The Covid-19 pandemic has been presented by governments and media around the world, led by the WHO, as a terrible new disease that could cause tens of millions of deaths. The disease is real, as is the virus that causes it. Evidence has emerged about its origin, which makes its creation in U.S.-led laboratories increasingly likely. In any case, the severity of the disease has been massively exaggerated. Those who continue to spread the mainstream narrative of the »terrible and uncontrollable pandemic,« reiterating the official figures on deaths and the more or less high lethality of the disease as if they were praying the rosary, obviously ignore the fact that it is now impossible to determine the objective lethality of the disease. This is because it is indivisibly linked to the terroristic and criminal handling of the disease. The lethality has been increased – both in terms of the actual effects of the disease and its scientific-mediatic presentation – by a series of measures applied in the same form more or less almost everywhere:
Refusal of treatment: Although thousands of physicians around the world immediately used effective pharmacological agents, health care systems were mandated to treat with Tachipirina or watchful-waiting, resulting in thousands of patients ending up in the hospital. The »treatment« there (also regulated by prescriptions) ultimately accompanied a large number of them to their deaths.
Designating deaths as caused by Covid in all those who tested positive, with a test that the WHO itself describes on its official website (to protect itself from possible criminal liability) as a tool that does not by itself provide a diagnosis.
Alarmism about the danger was further reinforced by the creation of the new category of »asymptomatic spreaders«, also defined solely by a positive test. The artificially inflated disease was countered with questionable means (to which an increasing number of studies attest ineffectiveness or even dangerousness). For example: the segregation of healthy people; the stifling of economic, social, trade union, and political activity; social distancing: the use of masks (which cannot keep the viruses out); constant disinfection with skin-damaging agents, etc.
The alleged lack of cures has led to the forced use of emergency-approved vaccines. These are not true vaccines that can prevent infection, but at best therapeutics designed to mitigate the most severe effects of the disease. The WHO and Western governments have focused their vaccination campaigns exclusively on drugs of a new generation, based on gene therapies using mRNA. This means they can induce human cells to produce the (toxic) spike protein, with the goal of generating the necessary antibodies in the organism to fight the virus. Their effectiveness has proven to be extremely limited, if not non-existent. At the same time, these vaccines are capable of inducing numerous, often not directly detectable, adverse effects – including causing diseases of varying severity, and even sudden death. According to various studies, they can also cause delayed reactions. Other studies indicate that the vaccines can profoundly affect the immune system, exposing people to all kinds of viral or bacterial infections as well as cancer, and generally weakening their ability to withstand all kind of diseases. The pandemic and its management have been occasions to accelerate or trigger a series of varied processes, the interweaving of which reveal interconnections that point to, at the very least, a unified pattern.
Regarding health care:
First, the health care systems were thrown knowingly into chaos through a dynamic of »Covidization« of healthcare: indiscriminate admissions to Covid wards through misuse of tests, with those admitted for other diseases but positive for covid denied appropriate treatment for the actual cause of their hospitalization. Additionally, healthcare system capacities were drastically reduced in the name of the fight against the virus – to which everything else was subordinated. On the one hand, this resulted in a higher number of deaths than from Covid itself (and probably will in the future), but at the same time it forcibly accustomed millions of people to a lower level of care than before.
The accelerated reduction of healthcare through the combat of the pandemic is compensated for through a shift from health care to prevention via vaccines: This is intended to become the standard means of combating a growing number of diseases. In addition, a new generation of drugs is being introduced. Thus, there is a shift from chemical to biotechnological medicines.
In the name of supposedly greater efficiency, telemedicine has taken a decisive step forward. Its goal is to increasingly transfer diagnosis and treatment to artificial intelligence (AI). In short: fewer doctors who, freed from any physical contact with patients, completely ignore their physical-psychological-environmental individuality and replace it through protocols. These protocols are oriented to the disease and completely disregard the concrete patient (he is thus increasingly reduced from organism to mechanism). They are also more efficient and cost-effective in getting the wage-earner back to work quickly, while the ruling classes continue to have appropriate treatments according to their wallets. In addition to the health sector, the processes initiated or accelerated with the management of the pandemic also affect other sectors.
In the economic sphere, the following effects can be observed:
A concentrated attack on small capital in all sectors (trade, services, crafts, etc.). Small capital was forced to close during the lockdowns and was severely affected by all the restrictions that followed: It was affected, for example, by the cost of implementing control systems against contagion and the forced digitalization of many other functions. This leads to a net transfer of profits to big techno-capital and to the closure of many small and medium enterprises, cushioned and accompanied by the state. Big business would appropriate them directly if they were still profitable in the less consumerist new normal introduced by the pandemic.
A fierce and unprecedented attack on all wage labour, which suddenly foun itself in the greatest insecurity because of the health emergency. At the same time, the return to relative stability of work and income was possible only thanks to the loving care of the state, which was granted in return for the docile observance of its rules: Closure when ordered, masking, disinfection, cancellation of all meetings (especially political and trade union), vaccination, green passport.
Expansion of the use of information technology in the areas of work, consumption, education, and social relations. Profits and increasing power were thus transferred to the IT multinationals.
Change of multinational corporations (especially pharma, high tech, internet operators, online sales) from public enemy #1 to public health benefactors, from public perception as vampire monopolies to that of a group positively working for the common good (one of the fundamental points of Schwab’s Great Reset and Pope Bergoglio’s inclusive capitalism …).
On the financial side:
Widespread increase in public debt to finance relief and income support, with further transfer of real power into the hands of large public and private financial institutions.
Financial capital and the state, whose credibility had been shaken by the 2008 crisis, could restore it by presenting themselves as the saviors of the common good in a time of health crisis. States and central banks further fleeced private finances, as in 2008, by again providing them with money at zero cost. This time, the bailout seemed to be even more unquestionably in the interest of the common good. For it was needed to mitigate the economic consequences of the closures and the general slowdown in economic activity, which were officially caused by the pandemic. In reality, of course, they were caused by the management decisions taken by the WHO, and implemented by states (with varying degrees of intensity).
