1) The attack is already under way.
Globally, the troops have been prepared, the weapons sharpened, the strategic headquarters of capitalism have been readied, the national command centres have been briefed and the local field marshals are on the alert. In 2013 the previous heavy skirmishes conducted by the financial, economic and political agents of capital, will be intensified into a veritable war against the working classes and the poor.
As usual it’s the bondholders and banksters among the 1% plus who will order an increase in the intensity of the war against the rest of society. Their colleagues in the strategic, decentralised headquarters of IMF, World Bank, Central and national banks, along with their paid mercenaries in national governments and states are planning the tactics and strategy. Their field agents in local governments and law courts are on stand-by – ready to wield the life-threatening armaments – and do their bidding.
The missiles this elite group of exploiters and spoilers of the planet, will deploy have already been successfully trialled in the past few years. They are bankruptcies, redundancies, price rises, tax increases, house repossessions, wage and salary reductions, monetary devaluation, welfare reductions, resource contractions and loss of civil liberties. Each weapon has been carefully fashioned and designed to take out a specific section of society. In addition to these hard physical weapons of civilian destruction, soft weapons of media propaganda will also be utilised.
The hard weapons, already loaded and awaiting to be fired in sustained volleys, will indeed destroy countless families and individual lives, throughout Europe, the UK and North America in 2013. They will do so by delivering poverty, ill health, homelessness, cold, malnutrition, crime, drug addiction and even suicide. For this reason the propaganda weapons will play an important role in the austerity war. As in all wars media propaganda will be deployed to make all the death and destruction seem regrettable, but inevitable and unavoidable.
The current economic and financial crisis has ramped up the economic and social war between capital and labour by a considerable degree. In 2013 it will be further intensified against the working classes and the poor in most countries. The casualties are now found not only among the long-term unemployed, a group which has been increasing everywhere since the 1970’s, but also among those who once felt safe. Even small and medium capitalist concerns will be sacrificed to the needs of the system and its bankers and bondholders.
It is a war in which the enemy is not only outside the territorial limits of each country, but also within it. The capitalists and their pro-capitalist supporters are ensconced in positions of political, economic and financial power in each country, from the Middle East, through Europe and on to North and South America. The local agents of this austerity assault on communities will offer the classic Nuremburg defence; ’We are only following orders’. They will display all the hallmarks of bureaucratic banality which clings onto ‘position ‘and attaches its own self-interest to that of maintaining the ’system’. The capitalist induced austerity war is therefore a global war in which the battle fields will be fought out primarily, but not exclusively, within nation states.
2) A first line of defence?
In times of all out war – in which innocent civilians will be randomly attacked – it is sensible for societies to prepare lines of civil defence. Unfortunately, very few people have recognised that this really is an all-out war and so defensive preparations are not very well advanced. Many people simply think that a rogue battalion of mixed conservative and liberal troops with too much authoritarian testosterone have conquered political power here and there. Consequently they just need to be told to stop what they are doing by sufficiently large demonstrations, petitions and frequent one-day strikes. The ultimately penalty envisaged being to send these ‘rogues’ back to their barracks by voting them out of office. If only it were so simple.
Yet this perspective and these very tactics have already been tried and found wanting in the Middle East, Greece and Spain. Undoubtedly, more of these tactics (and similar) will be, and should be, tried as the crisis continues to unfold. However, it is becoming obvious that no amount of verbal abuse, eloquent persuasion or mass demonstrations is going to shift these representatives of a global system of exploitation, from the hostilities they are bent upon. So where does that leave us? If, for example, there were political parties in each country with sufficient strength and determination to champion the policies such as the following;
a) refuse to pay the sovereign debts; b) refuse to bail out the banksters; c) turnover the zombie firms to their workers; d) fully nationalise the high street banks; e) close down all the futures and speculation avenues; f) institute a low maximum salary and a high minimum wage; g) introduce a maximum amount of currency which could be taken out of the country; h) confiscate the property of those who leave; i) end foreign interventions by our troops; j) abandon nuclear deterrent; k) limit the amount of land an individual could own and control; l) turn over all unused local resources to local citizens community groups.
