Contra la Contra #2

Here’s an english edition of the second issue of the bulletin Contra la Contra, a new initiative from comrades in mexico. The original version can be found here: https://materialesxlaemancipacion.espivblogs.net/2018/10/06/publicacion-contra-la-contra-2/

Contra la Contra n2
pdf for screen reading – formatted for printing

The text version follows:
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Class Struggle

Me, Proletarian?

The bourgeoisie has widely disseminated the notion that since the figure of the industrial worker has ceased being predominant in production, automatically “the proletariat has disappeared”. But it turns out that the proletariat is and always was a historical and material condition from its birth and consequently this social class can’t be reduced to a specific trade or labor occupation. As capital prevails, in turn the production of commodities prevails, and consequently so does the class which incarnates the exploitation of that force and labor time which is required in order to generate the value of these commodities.

The proletariat is marked by the perpetual dispossession of its means of living, and consequently must work for a wage; the so-called “modern consumerist lifestyle” which many wage laborers attempt to achieve is far from being the reflection of the supposed stability and improvement which can be reached under capitalism. Buying an automobile or paying for some vacations at the beach, having some brand name athletic sneakers, a plate of food on the table, going to drink beer on the weekend or have hot water in the shower, paying rent for a flat or a mobile phone; are “comforts” which in any country, can only be afforded without sacrifice by a highly reduced number of people. If today there exists a greater circulation of commodities which were considered to be inaccessible for the majority of the population seventy years ago, it’s not due to the prosperity of this system, but the necessity to create mobility for the demands of the market through credits which the banks bestow and deduct from our wages (with high interest), supplying us with invisible money which in real life we pay for with more work. It doesn’t matter if we “make a living” inhaling heavy metals in a mine, placing beams at a construction site, at an office in front of a computer, in a clinical laboratory, as day-laborers harvesting crops for agro-industrial enterprise, as chambermaids in a hotel or as waiters in a restaurant; we continue to be slaves to the wage, to the debts and the increase in work which we must do in order to pay for a well-being which never arrives.

The bosses, the State and even the priests reverberate on a daily basis that by working hard, saving up and being disciplined one can reach a certain amount of stability. Many of the exploited end up fooling themselves and rush in search of that citizen’s dream of having a house, a car and a family while the kids play with the dog in the yard and the grandparents recline on the balcony reading the newspaper and knitting a sweater. Evidently, this whole fantasy comes crashing down when an accident, terminal illness or simply old-age incapacitate us from continuing to labor or we pass 30 years serving a company which suddenly throws us out with a kick in the ass without severance pay; to then later see how the savings go up in smoke in an instant (supposing that we would have them). The desperation, sadness, depression and anguish that results from these circumstances, ends up imposing the solutions of capital: prozac, indigence or suicide (immediate or gradually under the lure of alcohol or other hard drugs).

It’s for that reason that instead of folding to the frustration from handing out resumes every day with no response, or feeling hungry in front of an empty refrigerator, we must begin to pose the question of why this state of things should continue being so. Our daily anxieties and regrets are not incidents “which only happen to us individually”, thinking of ourselves as unique and different is an ideological veil which nurtures the unfettered functioning of this prevailing mode of production, which seeks to keep us atomized and isolated at all cost to kill amongst ourselves and never fight the root of the true problem. The concrete reality is that we are proletarians who act as appendages of this megamachine and only by recognizing ourselves as such can we seat the basis for subverting that which is eating us alive.

Capital only offers catastrophe

Today it’s more tangible how enormous amounts of human beings turn out to be useless for the valorization of capital and for the plans of the dictatorship of the economy. Hundreds of thousands of job posts are being substituted at an ever-accelerating rate by the work of technological automatons with the aim to reduce the costs of production of the different companies (the development of Artificial Intelligence as the best example). Even the institutes of knowledge (since the beginning functional to Capital) by means of their scientist/professional spokespeople don’t have reservations in affirming that in the next 20 years, the unemployment at a global level will approach around 80%. Evidently, for the conglomerates that manage the highest spheres of the economy, as much for the convinced defenders of this society and its ideologues, there’s [still] no reason to worry about this whole problem because it’s enough for them to reduce the whole situation to some collateral damage, the short term solution to which being that the governments regulate the activity of this whole superfluous mass keeping them occupied in more precarious jobs under the modality of outsourcing or self-exploitation in the so-called informal commerce. But this solution, in not achieving to palliate the constant inflation in the prices of commodities, entails that those precarious jobs, as well as many branches of informal commerce, sooner or later will collapse, leading to the eternal return of unemployment and pauperization 1.

The illusions of capital fall to pieces

Perhaps it’s true that capitalism with its progress and industrial development in all its biological, chemical and technological branches has brought humanity to better living conditions than before? Contrary to what the various types of apologists of this economic order proclaim, it’s impossible to find a curtain which covers the panorama of catastrophe which we are witnessing. In the best of all possible worlds 2, nothing of what this system proposes as a solution eliminates the fact that we are subjected on a daily basis to wasting hours in transit to the workplace, breathing air infested with pollution, misfeeding ourselves with macabre food which has been subjected to industrial chemical processing, paying high rents for crammed mousetrap “apartments” (or not even having a place to live at all), sickness from working, and finally being subjected to the modernization and increase of the forces of repression and surveillance.

There’s not enough space to recite a list which includes all of the adverse conditions of subsistence which millions of wage slaves around the world are confronted with day to day.

There’s no piece of this planet which escapes the plans of this civilization of money, and furthermore, the supposed division between a “third” and “first world” isn’t even real, given that capitalism is a system which feeds on the worldwide and constant mobility of value valorizing itself, materializing the misery and generalizing it. No economic process lays disjointed or isolated, despite the capitalists always boasting about economic advances and benefits, it will always be from a merely localist perspective where only their sphere benefits: they talk to us about how “we are more competitive on this side”, but they don’t mention that this competitiveness is due to our exploitation being greater, which lightens the costs of production, and therefore the competitors in other countries will be left bankrupt and will cast thousands into the unemployment lines. From the center of Los Angeles where real estate speculation has thrown thousands of people to the street, to the misery of La Villa de la Rinconada in Peru where people work without a wage in search of gold for the mining companies which sell this metal in Switzerland, these are the results of a mode of production in which the dynamic doesn’t limit itself to the local or the regional, but its roots [as well as its repercussions] happen to be directly global and historical and consequently what occurs in one country can’t be understood as “proper to”, “particular” or disjointed from that which occurs on other latitudes.

Is Capital unbeatable?

Yet the contradictions of capitalism never proceed in harmony; the wave of struggles on a global level of the last decade, from Greece to Nicaragua, from Egypt to Argentina, have left it clear that under capitalism every “improvement” is a vile chimera; that development is the development of exploitation; that freedom is the freedom to die of hunger or die working; that equality is subject to the laws created for the protection of the bourgeoisie; that prosperity and well-being refer to the aspirations which only the bourgeoisie can reach; and that democracy is nothing other than the dictatorship of capital.

