“The women’s strike made us protagonists in history.” On a heatwave evening on a busy street...
This is the English translation of the G20 call out-from our comrades …ums Ganze!, who are part of Beyond Europe, an antiauthoritarian platform against capitalism. The G20 takes place from the 6th-8th July in Hamburg.
“As long as there are masters and servants,
Our mission is not accomplished.”
Hamburg, “Gate to the World” (“Tor zur Welt”). Quite appropriate, since on July 20th 2017, the 20 most important character masks of global capitalism will meet in the city. At the summit the 20 strongest national economies will push forward the harnessing of the world for the global capitalist use. Two centuries of increasing global surplus value production, and the associated irresolvable contradictions have already lead to a multileveled catastrophe.
In this catastrophic world of the G20, the Hamburg local government presents the city as open and cosmopolitan, while at the same time thousands of people drown in the moat of fortress Europe. In the light of this reality, the experiences of the alter-globalization movement, and the administration of the multiple crises, re-enacting Seattle and Heiligendamm is not enough.
This time, we will try a different approach. Whilst the 20 chief pigs enjoy their amazing harbour view, we will show them what happens if commodities within the harbor can not move – when they are stuck in place, like the majority of the world’s population.
Of Fortresses, Camps, and Redundant people
The capitalization of all parts of life progresses. At the same time, automation creates redundancies, and capital no longer needs the same amount of labour-power. In a decent society, this would be good news. Less work for everyone! But under the diktat of capitalist profit maximization, automation means an ever increasing exploitation of the remaining workforce. This is how capitalist societies manage to produce the grotesque problem of ‘not enough work for all’.
For the nation states competing violently on the world market this means: sealing off from the outside world, and increasing repression on the inside. Frontex combined with sanction-based workfare regimes. When there is no need for a reserve army, surplus populations are fair game.
The German government announced it wants to take on global ‘responsibility’, and in this context this becomes rather a threatening thought. The ‘fight against terror’ is the legitimation of war and intervention on a global scale. Even if military force is not yet playing a decisive role in the German success story, it is crucial for every state to have the means at hand. The German government has just recently increased the military budget to underline it’s military strength. The government thus shares the interest of the alt-right movement. Right-wing populists have quickly grown to become the representatives of the so-called middle of society, that has now ditched of all its left-over morals.
The majority of the German populace agrees with handing over the (well paid) dirty work of ‘managing’ the refugee crisis to the Maghreb states, to Turkey, and attacks Erdoğan and Trump as monsters. The message: They are inhuman autocrats. Our Angela (Mutti) reigns with a human face. The German-European border regime is defended on a pseudo-rational basis: if everyone came here, we could not afford it anymore – a position shared by all political parties; left, right, no matter. This is only logical, in the sense that anyone who wants to participate with state and capitalism, ‘must’ calculate the costs. On the domestic level, it is not poverty in general but the distribution of money to ‘strangers’ that is to be scandalized; and for our ‘petty evil’ fan club: the social democrats focus on the same pattern of decreasing welfare and increasing national isolation. Martin Schulz, the new candidate to enter the race to become German chancellor, who is performing the role of the the advocate for the people in the streets, knows even better. He was responsible for the so called Agenda 2010 (including the Hartz 4 agenda), and in his role as EU president he was part of all Frontex deals.
Of humans and commodities
The capitalist regime of movement
In their core message to the G20 summit, the German government claims to be concerned about ‘sustainable global delivery chains’ and wants to to ‘strengthen free and fair trade’. For the successful realisation of exchange value, the free movement of commodities and human labour is crucial.
Hence the G20 is not only interested in gruesome ‘protections’ against refugees: A New Economic Partnership is on the agenda, with an obvious neo-colonial taste. From the 13-16th June, an ‘Africa conference’ takes place in Berlin, showcasing that imperial dominance and exploitation is nowadays labeled Smart Governance. It has become clear that the aim is precisely not to stop people from moving, but to define people in terms of human labour and to control their access to labour markets. Some people can cross the Mediterranean legally, and are to stay. Of course, they need to have a passport and, of course, they need to possess the right skill set to become surplus-adding human labour.
