[uG:] No time to die! – Against the authoritarian plague state and capitalist normality

Trans­la­ti­on of our state­ment on the cur­rent Coro­na-Cri­sis.

Banner that says "No time to die! - Against the authoritarian plague state and capitalist normality"

We will feed each other, re-dis­tri­bu­te wealth, strike.
We will under­stand our own impor­t­ance
from the pla­ces we must stay.
Com­mu­ni­on moves bey­ond walls.
We can still be tog­e­ther.
(Brit­ney Spears/​Mimi Zhu)

What many thought impos­si­ble just two weeks ago has beco­me rea­li­ty: The coro­na virus is sprea­ding inter­na­tio­nal­ly, the capi­ta­list machi­ne is fal­te­ring. And the bour­geois sta­te is taking action. It should come as no sur­pri­se that in Ger­ma­ny, too, par­lia­ment and government do ever­ything the mono­po­list on the use of for­ce has in store: the pro­tec­tion against epi­de­mics has always been the area whe­re the nati­on sta­te could demons­tra­te to its citi­zens that it is indis­pensable. What is now being demo­cra­ti­cal­ly imple­men­ted is a dream come true for all fans of aut­ho­ri­ta­ri­an poli­tics – and all too often has litt­le to do with health poli­cy. Whe­ther their names are Söder, Klöck­ner or Kramp-Kar­ren­bau­er: Bor­der clo­sures, cur­fews, con­ta­ct ban, poli­ce deploy­ment of the Ger­man Armed For­ces insi­de the coun­try, stop of huma­ni­ta­ri­an refu­gee admis­si­ons and soon com­pul­so­ry work for asyl­um see­kers, are being car­ri­ed out almost inci­dent­al­ly. It is not very reas­su­ring that the fascist agi­ta­tors of the AfD have litt­le to say at the moment. The rea­son for this is that in the still ongo­ing initi­al pha­se of demo­cra­tic cri­sis manage­ment the grand coali­ti­on is sin­gle-han­ded­ly pushing through the country’s iso­la­ti­on. The “Yes” to the “Luft­brü­cke” (Air­lift) makes this clear: The sta­te is brin­ging back 100,000 stran­ded Ger­man tou­rists with air­planes, but refu­sing ent­ry to 20,000 refu­gees on the Greek islands, who are acu­te­ly threa­tened with death the­re. For this mur­de­rous racist logic of natio­na­lism, no tips from the right-wing oppo­si­ti­on are nee­ded.

The dead and the undead sys­tem

The irra­tio­na­li­ty of capi­ta­lism beco­mes all the more appa­rent in the cri­sis: when mee­tings of more than two peop­le are ban­ned except at work, capi­ta­lism shows that it will go over dead bodies for its sur­vi­val. The big­gest coro­na par­ties do not take place ille­gal­ly in play­grounds or parks, but are sta­te-spon­so­red: every day in open-plan offices, Ama­zon ful­fill­ment cen­ters and the country’s fac­to­ries, as well as, not to be for­got­ten, in the refu­gee housing faci­li­ties whe­re the sta­te cramps the unwan­ted peop­le tog­e­ther. What would real­ly help – the inter­rup­ti­on of nor­mal ope­ra­ti­ons – is, howe­ver, high­ly con­tro­ver­si­al. While the World Health Orga­niz­a­ti­on warns against a resump­ti­on of pro­duc­tion, not only auto­crats such as Donald Trump and the Bra­zi­li­an Pre­si­dent Bol­so­na­ro are coun­ting on tri­via­li­zing the pro­blem, but also the Ger­man Health Minis­ter Jens Spahn. May they dif­fer in their argu­men­ta­ti­on and choice of words, the result is essen­ti­al­ly the same: accep­t­ing deaths in order to get the natio­nal eco­no­my back on its feet. And to do it befo­re anyo­ne else does, becau­se this is the only way an advan­ta­ge can be gai­ned in the glo­bal mar­ket com­pe­ti­ti­on. And even though many more peop­le will die in Bra­zil and the USA than in Ger­ma­ny – the world cham­pion coun­try in respi­ra­to­ry care – the ques­ti­on ari­ses here and the­re, what kind of a bro­ken socie­ty sells the mea­su­res for res­uming all kinds of work as rea­son­ab­le and at the same time tri­es to per­sua­de peop­le that the only thing that counts is their pri­va­te, self-respon­si­ble actions as citi­zens? The radi­cal left deman­ds what real­ly hel­ps at this point: the aboli­ti­on of the obli­ga­ti­on to work and the inter­rup­ti­on of all eco­no­mic acti­vi­ties which are not abso­lute­ly necessa­ry for the basic sup­ply of peop­le now. We must fight to ensu­re that wages are safe­guar­ded and that peop­le do not have to go to work. Collec­ti­ve solu­ti­ons for wage los­ses and new forms of action on the shop floor must be fought for.

