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No country for the condemned

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1. The dissolution of worker identity, state and the background of Ukrainian crisis as a contradiction of the Ukrainian state.

The democratic national (and nationalist obviously) revolt of Ukraine of last December(2013) raised many issues on state theory, and imperialism/anti-imperialism as a political position and “ideology”. Initially a question about the state (and perhaps about power in general) and secondary about the aftermath and the consequences of the dissolution of workers identity as revolutionary subject in the last three decades. This process increasingly deepens rather than resolves itself. Towards that direction, a significant part had to do with both the neoliberal ideology, an ideology depicting work as negative category and and the historical failure of the working identity as a “destination” of emancipation. In Eastern Europe, the working identity was experienced as coercion by the state, and as a deadlock to emancipation: the “worker” and “anti-fascist” state of the USSR, the ultimate stage of Leninism for the transition to communism and the “withering away of the state” was finally the exact oposite: the absolute limit towards the abolition of state. The workers’ state with the affirmation of the working identity (and thus the condition of existence of a capital in which there is the working class, even if it is state capital) and the forced posing of this identity , from one point onwards, led to the opposite result: with the collapse of the USSR, the (theoretical and legal) there was a liberalization of the bourgeois subject of forced labour identity that had been imposed. Therefore, despite the huge shock of the loss of wages and pensions in 1991, it was experienced in Eastern Europe (also) as a two-way process: on one hand devaluation and disaster, on the other hand it was recapitalization, restructuring, liberalization of the foregoing limitations and fulfilling of all possible urban roles : now no one would be forced to be only a worker, he could become (theoretically always) ” anything and anyone”. The competition, the “individual”, etc. which are the immediate characteristics of the money circulation, in 1991 and after found their legal and political completion. This process of dissolution of the workers identity was expressed in Eastern Europe as the “neoliberal lust for wealth” and conservatism, certainly was intensified by nodal changes in production and organization of capital: precarity at work, precarity of the east-European capital itself due to low competitiveness, binding of workers to capital in conditions of high competition among them (because of the low level of life conditions ,the large “reserve army and between their capitals) , all this surely deepened the absence of workers’ identity further. The labour movement was dead. Meanwhile, the continuous crisis of 90s and after in these countries, and the centralization of capital observed since then, started to leave more and more dissatisfied people, mainly them- the younger, the youth etc- who do not want to become again low paid workers but to have “another life”, the life of the middle ” self made class “,which is experiencing the ” bourgeois freedom ” of the “self-valorazing subject” etc. Many of them, they fled to Western Europe to find this” future “. There ended up undervalued workers, prostitution, etc. This is the general framework of the Eastern Europe and Ukraine in the post-soviet capitalist situation.

With a single difference, Ukraine had significant problems in the shift to a market economy. The above factors were not evenly distributed into the population. A part of the population (among them the young of western areas) was employed on the few but profitable rural businesses, the small industrial sector in western Ukraine and services. This economic cycle was mostly integrated (export etc) in the West in general and looked forward to a liberalization and “liberation” of the market for further development, exports, mobility of labour force and capital towards the West. These people hoped for the reasons noted above: the liberalization of the “bourgeois subject”.On the other hand, eastern Ukraine and Crimea, inhabited mainly by Russians and russian-speaking populations, was employed in low productivity and competitiveness businesses and factories of the soviet era, participating in the Russian economic cycle. The low competitiveness of the capital in the east, in order to continue to operate requires subsidies, to be possible the products to be sold in adequate prices in Russia. Many eastern factories were not profitable at an adequate level. These subsidies that support the operational costs of these factories come (also) by overtaxation of Western Ukraine through the pro-easter governments. An integration to EU would lead to unemployment in eastern provinces, on the other hand the massive unemployment was already there in the western of the country. This fundamental split of the Ukrainian society on the basis of the organization of capital, and the “binding” of proletarians with capital for the reasons mentioned above, has established and formed in Ukraine  two rival mutually exclusive social and economic formations, but very similar in their internal logic and composition. The proletarians from both sides were “stuck” to their capitals, or requested such an attachment (eg unemployed people, and low wages in western Ukraine was significantly more than those of eastern Ukraine, so they wanted and believed in opening the border will lead to foreign direct investment and rationalization of taxation etc). This was therefore the contradiction of the Ukrainian state which was unable to work-despite any “relative autonomy” -as collective capitalist. The organization of accumulation in Ukraine was in difficulty and the contradictions deepen. Therefore cohabitation within the same social formation, of the same national state, was problematic.

