The truth is not in philosophy, science, art, religion…
The truth is in the eyes of a child begging for help.
The world has become a capitalistic crematorium. The most important task for the humanist intelligentsia is to develop in contemporary man a self-consciousness that will provide humankind with the possibility to survive. The humanist intelligentsia has to draw attention to the increasingly dramatic consequences of the development of capitalism as a destructive order and to the existing objective possibilities for the creation of a new world. At the same time, it needs to develop a political strategy that will become the starting point for the creation of global forms of political struggle that would stop the destruction of life on the planet and create a new world. We are not suggesting the development of a distinctive intellectual “elite” that would declare itself “the conscience” of humankind and thus become a group alienated from “ordinary” people, but a commitment by people conscious of the destructive nature of capitalism and willing to dedicate their lives to the struggle for the preservation of life and the freedom of humankind. A genuine humanist intelligentsia needs to light the road to the future. In the context of an increasingly dramatic existential crisis generated by capitalism, it needs to become a lighthouse that will shine with an expanding glow, as the darkness generated by capitalism grows thicker. The Promethean principle has become a basic existential principle. That is why it is of crucial importance not to make compromises and not to adjust to the current political situation. A compromise results in the loss of the ability to create light – without which humankind will vanish into the darkness of destructive capitalist nothingness.
The critique of capitalism should be based on two methodological postulates. First: the nature of a certain social (historical) phenomenon is determined by the tendencies of its development – of what it is developing into. Second: the nature of a social (historical) phenomenon conditions the nature of its critique. The nature of capitalism, that is, the tendency of its development as a destructive system, conditions both the nature of the critique of capitalism and the political strategy for the fight against capitalism. This is not to suggest the creation of a uniform way of thinking, but a way of thinking that endeavors to ask questions of an existential and essential nature. Such a way of thinking represents a contraposition to the ruling ideology, manifested in the “Coca Cola culture” that tends to marginalize the essential in order to assign a spectacular dimension to the marginal.
A concrete critique of capitalism cannot be based solely upon essential humanism; it must also be based upon existential humanism. The ideals of the French Revolution – Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité – present a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for the future. The struggle to preserve life on the planet and increase the certainty of man’s survival as a cultural (social) and biological (natural) being represents a conditio sine qua non of the struggle for the future. Instead of the Marx’s notion of “alienation” (Entfremdung), the key notion in the critique of capitalism should be destruction. Marx’s revolutionary humanism opposes capitalism as a system of non-freedom, injustice, and non-reason, and advocates freedom, social justice, and a reasonable world, which means that it appears in the essential sphere. Existential humanism emerges in relation to capitalism as a destructive order that annihilates nature and man as a biological and human being – and places the struggle for the survival of the living world in the foreground, which means that it appears in the existential sphere. The affirmation of man as a creative and libertarian being is a response to the world where man is alienated from himself as a creative and libertarian being. The assertion that man is a life-creating being is a response to the world based upon the destruction of life: the struggle for freedom becomes the struggle for survival. The struggle for a reasonable world does not only represent an essential, but also an existential challenge. At the same time, Hegel’s (Marx’s) dialectic can be accepted only conditionally as the starting point for the development of a critique of capitalism, for its (historical) pyramid of freedom is founded upon existential certainty.
The “traditional” Marxist critique of capitalism, from the point of view of what-is-yet-to-be (Bloch’s noch-nicht-Sein), is of an abstract nature. The concrete nature of the capitalist positive also conditions the nature of the negative, which is a critical consciousness and a political practice based on it. Contemporary man cannot attain an appropriate historical self-consciousness starting from an absolutized and idealized anthropological model of man as a universal creative being of freedom, but starting from the existential challenges that capitalism, as a destructive system, imposes on man. Man’s becoming a human being (what he, in his essence, is – a totalizing libertarian, creative and life-creating being) and the world’s becoming a human world is conditioned by capitalism’s becoming capitalism (that is, its turning into what it essentially is – a totalitarian destructive order). A concrete future cannot be grounded in what man desires to do based on his own authentic human needs, but in what man must do if humankind is to survive. The essential level of the future is directly conditioned by existential challenges. The development of capitalism has further diminished the chances for the future to be the product of man’s free (visionary) creative practice (Bloch’s “openness“), which is in turn conditioned by consequences generated by capitalism as a destructive order. Objective possibilities for the creation of a new world and the possibility of man’s realization as a universal free creative being are conditioned by the developmental capacities of capitalism as a destructive order. This is the basis for a concrete dialectic of the future. A destroyed nature, a mutilated man, accumulated destructive powers of capitalism that could momentarily destroy humankind – this also represents an objective situation that inevitably conditions the probability of the future and its planning. It is not man who assigns to himself tasks that he can complete, as Marx asserts, it is capitalism that imposes a crucial task on man: to preserve life on the planet and to save humankind from destruction. To meet the challenge of the historical task imposed on man by capitalism means to facing up to capitalism as an order that destroys life.
For Marxist theoreticians, an empty stomach is man’s key existential driving force. Bloch’s view is that “planning is founded on hunger, poverty and scarcity”. Capitalism fills the stomachs of its subjects while destroying nature and degenerating man as a natural and human being, turning him into a waste disposal unit whose role is to destroy as much as possible of the increasingly poisonous surrogates of the “consumer” civilization. As for man’s innate aggressiveness as a living being, capitalism transforms man’s vital aggressiveness into a destructive power. People’s potentially change-oriented energy, deriving from their increasing dissatisfaction, becomes, by means of capitalism’s vital and ideological sphere, a spiritus movens of capitalism. The need for life is being transformed into the need for destruction. Criticizing Hegel, Bloch rightfully points out the fact that in history not all negations are necessarily a move forward. However, he fails to realize that the capitalist negation leads towards the destruction of the world. Not a word on capitalism as a destructive order, nor, in that context, about the consciousness of a possible destruction of life as the essential content of a revolutionary consciousness. The anticipation of the future, as a concrete anticipation of a concrete future, must anticipate the development of capitalism, that is, the consequences generated by capitalism as a destructive order that inevitably condition man’s freedom and, along with it, the possibility of a future and its concrete nature.
Capitalist development of productive forces does not enhance the certainty of human survival, as Marx argues, but questions it more and more dramatically. Therefore, instead of engendering optimism, capitalist “progress” generates fear of the future. The most perilous characteristic of capitalism is related to the fact that, from the results of life-destruction, it creates a source of profit and, thus, a basis for its own further development, where man’s creative powers become a vehicle for the development of the destructive powers of capitalism and for acceleration of the destruction process. Capitalism has become a self-reproducing mechanism of destruction, which, to the living world, represents what a malignant tumor represents to an organism: it extends its own lifetime by devouring all that provides humankind with a chance for survival. This does not refer only to the systematic, but to the ultimate destruction of life on the planet.
Capitalism is based on ecocidal terrorism. Life is constantly diminishing and so is humanity. The ecological clock is striking the last hours. The issue at stake is not only global warming, but a systematic destruction of the living world and man as a biological and human being. Capitalism exterminated tens of thousands of animal species. Zoos, the concentration camps for animals, clearly show how capitalism treats the living world. Agriculture based on profit destroys the soil with increasingly poisonous chemicals, genetically distorted plants and monocultures. Forests are dying. Water resources are being destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of containers full of nuclear waste have been thrown into the ocean depths. Over 90% of the seas and oceans are polluted. The north and the south poles are melting. The sea level is rising, which will result in the flooding of coastal towns and vast stretches of the land. A decrease in the salinity of the North Sea will stop the Gulf Stream and thus cause catastrophic climate changes not only in the northern hemisphere, but in the whole world. By destroying the ozone layer, capitalism turned the sun, the source of life, into the source of death. Mankind is nearing the zero point, after which the climate changes will bring about increasingly dramatic ecological changes that man will no longer be able to influence.
A genetic distortion of man is under way, as well as a biological destruction of nations. Air, water, food – everything is polluted. The “allowed” amounts of additives are constantly being increased. Their total effects are increasingly detrimental to human health and man’s genetic properties. An increasing number of young people are suffering from serious diseases. An increasing number of people are sterile. Even capitalistically destroyed medicine and pharmacology are not struggling against diseases. Seeking to expand their market, they are producing an increasing number of profitable patients. The American Medical Association has passed a resolution that doctors should stop using preventive medicine as it reduces the number of patients and thus diminishes the doctors’ earnings. It is estimated that in the West over 70% of all operations are being performed for profit. To kill people, particularly children and girls, in order to “obtain organs” is the most monstrous capitalist practice. In England, over 40,000 girls and boys are kidnapped and massacred annually, in France the figure is over 30,000, in USA over 100,000… The most renowned clinics in the world “obtain” organs on the “black market”, which means that they directly cooperate with professional murderers, who are specialized in kidnapping and killing young people. As the organs are transplanted primarily into people who have money, it is no coincidence that the capitalist oligarchy does not care to deal with this criminal practice. Killing and massacring the children of “ordinary” people in order to replace the organs of the wealthy “elite” most convincingly illustrates the criminal nature of capitalism.
