In any case, the editorial should at least have been more critical regarding the limits of the main source used, to keep its distance from it or even to develop the antagonism between certain positions of the author and our own framework, as we already did by the way with this same author –Mike Davis- when we extensively referred to his book “City of Quartz” to write our text on jails in the USA, published in French in Communisme n°50 (June 2000). Here is the critique:
“Most of the information we give here about Los Angeles are taken from ‘City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles’ by Mike Davis, Knopf Publishing Group (1992), chapter 4, ‘Fortress L.A.’. The author provides a lot of information that allows defining the reality of social classes and capitalism in the United States, but he falls back into the dullest reformism as soon as he ventures into concrete action propositions (which also show the limits of the understanding that leads to the description of this social reality). Among other things, Mike Davis promotes a private bill recommending the organization of an urban peacekeeping force –i.e. cops- intended to help and to supervise a process of truce between the gangs in Los Angeles! Another blatant evidence that reformism, however original in its form, inevitably ends up calling for new police forces.”
Beyond the problems that we have just clarified, it is also obvious that the relation between the deterioration of proletarians’ survival conditions and what we are firstly interested in –i.e. the revolution- is not explicit in our editorial. The proletariat as a subject of the revolution emerges there only through the final quotation of Pannekoek. Although it expresses the fundamentals of our program, the connection between the deepening of the crises, the development of the proletariat’s struggles and the meltdown of capitalism is envisioned in an exceedingly global way, valid for any given moment in time, and cannot depict how exceptional the present situation of capitalism is. Let’s use again the conclusions preceding this quotation in our last review:
“All along this walk under the black sun of capital, we tried to broach the capitalist catastrophe from the point of view of the proletariat’s day-to-day life all over the planet while providing a series of concrete examples. It seems to us important to put a reality on words and not content ourselves with merely expressing what exists. This catastrophe is so deep today that it immediately became palpable, visible and condenses in all the aspects of proletarians’ life; firstly in work: never has it been so hard, destructive and so few remunerative. Food then, always more deteriorated and contaminated to such a level that it kills as much, if not more, than it feeds. Housing conditions also probably reached unprecedented horrendous levels; we have extensively described them. And then diseases, always more virulent and massive, destroying and crushing thousands of lives. Wars also, always more widespread and destructive. The biotope finally, which is used as environment for our species, always more damaged, always more dangerous, always more poisoned… giving hints that in the decades to come its destruction may well be a possibility, causing the end of everything that lives on the surface of the globe. In short, capitalism, in a visible and palpable way, appears for an increasing mass of proletarians all over the world for what it really is: an apocalypse, a hell. One could endlessly add on to this description only to reach the same conclusions: capital ended up exacerbating to an extraordinary level most of its own contradictions and especially the most essential, i.e. the production of a plethoric social class for which it has no use regarding the present necessities of its own valorisation-devalorisation. Today too many capitals fail to valorise themselves, devalorisation strikes everywhere including among variable capital, i.e. proletarians. And as Marx emphasized in the Manifesto of the Communist Party: ‘And how does the bourgeoisie get over these crises? On the one hand, by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces; on the other, by the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones. That is to say, by paving the way for more extensive and more destructive crises, and by diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented.’
Generalized pauperisation, ever harder conditions of exploitation, epidemics, generalized poisoning of air, water and food, famines, and spread of war… by these means the massive destruction of the proletariat is presently enforced. The bourgeoisie still manages –for the time being- to control this excess labour force, this excess proletariat. It still manages to discipline it, to humble it, put it to work, to convince it to enlist in the unions, to force it to accept its fate, etc., to have die it in camps, and wars… but as we can notice it day after day, the process of valorisation-devalorisation races out of control and calls for new wars, always fiercer, always more destructive. The capitalist ogre commands to his managers to quench its thirst, it keeps demanding more blood; its appetite of cadavers is growing and unappeasable. The capitalist agenda, aiming at boosting a new cycle of growth, calls for the death of excess proletarians and the massive destruction of capitals that cannot valorise. For capital the local wars are not good enough anymore, it is necessary to GENERALIZE them! The very survival of capital is at stake.”
As we can see, the conclusion insisted on the ineluctable deepening of the contradiction between human needs and capital’s needs –and war is the peak of these needs- but didn’t broach the question of how the development of this contradiction materializes on the grounds of open confrontation between classes.
Not that this issue is unfamiliar to us: we have always examined it,
actually, not without some polemic, but it never led to the publication
of a specific material. Therefore the quotation of Pannekoek doesn’t appear
to be the conclusion of the process of our reflection, but a mere theoretical
view or expression of wishful thinking. Indeed, in the absence of a relevant
explanation, the affirmation according to which “the emancipation of
the proletariat by itself is the meltdown of capitalism” appears like
an abstract formula and a controversial issue. The reader could consequently
conclude to a mechanicist conception of the revolutionary process, according
to which “capital, initiating its decomposition phase, would inevitably
trigger the emergence of a class for itself, of a genuine ‘revolutionary
proletariat’, stripped of the contradictions that undermined the class
itself”. (1) This kind of schematic vision was certainly not endorsed
by our editorial but we must admit that in the absence of any clarification
about the issue of the capitalism meltdown, about the relation between
objective conditions and subjective action of the proletariat, confusion
was still possible.
Globally, this is the result of a whole series of ideological triumphs of capital that dissuades whatever proletarian associations and struggles carried through with their own perspectives. Here are some significant themes:
Capitalism separated human beings, turning them into individuals via property and commodity. It subordinated all human relations to representations, which were mediatised by images, and dissolved in the spectacle of a world ridded of its fundamental contradiction. But now, in order to be granted access to the “true” realm of relations between isolated individuals, happy ownership of a series of technological portable artefacts (telephony, computers, audio…) is mandatory. These artefacts –ephemeral and replaceable- permanently and instantaneously connect the separated, evidencing their separated condition (along with connecting the ultra-available employee to his exploiters). These artefacts grant to the multitude of sick and anguished egos an “active status” in the present world, and this “status” is constructed by the “personal choices”, picked from a mass-produced palette, and supposed to give to these relations a sense of humanity.
And that is true for the discussions that preceded the writing of our editorial in the French review: while aiming at conveying our perspective, they exposed our weaknesses, i.e. those of our class and of all contemporary revolutionary minorities. They revealed that the revolutionary perspective is, as it has always been, an issue that cannot be solved by any party or organization. In the same way they revealed that the problems from which we suffer in our very flesh are not specific to our group, nor will they be solved by the mere will to do so. These discussions urged us, again and again, to look for solutions, not in such or such recipe on what should be done or on what slogans to brandish. That is what all opportunists do, and they end up being subdued by whatever reformist program (and ultimately by socialization and by the cult of individual freedom). On the contrary, we look for solutions in the contradictions that are specific to the capital’s functioning, and in its inability to satisfy the most elementary interests of human being.
If our editorial has mostly focused on the heights –in absolute
reached by the deterioration of the proletariat’s survival conditions throughout
the world (shanty towns, poisoning, drugs, atomisation, etc.), it seems
important to us (specifically in this text, in the light of the development
of the class struggles in 2007-2008), to stress on the increase of the
brutal deterioration –this time in relative terms- of proletarians’
survival conditions throughout the world, regardless of the levels reached.
Thus, the last explosion of prices for oil and foodstuffs was directly
translated into an attack against the standard of living – to various degrees
indeed- of all proletarians throughout the world, and this attack didn’t
even spare the less “underprivileged” strata. This massive and general
attack against the proletarians’ standard of living provoked, the first
time for long, a reaction of the proletariat directly on a planetary scale,
if not in the homogeneity of its expressions (or even less in the acknowledgment
of this organic nature by the proletariat itself), at least in the simultaneity
in the revolt. The simplification of the contradictions, which the revolutionaries
always referred to, made thus a gigantic step forward. We deem it important
to dwell on these events, as well as on the ruling class’ endeavour to
conceal and keep this process in check.
Even more so, to make a strict distinction between “riots” (when referring to the proletariat’s reactions in countries of the so-called Third World, or in the suburbs), “demonstrations” and “strikes” (when referring to the proletarians’ reaction in the so-called developed countries) or “terrorist attacks” (when referring to the proletariat’s reactions in the “ungovernable zones” of the world) stands as the first quarantine line against the unification of the proletariat’s struggle in the world.
What about the word “riot”? It is very distinctly and pejoratively connoted by years of Social Democratic propaganda and equated to “the unleashing of the vilest instincts of the human being”, the “archaic and primary” reaction of “the masses”, before the maturation of the “workers’ movement” (i.e. its containment and neutralization by Social Democracy). From the good citizen’s point of view, this word means “uncivilized” or “pre-democratic” struggles. It is systematically used to refer to proletarians’ struggles in the so-called underdeveloped countries, in the Western suburbs, or even to designate workers’ actions seen as a little too “wild”. This clearly upholds the ideology according to which these struggles are completely different from those of the “working class” of the Western countries –an inferior type, in form and ambition-. Thus, these terminological distinctions contribute to the ideology that contends that the pacifist methods imposed by Social Democracy, consisting of demonstrations and pseudo-strikes, are the form of struggle specific to the salaried workers of the so-called developed capitalist countries. Allegedly, these struggles have anything in common with the bursts of anger –“spontaneous, disorganized and with ambiguous purposes”- caused by suburbs “riffraff” or by “idle lumpenproletarians” in the so-called Third World countries. Nor does it have anything in common with those who “organize wildcat strikes and violent actions”, or with the “small extremist groups” that carry out “terrorist” attacks against military, political or economic structures of the State.
