Friday, 29 September 2023

WHAT DISTINGUISHES OUR PARTY: The political continuity which goes from Marx to Lenin, to the foundation of the Communist Party of Italy (Livorno, 1921); the struggle of the Communist Left against the degeneration of the Communist International, against the theory of „socialism in one country“, against the Stalinist counter-revolution; the rejection of the Popular Fronts and the Resistance Blocs; the difficult task of restoring the revolutionary doctrine and organization in close interrelationship with the working class, against all personal and electoral politics.

“Isolated living accessories” (K. Marx) The shock of pandemic accelerates the capitalist tendency towards concentration and expropriation (from “il programma comunista”, no.3, May-June 2021)

1) Permanent emergency

The Covid “pandemic” is certainly one of those events that establish turning points and not only as a health emergency, but as the start of a new, more generalised crisis of indeterminate duration, promoted to a method for managing the social and economic emergency.  In terms of the effects it is generating, the scope of the event is comparable to the one which, at the start of the new millennium, sparked off the long season of the “war on terrorism” of Islamic stamp, the after-effects of which are still being suffered today.  While it is true that this war was not of use, as was the intention of those who started it, in reaffirming the United States’ role as the sole world power and stemming its decline, now that the attacks are becoming less far-reaching and less frequent, the emergency legislation that was set up more or less everywhere still remains intact - starting from the U.S. Patriot Act. Just as the attack on the Twin Towers - the details of which remain in many ways all but clear - generated planet-wide consequences at the time, the same is happening with the rise of Covid, whose repercussions, however, seem to extend well beyond the security-oriented and war-mongering direction that followed 11 September, and to assume a more generalised significance and a more profound effect. 

We are unable to say for sure what really originated these extraordinary events, which have in common the evident and clamorous inefficiency of the civilian and military bodies established to prevent and contrast similar catastrophes, organisms which are, by the way, equipped with extremely powerful means for forecasting and intervening in similar cases.  Nevertheless, even accepting the official version of the facts, there is no doubt that that those events gave rise to generalised action for containing and resolving capitalist contradictions.  Just like 11 September, the pandemic emergency led to the introduction of elements appertaining to a state of warfare.  

Just as for Islamic terrorism, for the pandemic, too, the war is worldwide but the decisive battlefield was and remains Western Europe.  Here, after 11 September, the bloodiest attacks against western citizens took place and in this territory the pandemic experienced some of its most highly symbolic and intensely dramatic moments.  Both events produced a reaction to a death threat, the former from a flesh and blood enemy, identifiable in “Islamic terrorist”, the latter from an even more devious and unpredictable enemy that can be transported by any of our kind, all the more so if connected to us by bonds of affection and proximity.  With the advent of the virus, attention is no longer focused on an outside enemy that insinuates itself into the world’s apparently peaceful daily life, but on a wholly internal threat to this daily routine, indeed, a domestic one.  The battle is waged at home. It is no longer the responsibility of security services and the police:  it’s each individual’s business to make a contribution to the battle by assuming the prescribed behaviour (you mustn’t say imposed - that would be unpleasant).  Everyone must take action or, to use a military term, mobilise.  From the very beginning both events brought their death toll, which - as happens in times of war - is reported in daily bulletins.  The fact that this is undeniable - because the deaths actually have taken place - makes the need for intervention by the authorities undeniable, in order to contain and bring the drama to an end using all possible means.  It is this undoubtedly effective emotional assumption that is the basis for attacks on whoever dares advance any criticism of the emergency measures.  Whoever calls into question the need for restrictions gives priority to an abstract right to freedom over the more important right to safety and in the end to life; in the context of the pandemic, this person is immediately labelled a negationist, not so much due to the accusation of denying the existence of the virus or else the danger of it, so much as for the implicit accusation of denying the deaths or the suffering of the sick, exactly as the negationist historian denies or downsizes the holocaust.  A rascal like this certainly does appear to deserve prison or at least forced recovery in a psychiatric ward.  Some have indeed ended up there.  The subliminal message is not so different from the believe, obey, fight we remember so well: believe in the official narration of the virus’s pandemic threat; obey the cast-iron rules imposed from above (in contempt of bourgeois legislation itself); fight the common battle by respecting the rules and stigmatizing whoever might have objections, not forgetting a polite invitation to snitch.  

Acknowledging this state of affairs does not imply either underestimating the impact of the virus or confirming tout court the thesis of a “health dictatorship”, generally sustained by democratic-bourgeois viewpoints  and the expression of what the half-classes most affected by the consequences of the restrictions are feeling.  It must be acknowledged, however, that a similar mass psychological mechanism is identical to what happens in times of war: when the young sons of the Fatherland die at the front in order to defend it, whoever dares question the war is pointed at as a criminal to be persecuted by all possible means, a renegade in the pay of the enemy.  The young men’s deaths, the celebration of their almost always involuntary “sacrifice”  obscures the responsibility of those who sent them off to die.  Not invoking a firing squad becomes a sign of generosity; in the same way, in the collective psychology people who minimise Covid deserve to die of Covid, ignoring the responsibility of those who did little or nothing to prevent the slaughter.  Whoever opposes vaccination deserves the same fate:  comments expressing hope that those who oppose vaccination are excluded from treatment are not infrequent on the internet. These sentiments, which are artfully fuelled and upheld daily in the media, easily succeed in capturing the minds of those who have been educated in fear or simply, crushed by the daily grind, haven’t had the time to think about it and have to put up with the available menu. 

If, then, the attack on the Twin Towers was the premise for setting up a climate that was the prelude to sparking off conflicts in the field, the pandemic already embodies many aspects of war, a war that on the surface is fought against the virus but deep beneath this with other objectives. The context of pandemic crisis favours an attack against the obstacles and resistance that impede the progressive affirmation of Capital in every aspect of social life and this also comes about through disciplining and conditioning.  The pandemic thus marks a watershed in time and a change in the terrain, entering a context that is largely new, reaffirming the connotations of capitalist society, and consequently the terms of the class conflict - the battle, whose outcome is uncertain, between a dying society and the only one that can historically succeed it: communism.      

Since the start of the pandemic crisis, the various State institutions have made a massive effort to support the drastic work of containment, testing their capacity for controlling society.  Faced with the attack by the pandemic, governments seemed mostly unprepared and the super-developed Western World’s health structures unable to deal with the emergency.  In reality, according to official documents (Note 1) a similar event had long been announced and the leading governments and international institutions had been amply informed in detail of the timing and areas affected by the spread of a pandemic.  If it is true - and it certainly wouldn’t be the first time in history (Note 2) – that those who should have intervened were aware of what was about to happen, then in the best of hypotheses we are looking at the manifest inability of the ruling classes to draw the due consequences in terms of organisation and financing for dealing with the health emergency. This goes for almost all the capitalist States affected, though to differing extents, according to how well their public systems were organised.  In a communist society an emergency of this type would not only be foreseen but dealt with accordingly; the eventuality of a lockdown for public health reasons would be included in the plan for the species and the effects on collective existence would be limited to the indispensable.  The system would shut down to protect the weaker sectors, all resources would be brought into play to boost the health system’s ability to respond, scientific knowledge would be directed towards finding the most effective solutions to deal with the disease and root it out, all essential services would be ensured, supplies would be guaranteed to everyone, with no time limits, thanks to reserves set aside to deal with the recurrent emergencies that mark our species’ presence on this planet. All this can only derive from overall planning, which capitalism is incapable even of conceiving of.  Instead the crisis clamorously reveals the limits of the capitalist system in providing for social needs, its disorderly, speculative and violently classist nature, since it is increasingly clear that in this pandemic there are those who pay and those who gain.  The effect of the system’s fragility is the spread of uncertainty, of fear and for the ruling classes the natural and obligatory choice is to recur to wartime measures or measures that go even further, supported by the structures of the bourgeois State, first and foremost those responsible for public law and order, which cannot afford to be less than efficient.  The malfunctioning of other public institutions instead proves to be objectively functional to the implementation of interventions that are a prelude to radical changes in the political, institutional and social balance.      

