktails that took the place of the rocks. From then on, banks, soldiers, police stations and other expressions of capital have suffered every day from the heat of the molotovs while from the windows the shouts and the banging of pots support every fire and demonstration of our class.
In spite of the government having tried to divert the attention by announcing a five stage plan to come out of confinement, proclaiming a sanitary success, (4) the proletarians have not ceased to intensify the revolt, denouncing that the miserable state of life under capital is the real pandemic. The State can’t offer anything but bullets, deaths, amputations, tortures and misery, which are responded to with the spread of the hoods and molotovs, and at the same time organizing expropriations and networks of aid for the distribution of food and basic products.
Although the first revolt against the worldwide state of alarm took place in Lebanon, this was no more than the crystallization in that territory of the international struggle of the proletariat against the living conditions that capital imposes. (5) Though indeed our struggle has always commenced from that reality, in which independently from where it starts, the struggle forms part of a shared global struggle, for the same needs and against the same enemy, it’s certain that the bourgeoisie rolls out all kinds of resources and ideologies in order to isolate, section off, particularize, nationalize, and present as different the diverse expressions of the same struggle, as if they were independent expressions, as if they were alien from each other and of a different nature or origin. But the development of the capitalist catastrophe has not ceased to homogenize the miserable conditions of proletarian existence in an ever more brutal way, complicating the maneuvers of the bourgeoisie.
With the impositions of the global state of alarm, capital made another qualitative leap in this homogenization. Everywhere the same measures, the same sacrifices, the same terrorist attack. The pandemic was the adequate cover to try to hide the generalization of that capitalist attack against the proletariat, (6) the brutal homogenization of our living conditions at an international level.
It was the struggle of the proletariat that unmasked the worldwide bourgeoisie and recognized the pandemic as the cover for making war, for imposing the economic necessities that capital demands above the most basic human needs. The proletarians in struggle openly express that the deaths that capital attributes to COVID–19 are an anecdote compared to the daily massacre of life under capitalism, and that the conditions which were implanted with the state of alarm have done no more than worsen it. Although, as we have said, in Lebanon the first revolt was crystallized since the beginning of the imposition of the state of alarm, synthesizing and amplifying the protests, efforts, and defiance that arose previously in different forms around the world (in the jails, with strikes —also international ones like those of Glovo or Amazon—, with looting, demonstrations…), its crystallization in many other places expresses the development of the international struggle of our class.
Without a doubt, Iraq is another of the places where the struggle has assumed formidable levels. Let’s remember that this region has been one of the bastions of the struggle during the last few months. After an initial impasse provoked by the state of alarm and certain concessions of the State (a release of prisoners, an investigation of police abuses…), the protests resumed at the beginning of April. On these days, various localities of the region began to defy the state of alarm. Baghdad, Diwaniya, Basra, Nasiriya and Kut were a few of the cities where heavy confrontations with the police unraveled. Soon the protests turned into revolts in the whole region, placing themselves at the point where they had left off before the imposition of the state of emergency. Tahir Square in Baghdad returned to being one of the centers of organization of the struggle in the region. The attempts to assault the “Green Zone” (a strategic spot for the bourgeoisie), the barricades at the entrances to the area around the bridge (al–Jumhuriyah), the stones and the molotovs flying over the heads of the soldiers and exploding into banks, residences of the bourgeois, etc., returned to worry the bourgeoisie.
Just as they worry about how the protests have spread over France as well, especially in the suburbs. In Oise, Amiens, Yvelines, Elbeuf, Compiègne…, proletarians confronted the police with barricades, molotovs and flares. In Mulhouse the street was taken over after some riot cops injured a sixteen year old youth. Like in Ile–de–France, where the rage was unleashed because a police car ran over and killed an eighteen year old youth. In other places like Seine–Saint-Denis they also organized ambushes on the police and attacked symbols of capital. In order to try to calm thing down, the French State decided to temporarily withdraw the police from the most heated suburbs.
But not only the suburbs are seeing days of struggle. The strikes are happening in many sectors and businesses (Amazon, Nancy, Deliveroo, sanitation workers, health sector workers…), some expropriations have reoccurred in Marseilles and Lille, and the prisons and detention centers incur protests and riots, like in Uzerche, in Rennes, or Correze, where the prisoners destroyed and burned separate parts of the prison and climbed onto the roof.
Even in Mayotte (a French territory in the Indian ocean), where proletarians reject the isolation and the enclosure and break the curfew, the police sent to ensure compliance with the confinement are constantly met with barricades and rocks.
