I’ve expressed and demonstrated many times the refusal of First World people to actually engage in struggle against the bourgeois state. The hard left in the First World is near useless. Primarily this is due to its extreme sectarianism, great theoretical weakness, focus on identity politics, general delusion of revolutionary work where there is none, and most of all a lack of necessary material conditions for radical action. However, sometimes I come across things that shows a real unwillingness to even try to challenge the system. This new advancement in Spain is a prime Example.
In the course of the social unrest and social resistance that has sprung out of the global crisis of capitalism in 2008; the Spanish government has declared all protest without government permission to be illegal. Among the many aspects to the new law, photographing or recording the police carries a 600 to 30.000€ fine. Peaceful disobedience to authority is also now subject to a 600 to 30€ fine. The police state in Spain has certainly taken to cracking down on public dissent of its austerity measures and draconian security laws. It is called the Citizen Safety Law or Ley Mordaza. Opponents of it rightfully call it the “Gag Law”.
On April 10th, for the first time, a protest gathering of holograms took place. Protesters blocked by law to assemble have created holograms to take their place in public demonstration against the abuses carried out by the bourgeois state. Light projections of protesters have now been seen for the first time in the streets in response to law which prohibits peaceful protest.
What is truly disappointing to me is that Spain knows better than this. Look at the recent past actions activists have taken. They were not afraid to use violence not too long ago. Europe in general has a strong history when it comes to making demands of government. Spain and Greece are very strong when it comes to the methods of resistance; even by First World standards. What has happened?
Is this where the opposition to the bourgeoisie now stands? Or rather, have a digital representation of themselves stand in for them? Spain is at a point where protest is basically illegal. If the capitalist class’ representatives in the state don’t want you to protest something they can outright say no. Is First World protest so weak that in the face of the most blatant violation of civil rights, that people aren’t even willing to actually go out and do a non-violent meaningless liberal protest? Simple protest isn’t even radical action. It’s just protest, a mere gesture. Which is worse? The fact you’re not allowed to protest, or the fact that people are tolerating that the most very basic action is not allowed? If you’re not willing to protest and get angry about not being able to protest, what are you willing protest for? They’re not even willing protest in support of their right to protest.
In the First World there is an overwhelming desire to “nerf” everything, to take the human interaction out of as much of society as possible. To make everything as safe as possible so we don’t have to take any radical action. This mentality stems from capitalism itself. We have self-serve cashiers at retail and big box stores so that the customer doesn’t even have to interact with a wage earning person. The military is using drones so that military personnel don’t even have to see the people they’re killing. Now Spanish people don’t even have to go out and protest something they’re against. This same mentality of removing the human interaction to make life and business more efficient is making its way into the most human of expressions: outrage against injustice. Sure, it is happening for a different reason, but the problem is that it is happening.
How does this hurt us? How does this hurt the public and the potential for revolution? The answer to that was put quite well by Steven Pinker in “Language as a Window into Human Nature”:
“Well what is the psychological status of an overture that we feel to be out there or on the record that makes it feel so much more awkward than a veiled overture that is conveyed indirectly? And I think a key to this paradox is a concept that economists and logicians call ‘mutual knowledge’ which they distinguish from individual knowledge. In individual knowledge, A knows X and B knows X. In mutual knowledge A knows X, B knows X, A knows that B knows X; B knows and A knows X; A knows that B knows that A knows X ad infinitum. And this is a difference that has profound consequences.
“For example, why is freedom of assembly enshrined as a fundamental right in a democracy and why are political revolutions often triggered when a crowd gathers in a public square to challenge the president in his palace. Well it is because when people were at home everyone knew that they loathed the dictator, but no-one knew that other people knew that other people knew that they knew.
“Once you assemble in a place where everyone can see everyone else everyone knows that everyone else knows that everyone else knows that the dictator is loathed, and that gives them the collective power to challenge the authority of the dictator who otherwise could kick off dissenters one at a time.”
This is such a First World thing to do. To avoid having to actually take radical action against injustice, protesters have used First World privilege in access to resources and technology to avoid having to take radical action. They’ve come up with something to avoid having to do struggle. This ability to avoid struggle is made possible by First World plunder of the Third World. The technology, money and resources to carry this out is available to them because of their silent cooperation with imperialism. When they refuse to struggle and stop imperialism, they enforce this privilege being in their hands. As long as the First World (including the higher end of the global scale) has this privilege they won’t have the material conditions necessary for revolution.
All power to the Third World, long live Global People’s War.
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First Hologram Protest in History Held Against Spain’s Gag Law, Revolution News
The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature, Steven Pinker, The RSA