“This means that formally the class consciousness of the bourgeoisie is geared to economic consciousness. And indeed the highest degree of unconsciousness, the crassest, form of ‘false consciousness’ always manifests itself when the conscious mastery of economic phenomena appears to be at its greatest. From the point of view of the relation of consciousness to society this contradiction is expressed as the irreconcilable antagonism between ideology and economic base. Its dialectics are grounded in the irreconcilable antagonism between the (capitalist) individual, i.e. the stereotyped individual of capitalism, and the ‘natural’ and inevitable process of development, i.e. the process not subject to consciousness. In consequence theory and practice are brought into irreconcilable opposition to each other. But the resulting dualism is anything but stable; in fact it constantly strives to harmonise principles that have been wrenched apart and thenceforth oscillate between a new ‘false’ synthesis and its subsequent cataclysmic disruption.
This internal dialectical contradiction in the class consciousness of the bourgeoisie is further aggravated by the fact that the objective limits of capitalism do not remain purely negative. That is to say that capitalism does not merely set ‘natural’ laws in motion that provoke crises which it cannot comprehend. On the contrary, those limits acquire a historical embodiment with its own consciousness and its own actions: the proletariat.”
György Lukács, History and Class Consciousness, 1923
To fully grasp the revolutionary nature of bitcoin, we first need to understand the internet and its role in forming a new class consciousness. I call this new class consciousness and its manifestation in the world The Digital Sovereign. Barley 20 years in the making, the internet is already the most powerful tool of global communication and information exchange that we have ever seen. With 3.2 billion people and growing with each day, the internet has put more people in contact with one another than at any other time in history. Digital communication is near instantaneous, access is ubiquitous and allows for a scale and magnitude of organization that has never been conceived. What unites the 3.2 billion people beyond the marketing and capitalist rubbish of the internet is a new crystallized form of class consciousness. This class consciousness is the true proletariat; the cohesive whole of humanity and the great society which contains us all.
What is Class Consciousness?
Class consciousness is the awareness of our identity as not as individuals, or even as a group, but as an entire classes of people. Historically, the class consciousness that we have been aware of since the advent of capitalism have been false consciousness based upon racial, nationalistic, religious, political; but most of all, economic consciousness. As Marx stated in, The German Ideology:
“The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas.”
Each time that we trace back the origin of prior false class consciousnesses we come to find that the ‘facts’ upon which they are based are little more than propaganda of the ruling class, only to be torn asunder by the next epoch. The only real class consciousness that we have been given by the various ruling systems is a consciousnesses of exploitation and objectification–alienation in its most sinister forms.
False Consciousnesses as Consumers and Citizens
The false consciousness that we experience in society today is based upon the process of reification; in which we develop a false identity in the reflection of the ruling system. This started long ago with the industrial development of the cultural industry being sold as mass enlightenment. As Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer explain so well, the cultural industry is a form of mass distraction and deception forced on to the whole population as bourgeois enlightenment. We were birthed into a world where for many decades the mythos of state and capitalism has reigned supreme, and crass avarice as seen as zenith of benevolence. For generations the masses have mindlessly obey the state and enthusiastically participated in capitalism. This has created a sort of stockholm syndrome of society under the barbarism of the state, and exploitation of capitalism. People truly believe that the answer to environmental catastrophe and genocide can be found within consumption and statism. Our identities are so entangled and interwoven as being subjects of both the state and capitalism that we cannot conceive any other sort of socioeconomic situation. This is where we find our common ground.
The false identities of consumer and citizen alike has made us into weak, solitary, individuals against the omnipotence of the states and markets–we are forced into roles and identities as only individuals to be exploited, not as empowered class of people who can resist. Within the system of state capitalism we cannot be autonomous, self-empowered humans; but only things to be exploited by capitalism, and subjugated by the state. This is why despite the power of the numbers that we have to actively resist such a system, there is no ‘consciousnesses’ that has formed to created such a resistance. From nearly a century of inundation and bombardment of mass culture, we no longer have any sort of a vision of what life can look like free of the state, or capitalism–the vast majority simply believe there is only a one-dimensional existence. Luckily, the revolutionary tools that will shatter these false identities, and unite us as a single people are already at play, and cannot be stopped.
The development of the internet and the formation of the social web has created a new territory. This space is unlike any other space or territory that we have ever encountered before because it is a sovereign space of non-physicality:
The axiom that the internet functions from is that it can only and explicitly exist non-physically, which is also the praxis of its inevitable success. Only expression can exist within the confines of this screen–the physical contact needed for violence and intimidation explicitly cannot exist here. Furthermore, the anonymizing properties of information dissemination via the web allows for personal discovery outside of the official indoctrination of state capitalism. These combine attributes of the internet have created the conditions for a new kind of social relation that has manifested as an ideological apparatus.
