Does Fabio Vighi bring any­thing to the table?

Lese­zeit20 min
Fabio Vighi, Pro­fes­sor of Cri­ti­cal Theo­ry, recent­ly gra­ced the dar­lings of »reasonable« Ger­man Covid skep­ti­cism, »Ever­y­thing on the Table«, with his edi­fy­ing pre­sence. The Abs­tract of his inter­view was par­ti­cu­lar­ly tantalizing:

Two years after the arri­val of COVID-19, Fabio Vighi explo­res the cau­sal link bet­ween our finan­ce-dri­ven, implo­si­ve eco­no­my and a health emer­gen­cy who­se per­pe­tua­ti­on appears incre­asing­ly sen­se­l­ess. After bil­li­ons of injec­tions with mul­ti­ple expe­ri­men­tal vac­ci­nes, the migh­ty pan­de­mic is still with us. This time, howe­ver, it comes with the bonus of soaring infla­ti­on, which by deva­luing cur­ren­ci­es pushes more and more peo­p­le into debt and pover­ty, while also con­sig­ning popu­la­ti­ons to often extre­me forms of lega­li­zed dis­cri­mi­na­ti­on. Cui bono? Why are we still stuck in this depres­si­ve condition?

A clear elu­ci­da­ti­on the »cau­sal link« bet­ween the eco­no­my and the »health emer­gen­cy«, and even more so the con­cre­te bene­fi­ci­a­ries (Cui Bono?) of the covid-era would be eager­ly wel­co­med, per­haps abo­ve all, by tho­se on the osten­si­ble left of the free­dom move­ment resis­ting lock­downs and sub­se­quent Coro­na-mea­su­res. Does Vighi, in fact, deliver?

A Cau­sal Link?

Let’s look clo­se­ly at what Vighi has to say, and first try and iden­ti­fy the »cau­sal link« pro­mi­sed. Ear­ly in the inter­view, he explains that »our eco­no­my is a kind of ultra-finan­cia­li­zed eco­no­my, so it is very much addic­ted to the finan­cial sec­tor, to finan­cial spe­cu­la­ti­ons«. Somehow, the (pre­su­ma­b­ly, enti­re) eco­no­my (of the glo­be, the West, etc, he does not spe­ci­fy) is »addic­ted« (a meta­phor) to the finan­cial sec­tor (a part of the eco­no­my). Vighi then imme­dia­te­ly pro­ceeds to fur­ther decla­re that »The­re is almost a decou­pling bet­ween the finan­cial sec­tor and the so-cal­led fun­da­men­tals in the real eco­no­my«. So now the eco­no­my, or at any rate, a part of it (the »real« part) is decou­pled from the finan­cial sec­tor, while also simul­ta­neous­ly, somehow, »addic­ted to it«.

Vighi asserts, with a »so« which impli­es that it somehow pre­su­ma­b­ly fol­lows from the abo­ve, that:

The finan­cial sec­tor is by far the domi­nant in pro­du­cing value, what we regard as eco­no­mic value. Most of the value as we know is pro­du­ced in the finan­cial sec­tor, which means the very social repro­duc­tion of our lives depends incre­asing­ly on what goes on in the finan­cial sec­tor. Like the mass of value I think today in the finan­cial sec­tor is pro­ba­b­ly about 6 times the value we get in terms of tra­di­tio­nal GDP in the real eco­no­my and we don’t know how much value cer­tain mar­kets pro­du­ce, like the deri­va­ti­ves mar­ket, a very com­plex, obscu­re gala­xy of spe­cu­la­ti­ve finan­cial capi­ta­lism. So over­all we all know that the mass of finan­cial values is much big­ger than the mass crea­ted in the real eco­no­my. So auto­ma­ti­on plays an abso­lut­e­ly cru­cial role.