Capitalism is a genocidal order par excellence. The extermination of the Africans, Australian aborigines, Chinese, Indians, Algerians, Koreans, Vietnamese, Iraqis, the Afghans… fills the “most glorious” pages of the history of capitalism. On cotton plantations in the USA, where slavery existed for over 200 years, millions of Africans died of starvation and exhaustion. The slaves who tried to run away had their feet cut off by the capitalists, they were castrated, whipped to death, hanged… It should not be forgotten that the development of capitalism is based upon one of the most atrocious crimes ever committed: the eradication of the North American Indians. What gives a specific dimension to that crime is the fact that American capitalists turned the extermination of the Indians into a multi-billion dollar “business.” Not only were the North American natives exterminated in the most brutal manner, they had to be reduced to “despicable murderers”, and as such became “stars” in the Hollywood film industry. The Indians, victims of the largest genocide in human history, became symbols of evil, while those who massacred millions of Indian children became the incarnation of audacity and goodness. The extermination of the Native Americans represents a symbolic obliteration of life lived in harmony with nature. The “heroes” of the “Wild West”, such as Buffalo Bill, are the incarnation of the ecocidal spirit of capitalism: the monstrous slaughter of buffalos becomes a legendary “pastime” and inviolable pattern of behavior for the youth in the USA and Europe. Between the middle of the XIX century and the Japanese occupation of China, the English capitalists, by military actions and by opium, killed over 250 million Chinese and destroyed and plundered over 90% of the Chinese art treasury. In XIX century England, the cradle of capitalism, every second child died by the age of five from illness or hunger, and every third woman died in childbirth. Nine year old girls and boys worked 14 hours a day (!) in English mines and factories, and the same situation existed in America, Germany, France, czarist Russia and other capitalist countries. It is estimated that at the peak of Western industrialization tens of millions of children perished in mines and factories from exhaustion and hunger. In England, by the middle of the XIX century poor people caught stealing were punished by being tied to wheels set up in town squares and having their intestines taken out. During the great economic crisis of capitalism in 1929, in the USA alone over 4 million workers and members of their families starved to death. The First World War, with over 20 million casualties, which caused the epidemic called “Spanish fever” that killed more people in Europe than the war itself; the rise of fascism in Italy, Germany, Spain and other European countries, as well as in Japan; World War II with over 60 million casualties (out of which over 35 million were Slavs, 6 million Jews and 3 million Roma people) – this is the “civilizatory legacy” of capitalism. In the aftermath of World War II, the French colonial troops “civilized” the Africans by driving the women and children into groups and pouring petrol over them, burning them alive. Men were thrown from airplanes. It is estimated that in Mozambique alone over 100,000 people were killed by these methods. In Indochina, Algeria and other colonies, the French legionnaires committed bestial crimes killing millions of people. American soldiers burned entire cities in Korea, and in Vietnam killed over five million “communists”, one third of whom were children. Little girls were raped on a mass scale. Among the most popular “souvenirs” the American “marines” brought back from Vietnam were “necklaces” of the ears of massacred Vietnamese. In Chile, American capitalists organized the assassination of the legally chosen President Salvatore Allende, who had nationalized the copper mines, and they then brought to power the Pinochet military junta, which over the next few months, using the methods of the Catholic inquisition, killed thousands of people who opposed the dictatorship. The same was done in Argentina and other countries in South and Central America, as well as in South Korea, the Philippines, Africa, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, in the Middle East… Concentration camps are one of the most monstrous products of capitalist civilization. The English colonial powers set up the first camps in South Africa, and in fascist Germany they were “perfected” with gas chambers and other means for mass destruction. The Nazis actually established the death factories, which operated by the same principle as other capitalist plants. The bodies of murdered children, women and men were used as a raw material. The skin, bones and hair of the murdered people were used to make drums, hangers, cloth… The “total war”, the “scorched earth” strategy and, related to that, the “carpet bombing” used to burn towns and kill the population – this is but another “invention” of capitalism. The same “war method” was employed by the Japanese fascists when they attacked China, the Nazi Germans (together with the Italian fascists) during the civil war in Spain, in their attack on Poland, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, as well as in the American bombing of the German towns during the World War II and the towns in Korea and Vietnam. The use of curbed natural forces in order to create the means of mass destruction is the most devastating product of capitalism. In that respect, the American annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by atomic bombs has a symbolic meaning. The atomic, hydrogen and neutron bombs capable of instantaneously destroying life on the planet; viruses which could destroy life on entire continents; chemical means which could contaminate the rivers – these are the most atrocious results of capitalist “progress”.
The theory of a “golden billion” has become a strategic landmark for the economic and political practice of the most developed capitalist countries. The destruction of an increasing number of people is becoming the basic condition for the survival of fewer and fewer people. A global ecocide has become the basis of a global genocide. Since World War II, world capitalism has been responsible for the deaths of over one billion people, hundreds of millions of whom were children. Thanks to global economic fascism, established by the most advanced capitalist countries, over 30,000 children die every day from diseases, hunger and lack of water. In respect to the repeated “argument” that “overpopulation” is the main cause of the increasing shortages of drinking water, food and energy, it should be said that the Americans, Europeans and Japanese, whose populations total about one billion, use (destroy) the same amount of water, food and energy as 500 billion people would use at today’s rates of consumption in the underdeveloped countries. At the same time, capitalism destroys life in the seas and oceans, which could provide quality nourishment for tens of billions of people. The thesis that the planet is “overpopulated” is actually one of the justifications for the destruction of entire nations so that the most powerful capitalist corporations can get access to natural and energy resources. Not a shortage of natural resources, but a shortage of humanity – which above all means domination by the inhuman and destructive capitalist order – is the main cause of the ever-deepening existential crisis.
The sterilization of the life-creating power (fecundity) of living creatures has become a universal principle of capitalist development. Capitalism obliterates man as a biological being by depriving him of the ability to be a fecund being. Men and women contain fewer and fewer organic ingredients required for fecundity. The polluted environment, contaminated water and food, disruption of the organism’s biological rhythm, increased existential uncertainty that constantly keeps man under stress – this all results in increasingly serious corporal and mental damage. The recuperation of man’s life-creating ability as a fecund (life-creating) being represents one of the most important challenges that capitalism poses for man. The genocidal nature of “consumer society” is evident even in the most developed capitalist countries and it directly affects the white race, which, due to its dominant position in the process of the reproduction of capital, is closest to the crater where profit is made, and is thus most affected by the rhythm of capitalist reproduction. “White plague” ravishes the most developed capitalist countries. Capitalism destroys the family and degenerates the relationship between the sexes. An increasing number of children live with only one parent or without any parents, and instead of developing relationships with the opposite sex, more and more people live alone or in homosexual households. The ruthless devastation of the social fabric represents another major characteristic of capitalism. A growing number of people live alone (in large cities of the most developed West European countries almost one-half of the citizens live in a “single member household”), and a sense of loneliness generating the worst forms of social pathology assumes epidemic proportions. While in some industrial sectors the workday had to be shortened, the need for a “mobile” labor force has increased, which means that individuals who can be at a company’s disposal at all times have an advantage when applying for a new job. And they are the ones “liberated” from all social and, in particular, family obligations. A growing number of women agree to a “voluntary” sterilization in order to “win the employer’s confidence” – and get a job. The official duration of the workday becomes, more and more, non-mandatory. The subordination of all life to the growing velocity of capital reproduction is one of the key causes of the dramatic reduction in the birth rate in developed capitalist countries. If capitalism is not in the near future replaced by a humane society, the white race will disappear. A biological decline of the white race in the most developed capitalist countries, together with the destruction of the environment, has become the key issue which will have a direct impact on political and other social issues.
The deepening existential crisis of humanity reflects the true nature of “progress”, based on increased consumer standards measured by the amount of energy, water, and food used. The creation of the “consumer society” is the most fatal “contribution” of capitalism to the “progress” of humanity. Not only does capitalism produce too many goods with use-value, it produces more and more goods with no use-value at all. The production of the unnecessary leads to the increased consumption of raw material, energy and labor, resulting in the increased pollution of the planet, exploitation of man and disintegration of society. Not only does increasing production not lead to an increased standard of living, it more and more jeopardizes it. Ultimately, a growing part of capitalist reproduction is of a destructive nature. Eating habits are a good illustration. People are becoming containers that devour growing amounts of increasingly poisonous food. In the USA over 150 million citizens suffer from various health problems due to the overconsumption of junk food. At the same time, more and more money is invested in the treatment of problems arising from obesity, far more than in the areas of primary importance for the development of society – such as education.
Science and technology have become the means for a planned destruction of products. Big companies have special facilities intended to “ensure” that the products do not last any longer than planned – in order to force citizens to buy a new product. Durability of products used to be their most important quality. Today, capitalist concerns seek to shorten the expiry date of their products and, instead, lure the consumers with attractive packages (they are sometimes more expensive than the product, itself), functionality and, of course, “good advertising”, which, with TV commercials, becomes a spectacular fraud. The multi-use razor blade was discovered a long time ago, but it is no longer available in shops. The same goes for hundreds of cheap drugs which could save the lives of millions of sick children, but which have been left in the safes of pharmaceutical companies, as their use would decrease the profits. More and more products are sold in a single, compact unit: because of a deficiency in one segment one has to buy the whole part. Products are made of material that makes them difficult to repair. The economic system, led by the banks, seeks to make people (especially by taxation policy) join the consumer mania and thus enable the further functioning of capitalism. “Destroy!” – this has become the categorical imperative of the consumer society.
The dominant processes indicate the true nature of one of the original principles of capitalism: “Competition breeds quality!”. It turns out that capitalism accepts only the competition that results in increased profit and not satisfaction of human needs. At the same time, instead of the “free competition” of liberal capitalism, a directed competition has been established, dominated by the strategic interests of the most powerful multinational concerns. They determine the “rules of the game”, ruthlessly dealing with those who oppose them. Monopolistic capitalism abolishes competition between individuals and establishes domination as the basic existential principle. “Destroy competition!” and “Big fish devour small fish!” have become the military cries of contemporary capitalism. In the more and more ruthless economic war, capitalist empires devour one another, destroying life on the planet. The space for “personal initiative”, the central legitimizing principle of “real” capitalism, is shrinking. Man is completely subjected to a “higher force” embodied in depersonalized and bureaucratized gigantic corporations. Huge investments, planning the “future”, “conquering the market” – behind all this there are “teams” and “organization”.
When it comes to social justice, the dominant tendency in the capitalist world is a decreasing number of rich people as against an increasing number of the poor. Barely 3% of the population of the USA owns almost 70% of the country’s social wealth. Millions of people live in the streets, in containers and sewage. Every fourth child lives beneath the poverty line. An increasing number of people are starving. Over 50 million American citizens do not have basic health insurance. A total criminalization of society is under way. Violence and crimes have reached outrageous proportions. Bulletproof doors and windows, security systems and cameras – apartments and houses in the “free world” have turned into bunkers. Hundreds of mafia organizations operate in the USA alone, holding in their hands not only the markets for drugs, gambling, prostitution, “white slavery”, sports, human organs and nuclear waste, but also an increasing part of the economy and the banks, politicians, policemen and journalists… In addition, the USA is home to over 100,000 “local” professional gangs and countless street gangs. Between 1901 and 1991, in the USA the murder rate has increased ten fold and now amounts to over 80,000 murders a year. The number of the wounded is five times greater. The number of the murdered and wounded in the USA in the XX century exponentially exceeded the total number of American casualties in the First and Second World Wars, in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan… In USA prisons, which have become peculiar concentration camps for the “colored”, there are millions of people. School violence has reached horrendous proportions. In spite of stronger police protection, weapons scanners, video surveillance, steel bars and wire fences, in the USA students kill and injure over 30,000 peers and teachers a year. The number of the increasingly lethal firearms owned by the citizens exceeds 300 million. Millions of women are beaten and raped every year. Millions of women and children are engaged in prostitution. In the developed capitalist countries, trafficking in “white slaves” has become one of the most profitable businesses. It is estimated that over half a million girls, mostly from Eastern Europe and Asia, “disappear” every year into the deepening network of prostitution in the West. At private projections, the most popular films are those ending with a ritual slaughter of young girls. Tens of millions of citizens regularly use drugs and alcohol. Each year hundreds of thousands of young people die from drugs and alcohol, or suffer serious physical and mental damage. The majority of people live under constant mental stress. In the USA alone, every year over one million people die of heart attacks and other coronary diseases caused by stress. Over 50 million Americans are estimated to suffer from serious mental disorders. The usage of sedatives has dramatically spread. People take billions of pills yearly. Suicide is a mass phenomenon. Every year millions of people attempt suicide, while hundreds of thousands succeed in killing themselves. The system of education is undergoing a deep crisis. At the same time, the increasingly aggressive entertainment industry produces mass idiocy. In the USA over one hundred million people are practically illiterate. Instead of education, they are offered gambling. The creation of gambling euphoria is the most perfidious way of corrupting people with the dominant spirit of capitalism based on the separation of value from its appropriation. The unemployment rate is rising dramatically. More and more girls are being subjected to “voluntary” sterilization in order to get a job. A vast majority of people live on credit and are in debt slavery. More and more people have two jobs in order to get by. Life has become a constant humiliation. Democratic institutions are destroyed along with elementary human and civil rights. Fear is widespread. In the USA, the police and secret services “have the right” to enter homes and arrest people without a warrant, to keep them imprisoned without time limits and without the right to a lawyer, to subject them to bestial torture and to kill them. Capitalist terror against citizens is justified by the “fight against terrorism”. American secret services perform spectacular crimes following the Nazi model (burning of the Reichstag), such as the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York and the “attack” on the Pentagon, when nearly 3,000 American people died so that the ruling capitalist groups could freely establish a police state and produce new wars, all that in order to ensure sustainability of the military/industrial complex at the core of the American economy. Spreading fear is the most horrible and most efficient way by which capitalists ensure people’s submission. Hence the escape from everyday life to a world of illusion, offered by the Hollywood film industry and TV stations, has become the most important preoccupation of the citizens of the “free world”.