In Belgium, the State showed no mercy in the suburbs in order to put a halt to the proletarian rage, especially after the riots because of the death of a youth during a police control.
With the arrival of the revolt to the USA, the international struggle has acquired new energy. The killing of George Floyd on May 26th by the Minneapolis police was the final straw. Like a volcano in eruption, the proletarians unleashed their pent–up fury and satiated the needs that capital represses. To the cry of “I can’t breath”, our class echoed the words of George Floyd, while at the same time expressing the impossibility of living under the social conditions that capital imposes. What started in Minneapolis soon extended to the whole territory of the USA and beyond its borders.
Attacks on the police, incendiary attacks and assaults on various police stations, looting, the destruction of banks and other entities of capital… Well known symbols and statues of personalities of the ruling class were hit, such as statues of Churchill, of Christopher Columbus, etc. being destroyed or decapitated in numerous cities, not only in the USA but in regions like the United Kingdom or Belgium. In Belgium the protests and manifestations spread to cities like Brussels and Liège, leaving historical monuments in honor of king Leopold II decapitated and destroyed.
The revolt in the USA rapidly acquired such magnitudes that it’s necessary to go many decades back to find a similar affirmation of the proletariat against capital. The State had to declare curfews in many cities and the soldiers of the National Guard were mobilized to intervene. The amount of wounded and killed by the repression continues increasing, like in Atlanta, where the police shot Rayshard Brooks in the back, but the proletarians, far from retreating, respond decisively to every blow from the State.
… happening everywhere
Today we can say, despite the fact that in numerous regions our class has been dazed and subjected to all the fearful paranoia diffused by the various apparatus of the State, that the struggles which the proletarians are developing from one place to another retake the international confrontation initiated before the global state of alarm. The proletariat defend their necessities against those of capital, opposing themselves to its measures: confronting the state of alarm, its exceptional measures, the confinement, the “adjustments”, and what the bourgeoisie call in some regions the “new normality”, (7) etc.
Though we wanted to highlight some of the places where the proletarian revolt has been especially strong, we don’t want at all to detract importance from how the proletariat is expressing the struggle in other places, trying to spread the revolt.
For example, in Venezuela or Columbia the proletariat has expressed their refusal to sacrifice themselves to the necessities of capital by means of the spreading of the protests, the blocking of the streets and looting of markets or food transport trucks, attacks on bank offices…
In Panama the barricades and the fires confront the army in the streets. In Chile, the proletarians retake the struggle that had ebbed little by little by means of riots such as those in Antofagasta or Valparaiso. In Italy, the expropriations have duplicated to the point that the police patrol the supermarkets. Groups of organized proletarians expropriate and vindicate the expropriations because “the money for buying has gone away”. Strikes are also happening, like the recent one at Whirlpool in Naples. As well as the manifestations in solidarity with the prisoners and against the prison policies. In Germany, the protests and manifestations against the measures implemented have been occurring since the end of March, like in Iran and a large part of the Middle East. In Uruguay there have been demonstrations during and against the confinement, like the large demonstration in front of the Legislative Palace, and all kinds of resistance coming from different neighborhoods accompanied by slogans like “They don’t want us to be healthy, they want us to be slaves!”. Or in Mexico, where riots have occurred after the death of Giovanni López, a youth who had been detained a month before for not wearing a mask and was beaten to death by the police in the locality of Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos. The protests commenced on the 4th of June in Jalisco and they extended to the capital and other parts of the region, setting aflame patrol cars, police stations, the Palace of the Government in Guadalajara and other expressions of capital to the cry of “He didn’t die, they killed him!”
We could continue like so, highlighting how the proletariat seeks to affirm the same necessities, the same interests, facing the same enemy, facing the same condition. The international struggle of the proletariat is assuming various levels of crystallization and of force, various forms and places in which to materialize. In this situation, and with the perspective of consolidation and intensification of the class struggle, one of the fundamental aspects for the advancement of the communist project for the abolition of capitalism, of the State, of the social classes, work and money, is to topple the forces that halt the development of the revolutionary perspective from the inside.
We’re referring to the forces that, dressed in false garbs of struggle, distract us from our objectives by driving us down paths that perpetuate this world of death, channeling our power. These forces consolidate and develop upon the basis of our own weaknesses, on the very limits that the struggles contain. To criticize, denounce and overcome these limits is an unavoidable condition for revolutionary affirmation. This is not the place to go deeper and elaborate on all these limits, which on the other hand several comrades and revolutionary minorities have addressed in numerous texts, but we do believe it’s necessary to refer briefly to some of the ones that boast protagonism right now.