All of this has favored the acceleration of a process of social engineering aimed at the complete subjugation of individual and collective life to capital and the state, through:
The compulsion to shift social relations from physical to virtual contact, which is accompanied by mandatory social distancing, lockdown, and the prohibition of economic activities. In other words, measures that were justified by the policy of non-pharmacological interventions against the spread of the virus. At the same time, these measures were accompanied by massive propaganda about their merits, in an era characterized by increasing pandemics. It foreshadows the implementation of a society that minimizes and tightly controls physical gatherings and other opportunities for direct sociability.
The massive spread of tools for the digital tracking of chains of contagion and the differentiation of the vaccinated and unvaccinated ( e.g. Green Pass) are (almost) universally accepted as measures to protect collective health. In practice, they have proven an effective lever for a process of expanding the control of everyone’s activities. They are intended to monitor the masses, which is useful from an economic and financial point of view (including as a basis for monetary/financial reform based on a digital currency), and from a political point of view, because it increases the controlling power of the state. Moreover, after decades in which the state’s image as a non-partisan entity serving all citizens was in decline, it has not only re-legitimized its power over society. It has also achieved, with the consent of those who appreciate its role in saving their bare lives, a considerable expansion of that power: all rights (mobility, work, social relations, consumption, health care, leisure activities, trade union/political and cultural activities) have been transformed into concessions by the state to those who obey its commands. Initially for health reasons, but potentially (with the war, energy crisis, climate crisis, etc.) for any supposed public good. In the process, technological control mechanisms have been introduced; with the Green Pass as its first step.
The state has acquired the power to further militarize society in response to emergencies which it, itself, defines. This is true both in the sense of a military operation in the interior and in that of a transformation of society into a militarized body that obeys the state’s orders without resistance.
In order to protect everyone’s health, the state has gained the power to invade everyone’s body and forcibly vaccinate them with pharmacological treatments selected by the state.
The implementation of socio-economic measures in the name of an emergency. Today it is a health emergency, tomorrow a climate, energy, or economic emergency, or perhaps a war. All the needs of the workers, the middle class, the craftsmen, the small businesses may be ignored. The possibility of trade union and political resistance is taken away from them; only the demands of international and national big business are to be listened to.
Denunciation and exclusion from work and civil society of all those who do not obey its orders (i.e., the treatment of deserters in a war).
The link between all these processes is the attempt to counter the systemic crisis that capital has been trying to drag itself out of for decades. The crisis of 2008 was fought by the central banks with gigantic money issues. Private and public finance was thus provisionally saved. The crisis was prevented from having its typical consequences (viz. that a decisive part of financial capital, which had become an entity of immeasurable size, would fall victim to a general devaluation and drag the economy into an uncontrolled recession). This impressive virtual circuitry has kept the values and returns of financial stocks high. But it failed to solve any of the structural problems underlying the crisis. On the contrary, it has contributed to its aggravation by bringing forward and magnifying the existing difficulties in accumulation. Consider countries such as Italy or Japan (which already received liquidity injections in the 1990s), which have not regained their pre-crisis production levels. One of the main causes of these difficulties lies in the fact that the enormous mass of existing capital cannot quench its thirst for profit on the basis of producing a sufficient amount of surplus value for its further exploitation – that is to say, surplus value which, under the presently prevailing social conditions, can arise only from the labour time contained in the commodities produced by the exploitation of wage labour.
The more the already accumulated capital grows (and historically it can only grow), the more the mass of new surplus value, even if it increases in absolute terms, turns out to be small in proportion to the systemic need for its utilization. This is so not least because the need for a continuous increase in extortion collides with the historical limits of the possibility of a further and continuous reduction in the labour time required to reproduce the value of the employed labour force.
The money injections have saved finance capital from a devastating crisis. But they were not able to increase the amount of socially produced surplus value by an iota.
The decision to create flows of liquidity out of nothing and to prop up credit securities and banking institutions was not imposed on value-producing capital by finance capital. This thesis, which is also widespread on the left, does not take into account capitalism’s real development. Finance capital is deeply embedded in industrial capital. It owns or controls it through shares and bonds. Most importantly, it completely dominates it, since the production and sale of goods today depends to a large extent on credit. Credit is an integral part of the entire financial world, which is increasingly doped by money printing.
The level of production and consumption is ultimately maintained by this very doping. Industrial capital thus has a vital interest in the survival of the financial circus. By rescuing finance capital, the money issuance of the central banks has saved the whole of capital from a crisis of uncontrollable proportions, regardless of the fact that little or none of the money printed went directly to industrial capital.
Money printing temporarily saved, but did not solve any of the causes of the crisis. Right on the eve of Covid’s spread, money printing reproduced the conditions for a new crash when some of the major Western countries had already developed all of the elements of a real recession.
The pandemic thus came at exactly the right time: it prevented the new emerging crisis from appearing to be caused again by the financial sector (in 2008, the crisis had provoked a resurgence of social and political conflicts that converged in the West in the rise of neopopulism and sovereignism). At the same time, it enabled money creation to support the financial sector, attributing the need to do so not only to its needs but also to those of the common good in the face of the health crisis.
So, if the pandemic coincided with the manifestation of the risk of the violent collapse of financial assets, with consequences for the whole economy, and made it possible to justify extraordinary measures to buffer its possible effects, its management accelerated processes conducive to a general restructuring of the economy and class relations, in each individual country and on a global scale, which is necessary to try to deal with a crisis that presents itself, more and more, with the characteristics of a systemic crisis of the social relationship of capital.
That the plans of the most powerful holders of finance capital, multinationals in communications technology and the pharmaceutical industry, states, intelligence agencies, and international institutions both public (WHO, IMF, UN, etc.) and private (WEF, GAVI, etc.) have been underway for a long time is not a fanciful conspiracy theory. On the contrary, it is simply foolish to believe that the official and unofficial institutions of capital, and especially those that dominate its reproduction at the global level, are not employing all means necessary to deal with a crisis that threatens the system as a whole. So there are plans, some of which are known and some of which, to understand them, must be investigated beyond superficial appearances. And there is also the power to put them into action in a more or less coordinated or forced way. Having power, however, does not mean being omnipotent. Any plan, however well thought out and implemented by the great financial, economic, political and military powers, must inevitably collide with reality – with the contradictions of classes, peoples, states. These are capable of conditioning it, of averting it and, ultimately, even of radically defeating it.
