As we were finishing this issue of Internationalist Perspective, a ferocious typhoon struck the Philippines, killing thousands and causing immense material destruction. It was yet another confirmation that capitalism's indifference to the impact it has on the ecosystem poses a growing threat to mankind. From a human point of view, the typhoon is an unfathomable disaster. But for the value-system, which is created by humans yet confronts humans as an overwhelming outside force, such destruction is rather beneficial. From the point of view of value, which must grow to survive, yet is drowned in overcapacity, destruction of excess capital is a tonic.
As we write, war is destroying Syria. There is a logic to this conflict and the way it has unfolded, and this logic will repeat itself, the more the deepening of capitalism’s crisis shrinks the loot for the robbers to divide. And, again, the mass killings of civilians in this ‘civil’ war is a human calamity of enormous proportions, but for capital it’s just excess population conveniently being eliminated. We live in violent times. The systemic crisis of capitalism leads to war, terror, famine, ecological catastrophes. It also pushes capital to wage a war against the working class with harsh austerity measures, attacks on wages and brutal repression of resistance to them.
Both types of conflicts (those between capitals and those between capital and the collective worker) are examined in this issue. Several articles look at the war in Syria and other turmoil in the Middle East. Another article examines the different ways in which capital attacks the collective worker, to cut its costs and squeeze out more surplus value, and the forms of resistance that have emerged in the last years. The violence of capitalism also takes on more hidden forms such as the treatment of the most vulnerable amongst us: Those that are or are seen as mentally ill. In this issue, an article on mental illness shows that the seemingly ‘objective’ description of mental diseases is shaped by the evolution of exploitation, alienation and suppression of possibilities of human relationships which characterize capitalism.
The issue concludes with two articles in which we explain our differences with the historical tradition of the Communist Left. In IP 57 we showed how both its strengths and its weakness were rooted in traditional Marxism. In this issue, we examine the consequences of this limit: the Communist Left’s failure to understand the trajectory of capitalism and the revolutionary process in our times. The analysis we offer in contrast, is far from complete, but we hope it contributes to a better understanding of the immense challenges of the present situation.
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