Capitalism: An authoritarianism that does not say its name?

Ahmed Danyal Arif, London
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Current news is full of contradictions, a mixture of a desire for freedom and authoritarian impulses. How do we understand this global phenomenon, which consists of surrendering ever more freedom for ever more security?

An unfair balance of power in favour of capital

Without buying into the Marxist analysis, which interprets history as that of a perpetual conflict between supposedly antagonistic economic classes, today’s world could not be understood without recognising the damage caused by the preservation of private interests by the big players of global capitalism.

For several years, we have been witnessing the emergence of a system of modern slavery where the vital forces of society (entrepreneurs, craftsmen, workers, etc. – labour factor) or a group of societies are placed under control and at the service of parasitic forces (passive rent/interest – capital factor), which form a minority part of the population constituting it. This phenomenon has already been observed during colonisation. However, its peculiarity today is that it is not limited to a few nations or continents but extends to all of humanity.

The source of the whole business lies in the usurious financial system (or the logic of interest-bearing) which creates tensions between the interests of the different economic actors. These incompressible tensions result in an unstable balance of power between the economic actors with regard to the remuneration of the factors of production (capital and labour, simply put).

Today, this balance of power is in favour of capital (the class of the richest 0.1%). But this injustice naturally creates instability because when the effort is always required on the same side, it nourishes frustration, bitterness, desire for revenge, and even hatred. The capitalist system, therefore, tries to find effective expedients to preserve this imbalance of power.

The ideology of neo-liberalism of the 1980s was a response to these tensions, and its implementation was translated into a deregulation of the national and international economic scenes as well as a reduction of the role of the State as an economic actor and protector of the common good.

The financial sector is both the trigger and the pioneer in this ‘liberalisation’ because again, the system survives thanks to the imbalance of the power struggle between production factors (in favour of capital). The price to pay to maintain this unjust situation is high: underdevelopment of entire regions, impoverishment, illegal immigration, acculturation, uprooting, and ultimately rising insecurity.

Having yielded to the call of private lobbies to delegate its economic power, the political power then worked towards the withdrawal of the State from the economic sphere at the institutional and regulatory levels. This identity crisis of the State, characterised by a neglect of its duty to protect the population economically, results in a withdrawal into its competence of ‘physical protection’ of citizens and the monopoly of the use of force (police and armed forces). Eventually, the State is transformed into a police state at the service of a financial system that finances it, in order to repress any opposition to the capitalist established disorder.

This ‘security coup’ consists in maintaining fear and insecurity to legitimise the action of a political class and a State discredited by the abandonment of its duties and prerogatives in favour of private lobbies. The proposed deal is simple: less freedom for more security. A broader definition of economic freedom is proposed in exchange for diminished individual and fundamental freedoms.

The smokescreen of the ‘entire security apparatus’ and the ‘war on terror’

The ‘war on terror’ fits into this unhealthy cycle and is a great diversion and an attempt to safeguard an unjust balance of power stemming from a bankrupt, usurious financial system. And if the media tend to equate the war against terrorism with a war against Islam, this can only be true insofar as the Islamic economic system poses a major challenge to a usurious capitalist system in decay.

The last economic crisis of 2008 was a turning point from this point of view. The logic of debt with interest always had the effect of social disintegration, and it is enough to read up on the history of Babylon, ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, or the city of Florence in the Middle Ages to realise that the rise and fall of civilisations are but episodes in the history of usury.

In this context, and as the social revolt becomes more radical, the underlying cause of most of the resentment in the world is above all linked to economic and financial frustrations.

The oligarchy and its representatives have the same objective to pursue, albeit via different means. The aim is to divert attention to another target, popular vindictiveness, which would designate the real culprits of the ongoing economic and social disaster: the oligarchy, the 0.1%. The latter, therefore, has every interest in creating a diversion in order to frighten the population and thereby keep the upper hand by imposing the desired changes to the social pact. These changes include, first and foremost, the weakening of the living and dynamic forces in favour of an idle financial oligarchy and the privatisation of state activity (even the armed forces).

The equation being thus posed, neoliberal and usurious capitalism inevitably leads to its social contradictions: intellectual tension and political authoritarianism, without them resulting from an abnormality or a so-called rupture with society.

It would be a shame if the current controversies about police brutality and the resulting hostility of the population concealed the crux of the matter: justice and economic peace.

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