It’s always difficult - and unwise - to make precise predictions about the international situation, particularly as imperialist tensions and conflicts take on a more irrational and chaotic character. However, we can say with some certainty that, whatever the specifics of events in Syria, whether the regime falls or not, there will be more fighting, more bloodshed and the greater likelihood of the war worsening in Syria itself and extending beyond its borders.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne restarted an old ‘debate’ when he said that all those dependent on the welfare state for their existence were ‘scroungers’. The Labour party along with some of Osborne’s LibDem coalition partners, were astonished at the apparently provocative outburst, which relegated the greater part of the working population to the same status as the unemployed. For Osborne, the unemployed are shirkers by definition of course, and most of his critics have difficulty distinguishing their position from his. It has become fashionable to be tough on the unemployed, and the Labour party is making sure that it fits in with the fashion. This means that in contemporary public discourse everyone has to look as though they believe that unemployment is always a matter of choice.
At the start of 2013 the UK’s Coalition government voted in the latest tranche of austerity measures aimed at reducing the budget deficit. The Spending Review put forward by George Osborne factored in the planned attacks on welfare benefits and pensions. These attacks have been phased in by the British bourgeoisie over a number of years and didn’t start with the Lib-Cons coming to power. The attacks are plainly focussed on the working class.
For a long time sport has represented a phenomenon that cannot be ignored from the fact of its cultural breadth and its place in society. A mass phenomenon, it's imposed on us through the tentacles of many institutions and results in a permanent hammering from the media. What significance can we give it from the point of view of a historical understanding and from the point of view of the working class?
The massacre of innocent lives at Sandy Hook elementary school is a horrific reminder that short of a thorough revolutionary transformation of society the spread and depth of decomposing capitalism can only find expression in ever more barbaric, senseless, and violent acts. There is absolutely nothing in the capitalist system that is capable of offering a meaningful understanding of why such an act could even be conceived, let alone a viable proposal for change.
As the CGT and the CCOO-UGT regrouping five different unions in Spain called for yet another 24-hour ‘general strike’ for October 31 and November 14 respectively, comrades of the Assembly movement - Indignant and Self-Organized Alicante Workers - published and distributed a declaration called "In the face of the 24-hour strikes: What strike do we want? The mass strike!".
Whatever its specifics, strategies and rationales - and there are certainly plenty of those - the Israeli-Palestine conflict is first and foremost the expression of a decomposing capitalism that holds an enormous threat for the working class and the whole of humanity. This particular conflict, increasingly along with the whole geopolitical situation of the Middle East, represents the tendency towards greater militarism, imperialist war, instability and chaos. Its absurdity, intractability and irrationality perfectly sums up the future that this crisis-ridden system offers to us and the generations to follow.
It is often said that the history of the class struggle in America for the last four decades, that is, since the late 1960’s, is the history of an almost uninterrupted wave of defeats and rollback.Is it then correct to conclude that the working class has lost its battle against capitalism? Should we accept that we are at the point where the reversal of the balance of forces in favor of the working class is no longer possible? Are the struggles that the working class still engages in a sign of its waning, a reflection of a slow, but irreversible process toward all-out defeat? Does all of this mean that the working class is no longer the social force in society that has the potential and historic mission to destroy capitalist relations of exploitation and give birth to a communist world?
The previous article gave an overview of the efforts of the revolutionary syndicalist current in Germany to defend an internationalist position against the war of 1914-18. The Free Union of German Trade Unions (Freie Vereinigung Deutscher Gewerkschaften - FVDG) had survived the war with only a few hundred members in hiding who, under conditions of brutal repression, were, like other revolutionaries, most of the time condemned to silence. But late in 1918 events came to a head in Germany. When the struggles broke out in November 1918, the spark from the Russian revolution of October 1917 ignited the mass action of the proletariat in Germany.
Why write about primitive communism today? The sudden plunge into catastrophic economic crisis and the development of struggles around the world are raising new problems for the working class, dark clouds are gathering over capitalism’s future, and all the while the hope of a better world seems unable to break through. Is this really the time to study our species’ social history in the period from its emergence some 200,000 years ago to the beginning of the Neolithic (about 10,000 years ago)?