Vampire as a political metaphor

Vampire as well as bloodsucker and parasite are terms that are widely used, notably in declarations from various factions of leftists political factions, to describe the greedy and take everything attitude of large multinational corporations.

At a Global Dialogue in 1998, Susan George compared MNCs with vampires in old folk legends:

Vampires are strong, have long teeth, live in nice castles and live off peoples’ blood. So do MNCs. But there is one weakness in all vampires : if you shed light on them, they shrivel away! We need light to expose MNCs.

The metaphor was also employed by Michael De Gale (The Vampire Mentality of MNCs , 2005) of Trinidad and Tobago:

 It is common knowledge that Multinational Corporations, particularly those involved in the energy sector, suck more than oil and gas from the host countries, they suck the very spirit and the lifeblood of working people. With the exception of a handful of individuals, every “Third World” country in which MNC’s operate are left more improvised and environmentally devastated than before their arrival. 

In a commentary by Mark Ames (WTO Stands For “Worship The Oligarchy”, 2002) he notes:

Multinationals are a lot like vampires: they know that they can destroy any developing nation’s industry, if only they can get invited in the house. The question is how to convince the local population that it’s in their interests. 

The French activist Jose Bove (Revolting Choice, Guardian, 13 June 2001) stresses the vampire-like role of MNCs from a different perspective:

We now have a worldwide dictatorship [governed by multinationals]. If you are not in the market place, you’re a nobody. We no longer live under conditions of traditional management and inter-state conflicts, but in the middle of a war between private powers with the market as the battleground. To understand the extent of this, all you have to do is look at how the traffic in money makes more profit than traditional production and trading activities combined. Today, money works by itself. This has produced a new breed of parasite; vampires thirsty for money. Money addicts.

The communist-inspired Internationalist Notes (17 April 2001) described the Summit of the Americas (Quebec City, April 2001) under the heading “A Gathering of Vampires”:

As we have seen previously, “The struggle for the parasitic appropriation of surplus value will become increasingly fierce and the global village is destined to become smaller and smaller for the growing number of vampires who inhabit it.” (Globalisation and Imperialism, ICR #16) Numerous siren songs are once again attempting to cover the voices of the tiny forces that try to maintain the red thread of history and stay the course towards a true liberation of humanity. This ultimate emancipation can only realise itself in a stateless, classless and moneyless society.

Brian Holmes (A Politics of Identitarian Retreat, 27 October 2002) comments via the Interactisist Info Exchange:

Being suspicious of the resistance movement’s cooptation by social-democratic politicians is just plain realistic. The vampires are out there, looking for a new consensus. But thinking that the autonomous movement can create a “public decision-making structure” by retreating into its own networks seems to me like a total illusion, and also a disavowal of the overall movement’s strength at moments like Seattle and Genoa — which in both cases broke a ruling consensus through a powerful mixture, or even contamination, of different political and social positions. I think the identitarian retreat can actually foster the crypto-hierarchies. And that’s a pity, coming from the anarchist side which is best when it’s mobile and tactically open. The only way to make the dissident, transformational ideal into reality is to confront the existing systems of public decision making with a better structures and processes, ones that can actually generate large-scale solutions to the large-scale bankruptcy of the neoliberal program. The confrontation entails dialogue, ideas and experimental media.