Evidently, the current period of struggles is composed of not very prolonged outbursts, of blows and counter-blows, of risings and falls where the social peace ends up imposing itself; be it through the hardening of State terrorism or through the wager on reformism. It’s not strange that we would still be very far from entering even a pre-revolutionary phase at the global level. Nevertheless, the absence of outbursts, revolts or generalized struggles must not be confused with a period which will last forever, since the contradictions are always around and they tense to such a degree that they end up breaking apart everything which was believed to be solid and inalterable. Furthermore, if today the broad mass of the proletariat is weak, scattered and reformist, it’s not due to a “natural cause” or an irreversible defeat where the class struggle has been subsumed to the capitalist mode of production 3. It’s necessary to seek the causes of this situation in the development of the continual defeats which have occurred after decades of capitalist counterrevolution (extermination, repression and prison), in addition to the fact that a large part of the struggles which have occurred during the last few decades have practically had to start from zero, wandering with a lack of assessment and with positions which only make a fragile rupture from the defunct. On the other hand, immediatism and the false conceptions which contemplate the revolution as a heroic gesture, vehemently ignore that the assaults which the proletariat executed against capitalist society in 1917, 1968 and 1977 didn’t happen either spontaneously or in the form of a miracle, but were the result of decades of headlong confrontation with the existing reality.

Finally, it’s important to not lose sight of fact that the social reality is imposed in forms which exceed the expectations or suppositions of any group or individual. The process of revolutionary and classist confrontation, beyond being long, will not be exempt from numerous failures, and furthermore it will never be either voluntarism or the pretentious mechanicism of actions which will give us the result which is hoped for.

Aversion to your supposed gravediggers

Proposing to go to the garden to cultivate in common as a social alternative, advocating the impossibility of defeating capitalism, isn’t far from envisioning the possibility of apocalyptic futures or advocating for the immediate extinction of the human race in order to stop the collapse of the planet 4; it’s a form of accommodating to the plans of Capital, which seeks at every moment to reinforce the myths of its supposed invulnerability, so suppressing all possibility of questioning and transgressing its material foundations. To believe that the struggles will cease or will wander in confusion, co-opted in reformism forever, corresponds once again to that capitalist reason of seeing reality in an anti-dialectical manner, meaning cleansed of negative contradictions, as if the processes would always keep themselves linear and without conflict between those who seek to overcome this reality and those who on their part try to conserve it with all of its structures.

The class struggle is a constant in Capital, it is its intrinsic condition and its existence doesn’t depend only on the level of social outburst which manifests at a given moment 5; The class struggle can not be reduced to a particular struggle of a given country, nor is it defined as a struggle which will only take place in a far-off future when the proletariat “will have a specific program for accomplishing the revolution” 6. The class struggle must be understood as the essence of capital in its totality, an essence which the bourgeoisie would like to cleanse but cannot.

The mystifications, the false identities and various types of ideologies of Capital can only temporarily be of influence in causing to believe in the nonexistence of class antagonism and its consequences.

But the class struggle is not an ideology or a path to choose, but a reality materialized in each one of us as proletarians and which accentuates from the moment when an alarm (almost like a trumpet sounding in the military barracks) reminds us that we must go out to destroy ourselves working.

This malaise and the subversive potential which it brings with it are not an individual act, but the social condition which leads to taking to the street and confronting everything and everyone who defends this order.

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1. As we know well, unemployment and inflation unleash the competition for maintaining low costs on the basis of productivity, which propitiates low salaries + an increase in exploitation + an increase of working hours. A functional chain which no government even wants to break.

2. The liberals never tire of proclaiming that “although capitalism is far from being a perfect system, on the other hand it’s the best system which humanity has known for not having to bear so much scarcity or illnesses, with a life expectancy as high as 80 years” (sic!).

3. This fallacy is common currency in tendencies like “value theory” (Jappe, Kurtz) or the communizers in the fashion of Theorie Communiste or the exegetes of Jaques Cammatte. We will not go further into this critique right now, that we will leave for future issues of this publication.

4. A naive act, given that many dystopias like hunger, war, control and destructive technological advancement already have place in this society, cohabiting with the “prosperities of capitalism”. Furthermore, it’s capitalism itself which since long ago has been exterminating the human race and continues to do so at an increasing rate.

5. Just as capitalism is not erased if an individual goes off to the mountains and survives without money; the class struggle doesn’t disappear if the social peace triumphs by means of the repression wrought by the bourgeoisie and its State.

6. We must not get confused between what a revolutionary program and the class struggle are; since a revolutionary and communist program is the product of the development of the class struggle and not the other way around.

 

 

Neither rojigualdas nor esteladas. For class independence against every nation!

Translated from the article by Barbaria:

Ni rojigualdas ni esteladas. ¡Por la independencia de clase contra toda nación!

For explaining the nature of the so-called catalan independentist process there’s no better image than the election of Quim Torra as president of the Generalitat. Self-determination and the freedom to vote has ended up putting an all-out admirer of Miquel Badia, one of the worst torturers and killers of the proletariat in the revolutionary Catalonia of the 30’s, at its helm. (The homage made to the Badia brothers on the part of Junqueras and Torra serves as testimony).

Quim Torra (right), current president of the Catalan Parlament at an act of homage to the proto-fascist Badia brothers

Quim Torra (right), current president of the Catalan Parlament at an act of homage to the proto-fascist Badia brothers

There’s no contradiction in all of this. In the end of the story, the freedom to vote has always meant the freedom to become massacred by our own bourgeoisie. This aspect of democracy has always revealed itself as an indispensable instrument for crushing the proletariat in struggle. To cite overly plentiful well known examples, the repression and massacres directed by Azaña (Casas Viejas, Arnedo, Alt Llobregat, January of ’33…) up to that of the para-police forces of the ERC directed by Badia, reveal this reality to us.

Another good image for explaining this whole process is the assault on Parliament in 2011, in which Artur Mas had to arrive in helicopter to the parliament floor, and after which eight people were condemned to many years of prison. In 2015, the same year in which the beginning of the independence process was declared, the catalan bourgeoisie applauded the Supreme Tribunal for its decision to condemn the accused to prison. Today, almost three years later, that same bourgeoisie is put on trial by the same Supreme Tribunal and it screams to the heavens, thousands of people take to the streets indignantly and here between Albert Rivera and Anna Gabriel, between Pedro Sánchez and Oriol Junqueras, between Pablo Iglesias and Puigdemont, one can no longer know who is more democratic, nor who best defends the sacrosanct legality and human rights. But there’s something evident and fundamental, the social protest which questioned the parliament in 2011 was displaced by a movement which did the exact opposite, defending it.

Protesters block access to the parliament during the "anti-austerity" protests of May 2011

Protesters block access to the parliament during the “anti-austerity” protests of May 2011

Those two images put the cards on the table. If it’s necessary to remind, the catalan Govern is as brutal as the Central Government in the moment of repressing us. If the police and judicial intervention of the spanish State in these months has the rancid odor of españolist centralism, if the spanish bourgeoisie has the blood of hundreds of thousands of proletarians on its hands, the catalan bourgeoisie doesn’t remain far behind either. Between the catalan bourgeoisie and the spanish, there’s no lesser evil. When we fight against the misery which is imposed on us, the repression of the first is as ferocious as that of the second.

In this form, the process which opened up in September 2017 shows itself clearly as that which it always was: a terrible recuperation of the struggle of the proletariat in benefit to the competition between two bourgeoisies, the catalan and that of the spanish State. The polarization which we are seeing can’t be separated from this fact. All nationalism divides and separates our class and in this sense is functional for the dominion of capital.

