WHEN THE INVISIBLE HAND OF THE MARKET RISES IN A NAZI SALUTE
notes on immigration, fascism and the crisis in Greece
“…[T]here is a proliferation of “regional wars” and “internal conflicts”; capital follows paths of atypical accumulation; and large masses of workers are mobilised. Result: a huge rolling wheel of millions of migrants moving across the planet. As “foreigners” in that “world without frontiers” which had been promised by the victors of the cold war, they are forced to endure racist persecution, precarious employment, the loss of their cultural identity, police repression, hunger, imprisonment and murder (…) The objective of neoliberalism’s migration policy is more to destabilise the world labour market than to put a brake on immigration.” (Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, The fourth world war has begun, 1997)
1. a short chronicle
In the first six months of 2012, the Press agreed that: “The national income within 2 years decreased from 240 billion to 200 billion €, while unemployment in Greece, after four years of recession, increased from 9% in 2009 to 20-25% in 2012 … after the lowering of salaries and the imposition of new taxes and the raising of older ones, the average per capita disposable income has decreased by 40%…”, that there is a “great decline in births…” and that “the suicide and mortality rates have risen rapidly…”
In February 2012, the US State Department was warning US-citizens traveling to Greece of the potential dangers: “Strikes and demonstrations are a regular occurrence. Greece is a stable democracy and these activities for the most part are orderly and lawful, although early 2012 protests signaled an uptick in the level of violence with extensive fire-bombings and vandalism in Central Athens” (State Department’s Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management, directions to US travelers).
In early March 2012 the Press and the so-called blogsphere echoed a completely ungrounded threat. “Ultra-rightwing and nazi organizations and reserve soldiers’ associations will gather in the Syntagma square during the March 25 national army parade”. The far right did not show up for the appointment. Institutional racism took over: The next day Michalis Chrysohoidis [minister of public order – and citizens’ protection] announced the creation of 30 concentration camps for the imprisonment of 30,000 illegal immigrants’ (26 March 2012) and was immediately backed by Health Minister: “The direction of M. Chrysochoidis camps for illegal immigrants is absolutely correct … a health bomb has escaped from the foreigners’ ghettos” (Andreas Loverdos, March 31, 2012). Τhe current prime-minister agreed: “We will recapture our cities!” (Andonis Samaras, March 29, 2012)
Of course neither the clearing operations nor the camps were actually realized then on any serious scale. The symbolic role of these announcements was much more important.
The fascists finally performed well in the elections and on August 4th, institutional racism celebrated the anniversary of the 1936 Metaxas dictatorship by launching the “Xenios Zeus” operation, a spectacular celebration of mass arrests of sans-papiers in the center of Athens…
The reasons justifying the operation went back to some contested conception of Bronze Age history: “From the Dorian invasion, 4,000 years ago, the country has never accepted such a large scale invasion … migration might be a bigger problem than the economic crisis”(Nikos Dendias, Minister of Public Order, August 4, 2012)
Soon, it seemed almost natural that “… [i]n the first half of 2012, there ha[d] been more than 600 violent racist attacks in Greece…” And the progressive ‘public opinion makers’ like the Guardian abroad suddenly realized it was already too late: “… [N]ational authorities – as well as the EU and the international community at large – have largely turned a blind eye to xenophobic violence in Greece (…) the governments of Greece and Europe seem willing to tolerate this as the social cost of an ongoing austerity consensus (…).” (The Independent, August 30, 2012).
2. techniques of governance
The devaluation of immigrant labor and immigrant life seems to be part of an experiment that is being conducted in Greece. The success of this experiment has depended on the systematic use of certain techniques of governance:
When over 20 years ago workers from Albania and families from former Soviet countries were betting on Greece, with a booming construction market, no young people in the fields and a dire demand for reproductive labor (from taking care of the children to avoiding the costs of private clinics for the elderly), the proliferation of the image of the criminal immigrant was necessary. It kept the wages low and kept in check the immigrants precarious legal status, through a distinction between criminals and non-criminals, Georgians or Albanians of ethnic Greek origin on the one hand and poor foreigners on the other.