Capitalism destroys both the basic emancipatory impulses with which the advanced bourgeoisie tore down the walls of feudal society (Enlightenment, the guiding ideas of the French Revolution, philanthropic movement…) and the civilizing (cultural) legacy of civil society without which there is no future. In that way capitalism destroys the historical origins of bourgeois society and establishes a “new” fascism. The champions of contemporary fascism are not the groups of young people “adorned” with the Nazi symbols, but capitalist corporations that, generating the increasing existential and, therefore, overall social crisis, generate a fascist ideology. The ruling principle of monopoly capitalism, “Destroy the competition!”, is a generator of the contemporary fascist practice both in the economic and in the political spheres. The capitalist destruction of the environment and of man as a cultural and biological being conditions the establishment and strengthening of the most reactionary political forces. Not only the possibility of a new society, but also of a “new” (ecocidal) barbarism, is being established by capitalism. There is a conflict within capitalism between these two tendencies. It is both the basis and the framework of the contemporary class struggle, which is not solely about fighting for social justice, but also about fighting for survival. Marx himself indicates the possibility of establishing a (long) period of capitalist barbarism (as well as the possibility of the common destruction of both the ruling and the labor classes), however, this position is not given substantial significance in his theory (and is, therefore, without any obligatory nature) to elaborate any such forms of the development of capitalism and the corresponding forms of a political struggle against it. At the same time, potential capitalist barbarism, according to him, is not of a destructive, but of an anti-libertarian nature. Marx fails to perceive that capitalism, in its essence, represents an ecocidal barbarism of a technical form, and, consequently, that capitalists are ecocidal barbarians.
Ideologues of capitalism use “fascism” as a waste container in which they throw everything which actually presents the crimes of capitalism and speaks of its true nature. At the same time, fascistic darkness becomes a phenomenon relative to which capitalist democracy demonstrates its “humane” value. Instead of a concrete historical antipode: capitalism – humane society, a false antipode is offered: “democracy” – “totalitarianism” (“fascism” and “communism”). In that context, ideologues of capitalism seek to prove that fascism is a phenomenon sui generis and has nothing to do with capitalism. Indeed, fascism is one of the political manifestations of capitalism, more precisely, fascism is the clenched fist of capitalism in crisis – when ruling capitalist groups, to prevent the demise of the ruling order, abolish basic human and civil rights and use the state in order to establish a direct and limitless capitalist dictatorship over the working class and for their (genocidal and ecocidal) colonial expansion. The contemporary situation in the USA and Europe suggests that German fascism was but one of the historical manifestations of fascism and that fascism is the enfant terrible of capitalism.
Capitalism deprives life of its human purpose and thus of the essential. We are witnessing a capitalist leveling: everything is standardized, everything is on the consumer assembly-line turning faster and faster. The promotional postcard of capitalism does not display an imagined man. The “society of the spectacle” (Debord) is the manifestation of a world ruled by destructive nothingness. There are no great events. There is no vision. An impression is being made that everything important that could happen has already happened. All ideas of the past have been “used up”. A great idea does exist, but its voice does not reach the people deafened by commercial ads. A mountain looms out of the fog, but people are blinded by the spotlights of “consumer society” and are unable to see it. There is no thought which could be a critical reflection of life. There is no speculative mediation. In his relation to the world man does not seek to create a humane society. Life itself has become a destruction of reason and the need for reason. The terror of a positive life and a positive ratio has been established. All is a given. The colors of life have waned under the dazzling lights of the “consumer society”. The darkness of death is hidden under colorful propaganda messages. In commercials, everybody is “happy”. The tragic has drowned in “Coca Cola”. Consumer-man has killed homo sapiens.
Capitalism brings people into a special mental state. Consumer madness is not only a manifestation of the destructive madness of capitalism; it is an expression of the need to suppress the pain caused by solitary hopelessness, one of the most fatal products of capitalist civilization. For a hopelessly lonely man to think, he must dive into the abyss. At the same time, to reject thinking means to reject responsibility for cooperating in the destruction of the world. Escape from an increasingly gloomy everyday life becomes an obsession. The less a man is capable of expressing his humanity in the existing world, the more the virtual world becomes a real world. TV programs have become a mental guide for “the masses”. Along with the further development of the existential crisis, the governing regime creates an increasingly aggressive “entertainment industry” by means of which it intends to keep man “in a good mood”, in order to prevent man from experiencing his own existence, from confronting his own misery and pursuing the ways toward liberation. What we have here is the “Titanic syndrome”: as the ship sinks – the music gets louder. Using all available means, the major media make every effort to immerse man in the swamp of “Coca Cola culture”, for only at the point when man poses the question of the future, when he becomes aware of the scale of global destruction – only then does the entire threat of the established “progress” become obvious. It is not by accident that the new generations are, for the first time in history, worse educated than their parents. At the same time, increasingly aggressive and inhuman commercial video clips become “spiritual food” for people. “The average” citizen of the USA is exposed to over 3,000 commercial messages a day. The school system, as an educational institution, faces a growing crisis. The entire cultural heritage of Western civilization, as well as the humanist achievements of other civilizations, is endangered. What we are facing here is a development dictated by the governing system with the task of adjusting the intellectual (educational) level of citizens to its own existential interests, hindering the development of a critical mind that points both at the perils of capitalism and the opportunities for the creation of a new world generated within civil society. The fact is that man has developed production capacities to such an extent and has become so skilled (proficient) that he is able to take into his own hands not only the production management processes, but also the administration of the entirety of social existence. Therefore, the ultimate liberation of humankind from oppression and existential uncertainty is no longer a fantasy, but a realistic prospect. The basic objective of the entertainment industry is to impede the formation of an active, change-oriented connection between established technological development and man’s endeavors to utilize it in order to fulfill his own real needs and provide a more certain future. The increasingly ruthless attacks by the capitalist media on critical reason represent a capitalist response to the growing devastation generated by capitalism and to the already established objective possibilities for man to step beyond the capitalist world into a civilization of freedom. In that context, capitalism deals with humanist education and humanist intelligentsia. On the one hand, capitalism creates “white collars” – a technical intelligentsia, the leading power in the destruction of the planet, which is reduced to specialty idiots, and, on the other hand, “blue collars” – a manipulated work force deprived of even an elementary education. The consequences are more and more visible. After living so many years in a capitalist civilization and after such “progress”, an increasing number of people become the victims of the darkest ideologies, the morbidity of which exceeds anything that history has seen so far. In the USA alone there are thousands of “satanic” sects, the direct result of a ruthless destruction of people’s spiritual integrity. “Consumer society” throws man into the abyss of spiritual hopelessness, where he is met by dark powers offering to “fulfill his needs” by manipulative means with which capital turns them into mindless “consumers”. For a man lost in the darkness even the burning stake represents a source of light and a signpost.
The myth of “free media” and “democratic publicity” in the West is finally dead. It is now clear just how united the Western propaganda machinery is when it comes to the protection of the strategic interests of the most powerful capitalist states. By using scientifically led and technically perfected propaganda, a specific “mood” is created so that the public begins to accept the annihilation of whole nations as a “humane” act. Instead of, by the “development of democracy”, enabling the citizens to make independent judgments on vital social issues, we have a “public opinion” which is the product of the biggest information centers, peculiar fabricators of lies and half-truths in the hands of the most powerful capitalist clans and leading political groups. At the same time, thanks to new technical devices, the leading information media established a global monopoly over information. “Western democracy” is on the road to beating the practices of the worst totalitarian regimes. In light of the governing tendencies in the development of capitalism, even the darkest Orwellian hunches resemble a children’s story.
What is the point of philosophy in the contemporary capitalist world dominated by destruction, where humanity has been pushed to the edge of the abyss? Ideologues of capitalism create an illusion that the ruling relation to reality is based on a certain way of thinking, which means that it has a rational nature. Philosophy has become a “rational” echo of destructive capitalist irrationality. It is but one of the humanist masks of an inhumane and destructive civilization and, as such, is a commercial for capitalism. It provides and strengthens a way of thinking which, like religion, is deprived of critical self-reflection and prevents man from becoming aware of the tendencies of global development and the objective possibilities of liberation which via subjective practice (political struggle) can turn into real possibilities for freedom. At the same time, “philosophizing” is reduced to the creation of a network of formally and logically consistent concepts that are to mediate between man and the world. Philosophy has become a means for confusing reason and distracting it from the crucial questions. Contemporary bourgeois philosophers disqualify reason as the most authentic and most important human means for ensuring survival and freedom. It is reduced to an instrumentalized ratio and has become the means for mystification of the existing world and for the destruction of a visionary consciousness that offers a possibility of overcoming capitalism and creating a new world. Philosophy has become a technical subject and, as such, is a means for turning concrete existential and essential questions into abstract theoretical questions. Instead of a revolutionary concept, the dominant concept is that of conformism. Instead of a fight to eradicate the causes of non-freedom and destruction, a theoretical discussion about consequences is being imposed. The bourgeois theory offers a critique of capitalism which does not question it and which seeks to “perfect” it. “The essence of capitalism” acquires an idolized dimension and becomes the basis for criticizing capitalist reality. Thus the mythologized past becomes the basis for criticizing the present. Everything that might and should happen has already happened. A struggle for the future becomes a struggle for the past. The bourgeois intelligentsia multiplies the “field of research” by creating numerous “grey areas”, primarily to expand its space as much as possible. It acts like the market: it produces increased quantities of intellectual goods with ever-lower quality, which are sold in the form of books, lectures, studies, and reports. Max Horkheimer came to the conclusion half a century ago that serious philosophy was nearing its end and that society was becoming an anthill. Philosophers contribute to that state of affairs as they do not develop a philosophy that departs from the emancipatory legacy of civil society and national cultures, they rather adjust to a ruling order that does not need a wise man, but an idiotized consumer. Philosophy becomes an entertaining skill, while philosophers become the “fools” of capitalism.
