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(en) Portugal, A BATALHA, #196: DEVELOPING THE REVOLUTION CONCEPT (pt)

From manuel baptista <manuelbap@yahoo.com>
Date Sun, 12 Jan 2003 04:46:17 -0500 (EST)


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> From: A BATALHA <jornalabatalha@hotmail.com>
DEVELOPING THE REVOLUTION CONCEPT
« ... the masses are spontaneously moving forward, building a
grass-roots socialism, without charismatic leaders, or
?illuminated? vanguard party. »

In a previous article (see A BATALHA,  nº191, translation in
http://www.ainfos.ca/02/may/ainfos00400.html
I treated the question of the revolution nowadays. 
This subject, being so often treated by the most diverse people,
in so many different contexts needs a brief definition to
ascertain the sense in which I am going to employ it in this
text. Here, ?revolution? will be held as a deep and lasting
social transformation that enables the whole of humanity in
condition to make use of all the natural and social goods in a
free and equalitarian way.
The ethical need for a revolution doesn?t seem to me offering
any doubts; in this millennium beginning we have the material
tools for all the humanity to enjoy decent living conditions and
even somewhat more, but the inequalities in wealth and power
distribution have been such as to enhancing misery under all
forms in all latitudes. This occurs without affecting the
comfort of a minority with every thing that wastes it with total
lack of shame, indifferent to the humanistic and solidarity
values proclaimed in speeches, only to put asleep it?s bad
consciousness (when it has some).

The need for a revolution is not at all a mechanical one, as one
could apprehend from a ?historical materialistic? interpretation
of capitalist evolution and it?s contradictions. If that should
be the case, then it would be silly to try to speed it?s coming
or to provoke it?s occurrence; one should only have to wait
until it happens as if a natural phenomenon, like the inevitable
crossing of the solar system by a comet, for instance.

The risk that present day humanity extinguishes herself cannot
be excluded by anybody with minimal brain capacity; beyond the
danger of a nuclear global war, that nobody can exclude in the
shortest times (as long as there are nuclear weapons stocked),
other ?bombs? exist ? the ?demographic bomb? and the ?ecological
bomb?.  The planet may well become a place unfit for life due to
our blindness or myopia.
Due to the accelerating degradation of living conditions and not
to any blind determinism, many insurrections will occur, forcing
the system to use increasingly repressive means. This is not a
?prophecy? but just the observation of an inevitable outcome,
stemming from the following circumstances:

-	The existence of one lonely superpower worldwide, to 
which all the other powers are forced to submit
-	The existence of a shortage in foreseeable future of the oil
resources easily exploitable and therefore with a growth in the
prices until the point where it is inevitable the substitution
of present technology by a new one, no longer using fossil fuels
-	The ever growing misery of so-called 3rd and 4th world
countries due to predator economical and social policies and 
totally destructive of social structures, as a consequence of
the ultra-liberal behaviour of IMF, World Bank and WTO
-	The impossible task of keeping the population from the
so-called developed countries above the ?social unrest? level,
as the industrial centres are being displaced towards peripheral
countries where a semi-slave manpower is suffering the most
violent exploitation (examples such as the ?maquiladoras? near
the Mexican / USA border or the way the most savage capitalism
is being implanted in China?s People Rep.), performing a big
part of the industrial production for the richest countries
markets.

