The Last Revolution (Part 17)
Politicians are liars, that is undisputable. But why people allow being lied? How many lies can they swallow before they woke up? Is high living standard sufficient to justify rabid political lying?
Ljubodrag Simonovic: The Last Revolution
- Life-creating mind against destructive mindlessness
- The nature of Marx’s critique of capitalism
- Marx’s conception of nature
- Capitalist exploitation of soil
- Marx and capitalist globalism
- The cosmic dimension of man
- “Alienation” and destruction
- Destruction of the body
- Capitalist nihilism
- Productive forces
- Dialectics and history
- The integration of people into capitalism
- Technique as myth: Zeitgeist fascism (Part 15a) •|• Technique as myth: Zeitgeist fascism (Part 15b)
- Contemporary bourgeois thought
- Politics as a fraud
- Contemporary critique of capitalism
- Bourgeoisie and proletariat
- October revolution
- Contemporary socialist revolution
- Revolutionary violence
- Vision of a future
The Last Revolution -- Chapter Seventeen
Politics as a fraud
(Translated from Serbian by Vesna Todorović/Petrović)
In capitalism, politics is reduced to the technique of directing people’s dissatisfaction towards the realization of the political and economic interests of the ruling class. This process corresponds to the nature of the “consumer society”, the last stage in the development of capitalism, when the consequences of the destruction of nature and man as a natural and reasonable being become the means for the reproduction of capitalism. At the same time, the ruling logic of monopolistic capitalism, which is expressed by the principles “Destroy the competition!” and “Big fish devour small fish!”, has become a totalizing logic, which through the privately-owned media, acquires a fatal dimension. This is the origin of the notion that “globalisation”, which means the neo-liberal model of capitalism, is a “neccesity”. Political decisions are not based on objective scientific analysis. On the contrary, “scientific analysis” is based on the strategic interests of the ruling order. In that context, the fundamental historical truth that capitalism is doomed to fail is discarded.
The political sphere of contemporary capitalism is integrated into the mechanism of capitalist reproduction and works according to the laws of the “consumer society”. There is a hyperproduction of the alienated political sphere in the form of political ideas, groups, parties, media… It is largely aided by the Internet, which enables the technical production of a political sphere deprived of sociability and humanity. The political sphere has become one of the virtual spheres of capitalism, while political parties are a form of alienation of man’s political being and the means for the ruling order to deprive man of his elemental human and civil rights. So called “political pluralism” has turned into a deafening clatter, destroying any chance for a conversation based in arguments, along with any faith in reason. Instead of competitive political programs, a ruthless enforcement of political ideals, through advertizing, has become the chief mode of “political conduct”. Ultimately, the political sphere of capitalism has become a privilege of the ruling class and the means for doing away with the political life and the political struggle of the oppressed working masses. These factors gave rise to fascism in Europe in the wake of the Great Depression of 1929. The same factors are giving rise to fascism today.
One of the most important manipulative instrument used by polititicans is political jargon. Expressions such as “post-industrial society” have but one purpose, namely, to impart the notion that capitalism has made a qualitative leap in its development and, in so doing, they become a new ideological mask hiding its true nature. There are also other expressions, such as: “democracy”, “late capitalism”, “open society”, “capitalism with a human face”, “transition”, “free world”… These terms do not only serve to cover up the destructive nature of capitalism, they also impose a way of thinking that abolishes any possibility for dealing critically with the ruling order. Ultimately, the most important aim of political jargon is not to promote, through lies, the realization of certain political and economic interests, but to deprive people of their power to reason and, thereby, to destroy their political being. Reason and the critical mind are subjected to everyday political needs. Only politically profitable questions are being posed, receiving the same answers. There are no questions of principle relating to the basic existential and essential challanges. There is no ideal of humanity or of a visionary consciousness. The emphasis is placed on “political correctness”, which means doing away with any thinking that might shed light on the true essence of capitalism and oblige man to take up a political practice that could abolish capitalism and create a new world.
