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Grupo Barbaria: Capital kills

Another article from the Iberian Peninsula that clarifies, analyses and attacks the context between coronavirus and capitalism.

Originally published by Grupo Barbaria (November 7, 2020). Translated by Enough 14.

Sacrifice, resistance, victory morale, unity (between entrepreneurs and workers). These words form the mantra that the Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, has been repeating in a crushing way since the beginning of the pandemic. Their commitment is not accidental: they want us proletarians to see our needs gagged, not fighting for our interests at a time when our lives are threatened; sacrifice, resistance, victory morale and unity are tantamount to passivity, to being killed like cannon fodder, being subordinated to the needs of government and capital, to their accumulation logic.

In this years spring tens of thousands of people died in the Spanish state and more than one million people worldwide, although the actual figures are always much higher than the official ones. On this occasion, it was striking how all states put the needs of the national economy above life and health. In fact, at the beginning of the summer, the Spanish government implemented an accelerated lifting of the curfew in order to promote tourism and gastronomy, one of the main economic activities of local capital, which is experiencing an increasing crisis. Local news broadcasts devoted more than half of their airtime to show the terraces of crowded bars. The news broadcasts began their broadcast with a greeting to the German tourists who came back to Mallorca. The government triumphantly announced that “we have defeated the virus”. Sacrifice, resistance, unity and victory morale had triumphed. And yet…

However, it was easy to foresee that this would not be the case, that the virus would return with the force of resumption of production and circulation of commodities. And much earlier than any expert had expected. It already happened during the summer, first in Aragón and Catalonia, and since August in Madrid.

And yet the state did not take action, and that is no coincidence. It is in the interest of the state that the economy advances and grows, because this is how capital is fed, which devours us and makes us collateral but necessary victims. At the end of the summer we saw on television how strong they insisted that schools must be opened at all costs, whoever would pay the price. The Minister of Education Celáa went as far as to announce in El País that the benefits of opening them outweighed the risks (i.e., illness and death of workers and families). The benefits were that the machine would continue to work, that society would continue to produce and consume, and for that the students would have to be locked up in schools. The struggles that arose in the face of the opening of schools, like the one that took place in Madrid, were important but very small. To this day there is at least one dead teacher to complete the cold statistics of those who died in the struggle. All this in the name of unity, resistance and victory morale.

Gradually a second house-prisoning/confinement is announced. The disease does not stop growing, and with it the hospitalized, patients who are transferred to the intensive care unit and die daily. Secondary victims of the morale of victory, cannon fodder from the capital. And yet a second imprisonment will be quite different from the first. In fact, it already is. Because in capital there are no solutions: Imprisonment/confinement means, within the capitalist parameters, unemployment and poverty, misery and hunger, layoffs and precarious employment. Therefore the polarization between left and right parties is wrong. If there are no solutions within capital, the politicians, whatever side they are on, can only deal with the catastrophe and send the police if we protest. And among them, the left does this by lying. The most progressive government in the history of Spain, as its supporters called it with the theatrical fuss that characterizes the progressive left [1], said through the mouth of its second vice Prime Minister[2] that they would not leave anyone behind. But it is well known that words are words and are worthless. What is valuable are the needs of the national economy, expressed in thousands of weekly evictions, hundreds of thousands of layoffs per month, millions of people in poverty and misery.

This is the flammable material that will feed the present and future fires of social rage. The rage has already begun. It has expressed itself in a very confusing way in the mobilizations of these days, with a certain participation of extreme right-wing groups, but we cannot allow the trees to prevent us from seeing the forest. There is an enormous social rage that is building up and will continue to grow. In the background, we are witnessing a world that is no longer able to give more of itself, that has exhausted its driving force (the accumulation of capital in the form of value) and to which is added a disastrous accumulation of crises, from pandemics to climate change. It is important to analyze these riots and demonstrations in perspective, not in the picture of the moment, but in process. The picture of the moment does not allow us to see the sequence of events; they can only be understood within the more general dynamics of capitalism. And this dynamic is catastrophic.

We are at the end of a long history, the survival crisis of capital. This is not to say that the road is easy or simple, quite the contrary. We will come across a lot of inflammable material in these years, material that will awaken struggles and social polarizations. What is crucial is that these struggles are given a direction and a sense of class. And in order to do this, we must constitute ourselves as a united body of struggle – that is, in class – against all our enemies. And this includes the fascists, but also the social democratic left in all its varieties.

Translation notes

[1] In Spain the term progre, as an abbreviation for progresista, is also an insult.

[2] Here Pablo Iglesias is meant, co-founder of the party Podemos.

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