The subversion of everyday life - Kolinko

Kolinko on how capital comes to dominate all areas of our lives, and how within our everyday lives lie the seeds of a new society.

Submitted by Steven. on December 24, 2009

1 [Work]
2 [Capital, Gender, the State]
3 [Class Struggle]
4 [Tendencies]
5 [Revolution]
6 [Revolutionary Struggle]

Who is it that told you that life is yet to begin? Or are you already waiting for your pension?

Monday morning - get up, go out, call in sick, can't do anything else, don't want to do anything else, just keep going. Get up again, go out, school, work, get back, knackered, cook, wash. Time or money, stomach-ulcer-skin-inflammation, just keep going. Friday, disco, cinema, friends, Sunday family walks. It is enough! Let's not (!) just grin and bear it!

We spend out time in the smoke filled workshops and humanised factory halls, in be-palmed offices and steak-herb reeking kitchens. We sweat scrap-metal back together and magic the sick well again. For our children there is only the new-deal-work-fare-training-schemes, where they solder platinum for washing machines and anti-blockage-drainage-systems.

We get up every morning. We do it! Even if we have partied the whole night through. Even with the squeezed disc in the back, relationship stress in the head and love-sick in the heart, we just keep going. They have prepared us for this. This is real life. No one ever promised us anything else.

What the fuck is wrong with us? Whose madness is this? Who forces us? The society? The state? The media? The patriarchal nuclear family? The temptation of being able to have a part of the supposed riches? Mama? The weapons? The capitalists?

Is there not something else other that waiting-within-the-machine-rhythm-for-the-pause with the boredom of Coronation Street-romanticism, the professional-development-further-training-scheme, the now-I-discover-myself-workshop and thrill-addiction-parties. We need the challenge, the adventure, the yearning, the struggle, the will to change all that. We are searching for the subversion, the rebellion, the possibility of revolt. And we search for it in this everyday life, in the offices, the factory halls, the hospitals, in Tescos.

We need the movement that does not hesitate, that lets our collective power be visible!

We wrote and discussed drafts of this paper for almost a year and a half. It was planned as if for a our friends, work mates and interested people, with whom we could see a common starting point for revolutionary organisation.

It seemed quite difficult to bring together our fundamental critique on the existing relations with our longing to have practical action and to write that all down. So we came to the point where some discussions in our group could not go further. The language that we wanted; precise, clear and analytically sharp seemed to be missing. And so it went on and on...

What you now have in your hands is a discussion paper. This paper was a process, it reflected the actual stage of our group discussions. In it we refer to revolutionary currents of Marxism, Workerism, a revolutionary critique of feminism and discussions with Wildcat.[1]

The first part is about the basis of the exploitative society: work and the division of labour.

In the second part we describe how the relations of capital, gender and the state originate from the specific practical relationships of people to each other and from their position in the capitalist production process.

In the third part we bring that together with our power to change things: class struggle. In the fourth part we try to make an approximation of the current social changes, the conditions for a revolutionary development: crisis, proletarianisaton, flexibilisation.

In the fifth and final part we sketch out our notions for revolution and communism and our tasks in the revolutionary struggle.

1 Work
It is not a natural situation, that we live in an exploitative, unjust society, with hierarchies and divisions between men and women, nationals and foreigners, rich and poor, with exploitation and oppression. This situation is created! It is not based on natural power-craziness and egoism of people. It is also only indirectly to do with bourgeois ideology, tradition, manipulative mass media or the super control of the system.

The situation is based on the concrete practice of six billion people: work. Work is not simply comparable with concrete activities like pudding making, suspension bridge building or beats sampling. We can do all these things with out working. It doesn't matter if it is paid or not, these activities become work if we cannot determine how, for how long, what for and with whom we do them.

Work is; having to slave for the banal things of life, because, although the technical means of doing our work are possible, their development promises no profits.

Work is; not deciding collectively and thereby being productive, but slaving away in our own households where we cook-clean-comfort or inside the walls of factories and offices.

Work is; to be restricted to defined activities: Brick laying, dispensing soul comfort, day-in day-out washing other people's floors...

Work is; division of labour. We are not allowed to do everything, live out the variety of activities - acting in theatres, attic building, philosophy etc. - that the constitutes the whole of society.
Through the division of work, it seems that society consists of lots of single producers slaving away independently of each other in different companies, departments, households, schools and potato plantations. Everyone seems to be responsible for their own fate and to be independent from others. In order to live in capitalism we are dependant on the work of the majority of the workers of this planet: from miners in South Africa, HGV drivers in Spain, car manufacturers in Korea, textile workers in China, programmers in India to farmers in France.

All together, the way that we produce this society is the basis of the divisions between people and creates the total splintering of our lives that makes us so sick: The national borders that fence us in, the prisons of genders, the roles of citizen, workers or consumer, the separation of young and old, trainee and qualified, the stress of free time and everyday work... The division of labour produces these divisions between us and thereby creates the basis for exploitation and oppression. Whoever can determine the work and work products of other, whoever can use for themselves the dependence of people on the work of others, has social power.

2 Capital, Gender, the State
In the following chapter we will describe how a fixed specific practice of people creates a relationship that then governs them. How relations or connections to one another, to the means of production and the work products face them as something that controls them.

We concentrate here on capital, state and gender, which are not, however, structures that stand side by side that can be fought against singly. If we talk about Capitalism, we mean the entire relationship. If we talk about class struggle, we mean the struggle that directs itself against that relationship.

Capital, Exploitation and Crisis
We produce this world together, be we do not decide in what way we do it. We don't have contact to the people who make our clothes, whose CNC machines we build etc. The connections come about mostly through the capitalist forms of the market, money, companies etc. Through this, these forms achieve a seemingly independent existence, that defines our days: "Money rules the world", "the state does this, VW does that". Through our separated co-operation our products seem to take on a power over us: we turn into dependants of machine-time or victims of inflation...

Capital describes the relationship within which we co-operate in a world-wide division of labour.[2] We seem dependant on capital,because it brings together our divided work under its command. That is the basis of capitalist power, the basis therefor, of a small class holding the means of production in their hands, being able to force us to work and exploit us.

We don't stand up for eight hours in stuffy factories and punch out small parts for Smarts or Playstations because we think that society has a need for this crap. We go into the factories or offices and sell our labour power, because we don't have any other way of sustaining ourselves. We need the wage because we don't posses anything other than our labour power. We have no riches, no means of production and, through the capitalist organisation of work, no possibilities of coming together with the world wide producers independently of capital. We have to graft away in isolated households, because otherwise other people wouldn't be able to work or would have to spend so much on snack-fodder, laundrettes and touchy-feely workshops, that the money would not be enough to live on.