The Financial and Economic Recipes for Success
In the short term, it was necessary to avoid the explosion of a new, uncontrolled financial crisis. Interlocking restrictions on the production, circulation and consumption of goods and services made it possible, on the one hand, to continue printing money by maintaining financial values (and increasing public debt …). On the other hand, they made it possible to prevent the economy from overheating and creating excessive inflation. Thus, on the one hand, the market was flooded with money, and on the other hand, an attempt was made to avoid high inflation. This could have led to a sharp devaluation of credit, which would have favored debtors. This sounds mindless, but it is nothing more than one of the many contradictions that capital must try to keep under control: Finance capital slows down the production process, which is the only one that provides it with real value, in order to save itself and the system as a whole (at the moment of highest crisis risk)!
In preparation, however, were other measures to attempt a long-term solution to the crisis (whether these attempts will then really be successful is another matter). In particular, these include the transition to an economic policy that permanently protects financial capital from the dangers of repeated bursting of financial bubbles and thus also protects all capital from the effects of financial crises. Among other things, this means confirming and strengthening the dominance of Western finance capital over all global production, trade and finance.
The new governance implies:
A controlled devaluation of a part of the financial capital – of course, to the detriment of the less powerful countries and states (including large countries like Russia and China) and the small Western savers.
The inflow of further shares of socially produced surplus value to finance capital. This leads to a further concentration of big capital at the expense of small capital and to further centralization. It also leads to increased pressure on production and consumption, which are used even more for the extortion and appropriation of surplus value (automation, Industry 4.0, wage deflation, job insecurity, shortening of the circulation time of goods and capital, diversion of consumption, etc.). Pressure on public spending with a further reduction in the share of indirect wages (health, pensions, schooling, social benefits, etc.) in favor of interest on the public debt; privatizations to make social tasks, previously provided by the state, profitable for capital; and the use of public revenues in favor of investments to restructure companies.
The introduction of monetary instruments (digital money) to monitor and direct the use and circulation of money. This will keep production, consumption and credit under control and prevent their turbulence from involving financial capital. Instead, this is to ensure that financial needs are more appropriately met by the material economy and to install a mechanism of total control over everyone’s activities. This provides the power to decide what expenditures are allowed for consumption and, above all, for the control of contributions to political, trade union, informational, and cultural activities.
The digitalisation of all public and private functions for the purpose of reducing costs, concentrating profits and centralizing the rule of finance and technology capital. The collection of data on every human activity for the purpose of capillary surveillance for the benefit of capital. Direction and regulation of production and consumption, and expansion of the state for social and political control.
All this leads to an intensification of the pressure on the countries of the periphery, especially on those most dependent on big capital. But it also leads to a general impoverishment of the proletariat and the middle classes in the West, both those who have small amounts of capital (mostly on credit) and those who work as white-collar or self-employed workers with general cognitive content. The danger of social conflicts and even revolts even in the heart of imperialism thus becomes more concrete.
A strong state is needed to prevent and suppress potential social conflicts. However, no state can base its strength on a police and military apparatus alone. It must rely on a broad consensus that legitimizes it inorder to effectively suppress protests. In recent decades, the state (not only in Italy) had lost much of its legitimacy as it increasingly withdrew from the social sphere, submitted itself more and more to the demands of big business and private enterprise (which was accompanied by public corruption), and presented itself as the executor of policies decided in extra-state spheres. The pandemic offered the opportunity to restore the legitimacy of the state as a servant of the people. It laid the groundwork for making the introduction of digital control instruments and the growth of their pervasive power appear to be a public good.
The broad implementation of information technology offers the possibility to install a control apparatus which is theoretically capable of preventing social conflicts and pre-emptively removing anyone who intends to enter into a conflict. At this point the needs of capital and the state (which works for capital, but also for itself in order to maintain its apparatus and power over the society) coincide perfectly.
The digitalisation of individual and social life is therefore suitable:
To controling capital in order to control and direct consumption and lifestyle habits by trying to minimize the imbalances of production and the market by subjecting them to a plan. Such a plan is, of course, not focused on identifying and satisfying real needs, but on profit. Social media, with its meticulous data collection, has already brought this kind of anticipatory control of consumption and lifestyle habits to a peak, but its combination with the digital control of the state would make it extremely efficient.
To a monetary reform that would subordinates the population’s money movements to the direct control of the state in concert with centralized corporations.
To establishing a state controlled social discipline apparatus that would prevent and suppress class conflict.
The pandemic was managed by terrorizing the population. The state polished its faded image as the representative of the community, claimed the task of saving lives, and forced citizens to give up all rights in order to save their skins. This went as far as to forcing them to accept experimental biotechnological preparations as a means of salvation, measures that despotically regulated the most basic human activities, and a far-reaching digitalization of their existence, through the Green Pass.
The Green Pass is based on a European platform (DGCG, Digital Green Certificate Gateway, operated by the EU Commission: this allows the interoperability of the national Digital Green Certificate-DGC networks). By downloading the passport, one establishes his digital identity on the platform, which still remains restricted to health: Vaccination, negative test, recovery from Covid-19. Already this allows the strict control of access to public places (in Italy also to work). However, the use can be easily extended to other aspects (and has been developed and launched for this purpose) and the freedom of access can be extended to any other behavior or status. The platform, with its blockchain structure, is able to collect a potentially limitless amount of data and link it to each individual.
The platform is suitable for solving the problem that the state already has a lot of information about each citizen, but on separate platforms. It will allow it to compare all the data, link it to the digital identity and store it – potentially indefinitely. In this way, it will be possible to link the passport to every aspect of human activity and relationships. Current networks would not be sufficient for full real-time tracking at any location. 5G is expected to close the gaps.