Who the »we« here who regards or knows such things is rather ambi­guous. Par­ti­cu­lar­ly per­plex­ing is Vighi’s use of the term »value«. He doesn’t care to cla­ri­fy how he is using it, though of cour­se main­stream poli­ti­cal or eco­no­mic­al dis­cour­se would sim­ply refer to money, or wealth. For his pri­ma­ry audi­ence, pre­su­ma­b­ly tho­se on the left with some vague know­ledge of Mar­xism, he is in fact tra­ding off the likeli­hood that we are assum­ing a basi­cal­ly Mar­xist usa­ge. Of cour­se, for anyo­ne who actual­ly sub­scri­bes even remo­te­ly to a labor theo­ry of value (Mar­xist or other­wi­se) this account is evi­dent­ly problematic.

From a Mar­xist per­spec­ti­ve, only labor pro­du­ces value, which it imparts through the pro­cess of pro­duc­tion to com­mo­di­ties. The com­mo­di­ties bea­ring that labor may be repacka­ged, trans­fer­red, traded, col­la­te­ra­li­zed etc. in the finan­cial sec­tor – inde­ed, cer­tain small quan­ta of value may be added at this stage, via the tech­ni­cal labor done in, for ins­tance, the mar­ket rese­arch or cal­cu­la­ti­ons done in pro­du­cing a futures con­tract (as the trans­por­ta­ti­on sec­tor may add fur­ther value to a com­mo­di­ty by moving it from the point of pro­duc­tion to the point whe­re it can be sold). But a Mar­xist use of the term value is utter­ly incom­pa­tible with the noti­on that it might be pre­do­mi­nant­ly pro­du­ced in the finan­cial sec­tor, and par­ti­cu­lar­ly with the idea that spe­cu­la­ti­on its­elf can pro­du­ce value.

In fact, though he doesn’t deign to announ­ce it here, Vighi has else­whe­re estab­lished hims­elf as a pur­vey­or of a Hege­li­an cri­tique of Mar­xism, par­ti­cu­lar­ly the noti­on of sur­plus value. Vighi decla­res in his inter­view with Todd Mcgo­wan that, in fact, sur­plus-value is an incal­culable »Laca­ni­an type enti­ty«. Thus he fur­ther decla­res, wit­hout any actu­al logi­cal expo­si­ti­on, that capi­tal can repro­du­ce its­elf in the finan­cial mar­ket, »spe­cu­la­tively«, wit­hout any media­ti­on of labor its­elf, just as well as it can direct­ly through the explo­ita­ti­on of labor power – becau­se the »logic is the same«. He does not deign to expand, bey­ond repea­ting that it is sim­ply a mat­ter of »belief« (here his sup­po­sed »Hege­lia­nism« seems very hard to distin­gu­ish from the most sopho­m­oric post­mo­dern relativism).

Whe­ther one agrees with it or not, the Mar­xist logic here is rather straight­for­ward and per­haps worth very brief­ly reca­pi­tu­la­ting. The exch­an­ge-value of a com­mo­di­ty (i.e., what you can sell it for) is deter­mi­ned by the avera­ge amount of labor-time it takes to pro­du­ce that thing in the social cir­cum­s­tances in which you are try­ing to sell it, plus the cost of any other neces­sa­ry inputs, the value of which is direct­ly car­ri­ed over into the final pro­duct. This basic struc­tu­re of com­mo­di­ty pro­duc­tion is over­laid by a den­se web of rents, which can make it hard to dis­cern in practice.

Under capi­ta­lism, labor-power is its­elf a com­mo­di­ty. Workers gene­ral­ly sell it in chunks (say, 8 hours) and get paid at the going rate (say, $60). That going rate is deter­mi­ned in exact­ly the same way as every other com­mo­di­ty in a capi­ta­list mar­ket: by the neces­sa­ry labor time nee­ded to pro­du­ce and repro­du­ce that worker being able and wil­ling to work for tho­se 8 hours. So wha­te­ver the cos­ts of the food, housing, clot­hing etc. nee­ded so that that worker can work for 8 hours, and con­ti­nue to do so regu­lar­ly, deter­mi­nes the exch­an­ge-value of his labor-power.

