Capital Vol. I
February 5, 2006
In Villahermosa, Tabasco, and Orizaba, Oaxaca, the Other Campaign continues its analysis of capitalism, what amounts to collective studies in Marx’s Capital, volume I: primitive accumulation, individualization of subjects and the abstraction/extraction of their labor in the market, the destruction of collective mechanisms for self-sufficiency and the elimination of other measures of value. Marcos recounts the stories they have heard in the isthmus of the mega-development projects, the hydroelectric dams and the giant wind turbines that generate the majority of the nation’s energy needs but leave the surrounding communities, and the thousands displaced by the devastation of their lands by the projects, without even household electricity. Why is this happening, he asks? Venus didn’t lineup right with Jupiter? Divine destiny? Bad luck? No. It is a system, he repeats in every city, every village, a system based in theft, dispossession, exploitation, discrimination, and racism. This analysis is necessary in the Other Campaign to destroy the normalization of capitalism that disguises the theft, eviction, and violence of primitive accumulation as the result of hard work, good blood, god’s will, or plain luck, and the continuing dispossession of lands, resources, and human labor as “the way things are.”
Subdelegado O repeats the point in Orizaba Veracruz: We can choose. We can say that everything we see and live every day is our fault, that we haven’t sufficiently developed our spiritual being, our good vibes, or because we haven’t lit enough candles. Or we can realize that responsible for all of this—and destruction and poverty—is the capitalist system, which has as its managers these political parties that are now fighting over the elections.
A January 31 public event outlined, in terms of the local context, the necessary capitalist strategy of removing all possibilities for self-sustainability, self-valorization, and collectivity so that people are forced to enter the market as individual laborers: “We see that the government brings these [farm] programs that are supposed to help. And we see that they’re privatizing the ejido (collectively held farmland), converting the peasants and community land-holders into small private land-owners. Then they give them fertilizers and genetically modified seeds so that the land gets used to these products and won’t accept other [products, or techniques of farming], and each time these farmers have to go further into debt in order to buy this particular fertilizer and seed and no other, because now the land won’t produce [with native seed or without the chemical fertilizer.] And since the money is never enough of course, they have to get a loan and the debt accumulates, and it turns out that when we go back to the city or the market where we sell our product at bad prices anyway, now, having done the same amount of work, we enter the market not only with the little money the product brings, but also a lot debt. And this keeps growing and growing… this is about converting us into men and women that don’t have anything for themselves and have to find employment in other parts, but now not as land-owners, farmers, or communal land-holders, and now not as communities.