In the face of the repression mounted by the forces of "order", the leaders of the GSF invoke democracy. "Democracy is dead", said one. But no, what we saw at work during the days of Genoa (which is nothing more than a taste of what is to come) is democracy. Just anotheer exaggeration of "die-hard Marxists"? Let’s see.
As far as the Southern world is concerned, democracy means Vietnam, Iraq, Yugoslavia, foreign debts, embargoes, monopoly-priced medicines, biopiracy, a new slave trade, sexual tourism, and the slave-driving exploitation of labour (including child labour). Fascism? No, this is not fascism but the work of democracies guided by the United States’ beacon of liberty. This is not to say that fascism would disdain committing similar crimes (far from it!), but it would cover them up less hypocritically... And so what is the beneficial function of the democratic West for the peoples living in the Southern world? We challenge you to find just one example when democracy has been on the side of oppressed peoples and the disinherited working masses. There isn’t one. This means that every time it invokes democracy as a means of confronting the problems of under-development, the foreign debt, etc., the "anti-globalisation" movement (willingly or not, it doesn’t matter) delivers itself into the hands of the enemy by socialising an idea that disarms the struggle.
"But," someone might say, "you wouldn’t deny that democracy has had a beneficial function here in the metropoli or that, by means of the parliamentary mechanism, it can be used to make ourselves heard by the government".
To keep to today’s subject, do you have any idea of how Western democracies relate to the "anti-globalisation" movement? Do we have to repeat the list of the false (because unrealisable) offers of dialogue and the anything but false repressive manoeuvres carried out from Seattle to Genoa – by both centre-left and centre-right governments? And this is only the tip of the iceberg: just put your heads below the waterline, and you will see a police apparatus and massacre of Orwellian proportions.
The daily slaughter at work is protected by democratic States, which would not even remotely dream of accusing the butchers concerned: there are 10,000 deaths a year due to working accidents in the USA, 1300 in Italy and, in Japan, karoshi kills a further 10,000...
Over the last 25 years, the so-called kingdoms of liberty have seen an increase in their prison populations (more than a million and a half in the USA!), a narrowing of the legislation concerning union rights and the right to strike, a spread of surveillance devices (in Great Britain, one million telecameras overlook public places – one for every 50 inhabitants!), and a multiplacation of police forces. This immense coercive apparatus is mainly directed against the exploited – and ironically maintained by them!
And what about the system of apartheid in which the free democracies keep the millions of immigrants forced to flee from the Western pillaging of their own countries and to seek bread and liberty over here? Or the role that democracy plays in the everyday physical and mental violence that capitalist society inflicts upon women? Or the violence and death disseminated by the world’s leading industry – organised crime?
Is this enough, or what else do you need before you understand what democracy is really like?
We are aware that the demonstrators in Genoa and the proletariat in general identify this word with their sacrosanct needs and aspirations, and use it to define a power that guarantees the liberty and emancipation of the whole of humanity. However, the reality is very different, and such aspirations can only be achieved by fighting existing democracy. Can we do it via the right to vote? Once again, we have to look reality in the face. If we look at the general trends taking place in Western countries, we can see that the power to condition the vote is becoming increasingly concentrated not simply in the hands of the bourgeoisie, but in its leading figures. It costs billions of dollars to run for the Presidency of the USA, and millions to win a seat in Parliament. And then there is the power of brainwashing, which has never been in the hands of so few people (and not only in Italy) and never before – in total liberty of course! – been so subject to the dictates of stock markets and the command centres of capitalism. It is no accident that, however much parliamentary parties and the (dis)information media urge electors to go to the polls, most of the workers and "common people" have stopped voting because they – rightly – see that the positions of the various parties are all tied to the single programme imposed by the needs of capitalist competition.
As elections and parliaments do not give workers and the exploited any say, there is no alternative to direct and militant action against bourgeois power and the capitalists whose interests it defends – against the market and the State. These last are not in opposition, as the mountains of rubbish written about so-called globalisation by the democratic press would have us believe when they say that national States no longer have any power. The States are powerless – but only within certain limits – only in economic terms:: they no longer control the movement of capital as they did during the critical phase of world capitalism between the two World Wars. But the democracies are more than ever instruments of coercion at the service of such capital, and act as such every day in the Balkans, Palestine, Genoa and everywhere else. The fundamental function of the bourgeois State is not to regulate money movements, but to control and repress the movements of the exploited.
This is the lesson of the days in Genova. Democracy and the market are two sides of the same coin, which bourgeois idealogues such as Luttwak rightly call the dictatorship of capitalism.
Can we then impose our claims for a different world on this economic and political apparatus by keeping our hands up?