The trick of capi­tal is this: human labor is the uni­que crea­tor of value. Humans can pro­du­ce more than what it takes to sim­ply repro­du­ce them­sel­ves. An awful lot more. It might take only 4 hours for me to pro­du­ce enough that can be exch­an­ged for ever­y­thing I need, but I can work for 8 hours. The capi­ta­list of cour­se insists then that I work the full 8, but assi­duous­ly appli­es the law of the mar­ket in pay­ing me my wages, which he knows need only amount to the value of 4 hours. Sin­ce he owns the means of pro­duc­tion, and con­trols the sta­te, he gene­ral­ly wins the argu­ment. As Marx obser­ves, »bet­ween equal rights, force deci­des«. So what I pro­du­ce in the other 4 hours is all his – this is sur­plus-value, the source of capi­ta­list profit.

Again, whe­ther one agrees or not, how this ope­ra­ti­on crea­tes sur­plus value for the capi­ta­list is clear. He pays me for four hours of work, but I have work­ed eight. That value goes into the pro­ducts he brings to mar­ket. Once he sells them, he has more than he began with. From a fur­ther level of abs­trac­tion, the­re has been a net increase in the amount of useful things in the world. Wealth has been crea­ted. This bears no com­pa­ri­son with the ope­ra­ti­on of spe­cu­la­ti­on. It can only enable cer­tain capi­ta­lists to appro­pria­te for them­sel­ves part of the value which wea­k­er capi­ta­lists appro­pria­ted from workers. It does not con­tri­bu­te to the expan­si­on of the coll­ec­ti­ve wealth of huma­ni­ty, only the redis­tri­bu­ti­on of claims upon it.

It is important that one resist the tempt­a­ti­on to be brow-bea­ten by Vighi – to assu­me that amidst his eru­di­te allu­si­ons he must real­ly be say­ing some­thing serious and pro­found that is sim­ply bey­ond you. Very often, it is sim­ply gib­be­rish. (In this respect, he is some­what less sophisti­ca­ted than Zizek). If one has any doubt about this, they need only look at his and McGowan’s dis­mis­sal of Marx’s labor theo­ry of value for being inca­pa­ble of explai­ning the pro­fi­ta­bi­li­ty of a high tech enter­pri­se like Micro­soft ! In such remarks our lear­ned phi­lo­so­phers betray that they have not even the sligh­test aquan­tai­ne­ce with such essen­ti­al and rudi­men­ta­ry ele­ments of the Mar­xist account as pri­ce trans­for­ma­ti­on or tech­no­lo­gi­cal rents. Of cour­se, indi­vi­du­al pri­ces of com­mo­di­ties do not cor­re­spond with their value.[1]

Worse still, Vighi is not con­sis­tent, even on his own terms. In his inter­view with McGo­wan, he is clear that sur­plus-value as he con­cei­ves it is incal­culable. Yet in the excerpt abo­ve , he decla­res that »the mass of value I think today in the finan­cial sec­tor is pro­ba­b­ly about 6 times the value we get in terms of tra­di­tio­nal GDP in the real eco­no­my«. So wha­te­ver he means by »value« here, in his Ever­y­thing on the Table inter­view, is not only mea­sura­ble but direct­ly com­men­sura­ble (accor­ding to what con­ver­si­on sys­tem, he does not share) with the GDP. And we »get« more of it in this »finan­ce sec­tor« than we pre­su­ma­b­ly »get« (how this get­ting is rela­ted to making, also unclear) in the »real eco­no­my« (a vague and again, cer­tain­ly non-Mar­xist con­cept). More still of this mys­te­rious (non)entity is pro­du­ced, we are told, in vast quan­ti­ties of which we can­not even be sure, in places like the »deri­va­ti­ves mar­ket.« And though he has allo­wed hims­elf to be cast as the Vir­gil who will gui­de us through the­se dan­ge­rous and mur­ky finan­cial nether regi­ons, ins­tead of an expl­ana­ti­on here, he can be bothe­red only to ges­tu­re towards a »very com­plex, obscu­re gala­xy of spe­cu­la­ti­ve finan­cial capi­ta­lism« wit­hout fur­ther elucidation.

