Know Your Enemy: How to Defeat Capitalism

We must put an end to capitalism. To do this, we must know the enemy – capital. We will never defeat this enemy if we do not understand it – its effects, its strengths and its weaknesses. If, for example, we do not know capital as our enemy, then crises within capitalism due to the overaccumulation of capital or the destruction of the environment will be considered crises of the “economy” or of society. industrialization – calling on us all to sacrifice.

Indeed, as long as workers do not see capital as their own product and continue to think that the need for healthy capitalists is common sense (and as in their own interest), they will refrain from actions that place capital in crisis. Even if we succeed in fighting to take control of the state, even if we manage to remove government from capital, we will continue to think that capital is necessary if we do not understand it.

Something important happens when you struggle with others. You win sometimes, and you learn the importance of uniting. But it’s not just that your winning prospects are improving. Also, you change. You begin the process of getting rid of those sides of yourself that capital has produced. You change your social relationships: instead of separation, there is solidarity. You recognize yourself as part of a community and you also come to recognize others as part of that community. You change in another way in the process. You develop new abilities. This is what Marx called “revolutionary practice” – the simultaneous change of circumstances and human activity or change of self.

Brochure of socialist interventions n° 22 – February 2022.

Michael A. Lebowitz has taught Marxian economics and comparative economic systems at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia since 1965 and is currently Emeritus Professor of Economics. He directed the Transformative Practices and Human Development Program at Centro Internacional Miranda (CIM). His latest book is Between capitalism and community (New York: Monthly Press Review 2021). His publications can be found at michaelalebowitz.com.