Let’s talk about dictatorship. In Britain, the reopening is jeopardized by the expansion of the Indian covid variant; in Europe, things are back to business as usual and borders are being reopened to tourists before it is prudent to do so, in Japan, amid new restrictions the government and the IOC are determined to celebrate the Olympics despite the general rejection of the population. All the news, from the imperialist battles between Spain and Morocco to the new electricity bill, as well as the hike in raw materials’ prices, share one element in common: the social imposition of the needs of capital profitability over and above the most basic universal human needs. A fact with an old name: dictatorship.
Table of Contents
- Great Britain: vaccination, Indian variant and vacations in Spain
- Olympic Games come hell or high water
- The dictatorship of our times
Great Britain: vaccination, Indian variant and vacations in Spain
Again, the Covid epidemic is resurgent in Britain. The cause, we are told, variants and in particular the Indian one. This is not true. The reality is that when the full guideline, the two doses from Pfizer or AstraZeneca, is administered, immunization even in the case of the most dangerous variant – the South African one – is very high.
But much of the adult population has received no more than one injection because increasing the numbers of people who had received some doses was a political choice.
The idea was to boost vaccination numbers with a small trick in order to offer a quick horizon of business reopening with which to get the economy back on track.
But it goes further than that. In reality, vaccination was – and is – going so slowly simply because not as many vaccines are being produced as could be produced with the current industrial base. The reason? The easiest way to get the entire industry into production would be through a patent hijacking or release… but that would cause a drop in the stock market valuation of big pharma by reducing expectations of windfall profits due to the monopoly granted by the patent.
One after another, the whole chain of events that ends in new deaths, contagions and suffering of thousands has the same driving force: the imposition of the requirements of capital to increase profits over the most basic universal needs of the population. And when that imposition of particular interests over social need takes on a systematic and institutionalized character, it has a name: dictatorship.
But the overwhelming signs of a dictatorship of the piously named economic interests are not an exclusively British phenomenon. They are not the hallmark of a particular government or a particular state. Sánchez smugly presented last week a reopening to British tourism in which those who have received a single dose will have free entry. All for the sake of capital invested in hotels and hospitality. Who cares about the fact that the Indian variant is now spreading particularly strongly among the unvaccinated and those who have received only one dose?
Olympic Games come hell or high water
Following the same logic, it is worth noting how the debate over the Tokyo Olympics takes place in the stark terms of return on investment. Faced with the prospect of bringing in $28.5 billion if the games go ahead versus just $949 if they are canceled, the Suga government is certain that, even on the basis of keeping athletes confined and with minimal tourists among the public, the games will go ahead.
It matters little that 70% of the population does not want the games to be held and that Tokyo and three other major prefectures are in the midst of a state of emergency as the cases keep escalating. The interest of national capital both in hard cash income and, above all, in imperialist boast and nationalist reinforcement, come first. The large Japanese industrial combines (keiretsu) want the Olympic showcase in order to advertise their latest technologies, from new electric car batteries to new construction techniques, to the world.
The dictatorship of our times
We could go on about a thousand topics, from electric power bills in Europe to the goals of Biden’s Green New Deal, passing through the more or less bloody imperialist conflicts between states. The common element is always the same: the empire of a particular interest over the totality of the political apparatus and through it over the social whole. That is, the definition of dictatorship
Dictatorship of whom? Dictatorship of the interests of capital accumulation or what is the same, dictatorship of the social class embodying it, the bourgeoisie, that class so diverse that it includes the great American speculator, the European democratic politician, the Spanish corporate top manager, the Russian oligarch and the Cuban or Venezuelan bureaucrat.
The alternative? Impose generic human needs on capital and its state. That is what, embryonically, is present in every real strike, in every workers’ mobilization and in the common and universal interest that unites workers all over the world. Projected forward it takes a different name whose meaning has been muddied and manipulated to the extreme although in reality it is nothing other than the only really possible and peremptorily necessary form of the most complete democracy.
Because, in case there was any doubt, the democracy we are called to defend, from Colombia to Hong Kong, is none other than the one we have been talking about above and is used for the things we see every day: organizing the sacrifice of lives and needs for the smooth running of the nation, that is, the good running of business of national capital in all its private, state-owned and intervened branches. There are no middle ways: dictatorship of profit or dictatorship of human needs. At the moment, we have the former at an enormous human cost. They call it social peace.