From all this tor­tu­red non-expl­ana­ti­on is declared, »so auto­ma­ti­on plays an abso­lut­e­ly cru­cial role«. And, not only that: it turns out that we (were led to get the impres­si­on that we) plum­bed such finan­cial depths for not­hing: it is in fact auto­ma­ti­on that

is the ori­gi­nal moment, was the ori­gi­nal cau­se that deter­mi­nes the sort of dise­qui­li­bri­um that we have today and this kind of hyper-finan­cia­li­zed sys­tem with all the vola­ti­li­ty that comes with it, we are tal­king about fic­ti­tious capi­tal, spe­cu­la­ti­ons, often as I said very com­plex and very vola­ti­le are very pro­ne to crea­ting bubbles and the bubbles burst and that is very pro­ble­ma­tic for the who­le sys­tem becau­se all of our socie­ty are addic­ted to the value pro­du­ced in the finan­cial sector.

The line of cau­sa­li­ty is, suf­fice it say, less than evi­dent here. Somehow it see­med that finan­cia­liza­ti­on (which his­to­ri­cal­ly pre­ce­ded auto­ma­ti­on) pro­du­ced auto­ma­ti­on, but now also it seems also that the rever­se is true, that somehow auto­ma­ti­on is the »ori­gi­nal cau­se« which »deter­mi­nes« the »dise­qui­li­bri­um« which we have today (sin­ce when, for how long, and whe­re is not clear). And this dise­qui­li­bri­um »comes with« (so is not iden­ti­cal to, but somehow cau­ses or enables) »this kind of hyper-finan­cia­li­zed sys­tem.« This inter­minable chain of abs­trac­tions is fol­lo­wed up by a razz­le-dazz­le of meta­phors – »bubbles burs­t­ing«, »addic­tion« – who­se con­cre­te refe­ren­ces are equal­ly unclear in this context.

Vighi goes on to offer a garb­led expl­ana­ti­on of the 2008 cri­sis, which was he informs us was »the first big sym­ptom of the kind of mala­dy, sys­te­mic dise­a­se, ter­mi­nal ill­ness« – three thea­tri­cal riffs on the meta­phor here, though not­hing more con­cre­te – »that you get in this sort of ultra-finan­cia­li­zed eco­no­my.« What actual­ly cha­rac­te­ri­zes »this sort of ultra-finan­cia­li­zed eco­no­my« bey­ond his illu­si­ve 6 times more »value« in the finan­cial sec­tor and »auto­ma­ti­on« was never cla­ri­fied – par­ti­cu­lar­ly how we came to this point. In his account of 2008 – which he can’t ever seem to keep quite straight from 2019 or deci­de which he is tal­king about– Vighi main­ly tri­es to resell some half-unders­tood insights from John Titus.[2] Inde­ed, »half-unders­tood«, is pro­ba­b­ly far too gene­rous, con­side­ring pas­sa­ges like this:

… after 11 years of quan­ti­ta­ti­ve easing, of cheap money thrown into the sys­tem, low inte­rest rates etce­te­ra. That all of a sud­den crea­ted a bubble and so a liqui­di­ty trap, so all of a sud­den becau­se inte­rest rates went up and peo­p­le star­ted, banks star­ted, stop­ped len­ding fun­da­men­tal­ly and that crea­ted a clas­sic liqui­di­ty trap, simi­lar to what hap­pen­ed in 2008, as a mat­ter of fact – well call it cre­dit crunch and that had poten­ti­al­ly devas­ta­ting reper­cus­sions on all the other mar­kets down to socie­ty its­elf, down to the ground, not only in wall street but in main­street in our world.