It divides our class into patriots and charnegos 1 , into maulets and botiflers 2, catalans and traitors, constitutionalists and separatists. The categories of the ones and the others are, not coincidentally, the two faces of the same coin. Since both nationalisms – like all nationalisms – move within the categories of capital, all claim themselves to be democratic, defenders of the vote and the law, of the popular and national sovereignty. All reduce human election to citizenry and to the vote.

Democracy and its nations are ultimately useful for that. In the end of the story, the nation is not an entity in itself, funded in some remote historical and cultural origins of a land in harmony, unfortunately subjected to a dark central State. The nation is simply one of the fictitious communities which capitalism needs in order to impose itself as a real community of money, as a community of commodities and human beings commodified, bought, used and thrown away for the healthy growth of international capitalism. The nations appear with the violent expropriation of our means of living and the imposition of wage labor. The nation, democracy, citizenry are the form in which a society of beings who are atomized and in constant competition among themselves for a miserable salary, an always excessive rent, or a parking place, can be regulated and maintain a pacific appearance in the war of all against all. It’s also the way in which the bowed head of the proletariat is guaranteed when the belt must be tightened, when the national economy must be saved, or simply to impose a war economy and use us as cannon fodder for the benefit of one fraction of the international bourgeoisie against another.

Like so, the more that the contradictions of capitalism advance, the more that its wars, its social cutbacks, its state terrorism multiply, the more necessarily that nationalism becomes a form of holding up that which is disintegrating. From Trump to Rojava, from Brexit to the 5 Star Movement, from Syriza-ANEL to the Hungarian Civic Union, the nation becomes an increasingly more recurrent response for recuperating the proletarian rage against this system of misery.

This is at the same time the cause and effect of our weaknesses as proletarians. The difficulty of recognizing that our necessities and our interests are the same as those of the proletariat in other regions is one of the greatest obstacles which impedes us from fighting against our exploitation. To impede this recognition, at times we are told that what we see in other places are farmers struggles, at times that they are third-worldist struggles, or struggles against the imperialism of this country or against the dictatorship of that one, other times they are simply called hunger revolts. In the last decades our class has lived through insurrectional explosions in different territories of the planet, but the difficulty of seeing itself as the same has left it isolated, vulnerable to the repression of the international bourgeoisie and recuperable by the social democracy, which always lends a hand to the defense of the home economy once the calm as been imposed. Nationalism is born from this difficulty [of the proletariat] in recognizing itself as an international class, and it reinforces it. In the same manner that there’s no state which doesn’t reproduce and manage our misery in this system (be it called social, worker or confederated), there’s no defense of the nation that doesn’t flow into imperialist war and state terrorism. National independence is always the independence of the national bourgeoisie. the defense of the nation is always the preparation for the war against other nations. Kurdish nationalism, the great ally of the United States in the massacre of the proletariat in all of Kurdistan and in Syria, serves as an example.

This is something that a substantial part of the “anarchist” milieu has not known how to perceive. A prisoner of opportunism, it rushed behind the nationalist entanglement with the same and already quite hackneyed arguments as always: It’s necessary to be concrete, we must intervene, it’s a dynamic which could exceed its limitations, let’s go with our flags, we can make an influence. Meaning, the hackneyed possibilism of the lesser evil, the “argument” that the people are in the street without asking themselves what they are doing in the street, the demagogy that to not participate would be to stay in one’s marble tower – as if the only thing that could be done is join up with that nationalist current and that the critique of it was not the most coherent action. Who cares if the history of our class has demonstrated the contrary thousands of times. They even went so far as to call and support a general strike on the 3rd of October which would ultimately serve the fortification of catalan nationalism in its struggle against the spanish bourgeoisie and State. They played the sad role of useful idiots. And the thing is, one can’t maintain communist and anarchist positions as if they were some kind of principles suspended in the void. Our positions are not a series of bombastic declarations, but an expression of the real movement of our class, from the lessons which we can extract from the processes of revolution and counterrevolution in which our class has tried to destroy Capital. Our class is worldwide and has a history, a historical thread and a future. To disavow that thread of the past and future, to remain in the photography of the present and in the reduced local space, is synonymous with ideology, with condemning yourself to commit the same errors which our ancestors committed, with limiting yourself, independently from the will, to be appendages of capital.

On the contrary, the struggle of our class has always had an anti-national character, because it has seen itself obliged to break from the illusion that there’s something that unites us to those that benefit directly from our exploitation, and because in the process of struggle we recognize those that combat against the same enemies and for the the same necessities as class siblings. The proletariat has no country, because it’s a commodity in every location. Fighting against our exploitation means fighting against every State, against every nation and all their representatives, fighting as a worldwide class against a capitalism that is necessarily worldwide. For this reason the defense of the historical slogan of the proletariat, its revolutionary defeatism, that the enemy is in our own country and it’s our bourgeoisie, is so important. In fighting against “our bourgeoisie” we fight against all the bourgeoisies, against every State, against every nation.

As such, to the demand of catalan independence the proletarians in struggle can only give one response, the same that we have needed to give in every region, in every epoch: class independence for the abolition of capital and of the State on a worldwide level.

1. A depreciative catalan colloquialism for residents in catalonia of ethnic “spanish” origin.

2. Terms referring originally to the two opposing camps in the spanish war of succession (1701–1714), Maulets were the Valencian partisans of Charles VI of the Habsburgs while the Botiflers suported Philip V of the Bourbons.

In Memoriam: Santiago Maldonado (1989-2017)

This 1st of August marks the first anniversary of the murder of Santiago Maldonado (aka ‘Lecho’/’Brujo’), an anarchist comrade from the region of Argentina who was ‘disappeared’ by the repressive forces of the State for acting in solidarity with the Mapuche community in the region of Cushamen.

The following article and extracts from Santiago’s work are translated from the first page of the bulletin “La Oveja Negra” n.56, July 2018, (Rosario, Argentina):

The presence of an absence

Just short of the anniversary of that 1st of August in which they took Santiago, it’s important that the commemoration be accompanied by revolutionary memory and the extension of the social conflict. Santiago was a sensitive person, a rebel, his writings and raps speak so strongly that the wind doesn’t carry them. They agitate and move us, against the pope, the presidents, the megaprojects and against the existing order, with humor, with certainty.

They tried to make Santiago disappear two times: firstly the armed forces and later others, hiding his struggle, his life, his ideas.

For Santiago, the anarchist who stood in solidarity with the prisoners for the sackings in Bariloche, who fought in the assemblies and the barricades of Chiloé, who cut the route 40 for the liberation of Facundo, (TN1) they organized church masses and they inserted him into electoral discourses. They tried to reduce him to a victim: of the gendarmes, of Bullrich,(TN2) of Macri, or even of the mapuches themselves as the officialist slant pushed. Meanwhile, his comrades in struggle were pursued by the police and branded as infiltrators in the mobilizations, something which still continues today.

“It’s notable, that the repression suffered daily by the mapuche communities in the south, imprisonment of Facundo Jones Huala, and above all, the profound social content of the Autonomous Mapuche Movement of Puelmapu, is in the same or worse grade of obscurity and misinterpretation as before the disappearance of Brujo.” We said this last year, and it hasn’t done anything more but get worse since then.

