The normality of irrationality

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By ELIZIÁRIO ANDRADE*

It is necessary to draw up a program to fight against the principles of economic and political liberalism responsible for the logic of social and economic inequality

The possibility of understanding and explaining beyond the immediacy of the appearance of contemporary societies, convulsed in their immanent and structural contradictions, is an urgent need and challenge for humanity that drags itself in the mire of bourgeois sociability in crisis. And this, today, develops under the sign of a capitalism that represents a living dead, a zombie, that only lives of temporary “rescues” of the State, postponing the historical limits of the system[I].

The causal determinations of the contradictions of capitalist reproduction continue to be hidden by systematic forms of dissimulation, distortion and inversion of the substantive aspects of reality. In general, this process occurs through numerous theoretical, ideological, political and cultural devices in a fetishized praxis in the structure of class relations. Most of the time, it seeks to confer validity and perpetuity to these relationships, where its greatest power of domination and hegemony are found in the way of representing production and the ways in which material and immaterial values ​​are engendered in this society.[ii].

Commonly, this inverted and distorted world of reality, propagated by the dominant ideology as the result of unalterable and natural, irreplaceable relationships, embodied in intersubjective experiences and normative social conventions, considered positive in the economic, political, legal and moral order of society, finds its limits within the very logic that gives them reason to be and exist.

Nowadays, capitalism is faced with situations in which this world of “real illusion”, that is, of pseudoconcreticities[iii], encounters enormous and, perhaps, insurmountable limits; its ideologues, therefore, writhe in debates aiming to find solutions, exits for the difficulties of reproducing the system. However, they are unable to hide the provisional nature and permanent instability of the economic measures and strategies chosen to meet the unappealable, unavoidable and destructive imperatives of the objective needs for profit and accumulation.

Capital and its long-term ideologues have never been able to escape the irrationality of their own material and social form of production, since the resolutions and political and economic arrangements chosen to face the crises that open up in each conjuncture and historical phase, do not are more likely to stabilize for such long periods. The duration of its “miracles” and mythologized solutions pass through increasingly reduced temporalities and with disappointing and chaotic consequences. It is enough to go back to the 1980s, when several magical theories emerged to explain the crisis of capitalism and the world of work and which had their powers of persuasion and false formulas annulled by the facts and reality themselves.

Many even dared to spread the idea that the generation of surplus wealth could be guaranteed without the need for human labor, advocating the end of the central role of work, which supposedly had been replaced by information and technology. It is as if capital were getting rid of the dirty work on the factory floor, the direct dispossession of the social force of labor, and now it is replaced by another dynamic and relationship to generate profit and accumulation in the first instance. In this sense, science, information and technology began to be considered as neutral things, without social condensation, that is, devoid of the social content of their representation, appearing as autonomous phenomena of development. Which would explain the fact that capital has found another path for the appropriation of profits in an eternal and definitive way, as an expression of a new era beyond capitalist modernity.

This new path to increase the appropriation capacity of capital, which found itself with low return on profits since the end of the 1970s, starts to be desperately developed through the financialization of the economy to face its unavoidable structural contradiction: the tendency for the interest rate to fall of profit. However, the partial control of this bloodletting did not last long, the current crisis of capitalism did not take long to emerge with more force and in a generalized way, unlike a cyclical crisis in which the system always demonstrated the ability to recompose itself and resume its expansion path and stability in its logic of profit appropriation and accumulation from the industrial productive sector.

It is possible to verify that, since the 1990s and during the 7st century until today, the world recession continues to deepen and, with the economic impacts linked to the pandemic, it reached a drop of close to XNUMX% of GDP per capita worldwide[iv]. It is a recession that occurs concomitantly with recurrent financial crises, the reduction of jobs as a result of intensive production and the neoliberal accumulation model, which from 2008 plunges into a devastating financial crisis. And, as it is unable to deviate from its intrepid accumulation route, it continues to deepen economic and social contradictions; seeks to impose the burden of the crisis on the backs of the working classes around the world and takes refuge in the cycle of production and gains of fictitious values.

At the same time, neoliberal social and political forces act to contain the legitimate revolt of the working masses, the struggle of women for substantive equality, the fight against various forms of racism, police violence and everyday genocides. criminalization and extermination of various segments of subaltern social subjects who cannot be incorporated into the social and productive process; having to live on the margins of the system not only as unemployed, but also as social pariahs, subject to all kinds of discrimination and coercive actions by the State.

It is in this way that the dynamics of capitalism is always postponing the limits of its form of sociability, accumulating its problems that remain dangerously unresolved. However, for capital and its political representations, the risk and the devastating social consequences for the reproduction of the system do not matter, since it is itself a prisoner of its own irrationality that is inscribed in the movement of an organic crisis, characterized by its irreconcilable and supposedly insurmountable logic of expanded reproduction and class contradictions within the system itself[v].

Thus, it can be seen that in the ruins of neoliberalism, the crisis is even greater than what we perceive in our immediate relationship with these phenomena and consequences, since neoliberalism also represents the crisis of capitalist sociability that dominates the subjectivity of all classes and individuals, since the very references of values ​​and ethical and moral principles that are used as a reference or guiding parameters of conduct, attitudes and choices for the way of life fade away in a scenario of a social order that extends into a true disorder.

In effect, it becomes impossible to restore “normality”, since this social order that works under the aegis of the logic of capital, in itself, is already the personification of the global crisis of the system, expressing advanced degrees of irrationalities, making an improbable stable development that can be characterized as a social and economic configuration of “normality” of the system.

In fact, everything has become unpredictable and of uncertain duration, driven by an irrational logic that characterizes this unprecedented historical epoch which, in Gramsci's analysis, in his Prison Notebooks, represents a reality in which the crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born. It is in this circumstance that morbid and frightening situations can arise for individuals who have their cultural parameters based on common sense confronted by a lack of reason forged, firstly, by the changes arising from the system's form of production and reproduction, secondly, by the need for political and ideological justification required by the transformations of a society immured by the crisis of capitalism and neoliberalism.

Hence, scientific knowledge and science, as well as studies on society and history began to be relativized, adjusted to “new imperatives” of market interests and domination; or else despised, denied or fought against. This is because the bourgeoisie is no longer able to sustain the ideals of the liberal bourgeois revolution based on the ideology of progress, the positivity of the economic and social model of life of capitalist society, which today moves mortifying human existence and threatening the horizon of survival of humanity itself .

It is for this reason that Lukács indicates the existence of a tendency of thought and social and political practice that leads to the destruction of reason[vi]. All cultural media and their scale of values, criticism and ideals based on the use of the support of reason for the creation of the foundations of civilization in the capitalist world, paradoxically began to become threats to the bourgeoisie. It is as if the creature had turned against the creator himself, in a relationship of estrangement with the content of his own work. Because the reason that since the enlightenment and the industrial revolution of the XNUMXth century, always instrumentalized by the bourgeoisie to guide and justify its civilizing project, became a nuisance, a danger to its economic and political interests.

This political perception of the bourgeoisie had already been captured by Marx since the 1848 revolution in France.[vii], when the bourgeoisie understood that reason could also be converted by its class enemies into a critical and action weapon, opening the possibility of developing perspectives of social changes and revolutions, confronting its domination and hegemony. But not only that, the new logic of reproduction of capital that invades social subjectivity and produces an individual in accordance with its new pattern of accumulation – neoliberalism – shows the need for other moral, ethical, political, cultural and philosophical concepts.