The lynchpin of the instruments to achieve their threefold aim is the Digital Identity (DI). This will entail construction of a portfoilio which stores individual data useful for consumption, for the circulation of money, and for the state to control every single activity of the individual.
To convince citizens to adopt a digital identity card, they need to feel its benefits. The Green Pass for fighting contagion was an extremely useful tool for getting people to accept a first step toward Digital Identity. This will convince (or force) everyone to participate in the overall protection of health and thus of themselves.
The authoritarian management of the pandemic was a splendid experiment in social discipline and the militarization of society, in a twofold a double sense: the expansion of the power of the police and the army, and the transformation of society itself into a military corps that obeys orders from above. This manifested in all social, trade union, political, relational, affective and recreational relations, and even in the care of one’s own body, which was also withdrawn from the – already strongly qualified – free determination of each individual and handed over entirely to the despotic power of the state.
This experiment encountered strong and unexpected resistance all over the world, which has made its leaders abandon the pursuit of some immediate goals (forced vaccination and permanent large-scale dissemination of the Green Pass). Nonetheless, such objectives, and the entire technological and political framework built to achieve them, stand ready to be reactivated at the next opportunity. Above all, two powerful dynamics have thus developed: One is the seizure of power by capital, which consolidates and expands its domination, its science and technology, its pharmacology, its relational technologies, its control and management of man and nature; the other refers to the seizure of power by the state, which increasingly frees itself from all democratic rituals and reduces itself more and more to the essence of a despotic power.
The power of state and capital were strengthened primarily not through overt means of coercion, although they have resorted to this, but through inducement, manipulation and social engineering: as necessities emanating from below, from society itself and from individuals, in order to preserve the bare physical life of each individual and of the community. These processes came about through the eruption of an emergency situation that was perceived as real by the majority of the population: The danger to their own lives appeared real and imminent. In order to combat the spread of the virus, it seemed necessary to have an instrument capable of regulating everyone’s behavior. The state offered itself as the only entity capable of doing so. As a result, it was given further powers to dispose of the behavior of each individual and their social relations.
The state of emergency as a method of governing, while formally maintaining democracy, was certainly not born in 2020 with Covid. In Italy we have experienced it since the leaden years, in the West generally since the beginning of the war on terror after September 11, 2001, and with the management of the pandemic it has reached an unprecedented peak. The foundation was laid for a structural totalitarianism of control. By linking the crisis of capital to the politics of pandemic control, the emergency is destined to reappear permanently. Unless we take political action against it, it will happen again and again.
The management of the pandemic has met with great resistance worldwide. Some countries have refused to implement WHO recommendations, and some (Belarus) have even resisted IMF blackmail to enforce WHO recommendations in return for financial assistance. In many countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, as well as in some countries in Europe, the recommended measures were not implemented or were implemented inadequately. In some African countries, even the presidents who refused to implement the recommendations mysteriously died. Aversion to Western vaccines is also widespread.
The WHO has therefore put forward a proposal for a new pandemic treaty. This gives it the power to declare pandemics and order measures that are virtually dictatorial and above any local legislation, as well as the power to impose severe sanctions on any country that does not comply. This amounts to a centralization of world health power in the hands of those who control WHO, and with it a greater centralization of political, economic and financial power. The treaty is under discussion and should be enforceable from 2024. The U.S. proposed amendments to make it enforceable from 2022. However, they were forced to withdraw them because 47 African countries clearly expressed their opposition. The usual policy of threats and blackmail was then initiated to bring them into line. However, the adoption of this agreement is inevitably linked to the new contradictions that the Ukraine conflict raises in the geopolitical and geo-economic world order.
Resistance to pandemic control and vaccines has not been due to the eccentricities of any government, but has been forced almost everywhere by popular reaction. However, in some cases it had been due to the government’s desire to protect its own economy or its autonomy as a state, See the unfortunate fate of Brazil, so overcovered in the media; or the decidedly better – and not coincidentally uncovered by the media – affair of Nicaragua, perhaps the only country in the world that has avoided any form of lockdown while establishing a proper system of early home care, focusing mainly on the administration of hydroxychloroquine. If the peoples of many African countries reject Western vaccines (from which the new social-imperialist vaccine-provider also want to profit), it is because they still vividly remember the pharmacological and vaccine experiments carried out on their own bodies by Western benefactors – often with the aim of limiting their ability to procreate
The most important case in every respect is what happened in India. Tens of millions of farmers rejected the cage of pandemic restrictions and continued the protest movement against Modi’s agrarian reforms (a year and 15 day siege of New Delhi!) until they finally forced a reversal. They won (at least temporarily) on their specific terrain of struggle. They dealt a fatal blow to the political administration of the pandemic and its goals of social discipline, which eventually led the government to forgo the forced distribution of vaccines and authorize the widespread use of Ivermectin to treat Covid. The use of Ivermectin proved to be so effective that the country soon declared itself free of the disease. However, this does not change the fact that the Indian government is ahead of the curve in digitizing the currency – with the help of U.S. capital and technology. It is introducing a digital ID to the entire population, though it is quite another matter whether the Indian government can really gain massive control over a population living in a very underdeveloped environment and capable of resisting like the peasants.
No less important are the events in Russia, where the population has expressed its distrust of the vaccine and its dislike of the Green Pass by simply boycotting both and not giving prominence to the alarmist measures on Covid. Similar to reactions were to be found in Serbia and even in Japan – the only country in the »Western world« which forewent compulsory vaccination against Covid (either public or private), that requires informed consent, that points out the high risk of side effects, and that permits the widespread use of Ivermectin.
What has happened in the Heart of the Empire?
Reactions to pandemic management, vaccines and the Green Pass also occurred in those Western countries which were particularly obedient in implementing the measures promoted by the WHO. There small businesses mobilized most against restrictions and lockdowns as they were harmed particularly severely. Their protests, however, were everywhere immobilized by the provision of government relief. With the advent of vaccines, various immunization requirements, and the Green Pass, protests resumed in all Western countries. The social composition of the protesters varied widely, but wage earners predominated, including many workers.