In the beginning of the 19th Century, Auguste Compte created a “social physics” (“physique sociale”) according to which all social phenomena should be in a functional unity so that society, based on the ideas of “order” and “progress” and guided by the principle of “to know in order to predict, to predict in order to act” (savoir pour prevoir, prevoir pour agir), could develop without political conflicts. In contemporary capitalism, these ideas appear in the form of the empty phrase “organised capitalism”, which is but another name for contemporary capitalist totalitarism. In “organised capitalism” each area of human life must become a functional part of the capitalist process of reproduction. This also refers to man. Not only to his way of living and behaviour, but also to his character, his way of thinking, interpersonal relations… – all must fit into the process of capitalist reproduction. In contemporary capitalism, the basis of capitalist totalitarism is not in repressive political institutions, but rather in the economic sphere. The whole of life is subjected to the process of capitalist reproduction, which is expanding faster and faster. Capitalism drew into its existential sphere all social areas and turned them into tools for capital accumulation, which means for the destruction of life. The development of the consumer standard with its resultant debt slavery, in which a majority of citizens in the most developed capitalist countries currently live, have become the chief means for drawing people into the capitalist order. Compte’s “social physics” was related to the leading ideas of the French Revolution and the political movements of people deprived of their rights, who sought to create an emancipated civil society. The idea of “organised capitalism” came on the wings of capitalism as a destructive totalitarian order and in contrast to the people’s struggle to preserve life on the Earth. It is a myth intended to prevent the demise of capitalism, yet only prolongs the agony of mankind. At the same time, contemporary Nostradamuses, predicting the “catastrophy of capitalism” by discarding the emancipatory heritage of bourgeois society and changing the potential of the working class, only contribute to the final annihilation of the world.
For those who fight for “democracy”, the “freedom of capital” is the main justification for its existence. Capital acquired the status of an earthly deity, gaining as such an undisputed power over man. Again it should be pointed out that “democracy” is a political form of the domination of capital over people. It follows that the “development of democracy” actually means strengthening the domination of capital over people and that “democracy” is not “threatened” when there is a lack of elementary human and civil rights, but rather when the domination of capital over man is threatened. This truth is confirmed every day in the most developed capitalist countries of the West, particularly in the USA. In practice, “democracy” has become the means for doing away with the guiding ideas of the French Bourgeois Revolution, which ideas form the basis of modern humanism, as well as the elimination of elementary human (droits de l’homme) and civil rights (droits de citoyen), which are the basis of modern legislation. The more man’s right to life, to freedom, to personal health and a healthy environment, to work and a secure existence, to freedom of speech, to family, to inviolability of the home and private life are breached – the more loudly politicians swear by “democracy”. Ironically, under capitalism, democracy – whose original (Hellenic) meaning is the “rule of the people” (demos kratein) – means the order under which citizens are reduced to a working and consuming “mass” and, as such, to the slaves of capital. Capitalist “democracy” is not based on human and civil rights, but on the absolutized principle of profit, which in turn is based on the absolutized principle of privite ownership. Anything which serves to protect private ownership and which provides “freedom” to increase profit is justified and welcome. When private ownership becomes the absolute principle, then the most atrocious crimes become legal and legitimate if they serve to stop the disintegration of the ruling order. Man’s right to life and liberty is sublated by the right of capitalism to survive. The current state of the world clearly demonstrates that capitalists are ready to employ any possible means in order to deal with the outcome of any crisis that might endanger the ruling order. The destruction of the World Trade Center in New York and the “attack” on the Pentagon suggest that capitalists will not hesitate to commit any crime in order to preserve the ruling order.