Cri­sis of pro­duc­tion, socie­ty and poli­tics

The virus has trig­ge­red a capi­ta­list cri­sis of pro­duc­tion and at the same time a cri­sis of socie­ty, or more pre­cise­ly: of social repro­duc­tion. The eco­no­my was not, howe­ver, plun­ged into cri­sis by the virus as such – it is only the trig­ger to which the imma­nent­ly cri­sis-rid­den capi­ta­lism with its latent finan­cial bub­ble, its indus­tri­al over-accu­mu­la­ti­on and its fra­gi­le sup­ply chains now reacts by severely inter­rup­t­ing pro­duc­tion. Natu­re and socie­ty are not con­tra­dic­to­ry: the spread of the coro­na­vi­rus is ulti­mate­ly the result of the capi­ta­list mode of pro­duc­tion in agri­cul­tu­re and live­stock far­ming. The­re is neit­her a natu­ral­ness nor a mode of pro­duc­tion which is out­side the capi­ta­list rela­ti­ons­hip. The glo­bal eco­no­mic cri­sis that is now begin­ning is as real as the virus its­elf, which must be fought with a poor­ly orga­nis­ed health sys­tem. The con­di­ti­on of the lat­ter, bro­ken by the per­se­ver­an­ce of neo-libe­ral aus­teri­ty and capi­ta­li­sa­ti­on, requi­res reac­tions like #flat­ten­the­cur­ve and leads to a bad com­pro­mi­se bet­ween virus con­trol and eco­no­mic res­cue. The left must make it clear that the cri­sis of capi­tal does not necessa­ri­ly have to be iden­ti­cal with the cri­sis of socie­ty or, for that mat­ter, the cri­sis of peop­le dying from the virus. Only if it suc­ceeds in this can the coro­na cri­sis beco­me a poli­ti­cal sys­tem cri­sis. On the other hand, it should refrain from accu­sing the sta­te of some dark con­spi­ra­to­ri­al bio-power games – the virus is real, the thre­at is real. The fight against the virus is its­elf a vital sta­te inte­rest, becau­se citi­zens dying of Coro­na ques­ti­on the sov­er­eig­n­ty of the sta­te. But the left should also refrain from spea­king out in the wake of sta­te mea­su­res to pri­va­tise the health cri­sis. Of cour­se it is right to keep distance, wash your hands and wear a face mask. But left-wing poli­tics does not con­sist of giving tips on how to behave to others; the sta­te, as the mono­po­list on the use of for­ce, can hand­le that on its own. The left muss endu­re and not mis­in­ter­pret the con­tra­dic­tion that both the peop­le and the aut­ho­ri­ta­ri­an sta­te have a shared inte­rest in figh­t­ing the virus. The sta­te does this out of the inte­rest of main­tai­ning pro­duc­tion. Ins­tead, it must build poli­ti­cal pres­su­re and make radi­cal deman­ds: Expro­pria­te com­pa­nies and bil­lion­aires, and pay workers in care, health and nur­sing appro­pria­te­ly. The main­stream dis­cour­se on “sys­temi­cal­ly rele­vant pro­fes­si­ons” should be gra­te­ful­ly recei­ved and shar­pe­ned. On the one hand, we must point out that it is pre­do­mi­nant­ly women who are in char­ge of the­se are­as: nur­ses, super­mar­ket sel­lers, tea­chers. On the other hand, we must point out that sys­temi­cal­ly rele­vant work is not to be had for not­hing. A litt­le night­ly applau­se from the bal­co­ny is cyni­cal [In ger­man cities cur­r­ent­ly peop­le are “thanking” hel­pers by clap­ping at 9pm] if it does not lead to poli­ti­cal con­se­quen­ces. In the for­mer case it is not­hing more than an ideo­lo­gi­cal maneu­ver pre­ten­ding that women have only been kee­ping repro­duc­tion going sin­ce the begin­ning of the cri­sis, whe­ther in repro­duc­ti­ve jobs or after­wards at home. Moreo­ver, it is women, whe­ther “sys­temi­cal­ly rele­vant” or not, who are dis­pro­por­tio­na­te­ly affec­ted by vio­lence in the pri­va­te sphe­re. For some, #staythe­fuck­home means the oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn art­ful pot­te­ry, for others it is a domestic hell of vio­lence. For the left, making sys­temic rele­van­ce clear must mean empha­si­zing the role of repro­duc­tion. In this respect, it is once again true: femi­nism is class war.