Purposefulness and thus the quality of philosophic thought are determined by whether this thought poses concrete historic questions. Today, in a world which faces an ever more realistic possibility of destruction, that principle means that concrete historical questions might be the last questions posed by man. It is that quality which makes a difference between today’s concrete historical questions and all the earlier concrete historical questions. The development of capitalism as a totalitarian order of destruction imposes the question of survival as the most important concrete historical question. Actually, by bringing humanity to the brink of destruction, capitalism ”has answered” all crucial questions. Bearing in mind the intensity of the capitalist destruction of life, all questions come down to one: what can be done to prevent the destruction of humanity? The only meaningful thought is of an existential character, meaning, it creates the possibility for a political (changing) practice that will prevent the world’s destruction. In that context, philosophy is meaningful as a critique of capitalism and a visionary projection of a future world. There is a need for creating an integrating critical and visionary thought with an existential nature, which will contain the emancipatory legacy of civil society and national cultures. Humanity will again appreciate the importance of serious thinking when people return to the basic existential questions. The seriousness of those questions will make people serious: crucial existential issues will eliminate a trivial way of thinking and direct the mind towards the essential issues. Riding on the wave of the French bourgeois revolution, classical German philosophy shaped the self-consciousness of modern man. Today, the humanist intelligentsia should shape a thought that will be the guiding thought of the last revolution in the history of mankind. It is not the howl of Minerva’s owl in the twilight, but a war cry of a man who has been awakened and who is ready not only to liberate humanity from oppression, but to prevent its destruction. Ultimately, what is philosophy if it is not capable of answering the questions that are of vital importance for human destiny?
The 1854 letter from the chief of the Seattle tribe to the American President Franklin Pierce indicates the important limitations on modern philosophy with respect to basic existential issues. It is a sobering truth that modern man does not turn to the greatest thinkers of the modern age in order to find answers to the critical existential issues, but turns to a man who by the predominant criteria for evaluation has the status of a “savage”. The Indian chief’s letter indicates that all modern Western thought has gone astray. It depicts the true nature of capitalism and the basic tendency of its development better than all the philosophical and sociological thought of the XIX and XX centuries. The Indian chief’s letter, at the same time, indicates that the question of being, as one of the central “traditional” philosophical questions, cannot be viewed any longer at the essential level. Being, as a symbolic source of authentic humanity and a mirror where man can see his authentic human image, above all else means the affirmation of man’s life-creating powers acquiring a concrete historical dimension with respect to capitalism as a totalitarian destructive order. The fact that the letter was written in the mid-XIX century is of primary importance as it refutes the claim that at that time it was not possible to see the ecocidal nature of capitalism. The words of the Indian chief not only show the limitations of Western scientific and philosophical thought, but also that it is not necessary to have science and philosophy in order to recognize the true nature of capitalism. The truth that capitalism is an anti-existential order is based on immediate empirical evidence. This was the guiding thought of Fourier when, in the early XIX century, he questioned (capitalist) “progress”, suggesting that it is based on the destruction of forests, fields, sources of water, climate…
A specificity of the contemporary historical moment, that is, a specificity of capitalism as a system of destruction, also conditions the specific view of the past. The ruling ideology sterilizes the libertarian and change-oriented charge of philosophical thought and reduces it to a lifeless “history of philosophy”, which becomes a vehicle for the destruction of the libertarian and life-creating power of reason. Critical theory, based upon existential humanism, needs to create the possibility for “reviving” the creative and libertarian spirit of our ancestors by engaging it in the fight for survival and for the creation of a new world. In the struggle for humankind’s survival, the past thought has to realize its own humanistic, i.e., existential and libertarian, potential. The deepening existential crisis forces man to focus on the basic existential issues and, in that context, to integrate the libertarian and cultural heritage of humankind and to rid it of any “tails” that only weaken the combat and drive the mind astray. The “fullness of humanity”, in the sense of perceiving man from a historical prospective, is conditioned by increasingly dramatic existential challenges. The libertarian past needs to become a source of man’s life-creating energy in the struggle for the survival of humankind. A “return” to the mythological past is justified only if it is to revitalize libertarian and life-creating myths. Otherwise, it amounts to driving reason astray, and is, regardless of personal motives, of an anti-existential nature.
In relation to man, the capitalist world has become a totalitarian and destructive power to such an extent that it loses the need for scientific knowledge, as it has become, in the hands of capitalists, an anti-humane and anti-living power. At the same time, an escape from knowledge becomes an escape from responsibility for the world’s survival. The awareness that a group of capitalist fanatics can momentarily destroy the world, as well as the awareness of an increasing possibility of destroying the environment and thus humanity, itself, bring man, stuck in the living mud of “consumer society”, to the brink of madness. An escape from knowledge is a “natural” defense mechanism. The ruling scientific thought reduces the reality of capitalism to the “facts” enabling a “scientific view” according to which capitalism has no alternative, which means that all “problems” can be “overcome” in capitalism itself by “perfecting” it in a technical way and by technical means. The capitalist vision of the future has a “scientific” character. The myth of the “omnipotence of science and technology” has become a means for the creation of a capitalistically degenerated religious consciousness and, in that context, the image of the future. The vision of “paradise”, in which the “souls of the deceased are united in God”, is replaced by the vision of a “perfect technical world”. Everything is mediated by money; everything acquires a trivial dimension – including the relation towards death. Ideologues of capitalism promise man (rich “elite”) “immortality”, which will be provided by creating technical devices that will enable the “revival” of frozen corpses. Scientists have become the capitalists paid murderers and the driving force in the destruction of the world. A vast majority of scientists are engaged in the production of weapons of mass destruction, devices for mass control, the genetic distortion of man, the destruction of nature, the manipulation and idiotization of people… Scientific knowledge has been deprived not only of its human purpose; it has acquired an anti-existential nature.
The “invasion of space” has made man face the immense universe in a way that reduces the earth to a tiny cosmic speck that can disappear at any moment. The awareness of the cosmic position of the earth and humanity makes any striving for survival meaningless. Scientific knowledge produces a fear of survival but does not offer any solutions – since solutions do not abide in the sphere of science but in everyday life. Asteroids, comets, supernovas, black holes, anti-matter – all these phenomena become the projections of a fear of destruction created by capitalism as a destructive order. Relations between people are not based on man’s need for another man, which means on man’s need to do something which will contribute to a better humanity, but are mediated by catastrophic scenarios, which make meaningless any engagement that can open new spaces of freedom and increase the possibility of man’s survival. Thus capitalism, which more and more dramatically jeopardizes mankind’s survival, as the only real danger for mankind, “disappears” in the cataclysmic projection of the “future”. It is not his inability to confront natural cataclysms, but his conformism and loneliness that make modern man turn to mysticism and other forms of escapism and find the meaning of life in irrational spheres. It is not the endless universe, but his lonely hopelessness that produces fear when man looks up at the skies. Understanding the infinite as an openness, which means as a possibility of endless development of man’s creative powers and the space of freedom, is conditioned by the creation of a humane social order here on the earth. Only the development of human relations, which means the feeling that he is not alone on the earth, creates the feeling that man is not alone in the universe and gives meaning to human life. Young people embracing in the vast blue universe do not see danger but only an endless space of future.
As for the justification of “cosmic programs”, their primary purpose is not to make money, but their military character. They also serve to create an impression that man’s life on the earth is temporary and that technical means can ensure the “eternal” existence of humanity in the universe. The earth becomes insignificant relative to the vast cosmic space offered to man by the entertainment industry as a virtual world. Young people are enchanted by spectacular cosmic visions at the same time that capitalism systematically destroys life on the planet. The Hollywood film industry creates the impression that cosmic constellations are reachable and that “conquering other planets” is the imminent future. Time and universe are relativized and thus the notion of the real time in which we live is lost. To link humanity’s near future to cosmic vastness is the fatal illusion created by the Hollywood film industry. At the same time, historical time is turned into abstract time in which, in the virtual cosmic space, the capitalist world is reproduced at a “higher” technological level. Technology becomes a means for creating the illusion that the cosmic “world” is established by the ruling principles of the capitalist order: the principle of profit becomes the ruling cosmic principle. The earth becomes a springboard for “conquering the universe”, and celestial bodies are the raw material and, as such, are subject to exploitation. The universe becomes the source of capitalist expansion where the struggle is led for controlling the resources and where there is a constant danger (in the form of bloodthirsty “aliens” acquiring the status of cosmic “terrorists”), which inevitably conditions and justifies the development of increasingly lethal military weapons that will, of course, be used to eliminate the “surplus” of the “maladjusted” here on the earth so that the most powerful capitalist corporations can gain control over the earthly sources of raw materials and energy. Importantly, “space projects” are not meant to create the myth of “the limitless possibilities of the development of science and technology“ – they become the means for creating the myth of “the limitless possibilities of the development of capitalism”. Ultimately, the “invasion of space” does not improve the state of humanity and does not increase the possibility of human survival, but hinders the fight against capitalism and contributes to the development of new mechanisms of domination, manipulation and destruction.
Since manipulation of people does not proceed only in the ideological, but above all in the psychological sphere, art reduced to the technique of manipulation with images and symbols acquires the utmost importance. Its primary role is not to create a “cultural” decor for the ruling order, but to distort man and all the symbols by which he can reach his libertarian, creative, life-creating and social being. Capitalistically degenerated art mutilates the human with an “artistic” form, which acquires a spectacular dimension. The “spectacle” does not only serve to deceive – it does not only prevent man from seeing the important, but kills in him his human being and thus the very possibility to see the important. A blind man is not blind. Blind is the man who cannot see humanity in the other. Capitalism eliminates from culture the esthetic criteria for evaluation based on traditional forms of artistic expression and the emancipatory legacy of civil society – which seek to confront formalism and the destruction of the human. Instead of something new, a variety of the same is offered. Instead of ideas opening a space in the future, new techniques are offered, destroying man’s need to fantasize and his visionary consciousness. Capitalistically degenerated art has become a spectacular kitsch. Its value is determined not according to esthetical, but to market criteria, whereas the success of an advertizing campaign determines the “value” of a work of art, while depriving money of any value equivalent. As for the “mondialistic culture”, how can universal cultural values be reached if the legacy of national cultures is discarded? The emancipatory legacy of national cultures is not only the source of people’s cultural, but also of their libertarian and life-creating consciousness. The overcoming of national cultures by a universal human culture is possible only through the development of the emancipatory legacy of national cultures. When it comes to the relation between universality and collectivism, they need not be opposed to each other if collectivism is not based on “the masses”, but on emancipated personalities. Universal human values should be the basis of collectivism, whereas collectivity should not mean the abolishment of individuality, but a community of emancipated human beings. At the same time, universality cannot be the privilege of individuals who perceive themselves as the “elite”. It is actually the class principle, but behind the veil of a “struggle for the individual”. A typical example is Nietzsche, who speaks of a “superman” as, actually, the anthropological manifestation of a “new nobility”, which means of the ruling class (plutocracy). Walter Benjamin believed that technical means can supersede the elitist character of art and bring it closer to the workers. A capitalistically degenerated technique deprived art of elitist exclusivity by depriving it of its humane essence. It destroys man’s creative being and thus does away with art’s possessing an aura that emanates from the human, which contains an emancipatory heritage of humanity and suggests what is not yet, but what might be. The development of an “esthetical sense” is achieved by destroying the sense of the human. It turns out that there is no use in making art a means for changing the world if it is not an integral part of a comprehensive political movement seeking to create a new world. Thus a distinction should be made between a false (capitalistically degenerated) art and a libertarian and genuine art. The role of a libertarian art is to unmask the true nature of capitalism; to create the vision of a new world; to indicate objective possibilities for the creation of a new world and, most importantly, to develop man’s need for another man – as the basis of a genuine socialization without which no political movement can save the world from destruction. As to art as a reflection of human misery, which is as such an alienated form of de-alienation, a vision of life appears as an artistic act where man’s social being becomes his realized creative being.
