We are publishing here an article by our comrades in Brazil, analysing the major social movement that took place there in June.
The alternative to capitalism is published by Theory and Practice whose website contains a broad range of texts from political currents such as the SPGB, left communism and situationism. The book contains essays by Adam Buick and John Crump which were first published in 1986 and 1987. It’s not presented as an official publication of the SPGB, although the book was sent to us for review by comrades who are members of the organisation.
The recent revelations about the extent of surveillance by the capitalist state, as exposed by the former National Security Agency operative Edward Snowden, shouldn’t really surprise us. There are certain technical innovations which are quite revealing about the way the state uses the development of technology, but in essence this latest scandal just confirms what we already know about the development of state capitalism and the paranoia of the bourgeoisie; and we can probably assume that many of the technicalities revealed have already been superseded by even more refined methods. The Wikileaks release of classified US documents three years ago, giving rise to a world-wide media frenzy, amply demonstrated that spying and lying are part of the stock-in-trade of the ruling class.
As austerity bites and capitalism shows its teeth in its relentless quest for profit and for ways to offset its crisis onto the working class, the recent revelations of the explosion in so-called zero hour contracts have filled the newspapers and our television screens. Signing up to a zero hours contract is a condition that can mean no wages or little wages at the end of the week. In the hope of gaining some employment many workers wait at the end of a phone for whatever an employer or an agency offers.
The rise in the use of food banks has reached huge proportions. The food banks, originally intended for the most destitute within society, are starting to be used across all sectors of the working class, often including those parts who might have previously seen themselves as belonging to the ‘middle class’.
For several weeks there has been such a torrent of unexpected good news about the British economy that our rulers have become quite excited. It has given a shot in the arm to the markets, because of an expectation of an earlier than predicted rise in interest rates. And it has helped push the IMF to a humbling re-appraisal of the criticisms it has previously made of the British government’s economic policy. In fact the IMF is now praising the British government’s approach to economic management as the light of the world, replacing the old fashioned idea that China and the other emerging countries offered hope to us all.
Parliament’s rejection of the government’s motion supporting military intervention in Syria was seen by many as a reassertion of democracy, Labour showing a bit of backbone at last and Cameron being cut down to size. Indeed, the vote in Parliament attracted a lot of attention not only in the media but also amongst the population. Faced with the terrible slaughter in Syria many are deeply concerned about what is going to happen in Syria and the Middle East. However, the vote in parliament was not the manifestation of the ‘popular will’; rather it graphically illustrated the impasse of British imperialism.
The tragic events which have taken place and accelerated during the month of August in Egypt following the reactions to the army coup against former president Morsi, in particular the bloody repression of the Muslim Brotherhood which peaked on the 14th August, bear witness to the whole gravity of this historic situation and confirm this idea of a “crossroads” for the whole of humanity.
Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Syria, the massacres keep spreading. The horror of capitalism accelerates, deaths pile up. A continuous carnage that no one seems able to stop. Capitalism in utter decomposition is dragging the world into generalised barbarism. The use of chemical weapons as in Syria today is unfortunately only one of the instruments of death among many others. But there is nothing inevitable about this perspective, which left to itself will result in the destruction of humanity. The world proletariat cannot remain indifferent in the face of all these wars and massacres. Only the proletariat, the revolutionary class of our epoch, can put an end to this nightmare. More than ever humanity is faced with one choice: communism or barbarism.