Let’s climb down from the summit of misery to fan the fires of rebellion
Capitalism, a well-tested system based on the exploitation of human and natural resources, has successfully been producing wealth for a minority of the world’s population for a number of centuries. It’s effects are so all-encompassing that it is hard for most people to imagine that any other social and economic reality could exist.
One of the essential premises of this system is a condition of unequal development both at national and world level. Without this, capital would cease to function as such. It is absurd therefore that occasions such as the UN Earth Summit in Johannesburg be seen as real attempts to eliminate poverty from the world. (In fact, they recognize this themselves, admitting that virtually none of the targets laid out ten years ago in Rio have been achieved.)
Governments, the UN and industry, along with technology and the media, are essential components of capital. They enjoy the active collaboration of millions of people (voters, workers) and the passive collaboration of millions of others (unemployed, emarginated poverty-striken masses). The former are pushed to feel concern and guilt for the latter, the latter to suffer in silence or beg for charity from the first.
The media, while rendering some of the worst effects of this system visible, carry on with their task of maintaining consensus. They show capital to have a human face, and the capacity to alleviate some of the misery and ecological devastation it has brought about.
With the advent of information technology – which has lead to the elimination of time and space - the system has become more refined and has reached global proportions. Investors have a constant picture of price indexes at world level. This, combined with new flexible productive forms, has meant that the capitalists can establish temporary production units wherever costs are lowest, often using unskilled labour by prisoners or children.
Information technology has led to a situation of production which requires flexible, barely literate people who are quick to a few learn basic procedures, that’s all. The collusion of this technology with science has produced an acceleration in genetic experimentation, resulting in the genetic modification of crops to add to the already devastating effects of the monocultures that have ruined the land of so many peasants, leading to widespread economic disaster and famine.
Added to this we have the reality of militarisation and dominion. In just two decades millions have been massacred, died of hunger, or been forced into refugee camps rife with disease. Those who can find money to pay the mafia tariffs join the great mass of immigrants, gambling their lives in search for a new perspective. The ones who make it to their dream world wake up with a shock to find themselves locked up or cleaning up the shit of the privileged.
Some people actually feel a twinge of discomfort at this situation but don’t want to have their comfortable lives disturbed by boatloads of desperate unwashed people turning up on their shores. They are prepared to sign a cheque at the end of each month to help ‘develop the third world’ so long as they can leave it up to circuses like the present summit meeting in Johannesburg to sort out the problems.
But the story is not just one of resignation and despair, of hypocrisy and false concern. All over the world there are individuals, men and women, who are fighting the present system, choosing their own methods of attack with an ideal of freedom and equality in their hearts.
Wary of big, spectacular actions, this rebellion does not reach the headlines, but continues doggedly day after day to think for itself and act on reality with dignity and passion. The incarceration of George Karakasian following events at a demonstration against the Zionist murderers of the Palestinian people (without doubt amongst the poorest in the world) should be seen in this light.
In fact, no action of attack, however small, leaves power unaffected. The horizontal spreading of these attacks is sabotaging the projects of the powerful and uniting the exploited in a vast conspiracy of the self.
So let's wake up!
Palliatives of power such as the present Summit should be seen as nothing but one more possible objective: stuff to fire our bad passions and light up the night skies.
Vagabond hearts of the Cyprus anarchist group