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By Gustavo Castro Soto
Many expressions are revealed against the Capitalist System that dominates us today and against its destructive consequences. We need to rescue these other worlds that give hope that we can live without capitalism.
The situation of poverty, misery, hunger, migration, femicides, wars, climate change and environmental destruction, among other serious indicators that are worsening and that we live on our planet, as a result of the system that currently prevails, makes us think that other worlds are possible. That there must be other alternatives where all worlds fit, where humanity can live in fullness, dignity and happiness.
Many expressions are revealed against the Capitalist System that dominates us today and against its destructive consequences. We need to rescue these other worlds that give hope that we can live without capitalism. But we also need to rescue the various expressions that are revealed against this system and that want to show other possible and alternative worlds.
But what does it mean for something or someone to be anti-systemic? For this we must discover and be aware of what the Capitalist System is. And then we will know who is anti-systemic, what is anti-systemic, who generates an anti-systemic experience.
What is Capitalism? It is a political, social, military and economic system where private property and capital predominate as an element of production and generator of wealth. Among its theoretical elements is self-interest and the freedom of companies (to seek the greatest accumulation of capital), of the worker (to seek the highest wage) and of the consumer (to seek the best price). The competition occurs between the offers, the demands and between the two that regulates the prices of goods and services in the market. Capitalism has inherent contradictions that cause cyclical crises. Throughout history it has had various models or ways of being prior to exemplary transition processes. Its intrinsic logic of capital accumulation leads it to its own destruction. Far from exhausting the subject, we can make a brief account of the modes or models that this system has had.
Liberal Model (1840-1945) He highlighted individual freedom, business, trade, deciding what and how to produce, competition and the right to private property guaranteed by the State. Industrial capitalism was promoted with the invention of the machine and its incorporation into production. Liberalism rejected mercantilism (the controlling State of the economic activity of a nation) and that the State did not impose limits on the form and quantity of obtaining profits but that it generated conditions (infrastructure) that allow private entrepreneurs to obtain greater profits. The economy would be governed by an ‘invisible hand’ where free competition and the movement of supply and demand would regulate the economy. Liberalism meant greater exploitation for workers. Its antithesis: Marxism. This model enters into crisis with World War I and II (1914-1945).
Welfare State Model (1945-1970) It is justified after World War II. The State would have to save the economy and generate well-being in the population. Its agenda and ideological support: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Each country had to substitute imports before the debacle of the world economy. Under the premises of Keynes (1883-1946), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) emerged at Bretton Woods to strengthen the role of the state in national economies. The US institutionalizes its economic, political, military and commercial hegemony. The foreign debt of poor countries grew until their crisis generated another transition in the 1970s.
Neoliberal Model (1970-2000) Once the State apparatus, its economies and infrastructure have been built, and under the pressure of the external debt generated by the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) towards the poor and developing countries, the big transnational capital is launched for the control of the economy. The State must reduce and open itself again to economic liberalism that strengthens the endogenous accumulation of capitalism with the poor getting poorer and the few rich getting richer. The State intervenes to increase investment and demand avoiding cyclical crises. It would only be in charge of the legal system that guarantees certain civil liberties, the control of internal security through the armed forces in conjunction with the police, the implementation of essential policies for the functioning of the markets, and the respect of private property. In the 90's, it went into crisis to give rise to the next model.
Corporation-Nation Model (2000-?) The commercialization of everything that exists on the planet under private ownership by the large Transnational Corporations begins to coalesce from the 21st century. Among the characteristics are: monopolization; acquisition and merger between sectors; They have their own labor, salary and health policies over and above the national governments; they maintain diplomatic relations with governments; they have their managers in the state structures who look after their interests; they develop their own values, identity, culture, clubs, family associations, symbols and hymns that convey their ways of thinking and living. They move their capital, supplies, technicians and specialists without obstacles across borders. They have their own security, private police, infrastructure, electric power plants and controlled territory. They elaborate the commercial rules in the FTAs and form their own international tribunals to defend their interests over the interests of the countries. They have more budget than nations on the planet and guarantee insurance for their investments. They have plagiarized the language of human rights to incorporate them in the defense of their interests. They call the control of their merchandise by other governments discrimination and the blockade of the southern ones "protection of their interests"; they call subsidies to others "unfair competition" while they are increased; they call the impediment of ecologically harmful investments a violation of "investment freedom." They are taking over the strategic resources of other countries such as oil and other mineral resources, water, gas, wood, biodiversity and genetic material, oxygen, the sea, the airspace and the land. For them, the role of governments is to look after their interests.