However, not only are we robbed of our means of production, but we don't end up getting the products that we produce every day. We don't determine what we produce and the ways and means that we do it. The means of production and means of subsistence that we produce stay in the hands of the owners of the means of production. By this separation of us from our products they are thus always able to force us to work for them.[3] Through this process, we daily (re)produce the pre-condition of having to work, the basis of our exploitation.

The bosses want to present the theft of the products of our work as 'free and fair exchange' - wages for work. The exploitation is hidden behind the wage, being forced to work hidden behind the 'free exchange'. The capitalists only gives us the wages, because otherwise we would starve and couldn't work for them any more. In a much shorter time than our working day, we produce the equivalent of our wages, the equivalent of the things that are necessary for the subsistence of us and our families. Most of the time in the day we are working solely for the profit of the small class of capitalists. This profit, and not our needs, is the determining factor of capitalism.

However just a small part of the profits go on the luxury hampers of whichever fat-cat. The capitalists themselves are forced to turn a large part of the profit back into capital, i.e. to invest in yet more machines, office blocks and labour power. They don't do this because they can't stuff their faces full enough, but because otherwise they would go bankrupt and wouldn't be capitalists any more. What presents itself as the law of competition for the individual capitalist, is the law of capitalist accumulation: Capital has to become more capital through the exploitation of labour power.[4]

The fact that we stay separated from the means of production and from the products of our work, has to be enforced over and over again. This happens through the production process itself that isolates us, the relentless rhythm of the machine that wears us down, the boss that stands behind us and controls us. And where the violence of work is not sufficient, a 'direct' form of violence is used: foremen, company security guards, shift bosses and department heads drive us to work harder and threaten rebels with dismissal. The capitalists try to divide us along the lines of the work divisions using different working conditions, wage levels etc between foreigners/ nationals, educated / uneducated, men / women. The hierarchy between the exploited is supposed to make joint struggle against the exploitation seem impossible.

A social mode of production that does not arise from the need and collectivity of billions of producers, but has as its only sense and purpose the increase of capital; that for this purpose reduces the daily lives of most people to (wage) slaves and thereby produces rage a-billion-fold; such a mode of production also produces inevitable crises. These crises are not accidents of capitalism, they are part of its contradictory organisation of production, its need for accumulation, for the expansion of exploitation.[5]

Gender roles are a practical relation that both 'genders' produce, but it is also a relation of violence and dependence, the daily experience of women. Is someone tries to break out of this relationship, and doesn't act like a 'real man' on the building site, will often become isolated, or worse.

If the idyllic little family turns out to be an isolation chamber, if women refuse to let their little worker be the 'little boss' at home, concentrate only on him, protect him from the loneliness of masculinity, she often finds herself confronted with violence. Out of fear of not being able to have close human relationships without female assistance, and the fear of being bottom of the heap without being able to have dominance over the house worker, many men try to keep women being functional through restrictions and the threat or practice of violence. In order to get rid of these relationships of need and violence, we need to get rid of gender itself.[7]

One's gender determines which tasks we carry out in the social division of labour. It does that from fixed 'gender specific' wage work in production up to practical characteristics and activities for example 'men' having to, or wanting to, protect. Gender arises as a relation within the social mode of production of capitalism, in the association and the acting out of fixed activities, roles and identities. The development of the forces of production - the expansion of social co-operation and the development of technical means to lighten physical work - determines the character of the gender division of labour.

Capitalism found the existing gender division of labour, turned it into the basis of isolating the form of reproduction of labour power and thereby used it to bring down the capital expenditure. Giving birth and the rearing of children was from then on synonymous with the production and reproduction of labour power. The gender division of labour and the reduction of women to the reproduction of labour power makes the divisions between men and women fixed. That did not appear for the first time with capitalism, but the shift in production from houses (farming or handicraft) into families in factories and offices has fundamentally changed the social position of men and women and created new patriarchal relationships.

Feminine and masculine proletariats became separated from each other and women increasingly become stuck into the isolated - unpaid - housework in the nuclear family.[8] Men played a central role, due to wage work and the associated control over the income, and the fact that places of production became the centres of social change in capitalism. The exclusion of women from organising and struggling meant their social degradation.

The dependence of women on the income of men, ensured through marriage and violence, built a framework within which women were supposed to perform particular work for the capitalist accumulation: to produce the commodity of labour power; take care of the reproduction, ideological disciplining and initial training. Housework is part of the social co-operation, without which the capitalist machinery won't function. In families and in the disciplining state institutions girls and boys are introduced to the skills that needed to be developed for later exploitation in house and wage work.

Proletarian women as wage workers always play the role of the industrial reserve army: where they can be exploited for the capitalist valorisation process they are sent to the assembly lines - whether in the development zones of South China, the Maquiladora sweatshops on the US-Mexican border or the electronic hell-holes in central Europe.[9] Where struggle and the revolution of the social modes of production demands dismissals, they are supposed to just back to the kitchen, e.g. in the ex-DDR (East Germany) and other former eastern block states.[10]

The gender divisions will always be used for this, to change the composition of wage workers - to weaken struggle, to put pressure on wages and to divide the workers. In wage work the particular capabilities of women are exploited - communication, emotional sympathy, skilled finger work, due to women having to learn this during their particular upbringing and disciplining. And then the wage work is often just the continuation of their house work: the caring for the sick in hospitals, the work as child minders or in nurseries, as cleaning women or secretary in service to their boss.

As a rule, this work is paid worse than equivalent work by men. In Germany alone millions of women work in insecure working situations like 320 Euro jobs (under the tax and national insurance level), part time work etc. All in all the situation for most women is characterised by insecurity, low wages, poverty and a 16 hour day for the boss, the husband and the children.

Women are fighting against exploitation at work, refusing to do housework and children rearing and telling their husbands to fuck off. The mechanisation of households and the conversion unpaid housework into paid work (fast food, caring...) was a reaction to this refusal. For many women paid work is the first chance they get to overcome the isolation of the family and take part in social life. On the other hand they only end up in a different form of exploitative relationships.

The relationship between the genders has changed considerably in the last few years due to the rebellion of women against their subordination - the images of typical roles are changing, same gender love is almost accepted, the new jobs break down the gender divisions and many women have become self-reliant in their relationships, at work, in their organisational efforts, refusing to accept everything and are choosing a single life over nuclear family stress.

Where women and men attack the gender divisions, they have to be re-enforced again. Women have to be forced into the fulfilment of their 'duties' with violence, men get drilled in the conscripted army and other 'men schools'. With child benefits, marriage laws and personnel management strategies, men and women are further forced into defined jobs, defined roles and learned behaviours. But at the same time the division only works, because we reproduce it over and over again as men and women - amongst ourselves and in relation to the 'other gender'. Where new identities are created, as gay and lesbian, as part of the women's or men's movements, there is an attempt to reintegrate these forms into the capitalist process: equalities officers, funds for subcultures, gay insurance policies, lesbian politicians.