It is from this phenomenon that we can understand the fact that the new man who serves capitalism and its ideology today must always be in harmony with the modern dictates of the logic of reproduction of capital that strives for the emptying of reason, interdiction of criticism and elevation of ultra-individualism and irrationalism as a new functional ideological guide. Something that generates serious and somber effects on society and political activities and has caused the dismantling of man's humanization in relation to nature and among themselves in the process of sociability.

We are thus before the threshold of a social and historical reality in which the destruction of reason, or the use of it – amazingly – serve to impose irrational, corrosive and totalizing guidelines of a neoliberalism in ruins, under an apparent demonstration of strength and power that fundamentally hides the decadence of the civilizing model of bourgeois society. This occurs in the context of an automatic and disposable subsumption of the modern economic man: ultra-individualistic, privatized, socially isolated in a world of images and virtual, attached to material objectives and short-term human relations, volatile and guided by meritocratic ideas of increasing short-term gains.

Finally, it is on this soil that irrationalist economic and social values ​​thrive and invade the space of the community, everyday life, groups and associations of all kinds. And likewise, they begin to be disseminated in the sphere of work relations, in the family and in extreme right-wing party political organizations that emerge through impulses, practical actions and discourses spread within society under a denialist horizon, of trivializing life. and of death. Which translates the ruin of the moral interpretation of the world, where many individuals seem to be imbued with a cynical and nihilistic conscience, close to the notion of supermen imbued with a neo-fascist ideology of impunity that feels above any sanction in the face of the disasters of their actions and speeches. But none of this is strange, absurd or illogical, it is the raw and naked expression of the uncontrollable, growing and frightening logic of inequality, when financial oligarchies seek to keep their positions of power and economic advantages intact.

Marx elucidates this phenomenon of capitalism in section V of book III of Capital, where he seeks to analyze that, regardless of the ideology of this logic of reproduction of capital – as a social and material process – it is not possible to escape the limits of the nature of its development , and stresses that the existing obstacles are engendered within capitalist production itself. In this way, the main enemy of capital is capital itself, which gradually, despite the extraordinary ability to overcome its crises throughout its evolution, is forced to reinvent itself, destroying surplus capital and revolutionizing itself to create and open new patterns of development and growth. Thus, its sole purpose is to increase the valuation of its own value, that is, a system that is condemned to seek more value to asymmetrically produce more value with high levels of profitability and, finally, restore the necessary conditions, even if temporary. , to restore the profit rate at world level.

It is due to these determinations that it is not possible to always keep intact the ideological constructions of a real world that hide the nature of the social and material relations of a hegemonic project, such as neoliberalism, based on a deeply excluding, militarized and increasingly anti-democratic development. , subordinated to generalized and violent demands of monopolized and universalized accumulation. It is these conditions that make class contradictions emerge with full force when economic imperatives seek to counteract the growing trend of loss of real values ​​in the productive process.

For this reason, financialization establishes itself as a main mode of commanding the economy, not as something “new”, external to the immanent logic of capitalism, but rather as an expression of the heightened sharpness of internal contradictions within its historical tendencies that force – as a necessary condition of self-preservation – to destroy capitals, increase their volatility and seek unlimited profits and accumulation[viii]

It is in this way that the subordination of industry and the economy in general is processed, from which the largest portion of the profits that have their origin in the social relations of production is extracted, added to the profits obtained on other forms of income acquired by the subjects of all classes that, in one way or another, are at the mercy of loan operations and various forms of extracting advantages and profits by state or private banking networks that reproduce masses of fictitious capital in a dynamic of accumulation, concentration and centralization of global wealth never seen[ix].

This picture tends to get worse, increasing the structural inequities that are exacerbated by the death spiral of covid-19, which without any shame the representatives of private interests make the choice of profit to the detriment of life and social solidarity. We should not be surprised by these facts or just emit moral speeches of indignation, because all of this is proportional to the natural dimension of the destructive character, which is constitutive, proper to the capital relation that evolves in the form of subsumption of work and life to capital without their transformations have altered these laws that continue to govern capitalist production relations and human life.

In this era of neoliberalism hegemony, regardless of the idealized will of the social democracy project that always sought to control the logical and operative irrationality of capital, there is no way to contain the disastrous social, political and environmental consequences that will only tend to get worse. And, being aware of this dynamic and reality, the right and the extreme right, unite to take the privatization of all spheres of the economy and social and human relations to the last consequences, exacerbating individualism as a foundation and locus of “freedom”, advocating a reduction of the substance of liberal democracy which becomes an empty core to pass a financialized pattern of accumulation, demanding the suppression of the rights historically conquered by workers. Alongside this, there is also a weakening of institutions that defend their rights, such as the labor courts and unions; while the State advances in the criminalization of organizations of social movements in defense of life, housing, public health, education and work.

It is under these conditions that millionaires, corporations and all kinds of predatory world power organizations see their wealth increase at record levels of earnings since the beginning of the pandemic.[X]. At the same time, the crisis, according to the 2020 Oxfam report, could push more than half a million people into poverty, from the most developed countries of capitalism to the peripheral, subordinate and historically dependent countries. In the specific case of Brazil, the black population, the original peoples and all those who live from work and on the margins of the system find themselves more impoverished and with no prospect of employment and the future in an economic crisis intertwined with the health and political crisis led by a government neo-fascist, insensitive and silent in the face of the reality of the country's population.

According to Oxfam, there are around 40 million workers in Brazil without a formal contract and around 12 million unemployed. And, with the health crisis, the appearance of another 2,5 million unemployed workers is expected, which will add to the majority of the population that does not have access to sanitary and basic health conditions, throwing people into a situation of chronic illness, death and misery itself. Meanwhile, significant portions of the desperate and hopeless masses, as well as the middle class, tend to embrace authoritarianism, denialism, religious fanaticism, anticommunism that expands through neo-fascist political movements, which emerge as legitimate and intrinsic children of the crisis of the capitalism and neoliberalism.

A situation that makes us remember, even with differences and diverse contexts, the movements of the fascist hordes in the 1920s and 1930s in Europe, who took to the streets and occupied institutions to beat, murder opponents in the name of God, of the country, inciting hatred of Jews and Communists; actions that should be carried out by the so-called “good men”, ready to fight science, philosophy and every thought that frees men from obscurantist and perverse ideas. And just as in the past, today they have the support of the “enlightened” bourgeoisie and the traditional right which, despite being concerned with the institutional order and its legitimacy, stand hand in hand with the extreme right to dismantle the liberal constitutional pacts and imposing a radical neoliberal program that contradictorily undermines the very legitimacy of the system that is crucial to maintaining the social, political, and military conditions for accumulation.

This apparent contradiction finds its raison d'être within the autophagic movement of capital itself, where none of this seems to matter to the health of capitalism's own development. But the fact is that, at bottom, these are economic, social and political trends that are under the control of fractions of the capitalist class as a whole. The alarming increase in public debt, the migration of capital to speculative markets, the stock exchange, real estate speculation, organized crimes, international drug trade are located in the field of abstract, fictitious wealth – generated in capitalist production in general – that commands order economic and political

At the end of the XNUMXth century, Marx had already analyzed this phenomenon as a universalizing tendency of the reproduction of capital, where the so-called “globalization” process develops not as an isolated dynamic of abstract, fictitious capital, in a unique and unreal movement flow of economy, but as a phenomenon that is articulated with industrial production in motion (displacement of industry throughout the world, especially to China, Latin America, Europe, South Korea, etc.), producing the necessary conditions for the creation of “chains” of values” that, despite forming a contradictory synthesis of the reproduction of capital, cannot find another alternative to continue its universalizing dynamics.

