Maybe, Maybe Not
Haven't we been here before? At least once? Don't we know the face even if we can't recall the name?
Forget the visual cues, go for voice, the voice. Haven't we heard this before-- heard it all and before and more than once about "radical mass organizations," "radical left popular organizations" with a new method and a new meaning and a real chance to do......to do what?.... if only.... if only what? If only we put aside those thoughts that we've been here before where mass radical left popular democratic organizations get a real chance to do... what?, and with that chance firmly grasped between thumb and forefinger, take that spin on the capitalist merry-go-round, moving counter-clockwise, right-to-left-to-right again. Haven't we been here before, at this un-amusement park, watching them whisper encouragement in the ear and patting the fiberglass flanks of their pretend horses, while at the same time shoving the bit of capital exploitation right down the throat of the real horses of revolution?
Maybe, maybe not. That's what these merry-go-round jockeys think is a "dialectic."
Doesn't this all feel strangely familiar, and vice-versa? Don't the new names, like Syriza or Podemos, and the new labels, "anti-capitalist alliance," all sound like somebody's trying to fool somebody into not remembering the last time, and the time before that?
It does, we have, and it is not deja vu, but something closer to dementia as the "plan," such as it is demands no recognition of the past; of the fact we have been here before. The plan demands no cognitive connections to those previous opportunities say like those 42 years ago in Chile, or 41 years ago in Portugal, or 40 in Spain; or 35 years ago in Nicaragua; or 33 years ago in Poland. Or 15 years ago in Venezuela; or 10 years ago in Bolivia? Or how many more times in Argentina?
It's a...not quite a disease....but a syndrome. Tic, tic, tic. Tics, jerks, spasms.
Haven't we suffered through this affliction called the "new, mass, radical, populist, democratic,left" before?
I think I remember something like this. Wait, this time is different? Of course it is. It's always different. But I think I almost recall that I heard that before, too. Last time.
This time it's different. You know who else says "This time it's different"? Economists. And stock brokers.. "This time it's different. This time we've conquered the business cycle."
"This time it's different." I would have sworn that I heard that before, and in stereo, just the last time, because that time they were involved, that made it different; while this time we are involved, that makes this different. Sure thing. Maybe, maybe not. That's a "dialectic," right?
And all those professors of Marx; all those profess- ers of Marx, with their forums; their call for papers; their prizes? With their critiques schemes and dreams? "Oxidizable money"? "Banks serving the people"? Enough to make someone almost remember someone saying once, "I am not a Marxist."
Haven't we had enough of all that? Maybe, maybe not.
Maybe capital-- per Marx-- is a specific social relation; a social organization of labor, reproducing itself through the extrusion of labor-power as value, which means that it is value production that needs to be ummh...abolished, exploded, eradicated through the application of that labor power as a direct social force which expression can only be realized, in assemblies, or councils, that exist outside and in political opposition to parliaments; operate against constitutions, and beyond nations.
So...so what counts is not the parliamentary program, but what structures this "new movement" generates that can become organizations of distinctly dual power.
But maybe not.
Maybe all those who spend so much time and energy demonstrating the "eurocentric" error in Brenner's distinction of capitalism from other modes of production by capital's command of labor through economic, that is to say, market compulsion rather than direct physical coercion or "personal service" bonds, ought to recall that the bourgeoisie have always enforced that economic compulsion through the application of violence, and that unlike you, the bourgeoisie know that this time is no different. They know they've been here before and they're ready, willing, and able to play it again.
But maybe not.
Maybe tethering a goat to a stake in the ground is not a good way to trap the lion, when you're the goat.
Or maybe it is. I think I recall the lion having the advantage in those sorts of encounters. But as the years accumulate, maybe my memories aren't what they used to be.
Haven't we heard before all about joining the new, mass, democratic, radical populist left organizations as Marxists.. to do...to do exactly what? To keep it...honest?
Say what? Are you kidding me? "Keep it/them radical mass democratic populist left movements honest?" Do you really think I'm that stupid?
But maybe not. Maybe I have just the slightest clue about history, about that conflict between means and relations of production that triggers and drives the social struggle. And "keeping the 'movement' honest" is to embrace irrelevance; amounts to zero history.
Tic, tic, tic.
January 4, 2015