In a nutshell: For two decades, the cheap labor of immigrants reduced unemployment, by boosting the primary sector of production and creating jobs in the secondary and tertiary sectors. Very soon, with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the continuing world war in Africa, the turn from development to disaster capitalism meant that more Afro-asian migrants arrived to the Southeastern border of Europe. Cheap labor was still needed, yet profits could be faster, and the image of the immigrant underwent a structural adjustment: More and more people had to be deemed useless, treated as waste, excluded from any productive activity. In practice, the image of the criminal mafia gang member from Albania or the former USSR was replaced by the image of the useless, disposable refugee, who is a public health hazard. It is only natural that the attacks against immigrants paved the ground for the crushing of the rights and dignity also of the hitherto privileged Greeks.
The shift of public discussion from racism towards fascist dilemmas (“kill them or lock them up?”) was encouraged on an official level first – and it then took the form of a seemingly “militant” fascist organization.
The first line of argumentation relied on racism that appealed to geography and the economy – a type of racism that is as old as European imperialism in the Americas. It went like this: “Immigrants are detrimental for the economy, especially in times of crisis, see for example what the illegal street vendors are doing to our shops. And if we do have to incorporate some of the war victims, why not share the burden with the rest of the EU?”
(Illustrations accompanying this propaganda are the unlimited graphs and diagrams showing the falling economic indices and the usual surrealist iconography of the stock exchange figures…)
The “facts” upon which this discourse discourse depends have absolutely no connection to reality. The mythical content of all three arguments should be obvious by now:
Myth 1: “bad for the economy”
The British Parliament concluded in 2008 that 17% of development in Britain is due to immigration. France announced in 2009 that her net profit from immigration every year amounts to 12.4 billions of Euro. In 2010, the US declared that “the legalization of sans-papiers would boost the American economy over the next decade” by 1.5 trillion. In Brussels, it was decided that the EU is in need of immigrants from North Africa, since the East European workforce does not suffice to cover the needs of Europe.
From the point of view of economic rates and indices, more immigrants in Europe rejuvenate the ageing population, provide the productive sectors with cheap labor, do jobs turned down by most citizens (from the recycling and selling of garbage by hand to the hard labor on the fields), and keep profits from the undeclared “black” economy under control. The devaluation of the workforce, evident at least since the early 1990s, has not aimed primarily to drive away immigrants, as much as to create an intensely “zoned” and divided immigrant population, and to reproduce a workforce that will live and work under conditions of constant terror and insecurity.
We know that it is exploitation and racism that destroys jobs and the workplace in the first place. And when racism is not enough, when, in other words, it is in the interest of the bosses not to encourage but to destroy production and restructure labor (as is happening right now in their crisis), then they mobilize fascism and its “sanitization operations”. If not by design, then by default.
Myth 2. “ The immigrant street vendors damage small and medium businesses”
The first so-called resident patrols in Athens a few years ago targeted the “illegal trade” of the immigrant street vendors. (In spring 2009, members of the nazi party Golden Dawn and other far-right wing supporters, backed by the Trade Association of Athens, began a series of appearances on Ermou street, the most central commercial street of Athens, and soon at open marketplaces, disguised as a group of concerned small businessmen calling their movement “STOP ILLEGAL TRADE”, taking photographs, cursing and provoking the immigrants, threatening to lynch them with batons. This paved the way for their social legitimization… The fascist “concerned citizens” presented preposterously inflated numbers for this trade: “Street vendors are costing us 25 billion Euro a year”, which would actually mean that every single Greek citizen spends 3,000 Euro a year on street vendors’ products!