Proceeding from the axiom that in Germany, as well as in other advanced capitalist countries, the most important political decisions are made by an ever-smaller circle of people outside of political institutions, Jürgen Habermas warns that Germany and other Western European countries have entered the stage of “post-democracy”, a system somewhere “between parlamentarism and dictatorship”. However, this tendency indicates the true nature of “democracy”, which Habermas tries machanically to separate from “post-democracy”. It is a kind of capitalist democracy with an inherent potential for fascism, which can easily be reproduced with the ever-deepening economic and environmental crises in Europe, along with the low birth-rate crisis in the European nations. Habermas’ view of the contemporary German political scene shows the futility of his previous analyses of “late capitalism” and supports the conclusion that “democracy” is but one of the political guises donned by capitalism at the time of its expansion. With the crisis of capitalism, all “democratic“ masks are dropped and capitalism shows its true, fascist face. The example of contemporary Germany (as well as that of the European Union and the USA) shows that fascism is a manifestation of capitalism in crisis.
Habermas belongs to the school of bourgeois philosophers who, for over half a century, have been trying to prove that capitalism is on the road to becoming reasonable, which means that it is developing on a humanist level. In that context, they overlook its fascist potential. Actually, they do not eliminate the fascist potential of German society, but rather its socialist (communist) potential, the emancipatory heritage of bourgeois society, including the revolutionary heritage of the workers’ movement and the idea of a new world. For the German bourgeois intelligentsia, post-war German “democracy” is the embodiment of the idea of “democracy” and, as such, serves as the measure of the democratic character of a social order. In such a “democracy”, the destiny of German (as well as other European) citizens lies in the hands of the most reactionary political forces in the USA. Over the last 60 years Germany has been an American military base, and not only have over 100 000 American soldiers been deployed on its territory (who, along with their families, are not subject to German laws), but there are also hundreds of nuclear weapons aimed at Russia that can be launched at any moment (on purpose, by mistake or through sabotage). Since a counter-attack is something to be considered, Germany (and Europe) could disappear within 20 minutes. What kind of “democracy” is it if the citizens are not allowed a say in the most critical existential issues and are reduced to being hostages of the American military/industrial complex?
Sloterdijk’s comparison of the Roman Republic with today’s Germany (23) illustrates a narrow-minded way of thinking, incapable of grasping the gist of a particular society departing from its concrete historical potential. A destructive and fascistoid potential, on the one hand, and the possibility for creating a society of free people, on the other, represent a historical quality of contemporary capitalism, marking the essential difference between the Roman and modern republics. In that context, today’s depoliticization of citizens through sport and the depoliticization through gladiator spectacles of the Roman plebs (who were a parasitic mass of people, whereas modern citizens are employed as hired labor and, as such, are capitalist slaves), about which Sloterdijk writes, are of a different nature. While depoliticization of the Roman plebs led to the establishment of the patrician tyranny, depoliticization of citizens in contemporary capitalism enables capitalists to destroy life on the Earth. Bearing in mind that the body is man’s immediate nature and that the destructive treatment of the body in sport reflects destructive treatment of nature by capitalists, sport actually serves to impose a life and value model based not only on the destruction of human life, but of all life in general. Sportsmen are less and less human and natural beings, and more and more robots, who are, as such, promotional agents for capitalism. It should be noted here that sport became the means by which workers were depoliticized not in contemorary capitalism, but in that of the late 19th century, when workers in England managed to win the right to an eight-hour working day. From the beginning, sport has been used by the bourgeosie to “colonize the idleness of workers” in order to prevent them from developing class conscioussness and to stop their political struggle. “The Father” of modern Olympism, Pierre de Coubertin, insisted on the notion that sport is an “efficient means” for workers’ depoliticization. Fearing the future of capitalism, in the wake of the October and Munich revolutions, Coubertin held lectures to the European aristocracy and bourgeosie in which he maintained that “sport is the cheapest soul food for keeping proletarian youth under control”.
