In this eleventh installment of a total of twelve that we make for the internationalist collective Pakito Arriaran, we will develop the evolution of the class struggle from the beginning of the imperialist counterrevolution mistakenly called neoliberal, in the mid-1970s to the present; and in the twelfth and last we will conclude with the theory of the crisis as a synthesis of Marxism.
This was the initial plan of the work, but we are in one of those moments in which the outbreak of reality prevails over the intellectual plans prior to the catastrophe. Marx wrote Capital several timesto integrate into the general work the extractable lessons of the new contradictions. Lenin used the phrase “… the revolution teaches …” to show how the dialectic between hand and mind, action and thought required self-criticism of what had already been done in the face of the permanent change of the real. Marxists have always been characterized by integrating the most recent forms of objective contradiction in the subjective contradiction movement because the new explains the dialectic of unity and the struggle of opposites better than the old. For this, Marx said that it is the anatomy of man that reveals the secrets of the anatomy of the monkey.
In short, Marxism maintains that the progression of the productive forces implies human regression in capitalist society, that from a certain moment the productive forces become destructive forces; that nature ends up taking revenge on the bourgeois society that has reduced it to merchandise, that partial crises or sub-crises accumulate and intertwine making the qualitative leap to devastating crises; that the general law of capital accumulation and the tendency law of the fall of the average rate of profit are the main underground forces that make the crises of overproduction, underconsumption, proportionality and fulfillment, tend to converge into structural crises that explode annihilating lives and goods; that these crises put the proletariat before the dilemma of launching into the revolution or suffering a crushing defeat; that the succession of workers’ defeats reinforces the bourgeois irrationality, that of the sorcerer who cannot control the infernal forces that he has unleashed with his spells, accelerating the spiral that can end in the mutual destruction of the classes in conflict; that the only alternative is to create revolutionary organizations that keep memory and theory alive, promote self-organization, self-defense and political class independence, organize the destruction of the power of capital and the victory of proletarian power … that of the sorcerer who cannot control the infernal forces that he has unleashed with his spells, accelerating the spiral that can end in the mutual destruction of the classes in conflict; that the only alternative is to create revolutionary organizations that keep memory and theory alive, promote self-organization, self-defense and political class independence, organize the destruction of the power of capital and the victory of proletarian power … that of the sorcerer who cannot control the infernal forces that he has unleashed with his spells, accelerating the spiral that can end in the mutual destruction of the classes in conflict; that the only alternative is to create revolutionary organizations that keep memory and theory alive, promote self-organization, self-defense and political class independence, organize the destruction of the power of capital and the victory of proletarian power …
Since the early 1960s, the new industry of bourgeois culture, state or private universities, secret services, political institutions, businessmen, etc., increasingly co-opted the intellectual caste, the ” gauchedivine», To« academic Marxism ». About two decades later, this elite was so deactivated that it was unable to resist neoliberalism by making it easy for many of its members to join it, despite the impressive wave of sustained struggle in those years. The “post fashions” – post-Marxism, postmodernism, poststructuralism, democratic populism, etc. – allowed all sorts of fanciful ramblings that were nothing more than ideological commodities to use and throw away in the market of mass fetishistic alienation. On one hand, the amputation of Gramsci’s radicality carried out by Eurocommunism was especially paralyzing, falsifying it; and on the other, the relentless attack on the Marxist theory of the State and of violence, facilitated by Foucault’s work and its reformist drift.
The proletarian defeat in the West was caused not so much by the “betrayal” of this special group of wage-earners, but by the conjunction of several factors: the irrational force of commodity fetishism on the rise since the 1950s; the imperialist nationalism spurred by the press against the anti-imperialist liberation wars that weakened western power; the new repressive strategy of capitalism; the demobilizing and often reactionary pressure of Eurocommunism, among others. A key role in the defeat was played by the imperialist power apparatuses, especially the IMF, whose savage inhumanity is silenced at all times by the press. The attack on the Marxist theory of the State, of power and violence, facilitated the concealment of the criminal role of the IMF and other institutions of capital – for example,
By the end of the 1980s and with the exception of the left that risked their lives in the anti-imperialist liberation struggle such as the Nicaraguan victory in 1979 and many others such as the invasion of Grenada in 1983, and in the armed struggle within imperialism, except In this area, Marxists were few among those affiliated with “communist” parties and unions, and with the millions of people living in “socialist” countries. Let us remember that we began the first installment of this series remembering the words of a Venezuelan revolutionary with which he described the difficulty of being a Marxist. Even so, between the 1960s and the 1980s there had been criticisms of capitalism that with the COVID-19 demonstrated its success and validity. For example, the fight for public health and for other health; the defense of nature from socialist ecology; the emancipation of working women; alternatives of collective, communal, cooperative resistance; science-critic groups against bourgeois technoscience; the fight against militarization and the debates on the “extermination phase” of capitalism; consistent internationalism; the reactivation of Marxist theoretical radicalism, etc.