On the political level, the left of every kind (government, opposition, alternative or revolutionary) actively (and mostly unconsciously) opposed the protests. There were a few exceptions, though mainly in the form of individual activists (of which Assemblea Militante in Italy represents an attempt at coordination). The fascist right has tried to influence the protests, but despite conspicuous (indirect and sometimes direct) support from governments and the media, it has failed completely. For the majority, the dominant political orientation of the mobilizations has centered on reclaiming soverignty, particularly vis-a-vis the increasing apprpriation of bodily sovereignty (both health and dispositional) by the state, Big Pharma, Big Tech, but also more broadly against increasing economical, finanical, and political domination by big finance capital and its offical and unoffical institutions.
The scale and continuity of the resistance movements varied from country to country, but everywhere they had great significance and impact, despite state repression, ridicule in the media, and insults (and sometimes physical attacks) by self-perceived opponents of the capitalist system. In no country (apart from the French West Indies, where compulsory vaccination of health workers was lifted after a major popular uprising) has this movement achieved unequivocal success. However, in some countries (Spain, the UK) it has certainly helped governments back from compulsory vaccination and the Green Pass. In Germany, too, it has certainly helped prevent parliamentary decisions in favor of compulsory vaccination. Above all, it has represented the thorn in the flesh of government policy and has opened up a resistance movement that has developed because of growing distrust of vaccines, increasing awareness of advancing state authoritarianism, and the implemementation of totalitarian control. Last but not least, it could find new nourishment in the possible emergence of resistance movements against economic and social policies that are developing on the wave of an incipient recession and as a result of the war against Russia.
In Italy, too, resistance on the streets, as well as less explicit but growing mass resistance due to doubts about the efficacy of vaccines (including the increasingly obvious risk of side effects), and weariness with the over arbitrary health measures, have led the Meloni government to cancel some measures on the basis that they are no longer justified. However, these would certainly be revisited if situations arose that required it. In any case, the current government is determined to implement the whole framework of digitalization and related control and discipline designed with the PNRR (National Recovery and Resilience Plan) despite the fact that it is rejected by part of the electorate (especially on the points that subject small capital to big capital). Their intent is clear from the hiring of Cingolani as an advisor to the new government, who was the minister in charge of the »ecological turn« under Draghi. So, the current government stands in perfect continuity to Draghi, both in the war against Russia (and China) and in the preparation of all the instruments to prevent illicit meetings, in order to suppress any resumption of class conflict from the outset.
To the pandemic emergency – which has never really been abandoned and which can be reactivated at any time with Covid or another virus declared as a new epidemic – has been added the war emergency, triggered by the Russian intervention in Ukraine. Meanwhile, the energy emergency (also blamed on Russia, but in reality caused by Western sanctions) is developing and the climate emergency is growing: a package of emergencies that alternate and overlap with no solution. This continuity is as useful as ever to advance the plans for financial, economic, social, and political restructuring and to try to get out of the systemic crisis of capital. From this point of view, the authoritarian management of the pandemic was both a splendid experiment in social discipline and an opportunity to launch appropriate instruments to face the war that the West is declaring increasingly clear against Russia and China, with the necessary discipline and social cohesion.
However, the wartime emergency has not yet taken hold with the same intensity as the pandemic. This also complicates the acceptance of the energy crisis as a crisis caused by Russia. It also opens up contradictions in the climate crisis – like returning to coal to avoid buying gas from Russia!
The Russian intervention in Ukraine actually threatens to set of a series of contradictions at the global level. It was triggered by a long series of provocations against Russia: NATO’s creep towards Russia’s borders, the 2014 coup d’état in Kiev, non-compliance with the Minsk agreements for the Donbass (mainly by Germany and France), the constant bombardment of the population of the separatist republics, the preparation for their invasion, the threats against Crimea (starting with the disavowal of the referendum in which the population voted en masse to join the Russian Federation – despite the many hypnotized by media propaganda, there was no unilateral annexation desired by the Tsar in 2014), the disregard of Russia’s demands for compliance with international treaties on mutual security (treaties challenging NATO’s militarization of Ukraine), and Zelensky’s announcement of Ukraine’s nuclear weapons projects. Russia was forced to intervene militarily to protect the population in the Donbass and Crimea and to eliminate military threats on its border with Ukraine.
Militarily, the situation shifted in Russia’s favor from early on. Russia is in the process of slowly but systematically liberating those Ukrainian regions of the presence of the Ukrainian state and its Nazi machinations, which are inhabited by Russians and had spoken out against the post-Maidan regime and its present Russophobic policies.
The West has unleashed against Russia a campaign of open racism (against which there has been no reaction from the many Western anti-racists…), an avalanche of sanctions, and a massive arming of Ukraine – which has been pushed to fight Russia, down to the last Ukrainian. The strategic goal is to plunge Russia into economic misery, international isolation, an internal social crisis with a corresponding regime change, and the beginning of a process of fragmentation that would sweep it away as a unitary state (maps of destructive Western desires are circulating, and an ectoplasm like Wałęsa has declared that the solution is to reduce Russia to a country with no more than 50 million inhabitants, compared to the current 146!).
On the other hand, Russia has so far resisted the sanctions, and its economy has withstood the trade bans with the West. Not only the Ruble has not been crushed, it has actually risen. This has been possible in part because the Russian domestic consensus on the inevitability of the military response in Ukraine has been very solid, but most importantly because a situation completely unforeseen by the Western governments has occurred: a large part, if not the whole, of the non-Western world has refused to comply with the sanctions against Russia, attributing to the Western sanctions the rising prices of energy resources, the food market, and agricultural fertilizers. The impact of Western sanctions is very severe for these countries and could lead to serious social conflicts within them. Their governments have therefore built up pressure on the West that threatens the Western strategy against Russia.
NATO, in turn, has unleashed a pattern of continuous attacks against Russia to intensify the confrontation, sending ever more offensive weapons, and taking over direct warfare, even with its own trainers on the ground. It is turning Ukrainians into cannon fodder and initiating operations that the bourgeois right would undoubtedly call terroristic (Dugina, Nord Stream, Kerch Bridge). At the same time, the pressure and blackmail against countries that reject this strategy are becoming more and more violent, up to the attempts at a color revolution in Iran. NATO really envisions only one solution: Russia’s defeat, i.e., its complete subjugation and/or its disappearance as a unitary state. Even a possible cease-fire or peace agreement would only be stepping stones for them to wage permanent war against Russia.
