A manifesto for a revolutionary movement with a chance of winning
Let me get one thing straight: I don’t think anything less than a revolution in the economic foundation of Western (but now global, although if we do it soon we might be able to avoid dragging the whole world with us, they might like to try other social forms other than capitalism/socialism/fascism) society is adequate to change the radical inequality and exploitation that we have accepted as part of everyday life. In other words, I am a good Marxist and believe that changes must happen at the economic base, and that these changes will most probably require force, i.e. civil war. However, I think we are at an impasse at the moment, on the one hand capitalism is hegemonic and its ideology so ingrained in our everyday lives it is like the air we breathe. On the other hand, we, as anti-capitalist political activists and theorists, can no longer retreat to the extreme left and blame “the masses” for lack of engagement. We must face the reality of hegemony and that in order for there to be a revolution we need to do a hell of a lot of work, from the ground upwards.
There is no proletariat. Is that true? If it is, why isn’t there a proletariat? How did the original proletariat arise? I don’t have definitive answers to these questions, but the history of the proletariat is very important. History is important. It teaches us that a lot of work went into the creation of an effective working class movement, which in Britain may not have achieved socialist revolution, but it did achieve real social change at the level of reform. And then there are some people who beleive that these reforms lead to a crisis in social-democratic capitalism that could have turned into a “natural” (although probably still violent) revolution. Except the ruling classes saw this coming and hastily introduced neo-liberalism in an international ideological coup.
Things are different now. One of the main goals for us to achieve is a consciousness of just how unfair capitalism is, taken at the domestic and global levels. We could wait for the coming apocalypse of total global capitalist saturation: exhaustion of resources and the ecological collapse of the earth’s ecosystem. In eschatological terms, this will be the endgame; capitalism will either destroy us all or this crisis will force an evolution in society. The problem is, our world will be totally devastated in the process. I believe that we don’t have to wait, and that there are certain things we can do at the superstructural level (education, culture, politics, work) that will get us closer and quicker to a revolution by choice.
But we also don’t want a bourgeios revolution, which would put a new ruling class in power in place of the old one. This revolution by choice will have to be a popular one, the will of the working people of this world, and at the point when this popular consciousness reaches a critical mass, it will take care of itself. But in order to get to this point, we need to start at the beginning again, with radical public free education, an open democratic media, a real socialist party to counter the centrist non-politics of the Labour-Tory-Liberal deadlock and also a new attitude to the workplace. I think these are practical steps that admittedly are very difficult to do, but will have real and positive results in the future. We might not live to see the revolution, but that doesn’t mean we can sit around and wait for it, or cynically blame everyone else for their “laziness” and/or “stupidity”.
So I have put forward three (there were supposed to be four but I ran out of steam) points that need to be dealt with in order for there to be a revolutionary movement with any chance of winning. These points will appear as serialized blog-posts in the next couple of days. The missing fourth point involved the removal of the Tory-Liberal coalition government as an affirmation of the political power of the people. In summary, this would have talked about how we are close to kicking out this miserable excuse for a government, pretty much everyone I speak to on a day to day basis hates David Cameron, and I think the only ones who actually support them are the rich and powerful minority that run this country. If we can keep up the pressure and end up kicking the bastards out before their time is officially up, I think this will have hugely positive effects on the political morale of the people. Ok, we will end up with Labour, who are also shit and will do nothing different (Ralph Miliband will be turning in his grave), but we might feel like we can make a difference by engaging in politics, and the new government might actually have to tell the truth and follow through with their promises.
Prof. Grave Riddle, UfSO