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#COVID19: Will the capitalist system collapse? [Some notes from #Mexico on current events]

We share the following text, which was published in the Mexican territory by comrades of the “Contra la contra” bulletin.

Originally published by Contra la contra. Translated by Enough 14.

Read “Will the capitalist system collapse?” in Spanish (Castellano) in PDF format:

Since 2019 the world economy has been showing signs of slowing down, predicting an imminent crisis in 2020. If this was not enough, since the beginning of this year the trade war over the price of oil, forged between the US and Russia, has intensified, leading to a sharp fall in the price of crude oil, benefiting the countries that have sufficient reserves (Russia and Saudi Arabia) to adapt their production at low prices. On the other hand, the outbreak of the new “Covid-19” coronavirus, which has wreaked havoc in China since the end of last year, has crossed borders and has an impact on the rest of the world. The world economy is already in the midst of a crisis, the managers of power are awaiting the huge financial rescues, the bourgeoisie is beginning to close factories and lay off employees using the so-called “quarantine” as a pretext. Disaster is imminent.

However, it is important to know that financial losses do not mean the fall of the capitalist system. Capitalism will always seek to restructure itself on the basis of austerity measures imposed on the proletariat in order to alleviate all the catastrophic consequences it will bring about [1]. And this happens because the “blows” that capitalism has suffered because of this phenomenon, are simply losses in its rate of profit, but such losses do not change at all its structure and essence, that is, the social relations that allow it to remain in place: merchandise, value, market, exploitation and wage labor. In fact, it is in these situations that capital most reaffirms its needs: sacrificing millions of human beings to economic interests, making the polarization between social classes more intense and revealing the position of the ruling class in a stronger way, which makes every possible effort to preserve this state of affairs.

And it is not that the bourgeoisie “has planned this whole situation around the pandemic in advance in order to benefit” (as the conspiracy theorists pray) by allowing the most vulnerable sector (the elderly) to die in hospitals, in their homes or even in the street… and thus save millions of dollars in paying pensions. This situation, as well as many others, only occurred as a timely maneuver that was demanded by the momentum. The geopolitical issues, market competition and media warfare that may result from this are only the consequence, but never the cause, of what is taking shape.

It is clear that this whole situation, which has gained ground worldwide, still is in an early stage, since the deficits and shortages faced by the hospitals and funeral homes, which are overwhelmed in capacity, are only the tip of the iceberg, since we have yet to see the effects of food shortages and unemployment when everything reaches its peak, in short, the most adverse effects are yet to come.

In fact, it is not surprising that as a result of this escalation, madness and social hysteria have been exacerbated, and the result is greater atomization and individualism, with “everybody for themselves” prevailing, as well as the “snitching” of good citizens who support the work of the police, informing on anyone who walks the streets.

And in spite of this, the logic of capital has not been able to materialize in a total and uniform way. Class consciousness resurfaces and is glimpsed as the only possible perspective among hundreds of debris, perhaps in a diffuse way, but its development is possible. The notion that the bourgeoisie has been responsible for spreading the virus is becoming more and more widespread, not only “because it is the bourgeoisie that travels the most”, but because they rest in quarantine while we are exposed to infection because we are forced to go out on the streets to seek our daily needs. It is here that class solidarity reappears by putting together some basic means of subsistence, participating in the looting and setting up barricades to cut off tourist routes (as in Chile). These gaps in human community are a base that will be decisive in the struggles that could be generated when the catastrophe exceeds its dimensions.

However, we must not be satisfied or pleased with these minimal aspects; on the contrary, we must consider going beyond them. It is vital to understand that as long as we, as a class subject to the designs of the bourgeoisie, remain to view and confront this situation under mere reformist palliatives that avoid the necessity of definitively overcoming this system[2], all our efforts will only give our enemies time to strengthen themselves and continue to rule and exploit us as they please.

Are the sightings of wildlife in quarantined urban areas a triumph of nature now claiming what is hers? Such a “triumph”, even if it means the Malthusian realization of “wiping out the surplus population”, is only a passing situation that is doomed to be reversed almost immediately. Because, deep down, what will continue to dominate is a mode of production that cannot do without the concrete, asphalt and car metropolises, the monoculture industries, the nuclear power plants and the fossil fuel-based big industries.

The increasingly acute contradictions of this mode of production (crisis, war, pandemics, environmental destruction, pauperization, militarization), which will intensify the conditions of our survival, will not simply give way to the mechanical or messianic end of capitalism. Or rather, such conditions, although they will be fundamental, will not be enough. Because in order to see the end of capitalism, it is essential that there will be a social, antagonistic and revolutionary force that will succeed in directing the destructive and subversive character towards something completely different from what we are witnessing and knowing now.

Whether we like it or not, we cannot leave a question as important as revolution to the luck of the draw. It is necessary to experiment with the response to this problem on the basis of organizing tasks that may arise, that is, the grouping for the appropriation and defense of the most immediate needs (not paying debts, nor rents, nor taxes), but also, the rupture with all the illusions and mirages that lead us to manage the same miseries under another mask.

To promote the local economy?

Abolish trade and money!

In the face of reformism, the radical rupture!

In the face of immediatism, the historical perspective!

In the face of localism, internationalism!

Apocryphal note

The dominant ideology bombards us through all its apparatus with illusions about “possible” prosperity under existing conditions of exploitation and misery. The capitalist class ideologizes us in order to comply docilely with an alienated “way of life”, where all questioning of its foundations is beyond reason.

But the truth is that none of this paradise in the “best of all possible worlds” fits in with the hundreds of Black slaves trafficked to Libya, the drug-ridden ghettos in Afghanistan, the fierce repression in the Gaza Strip, Haitian migrants starving to death in Tijuana, the bloody repression against proletarians in Chile, the bombings on the Turkish-Syrian border, or the famine in Yemen.

There is no need to wait for dystopia or hollywood scenes of the apocalypse, because these already manifest themselves materially in different parts of the world, and in fact far exceed any attempt to represent them in movie fiction.

The current covid-19 pandemic is one more stage in the degradation to which this commodity-producing society is leading us.

A stage before in which it is only reaffirmed that the true one to come only depends on two strings:

Communist revolution or perish in the dark!

[1] Measures that are in fact already being implemented in the most brutal and vicious way: hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of layoffs, simply thrown out of their jobs, left to their fate in more poverty and precariousness.

[2] We have been told a lot that one alternative is to encourage local commerce outside of the multinationals and major corporations. The problem with this type of response is that, on the one hand, while momentarily solving the problem of supply of inputs for some proletarians, the readjustments that it will bring with it to the crisis of capital, will only bring more inflation and contingencies for a shorter period of time. Taking refuge in attempts at more benevolent economies, only prolongs what we will inevitably have to assume in the future without alternatives: class war, that is, the confrontation with the bourgeoisie and the exercise of a revolutionary program that aims to conclude all social relations mediated by exchange, time as a measure of work and the wage relationship.

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