From the Urals to the Silk Road
Russia took the unexpected as an opportunity to present itself as the leader of a reassessment of the world‘s political, financial and economic order. It called on the BRICS, Iran, Venezuela and all countries suffering from the financial and monetary domination of the West through the dollar to begin a process of de-dollarization of their trade. They should even prepare the construction of an international currency based on real assets and not on insubstantial money produced by clicks of central and private banks. This Russian proposal is intertwined with the Chinese proposal for the commercial, industrial and infrastructural development of those countries that have so far been subjected to Western financial robbery.
It is not the place here to analyze in detail the nature of this policy, its feasibility, and its interconnection with the systemic crisis of world capital. What is certain, however, is that it will lead to a further acceleration of the dynamics that can trigger a world conflict, a total war involving the whole world.
Equally certain is that it will and is impacting the economic, political, and financial restructuring plans implemented since the pandemic.
First of all, the attempt to seize power with Covid and subsequent pandemics – by a health regime centralized in the WHO, supported by and intertwined with financial and economic power, in order to control, determine, and direct the economic, trade, and social policies of any country – has already been severely questioned during the pandemic and vaccination campaigns, and is further challenged by the potentially emerging rift between the world blocs.
Ongoing Russian revelations about U.S./Western bio labs in Ukraine, including claims that they have also been working on a series of bat viruses similar to Sars-Cov2, making it increasingly plausible that it is a man-made virus. It is unlikely that this will not have consequences for this and subsequent pandemics. Of course, this information will only make a difference to those who receive it – i.e., not in the West. The latter has banned Russian »disinformation« and declared all news from it to be enemy propaganda – even if it is supported by evidence, like that which he Russians submitted to the UN about the Ukrainian bio labs, which the UN Security Council did not even want to examine …
The attempt to impose on the entire world the widespread use of vaccines to combat pandemics and an increasing number of other diseases has also come under scrutiny. So to has the attempt to monopolize the market with drugs produced in the West and, again from here, to promote the mass distribution of new biotechnological drugs, also mostly from Western production.
Even the attempt to promote the digitalisation of everyone’s personal data (starting with health records) around the world to encourage the adoption of unified and centralized telemedicine has encountered difficulties during the spread of the Covid pandemic. With new rifts emerging, there is nothing to suggest that things will get better for other pandemics or diseases.
The sanctions against Russia, the escalating conflict with China, the rising prices for energy and other raw materials, the rapidly rising prices for essential goods, etc., pose a great danger of a long and deep economic recession. Finance capital will try to save itself. Not least by controlling monetary leverage through central banks and trying to pass on the inevitable devaluation to its weaker parts. In the process, even greater devaluation is shifted to the productive economy, especially to labour and wage earners. This opens the possibility (not the certainty) of a subsequent restart of a new cycle of accumulation. In the meantime, however, the danger of the outbreak of social conflict becomes very acute, particularly in the non-Western countries dependent on the sale of commodities and subject to the vassalage of international debt. But social conflicts of high intensity may also arise in the small handful of Western countries that dominate the world market financially, politically, and militarily, and in their satellite countries, especially the EU.
Old and New Raids
The war against Russia also tears the veil of the secrecy of the domination of Western capital over the rest of the world: cheap energy resources. News circulated in the mainstream media that Germany had received Russian gas at a 70 percent discount, and more than one person denounced this as the real reason for German supremacy in production and technology. This is certainly true, but it has also been true for the entire West since the dawn of capitalism. At first it was coal, which was cheap for British industry because it had been discovered nearby in large quantities. Then, when the greater efficiency of oil was discovered, the West took full control of its price. It did not hesitate to destroy any producing country that tried to use the proceeds to develop its own industry and take control of its mineral resources and their selling price: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, but the list of more or less cruel Western interventions to maintain control over the price of fossil energy resources and other raw materials would be endless.
If Russia were defeated, a new manna of cheap energy could boost Western profits, which certainly cannot be boosted by renewables. A Russian victory could set a dynamic in motion that would make it impossible for the West to procure energy at prices that would keep its profit rates high. The cost of energy resources not only dramatically reveals the inconsistency of the entire paper economy and puts the material economy back at the center of capital reproduction, but also creates intractable problems for digitalisation and control programs, all of which rely on very energy-intensive machinery.
More and more General Reasons for War and internal Battle Lines
The attempt by major Western finance capital to contain the effects of the general crisis of capital and to turn its consequences to its own favor is becoming increasingly problematic. Even the attempt to avoid an uncontrolled decline of the financial and economic crisis may be of no success. In the non-Western world, it faces growing obstacles that ultimately accelerate the risk of a global outbreak of war. The West itself is working hard with provocations at all levels (Ukraine, Taiwan, Serbia/Kosovo, Nagorno-Karabakh, Lebanon/Israel, Libya, Iran, etc.). However, these difficulties do not mean that the programmatic plans for social, economic and political restructuring must be abandoned. On the contrary, they make them even more necessary and urgent. If it is not possible to subjugate the world to the new burning demands of Western big capital, and as war of enormous proportions becomes increasingly inevitable, this makes it more and more urgent, on the one hand, to try to make Western economies more productive in terms of profit, and, on the other hand, to achieve social and political cohesion at home in order to protect oneself from class conflicts. Thus, international turmoil could be met with homogeneous (i.e., enforced) societies sufficiently conditioned to withstand conflicts of all kinds, especially wars.
Pandemic, vaccination, state of emergency, authoritarian social disciplining, the extension of all encompassing control, the complete subjugation of individual and collective life to the overwhelming demands of capital and the state – even to support them in their wars, whether vicariously or directly – can therefore only be defeated by a movement of resistance and opposition that arises within the West. A resistance movement that manages to weave itself beyond Western borders, creating bonds of solidarity and brotherhood of struggle where capital and the states want to create opposition (i.e. »colour revolutions«) and confrontation.
