Since some years, Ajith is put forward as an intellectual by the Indian Maoists and the Maoist Communist Party of Italy. It is therefore very interesting to see what he has to say about the Covid-19 crisis, as its postmodern conception of the world can only appear in a more frankly manner. What we can see in its article Covid-19, its social roots are as important as the virus itself is indeed the expression of the negation of Dialectical Materialism.
Ajith doesn’t understand nothing about the principle of mode of production. So, he criticizes Capitalism under only one aspect, the one of health. Understanding that it’s not enough to appear as a Communist, he then salutes the article COVID-19 and Circuits of Capital published by Monthly Review.
This review is edited by a professor of sociology at the University of Oregon and was co-founded b Paul M. Sweezy by Paul M. Sweezy, a professor of economics at Harvard acquiring a certain fame for Monopoly Capital (1966) written with Paul A. Baran. We are in the intellectual bourgeois environement of the universities.
Ajith belongs exactly to this approach and this is why he hails the article of Monthly review, which would “ scientifically” analyze the imperialist relations giving birth to the Corona pandemic. Ajith shows that he’s a total failure.
The article of Monthly review is typically petty bourgeois. We would need rules and regulations in the world, good rules and regulations, which capitalism is not able to obey. Ajith agrees. Both Monthly Review and Ajith are, because of this approach, unable to understand both the mutation of the virus and the animal question.
Monthly Review says the following, which is completely wrong:
“We need to retain the shock we received when we learned another SARS virus emerged out of its wildlife refugia and in a matter of eight weeks splattered itself across humanity (…).
Ecosystems in which such “wild” viruses were in part controlled by the complexities of the tropical forest are being drastically streamlined by capital-led deforestation and, at the other end of periurban development, by deficits in public health and environmental sanitation (…).
What were once local spillovers are now epidemics trawling their way through global webs of travel and trade. By this parallax effect—by a change in the environmental background alone—old standards such as Ebola, Zika, malaria, and yellow fever, evolving comparatively little, have all made sharp turns into regional threats. They have suddenly moved from spilling over into remote villagers now and again to infecting thousands in capital cities.”
Ajith agrees totally and says:
“The crux of this essay may be summarised thus: Viruses that had been largely contained through the complexities of the tropical forests have entered the mainstream through the deforestation caused by capital, and deficits in public health and environmental sanitation.
In short, the changes in livelihood conditions and environmental conditions of the vast majority, caused by globalisation and neo-liberal policies, lie at the root of the present tragedy. Its primary solution is the destruction of the imperialist system and the success of the Communist project.”
Let’s put aside the fact that for Ajith Communism is a “project” and that evil consists in “globalisation and neo-liberal policies”. This is even too petty-bourgeois to be mentioned and it shows a clear problem about the level of political economy in some part of the world.
Let’s see here a new thing, very important: the fact that the Covid-19 virus is not seen as a mutation. There would be a reservoir of pathogen viruses and the deforestation would bring them in contact to us. The industrial farms are the intermediary for the spread.
This is totally wrong. The virus didn’t come from the wildlife. It knew a mutation. It was in the wildlife but then it changed. And it changed through the animal farms. This is why Dialectical Materialism can only have the conclusion that we need a leap in agriculture and this means the dismissal of the animal farms.
Monthly Review has a “logical” conclusion and not a “dialectical”: we must go back in the past. It doesn’t see the leap of the virus, sop it can not see the leap necessary in agriculture. We read in the article of Monthly Review a typical peasant-populist argumentation:
“If by its global expansion alone, commodity agriculture serves as both propulsion for and nexus through which pathogens of diverse origins migrate from the most remote reservoirs to the most international of population center (…).
We reintroduce the livestock and crop diversities, and reintegrate animal and crop farming at scales that keep pathogens from ramping up in virulence and geographic extent. We allow our food animals to reproduce onsite, restarting the natural selection that allows immune evolution to track pathogens in real time.”
This means only going backward in capitalism: as capitalism, when developed, comes to interference with nature, then we should go in the past, when production didn’t not have this level of development at a planetary scale. This is totally reactionary.
What we see here is typically petty-bourgeois. Neither Monthly Review nor Ajith understand that it is the animal question which has been raised. Living at the expense of living beings is not only morally wrong, but practically a suicide. In the past, using meat has a sense as a local source of protein. But with an agriculture at the planetary scale, it is nonsense.
So,we don’t need to look at the past and try to make again a “local” production, an autonomous consumption, which is a reactionary dream, an anti-capitalist Romanticism. We need to look at the future and accept the leap which consists in the planetary agriculture, abolishing animal farms.