It isn’t hard to situate this overall redefinition within the process of a “neo-liberist” transformation of society that has been going on for decades now and which finds in the pandemic an opportunity for acceleration that will come closer to establishing a society where Capital can exercise its rule without limits, obstacles and without the apparent mediation of other interests.  It is impossible to set up a society like this, since the rule of dictatorship imposes on the bourgeoisie the function (and fiction) of being the “general class”:  but this is what Capital tends towards.   

What we are experiencing then, is in its own way a war, without wanting to insist on labelling it any specific sort of war, for example bacteriological warfare, though this is not something to be excluded.  Basically, what counts in a war are not the means used - although they prove decisive in the end - but the results achieved in terms of the relations between imperialisms and class relations.  If in a war fought on the battlefield the Fatherland is in danger, in whose name there are those who sacrifice their lives, in the case of the war on terrorism it is safety and a way of life in whose name the same principles of freedom are sacrificed as those on which they are based. In the end, here too, the lives of the people exposed to the threat of terror are at stake but it is only through Covid that the threat is directly to life itself, so as to justify any form of restriction to support health policy.  Political action qualifies as an act of mass therapy, a far more profound and decisive intervention than the safety measures introduced by the “war on terrorism”.

It isn’t hard to recognise the harmony between such an intervention and “neo-liberist” political ideology, which proposes to make the individual’s existence conform to the logic of the market: “biopolitics”.  The point of it is not a generic precondition for social cohabitation but the biological existence of its members, which is to be oriented towards a “normality” defined by being arranged in order to realise itself as “human capital”. The individual’s whole life is reduced to a sort of investment in itself that can lead to valorising its own human capital, or to bankruptcy.  A person’s existence begins and ends in the economy and every aspect of her or his life, work, consuming, affections and health come into the category of investment (Note 3). In this vision, classes do not exist: just individuals - little, desperate monads devoted to extracting profit from the economic cycle corresponding to the arc of their own existence. Whoever does not follow this line of behaviour is not to be considered “normal”, but a “loser” and a “deviant” and as such in need of therapy. Poverty, unemployment, social exclusion are not to be attributed to an infamous society but to the inability of the individual to make herself or himself into a profitable capital resource. Poverty is reduced to a “disease of the soul”. This idiotic concept is an integral part of the “neo-liberist” faith that guides the world’s élites. If they limited themselves to professing it, they could discuss it amongst themselves and congratulate themselves on having achieved success as “human capital”.  Unfortunately, they work to make it into the world’s current religion.  If it is true that in the context of the pandemic political action is assuming the role of mass therapy, coherently with the mainstream ideology the objective of the action is not overall public health but the normalisation of social relations by disciplining social behaviour.  The main objective of the restrictive measures, whose effectiveness in fighting the virus is at the very least dubious, is not to safeguard public health but to condition public and private behaviour.  This conditioning takes on the form of  “therapeutic intervention” in order to direct individual existences through isolation and distancing and achieve complete ideological and practical subordination to the apparatus of dominion and control. In order to help digest the ideological mishmash justifying humankind being reduced to an appendix of capital - which is already a real result of the process of capitalist development extending mechanisation to all aspects of life - individuals must be isolated, breaking down all community ties, giving priority to breaking the sense of belonging to a class that does not identify with the values and behaviour of the bourgeoisie.  Here we have reached the end of a long path of demolition to which the bourgeoisie’s official trade unions and “left-wing” parties  have made a fundamental contribution.  Now is the time for the attack to be  directed even against the community forms of family, Nation, Church, to demolish which Capital hides behind the “progressive” value of “diversity”, behind which are concealed homogenisation and the neutralisation of any form of antagonism worthy of the name. It can be seen why this sombre transition is being guided in general by the “left-wing” parties, whilst the right-wing generally forms the opposition. (Note 4)

And so an explanation has been found for why public bodies were so unprepared when faced with the pandemic attack, a lack of preparation confirmed - at least but not only in the case of Italy - by the fact that the same inadequate conditions re-occurred when the so-called “second wave” arrived, an inevitable consequence of the fact that, over the months when the virus was lying in wait, “public spending”, instead of converging on public health structures, was busy handing out bonuses for scooters, electric bicycles and family holidays.  Here the dysfunctional aspect is objectively confirmed as being functional to recreating the conditions for a new lockdown.

The proof is based on clues only but they should be sufficient to at least induce the suspicion that public health, at the very moment when it proclaims the so-called “right to health”  (inexistent because all that exists is the “right to treatment”, quite often denied)   superior to any other constitutional right, is not the central concern of emergency government. The priority that the health emergency assigns to biological existence, to life, involves instead a series of consequences affecting political and social balance, which in the end allow State institutions, the expression of the ruling class, room for tendentially unlimited intervention.

It is always as well to remember - so as to distinguish ourselves from those who tear their hair out at the insult to freedom and democracy - that this “power” does not arise with the pandemic or other manifestations of war, and that Capital exercises its dictatorship independently of the political forms it assumes. The recourse to emergency is merely the key to an open and fully-fledged display of its prerogatives, hiding behind the invocation of a need presented as evident and undeniable.  Here again there is no lack of historical precedents: suffice it to remember the use that Nazism made of article 48 of the Weimar Constitution, thanks to which Hitler was able to  claim recourse to an emergency law and guarantee himself unlimited power in a substantially legal fashion. Today history is repeating itself, needless to say as farce, considering all the absurdities and lies that are offered up and which would merit guffaws of laughter, were it not that they fully constitute so many manifestations of an abuse of power all the more dangerous as it is clearly grotesque

The “neo-liberist” concept of the State’s function is very different, however, to that of Nazi-Fascist totalitarianism.  Where the totalitarian State’s role included decision-making with regard to political choices defending capitalist law and order, the role of the State in a “neo-liberist“ régime is to back up the decisions taken in supra-national circles, in the places where the institutions of political and financial power are coordinated. The totalitarianism of the State as such is not affirmed but, through the State, what is affirmed is the totalitarianism of the market.  Taking a closer look, the fascist and “neo-liberist” solutions would seem to be antitheses of one another, within a shared perspective of conserving the present mode of production.  Our current has always described fascism as politics’ tendency to slow down and control the development of production forces to moderate their impact on social balances, whilst “neo-liberism” pursues the free movement of capital and goods and, consequently, the free spread of Capital’s destructive potential, the potential to break down the existing order and as such deserving of the label “revolutionary” (Marx, Speech on the question of free exchange”). Here the “revolutionary” nature of the free market and the forces operating in it may regard solely the weakening of old established balances and thus, from a historical perspective, of bourgeois order itself.  And it is this possibility that encourages bourgeois élites to contemplate a new totalitarianism within which these forces can act without leading to the collapse of the system.  So it would be inappropriate and misleading to speak of a “new fascism” when looking at the advancing totalitarianism. Compared to the coming totalitarianism, historical fascism seems a rather crude and far less pervasive form of totalitarian power, equipped with extremely primitive technical means of control and conditioning compared to those that the bourgeoisie brings onto the field today. From this point of view, a mobilisation that calls itself “antifascist” according to the old categories, risks favouring a new, far more ferocious totalitarianism. One-way propaganda blithely hangs the label of neo-fascist or Nazi onto anyone who dares to express a critical position towards whatever is imposed by the authorities under the pretext of the pandemic, whilst it totally ignores the threatening rise in real neo-Nazism when this corresponds to western geopolitical  interests in opposition to Russia (Note 5). The dissolution of the old political categories in the bourgeois context, confirms that our current, the communist Left, had got it right when labelling anti-fascism as a democratic bourgeois ideology, the worst product of fascism.

