Neither Species 8472 Nor The Borg:
No War But The Class War
"They use flags first to shrink-wrap peoples' minds and smother thought, and then as ceremonial shroud to bury the willing dead."
The Borg's diplomatic panache seems to have been pirated by the US Bourgeoisie. American military radio broadcasts to the Taleban carry an ominous message of doom and assimilation: "You will be attacked by land, sea and air...Resistance is futile"!! The Taleban (Species 8472), for their part, are quite oblivious to the tractor beams and photonic charges of their nemesis. Their mastery of fluidic space has conditioned them to thinking of themselves as pure, superior and invincible. Even as the bombs rain down on them, the Taleban insist on viewing the Borg as decrepit and decadent, hence their battle cry: "The weak will perish"!!
The proletariat is caught between these two poles of demagogic imbecility. Superficially it seems that the class struggle has been suspended in favour of false unities based on nationalism and religion. Yet the very exhibitionism of hegemonic ideologies (the obligatory flag-waving in the 'west' and the pathetic shrieks of Allah-o-Akbar in the 'east') intimates a sense of insecurity.
Restructuring & Cover-ups
In Britain the media has kicked up a great deal of dust over a civil servant's indiscretions. The culprit, Joe Moore, an aid to the Secretary of State for Transport, has been vilified for trying to "bury" bad news using the September 11 massacre as cover.
The scandal serves to conceal the three-tiered system of complicity that is emerging: (i) First there are governmental cover-ups and Joe Moore's self-serving antics would be a mundane example of that. We expect further bad news about stealth taxation, benefit cuts and more draconian laws to be 'mishandled' in the coming weeks. (ii) At a higher level of significance are capital's cover-ups with regard to labour restructuring. The airline industry, for instance, has always been a sensitive barometer of recession and has, therefore, devised intricate plans of 'crisis-management' over the years. These plans were accelerated the moment the gravity of the attacks became evident. Thousands of workers have been laid-off both in Britain and the USA (where in total 200,000 proletarians have lost their jobs since September 11). The massive subsidies that in previous times would be used to maintain the work-force are being used this time round exclusively to increase the organic composition of capital, so that the airlines can hit the ground running as soon as the recession is over. The recent closing down of a Xerox plant at Gloucestershire suggests the slow-down is reaching the service sector of the British economy. Globally, the impending slumps in the dot.com industry as well as a Latin American economic crisis are harbingers of more turbulent times. (iii) Finally, there is cover-up at the level of state intervention both economically and militarily. Economically, the Anglo-Saxon states are preparing the ground for a new phase of capital accumulation both at 'home' and around the five Central Asian Republics. The proposed freezing of the minimum wage by the Chamber of Commerce (Britain), the raiding of the Social Fund (USA), the postponement of attempts to give Mexican labourers a semi-legal status within US borders and a curtailment of the social wage are pointers towards this manoeuvre. The AFL-CIO in the United States and the TUC in Britain have already given the bourgeoisie a green light for its plans. Militarily, the US/British axis would dearly love to maintain a permanent garrison in both Afghanistan and the Central Asian Republics (The 5-Stans, as they are called, are already members of NATO's Partnership for Peace Programme). The Pentagon strategists have estimated that, as things stand, they would need a 72-hour response time for dealing with a coup in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, it is hoped that a degree of 'military Keynesianism' (e.g., Son of Star Wars, etc.) will stimulate the technological sector as a prelude to capital accumulation on a higher plane.
Restructuring & Controlled Racism
Biological determinism has not lost its utility for the bourgeoisie but for the time being at least it has taken the back seat to cultural determinism as the preferred mode of oppression. Historically in Britain there have existed three main varieties of nationalism: the first is associated with 'old money', the Royal Family, the 'aristocracy' and the House of Lords; the second has roots in the Tory Party which until recently was buttressed by finance capital; and the third form of nationalism is founded on Labourism and industrial capital. Since these three forms of nationalism have been losing ground in recently years without a new manifestation of nationalism (or European supra-nationalism) replacing it, a vacuum has evolved. Opportunistic fascist and neo-fascist groupings have filled this vacuum and recruited from all three segments of disillusioned nationalists. Hence, the British National Party can justifiably claim support from big farmers, old aristocrats, ex-industrial workers, and anti-European ex-Tory financiers.
In Britain, most of the traditional left (Leninists, Syndicalists, Anarchists, and even Autonomist Marxists) have, by and large, given up on the industrial wing of the proletariat. This has surely played into the hands of the fascists who can position themselves as the representatives of the 'white working class'. In this context, the fascist inspired 'Rights for Whites' campaign chimed with a certain sense of alienation that was not permitted a radical expression by the state and media.
In winning back this important section of the proletariat, revolutionaries should pursue a strategy with the following aims: (i) to re-establish contact with those sections of the industrial working class demoralised by experience of defeat at the hands of successive Tory and Labour governments; (ii) to link these 'molar antagonisms' (workplace struggles at the point of production) with 'molecular proliferations' (osmosis of isolated instances of struggle into the 'outside' world).
Lastly, we need to understand more concretely not only the reasons why some proletarians succumb to racist views, but just as significantly the reasons so many of them resist the daily barrage of media manipulation. This approach will allow us to focus on our strengths as well as our weaknesses.
Restructuring & the Middle East
The gradual shift toward 'neo-liberal' policies, the concomitant drive in favour of extending 'civil society', and the irrelevance of containing the USSR behind a 'green line' has made so called 'political' Islam redundant. This is clearly observed in the most 'advanced' areas of the Middle East (e.g. Iran, Turkey, Syria, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Egypt and even Iraq). These societies have been tentatively experimenting with modern versions of 'protestant Islam' and 'secularism' as alternative mechanisms of accumulation and recuperation.
The September 11 massacre will catalyse anti-religious sentiments amongst vast sections of the region's proletariat, whilst simultaneously undermining bourgeois ideologies such as 'anti-Americanism' and 'anti-imperialism'. It is true that in the short term a counter-tendency to this may develop in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and certain parts of Palestine. But historically, 'political Islam' has passed its zenith. The Iranian/Turkish proletariat lead this atheistic struggle against religiosity. In Syria the Muslim Brotherhood has been forced to draw closer to the Syrian Communist Party because its social base has shrunk. Likewise, Hamas first accepted a subordinate role to the Palestinian Authority and more recently it has combined forces with the Leninist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine because it felt itself marginalized. This paradigm shift will bring with it a number of opportunities for us as well as 'eastern' revolutionaries. It is imperative that we use our relatively substantial resources in London and other 'western' cities to co-ordinate communications amongst radical elements. Particular attention should be focused on proletarian feminist groups, as they seem to be leading the struggle against oppression in many parts of the Middle East.
The opposition to the war is growing worldwide and although not all groupings oppose the war for revolutionary reasons, we should be pleased with our contribution so far. And though the Anglo-Saxon bourgeoisie is trying very hard to prepare public opinion for an intensification of the war in Iraq, their success is not inevitable. As the Borg collective prepare to assimilate everyone into a US hive in order to raise productivity and Species 8472 plans to purge our universe of all 'impurity', it becomes even more imperative to raise the slogan:
No War But The Class War
(Afghan Series, Number 3) 25.10.2001
Address for Correspondence: Melancholic Troglodytes, Box No. 44, 136-138 Kingsland High Street, London E8 2NS, United Kingdom