Monday, March 31, 2014

Lunch with Karl

 I hate repeating myself.  I mean I really hate repeating myself.  See?  For numerous reasons which are basically all the same reason-- "reasons #1-1000?  it's boring."  It's boring to write; it's boring to read.  If I repeat myself others might think I suffer from a paucity of imagination.  I think, when I repeat myself, that I'm exhibiting a bit of neurotic behavior, to wit:  If nothing changed when I said, wrote, drew, sang it the first  n number of times, what makes me think saying it  n+1 times is going to make the slightest bit of difference?  Obviously, the answer to that question is......a paucity of imagination.

So imagine how difficult it is for me to maintain the edge on the razor of critique I imagine I'm holding to the throat of capitalism.  Of course, this wouldn't be a problem if we were actually holding and actual razor against the actual throat of capitalism.  Everything could be sorted if  in this class struggle, one of the classes actually showed up as a class, and actually tried a bit of the old in and out on that class that's been on the offensive, inning and outing it to death for the last..........holy half-Gettysburg, Batman.... 40 years, give or take 6 months.

But alas, ach, oy vay, sayang, no such luck and luck has nothing to do with it.  So let's get some things said in a hurry, so I can get back to what I think are the really unique, and devastating moments, of Marx's critique of capital, the razor he used:

a. About those upheavals in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Venezuela, Syria, Turkey Ukraine, Thailand which seem so problematic to the left-- either they are the different, and differing, manifestations of the same problems of capital accumulation, the same accumulated stresses that have imposed austerity throughout the countries of Europe; that have triggered massive strikes and demonstrations in Greece, Portugal, France, Spain, Britain; that have compelled the emigration of a substantial portion of Ireland's younger people; either those upheavals are driven by those same forces or... or world markets don't exist; world markets don't function as mechanisms of transfer, of exchange, of reproduction; and capitalism as a asynchronous whole; capitalism as a system composed and conflicted, composed of conflicts doesn't exist.

b. Because that capitalism does exist, and does exist in those characteristics, it is no surprise that in these moments the core conflict of  the labor process with the valorization process is expressed unevenly, asynchronously, and that those driven first into protest and combat with these old relations are those whose prospects for "prosperity," meager as they were, have been effectively shuttered, eliminated.  It is no surprise that the young, students, professionals move first, and massively, against the existing regimes.

c. Consequently,  this initial movement is in a very real sense an expression of  those declassed,  of those no longer with prospects. It is inherent that such movement embodies reaction equal to if not greater than notions of democracy, freedom espoused in the movement.  There is no mistaking that reaction, and opposition to democracy dominates the protests in Thailand; that the protests in Venezuela are little short of an invitation to pre-emptive counterrevolution; that reaction has been able to utilize the opportunity afforded by the breakdown of the prior regime brought about by protests. There is no denying the role Saudi Arabia is attempting to play in Syria; financing and equipping reactionary religious forces to dispossess the Syrian revolution of its struggle against the Assad regime and its version of clan capitalism in the attempt to convert the struggle it one against Iran.  There should be no denying that beneath this reaction is the necessity to increase the volatility of the region, to further the strategy the bourgeoisie used in Libya-- where destruction itself is the purpose, as destruction is capitalism's avatar.

So the bourgeoisie, and the would-be bourgeoisie are active in these movements?  What did you expect?  It's their world, we only work in it....and need to overthrow it. 

d. Despite the presence and/or the strength of reaction within these movements, since these movements are the products of the breakdowns in the existing regimens of accumulation, there is no prospect for the advance of the struggle for the emancipation of labor, for the abolition of capitalism, in the defense of the existing regimes.  The prospects for emancipation are elsewhere; absorbed in and expressed by some in some of the movements; existing in the mobilization independent of,  in all cases, the existing governments against the elements of reaction; against the pre-emptive counterrevolution; against the generals, businessmen, former and future ministers who want theirs-- their time as "heroes,"  as "parties of national salvation."

e. Tactics differ; the strategy is shared: the strategy is   the animation of the working class, independent of the government, independent of all other classes, as the force of opposition to poverty, ignorance, bigotry, the subjugation of women (which of course is the fundamental condition for poverty, ignorance, bigotry).  In Egypt, this required in the recent past, requires in  the present, and will require in  the near future, the opposition through strikes to the military coup against Morsi,  and opposition to the subsequent military governments.  In Venezuela, it requires the expropriation of the property of the bourgeoisie by the organizations of the workers, not the government.  In Thailand it means opposition to the anti-democratic protests without any support for the government or its military.

March 31, 2014