Then an initial complimentary part of our civil defence would be support for such a party. However, with the exception of Syriza in Greece, no such parties exist and even Syriza does not – as yet – have a fully radical programme, which would do more than stabilise capitalism in the short-term and reintroduce it with all the same problems in the longer. Elsewhere the moderate left is not even substantially collaborating to maximise the effects of demonstrations, meetings and potential strike actions. The anti-capitalist left, despite a general recognition that austerity is an intensification of class war, has not shrugged off its sectarian competitive divisions based upon the desire to be the exclusive ‘leaders’ of any present and future significant events.
The obscene extent of the global inequalities, the international spread of injustices, the planetary scope of ecological destruction, caused by the capitalist mode of production, requires a general emancipation of humanity from this system. But such emancipation can only come from a section of society which is large enough, dynamic enough and generous enough to be prepared to champion, not just its own needs, but those of humanity in general. In the 20th and 21st centuries, no class has as yet arrived at that position and hardly any sub-group of the classes, including sections of the working classes, has articulated the need to become such representatives. Each class and each political tendency within each class are as yet primarily concerned with their own class and narrow political interests. And these are far from sufficient to found society anew.
3) A second line of defence.
In the absence of such an organisational development, and not being paralysed whilst awaiting its possible (and contradictory) creation, then working people and the oppressed should fall back on their own resources. Indeed, as the ordinary people of Greece and Spain (and elsewhere) have already demonstrated, these are many and varied and some are well established. Pressing need has re-instated the humanitarian deed. Defence against the intensification of the austerity war as it effects the working and non-working classes and poor in all countries subject to austerity war citizen bombardment, will need to include the following:
a) Local community defence groups to prevent damage and looting in disturbances.
b) Community action to prevent house evictions.
c) Community action to re-connect essential services cut off for none payment.
d) Community resource sharing (transport, tools, food, communications etc.)
e) Community trading. (L.E.T.S schemes, Credit Unions.)
f) Keeping open essential services. (education, health, fire, libraries.)
Such levels of local self-activity by working people will put communities on a defensive war footing as the government attacks increase in number and intensity. It is out of such activities that the presently missing – consistent – human solidarity can be created and the ’muck of ages’ be washed away. It is out of such activities, that the basis of a new form of citizen self-activity and reliance can develop. It is out of such activity that other sections of society can be drawn in and recognise – in practice – that another world is possible. It is out of such experiences that a deeper recognition of politics as being the problem and all forms of politics is merely a perpetuation of elite exploitation. It is out of such inclusive activities and the defence of non-profit-making forms of social production which will really point the way beyond capital. [see Defending Public Services’.]
Roy Ratcliffe (January 2013.)
[For an example of how subsidies are given to businesses whilst cutting back on welfare see http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2013/05/15/the-hidden-welfare-state-that-the-u-k-government-dares-not-speak-of/. For more more on how the economic and political elite organise at a global level see http://www.aworldtowin.net/blog/davos-elites-warn-of-perfect-global.html [For more on the propaganda war against the victims of the capitalist mode of production see: http://stevedrant.wordpress.com/%5D
The unification of the working class, the growth of a revolutionary party and ultimately the seizure of power seems but a dream to me, sadly. This won’t stop me demonstrating or standing on picket lines etc but how do you suggest we mobilise our fellow oppressed peers, Roy?
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Good insights and practical suggestions here. Do you think a grassroots movement to boycott the products of the multinational corporations would be feasible? This is a sacrifice that would be most difficult for many Americans but also potentially more effective. Money and power is what moves the ruling class to tears, at least we can try to go after their profits.
Thanks for your positive comments. My experience with boycotts is mixed. Particularly those aimed at large companies and countries. The best results were during the boycott of South African goods during the Apartheid era. More recently the boycott of Israeli produce has had some success, but I thinkin both cases apart from the disinvestment elements, the effects were more psychological than economic. However, both boycott campaigns allowed activists to engage with a public who would not normally attend meetings. The consequent dialogue was a chance to see what people really thought and enabled our message to get across. Incidently the more visual ‘street theatre’ type initiatives on the issues were far more effective than the usual handing out leaflets and petition signing. Regards, Roy
PS I have visisted your blog and added a link to it on my blogroll.