In the new context, the previously cited inefficiency is well suited to the role of the State. In neo-liberist régimes the State cannot claim to resolve emergencies.  It delegates to agencies and experts in which economic and professional groups and sub-groups have invested interests, sometimes clearly defined, at others less recognisable because they are situated “behind the scenes” in decision-making centres.  The solution to the emergency is delegated to the private sector, to big economic and financial groups which, taking advantage of their henchmen at the vital nodes of public institutions and in the various “task forces”, using pressure from lobbying and corruption, are able to make the State subordinate to their own interests, all the more easily if the latter is indebted and thus lacks monetary independence. And so the State does not intervene with effective solutions to contrast the pandemic and promotes the vaccine as the sole solution, advertising it with the support of public and private mass media (Note 6)
Never so much as in this case, has the term “campaign”, synonymous with warfare and advertising, been so well-suited to the situation:  the front line of attack is the bombardment by the media which exasperate the dramatic aspect of events and spread contrasting information.  The overruling confusion of mass communications, amplified by the large number of actors on the scene is useful for maintaining a condition of prolonged uncertainty.  What is presented as a democratic debate actually excludes or sidelines all deviant interpretations or those that might simply reduce tension and lead the discussion back onto the rails of rationality. Fragments of truth are cocooned and digested in the hotchpotch of communication, and critical interpretations are distorted and served up as the ravings of eccentric individuals, deformed, pathological manifestations of the “normality” of emergency. The hammering of the State’s communication services does not transmit a single voice, as happened in the cinema newsreels of the Istituto Luce, but a “democratic” range of voices that debate, contradict one another and squabble.  Yet all the tongues wagging in the Babel of the media carefully avoid touching on sensitive topics that might rock the boat. Our Party, an expression of the communist Left, has kept the helm of Marxism steady by describing democracy as the form best suited to the dictatorship of Capital.      

Nonetheless, the shift from “normality” to emergency or to the “normality of emergency”, is not merely arbitrary but always the result of grave threats arising to the stability of the established order and the need to respond to them or stop them emerging. This is not the place to reconstruct the phases of the profound crisis that is spreading through the capitalist mode of production and which emerged in all its fury in the 2008-2009 recession.  The decade that has passed since then has been marked by an increase in the weight of financial capital but also by an unstoppable increase in its values - mainly fake ones - which distance them more and more from a world production that is advancing ever more haltingly. The general crisis brings with it more acute tension between imperialisms, greater divergences between ruling States and States subordinate to them, greater difficulty in the management of the social effects of more uncertain growth. Briefly the contradictions tormenting the capitalist world have reached such a level that the ruling class is forced to gain access to wider room for manoeuvre, to allow it to spread the mark of its own logic more widely, extending it beyond national limits.  Political and economic logic go hand in hand: precisely because it is a slave to the logic of the market, political action frees itself from the legislative and institutional ties that slow it down whilst it shifts into a higher gear where that same market logic can have an even stronger influence on all aspects of existence everywhere.  The forms of class rule must adapt accordingly, better without bloodshed and not perceived as the passage to a state of class dictatorship more oppressive than the previous one.  In the declarations by rulers an admonition, not even too carefully veiled, can be sensed against displays of resistance to this shift, where benevolence can quickly turn into repression. One word sums up the feeling in the air everywhere: curfew.  The sudden and unsettling shift encounters episodic and poorly organised resistance.  The forces of opposition are criminalised, critical voices sidelined and censored.

2) The resistants

The pandemic emergency presents itself as a manifestation of the crisis that allows Capital to deal with it by activating preventive measures for solving the situation to its own advantage and at the same time consolidating the foundations of the existing world order. We have repeated several times that capitalism was experiencing a profound crisis well before the pandemic and the solutions adopted for dealing with the consequences of the 2009 crash merely increased the distance between financial value and real production, between States and classes and between old and new imperialisms. Out of the general instability and climate of uncertainty that resulted, out of the variegated “neopopulist” and “sovereignist” front (from now onwards we shall use the term “sovereignist” for both positions) emerged forces of opposition to the “neo-liberist” trend that had been dominant for forty years, their greatest successes being their impact on the election of Trump and Brexit.  This front, today visibly weakened by the counterattacks of forces sustaining the interests of international finance, from their more moderate to their most extreme forms, has in common the exhumation of national values as a way of stemming the consequences of mondialisation.  The 5 Stelle (Five Stars movement) themselves gained affirmation thanks to openly anti-EU and anti-Euro declarations, in favour of State machinery as a tool for redistributing income.  Politically defunct now and practically at the same level as the hotel business their members are so close to, their role has been taken over by a range of forces, from the institutional right wing (Lega and Fratelli d’Italia / The League and Brothers of Italy), which are intermittently anti-Europe and always available for compromise, to explicitly Fascist formations.  A relatively new development are the variations that pursue a national policy with socialist-like features and proclaim themselves “leftwing” forces with “rightwing” values (Vox Italia) or improvise as supporters of a national-popular policy that in many ways might be compared to the old PCI (Italian “Communist” Party), starting from their out-and-out defence of the Constitution (Sovereignist Front). (Note 7) This self-proclaimed “democratic sovereigntism”, to distinguish it from either the Fascist-like right wing or less coherent forms of sovereigntism, has expressed radical criticism of the emergency measures and their political, economic and social consequences.  It must be acknowledged that in the climate of censorship created by the media, theirs is a courageous condemnation of the servility of politics towards financial élites and the European institutions led by Germany, of the reduction of constitutional rights and the annulment of democratic institutions; more in general these forces claim that, with the pretext of the pandemic, an unprecedented attack is being made on people’s interests, in particular those of the petit bourgeoisie, by forces that represent big Capital.  Here they have definitely grasped an objective phenomenon, but since they have failed to link it to the dynamics that sustain Capital, they have interpreted it subjectively attributing the responsibilities to individuals or power groups. What is missing is recognition of the fact that the concentration of power in only a few hands and the polarisation that are occurring are the inevitable effects of the irreversible dynamics of capitalist development and that, therefore, claiming to fight them by using conservative solutions is an illusion and in the end reactionary.  There is nothing new in all this with respect to what Marx and Engels wrote in far-off 1848:

 The lower middle class, the small manufacturer, the shopkeeper, the artisan, the peasant, all these fight against the bourgeoisie, to save from extinction their existence as fractions of the middle class. They are therefore not revolutionary, but conservative. Nay more, they are reactionary, for they try to roll back the wheel of history (Manifesto of the Communist Party, Chapter I: "Bourgeois and Proletarians").

In representing the instances of these classes threatened by the inexorable dynamics of Capital, democratic sovereigntism takes on board some class content, diluting it within the limits of substantially conservative national claims and tax issues, harking back to the good old days when it was easier to do business and welfare was more generous, and this makes it possible to gather consensus in the ranks of the proletariat.  In their opposition to the “markets” these movements re-propose certain recognisable values which, over forty years of “neo-liberism”, have been progressively weakened by the dynamics of Capital acting on the world economic situation, and made to conform to commercial interests.  Right at the centre the myth is reaffirmed that the State is politically independent and the protagonist of inter-state relations, effectively capable of sustaining the internal market and the country’s economic position internationally; a State which, by virtue of this strength, is also independent in safeguarding and guaranteeing essential social services; the Central Bank as the ultimate lending power free of conditioning by the international markets; the myth of the Nation as the reference point for collective identity.  In the sovereignist vision, these suppositions are vital for guaranteeing the country’s democratic balance and keeping totalitarian turns at bay.  The characteristics of the State desired by the sovereignists are the expression of a synthesis of the historical continuity between fascism and postwar social democracy up until the advent of neoliberism in the early Eighties. Any discontinuity between the two moments lies in the form and not in the substance. The totalitarian form, as it is the product of a clash between revolution and counter-revolution, is obliged to take on certain elements pertaining to revolution (anti-democratic politics and state intervention in the economy); the democratic form which became widespread in the postwar years is the effect of an expansive phase in capital and the consequent growth of profits and income, in itself a guarantee of relative social stability, yet it still inherits from fascism the strong State intervention in social and economic life, the integration of workers’ representation into the State and beneath its benevolent exterior it conserves the violently oppressive nature that on some occasions surfaces dramatically (Genoa 2001). The democratic form itself has progressively rid itself of prerogatives, also disbanding reformist organisations, converting social democracy to neoliberism and concentrating power in the hands of international financial centres, which have got better and better at heavily conditioning the decisions taken by governments. The 2008 crisis represented a watershed, on the far side of which events occurred that have marked just as many turning points in the direction of a new world capitalist order: considering Europe alone, the Greek crisis - an authentic experimental laboratory for ultra-liberist politics and the subjection of a nation to the interests of imperialism - the 2011 crisis of the spread, with Italy as the epicentre, and now the pandemic crisis.