Recently, we are being witness to a new campaign of lies in which they try to establish the mapuche as those who fooled and abandoned Santiago, at the same time as they lied to the family. Santiago was not fooled in Cushamen, he knew what he was doing and not doing. Those that don’t know anything are the killers and their accessories who think that with force and lies they can stop the struggle and the solidarity. For that reason they publish phone-taps made on Sergio Maldonado and on Ariel Garzi, who has already come out to say that those transcriptions are in part false. These phone-taps are one more part of the permanent mafioso message of the State, not only to the mapuche, but to the whole social movement. Like when they planted the dead body of Santiago, they want to sow the example of what can happen to us when we disobey, when we fight for a different reality. Just like on the other side of the the wire, it is sought to break apart the groups that tender support to the territorial recuperations, to isolate the communities in conflict, their authorities, spokespersons and combatants.

Like a year ago, like always, the State, it’s Justice and its jails can’t give any other response but violence, against all those who confront their terrorism and their world of death and misery.

TN1: Facundo Jones Huala, incarcerated mapuche activist and tribal leader
TN2: Patricia Bullrich, Argentine Minister of Security

The God of Business

O God! Who is in the heavens of your empire.
You that are the guardian of the safes,
you that sleeps among the bricks
of gold, silver, titanium and copper!
You that are sheltered from the earthly crisis
when there is hunger, collective hysteria,
natural and artificial disasters!
You that sees it all and knows it all!!
You that can judge the mortals,
say who may enter and who may not,
who may rejoice in happiness
and who shall grovel in the dirt, putrid and precarious!!!
You, king of kings, we defy,
under that varnished cross
of deforestation for the civilization and modernity!
Your temples will be occupied by the barbarians
and will be pockets of resistance,
flames in the darkness with protective sparks,
the force and the energy must accompany us
in the paths of life which we have chosen
in order to confront adverse situations
and the obstacles which present themselves
through the length and width of the course of the trails….
life is for living and enjoying,
not to watch as it passes by,
it’s not disney, it’s not big brother, it’s no bestselling novel…
it’s simply unique above all…

Vote For Me

Why do we insist that you vote?
Because we want to subject you in the present
so that in the future you will continue being subjected.
We think that by blocking your mind and alienating you
with our projects in health, education,
work, security, comfort and technology,
we will secure the bank, the social status
and the power that we so dearly covet.
We believe in the social hierarchy
and that we must order and you must obey,
because like so a fatherland for every man and woman is achieved.
Someone must govern and it’s for this reason that we’re here,
if not everything would be in chaos
and freedom would reign,
everyone would do what they wanted
and we would not exist.
We also believe that with the money
collected from the slavery that we want to impose
we can control every corner of the planet Earth,
reinforce the surveillance with security cameras
at every step that you take,
more police, military, armies and terror.
To make more jails and jobs in order to torture,
silence and isolate those who don’t adapt to the rules of the game.
Fire to the ballots, democracy, the parliament,
to the Nazional Constitution!!!
Neither votes nor boots.
Nobody represents you but yourself!
No bosses, no leaders.

Texts by Santiago Maldonado
Extracted from his zine “Vagabun2 de la Idea”, Mendoza, 2015

Argsesina (TN1)

Here in Argsesina 2016,
A mediocre country as you see.
To the right or in reverse, what is it that you see?
Everyone thinks that that had it good before.
Now appears the corruption, the unemployment,
the inflation and the intoxication.
Look at the TV, everyone’s distracted by the dollars
that appear hidden in mansions, in convents.
This money was already robbed from me,
from you and from our forerunners.
Nature demands revenge!
The extractivism increases their profits.
Some businessmen have their their bellies swelled.
Others malnourished, preoccupied with a balance.
What is it that’s happening?
In this world in trance, some are dying
and others have hope in democracy.
Everything is already said.
If you give yourself they will fuck you.
The people buy the discourse of progress,
what do they understand by this?
That the yuta (TN2) comes and she breaks your bones.
Or that they fool you in a church,
on bended knee with the wooden cross.
And if the priest wants he’ll get sex from you.
That’s what it is, that’s progress.
The profit Pablo communicated his utterances.
And there’s many witnesses of so many sacrifices,
as if now they don’t sacrifice you in your workplace.
Don’t be foolish, open your eyes and your ears.
Progress is your enemy!
They contaminate a sea with dead salmon.
They destroy a mountain for a thermoelectric dam.
This is progress.
It demolishes everything, it doesn’t care at all,
if you’re a girl or an old lady.
It destroys life within seconds.
That which takes years to grow,
can disappear in an instant.
That they dynamite a mountain for a mega-mine.
Or also that they make a highway to accelerate the commodities.
It’s the magic of capitalism.
Mickey Mouse with his cynicism.
Rockefeller dancing in the abyss.
Likewise the struggle continues, in this era and right now.
Later in the church they speak to you of prophesy.
That everything is being fulfilled
according to what the messiah foretold.
Here and now, the struggle continues!
I’m beginning to distrust in what was premeditated,
dictated so that now we put the blame on the devil.
Do you understand what I mean?

TN1: Argesina is a conglomeration of the words ‘Argentina’ and ‘Asesina’ (Killer)
TN2: A yuta is a shaman priestess

Lyrics of the song Argsesina, from the rap duo Santa Blasfemia of which Santiago Maldonado formed a part. The song can be found here.

Other recordings by Santiago can be found here along with memorial statements from his friends and comrades (in spanish)

Rojava and Capitalism

Introduction

“Rojava and Capitalism”, as indicated by the subtitle which accompanies the text that we are presenting, is a “report on a reunion organized by internationalist comrades originating from Kurdistan” realized in Paris in May 2016. In this document, at total counter-current to the spectacular advertising bombardment of the “Rojava revolution”, the comrades make a clear denunciation of this “revolution”, clearly identifying it as a counterrevolution.

It has furthermore the interest of synthesizing the different experiences of struggles occasioned in the Kurdish region in the past decades. The document in spanish was not made public until the end of 2016, and in spite of everything we believe that its diffusion has been quite limited, for which we have considered it fundamental to collaborate in the diffusion of such important material.

Before moving on to the text we want to remind that a year and a half ago we ‘Proletarios Internacionalistas’ have published material titled

“Guerra social y telaraña imperialista en Siria 2010-2015” (Social war and imperialist spiderweb in Syria 2010-2015) in which we made an analysis and balance of the potent proletarian struggle occurring in Syria in these years and its transformation into an imperialist war.

Enshrined in the analysis we had deepened in the peculiarities of the struggle in Rojava, highlighting the efforts of our class to impose its necessities and how those were neutralized and liquidated by certain forces which were presented to the rest of the world as “revolutionary”. Since then the development of the “revolution” hasn’t done more than clarify that which we denounced there, the liquidationist role of the PYD, the PKK and the ideology crystallized and projected by these forces.

