MYTHOMANIA: the specific characteristic which differentiates humans from other species. Animals live in the real world. People devise myths and live by them, create societies and civilizations with myths as the main fabric. The larger the number of people sharing a notion, a conviction, the more likely it is to be an illusion or fiction.
Society: a group of people united by the BELIEF IN CERTAIN COMMON MYTHS― belief they seemingly need as much as food and oxygen.
The social state of things, the social relations, are concealed by a screen of myths and lies. Let us tear this screen apart. The only possible lifestance for a person who wants to preserve his/her self-esteem, is the conscious and assertive effort to dissolve myths, illusions and lies.
According to the prevalent perception, we are a democratic society of free citizens, with equal rights under the law. In the gloomy real world, WE ARE COMMODITIES. Our masters buy and sell us, accumulating wealth and power. We are poultry farm chicken, with a recognized right to elect our supervisors.
The predominant religion is not Christianity, of which only the shell remains. COMMODITY IS THE NEW RELIGION of the developed world; it has prevailed gradually over several decades. Capitalists, politicians and bureaucrats constitute its sacred hierarchy. Consumption is its holy communion. Theologists and priests of the creed are regime intellectuals, journalists, technocrats, advertisers and stars. Its credo is limitless growth, and its temple is, of course, the market.
All of us, THE FAITHFUL TO COMMODITY, we sell ourselves, our living activity, for a wage. Thus we receive holy grace, also known as purchasing power, in order to be worthy of participating in the ritual of Consumption. Being commodities in the Holy Market, the meaning we define for our lives is the increase of our purchasing power, to consume other commodities in limitless quantities.
The capitalist system, the commodity democracy, is NOT forcibly imposed on society by the ruling class. MOST PEOPLE ACTIVELY SUPPORT AND REPRODUCE this system, that is THE RELATIONS OF COMPETITION, DOMINATION AND EXPLOITATION. We accept being used by the powerful as commodities, lifeless things; thus we gain the possibility to consume other commodities. By conforming, each person gains another miserable ‘‘advantage”: the possibility to use poorer people as commodities, to become himself a small boss.
HYPOCRICY is the main element of interpersonal relationships under the commodity civilization. We use each other through coercion and manipulation. Relating to other people is not our top priority, we prefer relating to luxury items, status symbols, substitutes for self-esteem. Since we don’t hesitate cannibalizing each other, it’s not a surprise we treat nature accordingly.
POLITICS under inequality: elites of major stockholders of corporations and politicians, exclusively hold the authority of decisions concerning the whole of humanity, using us, the ordinary people, as tools to their own benefit. Deception, intimidation and bribery are institutions of their poultry farm politics. If necessary, they have more convincing means for its continuation: armored divisions, aircraft carriers and cruise missiles. Parliamentary democracy (or rather commodity democracy) is the most advanced mechanism for the concentration of wealth and political power in the hands of the oligarchs.
HIERARCHY, COMMODITY, MONEY, THE NATION-STATE, are not mere social institutions. THEY ARE DOCTRINES OF A SECULAR RELIGION. The believers are the overwhelming majority of people, regardless of class origin and income level, and they reproduce the creed through their daily activity.
The holders of political and economic power are silly caricatures without their subordinates. The power of the rulers lies in the servility of their subjects; and the sheer need for sustenance is not the primary motive for submission. Regardless of pretexts, their poverty or stupidity are rather secondary reasons. THE SUBORDINATES EMBRACE HIERARCHY AND IMPOSITION AS SACRED VALUES; SERVILITY AND THE WORSHIP OF POWER IS THE LIFESTANCE THEY CHOSE AND BELIEVE IN. Let’s face it: the working classes are probably more conservative than the ruling ones.
Assuming the following notions are valid: The person is a social institution. Each society subjects its members to a particular socialization process, since birth; our thought, mentality and behaviour is thus definitely conditioned. Through this process, the young individual internalizes the values, rules and standards of the certain society; internalizes the special way his/her society fabricates meaning and projects it on the meaningless universe.
If the above are true, concerning our ‘‘open democratic societies”, the culture of hierarchy is injected into the mind of the young person through institutions like the family, school and mass media. We are deliberately addicted to this sadomasochistic culture since infancy; as an outcome, we perceive domination, competition and exploitation almost as natural forces, like gravity or the light. At the same time, we like to believe we are free.
The ‘‘normal” person of the silent majority absolutely believes that it’s ‘‘natural” to sell him/herself in the labor market, and that it is wise to trust ‘‘representatives” (usually gangs of honest and sincere people) to decide for his/her own life.
THE SO-CALLED REVOLUTIONARY TRADITION IS INCURABLY CONTAMINATED. It is poisoned by hierarchy, the lust for power, bureaucracy, statism, elitism; by hypocricy-the opportunistic distortion of notions, vanity, dogmatism, mythomania, sexophobia, bigotry, sexism, by several kinds of discrimination; by the idealization of violence, and the mentality of self-sacrifice. All these elements of the Inhuman render the ‘‘revolutionary tradition” extremely dangerous. Notions like the Left, Communism, Marxism, Leninism, Socialism, Anarchy, Leftism, Democracy, are either inextricably connected to the system of domination and exploitation, or degenerated and defamed. Any attempt to restore them is futile, or even suspicious.