The forces that today oppose the advance of Capital starting out from an interpretation of the present while looking to the past, nurture the hope of an unrealistic return to phases of capitalist development that are now outdated, with growth rates that are inconceivable. Despite their contradictions and their limits, this does not prevent them from being an obstacle to the dynamics that are proceeding to impose mercantile logic anywhere it hasn’t yet fully asserted itself. They express a resistance to the advance of Capital in its work of global desertification and homologation and today we might add sanification. These dynamics lead to concentration, and concentration with the complicity of the crisis sweeps away vast sectors of small and medium-sized commercial and production enterprises, sectors that make up the composite social basis of these movements.  What the sovereignists can’t see, because of their limited vision focused on the past, are the explosive elements contained in these dynamics.  We shall take up this aspect again later. 

The great social drama now taking place might prove to be just an anticipation of far more devastating upheavals to come. As we write, the Italian political class has just approved the reform of the ESM (the European Stability Mechanism), choosing to take up this line of financing. The ESM is no more and no less than the tool by which, paying homage to German “ordo-liberism” and the interests of German and French banks, Greece was reduced to a country of starving derelicts, to be looted by the big banks and the big international investment funds.

The about-turn of the 5 Stelle regarding an aspect that was a matter of principle in their electoral manifesto confirms the structural unreliability of formations inevitably destined to become a tool of the powers they originally declared they wished to fight.
The turncoats hide behind the noose that was set up by the EU in terms of the conditions for conceding loans due to the pandemic, but when this emergency is over, there is the serious risk, even without recurring to the ESM, that Italy might be considered by the “markets” a financially bankrupt country to all effects.  There are those who argue that the reform of the ESM was conceived on purpose to encourage restructuring of the Italian public debt.  If this were true, then all the conditions are in place for Italy’s destiny to become the same as Greece’s to the nth degree in the more or less immediate future (Note 8), although, considering the size of the country, it might not be entirely inappropriate to recall the conditions of Germany subjected to the diktat of Versailles after the First World War. It would be the outcome of a long war, fought this time with the weapons of politics and the economy, to impose German supremacy once and for all on the European continent. (Note 9).

Italy, a medium-level capitalist country, with increasingly less autonomy to become an active player in local geopolitical balances and those between imperialisms, is suffering an attack equivalent to warfare by international financial institutions with their executive department in the EU. As happened for Greece, the objective is to put the country up for sale and wipe out its considerable industrial and economic heritage, without neglecting all that pertains to its history.  For Capital, the need for the “markets”’ predatory logic to exert itself without encountering impediments is all the greater when faced with an unprecedented historical crisis reaching far beyond the present pandemic. An economic and social crisis of vast proportions such as the one that is taking shape is a splendid opportunity for financial capital to strengthen its stranglehold on society and attempt an overall redefinition of it, as well as making considerable earnings.  Faced with a potentially catastrophic perspective, the PD (Democratic Party) continues to distinguish itself in terms of its servile pro-Europe stance and the CGIL (an official trade union) calls for recourse to European financing.  In this case, again, we see confirmation that in the range of forces representing the interests of the bourgeoisie, the attempt to oppose the perpetration of a real social crime, or the deadly logic of the “markets”, comes solely from the ranks of so-called sovereigntism in its most consequent expressions.

3- Death of reformist democracy and the start of the new totalitarianism

Typically, capital tends to revolutionise incessantly the means of production and with them relations in production, the mode in which people and classes interact with one another. Capital cannot survive without keeping alive these destructive/creative dynamics which allow it to redefine itself and reorganise on new and more advanced bases.  In this way, at the same time it develops its contradictions to the maximum and nevertheless these contradictions can become an element of reorganisation and stabilisation. The workers’ battles of the ‘Sixties and ‘Seventies were the class response to the closure of the postwar phase of development and objectively speaking called into question capitalist order; however, they ended in a claim to greater participation in the benefits of that development and integration into the system. The Capital-labour pact which was organically realised in the fascist régimes by State corporatism, in a democratic régime arose out of the compromise that recognised the function of the workers’ organisations in the structure of the State.    

The result was a redefinition of the State and production apparatus, the forms of class rule adapted and in the capitalist west pay rises were allowed and certain benefits in terms of welfare.  The early ‘Eighties marked the climax and conclusion of this process: the “victory” of working-class reformism resulted in the crisis and often elimination of all the revolutionary organisations (or those that claimed to be so) that addressed the proletariat.  Our own Party suffered this backlash and risked disappearing.  From that moment onwards Capital organised itself to dismantle everything it had had to concede to the workers’ battles.  The upheavals that followed one upon the other in the following decades completely transformed the balance of production and government of world capital, marking the apparent triumph of its inexorable laws but determining ever more complex and contradictory scenarios.  Today, rather than being just round the corner, the chaos is already part of the present and it becomes necessary for Capital to impose an order on new bases, a radical adaptation to the forms of dominion.  Authoritarian order is the condition in which the social chaos provoked by capitalist dynamics left to act freely can reveal itself without class relations being endangered. 

Thestate of exceptionis a passage in this authoritarian adaptation, a stage in the epochal clash between classes that again reinforces the initiative of Capital and sees the proletariat succumb, as yet unable to give proof of any real resistance.  Those who still have doubts about the significance of what is happening should consider reading the “Law for the Protection of the Population”, approved by the Reichstag in November 2020 - a sinister reminder of the “Law on the Defence of the People and the Reich” of far-off 1933, which we referred to earlier.  With the pretext of protecting health, this law introduces Draconian measures limiting or removing personal freedom, including the inviolability of the home.  The content is analogous to that introduced in Italy by Dpcm (Decree of the Prime Minister) in March 2020, with the notable difference that here it is an authentic law, not an “Italian-style” expedient to get round the current limits on legislation.  The law, approved in record time, is destined to completely overturn the liberal-democratic balance of the German State, with inevitable effects on other EU countries.  What is worthy of note is the fact - in actual fact a clear sign of the times - that the only parliamentary force openly and explicitly positioned against the law is the rightwing Alternative für Deutschland. In Italy, on the other hand, a daily like “il Manifesto”, which is not ashamed to call itself a “communist newspaper”, presented the big demonstration in Berlin on 19 November as a “Nazi gathering” against the anti-Covid measures.  The demonstration – videos on the Web offer documentary proof – was entirely devoid of any evident political connotations and was attended by peaceful individuals, including families with children, who came out onto the streets because they were aware that something serious was going on in the Reichstag.  The harmless demonstrators were blasted with freezing cold water by the police, regardless of the health risks for the people resisting the violence, soaking wet in the cold (Note 10). We are witnessing a strange turn of events where those who up until yesterday were singled out as the historical enemy of “rights” now appear as their only defender and those representing the radical left-wing bourgeoisie defend to the last the inhuman logic of the new, global “power”.

The final stage on the path that international Capital has been travelling since the early Eighties in order to impose mercantile logic on every aspect of social life worldwide, is now becoming more clearly evident in terms of its political and institutional implications.  History is “turning somersaults”: the bourgeois left wing supports the most infamous bourgeoisie, the right wing seems to be setting itself up as the “defender of the people”.  The communist Left does not see this as upturning the “values” of the two fronts but as a confirmation of each one’s homogeneity with the historical interests of Capital, the former with those of the great, dominant financial capital, the latter with those of the vanishing petit and middle-class bourgeois entrepreneurs.  

One last observation here:  Capital is about to abandon to its own resources a large part of society that up to now has constituted a fundamental factor of stability and conservation, stemmed the pressure from the proletariat, provided intellectuality as “progressive” as it is conservative, moulded mainstream culture, the very sense of a bourgeois “civilisation”.  The disappearance of the middle class equals the disappearance of bourgeois culture as it has manifested itself up to now, kicked out by a science-enslaved culture that annuls any impulse marked by something that is not reduced to “mere life”.  This is the new Dogma, the new world Religion.  It can thus be understood why some of the strongest accusations against what is going on come from the rank and file of the Church, even in opposition to its top management which seems to have fully embraced the logic of the new order under construction. To the abandonment of the middle class to its own fate corresponds the elimination of democracy in the form that represented its interests and its moods.  For concentrated Capital, which can now avail itself of powerful tools of direct control over society, the “conservative” function of the middle classes, with the strength of their inertia, is no longer so essential in the fight against the proletariat.  It is rather a matter of managing the enormous mass of population exceeding opportunities for valorisation, which has increased because of the fall of the intermediate classes.   

