An antidote to the corrosive effects of Varoufakis’ snake oil on class sonsciousness
We keep coming across this performer of conjuring verbal tricks Yanis Varoufakis and his latest snake oil branded “cure against techno-feudalism”. After his Guardian-acclaimed numbers as an acrobat somersaulting in the Eurogroup’s stage and his melodramas as “erratic Marxist” shunned by the Brussels baddies (which brought millions of Greeks to real tears),Yanis embarks on the role of his career as juggler of Communist allure.
This is marketing that appeals to many, as Varoufakis has the talent of evocative language exposing all the ills we have suffered from neoliberalism. Many are seduced by the colourfully descriptive diagnosis of our common disease, in the same way, that an astute fortune-teller or astrologer is able to captivate the attention of those poor souls asking him in desperation for a solution to their problems, using the clichés: “Oh I see great pain and distress in the cards. Your suffering is great and you want it to end”.
Many are sold to the idea that the crystal balls of Varoufakis, the tarot cards of Zizek, the palm readings of Badiou, and the dreams interpretation of Hardt and Negri represent the new Enlightenment that will save us from the Bourbons.
They are sold to these occult-Marxists, because they willingly delude themselves with the concept that they are not proletarians but a gifted “cognitariat” of the world eager to unite in emancipatory digital networks and ‘liberate’ their biopolitical labour, by offering it to the highest, most green-washed bidder. We often wonder whenever we come across such types, “who actually cleans the toilet bin in their household”? It is worth asking them this question if you ever meet them in person as they will surely look at you puzzlingly, as if they have never come across a toilet bin. This is actually very probable for the denizens of the digital commons who are cleaned after by a class-less, gender-less thing called mums.
These types even imagine themselves as the new “Communist” avant-garde, since they are re-claiming the word communism to market their own fantasies as radical. They will storm the Bastille of feudalism after all, with their hacking and gaming theories. By communism, of course, they mean nothing even remotely resembling primary sources of classics such as Marx, Engels or Lenin, nothing reflecting upon the history of early socialism in the Soviet Union, let alone built on its achievements and living legacies in existing countries (Varoufakis, only refers to the Soviet Union history when he does not want to sound too right-wing and to Soviet state bureaucracy when does not want to sound too socialist- it is his passe-partout).
So,what they do mean by communism is “Commons”; it is their own cherished practices of production that are based on digital common platforms. It is a synonym to being ideologically hipster.
This is the niche market of Varoufakis, a ‘Paneuropean progressive’ who speaks on zoom in the most expensive kitchen imaginable, which we bet is cleaned by a professional female cleaner who visits his house every day, and to whom he preaches about his white European privilege that he is ready to abandon for her happiness in the utopia of his Commons dreams.
Varoufakis believes that there is nothing wrong with capital (especially if it allows you to preach self-righteously to cleaners) but he still wants to get rid of what he sees as some people’s neoliberal stupidity, some capitalists’ idiocy (which of course he can see because he is clever and oh so much more radical and trending than them).
In his latest trick, Varoufakis tries to sell us the smart idea that we can have “communism of capital”, without ever engaging in a real discussion of: a) how this capital will be created, b) by whom and c) with what means of production, d) created and owned by whom? (Banal questions reeking determinism and old-fashioned class politics that do not match with his biker jacket and his funky shirts).
All that Varoufakis is interested in doing is to re-style, ethically up-cycle and repackage the old idea of a Keynesian New Deal, a New Bretton Woods (those beloved American wet dreams starring Roosevelt) all is wrapped in rainbows, minority ethnic patterns and anti-patriarchal emojis.
He tells the crowds, to ignore what Marx describes as an inherent systemic capitalist crisis and see what is happening as a “spasm of techno-feudalism” that his clever idea will get rid of to restore the good, the cognitive, the fashionable, the sexy new capitalism with a boisterous competition we will all love to engage with, because of his magic formula.
A magic potion that once you drink it:
– you don’t see exploitation anymore but cooperation
– you don’t see imperialism anymore but peaceful coexistence
you don’t see his bold head anymore but you see an excess of testosterone.
Varoufakis is furious at the bad companies that are in the hands of the feudal lords, the Bezos and Zuckerbergs, he wants companies that “we will all own”, because they are immaterial and we can all own thin air.
Varoufakis does not want a bad market, he believes in the good financial market that works for us, that keeps us all grumpily happy (like Greta Thunberg) and sedated (organic brands only). And he poses as revolutionary because for him, revolution is not the process and the logic of historical materialism, no! He is a revolutionary because his books will inspire the new generations of reddit and climate change activists to rise against the bad financiers and bring forward the good financial institutions that he loves.
What are these good financial institutions? Well, they are institutions that will get rid of the bad bad bad state (this is when he talks about Soviet Union’s bureaucracy), the bad bad bad nationalistic formation we call countries and will serve the PEOPLE ie, a federalised EU (big climax and curtain closes dramatically).
Yes, a good bunch of angelic (communist even!) federal institutions with an ethical advantage: they protect – not the working class, of course, (stop with this old-fashioned language) but the “victims”.
Varoufakis and his ilk are protectors of the victims, and we have so many victims nowadays, we have no workers and no unions and no collective action based on working-class identity but we have billions of people who are taught to only see themselves as victims of their difference, victims of sexism, racism and patriarchy against their unique traits and subjectivities.
And guess what, Varoufakis’ idea of good federal financial institutions will save us all from victimhood because it will make us all unique shareholders in this very system that turned us victims, in the first place. Can you be a shareholder and a victim? No! You chose to invest in the share, can’t be victimised by your own choice.
Yanis’ capital is inclusive of us common, it will save us by giving us all, and we mean all (LGBTQ+XYZ), a basic dividend, a share, a bribe to be able to forget what a workers state could actually offer us if we told Varoufakis and every Varoufakis to Varoufakis off, i.e: state pension, free national healthcare, state free and comprehensible state education and secure jobs.
You know what Yanis? You will not fool us or distract us with your hat tricks. We are busy building an independent political movement of the working class and our class is alive and dynamically pursuing a socialist future your shirts won’t feature in. We are done with recycling reformist models that serve to perpetuate capitalism, rather than endangering that system. We are done with you.