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Petra Whiteley
Revolutionary ideas & politics in UK

 

Today’s situation in UK is reflective of problems of the inevitable quandary of capitalism - it's own economical barriers of overproduction and falling profits bring it to its cyclical crises. Periodically the recovery is more and more complex - for the system itself and for the classes it exploits and oppresses.

It can be argued that increasing accumulation of capital equipment results in increasing output with a smaller labour force. As a result, the workers do not have enough purchasing power to remove from the market all of the goods produced by the increasing stock of capital, and cyclical depressions of increasing severity will eventually lead to a revolution.

But revolution in this day and age seems a pipe dream at the best and another evil at worst.
Because our understanding is built up from the information we receive, many people's conclusion, when considering the possibility of the revolution, points at the atrocities and police state of former Soviet Union. It seems that alternatives are exhausted, not accessible or that their results would not have desired consequences.

It is alarming that BNP is the most visited political site, and that many of the homogenously owned media seem to be pointing finger at immigration and militant Muslims as the reasons of the troubled country. Although it tries to suitably divorce itself in this case from its historical parallels (the Jewish and communist plots of 30's Germany paranoia that served Hitler's rise to power only too well), it only serves as means to misdirect, misinform and incite.

The needs of capitalistic mode of production dictate that new markets must be found and the profit increased - cheaper labour must be found to exploit. The fight for the dominion over the resources ensues. The military and economic tactics of the imperialistic empires lead to endless wars and conflicts. The state control materialises as the global capitalist economy suffers its plunge into crises - the massive state intervention in financial markets over the last couple of months, its military engagements, and its own increasing surveillance and control of its own citizens.

Migrant workers are not a threat to already suffering working class. Instead of addressing the oppression and exploitation by the ruling classes, the working class engages in inter-conflicts. Whilst the capitalist dominance increases in fierceness, those classes will become more dispossessed. If they do not unify, there is very little reason to believe in fertile soil for a revolutionary change.

So what can be done? I would sum it up with words of Albert Camus - 'By rebelling against the absurd conditions that waste life - whether they be social, political or personal - the rebel shows solidarity with other persons and encourages the struggle for a more human world.'

Independent media with valuable information and journalism, seeking most objectivity and most accurate facts, free from any agenda other than truth, is one of the corner stones on the revolutionary road. More importantly, empowering each community to do this for itself and to build the connection with these independent media as centres of gathering their information without being taken out of context.

Credit unions where each community offers each member a financial safety net on social rather than capitalist bases is another option as is an exchange of services between the communities' members on same bases. It would also free its members from the increasing debt, where they become a property of the bank and face merciless losses of homes and means of their sustenance. Thus it starts building up its self-sufficiency from capitalist relations and within it builds a different alternative.

The question of crime would arise here, but vast majority of crimes is committed due to poverty or lack of motivation, and human estrangement from social values, the more community builds this up, there will be lesser problems on this front.

This is just a short-listing of few small ideas, but ordinary every-day life is the basis of all and where transformation begins. The world and system we live in is full of contradictions, any difference that is made creates shivers in its foundations. At that point question arises that the system will flex the muscle and economical cunning and fight this change that is not in its interest. Would it tolerate increasing independence of those on whom it depends to expropriate wealth from? Quite unlikely.

Most people are justly afraid of having to oppose a system like this because they see themselves as insignificant, and what's more disconnected. Most of the insurrections fail at this point - there is very little connection, and the chaotic nature of change brings on fear, which most of the time pushes any effort into fragmentation and concession or 'normalisation' and the slow come back to the status-quo without any change achieved. Therefore it could be concluded that each effort of any given community is to keep connection with any other community that tries to achieve any form of change and unify, especially in times of dire need.

It would also often seem that people most likely to move forward changing anything or standing up against the exploitation are those who stand to loose the least in material terms. Western workers in comparison to their counterparts in third world countries have a relatively safe and comfortable existence and so unlike their forbearers who fought for labour rights they now enjoy - or manage to hold on to since they are slowly taken away - many a time they seem apathetic and unwilling, fully depending on the system in place.