The liberation from gender, the struggle against oppression based on physical characteristics, is part of the class struggle. Only the class of exploited producers is able to destroy the gender roles. Not because the 'women' don't have power without the 'workers', but because gender is a part of the entire social practice.

Almost everything that we need to live, we produce in ways, in which we face our co-operation and the means of work as capital, as a force outside of ourselves. But not all the work in capitalism can be organised along the lines of a 'factory', not all the labour necessary for the reproduction of labour power can be exploited within a capitalist relation.[11] Through the capitalist ways and means of producing this society, we don't only create the production units of factory, the office and the hospital, but also of the household.

House and wage work are both dependant on one another as existing parts of the relations of production, within which we (re)produce our life in the forms of class and gender. From this point, class struggle is the struggle against work, against social modes of production, that create the exploitative relations of capital as well as creating gender.

The State
The state presents itself as a 'neutral political institution' that exists independently from the 'economic' sphere. This has the following results: union people request that the state regulates the undemocratic businesses; socialists lament that the state is just for the rich parties and not the 'little people'; anarchists present the state as all-encompassing power, without which the society would be free. Whether as a an operational partner or as the main enemy, the state offers itself as the focal point for our struggle, in order to integrate and disempower it. The state is part of the capitalist exploitative relations. It is the political and violent form of enforcing and preserving capitalist exploitation.

Fundamental for the exploitation in capitalism is a mass of labour power, that can only live by selling its labour power, or, does not have access to its own means of production. The state makes sure that people stay divided from their means of production on a daily basis, through wars and expulsion from the countryside. Development aid, migration and population politics are used to be able to control the new proletarians.

The separation from the means of production has to permanently maintained through threats and the use of violence: soldiers against autonomous actions by landless people, police against factory occupations. State protection of private property is protection of the owners of the capitalist class, protection from the appropriation of the means of production by the producers and thereby the preservation of the condition of exploitation.

What is sold to us daily as the 'achievements of the welfare state' are actually the states means of keeping us all as wage slaves, of controlling our working lives and getting us ready for exploitation. Social aid and unemployment benefits keep us being exploitable labour power, during the times when our wage work can't be valorised. We get the money, but only if we show willingness to work and give the state the chance to have insight and intervention into our living situation. In school we learn the things that are required from a labour force, particular qualifications, arse licking and obedience. When working life finishes us off, the hospitals and nut houses make us able to cope with life again. In conflicts between workers and capitalists the state appears as a mediator: it offers the workers state-approved unions or its employment laws for isolated conflicts and so ensures 'orderly relationships'.

Apart from that it tries everything to get the conflicts to take place within the working class: its 'migration and family policies' are always creating new divisions and hierarchies amongst the exploited, the existence of individual 'nations' offers the possibility of diverting the workers struggles down nationalistic tracks.

However, the state is not merely a 'service' for capital. Its existence is simply materially tied to profitable exploitation and work: without profit, without the valorisation of capital there would also be no money for the state.[12]

The struggle with the exploitation changes the form of the state and how the state tries to maintain the conditions of exploitation. Whether as military dictatorship, workers and peasants state or a parliamentary democracy - neither our demands, nor 'politics' changes the state, but rather our struggle against the capitalist everyday life.[13]

The state is also not a 'thing' that exists unchanging and independently from humans. In our everyday material practice we have to face and deal with the state and capital in the forms of 'politics' and 'economics'. We seem dependant on the state and on the 'politics', because we are dependant on particular social activities that the 'state' carries out.[14] Due to the separation into isolated 'owners' labour power, small families, in companies, in the town and country etc, we don't organise these activities together and don't create unmediated connections between ourselves.[15] state planning, laws to regulate social conflict etc seem to be necessary.

The of social activities in the form of the state has to be re-enforced daily: the police and teachers have to become accepted as such, the state has to get its own material apparatus produced etc. In times of heavier struggle or crisis it becomes apparent that the state is not necessarily a given. Particular tasks that are not organised by the state any more, the people have to, or can, carry out communally again. E.g. in parts of Russia, where due to the crisis, the state stopped undertaking particular social care duties, or during the struggles in Albania, that reduced the state to its role as military power.[16]

3 Class Struggle
This is our starting point: out of specific practical relations of people between themselves and to the production conditions, capital, the state and gender arises as oppressive relations. Now to the deciding question: how can we destroy these relations and create a different way to live together? We look for the possibilities of change, for liberation from the power and find it in everyday exploitation itself.

Our Power to Make Changes
The isolation within the capitalist society gives us the daily experiences of facing powerlessness in the relationships: we stand alone in front of the boss and colleagues looking either like big girls blouses or as macho: the police catch our foreign girlfriend in a raid and deport her; our dole money gets cut and cut because the state supposedly has no more money; the bosses close down the companies, because they can allegedly get more work for less wages somewhere else etc.

The possibility of liberation from this powerlessness is in our daily social practice. It is the world-wide co-operation of work, that create capital, the state, the gender relations every day a-new. In struggles we can break out of those relations and get to know that we are not isolated individuals, but that, together with all the exploited in the world, we form cohesion of divided labour. This can turn into the material power of a movement, within which we liberate ourselves from these relations:

We can destroy capital, because money will become old paper and machines become scrap metal, if we don't use them or they are not used. The power of capital over living labour has an end, if the struggle overcomes the apparent divisions of social production in house holds, companies, nations etc.

We can seize and destroy the state, because it does not produce its own apparatus, but rather is dependant on capitalist exploitation, from 'orderly' relations in its schools, universities, prisons and offices. The state would disintegrate, if the movement of the exploited jumped over the school walls and liberated knowledge; if we take our conflicts out of the courts and rule ourselves; if take a break from the job centre waiting rooms because we are no longer a permanently available labour force; if we tear down the border fences, because without exploitation there would also be no need for 'national labour market' or 'locations'.

We can destroy gender, because it is a practical social relation that changes through class confrontation and in capitalist development. Within the struggle we can develop desires that no longer have to be in the form of gender divisions. In the struggle we can break out of our isolation and together hit back at the sexist attacks. In revolutionary struggle we can destroy the material basis of gender division, the isolation of households, the different forms of house and wage work, the private ownership of knowledge about our own bodies.

That is the struggle against work. The struggle against a social activity that is the basis for exploitation and oppression. It is the revolutionary critique and the power to make changes. This critique is not born on a desk or in a lefty seminar, but where we come together every day, where through our work, we create the power of capital over the producers. in dingy backyard workshops, in kitchens and canteens, at the assembly line and street corners, behind fast-food counters, in hi-tech offices, university lecture halls and in coffee plantations, the confrontations take place that embody the possibility of a movement that can change everything. The rage expresses itself in conflicts large or small, in the refusal to put up with the drudgery and disciplining. Calling in sick, working slowly, taking longer breaks, nicking stuff and annoying the 'little boss' are forms of the daily little wars by individual workers. These conflicts are permanent. There is no consensus over the exploitation. It stays a part of the capitalist development, or could be diffused in biannual balloted union-lead half-day work-to-rule actions, if the isolation of the conflicts does not break out into common struggle.

