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Anarchist Initiative Ljubljana: Produce, Spend, Obey!

A statement by the Anarchist Initiative Ljubljana on the situation in Slovenia in times of the Corona virus.

Originally published by Komunal.

Produce, Spend, Obey!

Tensions in society are on the rise on daily basis. The epidemic is increasingly revealing the contradictions and cracks of the capitalist system, whose manager – the state – no longer even tries to give the impression that its aim is to reduce the devastating effects of the deadly virus.

In our bureaucratically managed and highly monitored world, nothing comes naturally and by chance, even if the rulers try to convince us that the pandemic is just that. What is weakening society’s ability to combat this kind of crisis is not some irresponsible “merry partygoers” or private gatherings, but decades of deliberate destruction of public services that should be available to all, and their gradual conversion into consumer goods.

The failure of the current government to make major investments in public infrastructure is not a reflection of the malignancy of Janez Janša and his accomplices. It is a symptom of a policy that can see no further than achieving short-term economic growth, even if that means the general destruction of people and nature. The consequences are felt by all of us who are not represented by the lobbies of capital and are therefore forced to obediently accept ever harsher working and living conditions as any form of criticism is banned and sanctioned. The government and capital see us as nothing more than a consumable commodity whose only duty is to produce, spend and obey. In this crisis, the death of the elderly and the weak is collateral damage to the fierce efforts to maintain the system of exploitation and devastation.

On top of all this, we as a society are struggling not only with the consequences of dealing with the pandemic that rewards capitalists and increasingly excludes, neglects, and disables the vast majority of people, but also with the aggressive attempt to impose authoritarian rule. It is clear that this episode of “Janšizem” [the policy named after the prime minister Janez Janša] is not just a provincial and local symptom of a kind of Slovenian psychosis, but a reflection of the global transformation of neoliberal consent into a new model of organizing society. One of its features is the final dissolution of the so-called liberal and democratic “rubbish” that to some extent restrained authoritarian intervention and capital accumulation. A number of countries, including Slovenia, have turned into experimental fields during the epidemics in order to push the boundaries of governance under the conditions of the state of emergency.

This process is neither accidental, nor necessary, nor spontaneous, nor chaotic, as the people who benefit from it try to show. All of this is illustrated by the fact that, in circumstances that are still primarily a health crisis, the political extreme centre easily discarded the postures of the “rule of law” and “civil society” to quickly find out that it is much easier to satisfy the interests of the capital networks through authoritarian governance. The only thing that bothers the representatives of the extreme centre is the sheer straightforwardness of their far-right partners. Unlike the latter, the extreme centre likes to cloak the implementation of the same policies as the extreme right under a veil of inconspicuousness. The goal of both the extreme centre and the extreme right is to deliberately create an atmosphere of arbitrariness and chaos in which only the arbitrary decrees of the state political and economic elite prevail. At the same time, the vulgar, insulting and aggressive communication prevents any criticism of their measures.
While the rulers try to convince us that we must stand together in times of crisis, they are widening the gap between those who have all the privileges and those who are more and more sidelined. At the end of the crisis, the rich will be even richer, the political elite and the state bureaucracy will greatly expand their authority and control over our lives, while we face even more brutal precarity, the loss of our loved ones, the dismantling of our rights, and a future filled with anxiety and terror.

Yet even in this darkest of times there is a ray of hope. After all, all the wealth of the few, as well as their privileges and their power over our lives, depends on our labor and our cooperation in the system of exploitation. It is enough to reject the role of expendable human material into which they force us, in order to gain the right to make real choices about our lives. The idea of a general strike, already circulating in public, seems a good step in this direction. However, we cannot rely on servile syndicates imbued with the interests of their leaders. There will be no savior to lead us out of this disaster. We can only rely on each other, on the levers of social power, and on a shared vision of a better future made up of freedom, dignity, autonomy and equality.

In these times rebellion has even greater importance than usual. The authorities, with perhaps unprecedented repression, have crushed the ways of rebellion to which we were accustomed, but have not thereby removed the causes of it. On the contrary, it has only produced more reasons and firmly confirmed them. Under these conditions the spark may come from unexpected directions. Perhaps from the workers whose bosses will not let them go on sick leave, or from the school-age youth who are locked in their homes and left alone with electronic devices. Maybe it comes from the technical specialists in health care, or from young and old people who are labeled expendable, criminal, and spoiled by capital. Even if we do not create this spark ourselves, let’s help it grow into the fire of rebellion.

Let’s spread the virus of rebellion in the workplaces, on the streets and in the neighborhoods!

Anarchist Initiative Ljubljana, December 18, 2020.

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