Some limitations of the current struggles
Though on one hand we want to propagate the struggle that the spokespersons of capital try to hide by every means, (8) we also want to highlight some of the weaknesses that it contains. The objective is none other than to strengthen the revolutionary direction that our struggle contains, to defend class autonomy in regards to all the attempts at framing, division and frontism. Only by carrying the struggles at hand to their final consequences, knocking down all the elements of contention, not only the most evident ones, such as the repressive action of the State, but also the most enigmatic and dangerous ones, like the ideologies that make bourgeois framing and neutralization possible, can we advance towards the destruction of capitalism.
The presence of particularizing ideologies that focus on social problems as partial aspects which can be solved apart from the totality that generates and needs them, that create specific movements to address them, continues to be one of the impediments of the proletariat. Causing the struggle to tilt towards partial aspects, all these ideologies are a buttress of capitalism in distancing the struggle from the root of the problem. Antiracism, feminism or environmentalism are a few of the most predominant particularizing ideologies. All of them shift the struggle towards interclassist issues. However, for many proletarians they represent a shared struggle and sentiment, be it against racism, against sexism or against the destruction of the planet. Because they commence from an existing problem, but in an isolated way, without comprehending that it’s capital that organizes and manages such questions. Although male chauvinism, racism or the destruction of a forest are not the objective of any bourgeois, they are elements inherent to the rate of profit and therefore necessary for capital, and for those bourgeois in their ensemble. (9)
The lack of class demarcation has been and is a problem for overcoming the current state of things and also for leaving behind those particularizing and reformist movements that only see Capital as, at the most, a problem like the others. Therefore, it’s not necessary to adjoin the anticapitalist critique to these particularizations; it’s not a matter of uniting the separate, but of warning about the total dimension of the capitalist society that we live in.
When we criticize this or that ideology there will be many comrades who feel attacked, who don’t understand that what we are attacking is an alienating conception of the struggle. In their struggle itself, the proletariat express their own weaknesses through these ideological, interclassist and immediatist questions. But from that same struggle they take lessons and directives, of which our critique is no more than an expression. It’s the process through which the proletariat delimit themselves from their historical enemy and from the ideologies that capitalist life itself affirms, it is their process of constitution as a class.
Of course the force of these ideologies is not verified at an individual level, but in the movement itself. The same proletarians that fight against capital are propelled to come out by their own material conditions and most of the time they are prisoners of various ideologies. What’s decisive in the struggle is if these ideologies end up dominating and channeling the movement or if they are knocked down in the development of the movement.
In the USA we have suffered from this particularizing ideology in the form of antiracism, attempting to carry the struggle towards a question of races. But all questioning of racism that doesn’t attack the basis of capital leads to nothing more than its reinforcement, because it’s not possible to combat racism —nor understand how it operates— if not commencing from the profound critique of capital. The proletariat in the USA caused this ideology to tremble when proletarians of all races took to the streets to question capital, to impose their needs, to tell capital that it’s not possible to breathe under the weight of its boot. Nevertheless, the force of this ideology continues to be present.
Bourgeois attempts at repolarization
The bourgeoisie has always sought to frame the struggle of the proletariat into two camps that aspire to nothing more than bourgeois and reformist aims. It doesn’t just serve this or that faction to twist the proletarian struggle in favor of their particular interests, but it serves capital in general to neutralize the revolutionary struggle. The fishhook par excellence has always been the false dichotomy fascism–antifascism. The Spanish region in the 1930’s gave us the clearest lesson about this polarization when the revolutionary proletariat, which put every form that the State adopted into question, was finally corseted into this deceitful dichotomy, and gunned down between (and by) both sides. The so–called second world war was the corollary of that framing, providing dynamism to capital with the sacrifice of millions of proletarian lives. Today, in the USA, the State has returned to try to channel the struggle under these labels, by designating “Antifa” as a terrorist organization. It tries to frame the demonstrators under this old polarization in modern garb, while at the same time criminalizing them. Although “Antifa” is not any kind of organization and antifascism as a movement is currently a partial and minoritarian expression of the proletarians in struggle, we can’t keep from pointing out this attempt at framing by the bourgeois State.
But the polarization with greater influence which is forming on the horizon, and which the bourgeoisie of all countries push us towards, is the strain between the factions of capital exasperating against the backdrop of the trade war between the State of the USA and the State of China. It’s being attempted to frame the proletariat into one of the bourgeois camps: the Chinese and Russian States define themselves as against the power of the western financiers; the western States denounce China as having elaborated the coronavirus, etc.