Revolutionary situations arise, if the exploited turn their daily divided co-operation around, and into organising their struggle: if the office workers don't work away to the rhythm of some other workers PC-inputs, but rather use the intranet to co-ordinate the strike; if the assembly line workers don't have to try to catch up with the assembler before her, but rather use the co-operation to bring the whole assembly to a stand still; if the struggle in the schools ruins the a whole coming generation of workers; if joint proletarian rent strikes or mass-shoplifting was organised in the play-groups and parent and toddler groups.

The struggle develops a material power, because it suspends the capitalist accumulation and undermines the state.

The self-organisation of the struggle by the strugglers is only possible in those conflicts that result from the daily structures of forced co-operation.

In these conflicts the relationships and needs change. In this way we get to know, the means and possibilities are there to create an-other non-capitalist community. In these struggles there is the chance to 'out' as paper tigers, the supposed supremacy of capital, the seeming independence of the state and naturalness of gender relations. Because the practical relations to each other and to the means of production change and because in struggle they can be developed and created without capitalist mediation. This real movement within capitalist exploitation we call

Class Struggle
If we talk about class, we are coming from the view that, the work of people creates the private property of the means of production - and thereby the basis of themselves as property-less and exploited proletariat. The class is not a club that people belong to or not. It is also not a category, in which people can be ordered in 'objective attributes'. Class originates as a movement, if the exploited use their productive relations against the exploitation.

This process is class.

The material conditions of production and the form of how the class fight against these conditions, are directly interrelated and always changes through the confrontations. Every collective activity, every struggle impels the capitalists and their 'little bosses' to appoint or dismiss new people (with different 'qualifications'), to introduce new technology, different 'teaching methods', wage systems or work organisation, to invite or deport immigrants. These changes within capitalist production also change the ways we can fight and gives a new face to the class struggle. Self employed long distance lorry drivers will find other ways to struggle than call-centre workers or care workers. New immigrants bring different experiences to the struggle from workers who have worked for the same company for years. The revolt will hit the capitalist accumulation more directly in a Maquiladoras factory tied in the world wide production chain as in a backyard workshop in Haywards Heath that is only locally economically active.

Revolutionary initiative has to be based on these concrete material conditions and the already existing organisational endeavours of the class, if we intervene in struggle. The usual organisational suggestions, valid for all sectors, points in time and situations of struggle, like those made by parties, workers councils or syndicalist unions can only hinder the self-movement of the class.

Class struggle is in very few cases a 'attack on capitalism', but rather struggle against concrete exploitative situations. It does not require the unity of the exploited, but rather in itself, tackles the hierarchy between the workers. The divisions and splits within the proletariat is re-created daily through the ways and means of capitalist production. It often comes to confrontation between workers, if the varying positions of workers in the production process is attacked along with the attack on the organisation of work. The possibility of breaking out of the divisions, the chance of real change can only be found in these struggles.

In confrontations most unions use the slogan "unity of all the exploited" in order to get the conflict under control or to stifle it: "We can only fight, if everybody joins in, but not everyone is joining in... There are so many differences between the workers, so we need a strong union organisation here... You can't beat up the headmaster, he is also just a wage dependant..." Those parts of the proletariat who are fundamentally attacking the work and the resulting hierarchies and divisions are at the forefront of driving the process forward.

We have to support even those struggles that are against another part of the proletariat: The struggle of school kids, if it has to be enforced against the orderly parents and teachers; the revolt of black factory workers, if their foreman stands against them; the strike of skilled workers, if they can't stop unskilled workers from strike breaking; the self-organised women in the factory, if they would be sabotaged by the male union.

Within these daily confrontations we look for the tendencies that do not let themselves be absorbed by capitalist development, but that burst open and go beyond it. These tendencies can seldom be clearly recognised by their 'external form' of struggle: the stated demands, the 'official' leaders, the questions of whether a conflict is peaceful or violent, initially says very little about the 'revolutionary content' of the struggle. The strugglers may experience less collective power and liberation in a union institutionalised general strike for 15 percent more wages, than in a wildcat strike for 2 percent.

Whether revolutionary tendencies of self liberation from the existing relations of production/learning/living arise in the struggles depends upon whether the strugglers

* find forms of self organisation, that bring forth new collective relationships, and within the struggle undermine the hierarchical divisions of labour.
* take possession of the means of production in such a way that they can no longer be used as a means of enforcing work, but rather become means of abolishing work.
* break out of the divisions of everyday work such as professional and language groups, department, housing estates and company walls etc.
* hit capital and the state through the struggle and so can be an example of workers power for other proletariats.

4 Tendencies
The chance of overthrowing capitalism can not be explained through isolated struggles or movements. Historical changes of the ways that we produce this society, i.e. how we are exploited in capitalism, does not result automatically, or through a plan of the exploited class, but through the class struggle and the contradictions of capital. The development of capital has limits: the struggle of the class does not only change the social mode of production, through that it also creates the conditions for a world wide revolution. We have to reveal these conditions in the current social changes make them the starting point of struggle. Here is a rough example:

Asia, until 1996 the promised land of capital, that dreamed of everlasting boom on the backs of a compliant proletariat, has had its bubble burst in the last few years. In Indonesia the rage of the proletariat broke out in flames. In Russia, where the new businessmen and old 'soviet' company chairmen are making big money, while many workers are not getting any wage at all, and so are continually going on strike, bankruptcy threatens. In the 80s the IMF and the World Bank let Central and Latin America off their debt, in order to improve the exploitation conditions. Today millions of dollars have to be pumped into the region, just to make sure the currency does not totally crash.

The basis of this crisis does not lie, as defenders of capitalism often maintain, in adventure capital speculation, faulty management or corrupt governments. These explanations are only there to raise the hope that the crisis can be overcome through a 'better policy'. The causes of crisis is not reformable. It is caused by the reactions of the workers against the exploitation and the consequential sharpening of the contradictions of capitalist relations of production.

The crisis of capital is the crisis of valorisation: that for the exploitation of the workers, the invested capital does not bring enough profit, that is needed for the exploitation process.[17] Strikes, working slowly, refusing new work models and enforcement of better living standards, without consideration for the internal deficit or company benchmarks, leads to sinking profits.

If capital can not break these workers (re)actions and impose increased exploitation, it increasingly goes looking for other regions with better valorisation conditions - which is increasingly difficult, as there almost no regions left today where the people don't know what capitalism means. Or else the ruling class try to buy time needed for the enforcement of new exploitation conditions, but taking out more credit, or with financial speculation.