As it is, since we wrote that text the “revolution of Rojava” has done nothing more than consolidate itself in worldwide capitalism, increasing its accords, negotiations and compromises with the gendarme States. The collaboration at all levels with these States has taken ever more qualitative leaps. In this juncture, the approval which the “revolution” gave to the construction of nothing more than three military bases of the U.S. is something which we cannot refrain from pointing out. One is found directly at the border with Turkey, between Kobane and the Euphrates river; another in the petrol city of Rmeilan (Hasaka); and the third in the hamlet of Sehbet in the southeast of Kobane. Since the past year two of these bases are already operative, with everything that one could expect of a repressive arsenal of capital. Of course as a counterpart the U.S. has increased its logistic, military and financial aid to the State of Rojava, furthermore clearly in payment for the lands where it constructed the bases. But it’s not only with the State of the U.S. with which the “revolution” has struck up good relations. Also with Russia there is a good feeling, as demonstrated by not only the help and military advice which Moscow has offered to the the “revolution”, sending special forces to instruct -competing with the U.S. in this task-, but above all by the opening in the beginning of 2016 of an office of representation of the PYD in Russia.

Also recently the Dutch parliament, awaiting legal procedures, has given the seal of approval for opening a delegation of the State of Rojava in its country.

France and England didn’t want to stay behind and have mobilized military forces to bring their grain of sand to the cause. It is a curious “revolution” which instead of receiving bombs and repression from the part of worldwide capitalism, as has always happened in history, receives money, soldiers and weapons to defend it.

In this context on the 12th of October 2015, in a reunion in Rojava, the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) was constituted which was shown as a bourgeois military front with all types of national forces in Syria, with the YPJ/YPG occupying a place of vanguard. It comes down to a new “Free Syrian Army” which we remind functioned as a tool of the west for channeling and crushing the proletarian revolt initiated in 2011 in Syria. After the rapid exhaustion of that tool, and the diverse alternatives outlined during these years, this new national covering of the SDF follows the instructions of the pentagon, continuing and deepening the imperialist war.

There’s no doubt that the “revolution” is well submerged in the imperialist game, utilizing our class as cannon fodder. We wouldn’t find it strange either if tomorrow, when the “revolution” has fulfilled its function and is no longer useful, it is sacrificed for other forces of social order. At the same time as all these processes develop, the everyday life in Rojava continues on its course. The course that is marked by money, imperialist war and the global market.

Since we wrote the dossier cited above the misery has done nothing but worsen in all spheres. The exodus of proletarians that had lived in Rojava has continued to increase provoking massive departures to Turkey, which encloses them in concentration camps for refugees.

Incapable of giving a collective response to the situation, these proletarians that refuse to be cannon fodder in the imperialist war and to be broken in misery, find themselves obligated to flee. Those that remain find themselves subjected to sacrifice themselves for the “revolution”. In full-on “revolution” the conditions of life are subjugated to the logic of money -the coin in circulation is the Syrian pound, issued by the Central Bank of Syria-. The proletarians find themselves bound to work always more and receive less to survive on. The situation is tragic for large sectors of our class. In some zones the salary -proceeding from the public administration, the cooperative or a private bourgeois- doesn’t provide them in large part even enough to pay rent in the residences (like in the Canton of Afrin), having to stack themselves and share the cost between many to be able to have shelter. Other proletarians that work for the public administration pass months sometimes without pay, with all which that entails.

In the oft-promoted cooperatives the proletarians work themselves to death -furthermore in the majority of cases they are required to advance money to enter in a cooperative- to obtain something to eat. Clearly all these forces have a meaning in the “revolution”: the necessities of capital. The public administration seizes a part of the profits in these cooperatives, in the interest of the imperialist war. For their part, the private bourgeois also receive their profit quota in these cooperatives. They invest capital in them and receive a part of the profit proportional to to their investment in exchange. Evidently they don’t work, but they live to the cost of the exploitation of the proletariat in the cooperatives. The more capital which the bourgeois invests, the more work it would entail for the workers of the cooperatives, more exploitation, more misery for the proletarians, but more surplus value, more profit for the bourgeois. How different life is under the “revolution”! And think about the fact that sexual repression is one of the fundamentals for joining the YPJ, that icon of the “liberation” of women so often propagated. The prohibition of sex to its members for the necessities of the “revolution” is nonnegotiable. It appears to be that unleashing all the passions, breaking with centuries of the repression of human necessities and desires, unbridled enjoyment… is incompatible with this “revolutionary process”. Not even this small permission is allowed by this “revolution”.

Internationalist Proletarians

January 2017

www.proletariosinternacionalistas.org

info@proletariosinternacionalistas.org

Rojava and Capitalism

Report of a meeting organized by internationalist comrades from Kurdistan

(Source: https://libcom.org/news/report-meeting-organized-internationalist-comrades-kurdistan-01122016)