Open the bor­ders – save lives!

All over the world the nati­on sta­tes – like Euro­pe – are clo­sing down their bor­ders. The natio­nal com­mu­ni­ty sud­den­ly appears again as the only obvious, natu­ral and plau­si­ble one. The­re is a retre­at into the natio­nal as a nar­ra­ti­ve of non-ideo­lo­gi­cal soli­da­ri­ty of a con­si­der­ab­ly expan­ded cha­ri­ta­ble com­mu­ni­ty. Howe­ver, this nar­ra­ti­ve is actual­ly that of the objec­ti­ve “com­mu­ni­ty of fate” of the citi­zen collec­ti­ve: who hap­pens to have a Ger­man health insuran­ce card is well off, unli­ke tho­se with an Ita­li­an or Spa­nish one. The fact that after the last cri­sis in 2008 Ger­ma­ny for­ced a bru­tal aus­teri­ty cour­se on other coun­tries once again pro­ves to be mur­de­rous. After all, coun­tries like Ita­ly and Spain have had to cut back on their health sys­tems under pres­su­re from the Ger­man “black zero” poli­cy. It is no coin­ci­dence that it is the­se two coun­tries whe­re thousands of peop­le are dying the­se days – and not in Ger­ma­ny. It is only a small step being the cri­sis win­ner in 2008 to the ven­ti­la­ti­on world cham­pion in 2020. In the cur­rent situa­ti­on, the most important thing is the­re­fo­re to break through the ram­pant natio­na­lism of self-care and stand up for tho­se who have neit­her pass­port nor health insuran­ce card. The cen­tral demand of the radi­cal left must be to stop the huma­ni­ta­ri­an dis­as­ter in Moria on Les­bos and pro­vi­de medi­cal care for the peop­le cram­med tog­e­ther and dis­tri­bu­te them among the EU mem­ber sta­tes so that they too can be pro­tec­ted from infec­tion.

Future

No mat­ter how long it lasts: after the cri­sis will not be like befo­re the cri­sis. But it is not clear whe­ther social demo­cra­tic models with sta­te-capi­ta­list aspects, which have been frow­ned upon for a long time, will pre­vail, or whe­ther eco­no­mic libe­rals with an aut­ho­ri­ta­ri­an frame­work will pre­vail in order to help undead neo­li­be­ra­lism over the next cliff. Whe­ther all this is accom­pa­nied by models of public social con­trol in the South Kore­an way, or whe­ther new eco­no­mic forms and chan­ged con­scious­ness are perhaps emer­ging here and the­re – will not be nego­tia­ted after the cri­sis, but now. The fact is: capi­tal frac­tions, such as tho­se of the sup­ply ser­vices or phar­maceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies, are pro­fi­t­ing from the cri­sis. Ama­zon, for examp­le, recent­ly adver­ti­sed 100,000 jobs. And the way in which we work in the future is also being ren­ego­tia­ted: Will the home office remain a low-cost work­place for capi­tal? How will short-time work chan­ge the inco­me situa­ti­on? And how is capi­tal dealing with the slump in the low-wage sec­tor? Far-reaching chan­ges are immi­nent that can only be won through well-orga­ni­zed strug­gles.