    The international economic crisis and the regionalization process (formation of broader economic unions with capital and commodity mobility) from the EU and Russia respectively deepened this contradiction of the Ukrainian state. This is because the regionalization and the crisis means “opening” of the border in a region of accumulation and competition, with certain levels and norms of competitiveness and productivity, growth, etc., is the mutual attraction of capitals on the basis of their participation in a wider accumulation formation, to give greater accumulation rates due to greater exposure to competition and mobility of capital. Apart from further centralization of capital and deepening of social contradictions, this meant and irreversible changes in the Ukrainian capital structure and thus the overall restructuring of social relations. This was seen as the possibility (potential) that one of the two “sides” of the population and “capital sides” would have been more devalued depending on the choice of the ukrainian state to join the one or the other “region of accumulation”, EU or Custom union . So the choice to whose the region will join Ukraine, took the features of the internal conflict. Each side tried to gain control of the state to integrate via the respective state policy in the adequate region. When though- for obvious and substantive reasons under the contradictions of Ukraine-an essentially pro-Russian Yanukovich goverment electoral base- and business interests which support him- in the east refused cooperation with the EU, there was the Maidan from the central and western part of the bourgeois society, and the contradiction of the Ukrainian state began to spin out of control. Soon there was born and the anti-Maidan, the opposite but similar movement of residents of the southeastern regions, which grew after the February 2014 and the final overthrow Yanukovich(see also here especially the footnotes about the contradictions of the Ukrainian state ).

The Maidan was essentially the explosion of social contradictions of Ukraine, and was the “from beneath” confrontational resolution of the contradiction of the Ukrainian state. It was the explosion of the social contradictions of all squares. In this sense was the bourgeois “rationalization” of the state by the bourgeois subjects themselves. And of course ultimately rationalization of the nation state by the subjects themselves, despite the  illusions, means further segregation, disciplinary policies, deepening of capitalist relations etc. The rationalization of the state there, and the unity of bourgeois subjects in Ukrainian squares, the fact that the streets were full of workers and bosses, rioting together, “democrats and fascists” etc. shows us that despite the deep reactive and aggressive characteristics of both sides, neither side was a fascist uprising, because neither side was a discipline directly of (a) working class, in the sense that there was no originally a labour unruly revolutionary subject and denial of bourgeois democracy to be disciplined by fascism, so there was not a general form of organization of  bourgeois society to a “fascist phenomenon” in terms of 30s and 40s in terms of the abolition of the democratic form of the state . On the contrary the Ukrainian national restructuring and obvious consequent rapid rise of nationalism as bourgeois unity in all its aspects, takes place within the bourgeois democratic form precisely because of this absence of polarization of class struggle. The fascist state of the 30s was the specific historical poltical form of controlling the revolutionary massive working class of that time. Nowadays social relations, remain personalized in relation to capital, while requiring a tough and strict State (this model is both in Ukraine and Eastern “people’s republics” is essentially the model of a strict neo-liberal competitive state) to organizes the accumulation and control the deviations from it, does not change substantially form but remains a “pastoral power state” in an individualist relation to each individual, that is the bourgeois-democratic form of state. Fascists therefore are subsumed into the bourgeois-democratic phenomenon. Democracy becomes an empty signifier, it can take any content. And obviously a nationalist one. The democratic form of the state is the form of social relations of those involved in the community of capital accumulation, while being the legal limit to those excluded from it (or think they are excluded) as surplus population. Therefore today’s movements everywhere seek deepening and extension of democracy, they complain that democracy as it is is not enough, while those who are within and see their life (self valorization) be disturbed by their respective excluded surplus population, denounce the excluded as undemocratic movements. What varies per event is the cause to which attach their exclusion. For the residents of Ukraine, the case will be explained below what articulated this exclusion.

It is no coincidence that most movements everywhere in Europe, are not suppressed by fascism, but are discredited as fascist, (the well known discourse of the “extreme political petitions of the political spectrum which act and look the same, i.e red or black fascism) , are suppressed in the name of democracy. It is no coincidence also that those involved in the movements reproaching their opponent as “undemocratic” something very obvious both in Ukraine and for example in Greece. One issue raised by Ukraine then, perhaps the most central, is “it’s time to get away from the anti-EU and anti-imperialist position and analysis in general, to get rid of one-sided anti-fascist rhetoric and talk about democracy, the national state and the war as forms (and not only as strategies) of capital, not separated materially from fascism “

2.The question of the composition of movements and social symbolism. A brief overview.

