(That is the question!)

In the guise of two world wars (1914-18 & 1939 – 45); several financial crashes (1929 & 2008); Arctic to Antarctic global pollution (2015 – ?); a world Covid pandemic (2019 – 22); a world climate crisis (2021- ?); a world migrant problem (2015 – ?); a world food shortage (2022 – ?); and a coming global economic recession (2023/24), reality is once again demonstrating that history is no longer the independent history of nations, but world history. Even Putin’s one-nation, emaciated copy of Hitler’s Blitzkrieg bomb and blast Lebensraum land grab in 1939, although now close to collapsing, has triggered further global shortages of fuel and food and increased global poverty. As in 1938 one nations attempted annexation – also with grain fields in mind – becomes a world problem and world problems require world solutions. Not one of the nine crises noted above could be solved or even moderated on the basis of national politics.

Yet the political and governing elites in every country know of no other type of action than looking after their own class interests and persuading their own national electorate to support them in vain attempts at national revival. Typical in this latter regard is the newly formed tribute band of Tory (Thatcherite/Johnsonite) vultures occupying number ten Downing Street in the UK. Downing is an apt street name for ‘down’ is exactly the direction it’s successive occupants continue to send a majority of the population both young and old in the UK. In contrast the new crew are rapidly leveling-themselves-up by guaranteed state salaries, expenses, pensions and any shares they and their families may have trust-funded out of sight.

The confidence trick Truss and her gang of pillaging political pirates are trying to pull on the electorate is transparently thin. It is that by further enriching the rich in the middle of a deepening world recession, they will increase the production of goods and services. In their Truss’ed up amateur imagination this is supposed to create more sales, more jobs, more salaries and wages and more taxes. In theory when such top-up funding of the rich works (and it rarely does) it creates a so-called ‘trickle down’ effect. So a torrent of wealth at the top is supposed to ensure a few drips find their way to those at the rock bottom. However, a hoped for booming national capitalist economy – anywhere – requires a booming world capitalist economy, and there isn’t one.

Consequently, no astute capitalist, extremely rich or moderately rich is going to invest in production of anything if there are too few people on the world market able to buy the increased production. Consequently any extra funds the rich get given will be stashed away in ‘offshore’ savings or used for financial speculation. The only ‘trickle down’ effect ordinary people are likely to get over the next few years will be the kind that comes with ‘oops’ moments between the legs, as muscle control let’s go at the sight of an un-payable energy or rent bill.

The Hitler, mark two version, (Vladimir Putin) who in absolute control of an armed nation, this year demonstrated the massive contradiction between an economic system based upon global capitalism and socio-political systems based upon hierarchical nationalism. The national elites globally have all set up systems of governance where only the unity of combined masses of people can possibly stop a ‘leader’ from causing class wars, local wars or even potential world wars, yet these same elites also ban the masses from even protesting let alone organising to prevent yet another world war.

The rest of the world’s elites and their followers can do nothing to stop Putin except add to the existing climate destroying (and planet polluting) weapons capabilities of themselves and Ukraine and leave the Ukrainians to die defending their homes. The only checkmate to Putin’s threat of nuclear warfare, the rest of the world’s elites can offer, is to threaten their own nuclear retaliation in what could possibly become a world war three showdown.

Of course, radical problems require radical solutions and radical global problems require radical global solutions, but not of another world war kind. More and more people are coming to the conclusion that radical solutions are required, but these conclusions are being reached in the straight-jacketed context of nationalism. People are turning away disgusted at their traditional political elites and seeking radical politicians. But these radical left and right nationalist politicians, (from Trump to Bolsonaro and Italian Brothers etc.) mainly represent disaffected elements of the middle class and therefore, cannot solve international problems.

This is because, they are part of the problem of nationalism not part of an internationalist solution. It really is impossible to radically solve problems caused by a system you personally wish to govern and preserve it. Besides which, solving the main problems caused by the capitalist mode of production has already been variously tried by all nationalist politicians globally (left, right and centre) between 1945 and 2008. Not one of the political parties could solve them or they would have been solved already.

Only a mode of production based upon an international association of egalitarian communities could ensure that scarce resources were shared out so that everyone in every community had enough to survive adequately, whilst not undermining the quality and quantity of air, water, soil, insects, plants and animals. For these are the material foundations of all human activities economies and cultures. Proposing such a mode of production may sound Utopian and unrealistic but I suggest it is even more Utopian and unrealistic to hope that the present mode of production, governed by elites whose main purpose in life is to become richer, are even remotely capable of sorting the many problems we now face.

They prefer to carry on looking after ‘number one’ and building the rocket powered equivalents of Victorian ‘follies’ then crashing them into asteroids or to send people to Mars. They prefer to whoop and cheer for such arrogant and inhuman high level expenditure rather than whooping and cheering after making sure that every human being on earth has enough food, energy and housing to keep them safe, secure and content. And as the climate crisis deepens they would sooner self-indulgently explore other planets rather than ensuring the planet that has given them life retains a sustainable ecological and climate balance.

Fulfilling such a humane perspective toward all ‘life on earth’ maybe impossible at the moment and also be difficult to achieve at any future moment. However, it is the only logical way to ensure the long term survival of the human species and many other species, in a manner befitting highly intelligent organisms. Humanity has so much talent, energy and potential wisdom that to continue to use these attributes destructively rather than constructively will be a tragedy of unparalleled proportions. The history of previous empires spread over several thousands of years suggest that the elites in control of them continued to prop them up and absorb the benefits until the systems collapsed due to an accumulation of their own internal contradictions.

Those in control of the present empire of neo-liberal capitalism are likely to do exactly the same, whilst squabbling among themselves as to which geographical bit of the empire is to be the most dominant portion. Whilst it is true that ordinary people are fairly powerless at the moment to help revolutionise the mode of production, but we are not powerless to revolutionise our thinking. Being critical of the present system whilst proposing radical egalitarian-based inclusive solutions is itself a necessary prerequisite toward establishing (in practice) an alternative future – whenever a paradigm shift or system collapse allows it.

Roy Ratcliffe (September 2022)

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