A new protagonist

Chila Kumari Singh Burman, Red Riots on Indian Paper, 1981
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By PEDRO DE ALCÂNTARA FIGUEIRA*

We are living in a historical moment in which any and all attempts to assert the power of bourgeois institutions demonstrate their total fragility.

The capital It is an unfinished masterpiece.[I] It will be up to capital itself, by historical right, to write its last chapter, something great that is being written now. The final point will be a protagonist, whose formation will take place according to the degree of dissolution of the old social form, at the very moment when its institutions, one by one, go into bankruptcy.

The emergence at this moment of a new power means precisely that a new social formation will require the emergence of new institutions. Its fundamental characteristic is to leave behind the forms of antagonism that have prevailed until now.

If it is true that this character had, at other times, to subsist in alliance with other forces, bourgeois, in short, it is also true that the current scientific and technological development under which work becomes productive in a way incomparable to any other moment in history paves the way for a rapid transition towards a new form of society.

We are living in a historical moment in which any and all attempts to assert the power of bourgeois institutions demonstrate their total fragility in the face of forces that manifest themselves only as urgent needs for transformation. The production of wealth, in short, the production of life, reveals nothing other than the complete incapacity of capitalist society, since profit is a real impediment to the release of a new form of work that carries unlimited productive power. It is this impasse that demonstrates the need for new power.

What power is this?

Its most general characteristic will certainly have to represent an absolute identification with the new productive forces that resulted from that development to which I referred above. Given this aspect, it will be formed with the absolute exclusion of any forms of social antagonism that prevailed in previous eras. The power of these new forces is such that only the complete elimination of any trace of the past will be able to give them free rein.

A grandiose task, so to speak, this new phase in the history of humanity will not be able to count on the old social classes, those precisely that were born as a manifestation of the emergence of capitalism. As such, these classes are committed to a form of society that they treat as the natural form of human existence. History took care of overturning the pretension of the bourgeois form to become eternal.

Given these conditions, the new character, uncompromised with the old forms, which, by the way, are part of the nature of the system in decadence, is a product of the transformations that have accompanied human society since at least 1917, the year in which the bourgeois heaven was convulsed by the Soviet Revolution. Since then, this character has been the object of a policy of total repression by the dominant, which is not restricted only to police violence, but is also intended for ideological control marked by unlimited anti-communist hysteria. The counterrevolution came to dominate the politics of the capitalist state.

It is precisely there that the crucial point in the history of this period until our days lies. Unlike the form that anti-communism took today, what prevailed until 1945, the year of Nazism's defeat against Soviet socialism, was a policy of confrontation with which an attempt was made to demonstrate the superiority of capitalism. This policy, in the post-Second World War, was largely supported by the economic recovery of capitalist Europe devastated by the war. Despite this attempt, the communist revolution broke out in China in 1949, with which anti-communism suffered a major blow.

However, the counter-revolution, which became an exclusive policy of capitalist states, did not give up on its intentions. The coup against socialism in the Soviet Union in 1990 deeply shook the socialist camp.

The Chinese revolution overturned the widely held prejudice that the capitalist economic system is superior to the socialist one. Based on unprecedented economic progress, achieved in a few decades based on large-scale technological and scientific development, it became clear that this result resulted from the free and full course that was given to those forces. These were precisely the forces that capitalism tried to repress, as they demonstrated, in practical terms, the historical impossibility of the much-vaunted eternity of the capitalist economic system.

Historical product that they are, the new scientific and technological achievements required a new social representation, as the dominant mode of production had exhausted its possibilities of putting into action the power contained in its development.

As in all moments of transition in which old social and economic structures gave way to new forms of life production, the current transition, already prevailing in several parts of the world, calls for a new character. Nothing but new historical forces are capable of giving birth to it. As we have previously stated, this is a character whose qualification is in historical gestation, as his identification with the new world that emerges with the complete liberation of productive forces is a condition of his existence.