Since the transition to another kind of society is blocked by
the military almost absolute might from the planetary imperial
power, the peripheral societies will suffer all kind of
insurrections, coups d?état, wars inside and across frontiers,
without other effect than the deepening of misery of the totally
defenceless victims from such violence. The war will
increasingly appear as civil wars between rival groups, ethnic
or other, only coming to a halt when and if the imperial masters
decide to stop it. 
As for the consequences of global warming, these will
disgracefully be more severe in the tropics, enhancing the
drought in semi-arid zones (the Sahel and others) or increasing
the frequency and severity of typhoons and other devastating
climate phenomena in such zones as the Caribberian or the Indian
Ocean coasts. 
Regarding the so-called ?western democracies?, those will show
their totalitarian face increasingly, with technologies for the
selective repression of dissidence, the universal video control,
the systematic violation of electronic mail, etc.
The deep reason to this securitarian drift, although they use
?war against terror? as an alibi, is crystal clear: the armies
of jobless people generated by the sudden transformation in
production processes (technological revolution), combined with
the massive deserting of industries, going to countries where
the salaries are the lowest, will not be sustainable by a
welfare system in chronic deficit and one that the ?national?
bourgeoisie refuse to feed in due proportion (see the tax
evasion promoted by a number of ?tax heavens?, not only in
exotic places but also well inside EU, as Madeira, a Portuguese
island; Gibraltar, Great Britain colony; or Luxembourg
great-duchy?) 
The majority of people belonging to the oppressed classes -are
they in the rich or poor countries- will see their living
standard declining. The youth will not have much reason to hope
for a future in agreement with their legitimate expectations, as
long as this decadent civilisation will go on. 
The revolt will grow, inevitably. The guess is therefore not
whether there will be more social unrest, but rather how this
social agitation will yield the solution to the structural
crisis of capitalism, a crisis that cannot be solved within the
system itself.
In fact, during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the
cyclic capitalist crisis where ?absorbed? and  ?solved? in great
measure, through the systems expansion in its external limits
(the colonized and then neo-colonized countries) or even,
through inter-imperialistic wars that allowed the industry to
turn to the full after being paralysed by an overproduction
crisis (the obvious case being the 29-32 crisis ?solved? by the
2nd World War).
But, now, which parts of the Earth are still to be explored and
exploited? Which parts are not subjected to one or another form
of capitalist economy? Only the so-called ?communist? China, the
one totally yielding to the cruellest version of capitalism, the
one that is throwing millions of peasants in the slave markets
of the big cities to build the industrial frame able to rival
the other Asian industrialized powers. 
The African continent will be kept to its fate, just useful as
raw-materials reserve, not the least interesting for the great
corporations to invest in manufactures there.
 
The wars in recent times have been characterized by aiming at
the civil population, totally defenceless, butchered by the
?courageous? soldiers from hundreds kilometres away, the famous
zero casualties warfare (seen from the imperialist side, of
course?). It was such in Yugoslavia, in Afghanistan and Iraq too
(it has been already because Iraq has suffered hundreds of
deadly bombings since the end of the 1991 war, targeting
regularly industrial and residential quarters under the pretext
of neutralizing ?mass destruction weapons factories?).
Therefore, war will destroy the resources in an increasingly
efficient manner, but not permitting any kind of expansion, as
those countries will be expelled to total marginality concerning
the markets, both as producers and as consumers. Just watch the
situation of the ex-Yugoslavia countries since the wars, to give
one example.

The increase in military expenses from the sole remaining super
power (increase above the spending level during the most tense
years of ?cold-war?) came to remedy a deep depression that
threatened to precipitate USA in stagnation. Look at the eight
months fall in NY stocks and mainly in NASDAQ, between April and
December 2000. Anyway, to remedy is not to solve: the weapon and
ammunition production is either to be used (generating more
destruction) or to be stocked, but in any case, not furnishing
any significant contribution to the other industrial activities,
or just in a very marginal fashion. The outcome is a bloodshed
of all sorts of resources, from financial to raw-materials, from
scientific potential to specialized labour force, and this for a
neither productive, nor reproductive goal; in other words, it
won?t increase the global benefits of the system although
generating, in the short term, big profits to the industries
associated to such weapons production, like the ?star wars?
enterprise.

To keep their profits, the big corporations will use two
processes: the simple and straightforward predation on
resources, as they do already but in a larger scale, and taking
back from the ?developed? countries population the benefits from
the ?welfare state?, gained in class struggles during the 3
decades of capitalist expansion following the 2nd World War. 