The truth is, all kinds of small and medium businesses are collapsing, since people have much less income to spend: Restaurants, bookshops, cafes, florists’, printers’, radio stations, ad companies are not being affected by the minimal trade in a few Chinese-manufactured umbrellas and bags sold on the street. Also, the fact that people can consume a few cheaper products actually means that they have more to spend on other goods from other businesses. Most importantly though, if 100,000 immigrant street vendors (that is the official –extremely overestimated– number the police authorities provide) make an estimated average daily 10-15 Euro, most of this money (300-400 million Euro a year) returns to the State as direct and indirect tax money: cigarettes, municipal tax, petrol, electricity, and, notably, high (usually collective) rent, for tiny and shabby apartments that would otherwise remain empty…So the authorities and their fascist employees forget to mention that they are actually profiting from the side-economy of the street vendors…
Myth 3. “ Greece has to carry the whole of the weight of immigration in the EU”
In the last 10 years the State, while complaining about the influx of a large number of sans papiers into Greece, demanded only 16.8 million, from a total of 628 million Euro available through the EU Fund for Refugees! This amount was handed to Greece immediately (and it was not even used for “humanitarian infrastructure”…)
Three quarters of sans papiers who enter the EU do it through the Greco-Turkish borders. That, however, does not mean that they all stay – even if it is illegal to leave. According to the official Eurostat data (February 2012), last year there were 220,390 applications for asylum in the EU, while in Greece the number did not exceed 10,000. (Incidentally, the EU average of acceptance of asylum demands was 25%, while the Greek a mere 1%.)
In other words, there is a significant number of immigrants who enter Greece and somehow end up in other European countries. Who is responsible for “lightening the weight” of illegal immigration in Greece? It is the trafficking circuits which are making considerable profit. At the moment, the fee to pass from Greece to say France is 4,000 Euro, and a cheaper way to approach e.g. Austria through the Western Balkans is 2,800 Euro. So the value of a person who crosses the Evros border for 500 Euro rises six times as they enter Greece.
In the last few months maybe a quarter of the immigrants has already left. The issue of geographical capacity will soon not stand…One can pass to the Republic of Macedonia with only 25 Euros in his pocket. Montenegro is already setting up shop with Bangladeshis in the Russian tourist business. Serbia is tightening its controls but the ultimate limit is now the border to Hungary. Other immigrants are going back to Turkey. The Greco-Turkish passage tariff has dropped from 3,000 Euros to small change…Let us see the rates of development in the Balkans in the next few years… – In any case, the black market of human trafficking (including many local officials) will not want this to change any time soon in the next few years: the work and waste-force is being rearranged as we are speaking!
One methodological question here would be: How can we reconcile the analysis of the “radical economists” who are calling for an exit from the Euro –and analyze the crisis in monetary and financial terms- with those left-wing politicians in the Euro-Parliament who envision a return to a kind of State self-sufficiency and moderate exchange in food, health and education (as if there was a democratic historical precedent for that), with the movements, from Brazil to South Africa, who are still focusing on defending common land and housing?
The second line of argumentation turned the necessary evil of the earlier discourse into an unnecessary evil. “There is no room for them, because they are dirty and criminal. They could only be used as slaves.” This kind of morally invested and medicalized racism is based on the idea of some clean and moral poverty reminiscent of the early Christian times in the Roman Empire, for which the poor should be hygienic and righteous, and can be found in the pogroms against the Jews in early modern Europe as well as the treatment of the mad and the diseased ever since.
Again, the underlying truisms can be easily contested by plain facts.
Myth 4. They say: There is no more room for immigrants
The hundreds of Afghanis who were eligible for political asylum because of the war in Aghanistan, were abandoned in the Aghios Panteleimon square in central Athens in 2008. This concentration of people was the first example of the “humanitarian problem” of the capital. Though the government could have easily used then abundant EU funds to help these refugees of war to at least find a place to sleep, the refugees were left –for years- to live out in the open, with no food, shelter or toilets. Very soon in 2008 the first fascist “citizens’ committees” were attacking them.
Even 5 or 5,000 people, if they are abandoned somewhere with no means to survive, are enough to cause a “humanitarian crisis”. But what does this digital logic of numbers say? According to the UN, “if the EU wants to maintain the general population’s living standards of 1995, it will need 135 million immigrants by 2025”. So the immigrants in Europe are simply not enough. There is obviously plenty of space and plenty of need for the young, quiet, and able amongst them– as long as they work as slaves, like the Albanians in the 1990s, or as long as they can be treated as human garbage, and used as a scapegoat for the planned and orchestrated destruction of the productive structures of Greece.
