“Popular” revolts and their limits

This week has been marked both by the impact… and the global political stalemate of revolts.

The problem with “popular” revolts is that what defines the “people” as a subject is the leadership of the petty bourgeoisie, a class politically impotent to go beyond the expression of its discontent and its demands for rents and small state-derived privileges. Either this “popular” phase is soon overcome, with massive forms of workers’ organization appearing along with their own program, or the revolts stagnate in nothingness. Example, Algeria.

This week, everything has been going down that route of impotence. Hariri’s resignation and the repressive response of Hezbollah, have consolidated the revolt in its original terms. Everything points to a stagnation of the revolt itself, alongside a long and violent agony of the Lebanese political apparatus.

The situation is not very different in Iraq, where the students spearheaded the demonstrations and violence has spread without achieving absolutely nothing, quite the contrary , for the political evolution of the movement.

Even in the places where the revolt takes place in a strictly bourgeois terrain, without apparently any possibility of class evolution, as in Bolivia, Pakistan or Catalonia, disorganized violence is not only the expression of the petty bourgeoisie’s impotence and incompetence, it is also the way in which this class, as massive as it is historically sterile, “towers” between the two main classes of society, postponing the evolution of the political crisis into a clear and historically necessary confrontation between the proletariat and bourgeoisie.

In that sense, the petty bourgeoisie continues to be a pillar of the state and the ruling class, whether it burns down the streets or encourages it. It is more than just a hindrance to the class struggle. We are seeing it in Chile, where there seems to be a coordinated and deliberate effort between the petty bourgeoisie in revolt and the political apparatus of the state to affirm “transversality”even if it is on the basis of lengthening the mobilization and accepting its costs for the bourgeoisie.

Because the costs are, of course, undeniable for the bourgeoisie, not only in the immediate (budgets, stock market value of national capital, etc.) but also in terms of inter-imperialist positioning and contest. No need to remind Piñera about it, he had to cancel the meeting of the Pacific Alliance and deliver Sánchez the climate change summit to save the ship from scuttling. A movement of extreme and probably involuntary symbolism: in front of class struggle, Greta is stranded, the climate summits flee 14,000 km away, Piñera finds his pair in a Sánchez who wants to “evolve” towards a privatized and financialized model of pensions. This model was put into question by the underlying class demands of the revolt and Sánchez struts, extracting a little bit of carrion from America to offer it on an increasingly ruinous European altar.

An economically ruinous altar, with a new push from the crisis in its initial stages of development. But also ruinous in terms of its ability to assert itself as an imperialist referent in an increasingly open context of confrontation. Even the “good news” celebrated this week by the European bourgeoisie points to a stagnation that precedes collapse: the call for elections in Britain that should end up “delivering” the Brexit, the “peace” in Ukraine and the first steps towards the PSA-Fiat merger> are more a recognition of fragility and fundamental weakness than an advance in any sense.

And in the middle of this agonizing impasse, macronite France appears more and more frequently. Macron’s “impetus”, far from gaining credibility for the state and the national bourgeoisie, is less and less credible. An example : in pursuit of ecologism, the government had promised to restart, as of November 1, the electric freight train lines that have been suppressed in recent years. The Perpignan-Rungis rail corridor supplied Paris with fruit and vegetables from the south, but now lies abandoned with thousands of trucks making the journey in its place. Today the trains are still in a cemetery of locomotives with barely working 40 years old cars. In the midst of a wave of layoffs of railway workers and abandonment of train lines, who can take seriously Macron’s green plans that France is supposed to hold as an imperialist battering ram and as a “common cause” to which workers must sacrifice themselves by accepting a worsening of their own exploitation? Another example: Do you remember the campaigns and promises of democratic affirmation with which he filled his mouth in the French “ultra-peripheries” in the Indian Ocean, Melanesia and the Caribbean? His visit to Mayotte this week has revealed as much misery as desperation. Guadeloupe, true republican “crown jewel”, is a scandal in permanent economic and political decomposition.

More importantly, do you remember how the “Nord Stream 2” pipeline led to the rupture of the Franco-German axis ? De facto allied with the US, France pressed as hard as possible to prevent it from happening, finding an unexpected ally in Denmark, whose waters crossed the pipeline. Well, this week the Danish government finally authorized the construction works .

The shadow of a France in permanent infighting with Germany is projected towards the East. After the “historical error” of closing the door on Albania and Northern Macedonia, the environment in the Balkans became more difficult even for French imperialist interests.

The very same Serbia looks towards China even though its “Silk Road” is increasingly weakened by the trade war and its projects start to stall in countries like the Czech Republic.

After all, the Chinese state bourgeoisie and capital still have the energy to continue marking and winning commercial territories, as we saw with Brazil this week with Bolsonaro signing commercial agreements in Beijing as if any future opportunity with the USA was already lost.

What was there this week for us?

What did this week leave for the workers? More war promises, now with the US heading space war. The recognition of suicide as a global epidemic , that is, of capitalism -that crushing machine- as a plague. And a general and global tide of attacks on the most basic living conditions. To keep two significant ones in mind: the “socialist” Spain recognizes the right of companies to dismiss workers while they are on sick leave and a new post-electoral tariff in Argentina that affects bread, meat, fuels and everyone from there. The future isn’t showing anything better. The steamroller is out of control (English text) . The ball is in our court.

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The problem with «popular» revolts is that what defines «the people» as a political subject is the petty bourgeoisie's leadership, a class politically powerless to go beyond the claiming of rents and small state-dependent privileges
What did this week leave for the workers? More promises of war, now space war with the US at the forefront, and the recognition of suicide as a global epidemic, that is, of capitalism -that meatgrinder- as a plague
A call for elections in Great Britain that will end up «delivering» Brexit, «peace» in Ukraine and the first steps towards the PSA-Fiat merger are more a recognition of european fragility and fundamental weakness than a step forward in any sense
In Iraq the students spearheaded the demonstrations, with violence spreading without contributing anything at all, quite the opposite, to the political evolution of the movement
Disorganized violence is the way the historically sterile petty bourgeoisie «towers» between the two main classes, postponing the evolution of the political crisis to a clear and historically necessary confrontation between both of them