To find some­thing some­thing good in the cur­rent situa­ti­on seems cyni­cal to us. Nevertheless, the result of the cri­sis could at least be that the neces­si­ties a rea­son­ab­ly socie­ty should satisfy are more clear­ly evi­dent. With the gra­du­al daw­ning of the public’s reco­gni­ti­on that the pro­fes­si­ons in the care sec­tor are “sys­temi­cal­ly rele­vant”, the deba­te on care revo­lu­ti­on, women’s strikes and the labour dis­pu­tes of health care workers can be lin­ked to this. This also app­lies to the neigh­bor­hood mutu­al aid that is begin­ning to emer­ge in many pla­ces, which could be deve­lo­ped into soli­da­ri­ty-based district struc­tures if it were pos­si­ble to poli­ti­ci­ze them. They could form a pole from below to sup­port the emer­ging strug­gles for wages, the dis­tri­bu­ti­on of repro­duc­ti­ve work and rent – what Adi­das can do with its rent strike, so can we. The cur­rent wave of soli­da­ri­ty, which also inclu­des the neigh­bour­hood work of various lef­tist initia­ti­ves and collec­ti­ves, has to be expan­ded in order to win the­se strug­gles. Today, more than ever, anti-natio­nal cri­ti­cism means scan­da­li­sing the racist iso­la­ti­on of Ger­ma­ny and Euro­pe from refu­gees at the natio­nal bor­ders.

It is bad enough that we humans die and beco­me ill natu­ral­ly. But the­re is no rea­son to fur­ther dupli­ca­te this pro­blem social­ly by con­ti­nuing to place human needs under the cons­traints of the “second natu­re” of capi­ta­list irra­tio­na­li­ty. Against the aut­ho­ri­ta­ri­an admi­nis­tra­ti­on of epi­de­mics in the ser­vice of busi­ness loca­ti­on and com­pe­ti­ti­on, we the­re­fo­re wie­ld com­mu­nism as a coun­ter­vai­ling power from below. Not as a distant light at the end of the tun­nel, as a uto­pian ide­al in dark times, but as a prac­ti­cal move­ment against the nor­mal exe­cu­ti­on of capi­ta­lism that pro­du­ces sick peop­le, seeks sca­pe­goa­ts and liter­al­ly walks over mas­ses of corp­ses in hos­pi­tals as well as at the bor­ders. What else could stop it now?

…ums Gan­ze! Alli­an­ce
March 29th, 2020

Trans­la­ti­on of our state­ment on the cur­rent Coro­na-Cri­sis.

Banner that says "No time to die! - Against the authoritarian plague state and capitalist normality"

We will feed each other, re-dis­tri­bu­te wealth, strike.
We will under­stand our own impor­t­ance
from the pla­ces we must stay.
Com­mu­ni­on moves bey­ond walls.
We can still be tog­e­ther.
(Brit­ney Spears/​Mimi Zhu)

What many thought impos­si­ble just two weeks ago has beco­me rea­li­ty: The coro­na virus is sprea­ding inter­na­tio­nal­ly, the capi­ta­list machi­ne is fal­te­ring. And the bour­geois sta­te is taking action. It should come as no sur­pri­se that in Ger­ma­ny, too, par­lia­ment and government do ever­ything the mono­po­list on the use of for­ce has in store: the pro­tec­tion against epi­de­mics has always been the area whe­re the nati­on sta­te could demons­tra­te to its citi­zens that it is indis­pensable. What is now being demo­cra­ti­cal­ly imple­men­ted is a dream come true for all fans of aut­ho­ri­ta­ri­an poli­tics – and all too often has litt­le to do with health poli­cy. Whe­ther their names are Söder, Klöck­ner or Kramp-Kar­ren­bau­er: Bor­der clo­sures, cur­fews, con­ta­ct ban, poli­ce deploy­ment of the Ger­man Armed For­ces insi­de the coun­try, stop of huma­ni­ta­ri­an refu­gee admis­si­ons and soon com­pul­so­ry work for asyl­um see­kers, are being car­ri­ed out almost inci­dent­al­ly. It is not very reas­su­ring that the fascist agi­ta­tors of the AfD have litt­le to say at the moment. The rea­son for this is that in the still ongo­ing initi­al pha­se of demo­cra­tic cri­sis manage­ment the grand coali­ti­on is sin­gle-han­ded­ly pushing through the country’s iso­la­ti­on. The “Yes” to the “Luft­brü­cke” (Air­lift) makes this clear: The sta­te is brin­ging back 100,000 stran­ded Ger­man tou­rists with air­planes, but refu­sing ent­ry to 20,000 refu­gees on the Greek islands, who are acu­te­ly threa­tened with death the­re. For this mur­de­rous racist logic of natio­na­lism, no tips from the right-wing oppo­si­ti­on are nee­ded.