In the same way, the labelling of certain reactions of our class as “hunger revolts” and “Third World” suggests that those who are not hungry are not concerned, nor are those who don’t live in the so-called Third World. This is a way of pretending that the capitalist society that produces the most powerful computers, that builds the most fantastic cities and weapons of massive destruction, differs from the one responsible for world starvation and the dwindling of the real wage of all proletarians throughout the world. Yet, if we consider food as an effective satisfaction of human needs, as a matter of fact all proletarians under the capitalist mode of production are “hungry” for real, human, food. With the spread of junk food –emptied of all essential trace element, devitaminized, toxic, etc.- all the proletarians are, in substance, “starved” by capital, as they are increasingly prone to serious nutritional deficiencies all around the world, without any exception and especially not in the so-called developed countries, where fast food rules supreme, i.e. “the food whose sole purpose is to regenerate labour force in the fastest possible way”. This is another aspect of the ever more blatant inability of capital to feed mankind effectively, anywhere on this planet.
Finally, and this point relates to the two first ones, there is a whole terminology, with terms such as “under-developed”, “developing”, “emerging” countries or “Third World”, that aims at depicting these countries as being less capitalistic, when actually famines are the purest product of capitalism. By concealing the reasons one conceals the solutions: the destruction of capitalism. By particularizing the starvation problem –or the problems of the so-called Third World in general- one veils the spread of the capitalist attack against the proletariat, the homogenisation of proletarians’ living conditions on an international scale, and obviously one also conceals the common proletarian nature of the attacks against capital and the State that are taking place before our eyes.
The use of this whole terminology is not neutral. It has two concomitant purposes: the liquidation of the general character of the proletariat’s reactions and of their revolutionary perspective against a hostile global system.
These clichés conveyed painstakingly by the bourgeois media don’t survive our analysis of these different movements of struggle of the proletariat all over the world. Even through the bourgeois information filter, it is not difficult to grasp that:
In view of the importance of this question, let us examine this statement of “Echanges et Mouvement”: “It is in the struggle against the wage labour social relations, against wage labour itself, that the proletariat will achieve emancipation, that it will cease to be a class as itself (a class for capital) and become a class for itself. This is the process that we must emphasize even though in Europe there is a significant difference compared to the characteristics of the struggle in the so-called ‘emerging’ countries.” As we see, it is impossible to make out what sort of distinction the comrades tried to establish. Furthermore, they added in a note: “When Marx says ‘the proletariat is revolutionary or it is nothing’ this means the individualized, scattered, proletariat is nothing but a class as itself. The struggle and solidarity of the class for itself makes it the product of a process that goes beyond the mere class antagonism.”
At the heart of the question, we affirm on the contrary, with no ambiguity, that all struggles have a common origin and therefore a common goal, that is to say they are directed against the same target, the growing misery to which we are exposed by the present society. The quibbling about “class as itself” and “class for itself” that “Echanges” added clarifies nothing about this supposed distinction and only contributes to the confusion, by making it out to be a dualist opposition between struggles directed against wage labour social relations and struggles that aren’t! (This opposition is typical of the Social Democracy and we really didn’t expect our comrades of “Echanges et Mouvement” to fall for it). Or else, do our comrades suggest that such distinction is a matter of consciousness, and by doing so adhere to the Social Democratic Leninist caricature? Even then, do they really believe that the proletariat in Europe displays a higher degree of consciousness, or are any closer to becoming a “class for itself”?
As far as we’re concerned, let us be clear: there are no two distinct struggles. Any struggle against the increase of proletarian misery is simultaneously a struggle against the bourgeois society, no matter that the proletarians carrying on these struggles are aware of that or not, or, in other words, regardless of the different levels of consciousness that animate the struggles. We believe that our comrades from “Echange et Mouvement” could hardly produce a single argument to vindicate the so-called “very different characteristics” of the struggle in Europe.
The only relevant distinction is precisely not to be found in the distinction between countries, or between Europe and the rest of the world, but rather between different sectors of every country’s proletariat. On one hand, the sectors of the proletariat that are most subject to coercion from parties, trade-unions and other State apparatuses; and on the other hand, those sectors less integrated, such as the jobless, the poor suburbs dwellers, the so-called marginalized, the lumpenproletariat, the immigrants, the “landless peasants”. True, as far as riots are concerned, the so-called “third-world” comes more easily to mind than Europe, where we are more accustomed to workers social protests channelled by stoppages of work and peaceful demonstrations. It is also true that nowadays, in Europe, the very term “riot” only seems to be associated with suburbs dwellers, with the marginalized and the “excluded”. That is the real difference: the quarantine lines that the bourgeoisie endeavours to impose everywhere in order to divide the proletariat. On one hand, the politically correct protests, the legal stoppages of work, the flock of sheep-like marches and pseudo-protests; on the other hand, the “riots” from uncontrolled elements. All sectors of Social Democracy, but in particular the Marxist-Leninists, go to great lengths to explain that “real proletarians” should not be lured by the “suburbs scum” or the “lumpenproletariat”, and that “real proletarians” should join the trade-unions.
However, in spite of all the efforts of Social Democracy aiming at dividing the proletariat, the media find it harder and harder to conceal the generalized character of the price rise of foodstuffs. The worldwide proletariat is confronted with a dramatic lowering of relative wage as well as their real wage, typically denominated “a lowering of the purchasing power” by Social Democracy – as we pointed out in a previous note. We deem it crucial to be perfectly clear on this question: this capitalist attack is a directly worldwide phenomenon, an obvious concretisation of the “capitalist progress”. It is not different North or South, East or West. It is not due, here to the “lack of progress”, there to “the subprime crisis”, and elsewhere to “corruption”. It is fundamental expression of the necessity of worldwide bourgeois to hold in check the downward trend of the profit rate by increasing the exploitation rate on an international scale.
We have always affirmed it: never will commodity “unstarve” humanity.
Never will the capitalist society solve the problems of the human beings,
regardless of the governing bourgeois fraction, protectionist or neoliberal,
“right-wing” or “left-wing”. Nowhere on this planet will the merchant society
prevent hunger, wars, and the progressive destruction of the planet. On
the contrary, the merchant society appears ever more clearly as the society
exhausting Earth’s resources and condemning to exclusion, famine and death
a growing number of proletarians. The rising frequency of famines is indeed
a typical capitalist phenomenon (and not pre-capitalist!) that the merchant
society will never be able to avert. The price rise of energy and staple
goods is merely the epiphenomenon of a more global contradiction between
capital and human species, or even, between the bourgeois society
and the Earth (that is, all life forms on this planet and all vital
elements such as water, air, land…).
“Hunger riots” are struggles of the proletariat!
Capital has left us bare in order to force us to work
When it doesn’t need our labour force anymore, we are left to die
Capital kills and doesn’t have anything else to offer
Faced with this human reaction, Social Democracy deplores lootings and revolts “without prospects”. In the sake of the planet’s salvation it advocates austerity, abnegation and submission. Denouncing this or that “pernicious effect of the system”, brandishing the mystification of “world overpopulation”, it keeps feeding us with its wild imaginings, promising reforms supposed to regulate profit and to humanize the capitalist barbarity.
Today, proletarians are being hammered all over the world by a generalized attack against their “purchasing power”. Yet, resignation through Social Democratic acceptance of the “lesser evil” globally still prevails today: the worst is and will always be elsewhere, farther, in the “third world”, among “the poorest”, “the most exploited”...
The bourgeoisie is still free to isolate our struggles and restore its social peace by murdering with complete impunity our class brothers on strike for their most elementary needs. And all this requires the support of these useful idiots, these docile citizens who vote and recycle their household waste, these sloppy spectators sitting before their television and who might shed some tears over “violence and hunger in the world” between two elections or sports results.
Dying or struggling, there is no other alternative for the proletariat
Let’s support our struggling class brothers, let’s fight everywhere against exploitation
Hunger riots and suburbs riots... these struggles are ours
Our enemy is everywhere the same
This system is in crisis? May it die!
BP 33 - Saint-Gilles (BRU) 3 - 1060 Brussels - Belgium (important: don’t mention the group’s name)
e-mail: email@example.com - our press on internet: http://gci-icg.org
Comrades, this leaflet is an expression of our struggling class, copy it, and spread it!
Obviously, capitalists tend to speculate on goods which capital cannot produce in unlimited supply, such as oil. Everyone knows that the worldwide oil reserves are dwindling and that every new barrel extracted is requiring more and more work. This situation inevitably generates an increase of the price of oil, contrary to that of computers and cell phones. There is no need to be a financial expert to realize that this trend is going to be continuous, (regardless of some temporary drops due to State policies) and that speculation on oil is very promising. Speculation is, let us remind it, a “natural” expression of the life of capital, when circulating and reproducing itself. But even if it can indeed momentarily exaggerate the upward trend of prices, there will always be, in mid or long-term, a correction, that is, a new drop. That is what is happening today with oil, and partially with other natural resource related-goods, at the moment of concluding this article. But it is crucial to distinguish a market-related phenomenon from the fundamental determination of the value of goods, on the long run. (8) Speculation is therefore not fundamentally the source of the upward trend of price, and would actually be ineffective if the intrinsic value of the goods didn’t rise as well. In other words, it is definitely the real limits imposed to oil production and extraction, and the acknowledged fact of its ultimate depletion that are responsible for the increase of its value and invite speculation on this good.
With regard to the price rise of agricultural goods, we believe that speculation only amplifies the problem, but is not its original cause –in the same way as it happens with oil. If capitalists speculate on agricultural goods it is because they are well aware that their prices tend to rise, all the more because the supply is not always sufficient to satisfy the growing demand for such goods. The fundamental origin of the price rise of agricultural goods is actually, in the same way as it happens with oil, an increase of their value, which is a little more intricate to analyse than the value of oil. A comprehensive explanation is more than this text aims at. But we believe that, beyond appearances, the reasons are fundamentally similar.