This does not succeed for them - when the profit from the increased production doesn't cover the credit - it ends in a crash, like we have seem recently in Asia, Russia and Latin America. That shows that today's 'Globalisation' is not a sign of the power of capital, but primarily that it globalises its crisis.

Struggles and Confrontations
Uprisings in the last few years like the Chiapas-Mexico after 1994 and in Indonesia 1998, daily strikes in the (newly-) industrialised Asian states like China, South Korea etc and protest movements in the boom countries of Latin America: that are struggles by workers in the new development centres, whose increasing demands come up against the results of the worldwide capitalist exploitation.

The question is whether these class movements widen out and radicalise or whether they let themselves, due to the crisis, be bound up into a new development-focused dictatorship. After the exploitation model of the east block toppled, we find ourselves facing a fairly open situation.

The strikes of the miners in Russia and Romania and the uprising in Albania in 1997 are just the strongest examples of confrontation by workers, who don't want to let themselves be a cheap labour force for a new elite or western investors.

The strikes in UPS and General Motors in the USA and of the Spanish and French transport workers are examples of more openly led class confrontation in the capitalist metropolises. Apart from that, the situation seems to be one of a blockade: there are almost no struggles against the increasing stress of work, but also that capitalism, is not able to implement any new profitable exploitation regimes by its attacks.[18]

There can't really be any talk of a global struggle. Many struggles start from a position of weakness: company closures, defending against deteriorations etc.. Many confrontations take on nationalist or of other forms of violence within the working class.

The New Crisis Regime
The ruling class tries to use sharper state measures against the proletariat to solve the situation of crisis and blockade. In the European Metropolises these attacks are mediated by the 'socialist' and social democrat governments. These governments try to solve the blockade in the direction of 'more work - less money' by increased pressure on both working and unemployed proletariat. By doing this the 'labour parties' play on their having good relations with the union apparatus and pull together for the implementation of 'more work'.

The instrument of the state against the class struggle has also been modernised on a worldwide level: In the face of the crisis, the IMF has to make even clearer to the credit dependant governments, that they can only get more credit, if they enforce intensified exploitation against the local workers. In the EU, member states no longer have the possibility, with the new unified currency, the Euro, to avoid the struggles in their lands by currency manipulation.[19] So the ruling class is having to challenge the struggles to a greater extent than before, and seize hold of the workers and their work conditions in order to lower the cost of wages, extend the work time etc. The immigration conditions for workers from non-EU countries are further intensified. Workers are supposed to immigrate as cheap labour in the wished for amounts, but otherwise should be available for exploitation in the various regions of investment from the Ukraine to Morocco.

Besides some 'welfare state measures', the ruling class [20] have recently had only the most brutal of all state deeds left, to solve the class confrontation. The was in Yugoslavia in 1999 shows a new quality of the crisis regimes: The left governments sold the bombing as a humanitarian action and, NATO wanted to demonstrate, with this ideological motivation, their ability to reduce every spot on this earth to rubble.

Above all the war had an enormous effect on the class situation in the Balkans:

* The bombs on the Serbian big industrial plants managed to push through what the Serbian regime had not managed after years of attacks: The fastest mass redundancies since the Treuhand.[21] The 600,000 workers whose firms were flattened by the bombing, will probably never now come together again in their old work groups, in which they fought for such a long time against wage reductions and redundancies. The war created a dispersed labour force, the basis for the intensification of exploitation, as we can see, for example, from the new work from VW or the Italian outsourced textile fleapits in Bosnia.
* The struggle of students and workers against the repression and 'welfare state politics' of the Serbian state, has for the time, being, become side-tracked down democratic-nationalistic lines, as a result of the war.
* In Kosovo millions became separated from their land and occupations and had to flee. Many of them, whether 'Albanian' or 'Serbian' have to work somewhere else, often as low paid competitors to the indigenous workers.
* The new 'ethnic' borders and the selective EU policies of 'rebuilding' the profitable regions like Croatia, Slovenia, and now maybe Montenegro separate and favour certain regions, thereby creating the basis for new nationalistic violence within the working class.
* The Balkans are under military occupation. In this region, characterised by the mobility of the workers, is now controlled by NATO troops and UN organisations, who are the ones who now do the moving around. When the Albanian population armed themselves in 1997 and brought vast areas of land out of state control, the 'Blue-helmets'[22] didn't venture into the country. Today Albania is a NATO base.

The Yugoslavian war was a sign for the proletariat world wide: if we can't solve the crisis through rationalisation measures and work discipline, we still have a few bombing arguments for you. The exploited class have to get into the offensive in the coming struggle, otherwise the ruling class, in their desperate search for a way out of the crisis, will use the conflicts such as between North and South Korea, China and Taiwan, India and Pakistan etc at a reason for a war against the workers.

Proletarianisation [23]
In recent years, Capital had got stronger in the 'three continents' (Africa, Asia and Latin America) and has really gone after Asia and Latin America, because it has the hopes of realising higher profits there. The construction of industry is only possible because there - especially in Asia - millions of people leave the country for the city, leave their piece of land and have to sell their labour force to the factory boss or corporation boss. They have had enough of the traditional land based forms of exploitation and expect betterment for themselves from the wage work and live in the city - information, consumer goods, chances of more mobility...

This proletarianisation means that the experiences of workers in Kuala Lumpur, Kapstadt, Gaza, Sao Paulo, Lyon and Gelsenkirchen increasingly run in parallel: factory work, computer entry, measures to combat rebellions, democratic rule - we have to put up with similar conditions. Moreover, millions of workers migrate in the oil regions, the industrial zones, in the construction sites and in the households of this earth, fleeing from the situation in there regions of decline and/or on the search for a better life. They are part of the global co-operation and offer us the possibility of exchanging experiences and learning from the struggles in other regions of the world.

In Asia and Latin America the increase of paid work for women has provide many women with their own income. Moreover the refusal of women to refuse to graft away as unpaid and isolated housewives, drives forward the socialisation of housework. It is doubtful as to whether the work at a McJob is actually more pleasant than the home and hearth, however it takes them out of the isolation of the house or the farm plot and creates better conditions to fight together against exploitation and sexist laws. The crisis of housework undermines the old gender division of labour, for without female house work, you're gonna get pretty crap miners. The gender relations are in flux, because the new jobs do not prop up and reproduce the fixed roles and rigid divisions that have existed up to now. In many of the new jobs the old gender divisions tend to be superseded and that changes the gender relations entirely. Similar experiences simplify - together with the new technological possibilities of worldwide communication - the exchange and co-ordination of struggle.

And: The defence of individual handicrafts or small pieces of land in view of the proletarianisation tendency often means nothing more than then defence of poverty and hardship. Proletarianistaion means, more and more being dependant on the work of millions of others, in order to be able to set the means of production going. Through the increased introduction of machines, work is often no longer individual skill or ability.