The self-interest of this apparatus (the internet) is to perpetuate itself; to freely disseminate information–that is what the internet does. This alone has made it a threat towards both the state and capitalism, however, it is the conscious organization of the internet into a political vehicle which will allow for it to defeat state capitalism. The revolutionary praxis of the internet demands for meaningful and constructive communication, which in turn is reliant on the freedom and liberty offered in this territory.
The freedom and liberty of the digital territory is not the vulgarized freedom of nation-states and capital markets, but that of an idealist one. Here is a territory in which we can all freely project our thoughts, while the physical corrosion and intimidation of the ‘real world’ cannot exist. This means that people have the freedom to both personally, and ideologically discover for themselves what the true nature of the world is for themselves through this space.
Only for so long will people fall for the ruse of state and capitalist propaganda masquerading as facts; and with each new lie this system purports acts as a testament against its own bankruptcy. In this digital territory we are stripped of our individual and state identities, and given new digital ones. This homogenization of people through the banishment of physicality, allows for us to see ourselves more as a single people than we could have ever experienced in the physical realm. The internet is what allows for us to see, organize, and interact for the first time on a truly global scale. This is the natural outcome of a world that has existed under the full weight of a century of globalized imperialist capitalism.
The Coming Digital Sovereign
This transformation of class consciousness is only in the very early stages. Even today the internet is still seen by most people as only a mode of communication which must be subservient to the state. But as we advance into the 21st century and experience the power that the internet has to shatter borders and disseminate the harshest of truths, we will find a class consciousness in that very power. As more and more people discover the radical personal empowerment the internet can offer in a world of unrelenting barbarism via state capitalism, the internet will take on the powerful ethos of the global proletariat.
The culmination of the ethos of the internet into a full social, political, and economic organization is the global proletariat; and the internet is its most powerful weapon of organization.
The internet thus far has been mostly used for the trite and vulgar needs of capitalist exploitation. The modes of power that exist to exploit individual users within the internet are present today, and they are very powerful, but so are the the modes of counter-resistance. In fact, this game of brinkmanship between the state and the individual in the digital realm has reached an end game that the state has lost. Crypto has reached sophisticated enough levels to hide the likes of men like Ed Snowden, and other whistle blowers, and there are plenty more of them to come.
Within the digital realm it is left up to individual actors to choose to what level of exploitation they will face, or how they will resist it. This is radically different from the world in which we live in. The panopticism of everyday existence forces us to conform to the will of the state capitalist system. This is what Max Weber called the iron cage. The internet is what gives us an exit, and a way to subvert this system.
It cannot be understated how powerful it is that a non-physical space can have a sociological influence on the physical world. It is within the very fact that the digital territory of the internet creates its power as The Digital Sovereign. The Leviathan of our time; the internet serves as the cohesive tool that can allow for humans to radically organize on a praxis that forces non-violent organization–the Achilles Heel of all States.
There is no immediate physical space in which violence can exert itself. The internet does this while directly influence the physical world, particularly in times of crisis. This in turn has allowed for the internet to become an ideological apparatus that will both organize and fight for its own existence, while finding solidarity for its fight in every corner of the globe. It is by no mistake that the several regimes spanning decades collapsed after the Arab Spring Revolts, which the internet was the influencing factor.
The Internet and The Global Proletariat
Slowly the interpellation of the values of the internet are overtaking that of the state. We are still subjects of our respective states, but no longer under the spell of statism. The radical values upon which the internet was created, and because of how the internet functions and influences our lives, we now have more loyalty to this territory than that of our own states. Due to the sovereignty of this territory, it has acted as a space for the radical education and dissemination of information throughout all of cyberspace, which in turn has self-propagated its own development. The truth can be demanded and told through this medium, without the direct physical oppression of states, or exploitation of capitalism.
The historical embodiment of people being used and exploited by state capitalism is now found in every person and everywhere around the globe. We have advanced so far and so deep into capitalism that there is no person, no space, or territory that has not been fully defined by capitalism. This in itself gives us a united identity as a single people through the shared exploitation and turmoil that we are all subject to under this system. With the advent of the internet and digital technology, the class consciousnesses that we all share as The International Proletariat is starting to gain momentum. It is forming itself through a variety of modes that cannot be stopped by states, or their capitalist allies. This consciousness is the pure historical information that has created the conditions of the proletariat.
The internet has made the suppression of information nearly impossible which allows for the naked facts of what is to be seen by all. This freedom of information is the bases of power for the class consciousness of the internet and the global proletariat. The free organization, collaboration, and dissemination of the facts of the world as it is, free of the propaganda of states and capitalists alike, allows for a new lens of view to come into focus: The true class consciousness of the global proletariat united through the internet.