Democracy No Escape

March 13, 2010

*This is a communique that was circulated in Athens and Thessaloniki during the 3/11 demos


There’s no escape.

The big pricks are out.

They’ll fuck everything in sight.

Watch your back.

Harold Pinter (He already said it on February 2003)

In the historical point we are now in, the contradiction of capital is increasingly becoming clear worldwide. Proletarians around the world are in turmoil while their own reproduction becomes more and more difficult. As it is already difficult for the proletarians to continue their lives, it is capital itself as a relation of exploitation which is in a reproduction crisis. The current struggles of the proletarians are the expression of the current form of this relation of exploitation.

During the last year in China where the economy still grows very quickly, all kinds of contradictions are rising. Clashes of workers with the police is common for a number of reasons: because of demands for increasing the very low wages (on which steep economic growth is based), because of preventing land enclosures in villages, because of attributing compensation to dismissed workers, against the inadequacy of the health system resulting in high mortality rate of children. In USA where a historical low record of workers’ demanding struggles has appeared, thousands of homeless and unemployed people occupy vacant houses which have been seized by banks and students occupy universities in California and New York writing on their banners: We have decided not to die, demanding this way what was until recently taken for granted, that is, just their ability to continue being students. The reproduction of their own life (of course from a much worse position imposed by the hierarchy of capitalist states) proletarians in South Africa and Algeria demand as well as they clash with police because they still do not have water or electricity and are forced to live in slums; in India as well, because the price of bread suddenly rises and they starve to death. Last year in Spain workers in shipyards which are shut down burn police cars; in South Korea dismissed workers as well occupy factories and clash with police for two and a half months; in Bangladesh, dismissed workers again, clash with police and burn factories. In France and Belgium, dismissed workers kidnap their bosses, placing explosives in the factories and threatening to blow them up if not compensated for their dismissal. In India and China they kill their boss during the conflicts because of thousands of upcoming dismissals. In this historical phase proletarian struggles are objectively struggles for the assertion of the reproduction of life itself.

At the same time, the restructuring of labour relations is accelerated and precariousness is the predominant situation for everyone now. Precariousness is manifested in the worst conditions: 43 suicides of employees in France Telecom within two years but also 1,000,000 unemployed in USA desperately waiting to see whether Obama will once again extend the unemployment benefit which expires in April or they will be left with nothing. Unemployment numbers in most countries surge hitting records higher than in any other historical period.

In this historical phase where we are, the proletariat is more than enough for capital.  The latter cannot effectively exploit the former, namely, it cannot produce the amount of profit needed so as a part of it to be anew put into profitable investments. This is the essence of any capitalist crisis regardless of the form it takes. The present form of crisis objectively puts proletarians’ reproduction at the center of the contradiction. The crisis which first appeared as debt crisis of proletarian households in USA has already been transformed into a countries’ debt crisis and it is possible to be transformed into a monetary crisis; that is, a debt crisis of big countries with strong currency or whole blocs of capitalist states such as the European Union. The debt crisis forces capital to turn to its only choice at the moment, which is to continue the strategy that created this crisis, namely to further reduce wages and benefits in every possible way. This is the only choice of capital, because a debt crisis is the result of the globalization and restructuring of the capitalist relation from which there is no turning back. From the proletariat’s standpoint: ” Caught in the stranglehold of competition that can only reduce prices by reducing wages, in the servitude of debt which has become just as indispensable as income in order to live, the waged have, to cap it all, the chance of being tyrannised at their own cost, since the savings instrumentalised by stock-exchange finance, savings which demand to be repaid without end, are their own.” (Le Monde diplomatique, March 2008).  From capital’s standpoint, it is a relentless pursuit of the lowest possible price of labour power across the planet, but which has a limit that is the existence and reproduction of labour power as this is socially defined in every capitalist state.
Capital is forced to try to resolve the crisis by destroying fixed capital (buildings, machinery, infrastructure) and variable capital (human) to recreate the conditions of its reproduction, without being, at the moment, able to do it with its only directly effective manner: widespread, global war. Thus, for the time being, the restructuring inevitably deepens. The wage cuts are rising up to the point that the lowest wage and unemployment benefit tend to be equal, which results in the explosive growth of debt for more and more proletarians. Privatizations of reproduction sectors (health, education, social insurance) multiply, the unemployed have smaller and smaller benefit and are forced into slave working conditions with wages below the level of reproduction. The present historical period reaches its limits. That’s why the state places police corporal guards outside schools in France or inside schools in the USA to arrest the undisciplined students. Capital’s only way out today is repression, namely, there is absolutely no way out of the crisis. This is obvious in cases of natural disasters such as in Haiti and Chile. In such cases, the capitalist system is directly put into question by proletarians, who, temporarily unable to be labour power, organize the expropriation of commodities and use them according to their needs in order to survive; and the only way to maintain capitalist property is by using military violence. Curfews during the night and straight assassinations (Haiti) are imposed or imprisonments without trial (Chile) take place and suddenly life looks like prisoners’ life in concentration camps similar to undocumented migrants who in thousands live imprisoned at the borders of each capitalist state.