In this picture, the feeble forces that represent the historical interests of the proletariat are marginalised and remain silent.  Taking up the defence of the ruined half classes is not a task of the proletariat.  Their disappearance is an inevitable consequence of the historical tendency of capitalist accumulation, just as the creation of an increasingly vast relative excess of population. Undoubtedly a larger number of proletarians will emerge from these events and will no longer have to deal with the social diaphragm of a widespread petit, or middle-class bourgeois buffer that separates them from the real bourgeoisie representing the interests of concentrated Capital.  It is a question of evaluating whether it is possible as from now to lay the bases for the future unification of the proletariat, accompanying the embattled half classes in the fight they are about to engage against big capital, not to sustain their vain efforts at conservation, but to oppose a prospective studded with pre-announced failure - from 5 Stelle to Trump - with the only one possible: the one indicated by the communist party Manifesto and proletarian internationalism.


4 - From techno-finance to social zoo-tech

In almost all the more capitalistically advanced countries a climate of moral high ground has been created around the “pandemic”, a bigoted climate, which, behind the veil of health emergency and the paternalistic call to “respect the dead”, aims at the strict disciplining of social behaviour.  The supreme good of health is the pretext justifying the ongoing process of brutal regimentation, capillary control and militarisation of society.  The question of whether the virus, in terms of its diffusion and effects, justifies all this does not meet with a unanimous reply from the world of “science” but the media have unanimously imposed the most catastrophic interpretation and the debate has simply not taken place, or has been covered up (Note 11). An open debate would have been able to shed light on certain ambiguous aspects regarding the origin of the epidemic, on its real dimensions, on its real effects on public health and on the real consequences for those infected.  The inconsistency of the replies capital has and can offer to social needs would have emerged and it is not to be excluded that the actual impact of the epidemic would have proved to be downsized with the risk of making the stage collapse.  But inconvenient questions are answered with anathemas by the master’s voice.  At this point the bourgeoisie seems to have rejected the anti-dogmatic premises of science which at least made an exchange possible between “free thinkers” - or those presumed to be so - to affirm a dogmatism modelled on the interests of those forces that have taken possession of the potential of science, understood by Marxism as the historical result of the species’ collective work.

Only in a communist society will science’s reply emerge as a unanimous synthesis, because the objective within the general project of the species will be unanimous.  On the contrary, the administrators of capitalist interests must reconcile the unreconcilable: private profits - in all forms, sometimes in competition with one another - and the “common good”, the circulation of goods and a brake on the circulation of the virus that circulates with them.  The claim of bourgeois science to be “free” from any conditioning is the premise for its being enslaved to the laws of Capital; its freedom is freedom to sell its discoveries to the highest offer, with no regard for the objectives that may be pursued.  It itself works like a business company, is structured like a company or constitutes its “research and development” sector.  Objectives that contradict the company’s interests  and those of its identifiable shareholders, which at this point, far more than any Uncle Scrooge,  lie with the world’s big investment funds, in the anonymous management of an enormous and highly concentrated mass of capital, concentrated on capital that is the fruit of saving, severance pay and real capital coming from society.  Science free of the objectives it works towards is the condition for its being completely enslaved to the interests of those who finance and organise it.     

What is confirmed by the pandemic is not only the inconsistency of present-day science in solving human problems, since it is misdirected by the objectives of the company’s financial plan, but its very ability to arrive at real knowledge of phenomena. In our words:
We argue [...] that this impotence of capitalist civilisation and culture to possess social and historical science is equivalent to the impotence of science in general, the knowledge of nature and the cosmos in the physical world, too. There is therefore no common metre of science against which to measure our conclusions and those of the bourgeois world (from our publication Left-Wing Communism. An Infantile Disorder, a condemnation of all future renegades, a commentary of Lenin’s work, published in 1961 on our Italian journal “il programma comunista”).

It is precisely to this presumed science that the party of Capital entrusts itself, not simply to obtain advice or consultation but to get otherwise unacceptable political decisions implemented.  The Scientist, the Technician, the Expert, from the giddy heights of their competence, take the place of the black-shirt Tyrant and they are the Monsters of the Third millennium.  In Italy, the super-experts of the CTS (Scientific-Technical Committee), elevated to the stature of sole and unchallenged interpreters of the health crisis, are spreading an alarm-mongering interpretation, just as the interpretation of the public debt crisis was alarm-mongering and brought super-experts like Monti (Professor of Economics at the Bocconi University in Milan) into government.  Now, as then, the technicians are presented as the saviours of the Fatherland from certain catastrophe, by virtue of their high academic merits.

There is a thread of continuity connecting the technical solutions of Monti’s government (2012) to those of the CTS that today’s rulers depend upon: the crisis must be in some way directed, in order to deal with the factors of structural risk in society, directing them towards settlements that are better suited to capitalist needs. Monti’s government bombed the health system and pensions with the excuse of the public debt and today Monti is rewarded by the WHO with the Presidency of the “European Commission for Health and Sustainable Development”. As a good “neo-liberist” Monti argued then that shocks are to be hoped for, as they make it possible to push through reforms that would otherwise be unacceptable.  When he was in the government as the bearer of the “neo-liberist” message, he declared he wished to “contribute to changing the mentality of the Italians,” and thereby hoped to persuade the population by hook or by crook of the need for extreme rigour.  At that time the pandemic was of a financial nature and the focus was on the crisis of the spread between governments bonds.  Propaganda was sounding the alarm about the imminent risk of default which would shortly sink the country to the same level as wretched Greece.  With the Bocconi man in the government, the financial pandemic – who’d have thought it? – suddenly ended.  If the simple threat of a financial shock was enough then to push through reforms involving “blood and tears”, we should be trembling at the thought of what hellish gates a pandemic like this might open up, having already brought the pension reform to its conclusion, getting rid of outdated “human capital” which is expensive to maintain and doesn’t produce anything but needs. What could be more effective for changing people’s minds than the shock the population was subjected to when helicopters circled overhead and people were even afraid to go and throw out the rubbish?  Anyone who crossed the threshold of their own home was made to feel guilty of placing other people’s lives at risk, of “attempted murder”, of lack of scruples, lack of civil responsibility and as much of the rest of it as you can think of.  Conte’s government - all the more functional to capitalist interests as it was mediocre - under the pretext of protecting public health managed to transform the whole national territory into an open-air prison but did little to put the health services in any condition to respond to the “second wave”.   The so-called “lockdown” solution - in Italian it would be “segregation” which is an ugly word, to be avoided - can be enforced whenever necessary by a simple administrative act.  The pandemic is perfecting the project to dismantle the public structures responsible for performing social functions.  The health and education systems have only avoided collapse thanks to the sacrifices of those who work in them and the public insurance system will be hard put to it to deal with the economic crisis Covid leaves in its trail.  It is difficult to believe that all this is just a coincidence, but even if this were the case, the present crisis cannot fail to be associated with an advance in the neoliberist design which, after having weakened the capacity of public structures to respond, through the spending review, proposes to exploit their impotence to dismantle what remains of welfare and assign to Capital the vast opportunities for profit offered by basic social needs. Health is delegated to the interests of the big pharmaceutical groups controlled by top financial funds, which see vaccines as an opportunity to boost their profits with the public money that the governments at their beck and call are and have been ready to hand over without concern over the sums involved - in this case yes, striving for the utmost efficiency. Politics that shamelessly support these interests are not only the slaves of financial groups but treat human beings like a factory farm treats its cows:  applying a sort of social zoo-technology.  We are right in the midst of biopolitics, politics that open and close fences, mark out grazing areas, intervene widely using psychological pressure, instil an atmosphere of permanent uncertainty and fear, using conditioning by the media, the economy and health organisation in order to make individuals conform and homologate with the totalitarian reality of Capital: to sum up, we are witnessing a further step forward in the process of taming the masses.

Whatever ones thinks about the virus, the emergency undeniably offers Capital the opportunity of taking possession of human existence to an even greater extent and this objective cannot do without a political turn tending towards the overall reorganisation of society in a strongly authoritarian sense.  What it has been possible to achieve in terms of restrictions on individual and social freedom represents a precedent from which it is difficult to retrace your steps (Note 12).