It might sound obvious, but this first myth also feeds in a sense on the so-called spatial analysis, again very popular in radical circles. According to such approaches, bodies take up space and, in a post-Malthusian way, given quantities of people are supposed to fit in given stretches of land. This idea pervades both the discussion on the “tragic of the commons”, which relied on the spatial example of the field cultivated by certain people and almost by definition giving birth to a sense of ownership, as well as many convincing analyses of the Paris Commune, for which the way the streets were cut allowed for the barricades and the lasting hind-street battles to become symbols of radical resistance from below.
Yet we know that almost nowhere in the world are spatial resources the issue: Not in the case of the Lacandona lake, where the government has tried and is still trying to defeat the social drive of the Zapatista villages, through drugs, money, tourism…Not in the case of the abandoned cities in China, built to receive millions of young homemakers and now haunted by the phantom buildings of their own ambition.
So there is plenty of room for slaves and beggars. There is no room for immigrants and Greeks with rights, decent work, hope and dignity.
Myth 5. “ public health hazard”
Waste is toxic and should be disposed of. Around 1000 Afghani young men in the self-made settlement in Patras were considered a public health hazard in 2008 after the public water supply of the settlement was being cut off by the town council prompted by the residents of the area nearby, 300 hunger strikers in 2011 (250 in Athens and 50 in Thessaloniki) were decried as a disease bomb, though they managed to survive a 44-day fast with no serious infection, undocumented prostitutes were exposed as being the major HIV positive population group, some refugees living outside in the hundreds, waiting for a phonecall from the trafficking network to leave, were televised for the TB they contracted in Greece, not in their war-ridden country of origin…
Yet, according to official data from the Hellenic Center for Disease Control & Prevention
(KEELPNO), between 2004 and 2010 there is a significant drop in the number of cases of tuberculosis in Greece, and in fact the percentage is much lower than the EU average, as ECDC data confirms. As for the unprecedented rise in HIV cases in 2011, it is due to the rise in intravenous drug use and is not directly connected to immigrants.
It seems that in general, the “public health” card, so viciously played by politicians and media, failed to convince. The State propaganda only proved first the state’s readiness to promote an ideology of racial supremacy, and maybe also the fact that hundreds of people, even if they are not eating, even if they are psychologically tortured and blackmailed by the authorities, even if they are forced to pursue a hunger strike in unhygienic conditions, can stay alive and healthy (if solidarity is strong). As Μedecins Sans Frontiers announced in April 2012: “It is not the foreigners who are sick, it is the poor. The poor are sick because politicians deprive them of access to health services.” And the only indisputable fact is that most of them enter the country healthy and contract diseases in the detention camps and police stations.
Here let us have a look at the concept of biopolitics. We like to imagine the mass management of populations with techniques that are actually directed to the body– from the cult of youth to the redefinition of ailment and normality to the invention of criminal sexualities and of needs for cosmetics, prosthetics and controlled or assisted reproduction. Yet here we are dealing with the flipside of a system that is commercialized throughout. It is only this kind of system that can exclude big parts of the population. This kind of hygienic fascism cannot exist without the commodification of health services. As the health services decline (already artificial insemination and cosmetic surgery, boosting business in Greece, are collapsing), we predict this kind of racism cannot be directed against immigrants for too much longer. Unless of course…
Myth 6. “they raise the level of criminality” – again
For this mythical construct, the criminal immigrant returns, but after he has been transformed into an unnecessary evil, into waste. However, it is a constant after World War II in Europe: As with trafficking, the slave trade too is a huge circuit in which many are involved, including pimps, drug dealers, police officers, fascists, and managers of “protection services” to businesses. The slave trade mafias are also drug cartels and prostitution businesses. Their networks control many forms of criminality at once. When there is no way for someone to make a living, and when street vendors are being treated as drug dealers, it is easier for the mafias to recruit members…
Sudden pauperization definitely breeds criminality – or rather, the criminal onslaught of capital always creates new rounds of criminality: Our Balkan neighbors, after the capitalist structural adjustments of the last 20 years, suffer from higher rates of criminality than Greece, though the immigrant population within their countries is sparse. Immigration is not directly connected to criminality. The connection between criminality and immigrants is forged in a specific and conscious way. The State prefers to rely on the mafias for the management of the influx of immigrants and on the fascists for the “solution to the immigrant problem”. In any case it is much easier for government officials and cops to “discuss matters” with the leaders of mafia gangs and of para-State groups (though such arrangements often run the risk of really getting out of hand from the point of view of “law and order”…)
As for the mafia leaders and fascists themselves, they are a flexible lot in Greece. The same people can be “concerned citizens” chasing immigrants in an Athens square in the morning, and professional assassins executing a death contract in the evening. They can be on duty in uniform in the morning, blogging patriotic-nazi propaganda in the afternoon, selling protection services and collecting money from a prostitution business in the evening.
