The Crutches of Capital

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By Eliziário Andrade*

Capital chose Bolsonaro as the best instrument to represent it and take its imperatives and destructive interests to the last consequences.

Over the past 30 days, the mainstream national and international media, right-wing and extreme right-wing parties have been working hard to construct a false and simplistic explanation for the cause of the generalized fall in stock markets. Without wasting time, the “experts” on duty and the ideologues of neoliberalism intervene, trying to cover the sun with a sieve, in order to hide from the population what lies behind this reality.

It must be revealed that the current scenario of economic crisis does not have fortuitous, accidental causes generated by a viral epidemic or even as a consequence of the trade war between the USA and China, or the war of oil prices in the world market. On the contrary, all these facts are consequences, resulting from a structural, systemic crisis that varies in terms of its intensity, depth and extension in different ways in each period. And that demonstrates the inability of the world capitalist economy to forge longer periods of stabilization and expansion based on real processes of material and social reproduction, today hegemonized by the fraction of financial capital.

The mistakes of the crisis of the capitalist world economy that has dragged on since 2007, when the crisis of subprime, the reduction of industrial products began, widespread speculation of prices in the financial market (shares, public and private debt securities) – they were not and could not have been overcome. The measures taken to face the economic problems from that year onwards did not have the objective of eradicating the causes of this crisis, as it expressed the very insoluble contradiction of capital, governments and dominant classes that embody their interests.

Through state action, governments have injected gigantic fortunes from public funds into the financial system as a whole. At the same time, they drastically reduced the State's ability to promote public and social policies for the majority of the population. Furthermore, they dismantled the entire social protection system created after the Second World War and deregulated institutionalized social work relations once and for all in the same period.

From that moment on, as Marx pointed out, capital struggles more and more against itself and the impossibility of containing its crises over longer periods. After facing the crisis at the beginning of this century, the system's propagandists spread the idea that the banking and stock market crises had been contained and overcome. For this reason, neoliberal governments ensured all freedom to big capital to carry out the most diverse forms of speculation, expropriation and spoliation of work. Economic and legal conditions were created for all forms of speculation in the productive and financial sphere, thereby increasing the massive indebtedness of large, medium and small companies. Equally, involving all workers, consumers in general for a growing indebtedness, most of which are unpayable.

When the current crisis exploded, its indicators had already been manifesting since 2018-2019, with the weakening of world production in Europe, USA, China, Japan, India and Russia. Several industrial sectors that reached increasing rates after 2008, such as automobiles, machines and tools, again stagnated and lowered their productivity. But, despite the productive stagnation, the financial and speculative sphere continued its expansion. Thus, capital, through the fictitious means of transactions, began to look for ways out of low profitability in the productive sphere, increasing its bets on the world market. At the same time, centre-left, social liberal, right-wing and extreme right-wing governments intervene to lower wages and cut rights, approving laws that ensure austerity policies.

In this context of saturation of the world economy, of exacerbation of the contradictions of the capitalist economy and intensification of inter-imperialist conflicts, the conditions for the crisis were already given. It is in this conjunctural atmosphere that the coronavirus emerges as a detonator that explodes what was already underway, matured to manifest itself in the form of a financial crisis, although its main cause lies in the social contradictions of capitalist production. Therefore, it is on this reality that the coronavirus – as an extra-economic fact – acts and impacts the global production chain, slowing down and, in some cases, paralyzing its activities; thus creating fertile ground for economic recession on a global scale. That's where a kind of virus resides that is part of the bowels of the system, which has no treatment or cure. When he will make his patient perish, nobody knows, it is an open historical possibility that only the plundered, exploited of this society will be able, from today, to carry out the preparations for his effective burial.

While this fact does not occur, the real trend of a dark and barbaric political and economic process continues, essentially determined by the decline in the rate of profit that creates insurmountable obstacles to the appreciation of capital. This obliges greater interventionism by the State to guarantee control of society, as greater coercion, reduction of the democratic spaces of bourgeois democracy itself. It also imposes a higher level of indebtedness unparalleled in the history of capitalist economies, financial hypertrophy and the growth of fictitious capital over all things in society, such as the generalized and ruthless confiscation of the working masses, causing a historical setback in the conditions of life and existence . Symptoms that do not derive, in any way, from the coronavirus, but from the fact that capital cannot sustain itself. He needs crutches in the form of violence, wars, authoritarianism, conservatism, of retrograde elements in the scale of values ​​to introduce elements of a culture that appeals to fanaticism, racism and xenophobia of all kinds, using ignorance as a parameter of judgments about life, truth and science.

Thus, the necessary conditions have been forming to strengthen politically, ideologically and culturally a counterrevolution that emerges as a genre of buffa opera represented by the trickster, bizarre and grotesque figure of Bolsonaro. But even so, he is a character drawn from real life, from the moral decay and principles of bourgeois culture; product of the objective and subjective conditions of the conjuncture that preceded its rise. For this reason, capital chose this character as the best instrument to represent it and carry out its imperatives and destructive interests to the last consequences. It remains to be seen how long this character from the opera bufa will serve this purpose, until what time his uncontrollable inconvenience in the way of governing, leading, generating dangerous political destabilization at all times, jeopardizing the hegemony of the dominant classes in the control of the State is possible to support.

*Eliziário Andrade He is a professor at the State University of Bahia (UNEB)

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