A rebellious world

Image: Pramod Tiwari
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By PEDRO DE ALCANTARA FIGUEIRA*

What we have concretely in the specific field of economic production is that the laws specific to capitalist production and reproduction relations have succumbed to a structural crisis.

We are living in a new phase of anti-communism, which began around the 1960s of the last century. It did not change fundamentally despite the victory of the counter-revolution unleashed against socialism in 1990. Prior to this period, the anti-communist argument was based on the ideology that capitalism, with all its apparatus based on the fantasies of the superiority of democracy, individual freedoms and a infinity of scientifically engineered lies in the Nazi way, was superior to socialism.

What I classify as a new phase corresponds precisely to a profound change in the effectiveness of this argument. The crisis that assailed the capitalist system from that period onwards did not benefit, as was expected, from the victory against the Soviet Union. The counter-revolution does not erase the revolutionary impetus that takes over technology and the science of production, at the same time that it reveals the incapacity of bourgeois social relations to shelter the productive forces that derive from these same relations.

In this historical context of powerful transformations, the Chinese Revolution, the result of this blossoming of new forces, emerges as a new value. At the same time, structural changes are revealed in the laws of reproduction of capital, which manifest themselves concretely as impotence on the part of attempts to resolve them by persisting in the reaffirmation of these same laws.

It is precisely from this world full of new forces, which come into conflict with the persistence in maintaining forms of power already condemned by historical development, that we can understand the divisions that little by little shape a new reality.

We cannot forget that not even feudal appeals to divinity were successful in their attempts to prevent the birth of the bourgeois world.

We can say that social subversion, on a universal level, has taken hold at the heart of human society. There is no way to escape this empirical data if we intend to mark our presence in the inevitable clash that unfolds in all sectors of modern life.

We live in the midst of a whirlwind of insolent forces that do not respect experiences consecrated by their age. This situation allows us to better understand what the Industrial Revolution was like at a time when social antagonisms were defined. The old feudal world could not coexist and, therefore, survive in the face of the steam engine. This new work instrument began to activate forces that, in a way, are coming into the world for the first time, that is, a worker who relates to this instrument objectively, which means that automation is completely independent of its physical constitution. The windmill corresponds to the aristocratic world.

It reached such a point in terms of the development of work instruments that Benjamin Franklin classified the new human species that was emerging, in a very characteristic way, typical of a Yankee: man is a tool making animal.

Well, this situation, which in the Industrial Revolution saw a complete turnaround in the historical course followed until then, presents itself, at the current moment, with a new trajectory directed towards transformations of unprecedented dimensions. If, as stated by the The Manifest: “The bourgeoisie, in its class dominance of just a century, created productive forces more numerous and more colossal than all past generations taken together”, (p. 44, Boitempo) socialism, in China, in just 70 years of revolution, erupts like a productive volcano never seen in the entire existence of humanity.

The man of our time is one who moves in a technological and scientific world that advances free from the constraints that impeded all previous modes of production in which contradictions inherent to class antagonisms prevailed. They all developed potentialities that, at a certain point, became obstacles to the persistence of the existing way of life.

Just a brief reference to the nonsense, disastrous mistake, which consists of labeling the Chinese superpower as imperialist. I borrow it from the time when anti-communist propaganda stirred up chiens-de-garde against the Soviet Union.

We are sorely lacking when it comes to understanding that human nature has the only possible way of understanding the steps taken by human society in the science of history. It is understood that this science, like all others, cannot be reached through flowery paths.

There are times when changes occur slowly. Some sectors stand out for showing greater acceleration, others follow the dominant pace, and these are the ones that prevail. This is not, however, the character of current times. It is not by chance that we had a 20th century full of upheavals of all kinds, from two wars that involved the entire world and others that were localized, but which, however, began to express a transformative global revolutionary content.

Since the Second World War, the American Empire and its vassals have specialized in combating the irresistible tendency towards revolutionary transformation. It is necessary to understand that this tendency does not exclude, as it could not otherwise, especially its vassals and the Empire itself. True police repression led by the United States became dominant everywhere.

The repressive machine that imperial capitalism became was supported by a powerful ideological machine that massacred the entire world with a supposed ideal of harmony, a gigantic farce that prevailed everywhere. Its “scientific” organization, like that of German Nazism, had as its starting point the fight against communism.

Let no one be surprised by the reactionaryism of the bourgeoisie. In the Civil War, the British Empire openly supported the slaveholding states of the South. King Cotton, produced under a slave regime and which supported much of the English industry, was the decisive reason for the position of the English bourgeoisie.

I mention this true betrayal of the English bourgeoisie to the American bourgeoisie with the purpose of showing that the imperial counter-revolution, when assuming neocolonialist forms, also affects those countries in which, from time to time, tendencies towards industrial development emerge. Monopolies show, in these situations, their true nature. Add to this the fear that the productive forces cannot be politically controlled according to the economic laws that govern the functioning of capitalist society.

Economists who, however, realize their inability to stop the gigantic revolutionary impulse that has taken over forces that have been accumulating for more than a century, have a relevant role in this anti-historical task. In this aspect, this moment, marked by the presence of a true transformative storm, has very little that is original. This was the case with the bourgeois revolution, which has a transformative power in the Industrial Revolution, whose magnitude upset the dominant ideas, to the point that feudal laws began to be considered artificial, contrary to human nature.

I intend to reinforce the idea that the laws that govern the existence of a mode of production come from nowhere other than the concrete way in which men produce their lives in society. There are no forces alien to the concrete movement internal to human society. Although Pico della Mirandola, due to the historical circumstances of the moment in which he presented humanity with grandiose ideas, resorted to a deus ex machina special, his exaltation of human work is worthy of always being remembered.

Regarding its political structure, how does the world currently look?

In terms of class antagonisms, a profound change took place. These antagonisms have disappeared, leaving only residues of a recent past, which allow us to remember the clashes between workers and capitalists. It is from these two classes and their antagonisms that the capitalist mode of production was structured, based on the private ownership of the means of production that was reproduced based on a permanent expropriation of the worker.

Another type of antagonism, which came to replace that which had been organized with industrialization, began to prevail in a clearer way after the second world war.

On one side are those forces that rally based on propositions clearly expressed in their commitments to this gigantic advance in technology and production science. Leading this field is China, possessing forces that point to a universal change in social and economic relations. The revolution of our time has its most concrete manifestation there.

On the other side, where the Empire and its European vassals find themselves, opposition to the trend towards advances of all kinds occupies its entire political scenario, becoming a machine aimed exclusively at the devastation of those forces that present themselves as new.

What we have concretely in the specific field of economic production is that the laws specific to capitalist production and reproduction relations have succumbed to a structural crisis, which is nothing strange, as they resulted from the development of these same relations. The production of surplus value no longer prevails in obtaining profit, now converted into gains obtained, in Fidel Castro's expression, in a “gigantic casino”.

* Pedro de Alcantara Figueira he holds a doctorate in history from Unesp. Author, among other books, of History essays (UFMS).


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