Whether or not Boris Johnson uttered the following sentence, “I would rather let the bodies pile up – than order another lock-down”, or something similar, back in August 2020, they do represent what has happened in the UK and elsewhere since the Covid19 epidemic morphed into a global pandemic. The figures speak for themselves. In the UK at least 127,000 bodies have so far piled up; in the US 574, 000 bodies; India 195, 000 bodies, and globally 3, 100, 000 bodies have piled up. Whether spoken or thought, the neo-liberal capitalist elite system has preferred to allow 3.1 million bodies to pile up rather than close down – or radically alter – its normal economic practices.
Indeed, ‘let the bodies pile up’ could well stand as a future epitaph on a monument or preferably a gravestone erected to the capitalist mode of production.
This article is too short to include an accurate assessment of all the human bodies which have piled up since the 18th century period of European wars for capitalist domination, including the colonialist period, the imperialist stage of world domination and the post Second World War period of localised wars, such as Korea, Vietnam, Iraq 1, Iraq 2, Afghanistan, Yemen etc. So let’s just remind ourselves of the bodies piled up due to two 20th century globalised wars between the two rival capitalist camps headed by Germany on the one hand and Britain on the other. The first World War (1914 – 18) an estimated 21 million dead bodies piled up; the Second World War (1939 – 1945), an estimated 70 million dead bodies piled up.
It should be absolutely clear that the last two or three generations of elites in control of capitalist countries would rather ‘let the bodies pile up’ than significantly alter their profit-based method of production. It is also clear that the new 21st century generation of capitalist and pro-capitalist elites are no different in this regard. So no matter whether they openly say (or in April 2021 deny saying it) that ‘let the bodies pile up’ that is exactly what is actually happening. So it must also be what many influential people, such as Boris Johnson are actually thinking if not saying. And all across the globe bodies continue to pile up in order to keep capitalist forms of ‘business as usual’ open. But we also know that business as usual capitalist competition is not only devastating human beings, it is also devastating the ecological basis of all life-forms.
The same week that the ‘let the bodies pile up’ phrase was revealed in the UK, another news-bite phrase was uttered – this time in the US. Joe Biden, in announcing a post-pandemic economic development plan, declared, ‘America is on the move again’. Revealingly, he emphasised that America on the move meant not just re-booting the internal capitalist form of production but also competing with China economically and militarily on the world stage and beating them. In other words, the massive overproduction of everything containing surplus-value (ie private profits from unpaid working class labour), is to continue in a more reinvigorated form. This on a sliding scale, is also essentially the same mantra coming from most economic, financial and political elites. These views demonstrate that the elites everywhere do not understand that they are part of the problem for humanity, not part of the solution.
Indeed, despite their obvious failures, the elites everywhere self-indulgently think they are the most important part of any future solution. More problematically, they have convinced many among the middle – class and working class to believe them. Consequently, large sections of humanity have not yet started asking the right questions, let alone envisioning appropriate solutions. Deliberately educated to rely on borrowed thinking handed down by ‘experts’ in the pay of capitalism, most people – as yet – think the current economic system is the best possible. They have bought the political message that despite the obvious mess in health, social care, housing, pollution, ecological destruction, climate change, unemployment and poverty, they should welcome the return to a pre-covid (Doctor Pangloss viewed) normal. Meanwhile the bodies are continuing to ‘pile up’.
If it is correct that only a changed reality can alter ideas and opinions which have been accepted as ‘normal’ and mostly ‘useful’ for a generation, then hopefully a change in thinking should follow recent events. The new reality of a Covid19 infected, climate destabilised, polluted and extinction-prone economic system, sooner or later, should challenge and change what has been a normal and useful form of thinking for global citizens. However, it will take a critical – mass of people to actively challenge existing norms and then adopt new perspectives on economic and social activity, before masses of people will join a practical campaign. A campaign to change the mode of production to one which benefits the whole of humanity and the rest of the biosphere. Hence, the name chosen for this blog site and the motive for the ideas presented and developed in the new ‘Introduction to Revolutionary-Humanism’ (see below).
Roy Ratcliffe (April 2021)
By clicking on the long Web link below, (or by copying and pasting it into a search engine) a copy of a new document ‘An Introduction to Revolutionary-Humanism’ can be obtained at no cost. In 35 short chapters of explanation and criticism, it covers the many forms of exploitation, oppression and patriarchal prejudice which characterise the capitalist mode of production. The document builds on the original anti-capitalist perspective of Karl Marx – as it was before his firm revolutionary-humanist principles were ignored or suppressed by subsequent generations of sectarian dogmatists. Presented in what I hope will be easy to understand language, the chapters in the document are aimed in particular at anti-capitalists, humanists and eco-activists, but has also been written with an even wider and more general audience in mind.
If the web link fails to deliver then a copy of the document can be requested by email to firstname.lastname@example.org