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On the Fever project: A crown can hide others

A declaration of intent from the assembly of the Camarade space (Toulouse, France) to the Fever project in times of the coronavirus.

Originally published by Camarade. Translated by Fever Struggle.

The project Fever: class struggles under pandemic was jointly launched by a number of autonomous groups of workers who organise against capitalist exploitation and act for the self-organization of proletarian struggles around the world.

For the assembly of the Camarade space in Toulouse (France), the aim of this project is to produce and exchange both theoretical and practical materials on the struggles of our class in times of global pandemic. The only horizon through which we can come out of the crisis is revolution, i.e. the abolition of capitalism by proletarians engaged in a global insurrectionary movement.

It is to clarify this perspective that we propose today a declaration of intent for Fever. This declaration of intent is a proposal to clarify the political moment we are living through, as well as a presentation in progress of the reflections we wish to share with our comrades, partisans of the revolution.

Sacred Union

Governments, politicians, bosses, and experts: they all tell us that we’re at war against an invisible enemy and that we’ll have to fight, sometimes sacrifice ourselves, for the general interest.

The general interest aims at one thing only: that the conditions of capitalist accumulation continue. Global power makes the Coronavirus pandemic into a despicable tale of war. It is during the accelerated degradation of our living standards and rising repression that we find out the capitalists’ real enemy: not the virus itself, but the pandemic’s ability to significantly destabilise their power.

Since we know that the pandemic is not a creative force (it does not have Twitter), we must conclude that this destabilisation would obviously emanate from the pole opposite to the capitalist class in this mode of production, the proletariat, which did not have to wait for this moment to launch its incessant assaults on the laws of the market. While the capitalist class might get rid of the virus, it will not be able to get rid of the proletariat, since we are its raison d’être and vice versa. In the end, therefore, we understand that the capitalist class has one single enemy, the working class, and that the pandemic is a sequence in this class struggle. We also understand that the enemy is not the virus itself but the system of exploitation that gives this virus its social reality and its magnitude.

The coronavirus epidemic is by no means natural. Certainly, the virus has its own biological constitution, its own “natural” way of suffocating our bodies. But the conditions under which this epidemic appears, the scale of the epidemic, the consequences it assumes for our lives, etc. All of these issues are based on the way the social organization by which we are bound deals with them, translates them into reality. This crisis therefore goes beyond the fields of health and logistics, it is a social disaster and it is the working class who are feeling its effects. We find ourselves face to face with capital and face to face with ourselves at the same time. At the assembly of the Camarade space, our wish is not to manage the crisis but to put an end to it.

Under the pretext of urgency, we see the opposition political parties, the trade unions and all other forms of political representation that claim the side of the late working class in the sacred union. The sacred union is the current expression of the nature of these political organisations: their only aim is to keep capitalism afloat and to preserve its economic and political structures (e.g. its national territories, state apparatus, police, industrial production, and distribution channels). In the theatre of the political world, they mimic dissent by shouting at each other about the limits of so-called “neo-liberal” capitalism.

The limits that these organizations target are limits that they set in the hope of reconfiguring the modalities of our exploitation: their existence only makes sense within capitalism and it is for this reason that they will be nothing more than components of the system that we are fighting. Although this is obvious, it seems important to us to repeat it now to anticipate the way out of the crisis.
The political world is not alone in contributing to the martial unity of the nation. In many areas, the call for the general mobilization of governments has been heard at all levels of daily life. Many grassroots organising initiatives are emerging to address the state’s inability to meet the immediate needs of the population. If we share the idea of the necessity of self-organization, it must be implemented in order to fight against the degradation of our living conditions imposed by the owning classes, otherwise it would ultimately correspond only to the needs of capital. Numerous examples, like commons or community projects, are already there to remind us that capitalism absorbs them as free labor in the daily course of the exploitation process, in order to lower the value of our labour power. The calls to help and join “the great army of French agriculture” sometimes on a voluntary basis, the repeated assertions about defending the common good to mobilize the citizens of the State, the bragging of grassroots aid initiatives, and the development of special traffic exemptions for those who organize them: this is how the State orchestrates free work. Applauding health care workers every evening out the window at 8pm (this is what happens in France) is the spectacular representation of consent. Under the guise of solidarity, the State appreciates this cheap labour force to maintain its hegemonic position. It is not impossible that this model will be particularly popular when it comes out of containment.

It makes sense that in times of austerity, the state-supported reproductive forces will not be able to manage such epidemics. As such, the mortality rate of the virus is not a hard fact. This mortality rate is also a reflection of the balance of power within our societies. Who is treated? Who is saved? Who dies? Mother Nature does not decide alone. Global health systems are being overwhelmed, and the characteristics of each system (whether or not it benefits the entire population of a state) directly influences the social translation of these mortality rates. While in France we have extensive access to care provided by the public health system, we know that this is not the case in the large majority of other countries.