The restructuring and centralization of capital probably affects a number of social groups. This restructuring, in which plays a very large role the more and more international financial aspect of capital is the totality, the universal form and dynamics of capital which is organized in the form of individual capital and states. The restructuring of the capital in each country initially smashes a variety of social groups and how they mediate and mutually reproduce each other. If this is combined with the absence of the working class as the central social subject, the fact that the restructuring appears to be related to the “abstract” requirements of international finance capital and the world market [1] and not to the direct employers and the fact that most of the times, it seems to be the state that carries out the process of the dynamics of financial capital (and the immediately experienced side of it, ie the government) the work place is perceived as a non-privileged or irrelevant confrontation place for the resolvent of the crisis. So the middle self-employed classes, the working class, unemployed, smallholders and small entrepreneurs affected or seeking  “opportunities” in the middle of the crisis come out together, they take the streets, to defend the social and productive relationships that define them. While everyone has a different “class belonging”, the relationships that define them were common-capital/labour relations-and they receive a joint “attack” by the centralization process and dynamic of capital. However division and contradiction of the Ukrainian state and society of “east” and “west” as explained above, eventually gave birth instead of one “square”, one movement (like in other countries)but to two movements, similar yet rival to each-other, as everyone interpreted as personification of this international “dynamic” their opponents’ side their policy. ” Simultaneously the centralization of capital in the context of the requirements of the global financial sector pushes movements in Ukraine but also everywhere (when expressed as movements of the type squares) to interpret this crisis as a crisis of representation (democratic deficit) and / or crisis of the nation state against an abstract “international system”. The resistance is concentrated in a national / national-liberation rhetoric and personified in the supposed “low national morale” of politicians that do not “listen” to the “people”. That is why the conflict is resolved (by both sides) through the state, not against the state, by bourgeois social subjects that were in crisis (fear of loss of capitals, restructuring, centralization, reducing opportunities etc.). But the crisis is not just a capitalist malfunction but a resolution of the capital contradictions. The crisis is a problem and a solution at the same time. The nation-states exist only within the international organization of the CMP(capitalist mode of production) [2]. These movements of Maidan and AntiMaintan were movements from below, that were trying to solve the main contradiction of the Ukrainian state peaked by the broader dynamics of capitalism of our era. Therefore both acquired similar composition: workers, students, right-wing, military, Cops and Stalinists created a mix of ideologies and social categories of the whole social spectrum, with a clear leadership of patriotic and nationalistic discourse. And this was so because of the particular circumstances of the (world) crisis but also because of the peculiarities of the Ukrainian state both ideological and social. This was the cause of the (so called) democracy deficit Ukrainian.

The Ukrainian state had taken the form of “oligarchic state,” according to the Eastern European terminology. This means that business circles directly affected the political life or participated in it and created widespread support bases in the regions which were active. The state took the form of a confrontation field between increasingly antagonistic social relations which condense in a separation between “east” and “west” in the country. This way of organizing the state total penetrated it to its core: the police, and that’s what gave the last but most crucial touch to Maidan and antiMaintan. Chronic right-wing pro-Russian integration in the security forces from the east, from the Yanukovych government to create a more faithful to him police,had as a result the exclusion largely from these units of the extreme right and former military from Western Ukraine. So in the fall Yanukovych former cops Berkrout participated massively in antiMaintan, while the far right of the Right Sector and the NSA in Maidan, who wanted to cast out Yanukovich, so to join the security forces (and they succeeded). At the same time pro-Russian character of the government and the intention to participate in the “Russian union” and engulfment Soviet statist heritage from Russia and pro-Russian government in Ukraine as “historic features” of the “Russian nation” created a double effect on policy and social life: Russia is coincided with the historical “communism” both in the eyes of Ukrainians and in the eyes of Russians and their national ideas. So pro-Ukrainian patriotism and nationalism found close relation by and was easily combined with anti-communist rhetoric and ideological commitment with the EU. Conversely, but accordingly, the pro-Russian side antiMaintan internally created a mix of classical Russian extreme right, Stalinism, pro-sovietism and Russian patriotism as the basis of having as the core of their identity the “anti-westernism” and “stable and strong Russian state” which became a reality mainly in the USSR. Nevertheless communism here, like the “Christendom”, the Ukrainian fascist guerrillas of UPA, merge all together with the historical dipole “East vs West”, since this is (also) the conflict generated now and so sees the past (only in) this way (see photo in [3]). Of course, because these processes are procedures of the (re)constitution of national-states the significations of both sides (of the spectrum of available historical meanings) excel and dominate statist and authoritarian signifieds of historical signifiers: The UPA, the “Tsar” and the “strong state” (and not the state benefits for the workers) of the USSR, are predominant through the multiple meanings in both sides. Communism as elimination of the value and the state does not exist anywhere in this range of meanings. Each movement is always expressed in specific historical conditions and to a particular state (and not to the “state” or “capitalism” in general as abstractions). So because the state in both ideological and economic level it had expected such colorizations  these movements were expressed accordingly. This can give as a more socially solid answer to why the Maidan raised the flags of the EU and antiMaintan the flags of Russia, of Christ and of Soviet military divisions which invaded 45 in Berlin (!). We must not forget that every symbol, every signifier has multiple meanings articulated to it on the historical level, and nationalizing historical process is a process that selectively match these historical meanings herein to construct the respective national narratives, useful and necessary in assembly national capitalist states. The hammer and sickle-always coexisted in the riots with Russian trikolore- do not mean communism(and the EU did not meant fascism either) but rather than that, it meant the same(but rival) with EU flags: calling the state and the capital to the (re)constitution, not their destruction. It was statism and nation flags, construction of national identity and historical continuity. The symbolism and collective identities are historically and socially defined and without such an analysis it is impossible to understand the public discourse and collective identities in this conflict beyond the surface of symbolism.

