A new article by Joshua Tartakovsky, "Israel and Ukraine: Ridding the Nation of the Undesirables," which draws parallels between Palestine and Donbass, on the one hand, and Israel and the Nazi regime in Kiev, on the other hand, made me neglect my duty to look at posts packed with clichés and to reflect on some of those bigger issues, which get lost in the haste of news and issues of the moment.
The category of the undesirables evokes another historical and political category--that of superfluous people. This category not only accompanies like a shadow the history and musings of modern political economy, but it was also part of theorizing about "totalitarianism" after World War II.
Producing much of superfluous money in the hands of the few (reportedly the value of derivatives is now about $2,000 trillion from $500 trillion in 2008), our late capitalism under its neo-liberal and neo-conservative form has also produced a critical mass of the so-called superfluous people, as seen from its one-eyed, narrowly focused greed.
This is not only means that one needs to be pay careful attention the mention of "superfluous people," one of the give-way terms dropped here and there by Hannah Ardent in her big and also admittedly strange book "The Origins of Totalitarianism."
The financialization of capitalism thus leads not only to financial bubbles. It also leads to the final forms of capitalism--as if back to its beastly form. After all, if Hobbes' Leviathan, the modern state, is anything, it is a beast. And so is Machiavelli's Prince.
And when the capital beast of the system feels that there are both simply too many people and too many people who might cause a trouble, it starts seeing all around itself or at least in a number of places too many of "superfluous people." The "natural balance" of the "market" needs to be restored. It needs to be "reset." Literally, that means "setting back." Or, as fascism also insisted, back from too much democracy and from too much of the Enlightenment.
That's when the system brings in a world war or fascism. Or something similar.
That's also why both neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism have more or less the same origin and function. A big reset of the system. The "Neo" program of the Matrix. That's also why, interestingly enough, even Poroshenko likes to use the word "reset" (or perezagruzka)--to reset the state (as a Nazi one ... plus with a war on top of it).
If neo-liberalism focused mainly on producing more of no longer economically and financially needed people, though, with death squads already accompanying its "liberalization," neo-conservatism focuses more on the subsequent, that is, current phase by expanding death squads into armies, i.e. al Qaeda-like armies, and the scope of violent death in the guise of "nation-(re)building."
And, as Arsenyi Yatsenyuk, the great friend of both U.S. neo-liberals and neo-conservatives in Ukraine told us, transiting from "the excess of superfluous people" to designating them as "subhumans to be cleansed" does not take that much. Yatsenyuk and his handlers did not lose any sleep over this--unless the sleep was used for planning and organizing the terror campaign itself, while calling it "the anti-terrorist operation."
This then boils down to a simple beastly calculus: the beast fearing for itself wants to save itself; and to save itself, it feels compelled to bring a sacrificial victim. The "superfluous" people. Today, these "superfluous" people are identified with the Palestinians, the Syrians, the Russians in Ukraine ...
It is neither an exaggeration nor just a metaphor to say that superfluous money in the hands of the few ultimately feeds on human blood. They are after all "derivatives." Derivatives from human labor, blood, suffering, and death.
This also explains the close connection between capitalism in its final form and fascism. Whenever in danger of losing its grip on life, the system demands infusion--of fascism, war, and blood. To avoid rigor mortis. To re-establish its equity, fluids, and their circulations.
For nothing cheapens human life in the face of too much wealth for the few than massive destruction, massive wars, chaos, and massive re-enslavement, which too, besides war and death, is fascism's key task.
Victor Hugo's magnus opus is the novel, Les Miserables. Based on what I have learned and what I know, it appears to me that the title can be justifiably rendered as The Undesirables. And what makes the book great, what makes Victor Hugo great (above being a great writer) is that this work shows the revolt and rise of the undesirables against the powers that be.
In many ways, capitalism is a mechanism that runs on desires. It is an economy of desires where good desires are mixed up with the bad for, as Mandeville already argued, it is the bad, harmful desires that are most profitable for the system based on greed. From the perspective of life, harmful desires are deadly, pathological, and morbid. And fascism is the morbidity and pathology of the system at its critical peak--at its final stage, so to speak.
That's also why Victor Hugo sided with the "undesirables." And so should everyone who cares.