Capitalism destroys man as a spiritual being. Metaphysical mysticism and religious fanaticism are but another side of the “technical civilization”, which deprived life of meaning and turned man into the means for capital reproduction. Religion is less and less a spiritual need, and more and more an escape from capitalist nothingness and the expression of a fear of disappearance. In contemporary capitalism, to appeal to God is, actually, a way in which the petite-bourgeoisie gets rid of its responsibility for destroying the world. Religion used to be a means for the development of capitalism (Protestantism), only to become a tool for doing away with spirituality and life. In spite of the fact that capitalism destroys spirituality, churches do their best to preserve it. They survive by discarding the humanist legacy of religion, which offered a possibility of establishing a critical relation towards capitalism and the spiritual integration of humanity, and become part of the mechanism of capitalist reproduction and as such are lay institutions using religion in order to deify private property and class order. The leading religions are not only a means for doing away with the emancipatory legacy of bourgeois society, but also with the faith that life on the earth can be preserved. The claim that man is “but a guest on this Earth”, the concept of “judgment day”, the idea that life on the earth is “worthless” and that “true life” begins in heaven – indicate that the so called “great religions” complement capitalism as a destructive order. The idea of an illusory “heavenly world” (“paradise”) becomes not only a means for devaluating the fight for a just world, but also a means for devaluating life and escaping responsibility for the destruction of the world. Apocalyptic fatalism breeds defeatism. From a means for destroying man’s libertarian dignity, religion turned into a tool for destroying the will to live. In spite of everything, religion cannot be identified with church dogmas and church activities. Although church religion has become an anti-existential thought, an increasing number of religious people, who are aware of the fatal character of capitalist “progress”, are trying to affirm the idea that the “world is God’s creation” and that man must fight to preserve it. Ultimately, people are not divided into atheists and theists, but into those who fight for capitalism and those who fight against capitalism – to preserve life on the planet and create a humane world.
However, the importance of the letter written by the chief of the Seattle tribe to American President Franklin Pierce suggests that there is a change in attitude towards religions that insist on the “maternal” principle and see in the earth the “weaving factory of life”. The “principle of Earth” (as the “Great Mother”) appears as the antipode to the “principle of heaven” (“God the Father”). At the same time, man is not the “master and owner of nature” (Descartes), nor is he the one who by way of labor and the conquered powers of nature (technology) turns it into useful objects (Marx), but is a “thread in the weaving factory of life”. Man is part of nature and his survival is directly dependent on the survival of nature as a whole. The world is a life-creating organic whole by which everything, being mutually conditioned, is interconnected. The survival of the whole depends on the survival of the parts, which are existentially interdependent, whereas the survival of each and every part is conditioned by the survival of the whole. The fight for survival is not based on the Social Darwinist principle “the fight of all against all” (on which liberal capitalism is based), but on the coexistence of everybody with everybody including (both living and non-living) nature, which enables human survival. Instead of a “perfecting” of the animal species according to the principle “the survival of the fittest”, the dominant principle is that the survival of every living being is the basic precondition for the survival of all, whereas the survival of living beings extends to the environment – without which there is no life. That is why the Indian chief anthropomorphizes or humanizes rivers, prairies, mountains… According to Darwin, living beings mutate by adapting to the environment, and those who fail shall perish. The Indian chief bears in mind the natural environment in which he lives, which means he has in mind man’s struggle to stop changes in nature and the living world that might jeopardize his survival. His interpretation of the relation between man and nature does not appear in relation to natural processes, but in relation to a new way of treating nature brought about by the white man (capitalism) and thus to people living in natural surroundings. The white man is to blame for spoiling the existential balance in nature, based on the coexistence of living beings and the natural (living) environment, threatening the survival of both animals and man. It is no more a question of man’s mutation caused by man’s adjustment to his natural living environment, but the question of man’s mutation brought about by capitalism and adjustment by technical means to a technical world. It does not lead to the perfection of the human species, but to its degeneration and destruction. Darwin concerned himself with the origin and evolvement of animal species; the Indian chief is concerned with the survival of the animal species – and man. Nature becomes a unique living (life-creating) organism and acquires an integrating ontological dimension through the idea of “mother” as the “weaver of life”. The Indian chief argues for a life-creating pantheism. His philosophy of life comes from the philosophy of life of the Indians: the way of providing the means for living determines the relation to nature. By living as part of nature and unable to influence nature and thus ensure existence, the Indians were particularly vulnerable to the disturbance of the established balance in nature. Their relation to the buffalo is highly illustrative. For existential reasons, they did not want to decrease the number of buffalo and killed only as many as was necessary. Capitalism “overcame” the maternal (generative) and paternal (creative) principle by the productive principle based on the absolutized principle of profit with a technical form and destructive nature. Today man should treat nature in a way that can enable the revival of its life-creating powers – as a life-creating whole. Instead of domination of the generative or creative principle, they should be united so that the creative principle becomes a humanized generative principle. In that context, technology can acquire an artistic dimension.
In the jaws of capitalism everything acquires a distorted (commercialized and destructive) dimension: “means for information” become the means for misinforming the citizens and distorting the truth; “philosophy” becomes the means for destroying the mind; “science” becomes the means for controlling the natural laws in a way that destroys nature and man as a biological being; “art” becomes the means for destroying man’s creative being; “play” (sport, above all) becomes the means for destroying man’s playing being; “medicine” and “pharmacology” become the means for creating the profitably diseased; “religion” becomes the means for destroying spirituality and life…
Traditionally, the woman is reduced to the procreative principle. Her social position was determined by her generative functions. In that context, the man as an emancipated social being is not the basis for the constitution of society, it is the family reduced to the biological cell of society, whereas the man is the pater familias and as such an undisputed authority in the formation of the social hierarchy of power. By becoming an emancipated working force, which means by becoming financially independent from her father and husband, the woman only formally acquired political rights and competed with men on the labor market as a consumer: the body becomes the “source of pleasure” (liberation of sensuality, right to feeling satisfaction in sexual relations, active role in searching for a partner). In contemporary capitalism, instead of being an incubator enabling the biological reproduction of society, the woman has become a tool ensuring the reproduction of capital; instead of the martyr’s saintly halo, the woman has acquired a working-hedonistic aura; instead of a one-sided exploitation of women, capitalism has established a universal exploitation of women. She is reduced to a housewife and prostitute, a working force and consumer, mother and advertising doll, policewoman and soldier, capitalist and politician… At the same time, the woman’s body has become the object of total exploitation. Literally every part of the woman’s body, from nails to womb, has become the means for the creation of profit. A “sportswoman” is a typical example of how capitalism degenerates women. She seeks, through the value (“productive”) mechanism that devalues her as a human being and destroys her as a natural being, to acquire affirmation and ensure existence. It is not only a virilisation, but also a robotization of the woman, who, as a “record breaker“ has become a moving billboard for capitalist companies and the means for proving the “progressive” character of capitalism. Writing about “feminist socialism”, Marcuse sees in the “female principle” the opposite of the productive principle as the ruling principle of capitalism. The woman, by her specificities, appears as a potential carrier of human emancipation. Without reducing the woman to her generative function, the “female principle” can be considered as a life-creating principle. The woman is an anthropological manifestation of the life-creating power of the living world and thus is a symbolical being. The process of evolution of the living world proceeds from the womb. The position of the woman in society shows the anti-existential nature of capitalism. The capitalist form of “woman’s emancipation” turned into destruction of the woman as a generative being, and thus the destruction of society’s reproductive ability. The assurance of biological reproduction is an example of socialization (giving birth and bringing up children as a social question) being the basic existential and in that context the basic essential principle of society.
Capitalism destroys man as a social being. Loneliness is spreading like the plague. There are no longer any authentic human relations in which man can be realized as an erotic, emotional, spiritual and creative being. Capitalist “socialization” is reduced to a struggle between people, to lies, frauds, crimes… In the modern world, which degenerated human relations, nothing is more efficient in destroying man’s need for another man as man’s contact with another man. A man’s fear of another man is one of the most horrible crimes committed by capitalism against humanity. Human relations acquire a technical and destructive character, while man becomes a mechanical and destructive being. Sports and music “spectacles”, beer festivals, disco-clubs, supermarkets and shopping malls, pedestrian areas in town centers and the like – all these are but forms of the capitalist production of “socialization” deprived of spontaneity and humanity. It is reduced to the creation of a “mass”, whose behavior conditions the process of a destructive (“consumer”) capitalist reproduction, which means a totally commercialized life. Capitalism turns man from a social being into a consumer being, and society from a community of emancipated people into a consumer crowd. The mega-market has become the most important social space and queuing in front of the cashier is the most authentic form of socialization in modern capitalism. Sales and the accompanying “consumer stampede” are some of the most monstrous forms of capitalist humiliation.
As far as the Internet is concerned, the increasing possibilities of technical “communication” are becoming a substitute for the decreasing possibilities of authentic human communication. Instead of establishing direct contacts, people establish “relationships” via a “tailored” image after the model of a “successful bloke” according to the standards of the ruling values, which means through man’s self-degradation and self-mutilation. Anonymity, the possibility of an interruption at any moment, the possibility of constant “transformation” and “upgrading” – all these are mediators in the “communication”. The computer screen does not show the true picture of a man, but his mask. The Internet does not serve to establish interpersonal contacts, but technical relations where people are “freed” from the sensual, erotic, emotional, and ultimately from social existence and social mediation. The screen shows the images one cannot feel, touch, look in the eyes of… Images without a smell, voice, warmth… One becomes “free” from the world where man cannot realize his humanity as he is reduced to a technically disguised apparition. The worst thing is that young people accept being thrown into the virtual world. It is the conformist “answer” for a lonely man stuck in the mud of capitalist hopelessness. To accept the virtual world means, in fact, to accept the existing world where there is no place for youth, love, future… Ultimately, it is about removing any possibility of people getting together and acting as political subjects – striving to eradicate the causes of misery. To destroy man as a social being by means of technology and the “consumer” way of life is the most efficient way toward his depolitization.
