Critical thought versus the capitalist hydra
By: Gilberto López y Rivas
The second book of Critical thought versus the capitalist hydra includes the positions and interventions –among individuals and collectives– of 35 invitees to the seminar which was held under that name in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, from April 29 to May 9, 2015. The compiled texts, which range from greetings, interventions or words to formal positions, touch an extensive variety of themes that, in their majority, try to respond to the call of the Zapatistas around the exercise of critical thought, not idle or routine, much less conformist, which contributes to emancipatory and anti-capitalist struggles, facing that monster with multiple heads: the hydra, which has led humanity, and the planet itself, to the brink of possible destruction.
Different from the first volume, in which are included all the participations of EZLN members, and which is characterized by its internal coherence in its thematic diversity, in this book diverse political positions are exposed, as a group also very heterogeneous about issues that, nevertheless, in the majority express an effort to deepen the diagnosis of the storm in which we are immersed, and in the proposals for the construction of an alternative project to that of capitalism.
The initial words from the parents of the Ayotzinapa students, victims of an enforced disappearance, give an account of those ties of tenderness that unify the struggles in a torrent of dignified rage and reciprocal solidarity faced with a criminal State, some constructing autonomy and others looking for their sons until finding them, “cost what it may!”
Juan Villoro refers to the loss to human beings of the direct relationship with our residence on Earth, absorbed in the virtual world of television and computers (and I would add, the cell phone), that spectral life that produces a new egotism. He reminds us that the material world exists and must be transformed, and he emphasizes the motto of the University of the Earth, “And you what?” At the same time, he questions the erosion of the world on the altars of progress, which now represents madness. He maintains that contemporaneity must be conceived as starting with change, and from that point comes the contemporaneous character of Zapatismo. He asserts that conservative thought takes refuge in the analysis of the present, abdicates its responsibility to face the future and criticizes those who feign their independence in the immobility of not being either in favour or against. He asserts that: “communism was not the bad-tasting cure-all that the Soviet Revolution promised at its dawn, but the necessity of associating thought with the modification of reality has not lost its urgency.” Zapatismo represents a genuine modernity, while the construction of another way of life is founded in community, where the “we” predominates over the “I”. “An ethic of shared values. Within this ambit, power is not an end in itself, but rather a service that is governed by a dialectical motto: to govern by obeying.”
Adolfo Gilly offers a perspective on what he names the “financial unification of the world,” a new epoch of capitalism and of the relationship of domination of capital over work and nature. He maintains that: “we are facing an unedited form of the domination and subordination relationship: the universal domination of the world and the command of finances –global financial capital– over societies and economies… [And] a humanity that sees and experiences the destruction or degradation of their worlds of life.” This has brought with it, he points out, the formation of a new historic subject: the global workers. He maintains that it’s not the time for hope, but rather the time for anger and rage.
Sergio Rodríguez Lascano debates about the power and the left, in that the positions are polarized without abiding by the new reality of capitalism. He asserts that today “the strategy of a good part of the left is not to take power to change the country or the world, but rather to change the administration (not even the government) without touching the power.” He maintains that we experience a cycle of accumulation of fictitious money, of speculative capital and a domination of shadowy finances. The fundamental error of geopolitical analysis is that it continues understanding the world economy as the sum of the national economies, when in reality “it is the sum of the large legal and illegal financial societies and the large industries with organized or disorganized crime.” He maintains that crisis is the permanent reality of capitalism, its very own dynamic, its essence. “This new form of capital –the financial system– levels countries, peoples, cultures, languages ways of life.” In this situation, the Nation-State no longer plays any role that it played before, especially, that of the regulator of investment… The national bourgeoisie is part of the museum of relics.” Just like Juan Villoro, Sergio considers that: “the storm that approaches is not the product of savagery, but rather of… Progress… The catastrophe that approaches is not one more crisis in the history of capitalism. It is an adjustment of accounts between capital and humanity, and it goes beyond good or bad intentions of such and so Government.” He thinks that, in the Mexican case, the storm is already among us. He enumerates the new characteristics of capitalism as a project of domination that: “seeks to disorganize-reorganize the economy of course, but also the culture, the human ties that have been constructed since centuries ago, the moral economy of those that live in the countryside and the cities.” Part of these characteristics are: the concentration of power in around thirty cities, while to the side there are other zones transcendent to the future of capitalism, because the world’s energy reserves are found in them. Here, control of territory is converted into an essential productive factor while it directly generates conditions for engendering value. “This is the day by day scenario of the most significant confrontations between capital and the guardians of the land: the Native peoples.” As for the historic subject of revolution he proposes: “today there is not a unified nucleus of resistance, (but rather) there are many different processes of rebellion.”
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Friday, July 22, 2016
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee
Minor edits for UK audience by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity