Time to Leave the Sinking Ship

Overcoming the crisis: destroy capitalism!

Pamphlet on 1 May 2009

The crisis has already spilled the rims of today’s news reports. It is not unraveling in distant lands. It is no longer an abstract event. The crisis arrived in our here and today’s, we all can feel its impact. In spite of Obama’s charismatic smile, G20 meetings, recommended and implemented regulations and government interventions. All branches are in its grip. The people have to switch to part-time employment or even loose source of income altogether. The unemployment rate soars, while so-called standard of living deteriorates.

Various effects of the crisis highlight very well the absurdity of the whole system. Housing foreclosures are taking place all over the US. Consequently, houses lie empty while at the same time the homeless have to live in tents. There’s all of sudden a shortage of housing in a country full of empty houses. In Switzerland more and more people have to buy food in Caritas‘ shops while supermarket chains throw it away. In Germany you are offered a certain amount of money if you drive your old car to the recycling plant. It is supposed you buy a new car in order to boost the car industry. Maybe they should also distribute baseball bats so you could thrash your new car, too? Even more cars could be produced and sold that way. The state could stash cups with money in the woods – those who find them first should keep them. In other words: our system is facing a crisis even though both the needs and means to satisfy them are provided. These means are dismantled artificially in attempt to weather the crisis leaving us on the sideline to be the dupes ones once more.

The whole mess, so it is said, has been caused by insatiable greed of the speculators. But do not fool yourself: the capitalism is a social system that by necessity involves periodical crisis. A capitalism without a crisis can not and will never exist. Ever since its beginnings the capitalism has been accompanied by a series of crisis, the first one with global impact taking place in the 1870ies. The crisis of 1929 followed resulting in the Great Depression which could only be overcome after an extremely destructive war (WWII) and series of massive governmental interventions in economy. The devastation brought about by the war combined with governmental investment programs made the golden years of economic boom possible in the first place. This period lasted until the 1960ies accompanied by rise in consumption in the „developed West“. On the other hand, increasing number of workers started to show their discomfort with working conditions: the introduction of modern working processes rendered work more and more intensive and dull. What had been promoted as affluent society had to be paid for with life of brainless and boring labor. On one side, the state had to suppress the demands of the workers, at times resorting also to violent measures. On the other side, it was forced by the workers‘ struggle to alleviate emerging economical crisis through welfare means. The endeavor was covered by a loan – not a private but a national one. The issue of liability was put off in the future.

The process of production was restructured both during economic development and as a reaction to workers‘ struggle. The ratio of human labor was continuously reduced. This led to an increased production of goods while at the same time the rate of profit decreased. The investors tried to divert a lot of capital in financial markets expecting higher profits. It is very possible to generate short-term success for a few of them, but in the long run it is bound to fail – which is exactly what we are experiencing today. The capital had been invested with hope in hope of future surplus value. The state ceased to be the only one gambling on the future, private persons joined the game, too. Obviously, it went down the sink. No new production cycle was set into pace which would yield the necessary surplus value. The bubble bust. The promises for the future are no longer accepted, no loans are offered and the cycle comes to a halt. It should be clear by now that speculators could not be the root of the crisis but rather the gambling on the future intrinsic to capitalism without which it can not survive.

In all parts of the world people are revolting against the consequences of the crisis. There is a growing body of examples. In France managers are taken hostage and recently workers have devastated government offices. In Greece people from various parts of the society engaged in street riots with the police that lasted for days. Companies facing foreclosure are often simply squatted by protesting workers. One example would be the Visteon factory in North Ireland near Belfast or the Republic Windows and Doors factory in Chicago, USA. In Italy workers squatted the INNSE plant near Milan. The quality and magnitude of protests differ from what we have seen in recent years.

For the moment, the struggles are in most cases defensive in nature and trying to stop the sackings or at least achieve a better social plan. There is actually no need for us to beg: neither the boss, nor the state nor an invisible hand are those who produce. It is us, and we produce enough. When the capital is forced to destroy goods despite immanent demand for them, when people have to live in tents despite the growing number of empty houses, one thing should become evident: the capitalism is not in our benefit but against it. It is high time the crisis of economy became one of the class society. We should not let the crisis unfold on our backs and intimidate us but go on fighting. Successful struggle of workers is not just elevating it, but also allows us to reflect on our situation, to recognize possibilities and to develop novel human relationships. Social conditions are to be overthrown in which human being is left behind, enslaved and despised.

It is often claimed that a society can not exist in which human needs are satisfied and dictate the production (i.e. the association of the free and equal) and which does not function according to capitalist logic. Furthermore, many would say it is a nice idea, but could never work in practice due to the human nature. Under current circumstances such a claim is nothing but a bad joke. As if nobody would leave the sinking ship just because they fear that a desert island would bring nothing but quarrel about who gets the best spot on the beach. The time has come to leave the ship.

For a stateless and classless society!