The riots of the marginalized highlight the bankruptcy of capitalism

7 posts / 0 new
Last post
Internationalis...
The riots of the marginalized highlight the bankruptcy of capitalism
Printer-friendly version

The riots of the marginalized highlight the bankruptcy of capitalism

 

Only class struggle can offer a perspective for the future!

 

Internationalist Voice

 

Homepage: www.internationalist.tk

E-mail: [email protected]

Those marginalized by the scrapping of the welfare state, marginalized by the Swedish capital, in whose lives unemployment, poverty, misery, racism, systematic humiliation and oppression are a daily part, and for whom a longer life in such hellish conditions means nothing, have, in desperation, become rebellious. The events are the same as in other European countries: the police provokes the people, which leads to an escalation from simmering anger to outbursts of violence and rebellion.

 

In 2005, in France, the cradle of the bourgeoisie, policemen brutally chased down youths. Two young people, while trying to escape, ran into a power transformer; as the police were not obliged to help them, they died. This incident was the beginning of a three-week uprising, during which tens of thousands of vehicles and tens of shops, public buildings, schools, etc were set on fire. For the first time since May 1968, a state of emergency was declared. The chain of events was repeated in August 2011 in the UK. The police shot dead a young black man called Mark Duggan. Duggan’s murder sparked a youth rebellion which resulted in hundreds of cars and shops being set ablaze.

 

On the 19th of  May this year, the same events were repeated in Sweden, in an impoverished area called “Husby”, home mainly to immigrants, located to the northwest of Stockholm. A 68 year-old man, who was challenged by a security guard, displayed his knife from his apartment balcony. Shortly afterwards, police violently broke into the apartment and threw smoke grenades or tear gas into the house before firing four bullets and killing the 68-year-old. Police allege that the man had threatened them with a dagger.

 

Lies told by the police concerning the death of the man, which one of the neighbours captured in a photo, gave rise to protests among the residents of the surrounding areas. The police often insult young people, are disrespectful, calling them “nigger”, “monkey”, etc, as well as resorting to violence. This gave the young people incentive to rebel. Subsequently, over the past week, hundreds of cars have been torched, shop windows smashed and police cars, a fire truck and even a police building attacked. Like his British counterpart, the Swedish Prime Minister denounced the “acts of violence” and described the acts of the young people as vandalism.

 

What is the background of such revolts? The Swedish government played a hypocritical role during World War II: on the one hand, Sweden provided iron and steel to Nazi Germany, and on the other hand she had a close relationship with America and Great Britain, did not enter the war and played an important role in the reconstruction in the aftermath of the Second World War. To fulfill this role Sweden was heavily reliant on foreign labor. Foreign-born workers were assigned to work in factories like “Volvo”, “Saab”, “SKF” and so on. Sweden’s contribution to the reconstruction after the war led to Sweden’s prosperity, and, with the help of Social Democratic ideology, the welfare state was created.

 

With the failure of the Eastern Bloc and the successive crises of capitalism, the welfare state was scrapped in the early 1990s. The gap between the social classes in the Paradise of Capitalism revealed its ugly face, like in other capitalist countries. With the scrapping of the welfare state, foreign-born workers were blamed for unemployment. Racism became a monster in society. Some members of the community were actually reduced to second-class citizens.

 

The younger generation of this part of society live with the hellish conditions that the dirty capitalist system has provided for them. Young people are unable to enter the labor market (a cycle of exploitation), and experience discrimination and systematic humiliation as a daily part of their lives. Police provocation has increased and become routine. Young people do not entertain any hope for their future; they have been overcome by nihilism, and they rebel.

 

The mercenary and dirty bourgeois ideologues and journalists are already taking action to complete the scenario. They are scrambling to pretend that the riots of the marginalized are not rooted in the problems of the upside-down capitalist system, not in the bankruptcy of capitalism but rather in the fact that the protesters are criminals.