It is from this strategy and logic of development that we must understand the characteristics of capitalism and imperialism today. In this regard, in what is essential, the same characteristics defined by Lenin, on the eve of the social revolution of the Russian proletariat in 1917, continue.[xi]. However, despite the similarities formulated with the development of capitalism and its form of imperialist economic expansion in the last century - today, new elements of economic, political and military interests develop on a regional scale in the midst of the structural crisis and socio-metabolic transformations of capitalist societies. and global present in the inter-imperialist confrontations; conflicts that arise directly in various regions of geostrategic interests, such as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia, where imperialist states operate with their own troops or through armies of mercenaries.

It is what we could call the zero point of the historical limits of the capitalist system, in which it itself cannot face or resolve its contradictions, only remaining to move forward, carrying an inevitable burden of its reason for being. Likewise, its most intelligent agents and ideologues, Keynesian reformers, seek, to a certain extent, to attenuate its symptoms, which represent threats and risks to the future of society and humanity itself.

In this scenario, it is undeniable that society and the economy are on a knife edge, mainly because they are immersed in a process of irrational implications, uncontrollable within the system itself since the end of the last century and two decades of the XNUMXst century, with continuous breaks of profit rates worldwide, especially in the major western capitalist and imperialist countries. In circumstances in which deindustrialization has been occurring in a different and surprising way, not only in the periphery, like Brazil and Latin America as a whole, but also, in an unequal and combined way, in central countries of capitalism, such as the USA, Great Britain , Italy and France. All of them also became importers of industrial products with added values ​​in different and variable ways among the nations that are part of this reality that establishes different roles in the participation of international trade.

In these circumstances, the governments of both the central and peripheral countries of capitalism, since 2007-2008, through increasingly independent central banks, without any “parliamentary democratic control” have been putting cheap money in the markets – out of thin air – to leverage the economy and resume growth in profit rates. These hopes, however, have been placed more and more distant from their realization, because a significant part of this money ends up going mainly to the financial market governed by speculative capital in stock exchanges subject to the weather of oscillations and crashes in the world financial market.

In the medium term, none of this seems to matter to capital, because in today's capitalism, the State and financial agencies increasingly act as financial support for private companies, protectors of their assets and their economic support to consolidate and conquer markets. It is for this same reason that the increase in public debt, created on the basis of the capital crisis itself to protect private interests, resorts to the fallacious and cynical argument of the need to cut State expenditures, which was baptized with the euphemism of “ austerity”, alongside the privatization of state-owned companies and public services to ensure fiscal balance.

One can thus observe the very irrationality of this form of reproduction of financial capital that develops in a logic of scorched earth in order to obtain economic advantages at any cost in the short term. It is from this point that Eleutério FS Prado (2016, p.8) highlights the fact that

Financialization is an astonishing, disproportionate and threatening development, it is a historical movement of capital socialization perfectly aligned with the historical trend of development of the capital relation. The objective goal of the capitalist mode of production is the valorization of value at any cost – and not the production of “concrete wealth”.

Here lies the current centrality of the crisis of capitalism engendered by an uncontrollable and unavoidable contradiction, since the very process that generates the valorization of value is immersed in contradictions that reveal its limits, not only because it exhausts human resources, the social force of the work and nature to guarantee the continuity of the calculated demands for obtaining exorbitant profits and accumulation, but also for constituting itself as a tendency of progressive loss of real value.

For this very reason, the system is obliged to find an alternative for the valorization of value, generating an internal, organic tension of capital that jeopardizes the survival and hegemonic stability of its own social order. Mainly, when the partisan political forces that embody the objective interests of capital are forced, in parliament and through countless institutions, to defend the deepening of social inequality, increasing the concentration of income and wealth in an increasing and brutal way; at the same time, it makes working conditions retroactive in many ways to those found in the world of work in the first decade of the XNUMXth century.

A development dynamic that, par excellence, carries around, a truly “endless” crisis, which can only be faced by seeking shelter in the bowels of fictitious capital, that is, in the financialization of the wealth of total social capital and in rentisms that express the negation of oneself, of the positivity of a socio-metabolic historical development model that is crawling in its structural crisis. Situation in which the State definitively assumes, in the light of day, its true historical function of safeguarding and making viable the interests of industrial capital, now financed to serve itself, the rentiers and the financial oligarchy; far from serving work, the environment and the well-being of the majority of the population.

But even so, capitalism persists as a hegemonic economic and social model, revealing the idea that everything evolves in its normality and continuity in a supposedly natural and irreplaceable way. The facts of the objective world reveal to us, however, that there is no longer any way to continue hiding the symptoms of the crisis in its entirety that, intertwined with the covid-19 pandemic, reveal a degree of lethality that denies any argument for hope, or for the end of temporary “imbalances” or “dysfunctions” of the capitalist social order. Today, more than in the past, the foundations and internal logic of capital depend viscerally on uninterrupted progress, guided by a fast form of profit appropriation and accumulation, revolutionizing its productive bases that generate, at the same time, “progress”, temporary stability and the emergence of crises that opened wide, reveal the irrationality of the “normality” alluded to by the naive in relation to the system's form of production and social, material and cultural reproduction.

In this way, this dynamic that imposes itself as the only way out – drags humanity along the path of economic irrationality, moves without any compromise or principles of formal reasonableness in relation to the legal sphere that conforms the principles of liberal thought and the bourgeois order. It is a dynamic that compromises all Western humanist ideas of piety, clemency, justice, formal freedom in the face of the objective and brutal interests of capital, which override any other appeal, wherever it comes from, because any objection is soon forced to submit the demands of neoliberal changes that require an ever deeper volatility of realizing the logic that governs the economy, which has its starting point in production, followed by the circulation of merchandise to generate real values ​​or in the form of money and, thus, falsely accumulating riches.

This is how, day after day, the trends in course come to light, making clear the size of the crisis of capitalism that unfolds in the phenomenon of deindustrialization, in unprecedented private and public indebtedness and the prolonged stagnation of capital appreciation; and, in the case of peripheral countries, there is also the factor of increased reprimarization and economic, technological and scientific dependence. All this articulated with the backdrop of imperialist interests that dispute, through economic sanctions or direct wars, the control and appropriation of the spoils of natural wealth, land and energy sources of all kinds.

At the same time, in a competition without borders, monopolies and international corporations act in search of high technology products, or simply through predatory interventions operated by imperialist wars, as has been happening in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America. Whether under the auspices of the UN, international financial bodies: WTO, BM, IMF or directly by military organizations such as NATO and NATO that, in the face of inter-imperialist disputes, jeopardize the survival of humanity due to the degree of thermonuclear lethality that wars tend to take on at present.

The intensification of this confrontation has been expressed in economic sanctions, impediments to the expansion of foreign high-tech companies, the flagship of the modern economy of the advanced capitalist countries, mainly by the USA, which seeks to protect some of the advantages it still has in the world market, even with clear evidence of its relative decline. Suffice it to note that shares of these technologically advanced economic sectors in the US GDP are now 38%, while China, a little behind, reaches 35% of its GDP[xii], demonstrating the ability to overcome this small difference in a relatively short time. A scenario that surprises and frightens the hegemonic interests of US imperialism, which becomes more aggressive and threatening.

