Monday, April 05, 2021

Covid19 And The Multinational Biosecurity State

architectsforsocialhousing |  I want to start our awakening from the sleep of reason by looking at the social practices of the coronavirus crisis [to] correct the conspiracy theory of an elite with their hands … on the gears of history. Let’s [instead] look at the machine of history. We all know its name, and despite all the renewed predictions of its death it hasn’t gone away. On the contrary, it’s just going through a revolution … but its name is still the same. Capitalism.

Marx was right. When the material productive forces of society come into conflict with existing relations of production — its property relations — a period of social revolution begins. ‘With the change of the economic foundations’, he wrote, ‘the entire immense superstructure is more or less rapidly transformed.’ The expansion into new markets of the neoliberal capitalism that has dominated Western democracies for 40 years no longer has to accommodate liberal democracy. What we are undergoing — what we are colluding in producing — are the new political, legal and social forms for a multinational biosecurity state. And no elite, no matter how powerful, is in control of it for the simple reason that, despite immensely powerful international organisations increasingly divorced from and opposed to democratic process, capitalism is a dynamic process that develops by conflict and contradiction.

Capitalism has a grip on the world the like of which it has never had before, and as it faces the long-heralded limits to [its] expansion it is developing new forms and powers to extend that grip further over the world’s diminishing resources. But there is no single government or corporation ruling the globe, no secret society whose members sit on every cabinet and board.

The US Government is the greatest military power the world has ever seen, and the United Nations has long been superseded by far more unaccountable coalitions of state and corporate powers whose activities are largely secret and getting more so. And the power of technology to monitor and control the world’s populations is expanding at an exponential rate in both breadth and depth. But the world is not a single, supra-political block.

There is no invisible hand of the market-god ruling over us, for good or for evil; there are only devils competing for his crown. The world undergoing this revolution in capitalism remains a conflict whose battleground, now and for the immediate future, is the coronavirus crisis. What makes that conflict new for Western democracies is that the war being waged is a civil one, of governments against their own people, rather than against other countries.

By looking at how this civil war is being waged, therefore, we can begin to understand to what ends it is being fought.