The final process of the capitalist degeneration of man as a human and biological being is under way. It is about the creation of a “mondialist man” suited to the nature of contemporary capitalism. He is deprived of a libertarian and visionary consciousness, particularly of the responsibility for the destruction of the world. The basic task of the “mondialists” is to purify the world of its libertarian history and national cultures and turn it into a capitalist concentration camp. The Indian chief observes, better than any theoretician, that capitalism degenerates the senses and thus prevents man from perceiving the world in the right way, which above all means as a human being, and consequently from experiencing the world in which he lives. Capitalism turns nature into waste material and forces man to adapt to the new “surroundings” – depriving him of qualities peculiar to living beings and turning him into a zombie. This is the purpose of bourgeois philosophy, art, science, the entertainment industry – the “consumer” way of life. The Indian chief indicates that the white man does not sense bad smell – just like a person on his deathbed. “Bad smell” is synonymous not only with the destruction of life, but also with the destruction of man as a living being: “bad smell” is a synonym for death. Hollywood freaks, like “terminators”, are symbolic representations of the mondialist spirit of contemporary capitalism. Their anthropomorphic appearance enables people to identify with the limitless destructive powers of technоlogy. The suppressed needs are satisfied in a way that kills the human element. In the cosmological version offered by positivist science, man becomes part of the universe at an atomized level, which means by being deprived of his specific nature as a living and spiritual being. From such a conception arises the idea of a man-machine cyborg – a modern Frankenstein. Contrary to that, religion deprives man of his body and reduces him to the “spirit.” In both cases, man is deprived of his peculiar human nature, which means of his (self)creative being and libertarian dignity – and that is what makes man a specific cosmic being and the human world a specific universe.
The current crisis of capitalism is not a “temporary” crisis that will disappear all by itself. It is not about an “economic”, “financial” or “organizational” crisis, but about the existential crisis of capitalism which arises from its nature. It is based on the development of capitalism as a destructive order which experienced its climax in the so-called “consumer society”, which questioned not only the emancipatory heritage of bourgeois society, including elementary human and civil rights, but also the survival of mankind. The financial crisis did not cause the crisis of capitalism, it is but one of the consequences of the crisis of capitalism based on the absolutized principle of private property. It was caused by the need to resolve the problem of hyper-production by providing an accelerated capitalist development. The increase in demand was not caused by an increase in productivity and volume of production and thus an increase in the workers’ salaries, but by excessive sub-prime credits, ultimately by uncovered securities. Money became worthless as it was no longer covered by real production. It existed only on paper and on computer screens. Zeros were added through financial transactions. The financial world has become the virtual world of capitalism.
By becoming a global order, capitalism created a global existential crisis. The Western world used to be the synonym for the “capitalist world”. Today, there are globally dispersed economic centers, which question the dominance of the West by conquering world markets through an ever-increasing destruction of nature and man as a human and biological being. In the increasingly ruthless struggle for survival, capitalist concerns destroy the very foundations of mankind’s survival. It is a fatal illusion that mankind can create a new world by tracing the path of capitalist globalism, as Antonio Negri claims. It is only in the fight against capitalism that the emancipatory heritage of bourgeois society, which means the germ of a novum, can give life to a new society. At the same time, it is only in the fight against capitalism that the destruction of life on the planet can be stopped. Capitalistically degenerated mankind cannot create a new world on burned forests, in hopelessly contaminated soil, on polluted rivers and seas, on nuclear wastes, in the remorselessly scorching sun… The capitalist development of productive forces does not enhance the certainty of human survival, as Marx argues, but questions it more and more dramatically. Therefore, instead of engendering optimism, capitalist “progress” generates fear of the future. The most perilous characteristic of capitalism is related to the fact that, from the results of life-destruction, it creates a source of profit and, thus, a basis for its own further development, where man’s creative powers become a vehicle for the development of the destructive powers of capitalism and for acceleration of the destruction process. Capitalism has become a self-reproducing mechanism of destruction, which, to the living world, represents what a malignant tumor represents to an organism: it extends its own lifetime by devouring all that provides humankind with a chance for survival. This does not refer only to the systematic, but to the ultimate destruction of life on the planet.
The row over the “ecological destruction of the planet” made by political leaders of the most advanced capitalist states does not express the true endeavors to prevent the destruction of the earth; it expresses the strivings to prevent the ecological destruction of the world from becoming a political platform for the oppressed to unite themselves and radicalize their struggle against capitalism. At the same time, the capitalist centers of power strive to use the ecological destruction of the planet, brought about by their ecocidal practices, to seize the territories that are not already under their direct control and establish a (neo)colonial domination over all the world. As far as “ecological engineering” is concerned, it primarily serves to create the illusion that capitalism can, by means of science and technology, heal its fatal effects. The employment of science and technology for the purpose of “repairing” the eco-system, on the basis of the growth of capitalism, will only lead to even more fatal climate changes. Man cannot (and should not) manage the ecological system, but must eliminate the causes of its destruction. The destruction of capitalism, which became a totalitarian order of destruction and the establishment of a human relation to nature, is the basic precondition for reestablishing the ecological balance and renewing man’s natural being.
In capitalism, politics is reduced to the technique of directing people’s discontent toward the achievement of the political and economic interests of the ruling class. This is a logic suited to the nature of the “consumer society”, the last stage in the development of capitalism, where the consequences of the destruction of nature and man as a natural and reasonable being become the means for the reproduction of capitalism. At the same time, the dominant logic of monopolistic capitalism, appearing as the principles “Destroy the competition!” and “Big fish devour small fish!”, has become the totalizing logic which, via the media held by capitalist clans, acquires a fatal dimension. This is the basis of the view that “globalization”, which implies the neo-liberal model of capitalism, is a “must”. Political decisions are not based on objective scientific analysis; on the contrary, scientific analysis is based on the strategic interests of the ruling order. Science is reduced to the means of enabling the survival of capitalism. In this respect, the basic scientific, historical and philosophical truth that is rejected a priori is that capitalism is a historical order, implying that its demise is unavoidable. Without a fierce human action that will eliminate the causes of the general misery, dissatisfaction created by the deepening crisis of capitalism can become a driving force in the development of (contemporary) fascism – which happened in Germany and other European countries after the great depression of 1929.
Those who fight for “Western democracy” point out the “freedom of capital” as the main criterion defining its existence. Capital acquired the status of an earthly divinity and as such has become an undisputed power over man. Here we shall again point out that “democracy” is a political form of the domination of capital over people. It implies that the “development of democracy” means to reinforce the rule of capital over people and that “democracy is threatened” not only when basic human and civil rights are in danger, but when the power of capital over man is jeopardized. This truth is confirmed every day in the most advanced capitalist countries of the West, particularly in the USA. In practice, “democracy” has become the means for dealing with the guiding ideas of the French bourgeois revolution on which modern humanism is based, as well as with the basic human (droits de l’homme) and civil rights (droits de citoyen) as the foundation of modern law. The more man’s right to life, to freedom, to health and a healthy environment, to work and a certain quality of existence, to freedom of speech, a family and unquestionable living space and personal life, is endangered, the more politicians praise “democracy”. Ironically, democracy, which originally meant the “rule of the people” (demos krateos), in capitalism means an order in which citizens are reduced to a working and consuming crowd – to slaves of capital. Capitalist “democracy” is not based on human and civil rights, but on the absolutized principle of profit, which in turn is based on the absolutized principle of private property. All that protects private property and enables a “free” increase in profit is justified and welcome. When private property is the absolute principle, then the worst crimes are legal and legitimate if they serve to prevent the disintegration of the ruling order. Man’s right to freedom and life is subordinated to the right of capitalism to survival. The great economic crisis in the 1930s, as well as the current deepening capitalist crisis, suggests that capitalists are ready to use all available means to cope with the consequences of the crisis that can jeopardize the ruling system. The destruction of the Twin Towers in New York and the “attack” on the Pentagon speak of the nature of capitalism and tell us that capitalists are prepared to commit all manner of crimes in order to maintain the established order.
Contemporary man does not only face the ideological, military and police terror of the governing order, as occurred in the past, but also the accumulated destructive powers of capitalism. The spirit of destructive barbarism dominates capitalism, conditioning both the activities of the ruling class and its defense strategy. Usage of atomic, hydrogen and neutron bombs, lethal viruses, starvation of populations, pollution and devastation of water supplies, etc., (that will exterminate hundreds of millions of people and irreversibly contaminate the natural environment) represents – for the capitalistically degenerated international plutocratic “elite” – a “justified measure”, if in that manner the existence of capitalism can be prolonged. In order to prevent the fall of capitalism, the fanatics of capitalism are ready to destroy humankind and all life on the planet. The NATO aggression on Serbia in the spring 1999, which compelled Serbia to become a part of the American “new world order”, demonstrates the actual nature of capitalism. More than 32,000 depleted uranium missiles were dropped on Serbia, thus causing a contamination of the natural environment equivalent to the effects of more than 470 of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Seven years after the bombing of Serbia, the number of people with cancer has increased by 40%, with a tendency towards a dramatic increase in the number of diseased and deceased. In the course of the next 500 years, the life of people living in the bombed areas will be directly conditioned by the consequences of nuclear contamination of the soil, water, air, animals, plants… What happened to the citizens of Serbia occurs all over the planet. Their future is predetermined by consequences generated by destructive capitalist barbarism of a global and totalitarian nature.
In the light of the fire caused by the bombing of Serbia by NATO, we can reach the true answer to the question of what can be expected from “civilized” Europe. The entire European political “elite” knew that NATO would bomb Serbia by cluster bombs and projectiles containing depleted uranium, just as it was aware of the lethal consequences for the population and the environment. Instead of opposing the ecocide that inevitably leads to a “silent” genocide in the bombed region, the ruling European politicians with a slavish enthusiasm participated in the American crime. As far as the European intellectuals are concerned, the disquieting truth is that many of them joined the bombing campaign under a monstrous motto: “As soon and as much as possible!” . Considering the scale of demonization of the Serbian people in “civilized” Europe and the USA, people like Harold Pinter and Peter Handke, should be credited for daring to speak up in opposition to the modern ecocidal fascism and for being in the frontline of defending the dignity of the European humanist heritage.
The deepening crisis of capitalism creates the atmosphere of a final class struggle on a global scale. The fear among the ruling capitalist cliques that “the masses might rise up”, created a “terrorist threat” that became an excuse for abolishing basic human and civil rights. The main objective of the “fight against terrorism” is to create, through controlled media, an existential panic that will make citizens obediently accept such “protection from the terrorist threat” as provided by the ruling order, which involves depriving the citizens of their basic human and civil rights. We are witnessing a totalitarian “integration of society” under the domination of the most reactionary political forces. Tens of millions of cameras, implanted bugs and chips, similar to the chips implanted in dogs and cattle, entering flats, kidnapping, torture, “silent” liquidations, total control of the media, deployment of special military units in towns… “The fight against terrorism” is, actually, a form of open dictatorship, by which capitalists declare war against their fellow citizens.