 

One of the popular Swedish newspapers, called “Dagens Nyheter”, announced that necessary studies had reached the conclusion that the young protesters were criminals who had committed crimes previously, who suffered from family problems, drug abuse and psychological problems. A large part of the community live through selling their labor, but apparently the bourgeois ideologues and journalists earn a living through selling their “conscience” and their “honour”.

 

Unfortunately, the young people’s protests against their hellish lives are not anti-capitalist orientated, but are rather a blind revolt. Although these youths are society's poor and come from working-class families, they are targeting themselves. The target is not the capitalist class. Youths from poor neighbourhoods and disadvantaged communities do not go to the upper-class districts to set fire to the vehicles, but rather burn down their neighbours’ and their parents’ cars in their own neighbourhood. These are vehicles that workers from the neighbourhood need to go to work. Attacking firetrucks and fire fighters is an act of desperation against their class brothers and sisters. In other words, the victims of these youths are not the upper stratum of society, but rather the working class and the other impoverished layers of society.

 

Individual violence directed towards the poor layer of society is an alienation of the interests of the working class. Only collective violence that is directed against the state of capital and the organs of capitalism is in the interests of the proletariat. Social revolution is not the destruction of physical facilities, but rather the destruction of the social relations of capitalism's production chains. Such rebellion not only contributes to the development of “class consciousness” but also contributes to community policing. It gives the police a free hand to carry out further repression. It strengthens the anti-foreigner, racist and Nazi forces. For example, a Facebook page was created with the title “We support the Husby police - stop the madness right now”, which now has nearly one hundred and twenty thousand fans; its real role is supporting the police and the anti-foreign and racist forces.

 

Unfortunately, because of the illusions of the Swedish working class about social democracy, Unions and the poisonous propaganda of the bourgeoisie, the working class of Sweden actually plays the role of an observer. The working class and its political currents should be responsible for these events.

 

Pacifism in the face of these events means a lack of a sense of responsibility towards the poorest layer of society. Internationalists and revolutionary currents should try to orient this blind anger towards class rage. It is part of the duty of the working class and its political currents to orient these young people’s protests towards the class struggle and prevent their destructive behaviour, and try to draw them towards the reactionary movements.

 

Capitalism is the source of all the injustice and inequality in society and its stench and filth has spread everywhere. Capitalism is the cause of our hellish life. Instead of blind protest directed towards the poor and disadvantaged neighbourhoods, our attack should be directed towards the filthy capitalist system and its organs. Our protest should be in solidarity with the working class and the other poor layers of society and it should strengthen the spirit and solidarity of the classes.

 

Only class struggle can offer a real vision for the future of humanity. Class struggle through neighborhood committees, strike committees, factory committees, etc. (who are elected by the general assembly of its members that can be dismissed at any time), can give a revolutionary dynamic to the class struggle, give it a clear direction to finally challenge capitalism.

 

Internationalist Voice          

27 May 2013

 

 

Fred
who are the criminals?

This is a very emotionally moving article by Internationalist Voice about the situation in Sweden of those at the bottom of capitalism's stinking rubbish bin, especially the young. 

Quote:
Unfortunately, the young people’s protests against their hellish lives are not anti-capitalist orientated, but are rather a blind revolt. Although these youths are society's poor and come from working-class families, they are targeting themselves. The target is not the capitalist class. Youths from poor neighbourhoods and disadvantaged communities do not go to the upper-class districts to set fire to the vehicles, but rather burn down their neighbours’ and their parents’ cars in their own neighbourhood. These are vehicles that workers from the neighbourhood need to go to work. Attacking firetrucks and fire fighters is an act of desperation against their class brothers and sisters. In other words, the victims of these youths are not the upper stratum of society, but rather the working class and the other impoverished layers of society

 

 

This "blind revolt" is regrettable, as is the self-hate. But it's understandable. In being the apparently permanent target of capitalism in its own self-hate and decadence, and in being the number one target of all austerity measures, those who seemingly have nothing to lose, lose finally all self-esteem and human dignity. A comparison might be made with others who sink to the lower reaches of despair, such as the Boston and Woolwich protester-terrorists, whose hopeless efforts to to wreak revenge on a society which does nothing to understand or help them in any serious way, are as much a desperate call for help as they are the despicable acts the bourgeoisie harps on about endlessly. But as IV writes: such acts only further the unleashing of the bourgeoisie's repressive forces and thus play into their hands.