The difficulty lies in the fact that the rise in price and value of foodstuffs contradicts the general trend towards a reduction of the unitary value of goods, due to the ever-increasing productivity of labour. It is true that the incorporated technology keeps reducing the living labour immediately necessary to transform raw material into finished articles, and should therefore –theoretically- reduce their unitary value. But we must not forget that the production of goods also requires raw materials such as earth, water or oil, which cannot be produced at will –their quantity is limited and they have been taken over by capital. We often ignore the important part of the rent of land in determining the value of foodstuffs (the price of land has significantly increased these last years) and we also tend to forget that the dwindling of drinkable water reserves and the impoverishment and erosion of the land (due to intensified exploitation by capital) weaken land productivity, which invariably increases the amount of work necessary to the production of foodstuffs, and hence the value of such goods.
In the text entitled “Value, Price and Profit”, Marx clearly identified the natural conditions of labour and the state of the socially productive labour force as being the two main and inseparable elements on which the productivity of labour depends, and hence the value of the produced goods:
“If the respective quantities of labour necessary for the production of the respective commodities remained constant, their relative values also would be constant. But such is not the case. The quantity of labour necessary for the production of a commodity changes continuously with the changes in the productive powers of labour (...). If, for example, in the progress of population it should become necessary to cultivate less fertile soils, the same amount of produce would be only attainable by a greater amount of labour spent, and the value of agricultural produce would consequently rise. On the other hand, if, with the modern means of production, a single spinner converts into yarn, during one working day, many thousand times the amount of cotton which he could have spun during the same time with the spinning wheel, it is evident that every single pound of cotton will absorb many thousand times less of spinning labour than it did before, and consequently, the value added by spinning to every single pound of cotton will be a thousand times less than before. The value of yarn will sink accordingly.” (9)
Marx concludes: “(…) the productive powers of labour must principally
Firstly. Upon the natural conditions of labour, such as fertility of soil, mines, and so forth.
Secondly. Upon the progressive improvement of the social powers of labour, such as are derived from production on a grand scale, concentration of capital and combination of labour, subdivision of labour, machinery, improved methods, appliance of chemical and other natural agencies, shortening of time and space by means of communication and transport, and every other contrivance by which science presses natural agencies into the service of labour (…).”
Under the capitalist mode of production, it clearly appears that the development of the second element (the social powers of labour) tend, inescapably, to the destruction of the first (the natural conditions of labour). Indeed, the extraordinary development of the capitalist social powers of labour reached such heights nowadays that cultivable land is becoming rarer and rarer, as are oil, drinkable water, and all other “natural resources”, and, as a result, the natural labour conditions are made less and less favourable to an increase of the productive powers of labour. In other words, this means that the systematic increase of the productive powers of labour of capital finds itself hindered, checked by the natural conditions of labour. In spite of the means that capital resorts to –by means of science, as Marx said- in order to supersede these natural conditions, they end up imposing themselves sooner or later. In spite of capital claiming its ability to submit all natural conditions to valorisation, the production conditions remain irretrievably bound to the earth –everything today is a blatant and catastrophic demonstration of it. The tangible result of this separation between human activity and nature is that capital is actually developing human productive activity as a force that is hostile, antagonistic and destructive to Earth. On the contrary, the communist revolution affirms itself as the reconciliation of human activity with Earth.
Indeed, agricultural exploitation, organised according to the immediate needs of capitalist valorisation, demands an ever-increasing volume of work, in order to make the land fertile, and implies therefore a price rise of agricultural products. Furthermore, the permanent destruction of cultivable land by capital (desertification, urbanisation, communications…) leads to a rarefaction of land. (10) Of course, every ton of grain, rice, potatoes, vegetables, may well contain less incorporated labour through the various “technical” operations, from sowing to display on the supermarket shelves, but, on the other hand, it undeniably contains an ever-growing part of work made necessary by the preparation of land (to make it cultivable) and for the obtaining of resources indispensable to production and distribution (oil, water…). In addition, due to the growing rarefaction of cultivable land, water, oil and other natural resources, the price paid for the use of such resources –the rent- is always on the rise.
As a matter of fact, the price rise for all products derived from land (such as the mineral resources or those extracted from the seas) in 2007 until mid-2008 is fundamentally due to the same reasons that led to the oil price rise. In each ton of rice, grain, meat, wool… there is a growing percentage of value that derives from the rent of land and to the raw stuff that is necessary to its production, compared to the volume of work immediately necessary to its production. (11)
In reality, capital has since decades tried its best to check this inexorable trend towards foodstuffs price rise. As a matter of fact, capital produces “food” that contains less and less natural components, less and less “land”. Amadeo Bordiga was right when he stated, right in the face of all the idiots in awe of modern science and technology, that our historical era will be known in the future as “the age of junk”. This trend generates supermarket junk food, fast foods, and is also responsible for the deliberately short lifespan of every single device produced under the dictatorship of profit. (12)
It is important to emphasize that, for capital, the value reduction of everything that is used for the feeding of the proletariat is also a way of increasing the exploitation rate and hence, profit. If capital could feed proletarians exclusively with cell phones and other plastic devices (some of which would be labelled “hamburgers”, “chickens”, “salmons”…) that incorporate less and less labour and “land”, it would gladly do so! Also, regarding the rarefaction and increase in value of natural goods, it is obvious that it is in capital’s interest to produce consumer goods, destined to the proletarians, that require less and less of these natural goods. Evidently, a supermarket “chicken”, insipid lump of gelatine clung to a few bones, which kept the same name as a remotely related bird only for a question of profit, contains a lot less human labour, but also “land” (in terms of land surface, and biomass) than a farm chicken, or to a greater extent, a chicken such as our grand-parents used to eat. In the same way, its production requires a lot less time (a quarter to a tenth), depending on profitability needs (the pace of rotation of capital). This is the sort of value decrease that, in foodstuffs and more generally in everything destined to proletarian consumption, has produced, for the last decades, the greatest increase in the exploitation rate (surplus value divided by variable capital) in the history of humanity. Due to this huge swindle, a sleight-of-hands aimed at an accelerated and permanent substitution of goods whose composition was still vaguely known by ersatz replacements, always poorer, more synthetic and toxic, profitability conditions went through the roof and offered capital a period of extraordinary development.
As a matter of fact, in a more general way, the “junk food” is merely a moment in the long and painful general historical process of dispossession of the land that the human being has invariably been subject to from the very beginning of the development of capital. This general process consists in depriving the proletarians from the use of the land and in its privative appropriation by capital. It is expressed through:
The whole history of bourgeois society is the history of the separation of the human being from the land (that is still under way nowadays) and of the bourgeois claim of prevalence over the natural relation between Earth and Man as part of Earth and belonging to it. If this process still goes on nowadays, it is clear that total separation of Man and Earth is impossible. Although capital claims to be able to triumph over all limitations, its actual capacity –that is to say, regardless of its wish- is limited.
It is true that proletarians end up “feeding” on cell phones and other crappy gadgets – an alienated satisfaction of alienated needs. It is also true that it generates illusions about the durability of the current world, especially if the proletarians keep being captivated by the ever-obsolete, ever renewed catalogue of the same old junk, or if they get to the point of recycling their garbage (the belief in the positive impact on the planet of this unsalaried labour only helps perpetuate this system that precisely destroys the planet) or go voting… But everything has a limit, and capital’s true limit is the proletariat, that does not seem to agree on feeding on cell phones and fast food, and insists on feeding on rice, grain, meat, manioc, fish… all the more since it is starting to take to the streets to shout this out loud.
Capitalism will never be able to solve the problem of human feeding; it is on the contrary continually aggravating it, and more globally, threatening the very survival of the human species (and other life forms) on Earth. The contradiction between capital and the survival of all living species is sharpening and will continue to do so.
Since capital has, for centuries, dispossessed Man from the benefits of the land, the struggle against capitalism has always been, fundamentally, a struggle to resist the separation from the land. During centuries Social Democracy, obstinate worshipper of the myth of civilization, progress and science, has looked down on the struggle of the rural proletariat to oppose this separation. Social Democracy even theorized this racist ideology by considering the urban industry worker more adequate to the revolutionary struggle than his countryside brother. But in all major proletarian insurrections, there is a powerful trend not only towards proletarian unification, but also towards the connection of all most fundamental claims of the anti-capitalist struggle –such as the abolition of private property- to the land issue. As a matter of fact, urban proletarians and rural proletarians alike are well aware that their struggle is intrinsically bound to the land issue, (14) all the more because, first of all, that is what their feeding depends on. All major revolutionary struggles of the XIXth and XXth century (Mexico, Russia, Spain…) have equated the destruction of the bourgeois State, of capitalism, to the human need of repossessing the land.
Nowadays, proletarian reaction throughout the world is also fundamentally a struggle of humanity to repossess the land against the dictatorship of capital. The awareness of the protagonists notwithstanding, it is a revolutionary struggle that has to assume itself as such: by asserting the necessity of a social revolution, of the abolition of private property of the production means, of the reunification of the human species with the Earth. We are convinced that as this struggle exacerbates, the historical struggle of humanity against the historical separation from the land also gain in importance.
We can already witness, today, that in certain struggles, the proletarians
are starting to change the way they consider this historical resistance
and are starting to give more credit to the struggles of the “native”,
“indigenous” or “aborigine” peoples (that the bourgeois like to label “first
nations”) against capitalism and State. This evolution is very important
in the process that must lead to the unification of the struggles of the
proletariat against capital. As an example, under the influence of the
expansion of uprising movements, the Mapuche Indians show an increasing
trend to tie their struggle to the struggles of other proletarians that
confront the State in a similar way.