In other words: Nazis, encouraged and often promoted by the State, (and also comprising at least 50% of special police forces) are claiming social legitimacy: Mafias are particularly useful in times of social tension. What kind of tension had been created in the first place? Incontrollable immigrant struggles.
3. Immigrants’ struggles
In 2009, Konstandina Kouneva became the shining example of an immigrant woman working for a workers’ subletting company, who dared unionize in a grassroots union and speak up for the rights of herself and her fellow workers in the cleaning business. In 2010, Egyptian fishermen in Michaniona, Thessaloniki, initiated the first strike in the post-IMF period in Greece. In 2011, 300 immigrant workers went on a 44-day hunger strike demanding human and labor rights, sending the first message of hope, solidarity and struggle amidst the crisis. Will the next paradigm be immigrants demonstrating with placards praising Allah and accusing the Greek State of insulting the Khuran? Let us remember some of the contingents in the 24th of August 2012 demonstration in Athens, where an anti-racist demo was turned into an occasion for mass muslim prayer… Let us remember September’s demo on Syntagma square: Immigrants were chanting “Allah Akhbar”…the vast majority of them never felt they could take the chance to denounce the killings, the pogroms, the beatings, the humiliation, trafficking, exploitation they have been experiencing all these years – without the Muslim umbrella…
We are not saying that hundreds of thousands of immigrants subscribe to this religious channelling of anger…Yet these moments are the ones which are being encouraged and promoted. (The Bangladeshis of 2012 are the Albanians of the 1990s…and the Greeks are happy to see Banglas being primarily muslim just like they were happy to see the Albanians act as the boss’s bodyguards.)
Indeed, it seems quite possible right now: If the regime decides upon some “strategy of tension”, it will not necessarily manufacture some micro-civil war or some “war between the extremes” (between the far-right and the far-left, as the State managed to crush the movement in 1970s Italy). The State might opt for another solution, the alleged (and famously proclaimed) “clash of civilizations” on religious separatist basis. That is exactly what happened with a part of the indignados movement in the squares in Greece last year: The enraged Greeks tried to revolt, populist support from the media talked of “traitor politicians” and inflated the metaphysical distinctions between “bad” financial capitalists and “good” investment capitalists, then the protesters started waving national flags and calling for what could be generally summarized as a “patriotic class war.” That was it. Their rage had been channeled towards fascism. With a similar technique, the expression of immigrants’ discontent could be placed under the control of muslim leaders and mullahs. Indeed, authorities and bosses of all kinds always find a way to coordinate their practices. Now, besides repatriation, forced or other, there are 2 roads the sans papiers can go down: the drug trade and human trafficking clusters (not yet networks) and Islam – or both?
4. Who are the people who are in fact allowing fascism?
We would never claim there is no participation from below in these manufactured movements. The use of the notions of biopolitical and molecular power by radical analysis indeed showed up the necessity of a willing victim at every historical turn of expoitation and readjustment, accumulation and restructuring of labour relations. And it is a plain fact that liberal capitalism in the West usually needs this kind of social contract – voluntary subjection, mass acceptance.