As can be seen, from a thousand paths and always in the midst of the struggle, progress was made towards the concretion of the Marxist theory of the systemic crisis of the civilization of capital. Shortly after the neoliberal counteroffensive, Black Monday of October 19, 1987 exploded, sinking the world’s stock markets with immense losses: a warning of what was brewing in the irrational essence of bourgeois society. One of its responses to this unsuspected crash was to impose the 1989-90 Washington Consensus, a strategy for the liquidation of the sovereignty of peoples and states and to facilitate the free movement of capital throughout the world except in the highly protected imperialist states. This Consensus widened the attacks on Nature, exponentially multiplying the socio-ecological causes, economic and political that have created the COVID-19. Well, apart from many other texts, inCapital finds the basic theoretical explanation of this debacle, when the six main bourgeois measures that temporarily counteract the trend law of the average rate of profit are exposed. It is important to highlight the “main ” because Marx knew that there were others but that they were secondary in the capitalism of the 1860s. Years later, Engels would return to Marx’s theses about how capitalism destroyed nature and the human species.
Really non-existent socialism imploded in 1989-91 for the reasons we have explained in two installments. It collapsed in the same year in which Japan, then the second economy, entered a long succession of sub-crises that with ups and downs remain until now. Such confirmation of the veracity of the Marxist critique of capitalism was despised by the ex-Marxist intellectual caste, obsessed with resurrecting the everlasting theses of the “death of the proletariat”, of the “new capitalism”, of the “new subjects”, etc. This salaried elite went on to support directly or indirectly the imperialist aggressions against Iraq, in the former Yugoslavia, in the “orange revolutions”, against the Arab peoples with the excuse of the Arab spring, against Iran, against the Saharawi people, against Cuba and Colombia, against Panama, etc.
In the midst of that euphoria that seemed to have overcome the scare of Black Monday in 1987, the Tequila crisis in Mexico of 1994 broke out due to the social devastation imposed by the Free Trade Agreement with the United States and Canada: one more warning that no It would do no good because in less than three years, in July 1997, the famous “Asian tigers”, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, cited as an example of the “new capitalism” without crisis, sank with a crash. Western imperialism was saved by cheating the economy to sacrifice the hitherto immortal “tigers.” In the summer of 1998, the Russian crack followed with such devastating effects that the fight between the two most powerful factions of the oligarchy was intensified: the most corrupt and committed to the West, represented by the alcoholic Yeltsin,
The Russian crack plunged the whimsical program of one of the largest Yankee financial corporations, the LTCM, advised by two Nobel laureates in economics, which claimed to have overcome the dangers of high-risk speculative financialization forever. The Fed intervened desperately, and Wall Street had to bridge the gap with more than $ 3.6 billion to avoid worse damage. The US Yankee response was to extend NATO and strengthen fascism in Eastern Europe, use Islamic fundamentalism in Chechnya and other countries as it had done in Afghanistan, etc.: it was about creating “free peoples” that forced military spending to Russia and to serve as bases of attack in possible tensions and even future wars.
Meanwhile, workers’ struggles resumed, such as the Venezuelan caracazo in 1989, the successive strikes in India from 1990 onwards, the urban riots in the USA in 1992, the strikes in Belgium in 1993, in South Korea and Mexico in 1994. , in the French State in 1995 and 1997, in the Spanish State in 1994-95, in New Zealand and Australia in 1995, in the United States and South Africa in 1997, in Germany in 1998, the Bolivarian victory in Venezuela in 1999, the rebellion Argentina of 2001, the exemplarity of Cuba after heroically resisting since 1991 …, a short list of a recovery that, in addition,It was also shown at the first Sao Paulo Forum in 1990, which opened the door to growing international meetings that recovered in those conditions the practical success and theoretical value of the Tricontinental since 1966 and in a certain way by Bandung of 1955.
