dimanche 4 janvier 2009

Another swallow

It is no big news. Not really, not in the current context. There are no homeless, injured and dying and there are no riots in the streets. But the news that the British public believes that punitive taxes on the rich are in order, is a worrying sign for the government and the wider UK state. Pessimism on the left and hopeful, spiteful thinking on the right, expects no reaction to wider social events from the wider (largely unpoliticised(1)) public or 'working masses' as comrades over at http://www.wsws.org/ term them. The left, perhaps, has been so traumatised by supposed defeats (the collapse of the USSR, the 'victory' of neo-liberalism, the unappearance of the revolution to pick out three) that many have defected to the 'decent' field of political opinion, sunk into quietism and bitter despair or swung entirely over to the capital realist wing of the managerial party machine.
The failure of the working class to react and even to behave contrary to its own political interests are two reasons for this abandonment of a socialist perspective. Reagan, Thatcher, Sarkozy. Their electoral successes are incontrivertible. Even saying, as many left-wing organisations did, that elections are just snapshots, when there are a lot of them, 1979-1997, in the UK, 2002, 2007 France and other trends throughout the world, it begins to look like a broader (inescapable) picture.
All that has changed in a relatively brief period of time, the causes of which are by now, well known. The crisis is spreading materially through the world economy, that much is clear. Workers are losing their jobs in the US at the same time as in China and at the same time Russians are losing their pensions and Iceland is disintegrating socially and politically. For the first time, sustained political action on the streets of a European country, Greece, have not only continued and intensified but have caused political decsions in other countries, with the withdrawl of education reforms in France by the Sarkozy government.
Events are turning our way. Slowly at first, but now there are one or two more swallows on the phone lines.

1. 'Unpoliticised' as in unorganised, unaware of their strengths and even, up to a point, underinformed.