3. Are the People’s Republic “fascist”? A comment on the Russian left discourse and a comment on «gender politics»

Let’s assume that freedom of thinking can be suppressed to a great extent and that it is possible for people to remain in such dependency and not dare to articulate a opinion but only by order of the supreme ruler. The problem is that once again, the supreme ruler can never be sure that they will have no thoughts other than those he wants them to have “- Spinoza- theological treatise.

Democracy is the most appropriate way to manage the civil bourgeois society and the social individual. The openness of the public “confession” is the best mechanism to internalize repression. Anyone who believes that the people’s republics in a few years will be “tough dictatorships” is wrong in our opinion. Instead they will follow the path, more or less of ex-Yugoslavia states. There is a widespread rhetoric on the Russian opposition left that the People’s Republics are “fascist” states. This misguided rhetoric comes of course from the rightful willing to confront the other end and equally untrue stalinist rhetoric that people’s democracies are “people’s, socialist” states. Although this rhetoric has clearly subsided recently as it becomes clear that it has no relation to any “reality”, however the whole debate takes place in a commonly false ground. The whole rhetoric carried out jointly is based on a separation of “power” and “form” of the state by “society” and “the people of Donbass” categories all -not by chance- quite abstract. These abstract terms are commonly used by the rival rhetoric as they give the possibility on wishful thinking that could be another form of state. But  they hardly describe the class and social process that occurs there in relation to the production processes and contradictions that they themselves are forming the state. In the areas of the PRD and PRL part of the population is in favour of the people’s republics as such, others may be hoping for something more Keynesian, others in a powerful military state which thus will be able to provide them with the necessary (by “winning against other states. ie ukraine), others in favour of all of the above together and others reject everything . The issue is, that the discourse of the existence in Ukraine and Donbass of a unified “people” subject who resists or is suppressed, is forgetting that the state is the political form of “the people”, of bourgeois society as a unity of competitive subjects and categories. And this unity in our case was produced under the controversial dipole of the Ukrainian state (see 1). Within this unity and “civil society” are formed groups which collide and balance each other and simultaneously mutually produce each other, so their common basis and frame is the state, they form the state but they are also formed by it. That is why both the traditional left and the right at the beginning of each national liberation struggle fight hand in hand, as their common denominator (despite their differences) is the state-building. ie the common framework of capital and the working class. Yet the “workers” forces in any case are (and will be) defeated because within the state frame nothing more can be given to the “class “of what is already given to it, the category of class is the limit of herself, to the extent it becomes a possible obstacle to the reproduction of capital in general.

In Eastern Ukraine even if there is an antagonism of class with capital, even if this antagonism  is not complete, and there is a disagreement as to the balance of power, is a balance within a common framework, so we can not talk about any kind of “revolution”. The state is essentially a capitalist section of bourgeois classes and roles. So the separation of state-society-the “people” not just obscures what happens but rather does not describe practically anything, and constantly sets the wrong questions to the whole matter. The adequate question to get a grip of what is going on is not “how many workers, how many antifascists and capitalists participate on these movements to from states in eastern Ukraine” but why all these diverse subjects act this way, why the competitive roles and classes remain in unity to construct a new state? The “people” are not a single entity but ranks subjectivities contradictory, conflicting interests etc. But what happens eventually? The integration of conflicting and opposing subjects in eastern Ukraine in the form of the state, means that despite the internal-apparently ongoing- existent capital contradictions, subjects remain in a relevant unity and they “built up a state”, and function in a bourgeois way because they were in crisis with themselves, with their social relations that constituted them, and as such want to emancipate themselves and stay this way through a (new) adequate state(see previous sections). The “People’s republics” reflect the total (always contradictory) unity of bourgeois society in eastern Ukraine, which despite internal power correlations have as a common framework of the state and capital. And this is shown below.

The People’s Republics held elections. Even if the elections were a farce as a process in terms of democratic EU standards (as the regime is in permanent state of war) the interesting thing is that the regime felt the need to carry them to be legalized internationally but also internally to their people. In this sense the Donbass social subjects remain civil and bourgeois,  they are social roles of democracy. After the end of war, the People’s Democracies will not become “dictatorships” as some argue, contrary will be converted into “non-typical, quasi- states” which will resemble in their way of internal function the current Russia and Ukraine. They will be “strict democracies” eastern versions of ordoliberalism where labour rights are non-existent (through the process of «quasi-state») and borders open to competition within a region of accumulation (in this case the Russian one). Of course the final version that will take these countries has to do with the course and forms of the class struggle within them when they will be stabilized and normalized as capitalist social formations, and thus begin to form within clear social groups [4]. None of the other states of this type so far has been a “dictatorship” in the strict sense. So far everything indicates that Ukraine and the eastern republics, despite their geopolitical differences, follow common routes in terms of capitalist logic: rising nationalism, integration of nationalism into the state and its democratic form, order. The state itself is a form of class struggle, is the form taken by capital relation as mutual (re)production of the dipole-working class/capital, is the apparatus which validates the circulation of money and the separation of means of production and reproduction. The state radically alters its form only when a collective subject(historically until recently this was the working class)  is threatening accumulation process. But something like that here is not visible. On the contrary, some of the social subjects have defended their capitals (on both sides of the conflict) and asked for another State(both in the east and the west of the country). If we have a progress that creates national states with border changes, tactical armies and established administrative and legal mechanism, we can not talk about revolution progress. Instead, the capital relation having become more fluid and uncertain, with a big part of the work force to be permanently attached to it and another permanently as surplus population , for now the political form of the capital relation remains permanently democratic in its form but strict, ready to intervene in those who individually do not obey, or deviate from the targets of capital accumulation. This is not an issue that only has to do with Ukraine and eastern provinces, but rather the development of capitalism in general.

