America burns. Santiago of Chile burns. Fury burns in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Haiti. And something begins to move in the United States. All that turmoil has in common the fact that capitalism is moving towards meeting its limit, which does not mean that it will happen in the short term. Lacan considered that capitalism would burst, because its success lies in the unstoppable speed of its lethal logic. Some signs begin to be glimpsed.
Richard Wolff is one of the most respected American Marxists, creator of Democracy at Work, a nonprofit association that promotes worker cooperatives. It is an unusual formula in that country, but it is growing in proportions that until recently were unthinkable. Wolff is not naive. He does not expect that will change the system overnight, but he reminds us that throughout history feudalism came to an end thanks to the slow process of creating communes founded by renegades fleeing from servitude. The surprising thing is that, after years of teaching at the university, Wolff’s message begins to penetrate many young Americans. According to a study by Harvard University, more than 52 percent of citizens between the ages of 18 and 29 have stopped supporting the capitalist system. The statistics are worth what they are worth, but Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi was questioned by the students of that university during a conference and ran out of arguments. She could not improvise an informed response to explain why capitalism is presented as if it were a fact of nature, when there is plenty of evidence that it becomes incompatible with life. The Congresswoman’s sputtering flooded social networks and failed to convince almost anyone.
Since 1980, the gross domestic product of the entire planet has grown by 630%, and yet inequality, poverty, hunger and homelessness have continued to increase. The executive committees of large companies begin to meet with Richard Wolff because they want to know his opinion. More and more people suspect that, if this does not change, the country will begin to break. In an absolutely clumsy and useless gesture of concern, many CEOs give up their bonuses to be distributed among employees, a kind of desperate act of charity in the face of the evidence that malaise is on the rise. No one, or almost no one, denies the benefits of material abundance, but in the guts of people emerges the nausea of a system that turns anything human into capital and sucks nature to the last drop.
André Ford, an architecture student, has proposed a method of mass producing chickens that involves removing their cerebral cortex so that they do not feel the horror of being packed in vertical farms. To optimize space, he even suggests that the ends of their legs be chopped off. Thanks to this technique, eleven chickens could be raised in the space currently occupied by three. If something does not happen quickly, this method will be extended to humans. Ford has named it the “Centre For Unconscious Farming“. Food, water and air would be delivered via a network of tubes and excrement would be removed in the same way.
In Essex (United Kingdom) an abandoned truck with 39 bodies of Chinese and Vietnamese people packed like chickens was recently found. There are no limits. Everything can catch fire. A wonderful and terrible collection of photographs by Bryan Shutmaat shows in all its rawness the waste of capitalism. Touching portraits of beings who have become completely expendable, faces that reflect hate and pain.
That the film “Joker” has provoked an emotional impact that no movie had achieved for a long time may not be unrelated to this. If it continues like this, one good day everything will catch fire. The system has made us believe that violence is the expression of the antisocial and resentful. This has been one of the greatest triumphs of capitalism: diagnosing fury as a sign of maladjustment and insanity, while an elite surrenders to increasingly extreme forms of sadism that are publicly traded and have market value.
The majorities occupy their place as chickens without head and without legs, which allows them to be intubated through every hole without the possibility of reacting. Capitalism feeds on blood, but sooner or later it will end up receiving a stake in the heart. Who knows, maybe it will end up being killed off exactly where it has been feeding the longest.