Let’s go back to the basics: the qualitative and quantitative assault against the survival of our species has no cause exterior to capital and its logic. The greatest progress of capital can only be an aggravation of this situation, the exacerbation of the contradiction between capital and humanity, between the bourgeois society and the Earth. For capital, the Earth itself is no longer sufficient: its needs in terms of valorisation and the brutality, with which they are enforced, in too small a place for its unquenchable appetite, are choking life itself, in a disaster whose amplitude or acceleration we are not fully aware of yet.
Today, there is no need to be a communist to affirm that without changes in this society, we are heading straight to the wall. But there are still very few people who state that if capitalism is not destroyed, capitalism will destroy the human species. Only communists affirm the imperative necessity of a dictatorship of the proletariat for the abolition of wage labour as an indispensable prerequisite for the survival of the human species.
In spite of the proletariat finding it difficult to affirm its class project, in great part due to the exacerbation of individualism in the bourgeois society, we must point out that our class has already reacted to the generalized price rise of first necessity goods in a much more unified way than it is aware of. Indeed, the current attacks of capital have generated a wave of proletarian struggles that involves nearly every country in the planet. This clearly shows that the catastrophe of the bourgeois society –that keeps exacerbating and homogenising the sufferings of the proletariat- is a blatant reminder of the essential unity of the proletariat and can only favour the trend towards the unification of its struggles.
It is obvious that, from our point of view, the price rise of foodstuffs produces an acceleration of this trend. Although we cannot prove this acceleration in a “scientific” way and although this trend is not apparent at first sight –all the more to the eyes of the atomized citizen- the unfolding of the class struggles in 2007/2008 seems to us the most tangible expression of this unification process. Our own international debate since our last publications came out has actually been strikingly clarified by the realities of the class struggle. Although the reconstitution of the proletariat as a worldwide class would be too optimistic a conclusion, it is undeniable that this historical process is starting to take shape.
This trend towards the unification of the struggles of our class is something that the bourgeoisie, obviously, seeks to cover up at all costs. As we have already emphasized many times in this text, the bourgeoisie is eager to conceal the fundamentally proletarian nature of these struggles by categorizing them with a variety of labels: suburban riots, hunger riots of Third-World inhabitants, ethnic/religious conflicts, wage strikes, liberation struggles of oppressed peoples, etc. Of course, these dividing ideologies are not the one and only reason why proletarians fail to mutually acknowledge their respective struggles. It is obvious that the objective conditions of life of the proletariat affect this non-acknowledgement. If one of the aspects of the catastrophic reality of capital that we emphasized in our editorial in the French review was indeed the growing number of shantytowns and bleak suburban areas, we need to stress that the cramming of proletarians in ghettos, and the various methods used to prevent them to get out (police checks, scarcity of public transport, etc.) help fortifying the ideology according to which, in the eyes of the rest of the proletariat, those who live in the suburbs are nothing but scum, a sub-proletariat, a lumpenproletariat. Urbanism is the organization of space according to the needs of capital, to contain and repress the proletariat. This sneaky policing appears to be an objective reality; it “naturalizes” the separations and is, among the proletarians, a significant element in this subjective and mutual non-acknowledgement of belonging to one and the same class. Regarding these surplus proletarians that live in the suburbs, their isolation and feeling of being left behind may generate, contradictorily, mechanisms of communitarian withdrawal (religious or nationalist – in favour of their original country) and/or of self-destruction (violence between proletarians, mind-numbing use of drugs, (15) etc.), and, at the same time, a generalized opposition to the system, expressed by a lack of illusions concerning its promises of reform. These trends may make it more difficult for these proletarians to express their solidarity with the salaried proletarians in their struggle against work, because the latter embody a society from which they are excluded.
It is obvious that the separations that are produced directly by the bourgeois urbanism policies also take part in the current division among the proletarian ranks and constitute, side by side with the ideological separations put forward by the Social Democracy, a cordon sanitaire that has a physical and straightforward material existence that stands in the way of the affirmation of the essential unity of the proletariat. In all these aspects of the life under the capitalist regime the bourgeoisie develops continuously a whole arsenal of apparatuses, structures and mechanisms –ideological or directly material- aimed at preventing, hindering or repressing the process of unification of the struggle, depending on its level of advancement. All these means are implemented with the fundamental objective of protecting the capitalist order against the attacks of its gravedigger, the proletariat.
Those ideologies, according to which the proletarians have distinct and irreconcilable interests, are still considerably strong nowadays and still hinder the mutual acknowledgement by the proletarians of the nature of their respective condition and of their respective struggles. But fundamentally, no bourgeois apparatus will ever be able to change the fact that every proletarian struggle contains –and, we emphasize, to a certain extent, expresses- the totality and unity of the project that makes the proletariat “the first exploited and revolutionary class in human history”. (16)
For us, the ongoing unification of the proletarian struggles, as a matter of fact, originates directly from the deepening of the capitalist catastrophe and is not in the slightest the product of the action or will of whatever party or revolutionary minority. (17) As we mentioned before concerning the price of foodstuffs, the brutal capitalist attacks and the degradation of the survival conditions that ensue are taking a global dimension that are pushing towards a greater homogeneity of our class reactions, in terms of timing, form and content. This is a major feature of the catastrophic nature of capital: it digs its own grave, by forcing its executioner to an ever more drastic reaction. It contributes steadily to the unification of the proletarian struggles on a planetary level. Through the satisfaction of its voracious appetite of profit and valorisation, capital simultaneously and continuously threatens to discredit the ideological or material separations painstakingly enforced among the proletarians to allow their exploitation. It is clear that the bourgeoisie will find it harder and harder, with the aggravation of the capitalist catastrophe and the expansion of the struggles, to spread and maintain discord among our ranks, because the objective differences in the way the proletarians are treated –material bases that contribute to the division and lack of self-consciousness of our class- tend to fade out. As we have stressed in the editorial of our French review, the bourgeoisie seems aware that it will be facing an increasingly unified proletariat, and it is doing its best to deal with it.
As Marx already emphasized in “Class Struggles in France”, it is indeed during the struggles against the capitalist attacks to which it is submitted that the proletariat loses its illusions: basically, he states that every proletarian defeat is simultaneously a victory inasmuch as in the course of the struggle, the bourgeois schemes keep being exposed. Only the expansion of the struggles gives the proletariat the strength to break away, every time more sharply, with the separations enforced by the bourgeoisie. This, we insist, is not initially a question of consciousness, or party: it is the aggravation of the capitalist crisis that forces the proletariat to fight and, in this process, to confront the class antagonism with an increasingly radical way. The unfolding of the capitalist catastrophe can only make clear and clearer the polarisation of society into two distinct sides: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.
However, it is obvious that nowadays the simultaneity, the amplitude and the clarity of the proletarian reaction cruelly contrast with the lack of awareness regarding the revolutionary social project, in other words, communism. It also contrasts with the lack of mutual acknowledgement of those struggles as originating, on a worldwide scale, from one and the same class. Nor does the proletariat realize the necessity of a stronger organization against our enemy. If the organic nature of the proletariat is indeed more obvious than ever, as witnessed by the generalization of the austerity policies to which it is subjected, if the focal points of the struggle and its targets are indeed an expression of our worldwide interest, the real centralization processes remain rare and isolated. The lack of associationism, of programmatic statements, of continuity, of international centralization, tightly linked to the destruction of the social bondage that we referred to earlier in the text, keeps being the greatest gap of the proletariat in its ability to carry on with the destruction of this criminal society.
From an historical point of view, our class is in a much different state than it was, for instance, in the decades prior to the revolutionary wave of the years 1917-1921. As a matter of fact, those days had seen the development of a wave of proletarian associationism, in which the classist press acted as collective organizer for millions of proletarians that assumed their condition and claimed on a worldwide scale the necessity of destroying the global capitalist society. Like we said above to stress our antagonism against the “separation theories”, it would be wrong to take that historical reference as an absolute criterion, and profess, wrapped up in the status of “professional revolutionary” that “there is no consciousness”, that “there is no organization”, that “there is no party”… as if we could draw from the past some formal scheme to which the class struggle should conform! Beyond the criticism of these Leninism-tainted caricatures, widely promoted by the whole self-proclaimed “radical” Social Democracy, we must put this absence of organisation and class consciousness into perspective:
Let us single out an example among the current world events and reaffirm the communist perspective. It is unquestionably true that the Pentagon associated to other imperialist forces is acting against the Bolivian and Venezuelan governments, as the bourgeois nationalist leftists are claiming. However, considering the global crisis of the bourgeois system and its attacks against the proletariat, and facing the proletarian struggle, the action of the Pentagon coincides integrally and fundamentally with the actions of all governments and leftists of the world, aimed at neutralizing the current proletarian struggle against the social system by trying to enlist the proletariat under bourgeois banners. In fact, the Pentagon and the self-proclaimed anti-imperialist governments act jointly in the defence of the same class interest: to eclipse the struggle that is unfolding throughout the world against the price rise of basic commodities and to repolarise the whole society according to the intergovernmental contradictions, on one side the bourgeois nationalist governments of Latin America and on the other the USA.
Against this, the revolutionary action must affirm, as always:
The cells, the compartments, the segmentations that capitalism had erected everywhere, through all sorts of go-betweens aiming at negating the proletarian struggle, were shattered by the very proletarian movement, although only in this country and in culminating moments of the struggle. This happened because proletarians took to the streets not only as such: i.e. workers or unemployed, natives or foreigners, students or shanty-town dwellers, young (even kids!) or elderly people, men or women, documented or undocumented, hooded or openly, pupils or teachers, “peasants” or city-dwellers, but precisely because the movement, resorting to all available means (flyers, Internet, pamphlets, newspapers, and so on) explicitly denounced all these categorizations with which the historical enemy insulted and sought to dismember and liquidate this extraordinary and generous social movement.