At this level, unfortunately, the condition of the dominated classes and especially of the proletariat, in its increasingly diverse forms of exploitation, does not give much hope for an uprising in the immediate future. Having got rid of its class organization (union, political, programmatic, ideological), with which it defended its conditions and even achieved a series of improvements for itself, as as social and political changes in favor of all exploited classes in the decades from the 1960s to the 1980s, the proletariat has allowed itself to be increasing subjected to the needs of capital. It has accepted that its life and work are dependent on the performance of external entities, be it the performance of the individual enterprise, the economy in general, or the financial conditions of the state.
During the pandemic, the state of subjugation of the proletariat was demonstrated in all its dramatic dimensions: the great mass accepted that its life was reduced to mere work and vital consumption, renouncing without reproach or doubt every other aspect of life. To obtain the existential minimum, work and wages, it accepted all conditions, even the obviously absurd and arbitrary ones. When social activities were partially allowed again, the proletariat accepted subjection to the arbitrariness of the state and companies up to the area of work. For immunity, they were injected with vaccines that immediately proved ineffective; they accepted the Green Pass. This, however, was no proof that one was not contagious, but was and is a pure control instrument! Accepting it expresses only the desire to adapt in order to keep jobs, wages, and a minimal social life – all granted by the state and on its terms. Even when hundreds of thousands of their class brothers refused to submit to the sting and the Green Pass, they turned away and pretended not to see how their class brothers were victims of suspensions, dismissals and all kinds of ostracism.
It should be remembered, however, that this attitude of the proletariat was common to all social strata and on the whole no worse – on the contrary! – than that of the population employed in other sectors.
Of course we have repeatedly heard of signs of human and political solidarity and even struggle in the factories, the logistics centers and the ports – from workers leaving the canteen in solidarity with their colleagues without a health pass, to isolated strikes and mobilizations. Nonetheless, the most appalling examples of loyalty to the emergency regime were also witnessed, with the systematic pursuit of »no vax« and »no green pass« in white-collar occupations, especially schools (the locus of social disciplining par excellence, where much of the teaching staff tends to adopt disciplining as a moral mission); not to mention the shopkeepers, restaurateurs, and hoteliers who – except for a proud, rebellious minority – were willing to do anything just to be allowed to reopen. A sepearate and extended treatement of hospitals and nursing homes in general, where the health issue had been imposed in a draconian and divisive way, is neccesary. All these are nonetheless signs that, on closer examination, say a lot about the alleged petty-bourgeois character of the protests and about the extent to which the emergency made inroads especially amongst white-collar workers.
For its part, the proletariat has done nothing more than maintain its decades-long, passive acceptance of the dictates of capital. As a whole, however, and in its daily behavior, it has shown itself to be much more impervious than the other subaltern classes to all the dehumanization justified by the state of exception. See, for example, the very casual and anything but strict practice of wearing masks in working-class circles – which, for those who do hard labour, constitute a harassment bordering on torture, as well as another pretext for punishment in the hands of the bosses …
Much worse, in contrast to the attitude of the proletariat as a whole, were the self-annointed avant-garde – those who, in order to hang on the skirt of the proletariat, did everything to reinforce its subjugation to the state and capital. They made themselves propagandists of the severity of the pandemic, of the miracles of vaccines and the benefits of science, and resisted any criticism, however polite, of the Green Pass (albeit accompanied by bombastic routine words). Instead, they volunteered instead as vaccine salesmen among the proletariat as well as for the peoples of the Third World. Conversely, the few class-based trade union organizations (or their individual local chapters) that have chosen to intervene in a truly critical way – especially in the final months of the struggle against the Green Pass – have often rallied large numbers of working-class members behind them. This proves that the proletariat is ultimately better than many of those who claim to organize and represent it.
Nevertheless, the proletariat’s subjugation remains, and this is also the fulcrum upon which Western capital picks up in order to draw the proletariat into its own warlike adventures by presenting Russian and Chinese resistance to the Western-centric order as an attempt to reshape the world order – with devastating effects on the proletarian’s condition as well.
The pandemic attack also had this important function: to accustom the population – and thus also the proletariat – to a veritable gymnastics of obedience to all sorts of impositions and harassment. The war, its economy, and the sacrifices it entailed could not have been better prepared for.
The Need to cross the Ford of Capitalist Domination
The new twists and turns of the crisis herald new severe and in many ways unprecedented attacks on the living conditions of the proletariat, on the middle classes and on the peoples of the oppressed countries. For the Western proletariat, the moment may be approaching when it must once again mobilize for struggle and organizing; for this it is necessary to develop its own class autonomy in the field of demands, programmatics, politics, and organization. The general conditions of the class struggle in the wake of the systemic crisis of capital, could also force the proletariat to go beyond the reformist horizon and to enter into a struggle against the totality of the capital relation. Against the authoritarian administration of the pandemic, an international movement developed in which significant minorities of the proletarian class also participated. Most proletarians participated as individuals and did not perceive themselves as a class; their participation was nonetheless significant in two ways:
First, the proletarians involved did this out of a need to resist the attacks of the state, the multinational corporations, and the supranational financial and political powers, based on their condition as human beings – on their bodies and their social lives. In this way, they also resisted the further enslavement to which labour is subjected: to work today, one must not only be value-producing, disciplined, and able to deal with conflict. One must also »deserve« work by subjecting oneself to all mechanisms of health and control – individual, relational, union, and political. Thus, a section, however small, has experienced first-hand that the relationship with capital is not simply a necessity in exchange for survival, where one might even have a minimum of bargaining leverage to improve wages and working conditions a bit. Rather, they see that this relationship is increasingly pervasive and oppressive. Capital is no longer content to demand total domination of human labour power, but demands total domination of the entire life of the worker and of the living humanity as a whole. To free oneself from the social relations of capital therefore becomes not only a socio-economic necessity, but a necessity to defend human life itself.