5- Technopower in thefactory society

The process of capitalist concentration also brings with it political (State) concentration, and, as happens in the field of production, technological development is itself a factor and a product of this concentration. Today the Capitalist State’s institutions have a technical capacity available that makes it possible to concentrate and manage an enormous amount of information and tools of widespread social control, and the pandemic crisis has propelled the possibility for trying out and broadening this capacity in view of increasingly focused, individualised control.  The same procedures for tracking infections and vaccinations can become intermediaries for collecting data on genetic patrimonies and even for intervention on individuals’ health conditions, with effects in terms of the conditioning and directing of behaviour.  Imagining limitations on freedom of movement or firing people who refuse tracing or vaccination is not science fiction; nor is it science fiction to foresee blocking the current accounts of subjects who resist conditioning, worse still if they have a tendency to rebel.  All this is technically possible and has been for some time and the spirit of the age commands that what can be done, must be done, just as what can be produced must be produced even if - like the atom bomb - it opens up an apocalyptic scenario (see Gunther Anders, Humankind is old-fashioned). The mere possibility of doing something, however terrible, renders it already present, current, not only as a threat but as ongoing conditioning of human affairs. All the potential contained in the technical tools Capital holds in its hands weighs on humanity like a presence that  places it at the mercy of the folly of a historically condemned class whose ambition is to shape the world to its pleasure, condemning it both to a present that is constantly changing but without a future and to the “end of History”, the perpetuation of capital. 

To this enormous concentration of technological power in the hands of the State – an integral part of the great economic concentrations and their faithful executive – corresponds society’s tendency to break down into isolated individuals for whom social contact, reduced to a minimum, is replaced by the increase in online connections.  The imposition of lockdown is strictly correlated to boosting and generalising the use of IT in society at all levels, from healthcare to education, from public administration to work.  For concentrated capital there are enormous advantages:  unlimited possibilities for the control and conditioning of social behaviour; the increase in productivity in all fields from factories to service industries; the apportionment of the labour force and extension of labour’s subordination to capital by means of technology; the reduction of social spaces where a sense of belonging can still be felt; the progressive destruction of small-scale production and trade; limitation of the possibilities for the harmonious physical and mental development of the new generations, the most likely to challenge the world and now demoted to terminals of the IT Leviathan. 

What has this dystopian scenario to do with the class struggle?  A great deal!  Right from its origins Capital has reacted to the resistance of the proletariat against exploitation by means of technological innovations.  Marx talks about this in the section of the first book of Capital devoted to the production of relative surplus value. Technology has always been the weapon used by Capital at all levels against the proletariat to affirm and consolidate its rule, so much so, that the first organised workers’ reactions were directed against the machines (see Marx, Capital, Book I). If it hadn’t been for the workers’ resistance to exploitation, capitalists wouldn’t have had any interest in developing machinism; in this sense, technological development is the result of the class struggle, and, being a product of human labour which Capital has taken possession of, the main tool for subordinating labour to Capital. Wars, both widespread and the myriad of local conflicts, have provided the opportunities for bringing onto the battlefield the most advanced techniques of mass murder and destruction, but they have also been a laboratory for experimenting technological innovations with direct effects on production for civilian purposes in all fields. The fact that the principal technological innovations - including the Internet - have emerged from military research centres says a lot about their objectives. From IT to robotics, from biotechnology to linguistics, Capital’s laboratories churn out as many weapons against the proletariat and the more the proletariat extends, the more these weapons are directed against the species.

In Marx’s day machines were confined to the places of production. Marx saw in them the embodiment of a social relation which allowed Capital to extract a greater amount of surplus value from the individual worker and increase productivity, at the same time imposing on the factory its own rule in terms of the timing, pace and mode of production. By means of the machine, the worker was robbed of his capacity for work and deprived of control over the conditions of production.  The factory system thus marked the shift from the formal subordination of work to Capital to its real subordination, to which the extraction of growing rates of surplus value corresponded.  Faced with the machine, workers were obliged to adapt to the needs of the implement and make themselves appendices of it, emerging transformed in body and spirit, reduced to a tool.  The only possibility of recovering their own, full humanity was to recognise themselves as members of an exploited class, organising and fighting to overturn this condition of subjection and annulment as a premise for their own liberation and the achievement of a full human dimension at a higher, social level.

Today machines pervade every aspect of our existence. The factory system extends everywhere there are machines that generate goods and services, wherever there is production, but also everywhere there is consumption, because consumption, too, depends increasingly on the widespread use of tools. There are technological products that produce specific needs which can only be satisfied by technology: others satisfy essential needs like health or education… there is no aspect of life that does not imply the human being connecting to a machine.  This reality inevitably produces a change in human nature and, since it makes the individual ever more dependent on the machine, renders her or him ever more dependent on Capital, increasingly “an isolated living accessory”.

For Marx, within the process of capitalist production, work  is a totalitywhich offers itself to the service of an alien will and an alien intelligence, and is directed by this, [...] subordinated to the objective unit of the machine, to fixed capital, which like an animated monster objectifies scientific thought and is actually the synthesis of it, since it is not the tool that refers to the individual worker but rather the worker as a single animated point, an isolated living accessory, that exists as a function of it.” (Marx, The Fundamental Features of the Criticism of Political Economy).

Thistotality of workwhich in Marx’s day was confined to the factory production process is constituted today by the totality of the numerous combinations in which work presents itself to society (think of the chain of value) and the interconnection of the networks that make production and consumption into a single generalised system.  This system extends to all sorts of services and offers in which work depends on a machine which, even if physically isolated, is interconnected to every other point in the system and is nevertheless an objectified product, a synthesis of scientific thought, of which the operator, the one animated factor, is purely an accessory.  If reality now appears to be the generalisation of every aspect of social life - and this might become even truer in the near future - of the dominion of Capital over human work, or even more over human life ‘in toto’, including work, consumption and needs, then this subordination is no longer produced mainly by a juridical relationship which testifies to the process of expropriation exercised by Capital over work, but becomes practical subordination exercised by means of the production and re-production of social life mediated by scientific thought objectified in machines (Note 13).  The elevation of the factory system to an overall social system is the objective basis on which it is possible to edify an emergency imposing distancing and isolation.  Such wide ranging measures of such dramatic juridic import can only take shape on the basis of the real, objective possibility of consuming and producing as isolated individuals, the reduction of producers to isolated living accessories.

Another aspect to consider is that these machines are becoming increasingly autonomous and human intervention is increasingly reduced to mere support or usage. The autonomy of the machines is an expression of the autonomy of Capital in relation to human needs. The machines must work, always and despite everything, quite apart from their apparent objective (collateral, secondary…accessory) of satisfying human needs. Indeed, this objective, amplified by the proliferation of fictitious needs, becomes the means that justifies the functioning of the gigantic production machine, which is the system’s real goal.  Everything is dominated by the gigantic movement of international finance, which has been assigned the objective faculty to decide what is to be produced and where, based on the necessities of profit-fuelled interests.  This overall brain of Capital, entirely self-referential, also functions autonomously, depending less and less on the decisions of one power group or another and more and more on algorithms that decide in the place of people.

Nonetheless, this gigantic, impersonal apparatus of dominion is not the expression of technology’s dominion over humankind, which created it, as some argue (see: Anders, cit.), but once again and always the rule of man over man, by means of technology, the rule of one class over another by means of technology. As in Marx’s day, the machine continues to be the expression of a social relation that is now extended not only formally and juridically, but also in terms of its real implications outside the factory. It pervades the whole fabric of society and individual existence itself is strongly colonised by Capital. But as always reality presents itself dialectically:  technological development is also the expression of the development achieved by social forces of production and in this sense it also means that the present mode of production has been outstripped.  If, then, technology is used to strengthen the chains that confine humanity within the limits of a class society, it already prefigures the dissolving of them. What today is the overall brain of Capital can turn into the overall brain of the species, the elaboration of knowledge and complex data at the service of humanity.  This overall brain is already able to provide possible answers to the momentous problems our species is facing, problems that capitalism has created and is incapable of addressing and solving.  We are certain that, when interrogated about the tremendous threats weighing on humanity, the all-powerful computers now at the service of Capital would express in formulas the need for the shift to communism; they would say that the solutions are not to be found in the most up-to-date technological inventions but in the revolutionary leap into the society of the future.  Vice-versa, the solutions that the all-powerful machines can give whilst still respecting the narrow limits of the present relations of production can only aim to conserve them, tighten the chains of oppression and perpetrate the preconditions for catastrophe.         