We classify it as “popular power”, although we understand it as a component of the various existing social groupings, and not just as an exclusive representation of those that the popular term suggests. This is not an arbitrary choice, but simply a power that is freed from any form of commitment to the past. Only in this way will he be able to meet the demands posed by the new reality.

We have dealt with the issue so far on the basis of the principle of identity between the productive forces and popular power. We can, however, reduce it to a single protagonist, popular power, as this in fact contains, as a historical product, the productive force that will be responsible for triggering the process of transformation that historical circumstances have generated. Forms of work organization are already emerging in the pores of capitalist society that indicate not only the advanced process of disintegration of capitalism, but also reaffirm the need for change.

According to Ladislau Dowbor, in A era do capital improvutivo, capital, as the title of his book shows, stopped feeding preferentially on its essential nutrient, surplus value, and entered a phase in which looting and plundering became its main task.[ii] Such destructive power has been wrongly classified as financial capital, when, in fact, it is money that has lost its social function and has become incapable, due to its new nature, of returning to production. Another gross error consists in classifying as profit what results purely and simply from unrestrained gambling with this useless money, which also reveals the uselessness of its promoters.

It is true that the source that feeds this roulette can create confusion regarding the difference between the profit that derives from the relationship between capital and labor, which is surplus value, and the enrichment of the banks, the main organizers of the monetary roulette, which until recently they were the financiers of productive money. What remains of this activity, that is, bank loans, which result in the charging of interest, has become secondary and a tiny part of the useless money that banks hoard. Therefore, what has been classified as “financialism” does not correspond to the true relationship that money had with work.

These considerations, which, to a large extent, support our arguments about the gestation of a new historical character, result exactly from the concrete, empirical data provided by the work mentioned above, a documentary repertoire that has hitherto been irreplaceable in terms of a safe analysis regarding the need for a profound transformation of a mode of production that is incapable of taking a positive step for the benefit of humanity. What remains of this mode of production is nothing more than the rubble of what was once a powerful society. We are already living in a situation that has lost its identification with human life.

Therefore, what is still commonly called capital, capitalism, capitalist system, financial capital, etc., are denominations that corresponded to relations that began to lose their precise characterization after the first European civil war which, like the second , showed that those contradictions of capitalism, highlighted by Marx, entered a phase in which there remained a single solution capable of continuing social and economic development.

Without secrets or miracles, this solution is a general collectivization of all society on a global scale. The essential, that is, historical, dimensions of this crisis make the creation of a new protagonist urgent, as the state of weakness in which the two classes that until now constituted the social and economic basis of society find themselves is evident.

The response to this trend is the exacerbation of anti-communist hysteria, which is expressed in coups d'état and permanent military invasions throughout the world, perpetrated directly by the Empire with the assistance of its European vassals. Therefore, it is not surprising that anti-communism declared total war on the people, to the point that barbarism became the only policy of the State, which abandoned its role of supporting capitalist accumulation.

What remains of the bourgeoisie abdicated its historical role and granted its power to a gang, economically organized by “rentismo” and groups responsible for the violence practiced daily against the population.

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

Notes


[I] If anyone was alarmed by our declaration of an unfinished masterpiece in relation to Marx's magnum opus, he can rest assured that the person who clearly stated what follows was none other than himself: “The same men who established the social relations in accordance with their material productivity also produce principles, ideas, categories in accordance with their social relations.

Thus, these ideas, these categories are as little eternal as the relationships they express. They are historical and transitional products. " [The Poverty of Philosophy, Global Editora, p. 106]).

[ii] The fall in the rate of profit wreaks havoc on the capitalist field. Initially, the “solution” was the monopolization of the economy; the second, the current one, is the flight from production. In an attempt to circumvent the fall in the profit rate, the monopoly decouples, by artificially raising prices, the relationship between value and price. Rising prices: a spurious way to make a profit. A true robbery of society as a whole. When the price-value relationship is violated, something serious is certainly happening in the reproduction of capital itself.


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