The Economy is in crisis...

May it die!

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We wonít believe in the crisis until the rich begin killing themselves

Extracts (1)

The bluff of the year í92 has passed (2). After having hypnotised people with a "prosperous" period featuring the consumption of rubbish, debt, and the growth of speculative benefits, now the crisis is being pushed on us. Ah yes, the national selection won the medal and the untouchable Barça won the soccer championship. Some time before the PSOE, with its reconversion, as a loyal servant of Capital carried out the transición (3) and began the modernisation of Oppression in an accelerated way. In doing so it erased from the map the assembly movements, which characterised the end of Franquism and the transición. Civilised trade-unionism was implanted and ill-being was framed in the language of state-capital: economy, politics. When trade-unions (and other forms of civic opposition) say No we can be sure that itís a Yes in disguise, in that the State needs an opposition to carry out sham strikes so as to demobilise and discourage people. In government/trade-union negotiations the function of the latter appears clearly in the spectacular game of politics: control the poor and inject the "raison díétat" into our heads.

We live in a society in which politics have displaced the very language of the oppressed (4). This lie is decided, managed, and disguised into a single reality. Our misery and our monotony are managed. Wealth, which is already abstract and non-existent is managed like God in the middle ages. No one can be outside of todayís christianism: the cult of monetary abstraction, Economy, and Politics. Projects are managed and developed to manage the deficits, benefits, and repression.

The social priests with their social services domesticate, recompose, re-use marginality for the humanitarian commerce of the concept of Solidarity, reappropriated by the State. The spectacle of social costs, and their decrease, and of the fictitious struggle thatís created once more, are developed.

The useless, the fired, and the specialists of social emptiness investigate, calculate, redefine the problems so as to solve them through their own self-perpetuation. In reality, they are our problems.

Marginalisation takes place by putting people on the dole for life. Marginalisation takes place through the fruitful business of drug repression, of "delinquency", thanks to the great commerce of total control of society. They manage, manage, manage,... They manage as they infest our lives with "security" and with mortal social boredom.

The means of communication diffuse their lies, the hypocritical gesticulations of superfluous commercials of information. Our neurones are paralysed... Beware! They speak, inform, broadcast, sell, form. They destroy, immobilise what exists, the desire of life which is revolt, and which only takes on an existence when it dies and becomes sellable by all mediums (of diffusion). Only their vision of the world exists, a world in their image and which resembles them.

They frighten us. They incite fear in us. They integrate us into their paranoid game of apparent realities. Computer control, control through information, political circus, invention of races, reality show, recyclable ecological-and-selling-so-very-well survival, they close us into this routine.

How to define this "modern" permanent counterrevolution in this piece of the pie?

At the end of the 1960s there developed a process of modernisation of oppression throughout Europe (5) (in part so as to end the wild and non-mediated struggles such as the French May í68 or the Italian autumn), which made the world even more unbearable for us. The real communication, without any intermediary, which had risen up from experience and struggle was cut. The gap which separated the ruling class, the State, and the oppressed, and which could be perilous for domination, is overcome by politics, trade-unionism, consumerism, and the need of money. Money brings about distance and isolation among the poor. The need of money determines a qualitative loss in relations (6). The anguish of money as a distorting element comes into our behaviour: appearance, facade. We show it all, we have to show it all even though we know very well that we can never own more than a tiny part, generally the most kitsch, the ersatz...

The caricature of "wealth" is shown, and it is precisely a caricature because it is exhibited in the world of the poor.

All we know about the world of the rich is what we are shown on television series. And we know that there is nothing more fake, but itís also what we most desire and what we imitate the most.

Society shows itself capable, time and again, to digest and sometimes to create revolts, be it through repression, recuperation, or both at the same time. The dynamism of society manages to integrate, be it willingly, or by force.

During the transición and under the government of the PSOE the domesticating role of the trade-unions, as apparatuses in the service of State-Capital was quite clear. Faced with these trade-unions there were, at times, assembly movements (7) which in outflanking them confronted capital. The State recreated the trade-unions so as to control struggles through bureaucracy, representation, and the act of negotiating by delegation. Today the trade-unions have very few adherents.