6- Plan for Capital and plan for the species

We do not yet have access to such powerful forecasting machinery, but even limiting ourselves to the ideas of simple human beings, we find interesting confirmation. Faced with the unprecedented proportions of this crisis, but even more so by the quality of it, even amongst Keynesian economists the idea is gaining ground that far more is needed than a limited intervention in public spending to increase incomes and employment, efficiently managing all the contradictions of the present and facing the future challenges that await humanity: instead, general, worldwide planning is required (Note 14). In our own words, a plan for the species is necessary. This as yet timid deviation from the limits that the system of bourgeois science imposes on its faithful is still a long way off the consolidated tradition of two centuries of revolutionary Marxism, and still regards the attitude of the intellectual who claims or aims to make who-knows-what “discovery” or “rediscovery” and take the merit for it: but if we ignore these aspects we must see in these statements the effect exerted by the force of events driving increasing numbers of people of different extractions to stumble, without realising it, towards Revolution.  Of course, taking a look around, there is something for everyone but the route for reallocating individual forces induced by the violent process of economic popularisation has begun at the theoretical and political level.

Even more suggestive is the fact that the very class enemy seems to want a general, worldwide plan. Incredibly enough, even the party of Capital seems to have reached the conclusion that a radical change is needed in the physiognomy of the economic and social system, which has no future as it now stands. According to Klaus Schwab, founder and Head of the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum: The COVID-19 crisis is affecting all areas of life for people in all corners of the world. But tragedy is not necessarily all it bequeathes us. On the contrary, it represents a rare but narrow window of opportunity for reflecting and re-thinking our world from scratch, to create a healthier, fairer and more prosperous future.

Cleared of the hypocritical rhetoric of these people, in the end this is about an ambitious plan that foresees radical changes in the political and social balance in order to make it conform to the interests of big concentrations of finance.  Well aware of the new and devastating financial crisis looming, Capital’s élites have taken on the gigantic task of reprogramming the world, or carrying out a “Great Reset” to guarantee their own safety, passing it off as the same as humanity’s.  Their programme is structured in certain fundamental points:

1) A model of “green” development: the abandonment of the development model based on unlimited exploitation of raw materials and mass consumption, replacing it with a “green” model that foresees the generalised use of alternative energy sources and shift to more “sustainable” production. This conversion to the ecological does not stem from the need to “save the environment”, but to renovate the exhausted sources of profit weighed down by over-production, surplus debt and plunging profit/interest rates. The shift to new forms of energy consumption and new sorts of production (the Fourth industrial revolution) will involve enormous destruction of capital and, just as the élites are hoping, new bases for the recovery of the cycle of accumulation, starting out from “green” investments.

2) Artificial Intelligence: the “ecological” conversion will not be able to do without the introduction of new technologies in all fields, from production to transport, from education to healthcare. All fields in which production and services will increasingly become “remote” or home-based, reducing transport and movement to a minimum: from mobility of people and goods there will be a shift to mobility of information and data. In the new order, the big change will be brought about by upturning the relationship between human beings and machines, which today finds its most advanced form in Artificial Intelligence: it will no longer be human beings that control the machine/computer and use it to their advantage but the machine/computer that controls the human being, in a general system of tracing, controlling and conditioning.

3) Shift from property to renting (Uberisation): individuals belonging to the proletarianised masses will tend to make less use of personal property and pay more rents, leases and subscriptions to a growing range of goods and services. The consequence of this removal of the right to property is that it will tend to be transformed into capital, a source of profit and income, all that is involved in the needs of human life. The financial system will progressively acquire everything that might be transformed into a source of profit or income. The digitalisation of money takes its place in this same context. The èlites themselves foresee that in capitalistically advanced countries the advent of the Fourth industrial revolution will involve 800 million workers being expelled and replaced by new technologies. This further, drastic reduction in the contribution made to production by human work will mean that a large part of the population, the part not stably integrated into the new techno-political balance or the part without an income, will be stably placed in a precarious condition, marginalised and managed with new and sophisticated instruments of social control. As well as providing for repression and surveillance, the State will also be given the role of collaborating with “private” agents through the financing of projects proposed by them. We have already seen examples of this “public-private” partnership in the race to finance the purchase of millions of face masks every day produced by FCA and to sign contracts with Big Pharma for the purchase of vaccines even before they had passed all the control procedures. We conclude these few comments on the so-called Great Reset – a subject impossible to deal with here in detail – by emphasising how perfectly coherent it is with what we experienced in 2020, “annus horribilis”, in terms of reduction in consumption, less travelling, smart working, the depredation of wide sectors of small businesses, dissolution of the premises of parliamentary democracy (Note 15).


The advent of the  “pandemic” has marked an acceleration in capitalist development towards new balances in which the management of contradictions will be entrusted to a recurrent or permanent “state of exception”. The “state of exception” allows the international financial bourgeoisie, guided by its élites, to exercise an ever harsher rule, ranging the most advanced scientific and technological tools it has control of.  What is being done here is to adapt the political balance, the balance between classes and social, economic relations  to the real conditions of capitalist dominion, enforced through its technical-scientific rule over every aspect of human life. An Orwellian scenario could be described except that, as Marxists, we know that Capital’s attempts to impose a plan clash with the inevitable contradictions of the system.  No stabilisation of capitalism is possible in the long term and nothing can save capitalism from its original flaws: the drop in the profit rate of investments, the anarchy of the market, the clash between bourgeois factions and between States, the class war.

Considering the present strength of Capital and the absence of any movement capable of contrasting its projects, we cannot exclude the possibility (1848 Manifesto in hand) that the outcomes of the future upheavals end up in the “ruin of all classes in the conflict”, unless the path of proletarian revolution opens up. The catastrophe could derive from an acceleration in the natural process of extinction sparked off by the mode of interaction between the class society and the environment - which no “green” transformation will be able to modify while the capitalist régime lasts - or social chaos might prove to be unmanageable and cause an implosion and a regression to previous phases.  The upheavals that take shape in developed societies might cause their disaggregation with unforeseeable results.  To quote Trotsky at the IIIrd Congress of the Communist International: “…in theory, the possibility cannot be excluded that the bourgeoisie, armed by its state apparatus and long experience may continue to fight the revolution to the point of depriving modern civilisation of every atom of vitality, until it plunges humanity into catastrophe and lasting decline.”  Today, a century later, we observe that the armour of the bourgeoisie has equipped itself with a vast apparatus of social control and conditioning and a scientific and technological system able to make a profound effect on the species’ conditions of existence. The revolutionary way out depends increasingly on an explosive encounter between the insurgence of a great, spontaneous mass movement and the maturation of the subjective factor, the Class Party, without which contradictions generate chaos and in the chaos - temporarily but effectively – the organised power of Capital.

There remains the main element that holds open the doors to the future: Capital cannot eliminate the class war.  The bourgeoisie, as ruling class, is perfectly aware of this and that is why it fights to try and set the conditions for the clash and oblige its historical enemy to take the defensive and place it in the condition of not being able to respond.  In the light of the great transformations going on in the state of the social situation and in production, we shall witness a further concentration of the concentration of Capital on the one hand and the expropriation of a large part of society on the other. Tomorrow’s society will be marked by extreme polarisation which will threaten present social relations, and Capital is hastening to manage the new scenario with all the political, ideological, technical, sanitary and economic means it has available.  The crisis has reached such a point that,  on closer observation, it obliges the bourgeois élites to anticipate some aspects of future society in their “plan”, in the attempt to make these into props for supporting the system. Deindustrialisation  and reduction in the consumption of useless transportation and in polluting factors already means placing some limits on the development of Capital, which the system will find it hard to tolerate.  The shift from private property and ownership to access to the use of goods is destined to clear the field of the bourgeois prejudice that private property is a person’s absolute right, closely connected to their personal freedom, and not a burden, a limitation of the possibility to live a free and fully social existence. Even more significant is recognition of the fact that live human work is sidelined in the formation of value and the working hours necessary for the production and re-production of society’s conditions of existence are reduced to a minimum.  This is equivalent to acknowledging the disappearance of the basic condition at the origin of the capitalist mode of production:  the appropriation of human work as a source of valorisation.  Lastly, the perspective of a transformation of money into something very different from what it is today is the prelude to its disappearanceThe “explosive” aspect of the present trend lies in all these objective  “anticipations”: at the point is has now reached, the capitalist mode of production not only anticipates certain aspects of future society but must force itself to develop them, attempting to contain them within limits of compatibility.