We are a group of comrades from different parts of Kurdistan, who define themselves as internationalists. Most of us were persecuted as deserters and/or subversives, many of us have been imprisoned. All but two of us who came directly from Kurdistan for the present meeting, live in exile in Europe. We have met in the struggle against capital and today we are a handful of internationalists who continue to struggle. Against the current, we denounce by all possible means the spectacular and deceptive image that has been built internationally on the “Rojava Revolution” and which in fact harms the genuine autonomous struggle of the proletariat in this region and all over the world.
Faced with the enormous international publicity that is made everywhere of the self-proclaimed “Rojava Revolution”, the first thing we want to propagate internationally is that this completely contrasts with what was done in the past in relation to the real struggles against capitalism in the region. Whereas before, whenever there was an autonomous and important struggle of our class, in the West everything that happened was systematically hidden and we were given no chance to make known in the world the struggle that was unfolding in the region of Kurdistan. Now everything is made public. It’s not by chance but before the struggle was concealed because it was a revolutionary and proletarian one, because it contradicted what the international capitalism said about what happened in that region. In this way, an international contagion was avoided and the struggle could be isolated and liquidated. Now it is publicized because it is a reformist, bourgeois and imperialist program that is imposed, making us believe that it is about the propaganda of the “revolutionary struggle”. Both only serve to isolate the genuine revolutionary struggle and liquidate the proletarian autonomy.
This contrasts with what is happening today in Rojava where the international support for frontism and populism of the “revolution” is heaven-sent. In the past the levels of autonomy of the revolutionary proletariat were very important.
We present below some elements of the past where a revolutionary struggle took place, while in the West, accomplice of the local powers, it was systematically hidden:
* In the West, the genuine revolutionary insurrection in Iran was always hidden (or reduced in its importance), the insurrection which overthrew the Shah (1978/79), and then eliminated the various attempts of replacement that the Western imperialist powers tried to impose. At that time, the proletariat in the region clearly confronted the Iranian bourgeoisie and simultaneously fought both Yankee-European and Russian imperialisms. Of course there was no support or information about what happened: everything was drowned in the “struggle for democracy”, typical of the dominant culture and the imperial control of information.
* Revolutionary defeatism was also concealed during the imperialist war between Iran and Iraq, where fraternization on the fronts against war and widespread desertion confronted and questioned at the same time all the military powers operating in the region. Let us remember that the worst bombings of Saddam Hussein’s State were not against Iran, nor against the USA, but against its own troops, that is to say against the proletariat of the whole region. Dozens of thousands of organized deserters from different countries were persecuted, a fact that was always hidden in the West. What the world State of capital worried about more was precisely that the proletariat of all countries defected and deserted the fronts, that it abolished frontiers, and became unified against imperialist war in the region.
* The same thing happened with the proletarian insurrection in Iraq in 1991 (both in the South and in the North), which became widespread throughout the country, destroying the repressive forces of Saddam Hussein in half of the country despite the support of imperialism to the latter. The international isolation of this proletarian struggle was so important so that it allowed the imperialist powers, united in a coalition under the leadership of the United Nations and using weapons of mass destruction, in succeeding to liquidate this struggle. All the United Nations’ missions are obviously repressive ones and when they give some food, they insist on laying down arms and accepting the national/imperialist discipline of the refugee’s concentration camps.
We wish to make known in the West that in all these cases the revolutionary movements of the proletariat openly questioned the private property of the means of production; they proclaimed the necessity of abolishing the system of wage labor and they confronted the State, repression, impunity. In these cases, the population itself passed sentences in the streets against torturers and militaries were executed, those who for decades had organized and directed the torture and massacre of human beings. The proletarian organizations that led the insurrections and the struggle against wars overcame the limited and reformist mottos of the bourgeois left and the Kurdish nationalists, and they proclaimed the need for communist revolution and the abolition of all States… Throughout this process, the contrast between nationalism and proletarian internationalism was the key of class opposition. Throughout Kurdistan, Kurdish nationalist forces were allied with imperialist forces against the proletarian rebellion. The consolidation of the established order was always made with more wars, more massacres and with the power of the various religious or Kurdish nationalist forces.
Those struggles were unknown and/or denigrated as meaningless movements, provoked by despair, or simply disqualified and labeled as “hunger riots”. In the West it was usual to look away from all these struggles and if it someone talked about it was only to denounce “people who fought each other to divide the international aid up among themselves”. You can count on the fingers the international organizations in America and Europe which have expressed solidarity with our struggle. There was a real blockage of class and revolutionary materials that came from the region: the Western and Judeo-Christian ideas had to be maintained that it is only in the West that a class and revolutionary proletariat can take over.
At that time, the proletariat in Iran, in Iraq, in all Kurdistan… not only questioned the capitalist dictatorship in its region, but it strongly challenged war, capital, private property, nationalism… imposed by the Western imperial forces and the very model of triumphant capitalism in the West. On the other hand, now that the feminist and libertarian delegates who sponsor the “Rojava revolution” are proliferating everywhere, there is no mention of the struggle against private property, and the same imperialist powers that have always repressed us are indulgent (to so much of “revolutionary” propaganda).
Therefore, we have elaborated the following points to make known some indisputable facts:
* Never before one talked so much about a “REVOLUTION” in the region, and never before the “revolution” of the proletariat, the genuine one, that attacks private property and destroys capital, had been buried.
* The “Rojava Revolution” takes the “Spanish civil war” as its model; but not the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat in those years, in that country, but, on the contrary, it adopts as a program that of the Spanish Republic. We must remember that in Spain the Republic was the opposite of “the revolution”, which was in fact the counterrevolutionary framework of the proletariat and was the greatest obstacle to its struggle: the Republic always repressed the struggles of the proletariat. At that time, the Leninist-Stalinists of the world joined forces with some “libertarian” and “feminist” fringes that became integrated into populism, abandoning all class references. Also in those years, those who entered into such alliances acted as a front against the revolution, channeling the resistance of the proletariat to the imperialist war. What the republican and Leninist bourgeoisie did was to mutilate that proletarian struggle, to massively bring the workers as lambs to the slaughterhouse of the imperialist war for bourgeois interests. Instead of the struggle against exploitation, to be cannon fodder.
* Instead of internationalist struggle, national narrowness. While historical movements in Iran and Iraq (particularly in the Kurdish region!) proclaimed themselves to be internationalist and fought for the world revolution, the dominant line in Rojava today proclaims “socialism” in “one region” (or in all confederated regions) winking at nationalism and Stalinism (“socialism in one country”) which are the key components of the parties in power in the State of Rojava.
* Instead of attacking private property of the means of production, all the classic demands of the bourgeoisie and its democracy are used: anti-imperialism, feminism, ecology, egalitarianism…; that is to say the western dominant ideology, the same that is fashionable all over the world.
* Everywhere, and thanks to international propaganda, feminism has been promoted with the support of feminism in Rojava and especially the militarism of the YPJ that formed itself as a part of the State. We want to make clear that this feminism has nothing in common with the struggle of proletarian women and men against capital. On the contrary, it’s about the multiclass, militaristic and imperialist feminism that Stalinism always brandished, which served the States to mobilize the troops and which seeks to mobilize women on a national scale. It’s about the same feminism that renders so many services in the United States Army, where the recruitment of women was driven by feminist organizations, thanks to which we have female generals, female torturers.
* Instead of struggling against money, against commodity, against labor… any questioning of private property is prohibited.
* In that “revolution” as it is framed by the dominant parties in Rojava, there is no struggle against the State, but a defense of an alternative (confederal) or parallel State, which develops capitalism. The fact that this State displays itself as a confederation does not change anything to the question!
* Although playing with the terminology and surfing on the “heroic struggle of the proletariat and/or the people” in the region (the population had no choice but to fight the war and that resistance was exemplary!) they reorganized the bourgeois State and they present it as if it were not a State. May they explain us the practical difference! As for the “anarchists” we prefer to remind them that other libertarians, even more famous, like Souchy, have already presented us the same historical lie: according to these “anarchists” Israel would in fact be a NON-State and even the overcoming of all the States! And we can see today what it’s all about!
* The situation of the proletariat is a situation of survival and total emergency, similar to that of the past in Iran and Iraq, but while in those historical struggles, the proletarian classism dominated, in Rojava a clearly bourgeois alternative has been imposed.
* The situation of the proletariat is terrible, it is supposed winning but many sacrifices are required. It’s about imposing a brutal system of austerity. In the name of the revolution, they make you working harder and they ask you for “voluntary” contributions. That’s the reason why the model of the Stalinist countries is used.
* Private property is the key of the whole system. To talk about “revolution” only serves to increase the rate of exploitation, while at the same time any questioning of private property (and any protest or striking movement) is more than ever repressed in the name of this so-called “revolution”.
* The army is trained by Russian officers and more and more by Americans and Europeans, leading inevitably the confederal State to align itself with the world geo-imperialist contradictions.
* No doubt that the US State regards this “revolution” as a good “compensating reservoir” in the region, and the relations between the Pentagon and the “Revolution” are increasingly better. At the moment we meet the imperial powers have a permanent organism and many parallel diplomacy organizations. They head for the formalization of one or several Western embassies.
* In Rojava, the dominant party is the PYD, a party that is actually a younger brother of the PKK, the Stalinist party of Turkish Kurdistan. This party and its ideology have made possible the reconstitution of the State, with all the letters of the word, even if it uses a libertarian discourse.
* From the inter-imperialist point of view, this has aggravated the problems for the population of Rojava, attacked by the inter-imperialist intricate confusion. On the one hand, because the importance of the PKK in Rojava has been disapproved by the Turkish State, for whom this party is considered as the worst of terrorist groups (beyond the fact that this leads to an inevitable deterioration of the US-Turkish relations). And on the other hand, because the bourgeois and Stalinist ideology is materialized in the practice of imposing to all the population to work more for a lower wage as Stalinism always did.
* The State in Rojava and the armed forces are organized so vertically, as in Stalin’s Russia, but with a libertarian mask, that they are the exact copy of the ideology developed by the PKK in Turkey.
* Imitating all the bourgeois “revolutions”, they proclaim religious freedom but in fact the apparatuses of social control are accomplices of all the religions and ethnic religious separations and play a nefarious role in causing dissension, oppressing, moralizing, repressing.
* In fact, Stalinist and feminist military and political structures simultaneously promote Kurdish nationalism, while using hymns and flags in cities, neighborhoods, schools… appearing in the eyes of the majority of the population as a minority and oppressive dominant ethnic group, what results being terribly destructive of the unity of interests of the proletariat.
* To come back to what is the most global in the alleged Rojava revolution, it seems to us important to say that it constitutes a fashionable alternative, which is very well suitable for capitalism and world imperialism: it is the only “revolution” in history that shows itself off triumphant, libertarian, alternative, feminist, ecological…, without having to get through the class struggle and the consequent violent destruction of the oppressors, of money and generally of the capitalist social relations…
* It’s precisely for this reason that it constitutes a letter of hope for all the world bourgeois society and for all the imperial States.