They reach less than 15% of wage workers (8) and are greatly subsidised by the State. Thus they form an integrated part of the State and are, in themselves, an institution of the latter at the same time as its best servant.

The "Raison díétat" ended up imposing itself by liquidating the assembly movement through trade-union recuperation, repression (many times very bloody as in the case of Vitoria, Reinosa, Euskalduna, against the dockers,... going so far as to murder proletarians), and division. It managed in this way to impose its dynamic, its discourse, its way of living.

Democratic spectacle tries to channel social insubordination. The very holy trinity State-Capital-Economy is above all criticism and so is unattackable. Everything is submitted to the logic of money, that is, to the logic of mere subsistence, all the way to its maximal expression of economic abstraction. Abstraction of a lie, which is universal and in which we believe.

The impossible ideal of modern capitalism is to transform metropolitan workers into middle-managers. Faced with this collective failure, an important part of workers and a great deal of developing countries (9) are forced into misery and marginality. The lie of belonging to a pacifist middle class, serves as to muffle the blow of potential social deflagration. Absurd notions such as users and civic spirit appear here. They flow out of, and also provoke, the submission of daily behaviour. Citizens? A grateful term used by the masters for the good slaves, poor but honest.

And in the idea of a middle class appears a new contradiction: decrease in budgets, increasingly costly standard of living, and new commercial expansion for the big ones. The multinationals dominate the market, absorb and annihilate the little ones and, at the same time, decentralise production in small groups which, in most cases are only companies which hide the reality of autonomous workers, dependent on the multinational itself, or else they create centres where new urban workers are hired by the day.

Of course with this crisis yuppies arenít jumping out of windows

Immersed in the shit of survival loaded with alluring advertisements and shop windows ready to rob us of our miserable wages. The ground is strewn with coins or alms for those on the dole. Knives pulled out so as to get a dose even if it means ending up in the nick. Workers in self-employment, or what comes out to the same thing, in self-exploitation (10). Workers submitted to the account of others, the exploiter is the client, the user and the tax department. Self-management of exploitation, emptiness of social struggle. Too much work, itís time to take a shower and shout out an arrogant "Iím my own master". Never has a worker so clearly proclaimed his eternal self-prostitution, his will to integrate himself in the innocuous middle class. And letís hope that all of this will not be assumed as itís done by the small businessman.

Urban day labourers. People looking for odd jobs so as to subsist. Swamped jobs. The dole for life. Precarious jobs. Workers domesticated by costs, threats, contracts, credentials. Trade-unions which decide for you, enterprises for the reproduction of labour power. Mobility, a euphemism for immigration for the first class citizen, that is with an indigenous slave passport. If itís ever more unbearable to continue working, in these conditions of submission and growing control, itís also ever more difficult to survive without working. That is, itís more and more difficult to obtain the means of subsistence without working.

Our lives are invaded by cybernetic images which distract yet stupefy. The television is the summit: a girl in her room with a video watches how Michael Jackson fucks Mickey Mouse, while a woman buys a shoe polisher thanks to interactive television. The computer decomposes the childís Martian neurones as he desperately tries to kill aliens even though the remote control doesnít work. Speech disappears, only Capital, the raisondíétat speaks. They technically organise and control the solitude which they oblige us to live in. The microchip does piece work in an isolated way. The State is the heart of what we live most intimately, it controls the aspects of daily life, and diverts it to its liking.

By atomising and breaking down communication between people, by invading private life, the State tries to distort the struggle which seems to be led against it.

There is nothing without the State. Everything must take place under the Stateís surveillance, with the protection and the benediction of politics. It is the most important gain of the second world war. The democratic State affirms itself as the only valid and recognised speaker, the only valid and recognised mediator, and the only valid and recognised communicator of ideas.