4.a.Gender politics and the dipole “East-West”.

In the same context we would like to raise an other issue. Recently in a Greek site we read the outrageously simplistic assertion that Russia and the eastern provinces are “homophobic” states while the West, and the EU are not. Such a claim for the EU -firstly and mostly- impinges on hard facts of reality, but also this statement obscures what is happening between the Εast and West region of accumulation (ex-USSR and EU respectively) on the issue of sexuality in public discourse. Indeed, Russia and the eastern republics have “issues” on the issue of homosexuality. In Russia there are imposed sanctions against LGBT people and in “Eastern democracies” by scattered information arriving from them, they indicate that the situation is not much different. There is a tendency to identify the «gay» with a drop of “values” that traditionally are defended by Russia and its ideological state discourse. This fall of values ​​is projected on the “West” and to Western values. [3] However, as we have said many times, collective identities mutually formed around contrast determinations. The “eastern discourse on LGBT people is produced in contrast to the EU’s prolonged policy especially in Eastern Europe to make up groups and NGOs for the rights of the LGBT movement. However, the dipole is not to make a more “progressive” region and a more “conservative”. In contrast, beyond the ideology surface, both positions are intended to establish modified versions neo-liberal policies in the respective countries by “playing out” in a different way the gender issue, using in a different way established forms of “symbolic capital”. One of the biggest myths of western left-social-democrats is the belief that there is only one neoliberal version, the USA-EU version.They don’t realise that neoliberalism is not just a policy but the development of the capital relation itself in a material base. One of the prime characteristics of (neo) liberalism is the personalization of power and the creation of many different and conflicting subjects, satisfaction of some aspects and needs of the subjects and oppression others, so the fragmentation of any kind of social/movement unity, of any kind of “frontism”. This produces a surplus population in both economic and legal terms (these two not always completely identical). There is not only one version of ordoliberalism, but rather its functions can be handled in multiple ways. This dipole does just that: “it is breaking down” the subjects unity based on their different needs, but each side doest it in a different way, the “eastern region” of accumulation appears as one that holds a form of “family” while safeguarding the jobs of a traditional part of the working class and family roles while excludes and devalues ​​other needs and subjects(this does it in a way of symbolic-economic capital dialectic). This dissolutes  the class/movement partly by an affirmation in traditional working(family based) identity and creates the basis for acceptance of neoliberal models by some workers and the marginalization of others. The western model respectively, creates acceptance of neoliberal policies on the basis of exclusion of workers’ identity, but the simultaneous expansion of civil rights of specific groups(LGTB). The suppressiveness, efficacy and simultaneously democratic neoliberal model as a technology of governability is that it creates a situation so that the various parts of social fronts compete and suppress each other, and this is not only in the level of different groups but also on the same person. The person is forced to prioritize its needs on the base of different policies, and in the end a quite different reality and complex of social relations and subjects is produced.. It is a reorganization of capital on the basis of reorganization of the “symbolic capital” of each society.  This raises the question, of what could be a real “independent” revolutionary tactic on gender and/or working people without integrate their discourse and practice into capital and the state, since capital and state seem to be not just repressive forms of domination but on the contrary, productive and holistic forces.

b.The Era of Riots: what is the Ukrainian case showing us?

Ιn the text “the Maidan as a model of riots” we mentioned that: “The workers and the employers- except the oligarchs- were rioting together under the identity of “citizen”, because they were under a common capital reconstruction threat, while the only common ground they had all these diverse subjects had been their political status. But beyond the restructuring of bourgeois society to the one or the other direction, this can not directly lead to the overcoming of capital because it does not enter or effects the realm of value reproduction, the work place”. In the “fetishised anticapitalism” we also wrote trying to find our own place through the events: “This leads to an intense dynamic but contradictory and unstable movement between the square type practices and aggressive riots, […] while in conflict with the value-form and commodity-form these actions,on the one hand really open passages to the overcoming of capital and the critique of commodity, yet they are experienced as limits, where there is no historical necessity that ensures their overcoming or their evolution”. Aggressive riots as a tactic do provide a interesting base pattern of discussion, but these practices back then, as also now are not enough to overcome capitalism. Instead the derogations and encounters which are produced within the spectacle of social subjectivity (both in terms of sociological contradicting capitalist categories and also in terms of how each one interprets these categories) , do not guarantee the overcoming of capitalism, instead they produce contradictory and deadlock movements. Maidan and antiMaidan were experienced as an encounter of the bourgeois subject of citizenship and the practice of rioting, it was  a deviation from the working identity but also an encounter of diverse bourgeois subjects reorganizing the “strict” bourgeois democracy and the nation unity. The result was war, nationalism, weapons etc. Neither Maidan nor antiMaidan as riots were the overcoming of some kind of bourgeois category-except perhaps the previous contradiction of the Ukrainian state-on the contrary they were militarized to be able to continue as such, and turned on already proven past historical processes. History firstly is a tragedy, then farce. If the Maidan and antiMaidan the tragedies were the riots themselves, the final outcome of the national ideas and militarism, conservatism, religion and society of the state and capital, the revival of rhetoric of “free” EU or “socialist USSR “and” socialism in one country “are tragic farces and historical caricatures which by no means are just “meaningless”. But also they are not liberating. Instead they are a step backwards.