Internationalists from Kurdistan
Paris, France, May 2016.

Notes Against the Dominion of Merchandise

To follow the last post, here is the newly finished english version of a comic/zine (originally done in spanish by the comrades at https://graficasdeagitacion.blogspot.mx) which takes the majority of its source text from “The Dominion of Merchandise”, but adds a good portion of extra content and some great detourned graphics.

notes.against.merchandise.cover

– PDF for screen reading

– Print Version

The Dominion of Merchandise

An article from 2013 issued by the now defunct “Grupo Anarco Comunista” of Mexico.

The original text can be found at: http://hommodolars.org/web/spip.php?article4817


Note: To cite the comrades of “Cuadernas de Negacion”, and this is so that the diverse quotations which we cite remain clear… “As in all cases in which we publish citations, texts, pamphlets, or fragments, the said inclusion doesn’t absolutely imply an uncritical acceptance of them, without caring about to whom these words belong to, the militants who wrote them or the organizations of which they formed a part of”. That which interests us is always incorporating the critique inside of the grade of involvement in the class war, relate with others and potentate our class as a negation… and for this reason we hope to provide quotations which clarify that which some call “annoying” and which is nothing more than a moment of the class war, a moment of unitary critique, a moment of class consciousness and with it: subversive praxis. For us, unitary critique/class consciousness is identical to subversive praxis.

The Dominion of Merchandise

The wealth of the societies in which the capitalist mode of production dominates is presented as an ‘enormous accumulation of merchandise’,(…) ”

Karl Marx, Capital.

Merchandise is, par excellence, the unifying element of society under the current capitalist conditions of production. All relation which man carries out with the world are mediated by merchandise, all that which he produces, consumes, desires… takes it’s reason for being as merchandise, the value of it in the world, it’s concrete existence, is given by the simple fact of being what it is: merchandise. Merchandise, or rather, a human product placed into society for its exchange. But, what really is merchandise?

At a simple glance merchandise is presented as something natural, something which in itself doesn’t possess a contents higher than its simplistic explanation, naturally merchandise is that object which is needed and is for sale, to there arrives the common understanding and we convince ourselves that going into further analysis of it is wasting time, given that it is thought that merchandise is merchandise and that’s it – as simple as that! Nevertheless, merchandise hides a whole series of relations behind itself which have a reason for being thanks to the current conditions of domination which are given in the capitalist society, or rather, it is in capitalism and its structural framework in which we could go deeply into the analysis and critique of this, which at a simple glance we appreciate so trivially.

Formally merchandise is shown to us as the product of the human being, something useful which must be exchanged for another useful thing, something necessary for our subsistence; that is, merchandise is determined by its “value” a use value which is conditioned by the necessity of the human being over it, for example: the value which is possessed by a pair of shoes or a kilo of cereal determined by the necessity of a person to wear shoes and eats. But the use value isn’t that which uniquely characterizes merchandise, it isn’t if it doesn’t posses that other component which it really signifies: the exchange value: Exchange value is the capacity of this or that product for its exchange, meaning how much is it worth in comparison to another product; for example: How much is a pair of shoes worth (merchandise A) as opposed to x kilos of cereal (merchandise B) we can understand that a pair of shoes is worth the worth of 20 kilos of cereal (A=20B). The genesis of merchandise and its evolution. Historically merchandise appeared from the destruction of the primitive community:
In these primitive communities nobody produced more than they consumed […]
Mankind first gathered in relatively autonomous and scattered groups, in families (in the broadest sense: the family grouping all those of the same blood), in tribes. The level of productive forces was very low, and the storage of provisions, of supplies, was often nearly impossible. Production consisted essentially of hunting, fishing, and gathering. Goods were not produced to be consumed after exchange, after being placed on a market. Production was directly social, without the mediation of exchange. The community distributed what it produced according to simple rules, and everyone directly got what it gave him. There was no individual production, i.e., no separation among individuals who are re-united only after production by an intermediate link, exchange, namely by comparing the various goods produced individually. Activities were decided (actually imposed on the group by necessity) and achieved in common, and their results were shared in common. (1) The development of tools for production made hunting and gathering disappear from the primitive community, substituted by agriculture, it’s at that moment when the excesses of production appeared which made possible, in the first place, the exchange from tribe to tribe and in a later development exchange within the same tribe, so separating the members of the community and in this way, fracturing it;
With the growth of its activities and needs, the community produces not only goods, but also commodities, goods which have a use value as well as an exchange value. Commerce first appears between communities, then penetrates inside communities, giving rise to specialized activities, trades, socially divided labor. The very nature of labor. changes. With the exchange relation, labor becomes double labo
r, producing both use value and exchange value. […]What the individual makes for himself and for the group is separate from what he makes for the purpose of exchange with goods from other communities. The second part of his activity means sacrifice, constraint, waste of time. Society becomes diversified, it separates into various members engaged in different trades, and into workers and non-workers. At this stage the community no longer exists.


This rupture of the primitive community began the era of the civilization, meaning; from the societies divided into classes, where mercantile and submissive interactions appear, where each individual not only produces their subsistence for themselves, but sees the necessity of producing in order to compare it with what others produce. Private property, the defense of it, the regulations about the value and exchange of merchandise, the rights and duties of the society are already imposed by those that achieve an accumulation of more goods than they need to survive; being through robbery, war or simple deception. This division is configured in the ruling classes derived from the priesthood, warrior activity or from the specialization of commerce. The nascent ruling classes control the life of the societies, and to maintain the hegemony of their power and their apparatus of domination (the State), they demand the contribution of taxes: in kind or in labor, and so fund the regularized army for defense and conquest (of resources and people), in opposition to other peoples. The invention of the coin facilitated the interaction in economic activity (relating to merchandise) that in the immature stage complicated the free circulation of them: the expansion of a mercantile society. The coin is the universal merchandise with which all merchandise is acceded without greater difficulty, it’s only exchange value, completely lacking in use value. Every mode of production of goods (before capitalism) had been limited, since the production of them had always been, to a certain point, insufficient, it was never really developed until the arrival of the capitalist mode of production, in which the merchandise was freed from its old tethers, universalized and was produced in immense quantities by means of the adoption of technological innovations joined to the form of exploitation of wage labor. A generalized mercantile society.

It’s in the capitalist system where the maximum expression of the mercantile society is found, in which all relations are not carried out more than in their form of transit of merchandise, or rather, the sale, the buying, the production, the consumption… where all social activities marked by this relation, where nobody eats, clothes, falls in love, or even get by if it isn’t because they enter into the game of the life of merchandise. From the worker to the banker all are subjected to this law, which as it is known, only gives privilege to a fraction of the society.