Thus, it is clear that the USA finds itself in a very complex situation in the context of international competition, on the one hand, due to the increasing reduction of jobs lost in traditional industries, on the other, due to the displacement of its industrial plants to the abroad, mainly to China, Mexico, South Korea etc. Likewise, as a result of the advancement of labor-saving industry structured on the basis of high technology and intensive production. Indeed, US imperialism plays its last card in the dispute for hegemony in the world market through economic sanctions and military threats in the face of the fierce economic advance of China and, to a lesser extent, of Russia, forming a Eurasian bloc that threatens the hegemony North-American

Faced with this situation, liberal ideologues and Keynesian social democrats still hope to be able to reverse these trends and economic challenges permeated by political and class struggle in the context of capitalism in structural crisis. But, these illusions fed by the reformists, part of the mistake of not accepting the fact that any measure taken to curb the convulsions of these crises becomes merely palliative for a body on the way to multiple bankruptcies, we just cannot predict when its last breath will occur – but in the meantime, humanity is being dragged into a cauldron of barbaric social realities, where social ills and human suffering become trivialized and naturalized.

As this parade of horrors continues in all parts of the world, massive outbursts of spontaneous or organized revolts and indignation will become frequent in the face of deepening inequality, hunger, growing chronic unemployment, increasing legions of homeless people and the destruction of civil rights and abandonment of state social protection. The confluence of these elements, expressing in essence the contradictions and crisis of capital and its form of sociability, which must be apprehended not only in its conceptual and theoretical dimension, but also in the context of the contingency of the class struggle, of the here and now from reality; within the social and economic relations that need to be confronted from a strategy capable of harboring radical political propositions that do not allow themselves to be lulled just by the spontaneity of events or the masses in movement in a dispersed way that can be absorbed or neutralized, paralyzed in the frameworks of institutionality.

We cannot lose sight of the fact that for this economic and social system to continue to survive, it will only be possible through an overexploitation of salaried work and its almost absolute precariousness with the end of job stability and rights. This indicates that capital and its civilizational form have nothing more to offer. There is no longer any way to curb these objective and immanent tendencies that are socially imposed as irrational and tragic for the majority of humanity. Running away from this realization and reinforcing the illusions that it will still be possible, through political action to curb, to tame these trends through crisis management measures to re-establish economic “normality” and guarantee a sustainable and rational development of capitalism, which is capable of making concessions to workers in this context of the structural crisis of capitalism means spreading false hopes.

The evidence demonstrates that capitalism increasingly moves like a tightrope walker, threatening to fall but does not fall, although its path is marked by uncertainties and unpredictability. The characteristics of the crisis indicate that the system is approaching a historical limit in terms of its form of material and social production and reproduction, but that does not mean its end, as it is capable – through its flexibility – of generating hybrid forms of accumulation and profit creation in a direct or indirect relationship with the market and the general circuit of creation of values ​​and accumulation; being able to generate mutant social forms for the creation of profit, whether through production, rent seeking or various fictitious forms of absorption of values.

But the worst thing is that this possibility of survival of capitalism advances more and more through the sunset generated by the contradictions of capital itself in its uncontrollable march in search of profits, which engendered the financialization of the economy within the framework of the structural crisis. And as a result, it begins to invade all spheres of economic, social and cultural activity, privatizing the production of public goods, challenging the limits of nature and the human condition.

With the arrival of the pandemic, this reality is stripped bare and becomes a real nightmare; and there is no other alternative, but to articulate a content of radical criticism with a strategic political thought capable of confronting the real possibilities to offer solutions and concrete changes; act in the gaps in the system and leverage an anti-capitalist, democratic and revolutionary political horizon.

Therefore, it is necessary to elaborate a program of struggle against the principles of economic and political liberalism responsible for the logic of social and economic inequality. For, if we do not do so, in the context of the weakening of liberal democracy and the discrediting of the institutions of bourgeois society, the political representations of financial oligarchies – with a political and ideological profile of neo-fascist formation, or of a traditional right with a more classic profile tend to emerge to do the dirty work of scorched earth for the neoliberal project in ruins.

In this circumstance, the countless conjunctural political events express what the dominant classes are capable of doing, they do not hesitate to resort to a political and ideological archetype of hatred: an inverted and pure expression of the logic of social inequalities, whose purpose is to mobilize social segments of the middle class and workers, perversely directing them to act against their own interests. This is done through a speech of inverted symbologies of the notion of homeland, nation and family, fight against corruption always mixed with the old and tattered campaign against the left and the ghost of communism. An ideological war resource that the bourgeoisie, in times of crisis and fear of its class enemies, takes from the sarcophagi of its ancestors to frighten its peers and pursue the ideas of those who dream of the horizon of a free and emancipated society.

* Eliziário Andrade is a professor of history at UNEB.

Notes


[I] Heller, Pablo. Zombie Capitalism. Systemic crisis en el siglo XXI. Buenos Aires: Editorial Biblos, 1917.

[ii] Marx, Carl. Capital, I chapter – Merchandise, last section and in books II and III, in the study on interest-bearing capital. There we find the analyzes of the capitalist mode of representation that appears as an inverted form of the set of real practices that hide the truth about the concrete relations of life and sociability of the bourgeois world.

[iii] Kosik, Carol. The dialectic of concrete. Rio de Janeiro: Terra e Paz, 1976. Pay attention to the reading of chapter I., sub-topic 1: The world of Pseudoconcreticity and its destruction.

[iv] The World Bank released the report “Global Economic Prospects”, which describes a picture of the recession in the world capitalist economy, particularly in the chapter “Pandemic, Recession: The Global Economy in Crisis”. There, there is evidence of a recession that alternates its degree of depth at different times.

[v] Marx, Carl. Preface of 1859, in: Selected Works, Editorial “Avante”/Edições Progresso, Lisbon – Moscow, 1982.

[vi] Lukacs, George. The robbery a la razon. Buenos Aires: Grijalbo, 1983.

[vii] Marx, Carl. The 18th Brumaire and Letters to Kugelmann. Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra, 1977.

[viii] Marx, Carl. Grundrisses. São Paulo: Boitempo-UFRJ, 2011, p.627.

[ix] Roberts, Michael. Capitalism is for the few (Translation: Eleutério FS Prado. https://www.brasildefato.com.br/2020/12/10/artigo-o-capitalismo-e-para-poucos.

 

[X] OXFAM, in its 2020 report, reports that “the world's top 25 billionaires increased their wealth by $255 billion in the first three months of the coronavirus pandemic. The 32 most profitable companies in the world generated US$ 109 billion more in profits during the covid-19 pandemic in 2020 than the average obtained in the previous four years (2016-019)”. https://www.oxfam.org.br/justica-social-e-economica/poder-lucros-e-pandemia/.

[xi] Lenin, Vladimir Ilich. Imperialism: the highest stage of capitalism. São Paulo: Centauro Editora, 2002.

[xii] National Science Foundation, OMC, Golddman Sachs Inv. Research

The normality of irrationality

By ELIZIÁRIO ANDRADE*

It is necessary to draw up a program to fight against the principles of economic and political liberalism responsible for the logic of social and economic inequality

The possibility of understanding and explaining beyond the immediacy of the appearance of contemporary societies, convulsed in their immanent and structural contradictions, is an urgent need and challenge for humanity that drags itself in the mire of bourgeois sociability in crisis. And this, today, develops under the sign of a capitalism that represents a living dead, a zombie, that only lives of temporary “rescues” of the State, postponing the historical limits of the system[I].