But we should understand the molecularity also as a measure of the effectiveness of social movements. The type of human promoted by capitalist relations in Greece since at least the early sixties did not prepare anyone for a sudden devaluation of work and a sudden drop in the quality of life, since consumerism was never ethically, politically (in other words, evidently in the symbolic) connected with exploitation elsewhere.
The left wing culture of civil war songs and anti-jhunta narratives, dominant also amongst the wider public (it was the only culture available besides the obviously grotesque patriotic militarism and religious infantilism of the right-wing culture) overused and abused notions of victimhood. Now there are no words to conceptualize, the crisis and assign it the measure of newness it deserves on a European level, but also to realize how this is nothing new for billions in Africa and Asia. There have been quite a few analyses of the squares movement in relation to a psychology of national victimhood. They failed to note that prime-time TV was promoting the indignados meeting points and demo photos…If we are to understand molecularity in biopolitics, we have to set aside for a while questions of “political identity”…
So we do not subscribe to some conspiracy theory of “how, in the crisis, fascism was manufactured in the laboratories of the State of Disaster Capitalism, behind closed doors or with contracts signed with blood.” However, these metaphors, if used within the informed context of the ruthlessness of Capital and its use of State control mechanisms and of public resources alike, are, we believe, possibly simplified but hardly incorrect tools to describe the actual reality people are experiencing every day.
Our intention is to show that recent attacks are not some spontaneous outcome of poverty, since shared poverty can inspire solidarity as much as it can awaken fascist reflexes. Neither is the spread of fascist violence always in the interest of all capitalists and all States in times of crisis: Fascism is only one of the weapons of Capital, and, furthermore, it is not necessarily the best one for business or for whatever bio-political management. Governing techniques are just techniques, and there is only one conspiracy, the structure and possibility for content of communication.
5. was fascism already here before the crisis?
Where does that leave the spatial analysis? It is very usual that riot become interpreted through a kind of spatial impetus. Especially the December riots, or the general strike demos in Athens, are often presented as a theatre play where the scenography soon takes over the political narrative to create a background of the ever-present polis…It is common lately, besides the fetishization of the city and the concept of urban space, to actually look for the social dynamics there… But maybe today’s space has nothing to do with the conspiracy of a Hausmannization… Today’s space, platform-like and urban everywhere, is created by the technological structure of the media –and is imagined through our immersion in them. It is a space in which we experience power that does not feel centralized or distanced anymore. (What we are living now is the transition from a former regime of TV and mass participatory spectacles (from football to the open concert and the political meeting) to the emerging regime of the videogame and the internet.
The creation and promotion of fascist gangs does not aim merely at diverting attention from the crisis and the IMF attacks. The dominance of fascist rhetoric has a specific function for disillusioned people. But let us not forget the racist pogroms of 2004 against Albanians (after Albania’ won the European football Cup), the nationalist marches of hundreds of thousands protesting the decision of the Former Yugoslav Republic to use the name “Macedonia” for its State in the early 1990s, or the massive religious marches against lifting the obligatory statement of religion on ID cards in the mid-2000s…Let us not forget the dozens of deaths of refugees at the Greek borders in the 2000s or the deaths of immigrant workers on the fields and construction sites in 1990s and all through to the Olympic Games in 2004, before the onslaught of this “crisis”…The above-mentioned instances were hardly marginal, racism and the fascist devaluation of others have been the dominant culture for years now. We need only remind ourselves of two examples:
In 2009 the traveling exhibition of plastinated “Bodies” was accepted to Athens, and the organizers cooperated with the Town Council of Athens as well as the official Hellenic Society for Transplants. A political and scientific justification was offered to a “circus of the dead” exhuming the air of Auschtwitz, as a friend noted: Carcasses that had been dried and conserved through some technique, (now also used by an ex-student and current rival company owner) and were stretched and twisted to perform.