The dead and the undead sys­tem

The irra­tio­na­li­ty of capi­ta­lism beco­mes all the more appa­rent in the cri­sis: when mee­tings of more than two peop­le are ban­ned except at work, capi­ta­lism shows that it will go over dead bodies for its sur­vi­val. The big­gest coro­na par­ties do not take place ille­gal­ly in play­grounds or parks, but are sta­te-spon­so­red: every day in open-plan offices, Ama­zon ful­fill­ment cen­ters and the country’s fac­to­ries, as well as, not to be for­got­ten, in the refu­gee housing faci­li­ties whe­re the sta­te cramps the unwan­ted peop­le tog­e­ther. What would real­ly help – the inter­rup­ti­on of nor­mal ope­ra­ti­ons – is, howe­ver, high­ly con­tro­ver­si­al. While the World Health Orga­niz­a­ti­on warns against a resump­ti­on of pro­duc­tion, not only auto­crats such as Donald Trump and the Bra­zi­li­an Pre­si­dent Bol­so­na­ro are coun­ting on tri­via­li­zing the pro­blem, but also the Ger­man Health Minis­ter Jens Spahn. May they dif­fer in their argu­men­ta­ti­on and choice of words, the result is essen­ti­al­ly the same: accep­t­ing deaths in order to get the natio­nal eco­no­my back on its feet. And to do it befo­re anyo­ne else does, becau­se this is the only way an advan­ta­ge can be gai­ned in the glo­bal mar­ket com­pe­ti­ti­on. And even though many more peop­le will die in Bra­zil and the USA than in Ger­ma­ny – the world cham­pion coun­try in respi­ra­to­ry care – the ques­ti­on ari­ses here and the­re, what kind of a bro­ken socie­ty sells the mea­su­res for res­uming all kinds of work as rea­son­ab­le and at the same time tri­es to per­sua­de peop­le that the only thing that counts is their pri­va­te, self-respon­si­ble actions as citi­zens? The radi­cal left deman­ds what real­ly hel­ps at this point: the aboli­ti­on of the obli­ga­ti­on to work and the inter­rup­ti­on of all eco­no­mic acti­vi­ties which are not abso­lute­ly necessa­ry for the basic sup­ply of peop­le now. We must fight to ensu­re that wages are safe­guar­ded and that peop­le do not have to go to work. Collec­ti­ve solu­ti­ons for wage los­ses and new forms of action on the shop floor must be fought for.