Through this we see other producers less and less as a mere 'function', who stands in contrast to ourselves by being able shoe our horse, or find the right herbs against our illnesses (so represent that function that we need), but rather simply a person, with similar skilled or unskilled abilities, like ourselves.

That is not only the prerequisite for increased capitalist exploitation and competition, but also for a global revolution, not to liberate the work, but to destroy it - for a class free society of free individuals.

After the world wide factory struggles of the 60s and 70s the relations in production have changed enormously. In order to break up of the core of militant workers in the industrial countries and intensify the exploitation, new computer based technologies and new forms of work organisation (e.g. group work) were introduced in the factories. Whole sectors e.g. in administration, maintenance and cleaning have been outsourced by large companies. Thought the attacks on the power of the workers, the companies can lower the wages, i.e. the labour costs. From the same reason subcontractors are given whole branches of production and so the number of workers in factories is driven down. Using temporary agency workers, temporary contracts etc new hierarchies of wages and contract terms are introduced, to further divide the workers. That has been made possible, because at the same time more people were trying to escape from the 40-hour-normal-working-week. From then on they keep themselves above water by working hear and there, or by using the state benefits and cash in hand work.

One the one hand this means that we have much more varying experiences today. Lots of workers have worked in a few different sectors and can be 'flexible' in how they organised their work and entertainment. They have worked in other countries, learned languages, built up contacts and got to know different forms of struggles. Many have tried out the beginnings of self organisation far away from the family, state benefits and unions. This could be the basis for a new struggle, that is characterised by mobility, stores of experiences for different exploitation situations and little respect for a career for life.

On the other side we need to put up with the insecurity, the so-called precarious work conditions - part time, temp-agency, fixed term contracts... many of us are forced to always hunt around for whatever jobs, that further shrink our control over our own lives. And, the pressure to work was increased: by wage cuts, by raising social contributions such as health insurance[24] etc. that always leads to more "working poor", and by direct pressure from the Benefits Agency or the Job Centre, who use the threat of cutting, or totally stopping, benefits if you don't take a shit job or 'training scheme'.

Here in Germany the red-green government has seriously taken on the reconstructing the welfare state: Compulsory training schemes for young people are already running, other plans are still in the wings: further cuts to benefits and other outcomes through the introduction of a guaranteed income, the tying of unemployment money to neediness - so no longer as insurance, where you supposedly get back the cash you have paid in at some point, the introduction of forced labour for those who refuse work etc..[25] All these developments have contributed to a weakening of workers struggles in the core industrial sectors in the last few years.[26]

The outsourcing has also lead to increased significance of the communication and transport sectors. Especially through the Just-in-time production, where the suppliers have to supply their components in an exact time to the assembly line, the production chain has become extremely susceptible to malfunctioning. The strikes of HGV drivers in France and Spain, the car suppliers Johnson Controls and the parcel deliverers UPS in the USA very quickly brought the lines in the factories to a stand still, because the parts were missing. The new production relations has made capitalism more vulnerable!

5 Revolution
In the last two years is has become clear in all corners and ends of the world: capitalism has not triumphed, it is in crisis. The current crisis shows that capitalism is not a superior social form, that the free market is a liberal fantasy and that the political class only seem be have the possibility to be able to predict and determine social developments.

Times of crisis are times of radical social change, of changes within a exploitative society. In these times the searching and questioning after a different social perspective becomes louder from all sides, struggles and confrontations take place with a new intensity. Therein lies the possibility of the class finding a common ,liberating answer within the struggle.

If the revolutionary perspective fails, the crisis will be the beginning of a new exploitation regime. The ruling class has to enforce an increased expansion of capital by squeezing the workers, until the pips squeak. Our role is to emphasis, in the discussion within the coming class confrontations, that capitalism and crisis are inseparably connected to one another, that the effects of the ever intensifying crisis cannot be overcome through 'scrimping and saving', but through the destruction of this absurd system.

Communism and Revolution
Some of the world wide tendencies described give hope to these changing times and are signs that the exploited class can, through their struggles, change the world and create a different one. The class struggle does not only intensify the capitalist contradictions, it also changes the conditions under which we produce our lives: we work more and more closely together; we are less and less directly dependant on ploughing our fields or selling our products; productive technologies are no longer concentrated in the metropolis; ever more wealth is created (disregarding which sort), while ever less labour time is necessary for the production of particular goods,[27] production is ever more dependant on common knowledge, the communication and co-operation of millions of workers worldwide.

The coming movement of the working class will be situated within these conditions. It will decide whether in the future, the increasing social productivity will be directed against us in the form of capitalist machinery. Or whether we use our productive collectivity as weapons in the struggles and as the basis of communism, a society without exploitation and drudgery.

Communism is neither some far-off utopia or a planned out society, but is part of the struggle, in which the existing mode of production is changed, new relations and new needs arise and the means are appropriated for the fulfilment of those needs. The process will get violent if those who profit from the existing relations, fight back against those who have had enough. The revolution won't be some power coup, no taking over the power of the state.

The existing organ of state violence will be destroyed, but the deciding question of the struggle is whether the producers appropriate in this process the conditions of production in a way, that makes the survival of a state or capitalist control un-necessary and impossible. Whether they lead the struggles through self-organisation and thereby create the basis for a society in which our needs are placed in the centre and decide for ourselves how we meet those needs.

In the revolutionary process the basis of the divisions of labour, company, gender and 'international', must be demolished and the knowledge of the production and the means to make it automatic must be socialised. Only then can the struggles create being together without mediation through institutions, identities, money and machinery to become in practice a society of free individuals.

... or the Wretchedness of Reformism?
When the crisis and confrontation comes to a head and the search for a revolutionary movement becomes ever more pressing, the reformists from the left try everything to diffuse the situation. Many fighters against neo-liberalism want to sell us the old welfare state as a benevolent papa and they want to take action against the evil world market together with the state and the unions. In the fight against fascism, the violence of the state is happily overlooked, the schools or universities are accepted, so long as there are not fascists running around there.

Instead of making an end to the misery of work, much of the left calls for fair distribution of work or even demand more of it. Guaranteed income and other 'give-us-crumbs' demands turn us into solitary victims, who are supposed to beg the nation state for higher benefits or whatever other 'rights'.

The red-green government builds on the fact that the left controlled protests give them fitting ideas for their crisis management: guaranteed income, kombilohn[28] etc. protects the workers in times of short McJobs, the 'work for all' wailing creates the atmosphere for various work programmes. The youth should look for their future perspectives in the sweat shops, the unemployed be thankful for their new low-wage-daily-life... The 'Autonome' in times of crisis unpack an Leninism that already smells of decay: the victims of the social 'exclusion' should unite behind easily understandable demands and little by little become accustomed to a supposed revolutionary consciousness. Along the lines of the slogan 'follow us, we know the way to fight'.