It’s a matter of making us think, from one side, that material capitalist production is done for our needs and we must defend it from the financial parasitism that oppress it, from the banks, the elite, the 1%; and from the other side, they try to sell us the idea that the material production for our necessities needs the finance money, that money is a tool that can be used for human needs. But the two sides are merely bourgeois alternations. Both factions (which on the other hand are interconnected) are no more than two expressions of capital, two forms under which capital transits in its existence.
We have it clear that capital is not only the bank or money, Rockefeller or Bill Gates, in the same way that it’s not only the factory, the enterprise or the commodity, the large owner or the small one. To believe that some of its expressions, as central as they may be on certain occasions or as much power and pressure that they can exercise on others, are the exclusive personification of capital, takes us off of the revolutionary terrain in considering that capitalism will be erased by simply eliminating the bosses, or the “big families” or even the whole elite of global financiers. Of course it’s necessary to confront all of them, but their social power comes from capital, which is a social relation, and furthermore a subject that dominates and subsumes all human activity and is materialized and personified in multiple forms and levels. Therefore, communism is a movement of social transformation, of suppression and overcoming of the existing conditions.
The perspective and necessity for international structuring
In the current situation that we suffer under and which capital has prepared for us, and the one that is coming, one of the greatest limitations that we have is the weakness in structuring ourselves and internationally structuring the battle, organizing and extending proletarian associationism, and above all organizing the power of the revolution that must oppose and bust the power of capital. This central aspect of the proletarian struggle already supposes our maximum necessity now more than ever, and its affirmation contains the crystallization of our revolutionary potential.
Capital is organizing, structuring, not only in order to obtain the maximum benefit by extracting every drop from our lives until the last breath, but also preparing the mechanisms, legal, policial, social, etc., to repress our fury and our struggles. The democratic dictatorship of capital presents itself today with an extraordinary transparency that evinces, once again, the critique that we revolutionaries have always realized and furthered. (10)
The only alternative to the present and future that the bourgeoisie offers us is the international and revolutionary response that the proletariat attempts to materialize, but it needs to affirm itself as a unitary organized force that is counterposed to bourgeois power.
Despite the differences that exist in our community of struggle, despite the heterogeneity that exists in diverse aspects of the struggle, the basis of our action is the struggle against the conditions that capital imposes, against the state of alarm, against the needs of the economy, of its banks, of its businesses… It is upon this terrain where the various heterogeneities can and need to be addressed, discussed and confronted. And it is there, in the confrontation with the existing order, where the proletariat draws its unity, where the community of struggle has the ecosystem in which to develop and strengthen. There are many forms of expressing class positions, and there are also different forms of perceiving the historical moments and our role within them, but as always, what is fundamental and the starting point for organization is what we do, it’s the practice that we put forward. We start off from the struggle against the conditions that we are subjected to, against the measures of the repressive and bloodsucking State, we start off from negation, from direct confrontation with capital.
Today, we can see a clear–cut example of all of this in the struggle that the proletariat is crystallizing against the global state of alarm and the differences centering around the importance that is given to the virus between the different expressions that struggle. We see expressions in the struggle of our class that place an emphasis on the data that the State gives us and denounce that it’s a central aspect of the capitalist catastrophe and of the worsening of our material conditions —also giving a lot of relevance to the origin of the virus—, but that doesn’t bring them to negate the true objective of the state of alarm. (11) We see other expressions that denounce that all of this is an exaggeration of the State (12) in order to impose another capitalist turn of the screw, that the main focus should be placed on the measures that take cover behind the declaration of the pandemic and not in the pandemic itself. But beyond the differences, what’s important is that the positions are presented coming from the perspective of the struggle, of the necessities, of the opposition to capital, of confrontation with the state of alarm, with the confinement and all the measures rolled out by capital. Because it’s necessary to assume that the state of alarm (confinement and the rest of the measures) is a state of war against the proletariat. Independently from these differences, these expressions understand, in a more or less clear form, that everything which the States have staged is for the necessities of valorization, and that must be opposed.
Therefore, we find ourselves together fighting in the street, conspiring, breaking confinement, disobeying, discussing, putting the needs of the economy into question and trying to impose human needs. It is upon this terrain where the proletariat has always organized and developed its struggle, but also the necessary polemics and discussions. Just as we try to do now despite the numerous existing difficulties. It is upon this terrain where the proletariat returns to seat the foundations to affirm itself as a revolutionary class at an international level. Let’s be consistent with that and on every level push forward the international structuring of the proletariat to abolish this old world.
Struggles everywhere… May that be the new normality!
Against the state of alarm, against the confinement, against the new normality, against capital and the state.
Let’s impose our human needs!