When someone refers to class struggle, he must remember that it is a live historical processes and not an already produced event in history. “Nothing tells us that this crisis will be the last,” said  G.Dauve and despite his many mispoints, he was right. Every historical event is open and as long it is like that, we have to approach it this way, but as it advances and unfolds its logic, shows the limits and contradictions that transcend. In every social event are articulated different forces that try to shape the event and are also formed at the same time by it, by ideological processes, material changes etc. The political forces representing the traditional “working class-social perspective” of Maidan were defeated in the internal competition of the “square” and thrown out as they could not fit in a “national unity” process while the similar forces in antiMaidan “chose the road” to be attached and incorporated to the national unity and the emerging national-states in the eastern provinces, which is essentially another form of the same defeat [5]. The class struggle process as a real movement and how classes shape and produce each other, this is a process that constantly crushes the great theoretical constructions of the past and simultaneously opens up possibilities we had not imagined. The theory is learning from the experience of the struggle, because as such is tested in it. So all you can rule out is what is done. First history is a tragedy, and then farce. Such a tragedy was the riots in Ukraine as such. Let’s experience the tragedies of the future.

In this context, and while the Maidan and AntiMaidan both belong to the past as they have collapsed under their own contradictions, and now took the from of “conflicting national armies”, new forms of class struggle emerged..

5. The class struggle as spontaneous antimilitarism: Beyond the dipole “anti-fascism-fascism.”

Ukraine is not a new version of a lost Weimar. Instead, it is similar to something much more recent, that the Left because of the shameful role he had taken it insists to forget: it is a new nationalizing process, is a new solution to the contradictions of the state, is a new version of Yugoslavia. A process of class contradictions mediated by fetishisms, apparatuses and processes of subjectification which came to existence  through the civil war and the constitution of new bourgeois democracies, not dictatorships. In Ukraine since official armies fight each other, we have new and old states, nationalists fighting with “leftist” or “anarchists” on both sides, so we can not talk about ‘anti-imperialist/anticapitalist uprisings” in any way( even though these original concepts of anti-imperialist struggle they were problematic from the very start) and to use these mythologies to construct political strategies. Instead we should look for the class struggle elsewhere into the social matrix.

But if this is so, what remains to us, the devotees of the class struggle (to overcome it of course) to defend?

The question starts from what is the class. The class both generally and within the Marxist tradition has two definitions: defined sociologically based relationship with the means of production or income (even worse) and claims as such, the reproduction fo itself within the framework of capital and as a negative phenomenon. ie the refusal of the people of the subjectification by the state and power, as the refusal of bourgeois social roles, social relations and forms of capital. These two categories are not completely separate, but not identical either, they are related in a complex historical defined and internally contradictory relationship that can not here been analysed further. In the second definition, the concept of the class becomes a negative and anti-emancipatory definition. It is not the spectacle of social subjects to be emancipated as such against an oppression, but a group which is set up on the base for denying material and institutional reality and subjectification (which can only be a piece and part of the present totality). The class here gets out of the sociological and narrow definition of economic (even though it is from the dynamic of these categories that derives) and becomes a negation of capital in its various forms as a social movement. If we accept the fact that the capital (in the strict economic sense) the state, nation,, etc. are forms of the same-root social relationship (capital relationship), then we see that the class and the class struggle may be competition for emancipation or a wider negative cotradictory process that may arise  due to the contradictions of forms of capital in the whole circuit and not just in the labour place . This is in fact the very way communization works, a wide and molecular level process of de-organization of the capitalist world, by struggles that each one may has visible short limits but all together they form a complex of relations and barriers to capital accumulation.

