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1 May

Capitalism carries war and authoritarianism like the cloud carries the storm...

Wednesday 1 May 2024, by Thomas Rid

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For months now, we have been blinded by the glare of bombs in the windows of the media and social networks. We see them falling on Gaza or Ukraine. We continue on, astonished, dazed even, by the sound of cannon fire echoing in the distance.

As the shadow of war spreads, our governments are preparing for it and intend to throw us into it with all their might. And behind them, the Bolloré, Dassaut, Peugeot and other gun merchants are licking their lips, calculating their next profits.

Capitalism, colonialism, authoritarianism and war

Globalized capitalism under the domination of the United States and its allies has entered a multidimensional crisis of inextricable contradictions. Environmental crises (droughts, floods, pandemics), financial and economic crises (subprimes, debt, etc.) and the crisis of hegemony of the capitalist system are combining and reinforcing each other. This economic system is on its last legs, reinforcing exploitation and inequality, and fanning the flames of hatred, racism and the far right... and war. The proof is in the rise in military budgets around the world, along with the authoritarianism of governments and the rise of extreme right-wing ideas.

This situation gives wings to all forms of colonialism, starting with Israel’s colonial project, which consists of ethnically cleansing the Palestinians in order to seize the massive gas deposits on the shores of Gaza and the land and water on the West Bank. In Ukraine, Russia intends to get its hands on natural resources, immense arable land and nuclear power stations. In the United States, the war is concentrating financial and economic flows in order to maintain hegemony over globalization and remain the imperial centre. And in France, the return of a warlike imperialism is delighting the ‘captains of industry’ and financiers. For the French state, the aim is to regain a foothold in Africa and the Middle East, to regain the markets and positions it has lost over the last twenty years.

The war economy and bringing France into line

Before the war, the “war economy” and “rearmament” had been called for by capital’s lackeys, court economists and prefecture intellectuals. It’s not their children who will live in misery and die under bullets. So Macron is opening gunpowder and cannon factories with great fanfare, while the champagne is flowing in the gilded salons of the Republic. He intends to spend €413.3 billion on the armed forces between 2024 and 2030. And to do all that, the people have to be brought to heel. You have to teach them discipline and sacrifice. Attal has therefore decided to lock up young people for 10 hours a day, every day, by turning secondary schools into barracks and introducing uniforms, following the introduction of the SNU.

Silencing dissent

For their part, Darmanin [Interior Miniuster] and Dupont-Moretti [Justice Miniter] are hunting down any talk of environmental or social protest.

The repression is particularly zealous towards expressions of solidarity for the Palestinian people under genocide. At the end of January, the Ministry of Justice counted 626 proceedings for “apology for terrorism” in connection with the war in Gaza. The secretary of the local CGT in the North has just been given a one-year suspended prison sentence for a leaflet; Rima Hassan, a candidate on the LFI list for the European elections, has been summoned by the judicial police for “apology for acts of terrorism”, as have activists from the Solidaires ÉtudiantEs section of the EHESS, SUD-Rail, journalist Sihame Assbague, our own publication director and dozens of others... and now MP Mathilde Panot.

Finally, because we’ll have to pay for the cannons and the champagne, Le Maire [Finance Minister] is announcing total austerity, with deep cuts in the education, health and social protection budgets.

But for how long? Will we agree to march in step and send our children to the slaughterhouse? Or will we turn our guns on our own generals? It is high time we raised our heads and refused censorship and repression. To reject the authoritarianism of the Macron government and the war that is coming.

War on war! Solidarity and freedom for all peoples! Freedom for Palestine! Freedom for Ukraine! More anti-capitalist and internationalist than ever! That’s what we’ll be saying on 1 May.

24 April 2024

Translated by International Viewpoint from l’Anticapitaliste.


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