Covid-19, society, knowledge, ethics: What kind of struggle against capitalism?

Capitalist Modernity, the last stage of the dominant civilization system, has reached its most destructive position against humanity. With its untethered practices of power, wars, massacres and sociocidal policies in the 21st century, it proclaims that there is nothing to say on behalf of those struggling for society. While society is expected to prefer either the despair of postmodernists, the fatalism created by dogmatism, or the definition of liberation developed by liberalism in the face of all the destructiveness of capitalist modernity, it is demanded that capitalist modernity be accepted and left without response or counteraction. With propaganda claiming that the end of history has come, and that capitalist modernity is the eternal truth, it has been decided in advance that a different society cannot exist. History’s most bullying system declares itself as history and society from top to bottom.

The ethnic cleansing developed by nation-state structures, the fact nature has been brought to the brink of bankruptcy through industrialism, and the destruction of the economy and health system by financial games, not only reveal the attacks by the system, but also provide important data on the unsustainability of the system. Population explosion, worsening of social problems, the existence of authoritarian regimes, ecological destruction, income injustice, class conflicts, gender exploitation, the destruction and homogenization of societal differences, moral degeneration, virtualization of life, nuclear armament and the present Third World War are some of the main issues that can be listed as evidence that the structural crisis of the system has deepened.

The latest example of this is COVID 19. The pandemic crisis we are experiencing almost brings forth the bankruptcy of neoliberalism, the ideology of capitalist modernity. It shows us that the healthcare system is for elites only. It inflicts fatal harm to society, destroys nature and social relations and leads to inevitable great disasters. Unfortunately, this system is trying to subdue the entire society by burdening it with the responsibility of an infectious and deadly disease it prepared the grounds for in the first place. It wants society to be guilty and afraid of itself by suggesting everyone is on the same boat. Yes, COVID 19 affects everyone, but the elite, wealthy and system executives use the opportunities created by societies labor and tax to avoid the disease, whilst the poor and working class are left to die. In order not to die, they are advised to fend for themselves. ‘Do not see each other, do not touch each other, hide’ etc. are obligatory provided as the only means of protecting oneself. Because the system cannot be the answer, it has invested primarily in profit and capital and not in projects that will protect society from possible crises, especially in the field of health. Because the system gives priority to the war economy and the production and consumption of unnecessary and superfluous goods that it thinks bring more profit, society is now confronted with life and death. And now the system wants to confront the people with the dilemma that they will either die or support steps to strengthen the system grow by becoming more dependent on it.

Again, the individual and society, primarily physical, intellectual, spiritual and vital harmony, and the political and social aspects of human life are divided and alienated from life and society. The desire is to organize the relationship between people and their activities, not for the general goodness of society and the individual, but for the interests of power and hegemony. This, along with creating a great dissonance in society, has broken the moral structure that is at the core of society and aims to break the link between morality and freedom. The presence of equality and harmony in economy, politics, health, education and ecological life leads to moral integrity, whereas disharmony and segregation lead to moral disintegration.

 

The Production Policy and Culture of the System

In order to overcome the structural system crisis, and to ensure its continuity, consumption culture has been put into practice. Financial-capital system representatives derive their power from this cultures mechanism of operation and mode of production. They have taken over patriarchy’s enmity and exploitation of humans, nature, society, and especially women. Combine that with their production policies of the last 500 years, notably their consumption policies from the 19th century onwards, and we can see they are continuing to construct their anti-nature and anti-social system. Inhumane thinking and the “Production Policy and Culture” developed out of a purely profit-led and exploitative logic, are alien to social nature, and the consumption policy and culture it has put into place over the last century is also foreign to the reality and nature of society. While in the previous industrial revolution the main target was to take possession of natural resources, to transfer these raw materials to the capitalist production areas, and to construct all social relations through the production of new goods, in the 20th century the consumption of these produced goods became the main target.

It is not easy and not without obstacles to embed yourself within the mindset of society. Consequently, to be appealing and at the same time legitimize itself while overcoming those obstacles, consumption culture uses very fine methods. For instance, it leans on science, politics and philosophical and intellectual fields to create the desired perception. Consumption culture is not a culture created by humans as a result of natural relations with society and individuals. It is a new and effective culture brought forth to accelerate the functioning of industrial society and culture.

 

Globalization of Capitalism and the ethics of Society and the Individual

If we divide capitalist globalization into three stages, in the first stage, we see Trade Capitalism and Colonialism developed between the 15th and 18th centuries. We see the second globalization stage in Imperialism, which emerged with Industrial Capitalism in the 19th century. With the third globalization stage that started in the 20th century, we see globalization through finance capitalism and capitalist hegemonism. Now the system is working hard for this hegemony to penetrate and be absorbed into the soul of every individual. The stage we are at now is a globalized stage of Consumption Society, wherein the carcinogenic character of capitalism is very advanced. An important aspect of this is the method of making money from money. Usury, once a cursed source of evil, has become the main character of capitalism today, although it has always been considered a factor that corrupts society and disrupts morality. This has now become the main character of the economic, social and political systems of the world.

