The limit generation
Javier Hernández Alpízar
It was said that ours was a lost generation. The generation X, with the name of an unknown, born between the late 60s and early 70s to reach the youth in the 80s and 90s, was a generation without expectations.
In an old issue of Nexos magazine, Boaventura de Souza Santos reflected that previous generations, at least in the countries of central capitalism, had grown up with the expectation of reaching a higher standard of living than their parents, but after the triumph, as a result of the conservative revolution called “neoliberalism”, the generations that grew up with it had the expectation that their standard of living would decrease with respect to that of their parents.
So it was. For the United States, Michael Moore documented it in Roger and me: Their parents had a better standard of living than their grandparents, but their generation saw thousands of jobs closed and their city turned into a dismantled maquila, almost a ghost town. In England, the Sex Pistols said there was no future. The present is the fulfillment of those words.
Demagoguery sang the triumph of neoliberalism, predatory capitalism returned to its origins of “original accumulation” or “accumulation by dispossession”, as if it had been the triumph of democracy and freedom.
There were, and still survive, important actors, resistances, counter-hegemonic tendencies that went against the current following the deepest current of the defense of life, such as Zapatismo in Mexico and the large demonstrations that a former Mexican president called “globaliphobic.” But the hegemony of capital prevailed, the counterrevolution triumphed. The reserved present of Apocalypse is the ripe fruit and in full decomposition stage of this triumph of capitalism. Triumph of capitalism, defeat of human beings and life.
As the anarchist philosopher and Zapatista traveling companion Jean Robert said, the Marxist phrase that capitalism is a mode of production should be corrected as “capitalism is a mode of destruction.” For our lost generation, he ruined our lives. It led us to age with no other expectation than to have a more helpless old age than our previous generations.
And not only in the countries of peripheral capitalism, dependent, or neocolonies of the system, even in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe. The Covid is only exposing the human, social, civilizational destruction that capitalism brought in those decades. The current decadence, reflected in rulers like Trump and cave rights that claim stale nationalism, is the fruit of that fermentation.
The generational transition made us, as Miguel Ríos used to sing, a “limit generation” without dreams, without utopias, with no other refuge than the opium of individualism and the escape from reality.
But the generations that came after us: younger siblings, children, our grandchildren, not only have, as we did, the certainty of a lower standard of living than their predecessors: they have questioned their expectations for the future.
The pandemic is only the symptom, the disease is the destruction of the balance and the capacity for self-repair of the system, of the symbiosis or metabolism between human beings and the planet. Capitalist hyperproduction is hyperdestruction of life. Today developmentalism is ecocide and ethnocide, mass production of maladjustment, imbalance and death.
That is why contemporary generations have everything to reproach us for, and Greta Thunberg’s angry words are fully justified. The supposed critical responses, be they the crude ones of Trump or Bolsonaro or the more sophisticated and intellectual ones, are demagoguery and impotence.
We inherit to current generations a world that is falling apart. Militarisms and authoritarianisms, populisms of the right and the left, are nothing more than the confessions of impotence disguised as omnipotence or “humanism”.
It is a lie that it is not the result of what we as human beings did and what we stopped doing: All the abuses on others, on others, added together, produced this result of dysfunction and catastrophe.
There are only minorities that went against the current, small communities, towns, micro-regions that built something counter-hegemonic. It is not by chance that today “progressive” hypocrisy attacks the Zapatista autonomies: it is the attack against those whose very existence, even silent and out of focus, uncovers the lie of developmentalism disguised as “regeneration” or “transformation”.
Since we were not able to stop the destruction and capital’s war against life and the planet, we must at least assume it without demagogy and not want to sweeten things for the generations who were victims of our defeat: we embarked them on this Titanic without enough boats. lifeguard. Whoever tells you that everything is fine, that death is under control, is lying.
After freeing the jaws of the pandemic come the others of poverty, misery, unemployment, hunger and global warming, climate injustice, the mass extinction of species.
Today utopia is not building a better world. Enough utopia is to go beyond, even if it is a little for himself-who-can, and face the collapse as best together as possible. Utopia is surviving and continuing to defend life. But even against that utopia the demagogues of this hour are at war.