The first expressions of this movement to spread throughout the world proclaim: “Who is behind the revolt? Whose actions, deeds and movements keep and grow its flame? The anarchists? The students? The immigrants? The unemployed and the humiliated? The youths from the rich Northern and Southern suburbs? The gypsies? The hooligans? The workers? To all of them and many more belong the actions that shape the unstoppable lava that was awaken when the unthinkable murder of Alexis that shook all of Greece took place on Saturday night.” (3) Beyond the limitations contained in these first written manifestations, they go up against all that the media are trying to convey, because they claim this revolt belongs to all.
During the course of the French suburbs riots disparagement and affronts were given a free rein, even to the point of insulting, in the name of the proletariat, the very proletarians that had risen up. In Greece the bourgeoisie resorted to all available means to discredit the riots or reduce them to a question of particular social categories. However, the movement succeeded in ridiculing these efforts, and even in exposing the lackeys of the State for what they were. The media, voice of our enemies, proclaimed, as always, that we were “only” dealing with a bunch of anarchists, hooligans, young people, whose sole purpose was indiscriminate violence, but the generalisation of the riots, and the proclamations that asserted its proletarian and revolutionary nature, left no room for doubt among the proletarians not only in Greece, but in other countries too. The proclamations made it clear that it was not a matter of replacing a rightist government with a leftist one, of discarding one government programme to implement another, or to change the government so that the situation is back to normal. Quite the opposite, this very normality, this very daily routine, was denounced by the proletarian riot for what it was: salaried slavery and permanent blackmail. The movement yells its truth in the face of the counterrevolutionary falsifications.
It had been a long time since the proletariat in the heat of the battle had professed so unambiguously its revolutionary goals. A pamphlet from our comrades stated: “We are part of the revolt of life against the daily death the existing social relations impose on us.” (4) It went on saying that: “We erect a steadfast barricade against the loathsome normality of the cycle of production and distribution. In the current conjunction, nothing is more important than consolidating this barricade against the class enemy. Even if we retreat under the pressure of the (para-) state scum and the insufficiency of the barricade, we all know that nothing will ever be the same in our lives.”
What a wonderful affirmation of the proletariat as a class! What a terrorising (for the bourgeoisie) reassertion of the proletarian struggle to abolish the social system, and the dominant class! “We also position ourselves in the historical conjunction of the recomposition of a new class subject that carries from long ago the promise of assuming the role of the gravedigger of the capitalist system. We believe that the proletariat was never a class because of its position; on the contrary, it constitutes itself as a class for itself on the grounds of the clash with the bosses, first acting and only later gaining consciousness of its actions.” (5)
The proletariat is reborn when it takes to the streets. The proletariat defines and moulds itself in the confrontation with capital, the very revolutionary theory is reasserted by vanguards’ expressions. The very concept of proletariat, ever falsified, sociologified, often reduced to the sole industrial workers and systematically emptied of its social counterpoint dynamics by the counterrevolution, is reclaimed by our comrades: the proletariat constitutes itself in the confrontation with capital! The proletariat stands as a force against the ceaseless blackmail of wage labour.
When it was no longer possible to conceal the generalisation of the riots, neither on the national nor on the international level, our old enemy went on to explain, through all the media available, that the “rightist government had made mistakes” and that “it should step down”. But uncountable communiqués and proclamations were issued to denounce that vile lie.
“Politicians and journalists brag around, trying to impose on our
movement their own failing rationality. We would revolt because our government
is corrupted or because we’d like more of their money, more of their jobs.
If we break the banks it’s because we recognize money as one of the central cause of our sadness, if we break down shop windows it’s not because life is expensive but because commodity prevent us from living, at all cost. If we attack the police scum, it’s not only to avenge our dead comrades but because between this world and the one we desire, they will always be an obstacle.” (6)
How critical it is for the ongoing struggle that the proletariat does not mistake its enemy for such or such government, or party. Its enemy is not even all governments and parties as a whole, but money, capital, the social relations of production! In spite of all anti-terrorist campaigns set up by all the states in the world in order to consolidate their own monopoly of terror, the proletarians in Greece who took to the streets yelled in the heat of the battle: “Wage labour is the real terrorism! No peace for the bosses!”
The uprising of the proletariat in Greece has lit up the whole world; not its positive proposals, but its radical critique of today’s society without requesting anything from the power in place, which obviously is what most terrified the bourgeois worldwide power at the international level. We quote the revolutionary expressions of the proletarians in struggle: “The insurrection of December didn't put out any concrete demands, exactly because the participating subjects daily experience, and therefore know the denial of the ruling class to meet any such demand. The whisperings of the left that initially demanded the removal of the government were replaced by a mute terror and a desperate attempt to relieve the uncontrollable insurrectionary wave. The absence of any reformist demand whatsoever reflects an underground (but still unconscious) disposition toward a radical subversion and surpassing of the existing commodity relations and the creation of qualitatively now ones.” (7)
Contrarily to other countries (where the proletariat does not take to the streets when it should, when undocumented immigrants and prisoners are being repressed, when overtly racist acts are committed) the strength of the movement in Greece is based on the fact that the bourgeoisie and its various apparatuses has not succeeded in isolating the sectors of the proletariat that, well before December, had initiated exemplary struggles that resonated in the whole country, and abroad. We are referring to the sectors that are most repressed on a daily basis –the prisoners, the undocumented immigrants, the immigrants, the youth, and “nonconformists”- but more globally, to all proletarians in irregular and precarious situations, poorly paid, who undoubtedly sparked off the movement.
The proletariat in Greece has proven its vigour by not shying away from expressing solidarity with those sectors that were radically confronted to capitalism and the State. Indeed, it was the struggle of the prisoners, the undocumented immigrants, and the marginalized that resonated through the whole proletariat as its very own, and originated in the movement. Already in November 2008, the struggle in the prisons spread out, with more than 7,000 of the 12,000 prisoners taking part in a series of organised protests (among which the hunger strike that started on the 3rd of that month). (8) The bourgeoisie proved unable to keep the struggle in check, and the protest spilled through the streets, as evidenced by the radicalisation of the demonstration of November 17th. (9) Small groups carried out direct action throughout the month of November. Actions were undertaken against repressors and also against all forms of citizen surveillance, such as destroying surveillance cameras in many strategic places. At that time, the struggle reached out for abroad and constituted a first call to international solidarity. Within the scope of this very movement came the struggle of various groups of immigrants and undocumented immigrants who also started a hunger strike, along with other demonstrations and actions (such as the occupation of the city hall of Chania). This gave a new impulse to the proletarian movement that was demonstrating violently in various cities, and particularly in Athens, on December 5th. Soon not a day would pass without struggles, and everyday the Athenian democracy responded repressively, leading to the murder of Alexis, which was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
From that moment on, nothing would be the same. We cannot produce a detailed chronicle of the movement, but we can highlight some of its synthetic elements:
“From the first moment after the murder of Alexandros, spontaneous demonstrations and riots appear in the centre of Athens, the Polytechnic, the Economic and the Law Schools are being occupied and attacks against state and capitalist targets take place in many different neighbourhoods and in the city centre. Demonstrations, attacks and clashes erupt in Thessaloniki, Patras, Volos, Chania and Heraklion in Crete, in Giannena, Komotini, Xanthi, Serres, Sparti, Alexandroupoli, Mytilini. In Athens, in Patission Street – outside the Polytechnic and the Economic School - clashes last all night. Outside the Polytechnic the riot police make use of plastic bullets. On Sunday the 7th December, thousands of people demonstrate towards the police headquarters in Athens, attacking the riot police. Clashes of unprecedented tension spread in the streets of the city centre, lasting until late at night. Many demonstrators are injured and a number of them are arrested. From Monday morning until today the revolt spreads and becomes generalized. The last days are full of uncountable social events: militant high school students’ demonstrations ending up -in many cases- in attacks against police stations and clashes with the cops in the neighbourhoods of Athens and in the rest of the country, massive demonstrations and conflicts between protestors and the police in the centre of Athens, during which there are assaults in banks, big department stores and ministries, siege of the Parliament in Syntagma square, occupations of public buildings, demonstrations ending in riots and attacks against state and capitalist targets in many different cities.” (10)
Other accounts of the movement, which were circulating on the Internet, describe how unstoppable was the splendid proletarian fury, how relevant was the choice of its targets:
“All of us together with our differences we write history and we
shake the whole planet. This revolt not only will not stop but is intended
to spread across Europe and the whole world. In this framework, we can
comprehend the panic of the State. But nothing can forgive or justify or
make bearable the incredible, unmatched orgy of violence that it continuously
sets off. How much rather when this violence is not recorded or when it
is unbearably distorted from the media. Our comrades have suffered unjustified
beatings, pupils are beaten mercilessly, fascists make use of their weapons,
secret cops act out of control, immigrants have their lives threatened
but for the media there is only burned shops and “criminal” looting. Unlucky
for them what is left is old aged housewives and the rest of little scared
men like the finished fascist followers. Our rage for all them has no limit
and from now on they should be careful. The rebellion turns the impossible
to possible. It is the dream that wakes up when the never-ending nightmare
before ends. Because comrades, what we lived in the Western suburbs, Athens,
the whole world, was a nightmare. In an ugly city to spit every day on
our misery, to kill our imagination, to be scared of our neighbour, to
remain helpless in our incapability being bombarded by made up advertisements
that make us believe that we are worth for what we have and not who we
Alexis, we are ashamed of you because it took your blood us to wake us up from the nightmare and live the dream of life. But if we are ashamed of you, the others should be fearing you with a fear that paralyses their guts. First of all the cops that dress up like revolting people to abduct pupils and take them to the dungeons of central offices. NO MERCY FOR THEM. THEY CAN’T HIDE FROM US. Their punishment is coming and no State can save them. You are the ones that spread the worst catastrophism, the vile defeatism, the insane fear and all that just to save your skin. You will not save it. But it is not only you that do all the above. ALL the parliamentary parties live in distress and are dying to diffuse the revolt. The lower middle class people that cannot think of their life without their little shop. Dehydrated existences that only live for their money income; they also have their fears of existence. They don't have to fear us that much. Apart from those who actively and openly help the murdering State, the rest will be left to their unbearable misery. And well done to those of them that went further than them selves and took part in the events on the right side. As much as it is suppressed, they are not few. But we wrote enough for the lower-middle class.