When capitalist system theorists and scientists describe the individual of capitalist society, they are steering towards an “individual construction” for whom the sole purpose in life should be consumption, which they have made accepted as “Necessary and Natural”. The aim was to create an economy and zeitgeist based on individualism that is indexed exclusively to consumption, ripped away from the morals of freedom and the aesthetics of life. For example, in the past, one person in a family would work and could meet the needs of the family. Now, even though the whole family works, they cannot meet the standards created by the consumer society. Everyone is made to work by owing to contemporary usurers. With this, it both increases its exploitation and has everybody pursue the goods it offers for consumption. A social reality has emerged that pursues access to these consumer goods and whose core values have been rendered accordingly. Society is stuck in the mangle of consumption and has the wind knocked out of its sails.

On the other hand, this approach of “individualistic morality”, fed unlimitedly by science and technique, drags humanity into disasters, crazy wars, environmental destruction, brutality and chaos. A mass consumption is being constructed in counterbalance to capitalist mass production. Consumption emphasizes an aesthetic understanding and consideration that is detached from the construction of society and ethics. Individuals who are prisoners of commodities, as excessive consumers, offer capitalist monopolies great opportunities for profit. As individuals of society who have been seized by an almost “religious” production, they want to be made the most docile, assimilated and easily managed. Thus, concept- and perception-forming phenomena such as purely visual self-presentation, preference, the desire to be chosen, arbitrary preferences and excessive formalism come into play. The individual, weakened and detracted from conscious political will and power, has now become the target of consumption policies. Deterioration of self and form have started within the individual. Everything has been turned into an object of consumption. The individual portrays themselves as ready for consumption, paying attention to form rather than content, demanding pleasure and satisfaction.

The unique beauty of every flower, every insect, every butterfly’s colorful decorated wings, the unique flavor of fruit and vegetable varieties grown in the soil, and the unique beauties created by every person in their spiritual emotion and world of thought are also inserted into this decay. Even spiritual aspects that nurture every person such as love, romance and sense of taste are desired to be designed by the cultural industry. With a systematic effort on all assets in humans, plants and animals (in short, all living beings in nature), profit-oriented engineering is being carried out. Through consumption culture, the meaning of life of society is hoped to be extinguished.

Therefore, the system wants to deal with those who have not been overtaken and have not surrendered to physical-individualist material desires and tendencies who are in a constant war with the system with their consciousness and heart. The search for self-existence in all areas of science, from economy to politics, from sociology to psychology, from history to utopia and from aesthetics to law, is consciously distorted. The most striking and paradoxical aspect is that the system has the individual consent to this distortion with the notion that “you are free, you can pick and choose what you want, you are the determinant”. However, with COVID 19, we can see that this is not the case. On the contrary, we are experiencing how the system actually renders the individual and society helpless and vulnerable. Maybe it is not OK to say this, but with this disease, we have the opportunity to see some things more thoroughly and put them on the agenda of the whole society. It is important to see that the best contribution we can make to ourselves and our environment comes from us and that we have to organize accordingly. As a matter of fact, even system representatives who are failing in the face of this disease turn to society waiting for it to come with a solution and to take the most effective precautions. In fact, by calling to society at daily press conferences and via visual and social media networks they are actually announcing the failure of their system.

 

What Kind of Struggle?

To consciously develop a common struggle against the system’s attack on society and the individual and the perception it wants to create is no longer a postponable duty. It is important to strengthen the existing ones and to also take part in social struggles that will develop an alternative solution for this crisis, which has become a structural character of the system, and in formations that will illuminate the path of success. With the awareness that the current social sciences contribute to the distortion and lay the grounds for smoke and mirrors, it has become urgent to develop methods of social truth.

The first step in getting out of the crisis is through the individual who is part of this society, who can produce the power of meaning required for social struggles by constructing a regime based on free-philosophical thinking that rejects the crisis’ mentality. Although capitalism is globalized, transcends individual countries and is intertwined, its vicious cycle of competition due to its law of maximizing profit confronts it with a structural problem. However, capitalism realizes that it no longer grows indefinitely and that it can no longer achieve the hoped-for profit margins. This harms the perception of the false artificial world and the constant progress it has created in the minds of people. These are inevitably the outcomes of capitalism’s nature. It is a good thing that the system experiences such a chaos and cannot offer concrete projects and solutions to overcome it. That is why the ever-present Democratic-Modernity project, with the power it takes from the historical-social culture is urgently stepping in. A pioneer who applies this locally and thinks globally, becoming a representative of life as much as a practical executive, can meet the needs of democracy and freedom for society.

In order to protect society from this disease and make it self-sufficient, we see that we do not need the methods of the state and system representatives. As this epidemic has emerged, it is necessary to strengthen the communes and assemblies that are in direct contact with society instead of the system’s useless methods and tools. The individual organized in communes and assemblies protects and raises both himself and his environment.

Again, considering the epidemic being global, we should prioritize global solidarity in order to combat the epidemic and the system that causes it. Solidarity, mutual respect, the richness of differences, democratic criteria, specificity of each group and platforms where women play a fundamental role in theory and practice are needed. Such an international endeavor should be based on social science. In other words, there is a need for a social science that does not see an ethical-political society as an object, and is not rooted in the perceptions of subject-object, us-them, body-soul, god-servant, or dead-living that create rifts between them as contradictions, but that can overcome these contradictions. Differentiation, which is the way of the universe, is also valid in the nature of society and it is more flexible, free and deep-rooted. Therefore, the alternative to a system that breaks society and the individual and makes it helpless against diseases can only come about through a new social science.