This whole, unrealistic “plan of Capital” converges into the objective of reducing all human society to a source of profit and income to compensate for the main source of profit drying up, i.e. human work, and, if it is successful, it will reveal itself as the triumph of an intolerable anti-humanism with no future prospects, a mass expropriation leading towards extreme concentration and extreme social polarisation. Revolutions come about – Lenin reminds us in Left-Wing Communism (1920) – when “the upper layers of society cannot do as they did in the past”, and this condition is declared between the lines in the “Great Reset”.  We know that Capital will fight to the end, tooth and nail, to preserve the present relations of production in the presence of economic and social conditions that have amply outstripped them. 

History must therefore prepare for a new, decisive watershed that will inevitably be marked by the recovery of the class war, not for temporary victories, but for life or death.



1- This is what the Italian investigative journalist Franco Fracassi states, supported by a wealth of evidence, in his book Protocollo contagio (Indigraf, 2020). The book is about the many mysteries circulating about the secret laboratory in Wuhan, a highly complicated crossroads of international interests directly involving not only China but also France and the United States, and as far as financial commitment is concerned, the three leading world investment funds, which alone handle a large slice of the total value produced on the planet every year.

2- There is no lack of historical parallels to events foreseen but left unopposed. According to some interpretations of the controversial episode of the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbour – categorically rejected for obvious official historiographical motives – Roosevelt knew in advance of the imminent Japanese attack but failed to communicate it in time to the military commanders, in view of the advantages that the shock at the destruction of a part of the Pacific fleet and the death of so many countrymen would provoke in public opinion. The decision to join the war would thus no longer encounter resistance from the masses and the élites contrary to intervention.

3- E. Bazzanella, L'ideologia nel Capitale (2019).

4- The contrast Capital-labour in social production, in which the former stands opposite goods-labour, the human being as a commodity, extends and becomes generalised over the whole of society and regards every individual. This process corresponds to the actual historical course of Capital which progressively takes over every aspect of life. In the interpretation given by “neo-liberist” ideology, the functions of Capital and commodities-labour co-exist in everyone: the individual has the task of exploiting her/his own capacity for work according to the valorisation of the self as Capital.  Self-exploitation becomes the condition of each individual existence.  Marx unmasked a similar myth when discussing the tendency of economists to conceive of salary as being the interest on work understood as a form of capital (Marx, Capital, Book III, Editori Riuniti, 1980, p.549).

5- The trumpeting of the establishment media about the presumed fascist nature of some demonstrations protesting against the emergency clashes dramatically with the total silence that enveloped the use of explicitly Nazi formations and figures during the coup d’état in Ukraine in 2014 and the bloody, mass killings ensuing.  In that case, everything was depicted as a democratic, people’s revolution, fully legitimate, because it was useful to the manoeuvres to extend NATO influence in East Europe (F. Fracassi, Il IV Reich, 2020). Briefly, agreeing with the lords of misinformation, the massacres are democratic, the massacred are fascists...

6- Authoritative studies of the correlations between the mass anti-flu vaccine campaigns and exposure to serious forms of Covid in some areas (as in the Bergamo area in Italy) have not even been taken into consideration.  The campaign raising the anti-flu vaccine to the status of a booster to the immune system triumphs, to the advantage of the potential profits of big pharmaceutical groups which are getting ready to distribute millions of doses of vaccine without respecting the codified procedures that foresee years of experimentation.

7- Compared to formations like Vox Italia and Fronte sovranista, where the substance of their politics is not weighed down by empty ideology, those that openly refer to the tradition of a big national-popular party like Rizzo’s Communist Party, have the limit of identifying themselves ideologically as “communist” and as such appear to belong to a long-dead past.

8- These are subjects dealt with in the interview with G. Trombetta, of the Fronte sovranista italiano ( On the statements by W. Munchau in the Financial Times, see the online article in italiaoggi, 2.12.2020: “For Munchau (Financial Times) it is inevitable for the Italian debt to be restructured: this is what the ESM is for. On the present situation of Greece a book has recently come out by Antonio di Siena, entitled Memorandum, Grecia 2010-2020 (2020).

9- The situation relaunches the extremely delicate matter, from a Marxist point of view, of the right to self determination of nations oppressed by imperialism, which we cannot go into here. The discussion arises inside the Communist International and the KPD (the Communist Party of Germany) in the period following Word War 1, in relation to the condition in which defeated Germany found itself, subjected to pressure and oppression from the victorious powers of the Entente.  Italy is heading towards a condition that in some ways is analogous to that of Germany at the time.  As then, the problem is arising of the relations between the proletariat and the half classes, in a context of higher capitalist development and with very different perspectives.   


11- F. Cappello, Covid or influence? Sinistrainrete. The overall figure of 60 thousand deaths from the pulmonary complications of flu from 2014/15 to 2016/17 in Italy have gone unobserved and the deaths due to a normal flu infection have disappeared from the WHO’s 2020 world statistics. These statistical eccentricities tell us that the real negationists are those forces that deny the right to shed light on what is happening, which withdraw from an exchange of opinions with discordant scientific visions, suggesting a univocal interpretation that is not at all the only one viable, and instead is the expression of invested interests that have nothing to do with the general interest.

12- Whether the pandemic has been a little gift of coincidence or the fruit of deliberate action does not change the reality of things, and in the end is only of relative importance. By embracing the former hypothesis or simply neglecting the question we free ourselves of the accusation of being “conspiracy theorists” but we do not take the opportunity to find out something more about our enemies and their range of action. The history of Capital is full of conspiracies, from the Sarajevo attack to our “State murders”, from the non-existent “weapons of mass destruction” to the “State-Mafia” negotiations in Italy. Should we really be surprised by our enemies’ brutality and lack of scruples? The very term “conspiracy theorist” comes from eloquent origins. After the assassination of J.F. Kennedy, the American government had to face criticism from a part of the press that called into question the story of the facts provided by the government commission (the Warren Commission), from which various anomalies emerged. To get themselves out of a corner, the CIA came up with a highly effective “linguistic” strategy: instead of entering into the merits of the polemics in terms of content, the challengers were labeled “en bloc” as “conspiracy theorists”, and written off as such. This same solution is applied in all fields where a few pains-in-the-ass call into question the mainstream version of critical issues. The use of a pejorative expression to identify an enemy force is the first and fundamental means for defeating it. By using this system, today the “no vax” and “negationists” have all been lumped together on the black list.  This doesn’t mean that low-quality “conspiracy theory” does not exist. It certainly does, and is growing fast, but this is simply the other face of the mainstream voice, whose entire function is to give value to the sordid bullshit passed off as “truth” by information at the service of power. What is not permissible is to call into question “truths” based on facts. And so demented “conspiracy theories” are most welcome in order to chuck all the criticism into the same old hotpot. The establishment clowns contribute to the attempt to condition the masses  by targeting the stereotype of the crazy conspiracy theorist. A pity for them that the price to pay for satire at the service of power is that it doesn’t make anyone laugh.

13- The subject might be developed by considering the process of real subordination that is going on as the objective, material basis for progressively dissolving the juridical pillars that uphold modern States and the basis for the increasing weight being gained by organisms that are an expression of the science of Capital organised around multinationals.

14- Emiliano Brancaccio, Catastrofe o rivoluzione, Il Ponte (cit. in Sinistrainrete).

15- savioli/ . Amongst the many other interventions here, there is also an interview with Guido Salerno Aletta, on Vox Italia youtube. Apart from these interpretations, which might attract accusations of conspiracy theory, there is also the whole of the official documentation that can be consulted on the site of the World Economic Forum:


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