One of the key mechanisms of the state, and one of the basic instruments of capital is the army and war. Especially in our case this has become the main apparatus of the Ukrainian state and the eastern republics. As Hisrch (from a marxists perspective) or Jacob Torfing (from a post-modern perspective, and sadly-pro democracy ) have argued,  in every state some apparatuses appear to from in a historical moment the “centre” of the state formation ie they play the most significant role in the reproduction of the capital relation . If the class is a negative category against the general roles of forms of capital, in an environment where two purely capitalist formations wage war, class struggle takes the form of conscious or not anti-militarism. This is the form of class struggle/communization as a from of barrier to the construction of new national states and also as an expression of the fundamental contradiction between the reproduction of life and the reproduction of capital. In Ukraine and Russia, despite the propaganda, despite the undeniable political and ideological support by a large part of the people which had the (national) conflict between western and eastern Ukraine, the first opinion polls show an interesting phenomenon: while various social categories massively supported the Maidan and AntiMaintan (and probably the separatist or relative independence movements), percentage from both sides declared willingness to go and fight to an impending war was tragically low. And of course this was logical: They joined these movements because they wanted to live (as bourgeois social categories) and did not want to lose their respective capitals and social reproduction, not vice versa. When the conflict took its most pure and deadly face of capital as a broader dynamic, war, nobody wanted to go to die. The war clearly showed the limits of the “bonding” of the (conflicting) roles and subjects with their respective capital relations and the internal contradictions of the same bourgeois subjects. And to identify the workers or anyone with their respective capitals and their social social roles, has an obvious limit, and it is this internal contradiction which can work in any “political” revolutionary movement. The spontaneous anti-militarism in Ukraine in the form of massive denial of conscription or flight from the battlefield is one of the most encouraging events in t. And it is a given that these people are not consciously (in the political sense) antimilitarists. But the issue is that in a general level (when we look at the “forest”  we could say jokingly) these are the ones who refused to fight in a war setting up new states and nations or reconstructing older ones . In terms of social relations, are they presented as an obstacle to capital strategy to fight, the Ukrainian and Russian capital can not (more or less) find soldiers for their cannons. Therefore regardless of the particular subjective intentions, in a broader social and state level these people clearly enrolled in the class or the “negative side”. On the other hand and despite their political subjective positions, the mysterious “dudes” who joined the army of Novorussia (to make it in  the “future a “socialist  state” from the inside) and the equally ridiculous leftists and anarchists who joined the army of Ukraine to protect the” country from Russian imperialism” even if they don’t consider themselves fascists, they are inscripted historically apparently on the side of the State and (the reconstruction of) capital, the side of the fascist gangs and their tactics. Wars between states are not active-passive phenomena, but mutual phenomena among capitalist formations trying to solve with temporary and apparently contradictory way the contradictions emerging between and inside state formations [6]

This phenomenon is what forced the Ukrainian state to support so much of military activity in extremist groups of volunteers. These were the ones who were willing to go and fight on the front. Additionally internally in Ukraine for a year now (from the beginning of the Maidan)the recruitment of young men and their withdrawal from any kind of work they may had, and the additional  inability of the state to pay even symbolic wages to the soldiers, creates further turbulence within the army and an unwillingness to go to the front by many young men that could be the material of struggles to rise against the state and the new Ukrainian government. Trials of people who refuse to fight are continuing on both sides, and they are accused of being “pro-Russian” or “pro-ukrainian” by the “courts”. Simultaneously in Novorussia, most militias are based on volunteers right-wing and Stalinists from Russia (here detailed interviews themselves) and former Berkrout (former body of the Ukrainian police under Yanukovich). Locals even if they had supported in numbers of thousands the antiMaidan during the its initial phase, when at stake was “entry in the EU or not, subversion or support of Yanukovich” when it came to the war, they did not participate. Therefore and Russia was  forced to support militarily, both by army and by volunteers recruited literally in ‘information kiosks’ on the road in Russia. It is still characteristic the statement of the general tsarist commander of the militia Strelkov, that “the locals do not support us, even ifwe want to liberate their country, they do not want to enlist, we need help.” Certainly the assistance that waited Strelkov, came not so massively as he expected because Russia had a larger game to play and balance. However Ukrainian soldiers who refuse to enlist, the natives of eastern Ukraine who do the same,  the Russian soldiers who rebel by refusing to go to war and return as «gruz 200» is the forms of the class struggle as antimilitarism in the Ukrainian suffocating environment.

Footnotes.

[1] The issue of norm of financial capital is particularly complex to been raised here. However, the reader should have in mind that the international financial system and norms have to do on one hand with the international standards of productivity and on the other with standard growth rates and associated with these productivity standards. Essentially the creation of state unions (such as EU or the Trade custom union) has to do with the creation of accumulation regions with common capital parameters and a mobility of capital within these limits. In this sense and even if it seems like an abstract concept, financial sector ensures the mobility of capital and impose the ‘best’ valorisation norms for capital for an accumulation region. But these conditions have to do with the increasing productivity in each country(or countries) and thus the course of the class struggle in it (if we consider productivity as primary social category and not technical). The leaders of the “People’s republics” understand this when they say that they will adopt China’s productive model type – (statements of the Secretary of CP Dtonetsk, in an interview).