Democracy is the illusion of communication. Through it and in it politicians express their ideas which end up becoming those of the majority. The Power to be able to communicate and to know how to communicate between us is taken away from us, the words on our lips are erased so as to be substituted by ideological lies.

Democracy is nothing other than the appropriation of communication (the power to communicate) by politicians who convert themselves into representatives and delegates of our never expressed ideas.

Democracy is the appearance of the confrontation of rival lies which complement one another and to which the only and primordial end is to preserve the raison díétat.

What the telly doesnít show doesnít exist

Whatever is excluded, whatever is situated outside of its reality and its lie does not exist. And so if you see something, itís not what youíve seen but what the telly says which is reality. It resembles a lie, but it works very well for them. There are people who see not with their own eyes but only through the eyes of the State, be it by fear, or out of the apathy of their cerebral microchips.

Fucking society (11) based on information! Microelectronics, genetics, control, ecology, services, post-industrialism in the centres, industrialisation in the semi-periphery, and war in the periphery.

The crisis which is imposed on us allows the headlong rush of Capitalism to continue to reproduce itself...

The Society of the Spectacle, of Commodity, of Control has come along and has developed itself in terms which go well beyond the predictions and observations of the situationists. At the same time, for us the crisis is the fear of the dole and the police in the heart of our lives.

They have announced the crisis, we have always been in crisis

Under the pretext of the crisis they justify the necessity of tightening the grip of exploitation and control of the population. It all depends on "how far people are ready to go". From the worker of well-being, to precariousness. Loss of a century of concessions and conquests. But in this country weíve never known the "welfare State". Weíve always known the "welfare of the State".

The general strike is a part of the function of trade-unions in the middle of domination. They move forwards in creating a movement so as to channel the dissatisfaction due to the increase in exploitation which means the crisis and all of the juridico-economic consequences which it provokes: new laws on employment and the decrease in social costs. Social dissatisfaction is held back so that it doesnít get dangerous.

The trade-unions saw themselves rejected several times for their role in the polico-socio-economic spectacle. Thatís why during the capitalist offensive of reconversion in 1992, and during the crisis which followed, they had to radicalize themselves in appearance so as to continue playing their role, that is, so as to continue existing. They now transform the weapon of the strike into an inoffensive show with data and political numbers. These trade-union shows are directed against ourselves and our own...

In the same way in which the individual has been converted into an isolated producer consumer, struggles remain isolated inside of the circus of information. We must struggle as much against the atomisation which they impose on us as against the isolation of our collectives and the struggles against power. And thus the importance of communication, the diffusion of our speech, and of collective practices which ought to speak for themselves without resorting to ideological justifications, flags, uniforms, or acronyms.

Turn the tables on the use that State-capital gives to streets. Circulation of cars and of commodities, shop window of solitude. Faced with boredom and the binomial money-amusement, seeking a really amusing time out. That is re-creative of life. Subversive of order.

Reaffirming acts of insubordination on all levels. When insubordination is real (refuse of dialogue with Power) carries with it a victory because Democracy needs a question-and-answer so as to function. A theory and practice debate is needed on the forms of struggles to take. Experimenting the forms of our struggles and those of those close to us.

Foreign to ourselves, cancelled, alienated. This world is a world foreign to us and in which life no longer belongs to us. This world does not affirm us, on the contrary it negates us. Thatís why we can only think in negative terms. There is no other alternative, if the economy is in crisis, may it die!

Notes :

1. The following text is an extract from a debate published some years ago (1995-96) in the issue #8 of the periodical Akefalos (Apartado de Correos 37120-08080 Barcelona, Spain). A photocopy of the full text is available at our central address. The editors of "Akefalos" explain the name of the journal as follows: "Greek mythology describes a group of people without heads, with neither leaders nor subordination. Because we are people who have lost our heads, in the sense that itís considered impossible. Eccentric beings with no common sense, we fight against the social normality of slaves and their masters." The notes at the bottom of the pages are from the editors of Communism.

2. The bluff of í92 which is mentioned here refers to the World Fair in Seville, the commemoration of the 500 years since the "discovery" of the Americas, the Olympic Games in Barcelona... If in some ways this article refers to Spain the reader will quickly notice that other aspects are clearly valid in a much wider way. This is what incited us to publish this text.

3. In Spain the transición is the period of "democratisation of franquism" during which the state reorganised itself thanks to the management of the Spanish Socialist Labour Party (PSOE).

4. One of the aspects which we liked about this text is that comrades having a different political formation and ideas different from ours, should come to formulate in such precise terms things so similar to what we express about society. The contents of the following sentence for example seems very clear to us, even if we doubtless would have formulated it differently, in saying that democracy (not only political, but social and economic, integral democracy) destroys communication within our class, by negating associative ties. In the same way we perfectly see how democracy "displaces the very language of the oppressed", because it disintegrates them as a class, because it atomises, because it transforms them into buyers and sellers, into useful idiots and citizens.

5. What is described here is applicable to far more than just "throughout Europe".

6. The authors of the article are completely right to affirm that money separates men. But they consider this to be something relatively local or new, yet itís a phenomenon generalised to all of the capitalist world for several centuries. In the "Manuscripts of 1843/44", Marx makes reference to previous centuries and perfectly describes the way the community of money eliminates the community of men. We do not deny that things get worse as they go along and thatís why we agree to underline this, as does Akefalos which tries to express a qualitative leap in the dehumanisation of human relations due to money. But we ought never to forget that these elements are the very essence of the world capitalist system, a system which humanity endures since at least 5 centuries, and not only in Europe but in all the world.

7. The opposition between workersí assemblies and trade-unions as apparatuses of the capital is logical in certain circumstances, when the trade-union bureaucratism is such that the trade-unions donít function on the basis of factory assemblies. But we ought not forget that when the radicalisation of the proletariat is important, the trade-unions also function on the basis of "workersí assemblies" so as to better carry out their function of containing and liquidating proletarian struggles.

8. Contrary to other affirmations of this text which are valid for the rest of the world, what is affirmed here touches a specific reality in Spain. Indeed, even if all of the world trade-unions constitute apparatuses of the State, and though weíve seen through these last years a decrease in the number of trade-union members and thus a decrease in the control over the working class, the explanation for such a meagre percentage of trade-union members typical of Spain is to be found today in the weakening of the trade-unions which a left government systematically implicates in its management business. And indeed what credibility must remain in the trade-union protests coming from parties and organisations which share the government? Itís so as to regain credibility that the trade-unions and the parties so often need an "opposition treatment".

9. The use of terms such as "developing countries" and the dichotomy between countries which it implies constitutes in such a clear text surprising ideological concessions to public opinion and the vision of the world imposed by the media.

10. At other times we have already noted that the instructions "self-management = self-exploitation" is not accurate, despite the propaganda power which it contains. The subject of exploitation is always capital and never oneself as the formulation "self-exploitation" seems to indicate. More so, the object of exploitation, the exploited, is always the proletariat, the proletarians. Through this sort of formulation branded against those who praise self-management in capitalism, we want to remark that in reality it is capital which keeps the management and control of exploitation, and that with self-management workers, rather than liberating themselves from exploitation, collectively watch over it so as to make it more effective. It is a question of self-control, self-discipline, and in most cases even a quantitative and qualitative increase in exploitation... but always for the benefit of capital. And in this way we can see as the consequence of this affirmation a certain confusion about the subject of exploitation: neither the client, nor the user may be, in the strict sense of the term, exploiters. And it does not make a lot of sense to put them together with the tax department, which is part of the subject of exploitation to the degree that the surplus value which the state appropriates is used to the benefit of collective capital. But once more the tax department is not the subject of exploitation, it is capital. The expression "self-management of exploitation" which the comrades use further along in the text is however, accurate in the sense that it is the worker himself who contributes to the management of the exploitation carried out by capitalism.

11. The term used in Spanish is "suciedad", a play on words between "sucio" ("dirty") and "sociedad" ("society").

 


CM13.2 The economy is in crisis... May it die!