The Waves of Disobedience

Translation of an article by Jorge Moruno, originally published 18 July 2012 on his blog La Revuelta de Las Neuronas.

The waves of disobedience

Speaking the other day with Political Science lecturer Raimundo Viejo, I mentioned to him that the evolution of mobilisations was as if layers of an onion kept forming on top of one another. He developed this further, by saying that rather than layers of an onion, it seemed more to him like waves of the sea, where each one from its starting point gives shape to the beach due to the sand it leaves behind. The latest to join the range of students and precarious workers protesting are public servants, who observe the way they are turned into the scapegoat for the frustrations and impotence of others who call them privileged, when they would never say such a thing about the powerful.  

Climates of mobilisation form, in a distinct and discontinuous way, but with a shared direction. There is no central “single moment”, but rather a flow, a variability. Just when some thought that with the miners march a kind of final struggle would reach its peak, suddenly the stage was completely redesigned and public servants appeared, cutting off streets using a movement repertoire. Many might say that these are merely corporatist protests, for their pay and nothing more. The same might be said of those who laughed about the property bubble until the day came that they were being evicted. Like the worker protagonist of the film ‘The Working Class Goes to Heaven’ who mocks protesters and calls them lazy, until one day he cuts his finger off and his employer gives him no support, and then he radicalises, mutates in his being.

When someone who works in public functions cannot find a minimum of dignity at work, this brings negative repercussions for the service provided to the public, that is, the majority of the population. But I think many of these people are very clear that their predicament has a collective dimension, just as its solution does.

At any rate this is a matter of a long process, a long distance race, where immersion in struggles undermines entrenched assumptions, conservative perspectives and thoughts, and individualist visions. Only in this sense of being in it with everyone else can our lives take that turn, reaching that higher level that Gramsci spoke about, referring to the relation between spontaneity and conscious direction. This consciousness does not pass through the filter of the party, in any case the reverse is true, the party must submit itself to the filter of the movement. The conscious direction depends more on the orientation taken by the collective brain in movement; connected via network, decentralised, something that can be co-ordinated but difficult to dominate.

Capitalism, just like a snake, is accelerating its change of skin. To go on maintaining the extraction of wealth, to maintain profit rates, to plunder, in the final instance, it needs to destroy everything that at any given moment was useful to it for that same objective. It is for this reason that it attacks all that is known, all that has been assimilated even by people who are conservative, and it seeks to replace it with a Mad Max-style desert. The much vaunted switch to a new era and the undebated adaptation, called for constantly by the government, does not seek this objective of change towards something more advanced. Here it has been decided that our shedding of skin shall be the radical deepening of what has been known until now; and that’s if we are lucky. Music festivals, sun, casinos, construction and the full range of productive activities aimed at practising servitude to those with money.

We are a colony of capitalism 2.0, the darkest side of the digital economy. Any adaptation of exploitation in keeping with the preparedness of the labour force is cast aside, in its place we are condemned to accept being anchored down en masse by a market beneath our abilities. We are not headed for a precarity model of the German mini-job type, that is precarity for the countries on top; in our case we are headed more for a return to feudalism without the protection of the lord, you are free to rot in the street: Neoslavery.  

We have to insist on opening up cracks, to act upon them, to support disobedience, even by those who cause us scepticism and antipathy. They will have to impose fear in the streets and it is always better that there are not many prepared to get involved, which means not having to hold on to one another. Open up hopes, guide public opinion, so that at the sensitive juncture when remaining condemned to debt becomes worse than declaring it odious debt, the rupture successfully overcomes reactionary and totalitarian danger. The more waves that break on the beach, the more people who defended their servitude because they thought of the salvation of their master as their own will stop doing so. And then we really will be at the point of the change of mentality that the lumpen-oligarchy is always asking for; but in the opposite direction: wealth, knowledge, innovation, technology, in the service of people and not of private profit.

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