Unfort­u­na­te­ly for Vighi, the ter­mi­no­lo­gy of eco­no­mics he has lat­ched on to here is some­what more con­cre­te­ly defi­ned than the Laca­ni­an jar­gon in which he nor­mal­ly trades, and even the most cha­ri­ta­ble rea­ding of this pas­sa­ge can­not pos­si­bly find it coherent.

His phra­sing, howe­ver, is tel­ling. Vighi is an extre­me phi­lo­so­phi­cal idea­list – self pro­fes­sedly not a Mar­xist, but some form of a Hege­li­an, and he seems to essen­ti­al­ly con­sider the world of finan­ce to be ineffable and belon­ging to the world of spi­rits. It is, somehow, not part of »our world« but deter­mi­nes it. Wall Street is loca­ted some­whe­re in the hea­vens – and thus per­haps inde­ed, hap­pe­nings the­re are free from the earth­ly bounds of logi­cal cohe­rence – we are »down« on »the ground« in »socie­ty its­elf«. For tho­se of us down here, none­thel­ess, Vighi fails to offer any­thing con­cre­te or coher­ent. One feels that the fur­ther clo­se-rea­ding of pas­sa­ges would only be tedious, but the pre­sent aut­hor enjoins every rea­der to go tho­rough­ly through the inter­view, and see if they can deter­mi­ne any actu­al »cau­sal link« which has been con­cre­te­ly explained.

Cui Bono?

How about the Cui Bono pro­mi­sed in the abs­tract? Has Vighi, at least, hel­ped us under­stand and iden­ti­fy the dri­ving agents bey­ond the cur­rent pro­gram? Quite the con­tra­ry. Though again Vighi avo­ids over­ly con­cre­te pro­po­si­ti­ons which might be enga­ged with or refu­ted, the basic pic­tu­re he con­s­tructs with impli­ca­ti­on and innu­en­do is some­thing like this: pro­blems in our »ultra-finan­cia­li­zed« eco­no­my remain­ed unre­sol­ved after the 2008 cri­sis and con­tin­ued to build towards ano­ther crash, the first key signs of which began to mani­fest in 2019. »The Bank of Inter­na­tio­nal Sett­le­ments was the first, so far as [Vighi knows] to sort of sound the alarm bell for this coming dis­as­ter.« The »big play­ers« then sought to somehow eva­de or arrest or sof­ten the blow of what would other­wi­se be ano­ther »2008«. The ensuing pan­de­mia, it is impli­ed, was somehow a means to this end.

It is worth inves­ti­ga­ting some of the assump­ti­ons smug­g­led in here. One of the most gla­ring is of cour­se that 2008 was in fact a pro­blem or dis­as­ter for the ruling class,[3] which they are despe­ra­te not to repeat. Of cour­se, the 2008 cri­sis was, like 9/11 befo­re it, and the curr­ent­ly unrol­ling pro­gram today, a careful­ly orchestra­ted pro­gram, which enab­led the ruling class to get away with uni­ma­gi­nable plun­der. The other is some­what more subt­le, but upon inspec­tion high­ly reve­al­ing, in par­ti­cu­lar about the real audi­ence of Vighi’s intervention.

This is the idea that the cur­rent ruling class pro­gram was a reac­tion to finan­cial phe­no­me­na which they appear to have mini­mal con­trol over or under­stan­ding of. On a the­ma­tic level, this helps return us at least par­ti­al­ly to the emer­gen­cy pro­pa­gan­da and to sal­va­ge its basic atmo­sphe­re. For tho­se no lon­ger wil­ling or able to belie­ve the sto­ry that the ruling class is saving us from a viral apo­ca­lyp­se, we are now given the opti­on to pre­tend that the ruling class is saving us from a finan­cial apo­ca­lyp­se. Inde­ed, in Vighi’s pre­sen­ta­ti­on the ruling class orchestra­tors of the covid-coup appear almost as ultra-ear­nest tech­no­crats, pushed by cir­cum­s­tances out of their con­trol to imple­ment a set of tru­ly, excep­tio­nal­ly, uncon­ven­tio­nal poli­cy measures.