In contemporary capitalism man does not lose his freedom, as Peter Sloterdijk claims, he becomes fettered in new chains. Basically, it is about establishing totalitarian control over man, which is possible only because people are stuck in the mud of the consumer society and there is a dominant conformist mentality. A petit-bourgeois accepts the loss of basic human and civil rights only to increase his consumer standard. The “freedom” of a petit-bourgeois comes down to his ability to buy and destroy. For him, the capitalist order is acceptable as long as it offers him the possibility to “enjoy” spending and destruction. Actually, a petit-bourgeois actively participates in the creation of a totalitarian state and totalitarian society based on the fact that capitalistically conditioned life has become man’s terror. The capitalistically degenerated petit-bourgeois is full of a discontent increasingly manifested as a destructive mania directed towards everything living. Instead of a need for a just and free world, the dominant need is for destruction with more and more destructive technical means. The purpose of “action” is to vent discontent in the way and by the means imposed by capitalism as a destructive order. A typical example is the frequent mass murders committed by individuals. It is a protest by a capitalistically degenerated man who employs capitalistically degenerated methods and means of “struggle”. Considering the growing number of increasingly lethal weapons in the hands of more and more people, there is an ever-greater possibility that people will mutually exterminate each other. The destruction carried out by technical means which can achieve an instant effect becomes a model for behavior imposed by the life-ruling logic of capitalism expressed in the principle “Destroy the competition!”. This logic conditions both relations among individuals, races, nations, states, capitalist corporations, and the relation towards the living world and environment… Destruction of people and nature becomes the basic condition of the “development” of capitalist “democracy”. What madness!
As far as American “foreign policy” is concerned, it is a response to the deepening economic crisis in the USA and comes down to the endeavors to “control” the world so as to transfer the burden of the crisis in their own society to other peoples and thus prevent the economic collapse of the USA. At the same time, there is a monopoly of a small circle of people, representing the most powerful capitalist clans, over the military means with which mankind can be destroyed in seconds. In this way a possibility is created for the self-will of individuals and their deranged mental state (alcohol, drugs, political and religious fanaticism, hatred towards the “opponent” and the human race, feelings of inferiority, cowardice, blind revenge and the like) might bring about the destruction of humanity. Concerning the strategy of survival of “small countries”, events in the world evermore dramatically indicate how fatal is the strategy of “defending the national interests” based on crawling before the mighty. This strategy has turned out to be not only humiliating, but fatal for national survival.
Capitalism has not only degenerated nature, but society as well. It has criminalized everyday life to such an extent that it is doubtful that by restoration and further development of democratic institutions crime can be eradicated and a humane world created. The capitalist societies, going through a deepening crisis, are facing increasingly realistic possibilities that gangs of criminals might take over the power and establish a dictatorship. They would, of course, be supported by capitalists and the bourgeoisie – if this could prevent radical social changes and provide sustainability to capitalism. We should not forget that fascists in Italy and Germany, at the time of the economic crisis of capitalism, were financed and brought to power by the aristocracy and capitalists (supported by the bourgeoisie) in order to deal with the workers’ movement. By destroying social institutions capitalism creates conditions for gangs of criminals to become the only real social power that can do away with the workers and stop the demise of capitalism. Indeed, the link between mafia and ruling capitalist groups has for decades been the basis for providing power in the most developed capitalist states. The destruction of the emancipatory legacy of civil society, increasing ecological and economic crises, an increasing unemployment rate, devaluation of democratic institutions, mafia links between capitalists and politicians, greater social differences, general criminalization of society, religious fanaticism, the flourishing of fascism – all this creates presuppositions that the deepening crisis of capitalism can turn into a general chaos that can produce a new barbarism. The general chaos is, actually, a “response” by capitalism to the existential crisis it creates and to the existing objective possibilities of the creation of a new world.
Capitalist totalitarianism is the most perilous form of totalitarianism ever created. It is based upon the total commercialization of nature and of society. Each part of the planet, each segment of social and individual life has become an integral part of the destructive capitalist growth mechanism. Life itself becomes a totalizing power that shapes the character of men, their consciousness, interpersonal relationships, their relation to nature… Other historical forms of totalitarianism are either manifested as related to the idea of the past, or a certain transcendental idea, or an idea of the future – all of which open possibilities for critique. Contemporary capitalist totalitarianism is based upon destructive nihilism: it annihilates both the idea of transcendence and the idea of a future (past) and thus it also annuls the very possibility of establishing a critical distance from the existing world. At the beginning of its development, capitalism generated a visionary consciousness that not only opened space for the development of capitalism, but also for overcoming it (More, Campanella, Hobbes, Bacon, Owen, Saint-Simon, Fourier…). By becoming a totalitarian destructive order, capitalism exterminates visionary consciousness and creates a totalitarian positivist consciousness – to which corresponds the concept of the “end of history” and “the last man” (Fukuyama). Capitalism abolishes history, transforming historical time into mechanical occurrence, that is, into a positive nothingness. Simultaneously, capitalist periodicity is not only of an anti-historical, but also of an anti-existential nature. Capitalism destroys the very possibility of a future: it appears in the form of a capitalistically degenerated u-topos.
The myth of an “organized” capitalism, which should help prevent the demise of capitalism, only prolongs the agony of humanity. Unless the ruling order is abolished we cannot make a step forward in creating the possibilities for the survival of humanity and the freedom of man. At the same time, contemporary Nostradamuses, foretelling the “cataclysm of capitalism” by rejecting the emancipatory legacy of civil society and changing potential of the suppressed working layers, only contribute to the struggle with the possibility of creating a reasonable world and thus contribute to the destruction of the world being brought to its close.
The “crisis of the left“ as an organized political movement has resulted from the conflict between capitalism and the emancipating patrimony of civil society, in the course of which all those political movements and concepts that open a possibility for the creation of a new world are being degenerated and eliminated. The “crisis of the left” is actually a crisis of civil society’s political institutions, because capitalism, as a totalitarian order, has drawn the entire “public sphere” into its own interest-orbit and thus instrumentalized the process of political decision-making. Politics has turned into one of the technical areas of capitalism and, as such, into business – just like all the other areas of social life. Capitalism has turned the political sphere into a political market where each party strives to optimally sell its own political program (political commodities) and to convert its social influence into cash, starting from the interest of bureaucratized and corrupt party oligarchies. Political parties have become the private property of their “leaders”, as is the case with many trade unions and other organizations that provide a merely formal opportunity for the mobilization of citizens for the protection of their human and civil rights. An immediate effect of the corruption of (nominally) “leftist” parties is the establishing of an increasingly large anti-capitalist movement that does not consent to a dominant role for parties belonging to the political establishment. The original leftist thought, the one that insists on freedom and social justice, is mostly present among the most deprived working layers and the young – those who are vitally interested in the realization of the original leftist ideas. Therefore, every effort is being made by the ruling regime to eliminate the oppressed from the public sphere and depoliticize them, and to transform their children – in stadiums, in pop star concerts, in disco clubs, by means of the Hollywood entertainment industry – into zombies, drug addicts, delinquents, fascists… Capitalism endeavors to destroy man as a social being and, in that context, all authentic forms of political (social) organizing of citizens, and to transform man into an atomized laboring-consuming idiot who will base his behavior upon a “logic” of destructive irrationalism. The class struggle was further weakened by the fact that in capitalism, as a consequence of the fight of workers and the economic development of capitalism, certain demands put forward by the traditional left have been met – those, for example, relating to the working and living conditions of workers and their social rights. Most importantly, the worker is integrated into capitalism through the consumer way of living, and the vision of a possible future has been dazzled by TV programs. The confusion over what “the left” is creates a bourgeoisie, which strives to annihilate the labor movement by embracing the ideas of the left and transforming them into demagogical slogans, thus trying to present itself as a “combatant for workers’ rights” and consequently weaken the actual left. A typical example of leftist demagogy is Hitler’s political campaign during the Weimar Republic period. The same political logic is being applied by the contemporary bourgeoisie. The leftist demagogy should “bridge” the growing gap between the bourgeoisie and the labor layers, and should also create confusion in which any notions about the future would disappear.
Though leftist thought is more and more present at Western universities, it is ghettoized and transformed into a vehicle for annihilation of the political struggle of the oppressed. It turns basic existential and essential matters into “philosophical” and “theoretical” issues and thus deprives them of a concrete social and historical substance. The struggle for survival and freedom is being replaced by “theoretical debates” and endless “dialogues” that disfigure critical consciousness and hinder change-oriented practice. Political combat against capitalism is degenerating into “science projects” and “philosophical conferences”, – where everyone within his own field of expertise deals with the consequences generated by capitalism while not touching its origins. Intellect is being removed from concrete social reality and ghettoized in faculties, institutes, workshops and congresses. Concrete existential and essential issues become subjects of theoretical debates, and, as such, by means of specific linguistic expressions, a privilege of “intellectuals”. Philosophical thought becomes a formalistic thought, a distinctive technique of thought of a positivist and, therefore, anti-libertarian and anti-existential nature. The “intellectual sphere“ becomes an institutional form of the citizens’ deprivation of critical reason and of their right to brainpower – and, as such, the basic form of their spiritual and, consequently, every other kind of enslavement.
The crisis of today’s world is at the same time the crisis of the proletariat as a revolutionary agent. In its “consumer phase”, capitalism, through the development of a “consumer standard”, has managed to reduce workers to the instruments for resolving the crisis of over-production, and, thus, to its collaborators in the destruction of the world. Starting from the present position of the working class, the ideologues of capitalism seek to “redefine” the nature of the working class in contemporary capitalism by depriving it of its libertarian class self-consciousness. The conformist behavior of a large part of the working class in the developed capitalist societies is not the consequence of the “disappearance of the working class”, but rather the consequence of the integration of workers into capitalism as a working-consuming “mass”, and of the bourgeoisie’s systematic subversion and suppression of working class organization, class self-consciousness and class struggle. The conforming behavior of workers is, in fact, the consequence of the class domination by the bourgeoisie, and not a process that proceeds by itself, with a fatalistic character. That we are not dealing here with the final integration of workers into the capitalist order, but with a temporary situation, can be seen from the fact that capitalists seek to keep the workers under the ideological “bell jar” of capitalism, and, at the same time, seek to do away with socialist (communist) thought which calls for struggle against capitalism and offers a possibility for creating a humane world. The capitalist propaganda machinery strives to hide the most important thing: capitalists’ fear of workers as a potentially revolutionary agent was, and still is, the most important feature of capitalist political practice.
The disintegration of “consumer society” involves the destruction of the very foundations of capitalism and thus of the entire ideological and propaganda spheres, which can survive only on these foundations. Without the consumer way of living, the ideology of “consumer society” cannot survive either… The worsening economic crisis jeopardizes life based on the “consumer standard” and thus the most important mechanism for integration of workers into capitalism. The disintegration of “consumer society” will awaken millions of people from their consumer dream, and they will then start thinking about the future and begin fighting for survival. The deepening existential crisis created by capitalism and the abolition of elementary human and civil rights will inevitably lead to radicalization, which means to the militarization of the struggle against capitalism. Capitalism forces humanity to use all available means that could stop the destruction of the living world, including those not in the line with the humanist ideals of a new society – which is the ultimate goal of the struggle.