Against the working class

We are therefore faced with the urgent need to break the biological façade of the discourse of power. This must lead us to consider in a materialistic way the different hypotheses of a way out of the crisis from States and the WHO. After the more or less assumed abandonment of the “herd immunity strategy,” which would lead to millions of deaths (we call this a massacre), the war against the proletarians takes a strange turn of a contradictory order between “Stay at home or face fines” and “Go to work or face starvation”. This state of affairs is more honest than the “herd immunity strategy”. Today, it’s not even a question of saying that everything will be better after the storm. It’s simply saying that the world must continue to act as usual without knowing exactly where we’re going. As such, the time of the pandemic is also like the time of revelation.

Health care and retail workers are facing the epidemic and its infectious power in terrible conditions. Workers in industrial production and logistics are called to work, to risk their lives for profit. The conditions of business as usual, which took little time to reappear, offer workers’ bodies to the virus, just as a century ago when they were cannon fodder. The state of sanitary emergency set up in France cancels the conventions which frame exploitation; now the government governs by decree. In the meantime, we are driven out of the parks but ordered to crowd up in warehouses.

Beyond workers on the front line, workers temporarily banned from exploitation are also subject to the essentialist calibration of the global economy (maintaining production and reproduction sites essential to the life of the nation), without full wages to buy food, health care, housing, transportation, heating and so on. Yet everything still pays off. Not to mention, in this case, the fate of those locked up in the coercive institutions of the state.

The end of the crisis is an illusion if we think of it as a return to “normal”. The extreme advances of capital are only a first appearance of what the financial crisis intended us to do. It is not accurate to say that the financial crisis is due to the epidemic. The system has never recovered since the 2008 crisis. All it has done is delay the deadline by further deteriorating our working conditions, our wages and the right to oppose these austerity measures.

As such, the social turmoil of this pandemic is not yet fully appreciable, but we can assume that capitalists are preparing for it. We have to consider the massive introduction and generalisation of surveillance technologies for what the government calls “the population” (in reality mainly oriented towards the working class), whose containment is the adequate ground for the setting up of material means through which it can contain our future struggles by force and control. Beyond the strictly repressive terrain, the dystopian projections of the new generation of capitalism are not a fantasy and will certainly be called upon to support the future conditions of accumulation, without us being sure, for the moment, of the exact content of these future conditions.

We haven’t waited for the coronavirus to tell ourselves that the struggles of proletarians around the world are responding to each other, because they are facing the same system. And we haven’t waited for the virus to take part in these struggles. It is enough to evoke the different insurrectional waves that have shaken capitalist daily life for the last two years and their similarities to be convinced of this. The current situation tends to reinforce and densify this state of affairs and it is towards and for a dynamic of unification that we project ourselves together in the Fever project.

Why Fever?

On one hand the utility of such a platform lies in its capacity to ensure a form of connection and coordination between the struggle activities of working class people around the world. On the other hand, it allows for a theoretical confrontation linked to these activities, with the aim of proposing an analysis of the major determinants of the conditions of reproduction of capital and, on the other side, of the conditions of production of communism understood as the real movement that abolishes the existing conditions. We think that the revolutionary planning of the revolution before the revolution is a vain wish. The necessary coordination of the activities of our class is not a roundabout way of promoting any revolutionary centralization. On the contrary, coordination results from the need to work for an international revolution where praxis emanates from the struggles themselves, not from planning.

We speak of coordination in the same way that the last movements that have shaken capitalism have borrowed from each other methods, discourses, ideas, which little by little formulate the particular problem in a global critique. We wish to translate and relay as much as possible the activities of proletarians in struggle all over the world in order to share and take part in them. From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!
Perhaps then we will be able to ask ourselves the question “how do we make revolution?” with new elements of an answer coming from our collective intelligence. We need to exchange together on what we can do, on what is emerging as a way out of the crisis, as a modification of the regime of accumulation, of the mode of governance, always in the perspective of understanding the conditions of struggles of proletarians and the production of communism. In addition to participating in the struggles of our time, this perhaps could be the task that falls to the proletarians who are already partisans of the revolution.

A crown can hide others [1]. We want to tread on kings and their crowns.
The assembly of the Camarade space

[1] The word “crown” comes from the Latin word Corona. Scientists have called the type of virus we are victims of “Coronavirus” in reference to the crown it seems to wear as you can see on the Fever logo. We think that behind this kind of “corona”, other crowns, other kings, other powers of this world are working to keep us in the shit.

You will find the Fever Struggle website: here.

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