Let us try and con­sider the plau­si­bi­li­ty of what any of the available rea­dings of Vighi’s pre­sen­ta­ti­on imply: the ruling class rea­li­zed, at some point around the sum­mer of 2019 that a cri­sis was ine­vi­ta­ble and to save them­sel­ves (and us, as his account always impli­es) they 1) took advan­ta­ge of the most for­tui­tous­ly emer­ging virus in human histo­ry or 2) released a bio­wea­pon.[4] The com­bi­na­ti­on of power and power­less­ness, mali­ce and good­will, con­spi­ra­cy and sto­cha­sti­ci­ty impli­ed in the­se or any other vari­ant inter­pre­ta­ti­ons is absurd, and could con­vin­ce no one. Which is pre­cis­e­ly the point.

The pro­duct Vighi is peddling here is almost cer­tain­ly inca­pa­ble of con­vin­cing anyo­ne, and isn’t in fact pro­du­ced to do so. The con­ten­ti­on of the pre­sent aut­hor is that the real audi­ence for this pro­duct are peo­p­le who are alre­a­dy con­vin­ced that core ele­ments of the pro­pa­gan­da nar­ra­ti­ves around the Covid-coup are fal­se, and are despe­ra­te for a more Mar­xist fla­vor­ed and/​or less unfa­shionab­ly con­spi­ra­cy-theo­ry pack­a­ging for their own sus­pi­ci­ons. And more important­ly, one they can share with fri­ends and (for­mer) com­ra­des wit­hout embarrassment.

What Vighi brings to the table

What do they gain by their uncri­ti­cal embrace of that appa­rent pro­duct? If Vighi does not have much coher­ent to say, he none­thel­ess mana­ges to do a lot. To the degree that we take on Vighi’s basic chro­no­lo­gy here and eschew the need for a detail­ed inves­ti­ga­ti­on of long-term, exten­si­ve plan­ning by the ruling class, we under­mi­ne our capa­ci­ty to under­stand the cur­rent pro­gram, and utter­ly sur­ren­der the abili­ty to con­vin­ce anyo­ne with a cre­di­ble and coher­ent account.

In the place of a rigo­rous Mar­xist ana­ly­sis of the cur­rent cam­paign by the ruling class to over­co­me the con­tra­dic­tions of capi­ta­lism by estab­li­shing a more fascio­id, slavery-like sys­tem, the genui­ne insights Vighi has plu­cked from ear­nest and insightful con­ser­va­ti­ve or liber­ta­ri­ans like Cath­ri­ne Aus­tin Fitts and John Titus are twis­ted into an inco­her­ent Hege­lani­zed gob­ble­dy­gook which, impli­cit­ly, but­tres­ses the anti-ratio­nal Modern-Mone­ta­ry-Theo­ry pro­pa­gan­da being mobi­li­zed to sell the Green New Deal, a core com­po­nent of pre­cis­e­ly the ruling class orchestra­ted tran­si­ti­on. Like a good Hege­li­an, howe­ver, he abs­ta­ins from making any con­cre­te pre­dic­tions about what the ruling class is try­ing to crea­te or achie­ve bey­ond an almost spon­ta­neous, reac­ti­ve, despe­ra­te fight to main­tain the Kat­echon. It is to this end that Vighi pre­su­ma­b­ly con­stant­ly mobi­li­zes his meta­phor and innu­en­do to indu­ce anxie­ty about this ter­ri­ble rough-beast-of-hyper-infla­ti­on-Zim­bab­we-Wei­mar-Ger­ma­ny-gain-of-func­tion-bio­wea­pon, slou­ch­ing towards Bethes­da to be born.