June 28th, 2020.
1 See “Against the capitalist pandemic, social revolution!” in our site.
2 Under the label of the state of alarm, of emergency, etc. we refer, of course, to all the measures rolled out by the State: confinement, layoffs, adjustments, evictions, scientific and medical terror, masks, disappearances, incarcerations, injections of capital…
3 We would like to specify that the term “pandemic” is a real pitfall. It’s part of scientific language and has its basis in taking a biological aspect, like the existence of a virus, as the essential factor of a sickness.
Science, from its logic of separation, sees the virus as a threat to the human being, the animals and their environment. Its comprehension of the world, which commences from capitalist rationality, cannot perceive the ecosystem as an organic whole, but as isolated beings that act of their own accord. But a virus that is studied in a laboratory doesn’t have anything to do with that same virus in this or that city. A virus developing and cohabiting as a balanced part of a society doesn’t have anything to do with what this virus would do in another place, another society… Under the scientific magnifying glass much more decisive elements than the virus are blurred, like the way in which human beings live and relate. Taking that into account, in our material we indistinctly use the term pandemic with or without quotation marks, with or without nuance. It’s not a matter of going into the field of science in order to discuss the correct use of this terminology, questioning the scientific criteria that they use to define something like a pandemic, but of understanding that the term itself is a bourgeois interpretation of reality. In history, this terminology has been used to give exclusive responsibility to a virus for this or that evil that afflicted humanity while hiding the truly decisive factors.
4 The Lebanese State has confirmed only thirty deaths associated with COVID–19, a figure that furthermore makes it clear how unsustainable it is to justify the terroristic alarm measures in some places using the pandemic as the excuse.
5 Let’s remember that Lebanon had already been one of the places where the proletarian revolt in the autumn of 2019 acted most powerfully. The revolt was as much in opposition to Hezbollah, which came out to make repression, as to the bellicose and religious channeling that the proletariat of the zone has suffered since decades.
6 There are States like the Philippines that hardly try to save face. In this State they just approved an anti–terrorist law where every person that is simply suspected of being involved with terrorist activities can be detained for two months without an order for arrest, and can be placed under surveillance for another two months on the digital and telephonic level, which means that any device connected to the internet, a telephone, a computer… is inspected. The legal formulation is of such a magnitude that everything that the suspected might do could be considered a “terrorist act” and be subject to the extra–judicial forms and means of the State.
7 As if we had at one time abandoned the capitalist normality with the irruption of the state of alarm, when in reality we haven’t experienced anything but another turn of the screw of the dictatorship of the economy over our lives. On its part, the “new normality” represents the consistent development of the state of alarm which, far from improving the material conditions of life, is the direct result of everything that the war on the coronavirus entails. That’s to say, even worse material conditions of survival for the proletarians of the whole world. Everything is presented as the logical capitalist development of the “old normality” which the ideology of the lesser evil yearns for, presenting what are no more than moments of the same miserable existence as realities to choose from.
8 The obscuring of our struggle by the media doesn’t just consist of trying not to mention this or that revolt, it also consists, particularly when this revolt or protest cannot be ignored because of its repercussions, in distorting it, fragmenting it, covering up its common root.
9 Slavery and the traffic of slaves have profit as their objective, but racism is an element to materialize them. The destruction of the planet isn’t an objective in itself either, but the maximization of profits can only be realized by means of it. Sexism isn’t a goal in itself either, but the form in which capital manages to reproduce itself effectively. That all of these realities develop as aspects of life under capital evidently entails that they materialize, expand, and express themselves in all human relations in very diverse ways. What’s crucial is that the critique doesn’t rest on just a few of these materializations, but that it arrives to the source, the root, that it be radical.
10 Democracy is not a political form, it’s the form of life proper to the generalized mercantile world and its essence is the dictatorship of capital, independently from what political level it crystallizes in, be it military government, republic, monarchy, etc. We recommend reading the book by Miriam Qarmat “Contra la democracia”.
11 That’s to say, they are part of the true community of struggle that fights against capital, against the State, against their measures. We want to clarify this point since we oppose and denounce all those pseudo–revolutionaries who don’t only reproduce the panic that the State sows within themselves, but also collaborate with it or stand in critical support, extending the terror of the state and facilitating the repression. Claiming themselves to be for communism or anarchy, these pseudo–revolutionaries follow the dictates of the State to the letter, defend the confinement and the other control measures, considering suspect the proletarians who refuse to submit, who meet up to struggle, who disobey the State.
12 Which illustrates the impossibility of verifying or refuting these questions, and shows how our lives slip out of our hands.