Today everyone wants to talk about the working class. At the last UK general election Cameron claimed to speak in the name of “hard working people” and Theresa May has gone one better in wanting to represent the working class, while UKIP claims to be able to speak for – and take the votes of – the workers who have become disillusioned with the Labour Party which imposed austerity on them for the 13 years of the Blair and Brown governments.
The ruling class in Britain was not prepared for the Brexit result. That there was no plan in place has become evident in the subsequent months. The Cameron government had no measures prepared. Those who campaigned to Leave the EU have gone back on slogans such as ‘£350 million a week to be spent on the NHS’ but not suggested anything in their place. The British bourgeoisie had partly lost control of its political apparatus and was looking for strategies to limit the damage to the economy, to stabilise a situation in which, especially after the advent of President Trump in the USA, instability and uncertainty are rapidly spreading.
We continue our series on the class struggle in South Africa, with a study of the period between the outbreak of the mass resistance movements in Soweto in 1976, and arrival in power of Mandela's ANC in 1993. In particular, we will look here at the way the new radical trades unions were used to break the back of the resistance, and drive the black working class into the arms of the nationalist ANC.
Ken Loach’s latest film, I, Daniel Blake, has already generated a lot of ink. First because it is the work of a very expressive film-maker who is well-versed in criticising the capitalist world. Second, because the film won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival, to widespread surprise. Since then there have been numerous articles in the press, praising or attacking the film, seeing it either as a real social thermometer or as an alarmist tear-jerker.
For all those who still consider that mankind’s last best hope is the revolutionary overthrow of world capitalism, it is impossible to greet the beginning of the year 2017 without recalling that it is the 100th anniversary of the Russian revolution. And we also know that all those who insist that there is no alternative to the present social system will recall it in their own way.
The bourgeoisie has made no mistake in spending decades concocting the shabbiest lies about the revolution in Russia in 1917. 100 years after the soviets took power in Russia, the propagandists of the ruling class continue to sing the same hymn to the virtues of bourgeois parliamentary ‘democracy’ and spew out the worst falsifications about the reality of the dictatorship of the proletariat in Russia.
In the first article in this series, we gave a brief overview of the origins and function of migration in the capitalist system and how this has changed as that same system began its remorseless historical decline in the early 20th century. In part two, we examined the culmination of those trends in the horror of the Holocaust. Part three discussed the plight of migrants during the terror of the Cold War. Towards the end of the 80s, the world entered a new period: one of generalised, social decomposition. It is this period we shall now examine.
In 2014 we published an article on the fast food workers’ struggles in the USA, ‘Capitalist astro-turfing finds its way to the trade unions’, () by a comrade in the USA who appeared to share our view of the trade unions as organs of capitalist control. Subsequently the comrade has revised his view of the trade union question and has asked us to debate this with him. The following response, written by a close sympathiser, is an initial contribution to a discussion which we think is a central one for revolutionaries.
If you were to ask a high school student about the Russian revolution of 1917, most likely she would reply that it was a Bolshevik coup which, despite the good intentions of its protagonists, ended up in a nightmare: the Soviet dictatorship, the Gulag, etc.
And if you to ask her what happened on 15 May 2011, it’s possible that the response would be that it was a movement for ‘real democracy’ and that it was very closely linked to the Podemos political party.
Anyone who is looking for the truth will not be satisfied with such simplistic answers, which have nothing to do with what really happened, stuffed as they are with the ‘common sense’ views promoted by the deformed education we are subjected to and the brow beating of the ‘means of communication’. In short, by the dominant ideology of this society.