Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Down to the Bare Walls, Fixtures Included

1. Somewhere that guy Marx, collaborating with that guy Engels-- a man a bit too taken with the military side of things, wrote that "the history of hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles."  A revolutionary proposition to be sure, back then and there, and here and now; and a revolutionary challenge to the purveyors, hawkers, merchants of natural law, social contracts, rational market, the rights of man, etc. etc. and forever etc.

The challenge was  developed, refined, deepened over the course of four decades, manifesting in a hundred different texts in a hundred different expressions a core content: that human history is  indeed fashioned, constructed, built by human beings, but only in their existence as social producers.

Content isn't exactly of big concern to the bourgeoisie........until of course, it is made a big concern by events outside their control.  Even then, realization of value, market history, determines the limits of concern.  But packaging?  Packaging is everything.  "Packaging is what we do," say the market makers, market players.  History, to the bourgeoisie, isn't class struggle.  It's merchandise. It gets wrapped.  It gets advertised.  It gets announced.  It gets sold not in the package of value; the package gets sold as the value.

Asset-stripping becomes competitiveness.   Exploitation is entrepreneurship.  Poverty is economic stimulus.  Ketchup is a vegetable, arbeit macht frei, and what's the problem?  The trains are on time even if the destination is an abattoir.  Presentation is everything. History can be represented as, replaced by, merchandise.  And merchandise can always be liquidated

"Presentation"  is all there is to those who think they are intermediaries between the hammer and the anvil of class struggle.   "Presentation"-- the as if -- is what you get from those who act as if they can alter the condition of capitalism in lieu of altering the condition of labor which makes capital capital. 

Of course, that altering of the condition of labor, that overcoming of the condition in which labor is expressed as a commodity for purchase, as wage-labor can only be accomplished by the social producers, themselves, but that's exactly what the packaging is supposed to obscure.  Like Powerpoint.

2. We start from the recognition that at no time from 2009 on, has Greece existed in what is generally called a "revolutionary situation."  Despite all the unemployment, the decline in living standards; despite the social catastrophe that is called "austerity" or "the memorandum," or the "MFFA," Greece was not, and is not,  in a revolutionary situation.  There was no moment when another class, a class in opposition to the existing ruling class, had organized itself into "competing" centers of power; into organs that could, and must, compete with the parliament, the ministries, the military, of capitalism.

Still, the "economics," that is to say, the predicament in the reproduction of capital, neither waits for, nor depends upon the "readiness" of the working class before it eats away at the bourgeoisie's institutions for administering its rule.  And that erosion was and is the determining characteristic of the conditions in Greece. 

With each memorandum yet another party, yet another "package" presenting capitalism as a viable social order, was disgraced; yet another package was broken open, yielding up the big nothing that is value when it can no longer accumulate value.  New Democracy, PASOK  a "neutral" "technocrat"government-- each in turn, all together, exposed; discarded .

Enter Syriza.  Syriza had a package, and that package was the Thessaloniki program.  The "program" demanded a write down the face value of the debt to make it "sustainable."  The program demanded "growth"  "moratorium" "grace periods" "a European New Deal." 

The program promised "reconstruction,"  "restoration of wages and pensions," "rebuilding the welfare state."  The program promised to do all these things regardless of the outcome of negotiations with the Troika.

What the program really promised was the continued containment of the working class.  What the program delivered was the preservation of the institutions of bourgeois rule; the parliament, the military, the cops, the courts, the ministries.

Precisely because Greece was not, and is not, in a "revolutionary situation" but was and is in situation of social catastrophe,  Syriza deserved no support.  Precisely because conditions could only get worse, with or without a new memorandum, with or without exiting the eurozone,  there was, and is, no point to debating the terms of any memorandum, no point to debating the exit from the eurozone, no pointing in arguing with the nonsense claims of the Thessaloniki program. 

There was only one argument engaged; one debate to be joined; one demand to be raised: complete and immediate repudiation of the debt, a debt accrued of by and for a government of by and for the preservation of capitalism. 

August 5, 2015

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