Some guy going by the Twitter handle, “Emerican Johnson”, called our attention to the unfortunate chaos caused to global shipping for the past two weeks when a freighter ran aground in the Suez Canal and disrupted an estimated 12% of seaborne traffic.
The cost estimates of the snafu were all over the place, but was nailed down by one plucky source to run about $416 million per hour for the six days the ship was grounded.
Emerican was so impressed by the damaged done to capital by this grounding, which amounted to a global version of gridlock during the rush hour commute, he declared it demonstrated the potential power possessed by the working class in its struggle against capital.
“We don’t need 100% of workplaces to participate” in a general strike to have a major impact on capital! We could probably get away with just 12%!
Which kind of got me wondering: Didn’t we just go through a far greater demonstration of the staying power of the capitalist mode of production last year when perhaps as much as half of the economic activity of OECD countries was abruptly shut down in a sudden stop as an emergency measure to slow the spread of the pandemic for as long as a year.
If I were the type of person who had any illusion that either a Marxist political revolution or Anarcho-Syndicalist general strike strategy had any hope of success in bringing down this mode of production, I would be seriously reconsidering either of those strategies in light of the experiences of the past year.
I mean, what we have here is a clear case of the bourgeois state in one country after another partially shutting down accumulation on a scale hitherto unimagined by most radicals. Yet, by most accounts of these same radicals, the mode of production is not in any danger of collapse as a result of this frontal assault by its own capitalist.
The argument might be made that this effort was not intended to replace capital with another mode of production, but then you would have to demonstrate that a replacement was required. Communism has no property, no wage labor and no state. All that is required of it is that these three — property, wage labor and the state — no longer exist. That isn’t a replacement; it’s nothing.
But I digress.
The real point here is that for the last year the mode of production has suffered more damage at the hands of its own bourgeois state than radicals have ever realistically imagined they could impose on it for generations.
If that damage was not fatal to it, I would like to know what possible damage can be imposed on capital by any possible political revolution or general strike — or combination of the two — that has any hope of exceeding it?