6 Revolutionary struggle - organisation of the revolutionaries
Clearly - the movement, the offensive struggles are missing in our region. So we have to ask all the more, how can we bring forward revolution? If the revolutionary movement is weak, it is not because there is no political organization, strong union or communist party. The origins of the weakness lie in the actual conditions within the sphere of exploitation. We have to ask why the exploited do not find a militant, liberating expression of their productive power in this current situation. We have to find those situations where this defensive position can be broken up. Therefore, we need revolutionary organizing.

Revolutionary organizing has to support the self-liberation of the exploited. It cannot take the form of mass organizations which go out on demonstrations pretending to represent the demands of workers, students, etc. There cannot be a "revolutionary policy" within union and political frameworks because it is not the "issues" or "leadership" of unions or political organizations that makes them reformist. The whole character of these representing bodies makes them reformist from the start. The attempt to overcome the divisions within capitalist production through "grassroots organizing of other workers" in "all-encompassing" structures (neighborhood-centers, rank-and-file-groups, etc.) or under generalised demands, will also, sooner or later, end up in the politics of representation. The organizing of the class can only be the result of the struggles within the capitalist organization of work, in firms, universities and schools. Only in these attacks on the actual divisions the organizing can be all-encompassing. The organizing of the class struggle only takes place through and within the actual collective struggles. All attempts to maintain it beyond that, end up as institutions.

Revolutionary organising is not "organising of other workers" but of revolutionaries who know their way in the sphere of exploitation and together look for tendencies of a revolutionary movement. Their relation to other exploited workers is neither "tactical" - as between functionaries and a revolutionary subject - nor "enlightening". We know that we can only liberate ourselves in those struggles where the exploited destroy everyday-capitalism and capitalist relations between people. We cannot instigate struggles but we can summarize the most advanced discussions, the weak points of capitalist control and the critique the workers. And we can generalise these experiences and circulate them within the sphere of exploitation. The relation between revolutionaries and workers is that of a collective process: where is the possibility of workers' power and self- liberation in the daily experience of exploitation?

What we have to do
Firstly, we need to take the actual conditions of class struggle, the current changes in the world as the starting point.

* Where does a changing organization of the exploitation, of the organization of work, technology, etc. lead to the weakening of workers' power and where can we see weak points in the capitalist command?
* Which effects do these changes have on the qualification, the migration and mobility of workers and the labour-market? What is the role of the state in this context?
* What do the workers, students, etc. do about this situation, what do they discuss? Where do forms of organizing and chances already exist that they can use in the struggle?[29]

This means to analyse the restructuring of capital and the new composition of the working class. In our region (Ruhrgebiet, Germany) we need to look at what happened to the leftovers of the heavy- and metal-industry and which new sectors and production chains have arisen.

We need to find out, whether the skilled worker in the coal- and steel-industry or the home- and part time-worker will lose their central position and whether a new typical worker, highly mobile, working in the electronics sweatshops, outside-suppliers and "service companies" will develop. This investigation is necessary in order to understand the material basis for the upcoming class struggles.

Secondly, in actual struggles there is neither need for cheerleading nor for moralizing and patronizing but for information on self-organizing:

* Where could a struggle have the most material power, where could it interrupt the capitalist production and co-operation most effectively?
* What kind of experiences are there around certain management strategies (flexibilisation of working hours, teamwork, etc.)?
* What forms of organizing were developed by workers in similar situations?
* Where on the world are similar confrontations taking place?

In order to contribute to the workers' discussions and struggles we need to understand the issues of conflict in the different places of exploitation and listen to the workers there. In our region there were strikes by assembly workers at Opel Bochum, Turkish cleaners of railway cars and call centre-workers, which we could have responded to.

Thirdly, it is not enough to supply the right information for class struggle and apart from that stay passive observers. When we have an analysis of the situation we need to actively intervene in the struggles, offer a critique of them and support their revolutionary tendencies:

* How can a struggle be self-organized, how can the means of production be appropriated as means of struggle?
* How can a struggle widen out over the firm- or branch-limits without ending up in the hands of unions or other institutions?
* Where are hierarchies and divisions of the process of production being kept up? Where does the everyday division of work along gender, racism and qualification stay untouched?
* Where does the state ideology of war, racism, etc. catch on and how can that be substantially attacked?

For all this we need to get an inside view into the different relations of exploitation, and it is necessary be able to react immediately to worldwide changes. The relative silence in face of the war in Yugoslavia shows our weakness. We need to be able to circulate information on struggles in Korea and against social democratic/green party wars faster within the sphere of exploitation and to organize actions.

We will prepare for the upcoming struggles and build contacts outside of "our sectors of exploitation" in order to get away from the dependency on 'their' information apparatus.

In theoretical discussions we have to gain the ability to criticise the conditions radically and profoundly. We need to teach each other the practical abilities, from lay-outs to sit-downs, everything we need to take part in and intervene into the class struggles around us. The time demands to finally liberate revolutionary organizing from regional and "national/state" limits and create a worldwide relation between militant collectives. For the circulation and globalisation of the struggles!


1 You can get a list of the texts from us - [email-]address at the end of the paper. [Libcom note: now removed as no longer active]

2 Capital is not merely a collection of "production circumstances" - of machines, work materials, labour force - that economics so often bores us with.

3 This work often only exists because capitalist exploitation exists - in order to make this possible: millions of car workers produce millions of cars, so millions of workers can drive to work, in order to produce entertaining articles, medicaments, holiday complexes in Majorca and soap operas, that draw us in during our 'free time', in order to forget the work i.e. to be fit for work again.
Thousands of job centre workers, hospital dogs bodies, research and administration workers also come along on the ride, to provide us with even more jobs, to inject us healthy or to research into new work. Millions of unemployed work at finding a new job - i.e. at avoiding it. Prison wardens, cops, soldiers and foremen carry out the disciplining of the worker themselves.
The 'organisation' of production is also absurd: the social production arranges itself over thousands of separately producing companies, through the division of production and circulation, mediated by money.
That also makes any amount of additional work: Various commodities are shipped twice round the globe, not because otherwise it would not get to a particular place, but because through the sale, despite a hundred times more transport workers, more profit is realised. In house building, most of the work arises because the workers of the different firms only have to do their own specific assignments. What do I care about co-ordinating with those working after me etc. (i.e. avoiding that they don't have any annoying extra problems created because I was not working with them in mind) if the boss is on my back to get to the next construction site.

4 The separation of the producers from the means of production can only be maintained, if the producers are confronted with ever more capital - in the form of machinery and co-operation with other workers. Earlier making twenty workers graft away with hand tools was sufficient, so today CNC-Machines and world wide production chains have to be implemented, in order to make proletarians to work 'efficiency' enough. See more in the section on Crisis.