The circuit. The Capitalist system it implements the circuit that accelerates the accumulation of capital in large private monopolies. Have 7 Elements: 1) Main Subject (Transnational Corporations and the great Financial Capital) who benefits and to whom the accumulation of wealth is directed. 2) Main allies that are the most powerful governments (G-7) who in turn use a 3) Instrument fundamental (IFI’s) to generate a 4) Mechanism control and dependency (External Debt) that forces poor countries to implement 5) Policies (PAE Structural Adjustment Policies) that guarantee such accumulation. This process takes place around various 6) Scenarios of taxation that legalize said exploitation under a 7) Correlation of Forces favorable (WTO, Davos Economic Forum, FTA's, FTAA, APEC, PPP, IIRSA, etc.). This economic project is accompanied by a military structure that guarantees it in the face of the evident lack of global consensus.
The crisis of capitalism.
The world crisis of capitalism worsens at the beginning of the XXI century and the world is preparing to move towards another world system. The indicators of this crisis are economic, political, social and environmental: crisis of the supposed democracies at the service of big transnational capital; economic stagnation and stagflation; worsening and widening of poverty, hunger and deaths; accumulation of wealth in few hands; increased mobilizations of global protests and repression; environmental impact with this system that makes planetary life unsustainable.
The Capitalist System had a beginning and will have an end. The principle of ‘movement’ invades not only biological life but also political and social life, which prevents nothing from remaining static, but life from flowing. This means that we have not reached the end of history or a definitive and perennial system or model of the system.
Among the key elements inherent, intrinsic and without which the capitalist system could not function, we find:
1) Competition. Culture, discourse and practice that fuels anger and frustration; the winner and the loser. This "capitalist natural selection" causes a few winners to be rewarded for the benefits of the system.
2) Capital accumulation. The capitalist system generates its own accumulation patterns as well as a structure that guarantees this process. Banks, laws, interests, appropriation of surpluses, etc., promote this accumulation.
3) Homogenization. For capitalism, it is necessary that accumulation patterns are based on rules, norms, and political, economic and cultural standardization that favor and facilitate accumulation.
4) Employer-worker relationship. A single owner and workers who do not own the means to produce but only their labor.
5) Patriarchal. Capitalism cannot subsist without the relationship of gender dominance, of man over woman exploited through the feminization of capital that guarantees accumulation.
6) speculation. The accumulation of capital is based on speculation rather than producing what a dignified life needs to be happy.
7) Anti-democracy. Capitalism responds to the struggle of interests of a few that are imposing on the interests of the majority.
8) Debt. As a basic principle of accumulation and dependence, capitalism is inherently indebted.
9) impoverishment. Competition generates losers who do not have access to capital and whose tendency is to increase accumulation in a few hands and the generation of large masses of losers.
10) Racism. Capitalism is inherently racist that seeks the power of the privileges of some over others.
11) Ecocide. Capitalism leads to the destruction of the environment by the excessive consumerism of raw materials towards the appropriation and accumulation of wealth.
12) Monopoly. Ungovernable consequence of wild competition and the elimination of the economic adversary.
13) Exploitation. There is no accumulation of capital without exploitation without distribution of the benefits of supposed development between rich and poor; North and south; global north and global south.
14) Consumerism. Consumption prevails over consumption in an endless race and without measuring real needs. The excessive consumption of what is produced regardless of its need generates the accumulation of wealth.
15) Private. The appropriation of financial, human, social, political and environmental capital is based on private property in front of the public and social.
16) Dependency. The accumulation of capital is based on dependence on one another in political, social, cultural, economic and environmental terms. These two poles that cannot live without each other, their tendency is to increase the distance between them.
17) War. The military imposition of the system is an inherent modality since you will always find expressions of disagreement and lack of consensus during the accumulation process.
Anti systemic elements from other worlds.
When we speak of an anti-systemic experience, we refer to the discourse and practice united in an individual or social group with characteristics that are different or diametrically opposed to those that feed the capitalist system.