By critically studying Bookchin’s Social Ecology and Communalism, Castoriadis’ project of Autonomy, as well as the project of ‘‘Inclusive Democracy”, we can selectively draw inspiration about the ideas, the values and the institutions of the society of the Equals.
The social movement of the future, if one ever exists, will not be created on the basis of class interests. Its driving force can only be THE PERSONAL WILL FOR EQUALITY. The will of the people who consciously reject their class status and interests, as well as all kinds of external determination which compel them to serve the Inhuman. Of the people who commit themselves to eradicate the system of hierarchy, domination and exploitation. The will of the men and women who consciously desire personal relationships of solidarity, sincerity, equality and freedom― loathing competition, hypocrisy, exploitation, coercion and servility.
The fundamental conflict is not between the rich and the poor, the bourgeois and the proletarians, the employers and the employees. The class struggle is not antisystemic but reformist. THE SO-CALLED PROLETARIAT AND THE LEFT ARE INTEGRAL PARTS AND CREATIONS OF THE SYSTEM, DETERMINED BY ITS VALUES. The class struggle reforms and revitalizes capitalism, even when it results in improving the living standard of the subordinate classes. The ‘‘proletarian revolution” results by definition in a coup d’ etat and the dictatorship of the vanguard party, it establishes state capitalism, not equality or autonomy.
THE FUNDAMENTAL CONFLICT IS THIS: THE BELIEVERS OF HIERARCHY VERSUS THE LOVERS OF EQUALITY. It won’t be a conflict of classes, but one of civilizations: the traditional civilization of Hierarchy on one side, on the other the future civilization of Equality, we have to CREATE.
The world of Hierachy and Commodity in which we were born, handed down to us two world wars and many local ones, for political imposition and for the control of wealth sources and markets; the ravaging of nature and the decimation of biodiversity, for profit; poverty and starvation; the reification of human beings, the misery of the life we live being commodities.
All this horror serves this purpose: the oligarchs absolutely possess the authority of decisions, they accumulate enormous amounts of wealth, they control terrifying mechanisms of mass extermination, authority of life and death over humanity. “War, father of all things’’ is the essence of the civilization of Hierarchy.
The apologists of the system present this sadomasochistic perversion as “human nature”. They preach the virtues of obedience, conformity and productivity, appealing to us to work “all together” for “the progress of our nation”, for the “growth of our economy” for the “competitiveness of our products”, for the orderly functioning of the poultry farm. They mean, of cource, that all members of the “nation”, “all together”, have common perspectives and common interests: the owners of the poultry farm, the elected supervisors of the chicken, as well as the law-abiding and productive chicken themselves, who lay eggs for their owners, to end up to the slaughter in time.
Those of us who don’t share their vice, who don’t want to be neither masters nor slaves, we have the will and the critical ability to become the harbingers of the social movement that will create the institutions of equality and self-management.
THIS MOVEMENT’S CORE AND REFERENCE POINT CAN ONLY BE THE NOTION OF SOCIAL, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC EQUALITY. Everyone and all together, have the right of personal, direct participation in the decision-making processes concerning all functions of society. The movement will establish the general assemblies of neighbourhoods and communities, the equal citizens’ bodies of unmediated, public face-to-face discourse, which will assume control of politics. It will abolish political representation, hierarchy, the state, the professional politicians, the bureaucrats, all kinds of privileges. As a long term goal, the formation of regional confederations of these bodies of self-management, resulting ideally in the world confederation of the autonomous communities.
The tools of production, the factories, the workshops, the laboratories, the mines, all technological means, the land, belong to all members of the society. We have to take them in our hands. Everyone and all together, we have the right to participate on equal terms in shaping and implementing decisions and policies concerning the production and distribution of social wealth; of cource, we all equally share and enjoy the products of our common production efforts. The workers’ assemblies of every workplace will take control of the means and process of production, and in coordination with the neighbourhood and community assemblies, they will undertake the free distribution of goods according to the needs of each community.
The collaboration of these assemblies will undertake:
the project of designing and implementing the production of goods for the satisfaction of social needs, for use value, to abolish commodity production, profit and exchange value. The designing of labor allocation on a regional scale, instead of the national and global allocation. The eradication of the antisocial and useless sectors of the capitalist economy, like, for example, the marketing business or the banks (which produce only profits for the capitalists, nothing useful for the people). Thus, huge numbers of employees will be freed from their odious jobs, to participate in the production of social goods. Their massive entrance into the common production effort, combined with advanced technologies, WILL MAKE POSSIBLE THE SUFFICIENCY OF FREE GOODS FOR ALL, WITH MUCH LESS WORKING HOURS.
The bodies of self-management will design an economy for the people, in harmony with the natural environment, will restore the ancient notion of the sanctity of nature. They will eradicate money, the commodification of people and goods, the new feudal lords of the corporations and their continual crimes against humanity and nature.
Capitalism, the most advanced offspring of the ancient civilization of Hierarchy, has created the technological means, the precondition of abundance of goods. This technology also bridges distances and language differences, it has made possible the uninhibited communication of people. We have within reach of our hands the means to create the civilization of Equality. We have to seize these possibilities. It’s time to bury the old world before it buries us.