 

 

Quote:
One of the popular Swedish newspapers, called “Dagens Nyheter”, announced that necessary studies had reached the conclusion that the young protesters were criminals who had committed crimes previously, who suffered from family problems, drug abuse and psychological problems. A large part of the community live through selling their labor, but apparently the bourgeois ideologues and journalists earn a living through selling their “conscience” and their “honour”.

 

 

The idea here of the "necessary studies" which were called upon to justify the official criminalization of the young protestors, is very amusing, but their conclusions are banal.  Why did the bourgeoisie take the trouble?  So, the "criminals" had committed previous crimes. Surprise surprise!  We're not told what crimes though!  Shop lifting and other forms of theft?  If you're hungry you shop lift. If you have no money to buy the goods so temptingly displayed before your eyes: being young you steal.  The bourgeoisie and those in comfortable jobs have no necessity to steal, they can buy.  The bourgeoisie of course have given all the stealing they do from the employed working class - in the form of surplus value - an impeachable legality. The criminalization of those who steal on a petty level, only serves somehow, perhaps through victimizing the hopeless,  to further legitimize the secret theft on a daily basis of the oh-so-moral capitalist class. 

 

 

And then we hear that the "young criminals", such a threat to bourgeois well-being, have family,  drug abuse and  psychological problems.  But given the awful conditions in which these  dregs of society live - and they are dregs aren't they? - this can hardly come as a shock. Born to sell their labour power as a way of life, only to find now that nobody wants to buy it - "you're not educated enough; you're surplus to our requirements; you're a psychological case, a criminal and a foreigner" bleat the bourgeoisie -  why would anyone, least of all a newspaper, be surprised at the outcome of this horrendous situation?  These young people, the outcasts of capitalist society, have been criminalized by that very society itself. But, unfortunately, in their misery, they now take their revenge, not on the class of society which turned them into rejects, but on their own class and on themselves. 

 

 

As IV writes : the stench and filth of capitalist society has spread everywhere.  These young "throw-aways", as they might be characterized in bourgeois terms, for after all, nobody wants them, find themselves in the Swedish paradise, but in the thick of the putrid stench and filth of decaying capital. The detritus of the capitalist paradise of Northern Europe.  As IV finish their article:  Only class struggle can offer a real vision for the future of humanity and thus challenge the source of all the injustice and inequality in society. 

 

 

And bring an end to pseudo-criminality we might add. 

Fred
vagabonds and the marginalized

It's interesting to compare this insightful article by Internationalist Voice with the  impressive article from the ICC  called:  "1492: The Discovery of America" which a thoughtful editor has provided a link to today. 

 

One of the resemblances in the two articles is the account of the development of "vagabondage"  in the 1492 piece and the description in the Swedish article of the plight - to put it mildly - of the "marginalized" - a polite bourgeois word for those reduced to a kind of living death; being the despised detritus, the used arse wipes, to put it crudely, of a loathsome society.  I was surprised to realize, reading about the joyous activities of emerging capitalism 500 years ago, that it has always  been 100%  subhuman and committed to loathsome and abhorrent practices in pursuit of its aims.  Gold: money: profit. 

 

The 1492 piece tells us that  "the great civilizing work of European capitalism initially took the form of genocide."  No surprise there I suppose, and genocide in various forms has more or less become common currency today. So our capitalist forebears have nothing to boast about in this.  But it's the account of displaced peasants  ("displaced" is another nice bourgeois word, like marginalized: for "displaced" read  "viciously and violently driven off the land") and the reduction of these displaced, who are turned sort of into refugees, and thence into not-to-be-tolerated VAGABONDS, that connects their misery to that of the modern day MARGINALIZED. 