Here final­ly, is whe­re Vighi’s func­tion is per­haps most evi­dent. The left – inclu­ding that por­ti­on of it which has seen through the covid-coup – has gene­ral­ly iden­ti­fied with the sen­si­bi­li­ty expres­sed in Mao’s famous mot­to: »ever­y­thing under Hea­ven is in utter cha­os; the situa­ti­on is excel­lent.« This is sim­ply to say that a genui­ne cri­sis for the ruling class is always an oppor­tu­ni­ty for us, their enemies, the mas­ses who they per­pe­tual­ly seek to fur­ther ens­lave and fur­ther exploit. Whe­re tho­se cri­ti­cal of covid-coup have dif­fe­red from the main­stream wes­tern left has been chief­ly in our esti­ma­ti­on of whe­ther the last two years have con­sti­tu­ted a gene­ral cri­sis for the ruling class. We do not dif­fer in wel­co­ming one. Vighi would like us to fear the cri­sis, to impli­cit­ly feel the ruling class is, somehow, saving us all from dis­as­ter (howe­ver unequally).

The main­stream left have assu­med that the cri­sis was real, that the virus threa­ten­ed to lay the ruling class low, forced »eco­no­mic con­trac­tion« upon them,[5] and in so doing show­ed the fail­ure of capi­ta­lism, the bene­fits of socia­lism, and the pro­s­pects for our impen­ding libe­ra­ti­on. We, on the other hand, have seen that nowhe­re has the power and wealth of the ruling class been any­thing but aggran­di­zed through the virus cha­ra­de; we have seen that all their most relia­ble organs of pro­pa­gan­da and social con­trol have work­ed tire­less­ly to advan­ce the virus-cri­sis nar­ra­ti­ve; and we have reco­gni­zed that per­force this sup­po­sed cri­sis has been long in the works.

For even in their own cri­ses the ruling reco­gni­ze both risk and oppor­tu­ni­ty. The dyna­mics of wealth-con­cen­tra­ti­on and finan­cia­liza­ti­on have made for the ruling class the main­ten­an­ce and repro­duc­tion of them­sel­ves as a capi­ta­list class incre­asing­ly ris­ky; they have also crea­ted the con­di­ti­ons of pos­si­bi­li­ty for their ent­rench­ment as a cas­te over a new and more ter­ri­ble form of class society.

It is this, and not­hing else, that is the thre­at and cri­sis for us: the ruling clas­ses’ suc­cessful advance­ment of their own pro­gram. It is in defen­se of this for which char­la­tans like Vighi are employ­ed. When asked what can be done, at the clo­se of his inter­view, he offers only some mea­ly mou­thed ges­tu­res in the direc­tion of estab­li­shing alter­na­ti­ve com­mu­ni­ties, some sort of pet­ty-bour­geoi­sie fan­ta­sy he can­not even bring hims­elf to direct­ly arti­cu­la­te with a straight face. He then informs us the first step is to gain some awareness.

Of cour­se, that first step has long been accom­plished by the mass pro­test move­ment, which has been not only cri­ti­quing but actively fight­ing the mea­su­res on the streets for two years now as Vighi has spun his phi­lo­so­phi­cal yarns for the Phi­lo­so­phi­cal Salon. Vighi does not men­ti­on the pro­tests, the acti­ve working class resis­tance across the glo­be. Inde­ed, if any­thing, he wants us to fear the uncon­trol­led down­fall of the cur­rent order, the dread cri­sis which real­ly does set the alarm bells at the Bank of Inter­na­tio­nal Sett­le­ments and every other ruling class redoubt. For our revo­lu­ti­on will be the real cri­sis, for the ruling class, and all the para­si­tes they main­tain at their salons as well.

This is the truth reco­gni­zed in the com­mon expe­ri­ence of many in the face of the Coro­na-rest­ric­tions – that it feels that we are the virus that which needs to be con­trol­led, iso­la­ted, and era­di­ca­ted. Inde­ed we are, we are the virus, we are the cri­sis. The only one they are real­ly afraid of, and for good reason.


[1] Labor-inten­si­ve enter­pri­ses with low bar­riers to ent­ry are hyper-com­pe­ti­ti­ve, and sin­ce low-risk, can sto­mach razor-thin mar­gins. The fami­ly-owned restau­rant or tex­ti­le sweat­shop super-exploits its workers becau­se the pri­ce for its goods are con­stant­ly pushed below their value. They over­pay for hea­ting, elec­tri­ci­ty, tech­no­lo­gi­cal inputs from stron­ger, lar­ger, capi­tals. To con­t­end that the high pro­fits of Micro­soft refu­te the labor theo­ry of value, is akin to try­ing to refu­te New­to­ni­an phy­sics by com­pa­ring the des­cent of a bow­ling ball and a fea­ther. For a high­ly acces­si­ble account of some key ele­ments of pri­ce trans­for­ma­ti­on in the modern eco­no­my, see : http://​www​.mid​night​no​tes​.org/​p​d​f​a​p​o​c​1​6​.​pdf

[2] https://​www​.you​tube​.com/​c​/​B​e​s​t​E​v​i​d​e​nce

[3] Inci­den­tal­ly, Vighi never seems to refer to a »Ruling class« its­elf, ano­ther key indi­ca­tor, were ano­ther nee­ded, that he is no Mar­xist. Rather, he refers to the »big play­ers«, or the »eli­te«, or »cen­tral ban­kers«, or any other slip­pery term which helps to obscu­re rather than elu­ci­da­te, and always bet­ter plays into a struc­tu­ral­ly anti-seme­tic rather than class-based ana­ly­sis. It is per­haps no coin­ci­dence that in his enti­re inter­view, the only per­son he direct­ly names is the Israe­li-Ame­ri­can Stan­ley Fisher, and con­spi­cuous­ly not Fisher’s all-gen­ti­le co-aut­hors of the docu­ment he is brought up in con­nec­tion with, nor of cour­se the over­whel­mingly Gen­ti­le ruling class vanguard.

[4] More gene­rous rea­ders would allow the pro­po­si­ti­on, clo­ser to the truth, that the ruling class orchestra­ted the spec­ta­cle of pla­gue out of non-exis­tent or rela­tively harm­less patho­gen, but Vighi con­sis­t­ent­ly avo­ids this. In his typi­cal­ly cagey style he ges­tu­res towards what is per­haps the most effec­ti­ve gen­re of con­trol-oppo­si­ti­on /​disinfo re: the Covid-coup, viz. the gain-of-func­tion bio­wea­pon the­sis. As he won­ders, »covid, if it hap­pen­ed acci­den­tal­ly, then it is a kind of mira­cu­lous occur­rence for them«. Like with the various fla­vors of lab-leak or deli­be­ra­te bio-attack theo­ries, cru­cial ele­ments of the pro­pa­gan­da nar­ra­ti­ve which have been tho­rough­ly debun­ked are resur­rec­ted and shored up: the virus is real and awful­ly dan­ge­rous and pro­ba­b­ly many of the mea­su­res were jus­ti­fied, but the Chi­ne­se / the Atlan­ti­cists / the Lear­ned Elders of Zion etc. etc. did it.

[5] The ruling class have in fact long dis­pen­sed with pur­suing any­thing like »eco­no­mic growth« as the aut­hor of this lec­tu­re has insightful­ly com­men­ted on Vighi, and more important­ly expo­sed his men­tor, Sla­voj Zizek, as one of the most per­ni­cious agents of ruling class dis­in­for­ma­ti­on and pro­pa­gan­da of the cur­rent era: https://​www​.you​tube​.com/​w​a​t​c​h​?​v​=​x​E​a​p​V​R​s​H​o​L​k​&​l​i​s​t​=​P​L​o​A​J​f​K​s​s​a​W​2​I​2​K​H​i​_​N​K​x​a​X​G​H​Z​S​h​W​3​r​a​2​n​&​i​n​d​e​x=1

Pic­tu­re: For­t­u­na­to Depe­ro. The New Babel (1930). kitchener.lord (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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