In contemporary capitalism, man does not lose his freedom, as Sloterdijk claimed, he is rather chained with new shackles. Essentially, it is about establishing totaliarian control over man, made possible because the citizens are stuck in the mud of consumer society by a prevailing conformist mentality. The political marketplace of the most developed capitalist countries in the West is dominated by the petty bourgeoisie. This exerts direct influence on the nature of political programs and practice by political parties. The conformism of (petty) bourgeois captalism is worse than the most lethal weapons, the secret services and the alienated police and the army. A petty bourgeois accepts the loss of elementary human and civil rights in return for a higher standard of living. For him, the capitalist order is acceptable because it provides him with an opportunity to “enjoy” spending and destruction. Actually, a petty bourgeois actively participates in the creation of a totalitarian state and a totalitarian society based on the fact that life, itself, conditioned by capitalism, is the source of terror. The capitalistically degenerated petty bourgeois accummulates dissatisfaction, which is increasingly manifested as a destructive mania directed against all living beings. Instead of the need for a just and free world, we see the need for destruction through increasingly destructive technical means. The purpose of the “action” is to release the pent up dissatisfaction in a way and through means imposed by capitalism as a destructive order. This is exemplified by frequent mass killings carried out by individuals. It is the rebellion of a capitalistically degenerated man with capitalistically degenerated methods and means of “struggle”. Considering the fact that more and more people possess more and more lethal weapons, the possibility of mutual extermination is increased. Destruction by technical means with their immediate effects becomes a model for behaviour imposed by the dominant logic of capitalism expressed in the principle “Destroy the competition!”. It is this logic that conditions not only relations between people, classes, nations, races, religious communities, states, and capitalist corporations, but also those of the petty bourgeois and nature.
Capitalist progress has mutilated people as biological beings and, thus, has called into question the possibility of biological reproduction in the most developed capitalist countries. At the same time, capitalism exhausted the raw materials and energy resources in those countries and almost destroyed the animal world and nature as a life-creating environment. Instead of focusing on their own development based on faith in the future, the (petty)bourgeoisie of the most developed capitalist countries wish for the demise of other nations that might “threaten” them by (still) having the capacity for biological reproduction. Children have become the greatest curse. The relation of the (petty)bourgeois towards immigrant workers is the best illustration of their relation towards the future. Instead of indicating the true causes of the “white plague” in the most developed capitalist countries, they are “concerned” with the birth rate of the immigrant population, which is reduced to “dirty labor” and has the status of a “lower race”. As far as “international relations” are concerned, the most developed capitalist countries do not envisage their own futures proceeding from developing their own powers, but, instead, coming from the weaknesses of “competitive” countries: the demise of others becomes the elementary condition for their own survival. The consequence of the ever more dramatic destruction of nature is that the ruling principle of monopolistic capitalism, “Destroy the competition!”, has become the ruling economic and political principle. A ruthless war between the most powerful capitalist corporations has turned the world into a battlefield and man into a capitalist warrior.
It is more and more clear that capitalism cannot deal with, and especially cannot overcome, the increasingly deep existential and vast social crisis created by “democratic” measures. Current political practice in the West indicates that capitalists seek to deal with the consequences of capitalism by abolishing basic human and civil rights. The true nature of capitalist “democracy” can be seen in the treatment of sports fans. Preventive arrests, barbed wire, steel boxes, cameras, searches, special police units… Stadiums have become concentration camps and mirrors reflecting the true nature of capitalist “democracy”. The treatment of top sportsmen, “heroes” of capitalism, also suggests that capitalism cannot reduce the effects produced in a “democratic way”. Laws have been passed to allow police complete discretion. Top sportsmen are under constant supervision by the “Olympic police”; they must report their whereabouts three months in advance, so that the “Olympic police” can find them and take urine samples in the most humiliating ways. “Great champions” must take off their clothes whenever ordered to do so by “controllers” and urinate into a cup while being checked to be sure the urine is flowing from their uretheras! At the same time, destruction of people in sport has taken on monstrous forms. Increasingly lethal supstances, blood doping and pregnancy doping, horrific training regimes to which young children are subjected, transfer of sportsmen, money “laundering”, the total criminalization of sport by bookmaking mafias, the development of ever bloodier unto fatal sports disciplines… – all this speaks of a ruthless capitalist reality hiding behind the “humanist” messages and smiling faces of politicians and TV commentators.