What can be more fascist than this? How can you not mind the dead being exorcized from the anthropological category of the sacred? How did scientists and academics immediately subscribe to this kind of horrid spectacle and at first did not hesitate to take their children to the exhibit in order for them to learn “what a smoker’s lung looks like” or to marvel at “the insides of a ballerina”?
On may not be willing to agree that the ubiquity of porn-videotapes of well-known talking heads are Orwellian enough, yet what can be more fascist than a series of prime-time TV shows, with considerable viewing stats, where retarded people perform pop-songs or play the mating and marriage game for all to watch and laugh? We are talking of a series of famous shows, US style, on Greek reality TV. To laugh at the mad and the defective. To call sick and criminal, to attack and to treat as house pets people who have nowhere to sleep. To stare at dead peoples´ twisted and plastinated inner organs for recreation. What can be more fascist than that?
No visual culture analysis, no spatial analysis or “radical economic” one can act predictively or indeed politically at the moment. It is much more helpful to take a look at the media machine again, at the structure of communication, to see how in the last 20 years the so-called public sphere tried to turn dignity (a person being more than a body, a body being more than labor, economy being more than ownership) into an anti-social category.
Mobility, vitality, networking and participation is at the moment the cornerstone of the sense of belonging in the West: This is exactly what our forms and media of communication depend on. It is obvious: The success of an advertisement and of the multimillion dollar contract it might be equivalent to is directly proportionate to the millions of clicks on behalf of the user of the technical augmented communication device. This lack of content, the lack of larger oppositional views and decision-making possibilities is reflected also in the architecture of media control. The same companies own the technical hardware, (e.g. underground and underwater wiring systems, satellites and wave frequencies), the content of communication (processes of data selection and publishing companies, journalism and reporting, and educational institutions, entertainment businesses) and well as the customized devices of communication for private use.
It is no accident that the inspiring riots of December 08, but much more importantly the few but significant independent immigrant struggles in Greece, were the result of a long and not-so-advertized process of forging relationships and arguments, ideas and spaces that cannot be simply explained through the welfare State or the antiauthoritarian tradition in Greece…There we had the creation of value that by far went beyond the media circuits – and was quickly fought against in a fierce anti-immigrant backlash and the crisis…
In order to understand the mechanism of devaluation we have to evaluate the success of submission – which builds and cements the meanings of social interaction- we have to see the ideas that make it possible, but also the technological structure of these ideas. The way meaning is created and values are built cannot be boiled down to some local and global analysis of the political economy.
If we are to understand molecular biopolitics then we must see it working in the participatory mechanism of fascism and today´s fascism from below. Fuehrer and inspired leaders do not seem to be important anymore – the small fascist icons can be as many and as interchangeable as sitcom actors and second-rate soccer champions. Participation is virtual – but killing can be real, you can order a gun with the click of a mouse ‘but the bullet can blow you to pieces.
Virtual participation today does not refer to some NSDAP or any strong totalitarian party. Westerners have not been trained to offer themselves fully to a disciplined army, to fight a war – the war is fought elsewhere and today´s fascist contribution is just a spastic push in the rusty wheel of fortune. Biopolitical governance today manages, not to offer political content or “identity” to fear, but to provide opportunities for desire and fear to be constantly renewed, fulfilled and cancelled. This is the mechanism of fleeting molecular power over somebody weaker already present in the structure of our dominant socialization…The only content is the devaluation of others and that has always been the flipside, the deepweb, the darknet of the Enlightenment.
PS. This text has been published:
- in the collection of texts Capital’s Greek Cage (Clandestina, George Caffentzis, Ernest Larsen, Sherry Millner. Capital’s Greek Cage, New York, Autonomedia 2013, pp. 7-32).
- and (in a different version) in OUTIS – Revue de philosophie (post)européenne: (Clandestina. “Not the scapegoat for the crisis, not prey of fascism. 6 myths about migrants in Greece”, OUTIS – Revue de philosophie (post)européenne, No 3, vol. 1, 2013, Milano-Udine, pp. 251-256).