The causal determinations of the contradictions of capitalist reproduction continue to be hidden by systematic forms of dissimulation, distortion and inversion of the substantive aspects of reality. In general, this process occurs through numerous theoretical, ideological, political and cultural devices in a fetishized praxis in the structure of class relations. Most of the time, it seeks to confer validity and perpetuity to these relationships, where its greatest power of domination and hegemony are found in the way of representing production and the ways in which material and immaterial values ​​are engendered in this society.[ii].

Commonly, this inverted and distorted world of reality, propagated by the dominant ideology as the result of unalterable and natural, irreplaceable relationships, embodied in intersubjective experiences and normative social conventions, considered positive in the economic, political, legal and moral order of society, finds its limits within the very logic that gives them reason to be and exist.

Nowadays, capitalism is faced with situations in which this world of “real illusion”, that is, of pseudoconcreticities[iii], encounters enormous and, perhaps, insurmountable limits; its ideologues, therefore, writhe in debates aiming to find solutions, exits for the difficulties of reproducing the system. However, they are unable to hide the provisional nature and permanent instability of the economic measures and strategies chosen to meet the unappealable, unavoidable and destructive imperatives of the objective needs for profit and accumulation.

Capital and its long-term ideologues have never been able to escape the irrationality of their own material and social form of production, since the resolutions and political and economic arrangements chosen to face the crises that open up in each conjuncture and historical phase, do not are more likely to stabilize for such long periods. The duration of its “miracles” and mythologized solutions pass through increasingly reduced temporalities and with disappointing and chaotic consequences. It is enough to go back to the 1980s, when several magical theories emerged to explain the crisis of capitalism and the world of work and which had their powers of persuasion and false formulas annulled by the facts and reality themselves.

Many even dared to spread the idea that the generation of surplus wealth could be guaranteed without the need for human labor, advocating the end of the central role of work, which supposedly had been replaced by information and technology. It is as if capital were getting rid of the dirty work on the factory floor, the direct dispossession of the social force of labor, and now it is replaced by another dynamic and relationship to generate profit and accumulation in the first instance. In this sense, science, information and technology began to be considered as neutral things, without social condensation, that is, devoid of the social content of their representation, appearing as autonomous phenomena of development. Which would explain the fact that capital has found another path for the appropriation of profits in an eternal and definitive way, as an expression of a new era beyond capitalist modernity.

This new path to increase the appropriation capacity of capital, which found itself with low return on profits since the end of the 1970s, starts to be desperately developed through the financialization of the economy to face its unavoidable structural contradiction: the tendency for the interest rate to fall of profit. However, the partial control of this bloodletting did not last long, the current crisis of capitalism did not take long to emerge with more force and in a generalized way, unlike a cyclical crisis in which the system always demonstrated the ability to recompose itself and resume its expansion path and stability in its logic of profit appropriation and accumulation from the industrial productive sector.

It is possible to verify that, since the 1990s and during the 7st century until today, the world recession continues to deepen and, with the economic impacts linked to the pandemic, it reached a drop of close to XNUMX% of GDP per capita worldwide[iv]. It is a recession that occurs concomitantly with recurrent financial crises, the reduction of jobs as a result of intensive production and the neoliberal accumulation model, which from 2008 plunges into a devastating financial crisis. And, as it is unable to deviate from its intrepid accumulation route, it continues to deepen economic and social contradictions; seeks to impose the burden of the crisis on the backs of the working classes around the world and takes refuge in the cycle of production and gains of fictitious values.

At the same time, neoliberal social and political forces act to contain the legitimate revolt of the working masses, the struggle of women for substantive equality, the fight against various forms of racism, police violence and everyday genocides. criminalization and extermination of various segments of subaltern social subjects who cannot be incorporated into the social and productive process; having to live on the margins of the system not only as unemployed, but also as social pariahs, subject to all kinds of discrimination and coercive actions by the State.

It is in this way that the dynamics of capitalism is always postponing the limits of its form of sociability, accumulating its problems that remain dangerously unresolved. However, for capital and its political representations, the risk and the devastating social consequences for the reproduction of the system do not matter, since it is itself a prisoner of its own irrationality that is inscribed in the movement of an organic crisis, characterized by its irreconcilable and supposedly insurmountable logic of expanded reproduction and class contradictions within the system itself[v].

Thus, it can be seen that in the ruins of neoliberalism, the crisis is even greater than what we perceive in our immediate relationship with these phenomena and consequences, since neoliberalism also represents the crisis of capitalist sociability that dominates the subjectivity of all classes and individuals, since the very references of values ​​and ethical and moral principles that are used as a reference or guiding parameters of conduct, attitudes and choices for the way of life fade away in a scenario of a social order that extends into a true disorder.

In effect, it becomes impossible to restore “normality”, since this social order that works under the aegis of the logic of capital, in itself, is already the personification of the global crisis of the system, expressing advanced degrees of irrationalities, making an improbable stable development that can be characterized as a social and economic configuration of “normality” of the system.

In fact, everything has become unpredictable and of uncertain duration, driven by an irrational logic that characterizes this unprecedented historical epoch which, in Gramsci's analysis, in his Prison Notebooks, represents a reality in which the crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born. It is in this circumstance that morbid and frightening situations can arise for individuals who have their cultural parameters based on common sense confronted by a lack of reason forged, firstly, by the changes arising from the system's form of production and reproduction, secondly, by the need for political and ideological justification required by the transformations of a society immured by the crisis of capitalism and neoliberalism.

Hence, scientific knowledge and science, as well as studies on society and history began to be relativized, adjusted to “new imperatives” of market interests and domination; or else despised, denied or fought against. This is because the bourgeoisie is no longer able to sustain the ideals of the liberal bourgeois revolution based on the ideology of progress, the positivity of the economic and social model of life of capitalist society, which today moves mortifying human existence and threatening the horizon of survival of humanity itself .

It is for this reason that Lukács indicates the existence of a tendency of thought and social and political practice that leads to the destruction of reason[vi]. All cultural media and their scale of values, criticism and ideals based on the use of the support of reason for the creation of the foundations of civilization in the capitalist world, paradoxically began to become threats to the bourgeoisie. It is as if the creature had turned against the creator himself, in a relationship of estrangement with the content of his own work. Because the reason that since the enlightenment and the industrial revolution of the XNUMXth century, always instrumentalized by the bourgeoisie to guide and justify its civilizing project, became a nuisance, a danger to its economic and political interests.

This political perception of the bourgeoisie had already been captured by Marx since the 1848 revolution in France.[vii], when the bourgeoisie understood that reason could also be converted by its class enemies into a critical and action weapon, opening the possibility of developing perspectives of social changes and revolutions, confronting its domination and hegemony. But not only that, the new logic of reproduction of capital that invades social subjectivity and produces an individual in accordance with its new pattern of accumulation – neoliberalism – shows the need for other moral, ethical, political, cultural and philosophical concepts.

It is from this phenomenon that we can understand the fact that the new man who serves capitalism and its ideology today must always be in harmony with the modern dictates of the logic of reproduction of capital that strives for the emptying of reason, interdiction of criticism and elevation of ultra-individualism and irrationalism as a new functional ideological guide. Something that generates serious and somber effects on society and political activities and has caused the dismantling of man's humanization in relation to nature and among themselves in the process of sociability.