The practionners of contemporary fascism are not youth gangs “decorated” with Nazi symbols, but the capitalist corporations that, by causing an increasingly deep existential and wideranging social crisis, promote a fascist ideology. The ruling principle of monopolistic capitalism, “Destroy the competition!”, is the source of contemporary fascist practices, both in the economic and political spheres. The capitalist destruction of nature and man as a cultural and biological being conditions the appearance of and strengthens the most reactionary political forces. Current developments in the USA and Europe indicate that German nazism was but one of the historical manifestations of fascism and that fascism is the enfant terrible of capitalism. In today’s Germany, over 30% of young people greet each other with a fascist salute, while over 40% have never heard of Auschwitz. The reason is simple: over 60% of the Germans do not want the documents testifying to the crimes of Nazi Germany to be published. And that is the overwhelming majority of the electorate. The horrible truth is that for a majority of Germans Hitler made only one crime: he did not win the war. One of the examples of the “development of German democracy” is the law adopted by the German Parliament in August 2012, allowing the German army to be “employed” by the ruling regime within the German territory. In other words, German capitalists now have the legal right to use the army against German workers. As far as Germany’s global “politics of peace” are concerned, by selling (with the support of the USA) nuclear-armed submarines to Israel, “democratic” Germany is directly involved in the campaign to incite a nuclear war, which can result in the absolute annihilation of mankind.
As for American fascism, which is the pillar of the “new world order”, its principal characteristic is incitation to war. The American economy is a war economy. The economic survival of the USA depends on the development of a military-industrial complex that is the core of the American economy. American domestic and foreign politics are instrumental in the production of wars and the creation of a war hysteria, which boosts the stock market value of military production and enables the plundering of both the American people and the people of the countries under American domination. The war psychosis serves to deprive the American citizens of elementary human and civil rights and to justify the terror of an growing number of secret agencies surveilling American citizens. Early in 2012, American President Barack Obama signed an act, passed by both Houses of Congress, which allows for the arrest of American citizens by the US Armed Forces, without a warrant, and permits their indefinite detention without the right to legal counsel. At the same time, the American Army is “entitled” to kill anyone on this planet who is declared by the government to be a “threat to the security of the USA”. Barack Obama has signed hundreds of death warrants for people, who are not American citizens, based on the presumption of guilt. During their execution (primarily by means of unmanned aricraft flown by remote control), a large number of women and children have been killed, which, by the standards of “American democracy”, is considered “collateral damage” and is not counted as a crime! In addition, the destruction of over 6 billion “surplus” people on this planet has become a legitimate political option for the USA.
As for Noam Chomski, he claims that American citizens are “ill-informed” and that is the main reason they support “their” government. At the same time, he claims that the American citizens are guided in their relation to the world by moral principles and reason. Actually, the American (petty)bourgeois, like the (petty)bourgeois all over the world, are guided by their private interests. A large majority of the American “middle class” were aware that Saddam Husein did not have any weapons for mass destruction, yet they welcomed Bush’s aggression against Iraq, believing that the USA would get hold of Iraqi oil and thereby improve their standard of living. The atmosphere changed when, instead of cheap oil, more and more corpses of American soldiers were shipped back to the USA and the increased costs of the occupation of Iraq, which was doomed to failure after the atrocious crimes of the invaders led to a decisive resistance by the Iraqi people. The same thing happened in Vietnam and with other American aggressions. Launching wars is the most popular way by which American presidents have demonstrated their “toughness” and gained approval from the “middle class”, said to be the most important political force in the USA. American citizens are directly responsible for the heinous, criminal policies of their governments. The same can be said for the German (petty)bourgeois, who are directly responsible for the crimes of their soldiers in Afghanistan, just as their predecessors were responsible for the unspeakable policies of the Hitler regime, which they followed in blind obedience.