The fact that this problem has emerged does not mean that the solution is within reach. Those who have become aware because of the pandemic policy, or because of the increasingly exhausting and poorly paid work, are mostly in search of personal solutions for greater freedom and/or more satisfying employment – a path full of illusions, since both capital and the state are able to occupy every free labour niche with their power of exploitation and domination. The search for personal solutions is, ofcourse, compelling when there are no visible forces on the ground that can fight for true and total freedom from capital. Such forces, however, could multiply: as a result of the inevitable increase of the structural surplus population, of the useless people who must be kept under strict control (and whose demise must be accelerated…), and of the social exclusion of tens of millions of wage-earners who are no longer able to achieve through their own work even the minimum necessary for survival.
Secondly, in some decisive moments of mobilization, typical proletarian methods of struggle have appeared: Strikes and blockades of productive and other economic activities. This was greeted with enthusiasm by the entire movement, which saw both the usefulness and effectiveness of these forms of struggle and the possible emergence of a class force that could give them the continuity and determination necessary for a real victory in a concrete struggle. The construction workers of Melbourne, the dockworkers of Trieste, and the Canadian truckers were the high points of this development. None of them, however, succeeded in giving the mobilization the prod it needed to make it more incisive and successful.
It is pointless to place the blame on this or that leader. The fact is that these proletarian groups found themselves isolated within their own class. The latter, in its overwhelming majority, adapted to all impositions in order to save its own skin. Even if it was only an episode (the Canadian one was, after all, a rather long and participatory episode …), the role of these small proletarian groups was enormously important. Because they took up the struggle not only for themselves, for their own class or sectoral goals, but for the liberation of all people from state restrictions and obligations. This is a very small but promising episode of a proletariat that defends itself as human beings, and not just as a proletariat – and that therefore, in defending itself, takes on the defense of all living humanity. In this respect, too, the progression of the systemic crisis and the attempts to resolve it will undoubtedly multiply the conditions that will make similar necessities reappear. The conditions that make it possible – though ofcourse not certain – will multiply.
Eight months after the official start of the Ukraine war, the anti-Russian war discipline has not yet reached the same level of acceptance as the pandemic one. Indeed, mass resistance to the initial consequences of the war has already developed in some countries. In Britain, a movement of strikes and demonstrations has emerged against high electricity bills and the cost of living in general. From what has become known so far, however, it has avoided also speaking out against the government’s war policy, which is the cause of rising energy costs and the threat of economic recession with resulting unemployment, wage deflation, and wage cuts. The mobilization is nonetheless, implicitly, a rejection of the sacrifices made to support the war effort against Russia. As long as it remains implicit, however, the movement will inevitably support, passively or actively, solutions of rearmament against Russia in exchange for immediate socioeconomic relief. Prime Minister Lisa Truss already tried this with her plan to fund large-scale aid to contain rising energy costs.
In France, refinery workers mobilized strongly to support demands for wage increases, though they also justified them by citing the high profits of oil companies due to the crisis in the market for petroleum products caused by the war sanctions. A demand dangerously close to participation in war profits, i.e., participation in one’s government’s war on the condition that one can share in the profits. Nevertheless, there have been signs of the movement expanding to include other groups of wage earners whose companies are not currently benefiting from rising profits. The unions and the left immediately rushed to sterilize these signs: To banish the danger of it becoming a movement explicitly opposed to the government’s war policies – with Mélenchon leading the campaign against Russian aggression.
A different dynamic has developed so far in Germany, the Czech Republic, and Austria. Here, too, there have been mobilizations against the high cost of living and the effects of the incipient recession. The masses on the street here are explicitly demanded the lifting of anti-Russian sanctions and, in Germany, also the resumption of gas supplies through Nord Stream (which someone sabotaged as a precaution to prevent the German government from being forced to break the Western Front under the pressure of a growing movement). There was strong pressure on the streets of these countries to distance themselves from the warmongering policies of their governments. There is a rejection of the policy of confrontation with Russia and the Russians at any cost, and instead a demand to work with Russia. The most diverse impulses are condensed in this movement (traditional pacifism, which knows that peace comes about through compromise and not through the defeat of the Russian aggressor; sovereignism, which opposes a globalism that wants to conquer, unify and shape peoples according to its goals; fear of the increasingly tangible threat of a world Armageddon). Here, not least, a tendency can develop to counter the increasing war dynamic with a call for cooperation between peoples. Thus the problem, vital for all mankind today, arises of the basis on which such cooperation can emerge: In a world based on exchange dominated by capitalist value, with the inevitable consequence of fierce competition, oppression of classes and peoples, and wars, or in a world that rejects the domination of value and its monetary means of expression.
We have no futuristic certainties to sell. In the meantime, though, it is enough for us to take note of what is happening – even on the proletarian side – at the beginning of an epoch that forces capital to concentrate all its might to protect itself from an insolvable crisis, and to face it. To face it, there is an extreme need to completely subjugate the lives of the exploited classes, to subject them to a new and pervasive totalitarianism, to make them compatible with the attempt to revive accumulation, to suppress any possibility of resistance and revolt. There is now, no longer, any possibility to take general measures of reformist compromise, limited at most to certain sectors which, for certain reasons or at certain moments, may be of particular importance for the maintenance of the system or for the transaction of business – nor to discipline their own internal front as a single compact army against external enemies.
However, we are certain that it makes sense to continue working on building and expanding coordination between all anti-capitalist activists who are aware of the attack that capital and the state have launched with the authoritarian management of the pandemic. In this way, a contribution marked by a coherent and comprehensive anti-capitalism will be made to all the mobilizations, which can develop against the resumption of the vaccination campaigns, against the expansion of the digital control apparatus, against the attack on relational, trade union and political freedoms. In this way, all the anti-capitalist activists in the world can be united against the war, and all these aspects can be linked to the possible emergence of a social and class conflict, both on a purely economic terrain and on an economic-political terrain, caused by the new turns of the economic crisis, by the measures taken in its course, and in the development of the permanent war economy.
Assemblea Militante, November, 2022
Image: Assemblea Militante in an anti-lockdown manifestation in Italy, date unknown