We are thus before the threshold of a social and historical reality in which the destruction of reason, or the use of it – amazingly – serve to impose irrational, corrosive and totalizing guidelines of a neoliberalism in ruins, under an apparent demonstration of strength and power that fundamentally hides the decadence of the civilizing model of bourgeois society. This occurs in the context of an automatic and disposable subsumption of the modern economic man: ultra-individualistic, privatized, socially isolated in a world of images and virtual, attached to material objectives and short-term human relations, volatile and guided by meritocratic ideas of increasing short-term gains.

Finally, it is on this soil that irrationalist economic and social values ​​thrive and invade the space of the community, everyday life, groups and associations of all kinds. And likewise, they begin to be disseminated in the sphere of work relations, in the family and in extreme right-wing party political organizations that emerge through impulses, practical actions and discourses spread within society under a denialist horizon, of trivializing life. and of death. Which translates the ruin of the moral interpretation of the world, where many individuals seem to be imbued with a cynical and nihilistic conscience, close to the notion of supermen imbued with a neo-fascist ideology of impunity that feels above any sanction in the face of the disasters of their actions and speeches. But none of this is strange, absurd or illogical, it is the raw and naked expression of the uncontrollable, growing and frightening logic of inequality, when financial oligarchies seek to keep their positions of power and economic advantages intact.

Marx elucidates this phenomenon of capitalism in section V of book III of Capital, where he seeks to analyze that, regardless of the ideology of this logic of reproduction of capital – as a social and material process – it is not possible to escape the limits of the nature of its development , and stresses that the existing obstacles are engendered within capitalist production itself. In this way, the main enemy of capital is capital itself, which gradually, despite the extraordinary ability to overcome its crises throughout its evolution, is forced to reinvent itself, destroying surplus capital and revolutionizing itself to create and open new patterns of development and growth. Thus, its sole purpose is to increase the valuation of its own value, that is, a system that is condemned to seek more value to asymmetrically produce more value with high levels of profitability and, finally, restore the necessary conditions, even if temporary. , to restore the profit rate at world level.

It is due to these determinations that it is not possible to always keep intact the ideological constructions of a real world that hide the nature of the social and material relations of a hegemonic project, such as neoliberalism, based on a deeply excluding, militarized and increasingly anti-democratic development. , subordinated to generalized and violent demands of monopolized and universalized accumulation. It is these conditions that make class contradictions emerge with full force when economic imperatives seek to counteract the growing trend of loss of real values ​​in the productive process.

For this reason, financialization establishes itself as a main mode of commanding the economy, not as something “new”, external to the immanent logic of capitalism, but rather as an expression of the heightened sharpness of internal contradictions within its historical tendencies that force – as a necessary condition of self-preservation – to destroy capitals, increase their volatility and seek unlimited profits and accumulation[viii]

It is in this way that the subordination of industry and the economy in general is processed, from which the largest portion of the profits that have their origin in the social relations of production is extracted, added to the profits obtained on other forms of income acquired by the subjects of all classes that, in one way or another, are at the mercy of loan operations and various forms of extracting advantages and profits by state or private banking networks that reproduce masses of fictitious capital in a dynamic of accumulation, concentration and centralization of global wealth never seen[ix].

This picture tends to get worse, increasing the structural inequities that are exacerbated by the death spiral of covid-19, which without any shame the representatives of private interests make the choice of profit to the detriment of life and social solidarity. We should not be surprised by these facts or just emit moral speeches of indignation, because all of this is proportional to the natural dimension of the destructive character, which is constitutive, proper to the capital relation that evolves in the form of subsumption of work and life to capital without their transformations have altered these laws that continue to govern capitalist production relations and human life.

In this era of neoliberalism hegemony, regardless of the idealized will of the social democracy project that always sought to control the logical and operative irrationality of capital, there is no way to contain the disastrous social, political and environmental consequences that will only tend to get worse. And, being aware of this dynamic and reality, the right and the extreme right, unite to take the privatization of all spheres of the economy and social and human relations to the last consequences, exacerbating individualism as a foundation and locus of “freedom”, advocating a reduction of the substance of liberal democracy which becomes an empty core to pass a financialized pattern of accumulation, demanding the suppression of the rights historically conquered by workers. Alongside this, there is also a weakening of institutions that defend their rights, such as the labor courts and unions; while the State advances in the criminalization of organizations of social movements in defense of life, housing, public health, education and work.

It is under these conditions that millionaires, corporations and all kinds of predatory world power organizations see their wealth increase at record levels of earnings since the beginning of the pandemic.[X]. At the same time, the crisis, according to the 2020 Oxfam report, could push more than half a million people into poverty, from the most developed countries of capitalism to the peripheral, subordinate and historically dependent countries. In the specific case of Brazil, the black population, the original peoples and all those who live from work and on the margins of the system find themselves more impoverished and with no prospect of employment and the future in an economic crisis intertwined with the health and political crisis led by a government neo-fascist, insensitive and silent in the face of the reality of the country's population.

According to Oxfam, there are around 40 million workers in Brazil without a formal contract and around 12 million unemployed. And, with the health crisis, the appearance of another 2,5 million unemployed workers is expected, which will add to the majority of the population that does not have access to sanitary and basic health conditions, throwing people into a situation of chronic illness, death and misery itself. Meanwhile, significant portions of the desperate and hopeless masses, as well as the middle class, tend to embrace authoritarianism, denialism, religious fanaticism, anticommunism that expands through neo-fascist political movements, which emerge as legitimate and intrinsic children of the crisis of the capitalism and neoliberalism.

A situation that makes us remember, even with differences and diverse contexts, the movements of the fascist hordes in the 1920s and 1930s in Europe, who took to the streets and occupied institutions to beat, murder opponents in the name of God, of the country, inciting hatred of Jews and Communists; actions that should be carried out by the so-called “good men”, ready to fight science, philosophy and every thought that frees men from obscurantist and perverse ideas. And just as in the past, today they have the support of the “enlightened” bourgeoisie and the traditional right which, despite being concerned with the institutional order and its legitimacy, stand hand in hand with the extreme right to dismantle the liberal constitutional pacts and imposing a radical neoliberal program that contradictorily undermines the very legitimacy of the system that is crucial to maintaining the social, political, and military conditions for accumulation.

This apparent contradiction finds its raison d'être within the autophagic movement of capital itself, where none of this seems to matter to the health of capitalism's own development. But the fact is that, at bottom, these are economic, social and political trends that are under the control of fractions of the capitalist class as a whole. The alarming increase in public debt, the migration of capital to speculative markets, the stock exchange, real estate speculation, organized crimes, international drug trade are located in the field of abstract, fictitious wealth – generated in capitalist production in general – that commands order economic and political

At the end of the XNUMXth century, Marx had already analyzed this phenomenon as a universalizing tendency of the reproduction of capital, where the so-called “globalization” process develops not as an isolated dynamic of abstract, fictitious capital, in a unique and unreal movement flow of economy, but as a phenomenon that is articulated with industrial production in motion (displacement of industry throughout the world, especially to China, Latin America, Europe, South Korea, etc.), producing the necessary conditions for the creation of “chains” of values” that, despite forming a contradictory synthesis of the reproduction of capital, cannot find another alternative to continue its universalizing dynamics.