Anti-systemic expressions and experiences have always existed. Some with more or less impact, with more or less social presence, with a longer or shorter historical duration. However, they did not manage to form a hegemonic system that globalizes the rules of life for all humanity, as the capitalist system has done because they are not its essence but diversity. Curiously, other non-capitalist subsisting worlds are found among various indigenous cultures of the world, and the emerging antisystemic alternatives are generally found in rural areas or among the population excluded from the supposed benefits of the current dominant system. Those who receive some benefit take care that this interest is maintained, perpetuated and improved, so it is difficult to find anti-systemic expressions among this sector of the population, but rather reformist expressions or arguments for the “humanization” of capitalism, of capital human, etc.
Other subsisting non-capitalist worlds and emerging anti-systemic alternatives will have to experience several of these characteristics. The more characteristics they experience, the more antisystemic it will be and therefore the more it draws an alternative to capitalism:
1) Participation. Contrary to capitalist competition, the population participates actively and creatively to build its world without the detriment of others being left behind on the way.
2) Distribution. Contrary to accumulation. This world distributes what is left over, the surplus. Nobody accumulates and the value of sharing stands out and is opposed to the value of accumulating. The rich have no place in this world-system. Goods are enough for everyone: water, land, food, etc.
3) Diversity. Contrary to homogenization, diversity complements and enriches; biological and cultural diversity feeds the worlds; diversity unites and does not separate.
4) Collectivity. Contrary to the owner and dispossessed relationship, the world project belongs to the community. There is no pattern. There are the same.
5) Gender perspective. Contrary to the patriarchal system, it is a scientific, analytical and political vision of women and men. Eliminate the causes of gender oppression (inequality, injustice and hierarchy of people based on gender). Promotes gender equality through equity, advancement, and well-being of women; contributes to building a society where women and men have the same value, equal rights and opportunities to access economic resources and political and social representation in decision-making areas.
6) Needs. Unlike speculation, real needs mark the production and reproduction of life.
7) Democracy. Without totalitarianism, impositions or decrees to impose the will of the few, informed and active participation builds a future and dignity.
8) Solidarity. There are no debts to pay, there is solidarity to express.
9) For everyone everything. Unlike the impoverishment of the majority and the enrichment of many, material, cultural and other wealth is enough for everyone; it belongs to everyone.
10) Equality. Unlike racism and the privileges that it generates, equal relationships are expressed and lived in rights but also in collective obligations.
11) Ecological. Contrary to ecocide, respect nature and live in harmony with it.
Makes reasonable and sustainable use.
12) Sovereignty. Contrary to monopoly control over assets, the ability to define for yourself the direction and path you want to take in order to live fully.
13) Equity. Unlike exploitation, relationships and well-being of some is at the cost of suffering, hunger and poverty of others.
14) Fairness. Without the need to generate artificial needs that disproportionately consume the system, what is needed is used fairly.
15) Public. It does not turn everything it sees and finds into private property, but rather guarantees the benefit of all.
16) Autonomy. Without parasitic dependence but unity in the diversity of visions and modes of self-management and freedom.
17) Peace. Contrary to the war that feeds life and the economy, it is diversity, autonomy, sovereignty as synonyms for peace, which is not understood as the mere absence of bullets or armed conflicts or the mere pacification while hunger and violence continue to exist. institutionalized violence, but peace with justice, equity and happiness for all.
18) New language. A new way of calling things in the new world system that does not repeat or only reformulate the capitalist conceptualization.
19) Political vision. Clear awareness of wanting to live and express other worlds different from capitalism.
20) Human Rights. Where every human person, his happiness and fulfillment, is the central objective of the political project. Not as a gift or gift, but as the essential elements to be able to live that fullness. Not as a mere right, but also as an obligation that links with society.
The lack of total coherence in the application of these characteristics does not invalidate the anti-systemic experience. We are in the understanding that the construction of alternatives is a process so that other worlds are possible. For this reason, a socio-political genetic mutation cannot be experienced immediately, spontaneously and radically different from the capitalist hegemonic system, but rather as part of a shedding of the old skin to cover itself with another alternative. This transition therefore implies incoherencies, contradictions, but with a directionality through detachment to give origin and give birth to other worlds.
Others Mundos, A.C./Chiapas, Mexico
July 15, 2007