 

 

Vagabonds lived a precarious existence through no fault of their own. Frequently flogged, frequently losing half an ear, they frequently end up hanged.  This doesn't apply as yet of course to our modern vagabonds; the marginalized, the gypsies, the unemployed, those who have been rendered unemployable, refugees, foreigners  in a foreign country and all those driven into some kind of distraction or anomie by our modern alienation. But it may be coming shortly. While our modern barbarism may sound little different from historical accounts  of the barbarism taking place at the birth of capitalism, ours is decadent and theirs was  " all in a good cause" ie. the growth of the production forces worldwide. But the only good that can emerge from this is in fact the proletarian revolution, for which we're all waiting.  A quote now from the "Discovery of America" article, starting with Thomas More. 

 

Quote:
Thus it comes to pass that a greedy and insatiable cor­morant and very plague of his native country, may encompass about and enclose many thousand acres of ground together within one pale or hedge, the husbandmen be thrust out of their own, or else, either by cunning and fraud, or by violent oppression, they be put besides it, or by wrongs and injuries they be so wearied that they be compelled to sell all: by one means, therefore, or by other, either by hook or crook, they must needs depart away, poor, silly, wretched souls, men, women, husbands, wives, fatherless children, widows, woeful mothers with their young babes, and their whole household, small in substance, and much in number, as husbandry re­quireth many hands. Always they trudge, I say, out of their known, accustomed houses, finding no place to rest in. All their household stuff, which is very little worth, though it might well abide the sale, yet being suddenly thrust out they be constrained to sell it for a thing of naught. And when they have wandered abroad till that be spent, what can they then else do but steal, and then justly, pardie, be hanged, or else go about begging. And yet then also they be cast in prison as vagabonds because they go about and work not; whom no man will set a work though they never so willingly proffer themselves thereto" (Thomas More's Utopia, quoted by Marx in Capital, Chap 24).

 

"A masterless proletariat had been created by the breaking-up of the bands of feudal retainers, and by successive acts of forcible expropriation of the land. But it was impossible that those who had been thus hunted off the land could be ab­sorbed by the rising system of manufactures as quickly as they were "set free. ... Large numbers of them became beg­gars, thieves, and vagabonds; in part from inclination, but far more often under pressure of circumstances. In the end of the 15th century, and throughout the 16th, there were en­acted all over Western Europe cruel laws against vagrancy. The ancestors of the present working class were punished for becoming vagabonds and paupers, although the condition of vagabondage and pauperism had been forced on them" (Marx, Capital, Chap 24).]

 

There's nothing I can say after this, except to repeat the question: so who are the real criminals? 

baboon
"Albion's Fatal Tree"

For crime and society in eighteenth century England, "Albion's Fatal Tree" from a number of writers including E. P. Thompson is a good read.

KT
From Turkey to America

Interesting article from Internationalist Voice. Thanks for posting it Fred. I wouldn't call the 2005 events in France an "uprising" as the article does, and neither does it mention the 'youth content' of the Arab Spring or the global Occupy or 'Indignant' movements. But basically I agree with its general direction.

Two reasons for posting:

a) to point out what will soon become widely discussed - the events in Turkey which have been spreading now for 2 days. It remains to be seen how we all come to classify them but I find their origins - a militant and widespread response to state high-handiness in trying to 'sell-off' an ecologically important and rare public space in Istanbul - interesting to say the least. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/01/turkey-protests-second-day

b) as you've delved back to some vile events at the dawn of capital, I wanted to draw attention to an ICC online article about the early class struggle on the North American continent which was published earlier this year without much if any comment. 

https://en.internationalism.org/worldrevolution/201303/6529/notes-early-class-struggle-america-part-i

 

jk1921
Second

baboon wrote:

For crime and society in eighteenth century England, "Albion's Fatal Tree" from a number of writers including E. P. Thompson is a good read.

 

I second that. Peter Linebaugh's London Hanged is a good one as well.

Internationalis...
The riots of marginalized in Sweden

Attached picture that the text had.