History is written now from other powers and those powers will strengthen their presence overwhelmingly in the next days. After six days of colossal battles, fatally TODAY is the start of the second round with new heights and landmarks to reach. (…) The pupils that have suffered the worst kind of police brutality will be there, the students of the 2006-7 revolts will be there, the unemployed that fight against depression and humiliation will be there, the workers who lately look at their boss with a different eye will be there, the immigrants who for years know what dictatorship means will be there, we, from the Western suburbs who for years are torn by the most ridiculous regionalisms, will be there. WE WILL ALL BE THERE.” (11)
It is true that besides this rejection, this negation of the world, besides the movement’s stunning comprehension of the necessity for a social revolution that is the necessity to destroy totally the capitalist system, this manifesto also developed further much vaguer and weaker expressions.
“We are accused that our rebellion is inarticulate, blind, and reactive.
That we don’t know what we want and what we don’t want, yet. That we are
thieves and destroyers. Well then, we know what we want and we don’t want.
We don’t want cops paid to terrorize teenagers. We don’t want chemical
war that blocks our lungs and blinds our eyes. We don’t want riot police,
bodyguards, pimps, parasites, bouncers, professions of violence and force.
We don’t want polluted air, and burned forests, concrete that kills the
earth. We don’t want prisons that annihilate the individual, absurd laws
about cannabis, cameras that supervise life in order to protect inanimate
property. In this draft of manifesto for life after the revolt we ask and
1) Liberation of the wider centre of Athens from cars. City for pedestrians, bikes and children.
2) Transformation of the destroyed banks to asylums for the poor, libraries and free internet points as well as coffee shops as in Amsterdam.
3) Transformation of police departments into kitchens that would offer natural food, free of charge to whoever asks and is in need of.
4) Copyleft all intellectual, informative material as well as free 1gbps internet with modern optic fibres.
5) Stop the use of oil and natural gas and replace them with high tech solar energy beehives and other completely recyclable energy sources.
6) Assaults to all the covered from the police whore houses and release of the forced prostitutes. Positive recognition of the feminine sexuality as a right that will be practiced by choice. No mercy to rapists and paedophiles. No humiliation to those who enjoy their sexuality in different way provided that they do not do it by using force.
7) Assaults in prisons and release of everyone unless they have been proven to be related with crimes of pederasty, rape, racism and white slavery.
8) Priority to children and their needs for play, love, tenderness and joy.
9) Free infrastructure; educational and medicinal with simultaneous restriction of arbitrariness and power of those working there. Responsible, open, friendly relationships between doctor-patient and pupil-teacher.
10) Free transportation and encouragement of the use of bikes in the city, while expanding trains across the country.
These are roughly what we want and will achieve. Maybe some others equally essential are absent but those mentioned are not a few nor negligible. We know that our movement not only has acquired world interest but it has taken to inspire a global revolt. As we drew upon the 10 rough points of “what we want” it was under serious consideration.”
It would be a lot easier to discard such propositions or to ridicule the narrow scope of such claims. However, in this listing of issues that emerged from discussions and assemblies, we highlight, before anything else, the total rejection of the present world, through the enumeration of what “we do not want”. The rejection, the negation, constitutes the starting point of every revolutionary movement. We reaffirm that this negation does not beg for anything to anyone, not even to the State. It aims at enforcing itself. These expressions have the huge merit of starting from the essential understanding that in order for things to change it will be necessary to resort to violence in order to bring down the authority of the state and replace it with something else. The movement’s desire to turn the speculation and repression centres (banks, police stations…) into something useful to mankind is something positive, although it is hard to fathom how such thing could ever be achieved. Finally, it is worth noting that the protagonists see these claims (which, in reality, amount to not much) solely as immediate measures, that they are not negotiable and that further and more critical issues will have to be dealt with later.
Yes, it is true that this manifesto contains a variety of illusions distinctive of any burgeoning and heterogeneous movement, encouraged by circumstances and ideological pressure to express hastily positive solutions and having yet to affirm its strength of negation of the whole existing society. This is why some solutions appear, which are somewhat illusory on the means considered to change what most affects them in their immediate lives, without uprooting the whole system of exploitation. It is also true, that in these expressions can be felt the harmful influence of ideologies such as are fashionable among leftists and environmentalists, whose reformist obedience inevitably reduces the scope of the movement. These have been and will be limitations that the next proletarian movement will be confronted with, but the most important is not the content of these timid immediate, and very often reformist (although some may sound quite appealing) immediate measures, but the inherent negation of all that currently exists, the violent confrontation against the whole capitalist world defended by leftists, centrists or rightists.
Finally, it is worth noting that point 7, to storm the prisons and release all the detainees (beyond some limitations in the formulation), does not match the others, since it is not something that should be aimed at, but rather it is a crucial expression of the movement, although at this stage it doesn’t have the strength to shoulder it. It is an important objective, but for the time being out of reach. Unlike all others it stands overtly against the democratic and legal structure of private property and bourgeois domination and by doing so presents a clearer rupture with reformism.
In this historical epoch of so much division within the proletarian movement, the most significant feature of the struggles in Greece is, as we have mentioned before, the strength that the movement displayed in prevailing over the fragmentations and compartmentalization so crucial to the bourgeois domination. Against official contempt, against the racism inherent to capitalism, against the good citizens, the proletariat shouldered the defence of its interests, rallying under its banner the prisoners, the immigrants, the youth and all other sectors that are usually kept isolated. If they often had to face, alone, the coalition of all bourgeois forces, in December their joining together and taking to the streets kindled a beacon-fire in Greece, whose powerful flame could be admired by the proletarians throughout the world.
Far from ignoring the problem of racism and other segmentations permanently used to maintain the capitalist domination and oppression, (12) the movement faced them for what they are, and many discussions and communiqués dealt with the matter of the immigrants and foreigners. Class consciousness asserted itself among other things against the ever-present divisions, and the protagonists made it clear that they fought side by side with the local proletarians as well as with the immigrants and refugees.
“In the framework of this wider mobilisation, with the student demonstrations being its steam-engine, there is a mass participation of the second generation of migrants and many refugees also. The refugees come to the streets in small numbers, with limited organisation, with the spontaneity and impetus describing their mobilisation. Right now, they are the most militant part of the foreigners living in Greece. (…) The children of migrants mobilise en mass and dynamically, (…) this is a second French November of 2005. (…) These days are ours, too. These days are for the hundreds of migrants and refugees who were murdered at the borders, in police stations, workplaces. (…) They are for Gramos Palusi, Luan Bertelina, Edison Yahai, Tony Onuoha, Abdurahim Edriz, Modaser Mohamed Ashtraf and so many others that we haven’t forgotten. These days are for the everyday police violence that remains unpunished and unanswered. They are for the humiliations at the border and at the migrant detention centres, which continue to date. (…) These days are for the price we have to pay simply in order to exist, to breathe. They are for all those times when we crunched our teeth, for the insults we took, the defeats we were charged with. They are for all the times when we didn’t react even when having all the reasons in the world to do so. They are for all the times when we did react and we were alone because our deaths and our rage did not fit pre-existing shapes, didn’t bring votes in, and didn’t sell in the prime-time news. These days belong to all the marginalized, the excluded, the people with the difficult names and the unknown stories. They belong to all those who die every day in the Aegean sea and Evros river, to all those murdered at the border or at a central Athens street; they belong to the Roma in Zefyri, to the drug addicts in Eksarhia. These days belong to the kids of Mesollogiou Street, to the unintegrated, the uncontrollable students. Thanks to Alexis, these days belong to us all.” (13)
With these words, issued in Europe, historical centre of colonialism and racism, the struggle of the proletariat in Greece proclaims the internationalism of the proletariat as a class. The opposition between the present and future world could not be clearer, between the world of capital with its racism, its wars, its slavery and massacres and a society rid of inhumanity, brought forth by the proletariat and its revolutionary struggle.
It is true that, as often before, the movement stemmed from specific sectors of the proletariat. As witnessed by the protesters, when it embarked on a radical course after the murder of a youngster, the streets were filled mostly with youngsters, nearly kids (this had also happened in France, in the suburbs’ riot and during the anti-CPE struggle). Of course, as always, the protagonists initially viewed this as a problem, but continuity and generalisation (including geographically) of the struggle eventually transcended it. Such reassertion of the proletariat as a class generated an interesting intergenerational exchange of communiqués. We emphasize some noteworthy elements, in which some “kids” produce a sound and constructive critique of the conformism of the adults, basically, their own parents. Here in the box is the letter handed out at Alexi’s funeral, written by his classmates (the words in capital letters were like that in the original letter).
“WE WANT A BETTER WORLD!