But almost everyone in Britain is underpaid and over-worked. To counter-act the labour rights, temporary and casual labour was initiated and agency, temporary and casual workers have very few rights granted to them. This problem has been addressed officially only recently and struggle to gain more protections is still in process. Permanent workers are not free of the threats of loosing employment either - there is always the possibility of redundancy. Many people are massively exploited and ill treated, and in Britain over 20,000 people are killed at or by their work each year (globally the death rate is around two million - figures according to TUC). Vast majority suffers from injuries, stress, depression and anxiety, the only solutions offered to them are not changes in the way they work or how they are treated at work, but are offered the sedative solution of pharmaceutical industry.

Workers have no say over what they produce, or how their work is organised, and with only a small portion of that product's value finding its way into their wages, they come to work daily to be exploited.

In a capitalist society, we are forced to sell our labour for a wage. To gain profit, the employer will always pay us less than the value of the labour we exchange for the money they pay. The surplus amount is appropriated and turned into capital - profit for owners, shareholders and corporate expansion. What we produce and work for has scarcely any social value but being turned into money for the upper classes to enjoy the highest living standards possible. As a result, we all have a shared interest in getting a bigger share of the fruits of our labouring, as well as in gaining better working conditions.

Organising at work, finding ways how we can affect change at work are on the forefront of the need for working revolutionary ideas and also give us a glimpse how we could work and organise work in a society based on social means of production.

The success of this fully depends on solidarity, on the coordinated actions of a large number of workers, which again brings us to the necessity of working class to be unified and self-conscious, self-aware, and informed - but not by media with capitalist bias and interests of dividing and keeping the exploitative status-quo.

Human understanding and resulting feelings come from our minds, they are the most powerful tools we possess, and we thus often believe what we are presented with. Such as the 'British way of life', this constant rendition of tradition and destruction and images of such are repeated from our media - to create fear and immobilise any inkling of empowerment within. 'British way of life' has always been the flexible nature of people to adapt and to live their lives according to changes of circumstances and their heart. The way of life is not set in stone and inflexible - otherwise it would be called the 'stagnation of life'. We are not under continuous attack of the alien others that the media present us with and they are not responsible for lack of morale. We are not children; we only give power to what we choose to.

All living systems change all the time, transforming themselves by changing or replacing their parts. While they change their structure, they keep preserving their own nature. Change is inherent to life but when the change is imposed, it becomes threatening. So we are conditioned to see the change of status quo as something inherently dangerous to us, because somehow we see this change coming from elsewhere or we become convinced that the change has become necessary not by our choice, but by situation created by others. The conclusion is that we need to adopt the pioneering spirit of discovering and learning and changing things to simply better our lives, reach out, connect and adapt a systemic approach to life.

Change is also needed in culture, which has turned into narcissistic self-obsession pastiche of nihilistic meaning, celebrity cult and commercialised art that fails to reach into deeper artistic appreciation, which can move and transform. What is also needed is attention to our psychological health and turn towards more encompassing approach to life than the generations seem to slip into. Who we are, is always reflected in what we do.

To achieve change we must be able to have a vision and to possess the ability to create conditions needed for the vision to be materialised. Since any system can cannibalise itself and/or collapse, we may need to do this sooner or later. With the growing ecological damage rapid industrialisation has caused to the environment, another focus on technology is in dire need to be discovered, this technology may as well revolutionise the whole society as we know it, just as the birth of technology with its civil movements for mobility of classes materialised transformation of feudal society into capitalist one.

It is of course a question how and when the dissolution of the dissolution of the existing conditions with the revolutionary action such as: abolition of property, division of labour, exchange, value. These questions are invaluable to answer, but also to remain open to examination and flexibility before and when they become necessary to confront as reality.

The overcoming of the existing conditions is the overcoming of the objectification of production. Alienation, objectification, over the history of the separation of activity from its conditions, marked these conditions as relations of production, economy and as mode of production. Thus bringing the dissolution of the existing conditions of the capitalist mode of production into reality in future and setting this future into motion within our present, is changing the definition of our existence into a more human, social, creative rather than only productive.

Of course these can only be speculative suggestions, but some of these changes and actions have been taking place and there is a growing consciousness of the need for change. As previously outlined, organisations of disreputable goals and prejudices are taking advantage of this, but it is only a question when and how reason will be heard, listened to and acted upon. Only time will tell, but although we may intellectually understand that we are makers of our own fate and that our fate is in our hands, we must realise this as reality before it is too late and humanity plunges into deeper recesses of self-destruction with no way back to re-construct itself from its ashes.

 

 

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