Cri­sis of pro­duc­tion, socie­ty and poli­tics

The virus has trig­ge­red a capi­ta­list cri­sis of pro­duc­tion and at the same time a cri­sis of socie­ty, or more pre­cise­ly: of social repro­duc­tion. The eco­no­my was not, howe­ver, plun­ged into cri­sis by the virus as such – it is only the trig­ger to which the imma­nent­ly cri­sis-rid­den capi­ta­lism with its latent finan­cial bub­ble, its indus­tri­al over-accu­mu­la­ti­on and its fra­gi­le sup­ply chains now reacts by severely inter­rup­t­ing pro­duc­tion. Natu­re and socie­ty are not con­tra­dic­to­ry: the spread of the coro­na­vi­rus is ulti­mate­ly the result of the capi­ta­list mode of pro­duc­tion in agri­cul­tu­re and live­stock far­ming. The­re is neit­her a natu­ral­ness nor a mode of pro­duc­tion which is out­side the capi­ta­list rela­ti­ons­hip. The glo­bal eco­no­mic cri­sis that is now begin­ning is as real as the virus its­elf, which must be fought with a poor­ly orga­nis­ed health sys­tem. The con­di­ti­on of the lat­ter, bro­ken by the per­se­ver­an­ce of neo-libe­ral aus­teri­ty and capi­ta­li­sa­ti­on, requi­res reac­tions like #flat­ten­the­cur­ve and leads to a bad com­pro­mi­se bet­ween virus con­trol and eco­no­mic res­cue. The left must make it clear that the cri­sis of capi­tal does not necessa­ri­ly have to be iden­ti­cal with the cri­sis of socie­ty or, for that mat­ter, the cri­sis of peop­le dying from the virus. Only if it suc­ceeds in this can the coro­na cri­sis beco­me a poli­ti­cal sys­tem cri­sis. On the other hand, it should refrain from accu­sing the sta­te of some dark con­spi­ra­to­ri­al bio-power games – the virus is real, the thre­at is real. The fight against the virus is its­elf a vital sta­te inte­rest, becau­se citi­zens dying of Coro­na ques­ti­on the sov­er­eig­n­ty of the sta­te. But the left should also refrain from spea­king out in the wake of sta­te mea­su­res to pri­va­tise the health cri­sis. Of cour­se it is right to keep distance, wash your hands and wear a face mask. But left-wing poli­tics does not con­sist of giving tips on how to behave to others; the sta­te, as the mono­po­list on the use of for­ce, can hand­le that on its own. The left muss endu­re and not mis­in­ter­pret the con­tra­dic­tion that both the peop­le and the aut­ho­ri­ta­ri­an sta­te have a shared inte­rest in figh­t­ing the virus. The sta­te does this out of the inte­rest of main­tai­ning pro­duc­tion. Ins­tead, it must build poli­ti­cal pres­su­re and make radi­cal deman­ds: Expro­pria­te com­pa­nies and bil­lion­aires, and pay workers in care, health and nur­sing appro­pria­te­ly. The main­stream dis­cour­se on “sys­temi­cal­ly rele­vant pro­fes­si­ons” should be gra­te­ful­ly recei­ved and shar­pe­ned. On the one hand, we must point out that it is pre­do­mi­nant­ly women who are in char­ge of the­se are­as: nur­ses, super­mar­ket sel­lers, tea­chers. On the other hand, we must point out that sys­temi­cal­ly rele­vant work is not to be had for not­hing. A litt­le night­ly applau­se from the bal­co­ny is cyni­cal [In ger­man cities cur­r­ent­ly peop­le are “thanking” hel­pers by clap­ping at 9pm] if it does not lead to poli­ti­cal con­se­quen­ces. In the for­mer case it is not­hing more than an ideo­lo­gi­cal maneu­ver pre­ten­ding that women have only been kee­ping repro­duc­tion going sin­ce the begin­ning of the cri­sis, whe­ther in repro­duc­ti­ve jobs or after­wards at home. Moreo­ver, it is women, whe­ther “sys­temi­cal­ly rele­vant” or not, who are dis­pro­por­tio­na­te­ly affec­ted by vio­lence in the pri­va­te sphe­re. For some, #staythe­fuck­home means the oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn art­ful pot­te­ry, for others it is a domestic hell of vio­lence. For the left, making sys­temic rele­van­ce clear must mean empha­si­zing the role of repro­duc­tion. In this respect, it is once again true: femi­nism is class war.

Open the bor­ders – save lives!

All over the world the nati­on sta­tes – like Euro­pe – are clo­sing down their bor­ders. The natio­nal com­mu­ni­ty sud­den­ly appears again as the only obvious, natu­ral and plau­si­ble one. The­re is a retre­at into the natio­nal as a nar­ra­ti­ve of non-ideo­lo­gi­cal soli­da­ri­ty of a con­si­der­ab­ly expan­ded cha­ri­ta­ble com­mu­ni­ty. Howe­ver, this nar­ra­ti­ve is actual­ly that of the objec­ti­ve “com­mu­ni­ty of fate” of the citi­zen collec­ti­ve: who hap­pens to have a Ger­man health insuran­ce card is well off, unli­ke tho­se with an Ita­li­an or Spa­nish one. The fact that after the last cri­sis in 2008 Ger­ma­ny for­ced a bru­tal aus­teri­ty cour­se on other coun­tries once again pro­ves to be mur­de­rous. After all, coun­tries like Ita­ly and Spain have had to cut back on their health sys­tems under pres­su­re from the Ger­man “black zero” poli­cy. It is no coin­ci­dence that it is the­se two coun­tries whe­re thousands of peop­le are dying the­se days – and not in Ger­ma­ny. It is only a small step being the cri­sis win­ner in 2008 to the ven­ti­la­ti­on world cham­pion in 2020. In the cur­rent situa­ti­on, the most important thing is the­re­fo­re to break through the ram­pant natio­na­lism of self-care and stand up for tho­se who have neit­her pass­port nor health insuran­ce card. The cen­tral demand of the radi­cal left must be to stop the huma­ni­ta­ri­an dis­as­ter in Moria on Les­bos and pro­vi­de medi­cal care for the peop­le cram­med tog­e­ther and dis­tri­bu­te them among the EU mem­ber sta­tes so that they too can be pro­tec­ted from infec­tion.