The attack of capital against that part of the working class in Greece is an aspect of this crisis of reproduction of capitalist relations. Greece today is in the eye of the storm of the debt crisis for many reasons. The most important is that the most precarious part of the proletariat rebelled in a way we all know in December 2008. Greece is the experimental lab of the new phase absolutely necessary for capital global restructuring. The bourgeois class in Greece, as has many times happened in the past, asks for help by more powerful bourgeois classes in order to impose a new form of exploitation (from the very beginning, the government announced higher national debt than the one announced by the ex-government to accelerate the introduction of the Stability Program) but also the bourgeoisie themselves are in the centre of the global crisis. The entire international economical press waits to see the reaction of the proletariat here in Greece and then have an overview of the situation internationally. The biggest stores of loan sharks are competing with each other in order to lend and, thus, control in the future the Greek state and, thus, the form and intensity of the local proletariat’s exploitation. The creation of the European Monetary Fund to IMF standards clearly shows that the contradiction of competition between capitals can now be solved temporarily but also shows that it does not matter who the boss of the proletariat is.

Any attempt to present the situation in a better way than it really is just falls in a meaningless gap. Any attempt to present the restructuring as Germans’ attack against Greece is suitable only for B-class TV-stations, even if SYRIZA[1] tries to promote it declaring nonsense about the “sacred money” for compensation of German Nazi occupation. An Orwell type propaganda of mass media has necessarily been mobilized and restructuring is presented as a natural disaster. At present, this propaganda has been partly successful. Several clerks and workers in the private sector welcome the reductions in salaries of the employees in the public sector. The employees in the public sector are divided on the basis of who is “truly privileged” and who is not. But all these have an expiration date. If someone wonders what being privileged means, they can ask the dismissed of Olympic Airways who squatted the State General Accounting Office while 15 days ago they would recognise “the difficult and quite heavy programme of the Ministry” when the step-minister ignored them after they had begged him for a meeting. Also, about the impacts on daily lives because of the attempted restructuring, one can ask the workers at the National Printing Office who after reading the text of the austerity plan’s law and realized that 30% of their income is cut, they decided to squat the building they work at in order to prevent from printing the Gazette! One can also ask them about the role of their trade union leaders who ended the occupation because they were orally “promised by the government” a circular amending the law!

There is nothing that can improve the situation. The ceremonial demonstrations called by leftists, as long as they remain as such, they result in nothing but showing up the dead-end. We are in front of the unmasking of reality from the veils of politics. The stones that were thrown during last Friday 3/5 and covered the sky are not enough to make them listen to us. While more and more unemployed people will be occupying buildings and police will be repressing them, while more and more precarious workers/unemployed will be clashing with the forces of repression at any slightest opportunity, while the social chaos will tend to organize itself on its own and take the form of class revolt, then the smile of the showmen on TV-news will freeze on their faces and the encounter will be in similar levels to the violence accumulated for many years because of the accumulation of capital and the expropriation of the proletarians’ lives.

“What will happen in history, tomorrow, it can only be compared with the major geological disasters which change the face of Earth …”

– Victor Serge

agents of chaos

[1] Parliamentary leftist party.

One Response to “Democracy No Escape”

  1. […] as Germans’ attack against Greece is suitable only for B-class TV-stations, even if SYRIZA[1] tries to promote it declaring nonsense about the “sacred money” for compensation of German Nazi […]

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