We have therefore the capitalism digging it?s own grave, only
sustaining itself thanks to a monstrous repressive machine, with
control methods for everything and every one, keeping the
appearances of ?democracy?, if possible, so that it can maintain
the population asleep. 
This capitalism in accelerated decay will not bother with the
destiny of Argentina, or even of two or three ?Argentines?, as
their desperate citizens won?t count in their hegemony game.
Since they are not a direct threat to the survival of the system
as such, it is likely that entropy zones will be tolerated in
the edges of the system; just contained, because their
rehabilitation would be too high price and would have no
usefulness to the capital. 
Within the so-called developed societies, the misery ghettos,
with their corollaries of violence, prostitution, drugs, etc
will remain and enlarge, as it makes the global social control
easier. In this instance, the populations are placed in front of
their neighbour awful spectrum reduced to the condition of human
trash. Which instrument can be more adequate in order to
dissuade social dissent? Which instrument is better to generate
submission, for the panic of what loosing the miserable job
would mean?

Such evolution will not be unlimited though, because above a
certain level the oppression mechanisms are too unbearable,
triggering a social conscience awakening in the younger
generations in contact with the brutality of the powers
installed.

The search for alternatives has already begun, and this much
before Seattle. 
In fact, the birth date of this new era of anti-capitalist
fights is the 1st January 1994, with the Chiapas insurrection,
led by the zapatistas.
>From that moment on, the contemporary anti-capitalist movement -
nick-named ?anti-globalisation? by the media - has been growing,
challenging both the States and the big corporations
increasingly, not so much because of the demos as such, which
bear no risk to the present ?order?, but rather through a loss
of legitimacy effect, in consequence of those collective
actions: the young peoples libertarian ?happenings?, who know
better than ever before (much better than during May 68) what
they reject and assuming themselves as the builders of another
future where man exploiting man or nature devastation have no
longer place.

At local level, such alternative groups and coalitions are
developing grass-roots communities, unnoticed due to the media
blackout, the seeds of different life modes, of other cultures,
other values. The powers lackeys - be they from right or from
authoritarian left - will continue to defame the movement, as if
?something from marginal people?. Nevertheless the process is on
it?s way and a blooming of new projects is expected, taking
example of what has been done already in certain domains, from
the alternative news services (such as ?Indymedia? and other
internet projects) to the squat movement, where social centres
are created, fully assuming another living values, with the
collectives practising grass-roots democracy, where hierarchies
are absent, openness and mutual aid are the rule, and forming
with each other a solidarity network. 
Equally promising are the grass-roots democracy with
neighbourhood assemblies in Buenos Aires and other cities of
Argentina, bringing together common people around the resolution
of everyday problems. There, it is the survival itself that is
often at stake. In this country too, some occupied and
self-managed factories show - to whoever had still some doubts -
how adequate are the solutions ever defended by the
libertarians.
Such social phenomenon is even more remarkable as the
libertarian?s percentage is relatively low in Argentina (*),
making unreasonable to pretend they had a great responsibility
in the insurrection, at least in its beginnings.

Therefore, either in the North or the South, the East or the
West, and in spite of the enormous repressive means unfolded
under the pretext of ?war on terror?, the masses are
spontaneously moving forward, building a grass-roots socialism,
without charismatic leaders, or ?illuminated? vanguard party.

In this way, a new concept of revolution is being build, a
revolutionary action in total confrontation with capitalism and
in search of alternatives, outside and in conflict with the old
routine schemas from the authoritarian left of the past. 

___________________________
(*) Although it was a country where the libertarian socialism
was dominant in workers movement (with the FORA confederation,
IWA member), there are not many direct survivors from this due
to Peronism and to Videla?s bloody dictatorship. The present day
Argentina libertarians are coming, in large percentage, from
dissidents either from Marxist or left Peronist organisations.


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