Future

No mat­ter how long it lasts: after the cri­sis will not be like befo­re the cri­sis. But it is not clear whe­ther social demo­cra­tic models with sta­te-capi­ta­list aspects, which have been frow­ned upon for a long time, will pre­vail, or whe­ther eco­no­mic libe­rals with an aut­ho­ri­ta­ri­an frame­work will pre­vail in order to help undead neo­li­be­ra­lism over the next cliff. Whe­ther all this is accom­pa­nied by models of public social con­trol in the South Kore­an way, or whe­ther new eco­no­mic forms and chan­ged con­scious­ness are perhaps emer­ging here and the­re – will not be nego­tia­ted after the cri­sis, but now. The fact is: capi­tal frac­tions, such as tho­se of the sup­ply ser­vices or phar­maceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies, are pro­fi­t­ing from the cri­sis. Ama­zon, for examp­le, recent­ly adver­ti­sed 100,000 jobs. And the way in which we work in the future is also being ren­ego­tia­ted: Will the home office remain a low-cost work­place for capi­tal? How will short-time work chan­ge the inco­me situa­ti­on? And how is capi­tal dealing with the slump in the low-wage sec­tor? Far-reaching chan­ges are immi­nent that can only be won through well-orga­ni­zed strug­gles.

To find some­thing some­thing good in the cur­rent situa­ti­on seems cyni­cal to us. Nevertheless, the result of the cri­sis could at least be that the neces­si­ties a rea­son­ab­ly socie­ty should satisfy are more clear­ly evi­dent. With the gra­du­al daw­ning of the public’s reco­gni­ti­on that the pro­fes­si­ons in the care sec­tor are “sys­temi­cal­ly rele­vant”, the deba­te on care revo­lu­ti­on, women’s strikes and the labour dis­pu­tes of health care workers can be lin­ked to this. This also app­lies to the neigh­bor­hood mutu­al aid that is begin­ning to emer­ge in many pla­ces, which could be deve­lo­ped into soli­da­ri­ty-based district struc­tures if it were pos­si­ble to poli­ti­ci­ze them. They could form a pole from below to sup­port the emer­ging strug­gles for wages, the dis­tri­bu­ti­on of repro­duc­ti­ve work and rent – what Adi­das can do with its rent strike, so can we. The cur­rent wave of soli­da­ri­ty, which also inclu­des the neigh­bour­hood work of various lef­tist initia­ti­ves and collec­ti­ves, has to be expan­ded in order to win the­se strug­gles. Today, more than ever, anti-natio­nal cri­ti­cism means scan­da­li­sing the racist iso­la­ti­on of Ger­ma­ny and Euro­pe from refu­gees at the natio­nal bor­ders.

It is bad enough that we humans die and beco­me ill natu­ral­ly. But the­re is no rea­son to fur­ther dupli­ca­te this pro­blem social­ly by con­ti­nuing to place human needs under the cons­traints of the “second natu­re” of capi­ta­list irra­tio­na­li­ty. Against the aut­ho­ri­ta­ri­an admi­nis­tra­ti­on of epi­de­mics in the ser­vice of busi­ness loca­ti­on and com­pe­ti­ti­on, we the­re­fo­re wie­ld com­mu­nism as a coun­ter­vai­ling power from below. Not as a distant light at the end of the tun­nel, as a uto­pian ide­al in dark times, but as a prac­ti­cal move­ment against the nor­mal exe­cu­ti­on of capi­ta­lism that pro­du­ces sick peop­le, seeks sca­pe­goa­ts and liter­al­ly walks over mas­ses of corp­ses in hos­pi­tals as well as at the bor­ders. What else could stop it now?

…ums Gan­ze! Alli­an­ce
March 29th, 2020