It is from this strategy and logic of development that we must understand the characteristics of capitalism and imperialism today. In this regard, in what is essential, the same characteristics defined by Lenin, on the eve of the social revolution of the Russian proletariat in 1917, continue.[xi]. However, despite the similarities formulated with the development of capitalism and its form of imperialist economic expansion in the last century - today, new elements of economic, political and military interests develop on a regional scale in the midst of the structural crisis and socio-metabolic transformations of capitalist societies. and global present in the inter-imperialist confrontations; conflicts that arise directly in various regions of geostrategic interests, such as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia, where imperialist states operate with their own troops or through armies of mercenaries.

It is what we could call the zero point of the historical limits of the capitalist system, in which it itself cannot face or resolve its contradictions, only remaining to move forward, carrying an inevitable burden of its reason for being. Likewise, its most intelligent agents and ideologues, Keynesian reformers, seek, to a certain extent, to attenuate its symptoms, which represent threats and risks to the future of society and humanity itself.

In this scenario, it is undeniable that society and the economy are on a knife edge, mainly because they are immersed in a process of irrational implications, uncontrollable within the system itself since the end of the last century and two decades of the XNUMXst century, with continuous breaks of profit rates worldwide, especially in the major western capitalist and imperialist countries. In circumstances in which deindustrialization has been occurring in a different and surprising way, not only in the periphery, like Brazil and Latin America as a whole, but also, in an unequal and combined way, in central countries of capitalism, such as the USA, Great Britain , Italy and France. All of them also became importers of industrial products with added values ​​in different and variable ways among the nations that are part of this reality that establishes different roles in the participation of international trade.

In these circumstances, the governments of both the central and peripheral countries of capitalism, since 2007-2008, through increasingly independent central banks, without any “parliamentary democratic control” have been putting cheap money in the markets – out of thin air – to leverage the economy and resume growth in profit rates. These hopes, however, have been placed more and more distant from their realization, because a significant part of this money ends up going mainly to the financial market governed by speculative capital in stock exchanges subject to the weather of oscillations and crashes in the world financial market.

In the medium term, none of this seems to matter to capital, because in today's capitalism, the State and financial agencies increasingly act as financial support for private companies, protectors of their assets and their economic support to consolidate and conquer markets. It is for this same reason that the increase in public debt, created on the basis of the capital crisis itself to protect private interests, resorts to the fallacious and cynical argument of the need to cut State expenditures, which was baptized with the euphemism of “ austerity”, alongside the privatization of state-owned companies and public services to ensure fiscal balance.

One can thus observe the very irrationality of this form of reproduction of financial capital that develops in a logic of scorched earth in order to obtain economic advantages at any cost in the short term. It is from this point that Eleutério FS Prado (2016, p.8) highlights the fact that

Financialization is an astonishing, disproportionate and threatening development, it is a historical movement of capital socialization perfectly aligned with the historical trend of development of the capital relation. The objective goal of the capitalist mode of production is the valorization of value at any cost – and not the production of “concrete wealth”.

Here lies the current centrality of the crisis of capitalism engendered by an uncontrollable and unavoidable contradiction, since the very process that generates the valorization of value is immersed in contradictions that reveal its limits, not only because it exhausts human resources, the social force of the work and nature to guarantee the continuity of the calculated demands for obtaining exorbitant profits and accumulation, but also for constituting itself as a tendency of progressive loss of real value.

For this very reason, the system is obliged to find an alternative for the valorization of value, generating an internal, organic tension of capital that jeopardizes the survival and hegemonic stability of its own social order. Mainly, when the partisan political forces that embody the objective interests of capital are forced, in parliament and through countless institutions, to defend the deepening of social inequality, increasing the concentration of income and wealth in an increasing and brutal way; at the same time, it makes working conditions retroactive in many ways to those found in the world of work in the first decade of the XNUMXth century.

A development dynamic that, par excellence, carries around, a truly “endless” crisis, which can only be faced by seeking shelter in the bowels of fictitious capital, that is, in the financialization of the wealth of total social capital and in rentisms that express the negation of oneself, of the positivity of a socio-metabolic historical development model that is crawling in its structural crisis. Situation in which the State definitively assumes, in the light of day, its true historical function of safeguarding and making viable the interests of industrial capital, now financed to serve itself, the rentiers and the financial oligarchy; far from serving work, the environment and the well-being of the majority of the population.

But even so, capitalism persists as a hegemonic economic and social model, revealing the idea that everything evolves in its normality and continuity in a supposedly natural and irreplaceable way. The facts of the objective world reveal to us, however, that there is no longer any way to continue hiding the symptoms of the crisis in its entirety that, intertwined with the covid-19 pandemic, reveal a degree of lethality that denies any argument for hope, or for the end of temporary “imbalances” or “dysfunctions” of the capitalist social order. Today, more than in the past, the foundations and internal logic of capital depend viscerally on uninterrupted progress, guided by a fast form of profit appropriation and accumulation, revolutionizing its productive bases that generate, at the same time, “progress”, temporary stability and the emergence of crises that opened wide, reveal the irrationality of the “normality” alluded to by the naive in relation to the system's form of production and social, material and cultural reproduction.

In this way, this dynamic that imposes itself as the only way out – drags humanity along the path of economic irrationality, moves without any compromise or principles of formal reasonableness in relation to the legal sphere that conforms the principles of liberal thought and the bourgeois order. It is a dynamic that compromises all Western humanist ideas of piety, clemency, justice, formal freedom in the face of the objective and brutal interests of capital, which override any other appeal, wherever it comes from, because any objection is soon forced to submit the demands of neoliberal changes that require an ever deeper volatility of realizing the logic that governs the economy, which has its starting point in production, followed by the circulation of merchandise to generate real values ​​or in the form of money and, thus, falsely accumulating riches.

This is how, day after day, the trends in course come to light, making clear the size of the crisis of capitalism that unfolds in the phenomenon of deindustrialization, in unprecedented private and public indebtedness and the prolonged stagnation of capital appreciation; and, in the case of peripheral countries, there is also the factor of increased reprimarization and economic, technological and scientific dependence. All this articulated with the backdrop of imperialist interests that dispute, through economic sanctions or direct wars, the control and appropriation of the spoils of natural wealth, land and energy sources of all kinds.

At the same time, in a competition without borders, monopolies and international corporations act in search of high technology products, or simply through predatory interventions operated by imperialist wars, as has been happening in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America. Whether under the auspices of the UN, international financial bodies: WTO, BM, IMF or directly by military organizations such as NATO and NATO that, in the face of inter-imperialist disputes, jeopardize the survival of humanity due to the degree of thermonuclear lethality that wars tend to take on at present.

The intensification of this confrontation has been expressed in economic sanctions, impediments to the expansion of foreign high-tech companies, the flagship of the modern economy of the advanced capitalist countries, mainly by the USA, which seeks to protect some of the advantages it still has in the world market, even with clear evidence of its relative decline. Suffice it to note that shares of these technologically advanced economic sectors in the US GDP are now 38%, while China, a little behind, reaches 35% of its GDP[xii], demonstrating the ability to overcome this small difference in a relatively short time. A scenario that surprises and frightens the hegemonic interests of US imperialism, which becomes more aggressive and threatening.