The traces of the mercantile society are “manifested in all aspects of the capitalist mode of production”, yet they are found to be mystified by a reality which appears to be something that it is not. Every individual thinks they understand what money is, because they use it, in it’s practical sense they recognize what it is. Nevertheless they never arrive to the comprehension of money further from the external appearance of the phenomenon. So it occurs with everything, with work, wage, property, family, love, etc.

The truth is that nothing exists except for in function of the system of production of merchandise, or rather, capitalism. Life in general and work in particular are conditioned by this; work is reduced to a massive production of goods and services for the sale, the accumulation of capital and it’s reproduction. This means a benefit for the owner of the means of production, but a sacrifice for those that lack them. Nothing would have a reason for being if the merchandise didn’t produce value (benefit), the eternal activity for the diminishing in costs and the growth of benefits; the real meaning of merchandise is found in the dictatorship of value, the industries accelerate or diminish their production in the function of this, similarly wars are made, crises are presented, mountains of food rot in the stores, the unemployed workers multiply, etc.

Subjected, as we are to the economy and its mode of fulfillment, that being its mercantile form, our relations with the external world cannot be understood more than as a continual exchange of goods, valuating, commodifying and depreciating the essence in favor of personal benefit. This is to be observed from sexual attraction, affinities with friends, and obviously in the labor world.

Particularly, salaried work, to be concise, is the sale of individual merchandise: the capacity of carrying out a given labor. In this case the owner pays for the merchandise of the proletarian, their arms and intelligence, their capacity. So is shown how in capitalism everything is recognized as merchandise, from nature in general to the human being in particular.

Capitalism is the kingdom of separations which compartmentalize our life. The user, the producer (“productive” or “unproductive”), the salaried as much as the unemployed. All of them lose, dominated, the meaning of life. Dispossessed of everything and of themselves, individuals live a partialized life (work time/free time), specialized (professional orientation, defined and limited statutes) dispersed (time passed in transports for the movements provoked by the geographical divisions of work and habitat, as well as by the actions necessary to manage one’s own misery).” (3)

Notes:
(1) Jean Barrot (Gilles Dauvé) “Eclipse and re-emergence of the communist movement”, Ch.1 p. 37, “Capitalism and Communism” (2) Ibid.
(3) L’Insecurite Sociale, “Communism: elements for reflection”

Part II
Merchandise as a fetish

The system of production in its advanced phase doesn’t only create merchandise, it creates a whole range of sensations and possibilities so that the merchandise is sold more rapidly and more compulsively. Where the use value is defined more than anything by a mystical quality, not for its usefulness or physical properties, but for that suggestion provoked by the publicity, the brand, the ideology. In all cases, the use value tends to distance itself from its traditional understanding.

Now not only a certain merchandise is bought; a concept, a sensation is bought. For example, in the case of a shirt, which serves to cover us, a garment and nothing more… the usefulness becomes secondary when it is taken into account the brand, the boutique where it was acquired, the tendency which it represents… meaning, a shirt of a given brand is preferred by a group of individuals and another brand by others, though the shirts are identical in cut and fabric, an Adidas, Nike, etc., is the preference of a “sportsman”, a Fred Perry, of some rich tennis player or skinhead, for another Dickies or Ecko, of a tagger or a hip-hop artist. Each one buys an identification with their micro-culture, pastime, lifestyle, status, etc. And this now occurs generally with the majority of merchandise; with clothes, shoes, food, entertainment and an endless amount of other kinds of merchandise. In one sense, the difference between one individual and another isn’t given by their chosen identity, but by the merchandise itself, meaning, a young businessman is differentiated from a punk, not because one dresses better than the other, but because the type of merchandise that the young businessman consumes distinguish him as such, the same as the merchandise of the punk make him a punk before the others. At the same time that merchandise separates them, it also unites them, because one as much as the other are recognized in this dedicated activity for the possession of the merchandise which fulfill their lives, as all beings are found in the capitalist world.

In the bourgeois society merchandise is elevated to a God, where all live in hope of the paradise which Capital promises. Money is the Jesus Christ that saves humanity to accede to the pleasures of paradise, but nothing is so simple, because to find one’s Jesus Christ it’s necessary for everyone to pay their quota, carry their cross, meaning: Do salaried work in order to buy, to be happy, to feel fulfilled, to arrive at paradise. Wage labor is the manner in which the human being is presented as a piece of merchandise, sells their physical and intellectual force in exchange for a salary, a salary which the capitalist stipulates beforehand. The capitalist buys the worker, the employee, the laborer, for them to produce merchandise which will be sold and generate profits.
This commodification of the human being in Capital reaches to extend itself to the most intimate parts of life; when we only see in the other the benefits which they could procure us or we value them as objects at our service; human relations are riddled with incidence of this. “We have arrived to “love” merchandise, and when we love between subjects we also do so as between merchandise. This relation of persons as mere things can be observed simply in the streets, the glances which are directed “reducing sexual desire to something so banal as the simple attraction to a body, created by a system of body as merchandise” we are objects to be contemplated, we are objects in the streets, in the bed. But this isn’t an extraordinary problem, we’re objects since long before: when we’re obliged to wage labor in order to satisfy necessities and impositions, we convert into merchandise that other people buy for their ends.”(1)

Self-managing or destroying the merchandise.

Before anything we must emphasize a transcendental truth for the comprehension of the present reality. Capitalism as much as merchandise, above all, are a social relation. Merchandise is before all else a social relation, a manifestation of the conditions of the capitalist society, which is presented thanks to the movement and participation, consciously or not, of all the capitalist conditions of existence and reproduction of the reality. Merchandise is not simply a “thing”, it’s the heart of the capitalist society, it’s the motor force which envelops humanity in a coming and going of actions, thoughts, anxieties, necessities, which are directed to continue revitalizing a society where the mercantile relations rule. Destroying merchandise doesn’t consist of the crude action of the destruction of a “thing” on display, but the destruction of the social relations which permit such “things”, or rather, capitalism. The radicalism of he that believes that by being a limited consumer, by trying to self-manage their life, before the common worker and compulsive consumer, is equal to zero. There’s no solution to be had in the diminishing of consumption, or of the self-management of merchandise, as ingeniously as it is planned. It’s not a question of stopping the consumption of Coca-Cola, substituting it with a refreshment from a cooperative business. Much less the expropriation of merchandise, in order to continue producing and exchanging “in a collective and liberatory way” without absolutely disrupting all which entails the essence of a society which maintains relations of exchange, buying-and-selling of products and goods. For many years the thesis of self-management has erred fundamentally: in believing that self-managing capitalism, with its companies, factories, banks just as they are, is to revolutionize the society.

Self-management is the last card which the bourgeoisie plays against an impatient proletariat that desires to take part in the management of its own misery and exploitation. The destruction of merchandise is the destruction of the world, where the merchandise and everything which generates it reigns with sovereign power. It’s the collapse of human separations, of wage labor, of the commodification of the being, of the classes, of the State… of the generalized mercantile society.

Anarcho-Communist Group 15-02-2013

Notes: (1) Cuadernas de Negación #3 “Contra la sociedad mercantil generalizada”.

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