5 For more detail on crisis see under 'tendencies'.

6 This is an attempt. We noticed in our discussion that we still have to go a bit further in order to be able to really explain: the changes within the classes, and the gender relations in the context of the development of, and the confrontations around, the social mode of production. Only if we know these developments as interrelations, can we point out the revolutionary tendencies that lie within them.

7 Gender also means limitations. Much work is still done in purely female or male departments. Only rarely does work allow for real and intensive relations, and moreover we can't really live out and enjoy our desires for closeness, openness etc, because we hide those desires behind the 'I'm a lad's lad and not gay' wall, or they get lost in the competition amongst women. In our 'free time' the other gender - normally one person - is supposed to remove our experienced absence of feeling and sensuality.

8 This was not an clear process: In the first factories in the 18th century, initially the women and children were exploited...

9 If, as in north Mexico or the development centres of China, mostly women are going into the factories and doing wage work, while men don't have a job, or do 'housework', then accordingly the gender relations change entirely.

10 Here the contradictory situation of women is particularly clear: After decades of being bound to both wage and house work, many women wanted to stop doing wage work with the end of the soviet exploitation regime: the perspective 'just housework' meant above all 'less work'.

11 Furthermore, particular forms of unpaid (house) work are and have been maintained in capitalism as well as the systematic expropriation of products created there.

12 Without valorisation there are no tax payments to the state. Furthermore, in the case of nationalised companies, the state acts as a capitalist itself.

13 We have to understand this connection between the state and capital as two sides of same capital exploitation coin. Otherwise we will allow our struggle for liberation to be led down reformist lines: as the struggle against fascism, against neo-liberalism and/or for national liberation... See more on this under the section on 'reformism'.

14 For example training programmes, nursing, conflict resolution...

15 These productive connections are mediated through the capitalist forms. See also above in the section on 'capital'.

16 How people produce their living together in these confrontations determines, whether a 'new state' will detach itself from their community and start to rule it, or whether the community itself will be the expression of self determination. The state can also re-appear in the form of union organisations, anarchist exchange circles, Mafia-like structures etc, if the social production is still organised through the (violent) meditation between isolated producers / consumers.

17 Crisis in Capitalism is no accident. It is part of a contradictious production, in which production is not to satisfy our needs, but actually is assessed afterwards as to whether it expanded capital. In order to be able to increase the exploitation of the labour force, each individual 'labour force' (worker) is made to work with ever more machinery and increased co-operation with other 'labour forces'.
The struggle and the actions against exploitation, lead to an increase in social productivity and the production of material wealth.
Capitals solution to the struggle may well lead to the smoother running of capitalism e.g. by outsourcing work done by the strikers. That does not mean, however, that we therefore have less work and live a life of luxury. Quite the opposite: If the productivity in capitalism rises, and so less work time is needed for the manufacture of the products, capital has to make us work harder and produce more, as it only expands itself though living labour. Increased production of material wealth means in capitalism first of all an increase of machinery, in order to increase the exploitation. The tendency of Capitalism is based on the fact, in relation to the ever growing amount of capital needed (assembly plants, computer installation etc), less and less profit can be extracted from the valorisation of labour power). However, this profit is used to be able to cover the rising capital expenditure on production. If the invested capital is not valorised enough through the exploitation of living labour - and that is happening more often and to a greater extend - there is a crisis.
The investments shrink, companies close down, people are dismissed or threaten with dismissal to lower, or even withhold, wages. Mass redundancies, inflation and war are means that capital uses to break this situation of unprofitable exploitation conditions. So, we are expected to pay for the crisis and tie our fates to the new economic boom, while sweating away in low-paid job. That is the capitalist crisis: there is need and misery, not because there is too little, but because in relation to the profit, there is too much. Too many unprofitable factories, too many unprofitable workers. That leads to the brutal pictures of crisis: starving children, butter mountains and increasing weapon production. The cause does not lie in the wrong distribution of wealth, but in the wrong production.
Proletarians live in poverty because they don't get paid if their labour force can't be valorised during a crisis. Others work themselves to breaking point during 12 hour shifts, but not to meet the needs of those living in poverty, but because they are producing something that expands capital. Capital can only escape from the crisis if it can impose a productive exploitation regime against us, through the escalating machinery. When it comes to booms, the increasing contradictions also intensify: Capital reduces the necessary labour, that is its own source - it rationalises. At the same time it has a tendency to covert all social activities into exploitable work, all social goods into commodities, all people into the commodity of labour power. It needs ever more capital, to be able maintain the machinery increased in the boom, for the increased valorisation. That is the law of capitalism, the tendency, that makes it conquerable. The rising social productivity will always lead to work and the rising wealth to poverty, until we have smashed capitalism.

18 It is true that capital, especially in countries like the USA and Britain, impose intensified conditions (such as more insecure work relations, longer hours, a drop in real wages...), but these intensifications of exploitation do not mean a breakthrough or a way out of the crisis!

19 For example, by devaluing a currency, so that the product is cheaper in comparison to other currencies and thereby more competitive, despite rising wage costs.

20 The phrase or concept the 'ruling class' rings a bit superficial and 'autonom', it we find ourselves in the dilemma of not really finding an easy concept: Capital stands for the class of capitalists, but isn't really - and capital also has another meaning: Social relations, materialisation of value etc; Regime can stand for a government, but also for a particular form of ruling class... Obviously, the ruling class is not unified and that single groups are in conflict over the realisation of profit and the way that exploitation can be further enforced. However, there are common decisions and a common interest for the all - the way there for all businesses, branches, parties and national borders: the preservation of capitalist relations of production.

21 The German state organisation (1990 - 1995) that took over all the old East German state owned businesses after re-unification to 'modernise' and privatise them. Many firms were closed down, resulting in huge mass redundancies.

22 The UN Peace Keeping Force soldiers.

23 Proletarianisation is the expulsion of people from the country, and the subsequent creation of a class without their own means of production, the transformation of these landless proletarians into wage workers and their exploitation under direct capitalist control, e.g. in a factory.

24 Compulsory in Germany - it is more similar to the American system than the British.

25 It is not only in Germany that a 'labour party' undertakes the task of modernising the state control of forced labour: the alliance of socialist or social democratic government against the exploited reaches from Britain, through Italy, up to Israel.

26 Despite this there have also been larger struggles in factories e.g. at General Motors in the USA.

27 An expression of the increasing productivity is, for example, that just a fraction of the social labour is spend on the production of basic 'means of living' (e.g. food) and the proportion of living labour in the manufacture of individual products is sinking rapidly.

28 Combination wage: this was a liberal idea where those on benefits could keep their wage from work, as long as they earned very little money.

29 To these all encompassing questions refer also to the list of the revolutionary tendencies in the section on Class Struggle.

Kolinko, 1999
Text taken from, and lightly edited by libcom for accuracy.




10 years 9 months ago

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Submitted by jura on September 15, 2013

Here's the entire text, with complete footnotes (at the end):