Under capitalism, movement for the global elite means a short business trip, and a stay in the luxury hotels of Dubai, Paris, or Hong Kong. But for the workers from Peru or México it means slaving away either as a cleaner in the same hotel – or in the free exploitation zones, the maquiladoras in their own country.
The differences are monstrous, and the pain is unfairly distributed. But we all live in the same world of inhuman means-end rationality. Our aim is not to redistribute the pain. We want to abolish global injustice.
Of Values and Subjugation
For the reigning export world champion, Germany, it is important to secure its distinct advantage with the location of the G20 and to propagate the global free market against the Trump administration. Free trade is necessary if you want to sell lots of cars in the US.
And at the same time, of course, national isolation and free trade agreements are no contradiction. In real politics, both trends are intermingled, as shown by the German government, the US, and Turkey the like. The polarization of both approaches signifies a crisis of representation that can no longer be connected to left or right political programs. Instead, increasing parts of the population have started to articulate their disagreement with the ‘political establishment’ – and are in favour of capitalists and generals, disguised as politicians, to be the anti-establishment saviour of the country. Or we see new parties rising, like the German AfD (Alternative for Germany) that promises their potential electorate a better statist dominance. Many citizens share at least one issue with the old and new elites: The show must go on.
Within this rather depressive scenario the German government had managed so far to successfully keep alive the image of their open-mindedness. Germany is export champion, but also the second most wanted place for investment. It becomes clear – again- the ‘free West’ is first and foremost about free market access. The fairy tale of shared values legitimizes imperialist ‘humanitarian’ war and interventions but is animating to join the club. ‘Democracy’ is but one example, and the civil society gets involved with the G20 as well: Civic20 is the format, and within it members and oranisations of the civil society will participate to administer the capitalist misery. Democracy: Everybody is heard, but in the end it all remains the same – and it’s getting worse. The church and unions can’t wait to work on “The dialogue forums will pick up on pertinent G20 issues, and will work with international partners to draw up recommendations for the German Presidency.”. The straw man spirit is alive and kicking, and proves the devastating progress of the integration of the class society.
20 years of summit protest and bluster in front of the G20 venues only lead to incremental changes. Our hatred still does not know its limit. But beating the doors, again? Comrades, we have another plan!
Let’s go Harbour:
This is the reason for our slogan for this years G20 in Hamburg: Blast the chain of logistics! The global economy can be discussed using logistics as a blueprint: the organization of the distribution of commodities is essential to realize surplus value. Within the capitalist order, logistics is improved again and again with the aim of allowing commodities to arrive faster and more precisely at their destination. Just-in-time-production becomes just-in-time delivery. Today, it is about the more and more precise alignment of manufacturing and distribution – with Amazon prime being but one example. Logistics centres are the factories of the 21 century: the focal point for the conflict between capital and labour. The global mass production of course takes place in factories, but still logistics seems to be the appropriate target to fight the entirety of capitalist shit. Struggles on this terrain are manifold already. We are not alone with our plan to bring the harbor to a halt. We are drawing on a number of existing models: the workers taking part at strike action against Amazon; the truck drivers who last year blocked French oil refineries; the social movement which shut down the habour at Occupy Oakland. They (and many more) showed us how vulnerable capitalism has become with its cargo cult. Let’s all do it! Even so we might not be able to convince everybody that communism is a good thing. But we want to start and create options for antinational and anticapitalist actions to set an example for the Internationalist struggles to come.
Hamburg has to be the start, not the end goal. Let’s make the machine of capitalist logistics stutter. To abolish private property, and to end the violent exploitation of people all around the world, we will need to show the potential of shutting down global value chains. We will take a powerful step, and let the bureaucrats of desperation know: State, Nation, Capitalism, Sexism and Racism belong to the ash heap of history. That’s our point of departure, and everything less than that is nothing but the continuum of wrong doings.
See you at the Gate to the World. Join the pre-Demo Thursday 6th July, or the anti-capitalist block at the main demo the 8th July.
But more importantly, see you on Friday morning (7th July) for our mass action against the Logistics of Capital in the Harbour … and later in the Red Zone (of course)!
… ums Ganze!