[2] Here we will be brief because we will be back with another text. The nation state does not juxtapose the “international capitalism”. In contrast is the form of organization and domination of capital internationally. So the confrontation is in fact illusory, the nation state is the flip side of capital. The capital, however, is by definition international. What changes are the forms of internationalization, and it is these changes that seem to create today the crisis of national state. What is in crisis is the previous forms of function of national state, not the state itself

[3] judging from what he says the well-known right-wing governor of eastern Ukraine Mazgkovoi for women. An example is also this article from site supportive to the eastern republics. Such rhetoric can be found in Russian social media in Russia and eastern Ukraine.

[4] It should be noted of course that the war is not an “exception” to normality of capital or in the formation of the nation-state, but the standard process itself. It is the ultimate tool of repression of social movements, to national unity and pass “laws” and “policies” that constitute the web of capitalist normality after the “end” of the war. Although these are always negotiable from the class struggle, at least initially it is assumed that the disciplining of the working class and general methods of subjectification in People’s Republics and western Ukraine will be based on “exceptional measures” and institutions were taken during the wartime. How else could be accepted in bourgeois context such things as the “Ukrainian Ministry of truth in Kiev or one-party elections in Donetsk and the police state without the excuse of the war? War is very convenient for both the eastern republics and for Kiev. Let us not forget anyway-a similar example to the extent it is still adequate. The formation of an  accumulation process in Greece in 1949-1974 was largely based on institutional frameworks that were established at the end of WWII and during the civil war.

[5] Here the question arises of whether this is a constant characteristic of all square movements. The question obviously remains: what contradictions of class struggle shape the issues and how articulate the political discourse and political processes within the squares. It is impressive and should be seen as a contradiction of class struggle and at the same time as the inability of the “traditional” class analysis, what stance is taken by the various political organizations in Ukraine. Anarchists of ACT have used an “anti-imperialist discourse” against “Russian imperialism” and ended up blaming  “Russia” as a whole country almost for anything. (Featured example texts here and here). Losing class analysis and the position that the war effort is mutually a partially resolving process of antinomy of the CMP between capitalist states. The whole rhetoric despite the ‘ anarchist sauce’ results in supporting or an obvious absence of criticism of the (Ukrainian) state. This has given rise to  divisions and splits of the Ukrainian radical movement. For what kind of radicalism can we talk when anarchists go to the army to fight against a ‘imperialism’?(this has to do with other smaller anarchist or antifa groups of Kiev, not with ACT/AWU directly) Or perhaps can we say that they give a different character in the army? Obviously not. There are not the people who cumulatively and subjectively construct the character of a (state) apparatus but rather the overall state mechanisms as apparatus that ultimately builds their actions and features, in addition to subjective positions. The same obviously applies to the few “leftists” of the army Novorussia. Equally, the Borotba organization which was a key propagandist organization of Russian nationalism with “left” rhetoric was finally fully integrated (some here may say that as stalinists and statists they were from the very beginning into that) into the nationalistic and militaristic rhetoric and neither this organization managed to escape the maelstrom of “strict” states, which they themselves helped to emerge. The leaderships of PRD and their PRL arrested them, and after two weeks of detention they expelled them from the republics (according to announcement Borotba itself). Borotba said it would continue to support the republics against the “junta”despite their obvious character even to them. Borotba itself although in western interviews denies it, is long associated with the Holocaust denier, anti-EU far-right historian Israel Shamir and this seems to fit well within their political framework without major discrepancies. This raises questions as to whether the antiimperialist discourse always results in some form of nationalism or neo-Stalinism, which is particularly evident in discussions about Ukraine.Someone to understand the status of the People’s Republics because of inconsistencies in the class struggle and capital composition between “East and West” regions of Ukraine as well as the historical narratives which use and encapsulate these States, he should take into account that the collective narrative which is produced is “west” versus the “east”. Within this dipole of discourse are mixed all the historical narratives about the “strong state” and military/political confrontation, regardless of their individual discourse differences. An indicative example is that the right-wing “anti-EU” Jean-Marie Le Pen, together with representatives of the leadership of PRD is organizing a conference in Donetsk, while other “leftists” of the European anti-imperialist left are organizing conferences and campaigns also at the same place.(update: in the conference participated together people from Syriza, Front National and the pro-pegida organization “alternative for Germany” ) . This should raise questions rather than be ignored, how and why collective narratives, poltical ideologies, the interests of the state and a part of the working class are all together articulated in the regions political discourse, practices and state structures. The ukrainian events  make clear that anti-imperialism is the tombstone of any radical politics.

[6] Of course we must remember that these contradictions determined by the interaction of state formations dependent on the course of the class struggle within them. That the refusal of military service has become a problem for these countries is evident in legislations or policies which are adopted about military mobilization. A great example is this report, which refers to mass refusal to enlist in western Ukraine,and also for the most famous of these deniers in Ukraine, the journalist Ruslan Kotsamp. Also comrades from Ukraine confirm the reports of mass refusal of military service. At the same time many residents of Donetsk refuse to enlist also. This is shown both by the massive migration in Russia and Ukraine also by the fact that the army of the “rebels” of “Novorussia” is mercenary (announced by themselves). These are forms of struggle that deserve to be studied and supported further as barriers to the reorganization of capital

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