The collapse of “consumer society” leads to mass unemployment and the reduced purchasing power of the working class. There is an urgent need to stabilize capitalism at a lower level of production/consumption; however, with further scientific and technological advances the “white collars” will be predominant. Working “masses” from traditional production branches are no longer the means for accelerating the reproduction of capital, but an economic burden and an increasing political threat for the ruling order. Instead of integrating workers into capitalism by means of a consumer way of life, the strategic goal of the ruling class is the destruction of “supernumerary” citizens. With the deepening capitalist economic crisis, the workers are more and more becoming the mortal foe of capitalism and the ruling order will use all available means (criminalization of society, drugs, alcohol, AIDS, contaminated food, deprivation of medications and health services, etc.) to eliminate the “surplus” and ensure survival. For capitalists, workers are a necessary evil. Elimination of the “surplus” is an economic, ecological and political question for the ruling order. It is the basis of modern fascism, the contours of which are becoming more and more visible in the USA. It is the realization of the concept of the “golden billion”, which with the collapse of “consumer society”, will affect not only nations at the “outskirts of capitalism”, but a significant segment of the working class in the most developed capitalist states. The increasingly jeopardized existence of humanity creates conditions for extreme radicalization of the social-Darwinist concept of “only the strongest survive”, with science and technology becoming the exclusive means for ensuring the dominant position of capitalists and the creation of such artificial living conditions as will protect them from menacing climate changes. It is in this context that we should interpret the endeavors of shadow rulers from the West to use science and technology in the creation of a “new man”, who will be able, with his artificially created “genetic properties” and available military technique, to exterminate the “redundant” and establish a global domination. “Terminators”, “Rambos,” “Predators” and similar Hollywood freaks, glorifying the destructive power of capitalistically misused technology, in the best possible way show the psychological profile of modern capitalist zealots. Power over people and nature becomes the power of destruction.
“Consumer society” represents the last offensive of capitalism and announces its complete and definitive disintegration. It prolongs the life of capitalism by annihilating man as a cultural and biological being, as well as by annihilating nature. This is what determines a specificity of the contemporary left: the victory of the left has become the necessary condition for the survival of humanity. In spite of the harsh anti-communist propaganda, where the ideal of communism is reduced to the practice of Stalinism and this to the “gulags”, communism appears as the only real alternative to capitalism and the only possible future of humanity – in both the essential and existential sense. The general crisis of capitalism, which grew to dramatic proportions in the autumn of 2008, made Karl Marx the most widely read author in the West. With regard to socialist revolutions, their true historical meaning is that they created a revolutionary heritage as the basis for a revolutionary self-consciousness without which there can be no fight for a humane world. It is not victories but defeats that are the best lessons in the fight for the future. The war against capitalism can be won only from the experiences gained in the lost battles for a humane society.
Is the ever-deepening existential crisis of humanity opening a possibility for overcoming the traditional class division? Can the bourgeois class become the ally of the proletariat in the fight for preserving life on this planet? Can the increasingly threatened existence of humanity bring about the creation of a political platform based on reason that will unite people regardless of their positions relative to the means of production? The owners of the means of production and the bourgeois class, who base their (privileged) existence on private property and identify their survival with the survival of capitalism, do not react from reason but from their class interests, and do not focus on the survival of mankind but on increasing their material wealth and consumer standard. They are capitalist zealots, who are, as the crisis of capitalism deepens, prepared to use all the means that, in their opinion, can stop the demise of capitalism, including those which might destroy life on the planet. They persistently believe that capitalism has no alternative and thus question the most important point in Marx’s theory: the notion that capitalism is but one of the historical forms in the development of humanity and that its true value is that it shelters under its “wing” the possibilities of stepping out into a new society that will be the realization of the highest humanist strivings formulated by the guiding principles of the French Revolution.
There are two historical bases for human interconnecting: spontaneous, that is, man’s need for other men (man’s erotic nature, symbolically “love“), and repressive, primarily related to providing immediate existence (labor and all it conditions, symbolically “duty“). In previous historical periods, complying with the repressive basis of human interconnecting was to the detriment of human interconnecting. By becoming homo faber, man restrained and was losing his own authentic human characteristics (erotic nature), which culminated in the capitalist society that became a “technical civilization” within which not only the dehumanization but also the denaturalization of man has taken place. As a totalitarian and global order of destruction, capitalism has imposed the issues of necessity and freedom in a new and far more dramatic manner. Man’s most important existential duty is no longer labor per se, but to struggle for the preservation of life (and the labor related to it). Struggle for survival has imposed itself as a contemporary “realm of necessity”, and on this foundation, man as a totalizing, life-creating being will develop. Contemporary capitalism has “unified” the existential with the essential spheres: the fight for freedom becomes an existential necessity, and the struggle for survival a basic libertarian challenge. Spheres of labor, art, and play are no longer starting points of libertarian practice. Instead, the starting point is man as a totalizing being that perceives his entire life on the existential-essential level, that is, in the context of the fight against capitalism, which has transformed natural laws, social institutions and man into a vehicle for the destruction of life. In that context, labor, through which man’s creative (life-creating) powers are being realized and the true human world created, becomes an essential activity. As the present day production of commodities (goods) concomitantly represents the destruction of life, in that very same way, in the future society, production of commodities will mean production of healthy living conditions and the creation of a healthy man. In the future, the basic task of humanity will be to re-establish environmental balance and, thus, create living conditions in which man can survive. Development of productive forces, the very labor processes, spare time activities – practically all life – will be subordinated to it. In such conditions, competition that has been reduced to struggle for victory through the achievement of a better result (record), as in sports, will remain merely a part of the pre-history of humankind.
What should constitute the new quality of interconnection between people on the basis of struggle for the preservation of life on the planet is the very same thing that should provide incentives for the development of human foundations for human interconnections, which means that it should be conditioned by one man’s need for the other. The fact is that capitalism transformed all social institutions, and the entirety of life, into a vehicle for the growth of profit, that is, for the destruction of life. In order to survive, man has no one to address for assistance but another man: sociability is an existential imperative. In the dialectic sense, man as a fulfilled social being becomes a totalizing life-creating being – in relation to capitalism as a totalizing order of destruction. In that context, one of Marx’s basic theses from the “Manifesto of the Communist Party”, claiming that “the freedom of each is a basic condition for the freedom of all”, could be rephrased. Starting from the fact that humankind is jeopardized when the life of each man is jeopardized, one can arrive at the thesis that the survival of each represents the basic condition for the survival of all.
In the struggle for the preservation of life on Earth by the creation of a new world, humankind will be so united that it will supersede all forms of mediation that have kept man apart from other men and turned him into a “tool” of “superhuman” forces for the achievement of anti-human goals. Instead of moral principles, upon which a repressive normative consciousness is being developed and used for the preservation of the ruling order, man’s essential and existential necessity for another man will become the basis for interpersonal connecting. The anti-globalization movement has a historical and existential meaning solely if it represents an integral part of the international anti-capitalist movement. It does not rely upon one social subject of changes alone, as was the case with the industrial proletariat of Marx, but upon a widespread social movement that comprises all the deprived and all those conscious of the fact that capitalism leads humankind into destruction. Movements for the emancipation of women, hundreds of millions of solitary people whose lives were ruined by capitalism – they are all potential members of the movement that will fight against capitalism. At the same time, the decline of the “welfare state” will re-trigger class conflict in the developed capitalist countries. Immediate participation in the political articulation of the contemporary proletariat and other layers and groups ruined by capitalism – this represents one of the most important tasks of the movement. The international anti-capitalist movement needs to unite all those political forces and political movements of the world that oppose contemporary imperialism, which is not only of a genocidal but also of an ecocidal nature. At the same time, it needs to have a critical stance towards developmental programs in any part of the world that are based on the destruction of nature and are aimed at developing a consumer mentality.
Historically perceived, man was becoming a man primarily through confronting existential challenges. The nature of those challenges conditioned the way they were solved and, thus, had an immediate impact on development of man. The existential challenge capitalism imposes on man is the largest and the most dramatic one he has ever faced. Never in history has man confronted a task related to the preservation of life on the planet and to preventing the annihilation of humankind. It is a challenge that supersedes the classical humanist anthropologic definition of man as a universal creative being of freedom. A specificity of capitalism as an order of destruction conditions both the specific nature of the man that defends it, and the specific nature of the man that attempts to oppose it. Capitalism generates a destructive man that becomes a vehicle for the development of capitalism, that is, for the destruction of life. Concurrently, capitalism generates the increasingly militant anti-capitalist man who identifies the meaning of life in destroying capitalism and preserving life on Earth, through the creation of a new world. An increasingly intensive destruction of life results in a more and more ruthless conflict between these two types of men, which actually represent the contemporary class division of the world: a class of destructive capitalist fanatics and a class of reasonable and uncompromising combatants for the survival of humankind.
The turning of capitalism into a totalitarian destructive order conditions man’s turning into a totalizing life-creating being – for whom the emancipatory (libertarian, cultural) heritage of humankind represents the basis for critical self-consciousness and creative (life-creating) will-power. In the struggle for the preservation of life and the creation of the new world, man will become a true man. He is not a mythological man who will, like a present-day Phoenix, ascend from the ashes of capitalism, with his wings unharmed. He is a concrete man who will experience the consequences of the destruction of nature with his entire being, for he represents its organic part. Therefore, creation of the new world requires man’s (self)purification and (self)development – man is becoming a humanized natural (life-creating) being. Instead of cosmic energy (Nietzsche), which is merely a metaphorical presentation of monopolist capitalism’s vital power, within man the life-creating forces of humankind will start to run. “The will to power” will turn into a desire for freedom and survival.
By becoming a totalitarian order of destruction, capitalism increasingly focuses people’s attention on the basic existential, and in that context, the basic essential issues. Capitalism has removed all ideological veils and demystified the truth. Man no longer needs science or philosophy to be able to understand that capitalism destroys life on the planet. Essential relativism is replaced by existential obviousness. It is an unquestionable starting point that inevitably conditions the development of the critical mind and man’s behavior. The increasingly dramatic climate changes, polluted air, water and food, biological destruction of peoples, loneliness that has become epidemic – all this directly affects man as a biological and human being. This is what modern tragedy rests on: man experiences the world’s annihilation as his own annihilation.
The biological clock of humanity is ticking away. The ever more intensive process of destructive capitalist reproduction dramatically shortens the time period in which humanity can stop the destruction of life on this planet. Time began to run backwards – from the zero ecological milestone which, if overstepped, is humanity’s doom. Man can only fight for survival. He must believe that humanity can survive, which means that capitalism can be abolished and a new world created. Man cannot and must not be pessimistic. He must not allow everyday life and the ruling propaganda machinery to bring him to such a psychical state that he gives up on everything and surrenders to nothingness – heading towards death. Faith in the future has become not only the basic essential, but also the basic existential imperative. That is why loneliness is the worst illness brought about by capitalism. A lonely man, lost in a destructive capitalist nothingness, experiences the destruction of life and humanity as the final liberation from all the torments and obligations of being human, which means being responsible for the survival of the world. The most horrible fate that can befall a man is to lose his human warmth, meaning his need for another human being. Only a man who has not lost this basic human quality, his need for other human beings, can strive for a humane world. When a man loses human warmth, he becomes a living dead.
The amount of evil inflicted on people by capitalism is outrageous… The amount of humanity’s suffering is outrageous… And a new, humane world is at hand. All that is needed is to organize and fight.
Translated from Serbian by Vesna Todorović
English translation supervisor, Mick Collins