This communiqué circulated a lot, in Greece as abroad, and obviously many could not but denigrate its authors, but there were also a number of replies who wholeheartedly agreed with it, calling for all proletarians to join the fight, and this is what we want to emphasize. (14)
Of course, as in other occasions, some sectors of the proletariat failed to act, stuck in front of their televisions and digesting unmoved the ideological venom that produces good citizen. There will always be proletarians who will betray their class and act as silent accomplices of their own repression, as pointed out by the pamphlet of the “kids”. It was not the bourgeois who went to repress and kill the proletarians in struggle. The bourgeois were hiding in fear. Class domination is based on the ability of the ruling class to enlist part of the proletarians in order to repress the other part.
In Greece, as we have seen, the protagonists not only globally denounced the cringing citizen, but also whoever balks at taking sides or fails to break away from the citizen demonstrations organised by the leftists and the trade-unions.
“The owners of the commodity labour-power who had it invested in
the stock exchange of social security and in the hope of seeing their offspring
exiting this condition through social ascension, continue to observe the
insurrectionary party without taking part, but also without calling the
police to dissolve it. Along with the substitution of social security with
police security and the collapse of the stock market of class movability,
many workers, under the burden of the collapsing universe of petit-bourgeois
ideology and the state hybris, are moving toward a (socially important)
moral justification of the youth outbreak, but without yet joining the
attack against this murderous world.
They kept on dragging their corpse on three-month litanies of the professional unionists and on defending a sad sectional defeatism against the raging class aggressiveness that is rapidly coming to the fore. These two worlds met up on Monday, 8/12, on the streets, and the entire country caught on fire. The world of the sectional defeatism took the streets to defend the democratic right of the separated roles of the citizen, the worker, the consumer, to participate in demonstrations without getting shot at. Nearby, not that far away, the world of class aggressiveness took the streets in the form of small organized "gangs" that break, burn, loot, smash the pavements to throw stones onto the murderers. The first world (at least as expressed in the politics of the professional unionists) was so scared by the presence of the second, that on Wednesday, 10/12, attempted to demonstrate without the annoying presence of the ‘riff-raff’. The dilemma regarding how to be on the streets was already layed in: Either with the democratic safety of the citizen, or with the clash solidarity of the group, the aggressive block, the march that defends everyone's existence with sharp attacks and barricades.” (15)
Many of the movement’s expressions denounce, rightfully and violently, all those who, although shocked with Alexis’s death and peacefully demonstrating in protest, yet submit totally to the dominant ideology and collaborate with the ruling class on an everyday basis.
Proletarians from sectors where their jobs are less threatened, and who, very often, enjoy the highest trade-union protection, are always the most conservative. For the most part, they are, with their ideas and illusions, an obstacle to proletarian solidarity and combativeness. Beyond those who actually enjoy a “privileged” position within the production apparatus, the average good citizen is a key asset of the counterrevolution. The left-wing bourgeois parties are crucial to the construction of that ideology. In Greece as in other countries, these parties are strongly rooted in the above-mentioned sectors and always take stand against the communist struggle. The occupation of the headquarters of the General Confederation of Workers in Greece by the Assembly of Insurgent Workers of Athens constituted a stunning act of defiance against the tutelage of these leftist counterrevolutionary forces and dismissed many media lies. This edifice, permanent bastion of the bourgeois order, paid by the proletarians, briefly reverted to the latter’s control, and its repossession was a head-on confrontation against the counterrevolutionary containment attempts of the trade-unions. Beyond the mere taking over of the building, it was highly symbolic of the struggle against the trade-unionist apparatus and bureaucracy, as emphasized in the present communiqué:
“To flay and uncover the role of the trade union bureaucracy in the undermining of the insurrection -and not only there. GSEE and the entire trade union mechanism that supports it for decades and decades, undermine the struggles, bargain our labour power for crumbling, perpetuate the system of exploitation and wage slavery. The stance of GSEE last Wednesday is quite telling: GSEE cancelled the programmed strikers’ demonstration, stopping short at the organization of a brief gathering in Syntagma Sq., making simultaneously sure that the people will be dispersed in a hurry from the Square, fearing that they might get infected by the virus of insurrection.” (16)
However, during this bold direct action, two classical tendencies confronted each other, as it is always and everywhere the case: on one hand the left-wing of Social Democracy only criticizing the union bureaucracy, and on the other hand those who get to the root of the problem by criticizing the very essence of the union as an apparatus of capitalist oppression:
“From the beginning it was obvious that there were two tendencies inside the occupation –no matter how clearly articulated: a workerist one, that wanted to use the occupation symbolically in order to criticize the trade unionist bureaucracy and promote the idea of an independent of political influences base unionism; and a proletarian one, that wanted to attack one more institution of capitalist society, criticize syndicalism and use the place for the construction of one more community of struggle in the context of the general unrest.” (17)
Obviously unionists and their shock troops couldn’t allow such an affront from the revolutionary proletariat. That day, they tried to recover the premises by force. In order to achieve this, they called out more than 50 henchmen who tried to throw out the occupants, but the latter resisted and thanks to the occupants of ASOEE, they succeeded in postponing the eviction till around 3 p.m. To reaffirm the occupation, calls to gather around the building were issued, which materialized a few hours later with around 800 people taking part.
In spite of all these efforts we must admit that our enemies’ endeavour bore fruit, and that from the vast numbers of proletarians in the streets in those days of fighting, few were those who had clearly broken away from the trade-unionist bourgeois tutelage. Many workers of the heavy industry were spectators rather than protagonists, meaning that they failed to take on the struggle that their comrades from the vanguard were urging them to join. This proved a significant limitation to the scope of the revolt. However, when the crisis deepens, even job security, that is so central to securing conformism, starts to totter. Then, the proletarians of the large companies end up breaking free from the trade-unionist tutelage (and Social Democratic ones generally speaking) and may play a major role in the struggle. By the way, we deem it relevant to make a comparison with the proletarian revolt in Argentina in 2001/2002, when the crisis had reached such proportions that even those sectors took to the streets, which was generally not the case in Greece. As a matter of fact capitalism has yet to launch in Europe a head-on strike on all these sectors, which for the time being makes it possible for all the State apparatuses (and in particular the trade-unions) to continue keeping the proletariat divided. In spite of what is known today as “the crisis”, the capitalist catastrophe in Europe has primarily hit the weakest strata of the proletariat (young people, immigrants, undocumented immigrants, and marginalized people in precarious situations). Consequently, they have spearheaded all the main struggles on this continent. This may be a reason for the difference with the characteristics of the struggle in Argentina. In Greece, judging from the outburst and the insurrectional pattern, the movement seemed set on laying it all on the line. In Argentina the movement lasted much longer, but much greater was the infestation by political illusions (Constituent Assembly, classical reformism, Argentinean flags, and so on) and above all by managemental trends (self-management, productive cooperatives set up by the jobless, and so on). These plagues were the main internal factor of the liquidation of the movement. In Greece the ideology conveyed by Negri (or Holloway) or the fashionable Comandante Marcos, who want to change the world without settling the power issue, hardly impacted the movement. It issued an outright challenge to the ruling class (in the Argentinean-style “Que se vayan todos!” – Out with them all!). It affirmed explicitly its insurrectionalist objectives and was only and ultimately held in check by its isolation, in other words, by the fact that without the proletariat from other countries joining the struggle (at least the other European countries, as stated in the pamphlets) it was not possible to go any further.
Here too the vanguard sectors showed great lucidity: “We know that
the time has come for us to think strategically. In this Imperial time
we know that the condition of a victorious insurrection is that it spreads,
at least, on a European level. Those last years we’ve seen and we’ve learnt:
The counter-summits worldwide, students and suburban riots in France, the
No-Tav movement in Italy, the Oaxaca commune, Montreal’s riots, the offensive
defence of the Ungdomshuset squat in Copenhagen, riots against the Republican
National Convention in the USA, the list goes on.
Born in the catastrophe, we’re the children of all crises: political, social, economical, ecological. We know this world is a dead-end. You have to be crazy to cling on its ruins. You have to be wise to self-organize.” (18)
The appeals from Greece proliferated arouse solidarity with the proletarian revolt in Greece throughout the world:
“The explosive events right after the murder caused a wave of international mobilization in memory of Alexandros and in solidarity with the revolted who are fighting in the streets, inspiring a counter-attack to the totalitarianism of democracy. Concentrations, demonstrations, symbolic attacks in Greek embassies and consulates and other solidarity actions have taken place in cities of Cyprus, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Holland, G. Britain, France, Italy, Poland, Turkey, USA, in Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, Slovakia, Croatia, Russia, Bulgaria, Rumania, Belgium, N. Zealand, Argentina, Mexico, Chile and elsewhere.” (19)
There were significantly more repercussions and displays of solidarity than for other instances of revolt these last few years. We hope that this is a sign that however dormant the proletariat was, the catastrophic current situation of the bourgeois society and the riposte of the proletarians in Greece have been a vital shake-up that is starting to awake it (to the great apprehension of the bourgeoisie). Have we reached a turning point towards the end of class unawareness, a point where no one will ever feel indifferent to the ever more daily catastrophe and this valorous struggle against the system?
Of course, these international direct actions must be taken as models and opposed to bourgeois leftist alternatives of ever, that merely caricature solidarity (actually, that try to deflect, or prevent it), encouraging peaceful demonstrations, petitions, harmless carnivals, or humanitarian/charity campaigns.