Thus, it is clear that the USA finds itself in a very complex situation in the context of international competition, on the one hand, due to the increasing reduction of jobs lost in traditional industries, on the other, due to the displacement of its industrial plants to the abroad, mainly to China, Mexico, South Korea etc. Likewise, as a result of the advancement of labor-saving industry structured on the basis of high technology and intensive production. Indeed, US imperialism plays its last card in the dispute for hegemony in the world market through economic sanctions and military threats in the face of the fierce economic advance of China and, to a lesser extent, of Russia, forming a Eurasian bloc that threatens the hegemony North-American

Faced with this situation, liberal ideologues and Keynesian social democrats still hope to be able to reverse these trends and economic challenges permeated by political and class struggle in the context of capitalism in structural crisis. But, these illusions fed by the reformists, part of the mistake of not accepting the fact that any measure taken to curb the convulsions of these crises becomes merely palliative for a body on the way to multiple bankruptcies, we just cannot predict when its last breath will occur – but in the meantime, humanity is being dragged into a cauldron of barbaric social realities, where social ills and human suffering become trivialized and naturalized.

As this parade of horrors continues in all parts of the world, massive outbursts of spontaneous or organized revolts and indignation will become frequent in the face of deepening inequality, hunger, growing chronic unemployment, increasing legions of homeless people and the destruction of civil rights and abandonment of state social protection. The confluence of these elements, expressing in essence the contradictions and crisis of capital and its form of sociability, which must be apprehended not only in its conceptual and theoretical dimension, but also in the context of the contingency of the class struggle, of the here and now from reality; within the social and economic relations that need to be confronted from a strategy capable of harboring radical political propositions that do not allow themselves to be lulled just by the spontaneity of events or the masses in movement in a dispersed way that can be absorbed or neutralized, paralyzed in the frameworks of institutionality.

We cannot lose sight of the fact that for this economic and social system to continue to survive, it will only be possible through an overexploitation of salaried work and its almost absolute precariousness with the end of job stability and rights. This indicates that capital and its civilizational form have nothing more to offer. There is no longer any way to curb these objective and immanent tendencies that are socially imposed as irrational and tragic for the majority of humanity. Running away from this realization and reinforcing the illusions that it will still be possible, through political action to curb, to tame these trends through crisis management measures to re-establish economic “normality” and guarantee a sustainable and rational development of capitalism, which is capable of making concessions to workers in this context of the structural crisis of capitalism means spreading false hopes.

The evidence demonstrates that capitalism increasingly moves like a tightrope walker, threatening to fall but does not fall, although its path is marked by uncertainties and unpredictability. The characteristics of the crisis indicate that the system is approaching a historical limit in terms of its form of material and social production and reproduction, but that does not mean its end, as it is capable – through its flexibility – of generating hybrid forms of accumulation and profit creation in a direct or indirect relationship with the market and the general circuit of creation of values ​​and accumulation; being able to generate mutant social forms for the creation of profit, whether through production, rent seeking or various fictitious forms of absorption of values.

But the worst thing is that this possibility of survival of capitalism advances more and more through the sunset generated by the contradictions of capital itself in its uncontrollable march in search of profits, which engendered the financialization of the economy within the framework of the structural crisis. And as a result, it begins to invade all spheres of economic, social and cultural activity, privatizing the production of public goods, challenging the limits of nature and the human condition.

With the arrival of the pandemic, this reality is stripped bare and becomes a real nightmare; and there is no other alternative, but to articulate a content of radical criticism with a strategic political thought capable of confronting the real possibilities to offer solutions and concrete changes; act in the gaps in the system and leverage an anti-capitalist, democratic and revolutionary political horizon.

Therefore, it is necessary to elaborate a program of struggle against the principles of economic and political liberalism responsible for the logic of social and economic inequality. For, if we do not do so, in the context of the weakening of liberal democracy and the discrediting of the institutions of bourgeois society, the political representations of financial oligarchies – with a political and ideological profile of neo-fascist formation, or of a traditional right with a more classic profile tend to emerge to do the dirty work of scorched earth for the neoliberal project in ruins.

In this circumstance, the countless conjunctural political events express what the dominant classes are capable of doing, they do not hesitate to resort to a political and ideological archetype of hatred: an inverted and pure expression of the logic of social inequalities, whose purpose is to mobilize social segments of the middle class and workers, perversely directing them to act against their own interests. This is done through a speech of inverted symbologies of the notion of homeland, nation and family, fight against corruption always mixed with the old and tattered campaign against the left and the ghost of communism. An ideological war resource that the bourgeoisie, in times of crisis and fear of its class enemies, takes from the sarcophagi of its ancestors to frighten its peers and pursue the ideas of those who dream of the horizon of a free and emancipated society.

* Eliziário Andrade is a professor of history at UNEB.

Notes


[I] Heller, Pablo. Zombie Capitalism. Systemic crisis en el siglo XXI. Buenos Aires: Editorial Biblos, 1917.

[ii] Marx, Carl. Capital, I chapter – Merchandise, last section and in books II and III, in the study on interest-bearing capital. There we find the analyzes of the capitalist mode of representation that appears as an inverted form of the set of real practices that hide the truth about the concrete relations of life and sociability of the bourgeois world.

[iii] Kosik, Carol. The dialectic of concrete. Rio de Janeiro: Terra e Paz, 1976. Pay attention to the reading of chapter I., sub-topic 1: The world of Pseudoconcreticity and its destruction.

[iv] The World Bank released the report “Global Economic Prospects”, which describes a picture of the recession in the world capitalist economy, particularly in the chapter “Pandemic, Recession: The Global Economy in Crisis”. There, there is evidence of a recession that alternates its degree of depth at different times.

[v] Marx, Carl. Preface of 1859, in: Selected Works, Editorial “Avante”/Edições Progresso, Lisbon – Moscow, 1982.

[vi] Lukacs, George. The robbery a la razon. Buenos Aires: Grijalbo, 1983.

[vii] Marx, Carl. The 18th Brumaire and Letters to Kugelmann. Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra, 1977.

[viii] Marx, Carl. Grundrisses. São Paulo: Boitempo-UFRJ, 2011, p.627.

[ix] Roberts, Michael. Capitalism is for the few (Translation: Eleutério FS Prado. https://www.brasildefato.com.br/2020/12/10/artigo-o-capitalismo-e-para-poucos.

[X] OXFAM, in its 2020 report, reports that “the world's top 25 billionaires increased their wealth by $255 billion in the first three months of the coronavirus pandemic. The 32 most profitable companies in the world generated US$ 109 billion more in profits during the covid-19 pandemic in 2020 than the average obtained in the previous four years (2016-019)”. https://www.oxfam.org.br/justica-social-e-economica/poder-lucros-e-pandemia/.

[xi] Lenin, Vladimir Ilich. Imperialism: the highest stage of capitalism. São Paulo: Centauro Editora, 2002.

[xii] National Science Foundation, OMC, Golddman Sachs Inv. Research

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  • PEC-65: independence or patrimonialism in the Central Bank?Campos Neto Trojan Horse 17/06/2024 By PEDRO PAULO ZAHLUTH BASTOS: What Roberto Campos Neto proposes is the constitutional amendment of free lunch for the future elite of the Central Bank
  • Hélio Pellegrino, 100 years oldHelio Pellegrino 14/06/2024 By FERNANDA CANAVÊZ & FERNANDA PACHECO-FERREIRA: In the vast elaboration of the psychoanalyst and writer, there is still an aspect little explored: the class struggle in psychoanalysis
  • Introduction to “Capital” by Karl Marxred triangular culture 02/06/2024 By ELEUTÉRIO FS PRADO: Commentary on the book by Michael Heinrich

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