At the same time, the recovery of Marxist theoretical radicalism was already undeniable, especially enriching and deepening all the components of crisis theory, as we will see in the last installment. In this maelstrom, critical scientists began to warn that sooner or later a global pandemic would break out with shocking effects, highlighting the 1994 and 2005 year of bird flu, but the bourgeoisie ignored them. It is now known that no less than 142 viruses have leaped from non-human animals to human animals, and that this zoonotic transfer intensifies as capitalism shrinks and destroys its ecological niches, inserting them even into human society.
However, the blindness of the intellectual caste, of reformism and of the bourgeoisie was such that they were again surprised at the beginning of the second millennium of our era by, at least, two shocking crises that together with others would drive the current one. On the one hand, it was learned that in the last century 50% of forests and fertile land had been lost, and that the world fishing fleet was 40% larger than ocean life allowed; at the same time, 50% of humanity lacked water sanitation services, a percentage that will increase over time, as we will see; and for not extending ourselves, it was confirmed that the Bush clan, which placed two American presidents, was united, among others, to the powerful energy transnational Enron, rotten to the core, that fell into nothing in 2001 just as the famous and artificial “knowledge economy” or “dot-com” bubble sank: from March 2000 to October 2002 with losses of 45% of the S&P stock index and 78% of the Nasdaq technology . By 2019, that 50% of the world’s population without medical sanitation had risen to 60%, 40% of humanity and 47% of the world’s schools, do not have basic facilities to wash their hands.
The exhaustion of drinking water, and the overexploitation of the sea, fertile land and forests, to cite some of the destructive impacts of capitalism on nature, will be one of the fundamental causes of the increase in epidemics and pandemics until reaching the COVID-19. Process facilitated by the systematic destruction of the misnamed “welfare state” (sic), the overexploitation of the global workforce, especially women, the increase in repressive forces and imperialist exploitation, to name a few of the strong tendencies of 21st century capitalism, which dismantled and privatized the scarce public resources, healthcare and social care, made that for the beginning of the 21st century the world strategy unleashed since the end of the 70s,
Zoonotic virus transfers from non-human animals to human animals have intensified since the late 1960s, due, in short, to the dialectic between two parts of the law of value: the commodification of nature and the commodification of the human species. . On the one hand, the destruction of social services, public expenses, and infrastructures in charge of the State, etc .; that is, the absolute, total privatization of society and of the human species itself, its reduction to a simple exchange value that can be carried out in the market under the close or distant surveillance of the State as a strategic centralizer of the multiple exploitations of force. global work. On the other hand, the commodification of nature, the breakdown of the metabolic process of the human species within it, rupture imposed by imperialist and militarized capitalism. Just take a look at the multiplication of epidemics and pandemics from the so-called Hong Kong flu in 1968-69 to the current COVID-19 to certify it.
Both the aforementioned Asian flu and the first Ebola outbreak in 1976 in parts of Africa announced what would happen if rapid sanitary measures were not taken, which, in those years, were only feasible in peoples in transition from capitalism to socialism, especially Cuba . In the rest, the bourgeoisie destroyed public health insofar as it defeated the workers and popular resistance. We have an unquestionable confirmation of the dialectic between power and health in the diphtheria outbreak that started in 1990 at the end of the USSR, when the new bourgeoisie dismantled the excellent Soviet health care in the midst of unemployment, underemployment, widespread impoverishment and age reduction. of life: a book example of the dialectic between political power, forms of property and nature.
From at least 1845 the classics of Marxism insisted on this dialectic which, ultimately, is synthesized in what Lenin called “the problem of power”: the phantom that terrifies the bourgeoisie, the Marxist theory of the State, always returns to the scene. From the beginning of the 70s, the Yankee bourgeoisie was aware that it was losing world power and already with President Carter, prior to Regan, he began his counterattack: by 2004 his euphoria was such due to the great benefits that he believed himself to own the world , despite the unstoppable increase in poverty in his own country. He neither could nor wanted to see the 2007 catastrophe, and one of the measures aimed at getting out of it was to cut Obama almost all of his futile electoral promises about expanding public health, while a pandemic of opiates spread,
At the same time, gigantic military budgets expanded militarized technoscience to the detriment of public health science. The destruction of social services and the abandonment of unprofitable medical science has intensified since the 2007 crisis, although between 2009 and 2019 various epidemics and pandemics – influenza A, Respiratory Syndrome, Zika, COVID-19, among others – hit to humanity, but the powerful pharmaceutical industry only investigated the diseases with which it could obtain considerable benefits. With the exception of distances, if the anatomy of man explains that of the monkey, the socio-natural crisis of COVID-19 explains the crisis of capitalism.