Is it necessary to remind that real, strong, and organized class solidarity still doesn’t exist, that what do, we proletarians from everywhere else in the world, to support an extraordinary movement such as this, is totally insufficient.
|One of the biggest difficulties for the proletariat everywhere in the world is the “what’s to be done?” in order to snatch, after each small conflict or big battle, our fellow prisoners from the clutches of repression. Under the current international balance of forces, the inability of the proletariat to carry through this necessity on class grounds is obvious. Our failure to forcefully release our comrades from detention through direct action is used as an element of permanent blackmail, which democracy and its agents systematically resort to in order to force us to follow their rules. According to those rules, the individual is left isolated to face the state, the citizen faces the legal apparatus alone, and no other “defence” is possible but the individual defence on legal grounds and based on “solidarity” – sending material aid to help endure the hardships of detention, prepare the trial and pay the lawyer… The tricky discussion on how to face each concrete situation must not make us lose sight of the fact that the bourgeoisie exercises the dictatorship not only when it imprisons our comrades but also when it enforces the rule of law and leaves us nothing but this individual defence as a citizen. The citizen’s rights, widely advocated by our enemies, always involve a component of state terror that is used to oppose the organization of the proletariat in force.|
But, as we already developed, important and courageous that the direct action of the international proletariat may be when in solidarity with the struggle of the proletariat in a region, the genuine solidarity is the intensification of the struggle against the bourgeoisie wherever it is. The ultimate expression of solidarity will be when, from all parts of the world, the proletariat will simultaneously take to the streets, and confront one and the same enemy. Only then will social revolution be possible, as expressed by many internationalist groups.
“Comrades, let’s follow the example of our brothers in Greece, unchecked by all democratic integration attempt. Beware of the tricks democracy pulls out to try and fool us. All the politicians in the government or in the opposition, left- or right-wingers as well, the repressive forces, journalists and other heralds of capital… all of them are expressions of the capitalist beast: i.e. spare parts, alternatives, false oppositions and tools to crush us. It’s the whole world we want to change right from its foundations. And for this, we rely only on ourselves, by getting organized outside and against all the apparatuses of the state (parties, unions, NGO’s, etc.), breaking away from the divisions they want to impose upon us (youngsters vs. oldsters, workers vs. students or unemployed, immigrants vs. natives, etc.).” (20)
From Rosario in Argentina the claim is the same – real solidarity means to struggle everywhere against capitalism, and to confront our “own bourgeoisie”:
“Why react to these events, which take place so many kilometres from where we try to live our lives? Because, exploited and oppressed, we have no homeland: patriotism serves the ruling class in its hiding of the social antagonism, we are living in, it’s the alibi to divide the dominated, in order to deprive them from their class identity. Because we were, we are and we will be those who stand against this form of non-life, we support those who drive the revolts in Greece forward, as an affirmation of life, destroying what destroys them (and what destroys us), retrieving the food produced by our brothers, occupying universities in order to get together, confronting the police, reclaiming the streets, acting outside and against parties and unions, showing us that the real organization is built from below. ‘Workers, unemployed, students, hooded’ are categories used by the bourgeois medias to isolate and divide. We say: ‘All proletarians! So, let’s struggle and get organized against ‘our’ own bourgeoisie in ‘our’ own region…” (21)
And even from the Czech Republic (“the little putrefied pond of social peace” as some comrades described “their” own country), calls for solidarity and proletarian action were issued:
“Is economy in crisis? Let’s finish it off! Down with social peace!
One Greece is not enough!
Sooner or later, capital will leave us with no reserves. We will suffer and maybe we will die, if we will continue to slavishly accept wage labour and money as a necessary means to satisfy our needs. But surely there will be proletarians, who will refuse the logic of exchange value and surge into supermarkets and take without paying, what they will need. The class movement in Greece will explode anew with even greater subversive power and this time it will not be alone. And it will not be only proletarians in China, Bangladesh, Egypt or Bolivia, who will rise up. Even over here, shop windows will be trashed. We will loot shops and luxurious bourgeois haciendas. Mass strikes without and against trade unions will subvert all the capitalist economy. The state with its police and army will, as always, defend bourgeois order and properties and make terror against the proletariat, who will never solve anything, unless it makes its own revolution. In the meantime, all our support, sympathies, thoughts belong to proletarians in Greece, who struggle or are imprisoned. We long for helping them through spreading the struggle in the Czech Republic and the whole world. We want to share and develop their experience with them, in order to put a global revolutionary insurrection back on the order of history…” (22)
Proletarian class unawareness in Europe and worldwide keeps pushing down with all its weight, preventing this simultaneous outburst of proletarian violence that is so critical to make a riot turn into an international social revolution. Obviously, without this generalization, as our comrades from the ASOEE said (see their communiqué already quoted), there is a point when, due to the correlation of forces, momentum will be lost. It is a saddening thought, and nonetheless realistic, that sooner or later and despite our efforts to maintain and expand the movement, things will revert to normality. It is an important fact, because one of the factors that hobble the movement is the idea, according to which “the insurrection should be sustained for as long as possible”. As a matter of fact, we have read communiqués on the Internet that advocated this. (23)
The internationalism of the proletariat is still limited to these few actions, vital and exemplary, such as carried out by a small minority of groups that in various countries took to the streets to lend support to the revolt in Greece, attacking symbolic targets, representations of State, handing out pamphlets, proclamations and appeals to join the fight to the dormant proletariat that in other countries “watch” what (our enemies claim) “is going on in Greece” through the caricaturing and castrating images on TV. Tragically, sedatives and other ideological drugs are still effective and prevent the spreading of the fire. Indeed, this time, a lot more happened than during other proletarian revolts such as the ones that occurred in Iraq, Algeria, and Argentina. There was also a feeling of recognition at the international level that created an atmosphere contrasting with the one of a world class that very often seems buried. In the militant discussions, in assemblies, in publications, in bars, on Internet… we can see that a large number of proletarians, who a few times ago were yet sedated with idiocies, ideologies and pacifism, somehow identified themselves with this great violent expression of our class. Even though one could sense an embryonic re-emergence of this feeling of belonging to one and the same class opposed to the world of capital, we cannot say that there was an international extension of the proletarian revolt.
This extension is not prevented by a lack of internationalism among the proletariat in Greece. On the contrary, it is the unawareness of internationalism from the proletariat in other countries that sets the objective limits of the Greek revolt. In Greece the proletariat did all it could to break its isolation, and its actions were internationalist in essence. They brought light to all our proletarian brothers that in those actions could see their potentiality, the grandeur of the revolution they announced. Furthermore, not only did the proletariat in Greece, in its actions and proclamations, call its brothers to join the fight, but in the midst of the struggle it clearly expressed, through concrete acts, its internationalist solidarity – with the proletariat in other countries, not only with foreign proletarians fighting in Greece. As a matter of fact, there were pamphlets and actions in Greece directed against the terrorist repression, conducted in those very days by the State of Israel (and the USA), of the proletariat in the Gaza strip. This shows that against the terrorism of the international State there is no solidarity but through the use of force and direct action.
Concerning this, we would like to emphasize something critically important. During the revolt in Greece, proletarians realized that the USA were supplying the criminals of the Jewish State with military equipment that transited through the port of Astakos, and fought to interrupt the traffic. This is the report of “Voices of Resistance from an occupied London”:
“Mainstream media reports have revealed that the U.S. Navy is attempting to ship 325 20-foot containers of ammunition (over 3000 tons) from the private Greek port of Astakos to Israel, in an emergency shipment of arms to aid the occupation in its ongoing war crimes against the Palestinian people in Gaza. Information as for when this shipment will be attempted is conflicting; possible dates are the 15th, 25th and 31st of January. (…) groups and individuals (…) are organising for a national mobilisation/blockade of the port of Astakos: the anti-authoritarian movement, the anti-war internationalist movement and Astakos’ local assembly of groups and individuals have already issued statements calling for a gathering at the port of Astakos on Thursday, 15.1.” (24)
Some days later, the state of the United States informed its Israeli counterpart that the shipment had been cancelled under an unknown pretext. But with proletarians in struggle in Greece, in Palestine and in the world, we knew that our enemies would rather cancel the shipment (maybe hoping to organize it in some other way) rather than maintain it, as by doing so they would confront the international proletarian solidarity and prompt a sharp class against class violence at the general level. This reaction, in turn, would have been an objective element prone to raise the consciousness of the proletariat at an international level. This is what they fear most: evidence that the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat alone can stop wars, repressions and state-led massacres, which would ridicule all pacifist speeches and demonstrations.
There’s one last question: what is left of the revolt in Greece? Let’s quote once again these clearheaded protagonists of our class:
“Everything begins and matures in violence – but nothing stops there. The destructive violence that unleashed in the events of December caused the blocking of the capitalist normality in the centre of the metropolis, a necessary yet insufficient condition for the transforming of the insurrection into an attempt for social liberation. The destabilization of capitalist society is impossible without paralysing the economy – that is, without disrupting the function of the centres of production and distribution, through sabotage, occupations, and strikes. The absence of a positive, creative proposal for a different form of organizing the social relations was –up until now- more than self-evident. Nevertheless, the insurrection of December must be understood within the historical context of an enlivement process of class struggle that takes place on the international level.” (25)
At the time of conclusion of the present text (February 2009), the struggle of the proletariat in Greece was going on, although, of course, in a more limited way. After a phase of road and highway blockades mainly led by the agricultural proletariat, occupations and especially assemblies are going on. Political structures and groups are taking stock of what happened and are drawing lessons and giving instructions for the next explosion, which is as unavoidable as the catastrophe of capital.
Nothing will be the same anymore, neither in Greece nor elsewhere. The comrades who were in the street in Greece have many lessons to draw and to pass on for the fights that are on the way in the whole Europe and all over the world. May our present contribution go in this direction!
The proletariat in Greece showed to the world proletariat the essential way to continue... and to develop further.