lundi 23 février 2009

Summer of rage

Every year someone somewhere prophesises as Winter of discontent or a hot Summer of social protest or riots. This year, though it's rozzer himself who is worried. Or secretly thrilled. Back in the wasted 90's it was left-wing (!) Labour MP's who would pop up on the radio gloomily forecasting riots and upheaval after yet another spike in inequality or unemployment. Disappointingly, these doomsayers were never proved correct. True, there was the occassional disturbance (I was once in a council van that toured a recently rumpused estate in Yorkshire back in 2001) but nothing like on the scale that one would have hoped. We say this because angry riots are the 'id' of any social reaction against 'the general order of things'. Of course, there are elements of them that are uncontrollable and 'apolitical'. The recent 2005 riots in France, for instance, saw the burning of nurseries and schools which on the face of it, is counter-productive. Burning cars and trashing shops are easily condemned and used by the media to discredit the wider impetus behind any disturbance. But the destruction and lashing out are a function of the wider grievances that the political system in all European countries cannot accommodate. The youth in the inner-cities of the modern state, the unemployed, the working poor and the discriminated against represent a huge proportion of the peoples in Europe. The rioters are locally based, enviromentally and architectually contained in their zones and furious. Any target of the state is fair game. As long as the neolib mode of production was working and providing the semblance of economic distribution, though, these puturbances in the otherwise smooth functioning of things could be isloated and easily contained. After a few nights of trouble, the police regained control, people were arrested and the social policemen of the unions and 'official opposition' groups could quell the disorder and explain away the root causes of the mini revolts.
But now that the economic orthodoxy has been shattered and the system itself is revealed for the bare faced robbery it really is, things are not going to be the same for a very long time. Each protest, each demo and certainly each political riot will be seen in a totlly different light. The elites have known for a long time just how much stress the system has placed on its worker citizens. You know this as much as anyone. The last thirty years of neolib order have seen your standard of living gradually decline, the standard of goods fall and work place effort increase. Things, basically, have got much harder for the/us little people to keep ends met. Now, the general breakdown, the credit crunch or more accurately, the Second Great Depression mean that the only way the state and its elite controllers can maintain a veneer of continuity and 'governance' is by placing even more burdens on the working (and increasingly non working) sectors of their respective economies - witness the measures being prepared by the Dublin regime. The famous bail-outs, as everyone knows, are merely temporary paliatives designed to buy the bosses time whilst they gather their strength and judge what the people's reaction is going to be. Things are that stark. The recent brilliant demos in Dublin, are a brute sign of how quickly the arcane dealings of finance can impact on peope's political consciousnesses. The fall of the governments in Iceland and Latvia, though relatively small countries, have alarmed governments all over Europe. The Anglo-Saxon media have largely ignored the recent upheaval in Guadaloupe where the population is in open rebellion against the intolerablely high cost of living, exploitation, discrimination and unemployment. It has gone beyond a general strike and is gradually drawing in mainland France.
In all these revolts, on their own and in another more stable economic context easily dealt with, the unions and the 'normal' parties of oppossition, are not to be trusted. They have long been incorporated into the state apparatus. Their decayed aims are to keep hold of their privelidged position inside the system that they entered uttering the words" You have to be inside the system in order to change it", knowing full well that the dialectic runs completely the other way and to help to shore up the now crumbling edifices of their national economies by dampening the organic revolt. Specifically, on a march keep a wary eye on the forces of order but also keep a healthy mistrust of the stewards walking on the sides of any manifestation.
Times are tough and about to get a lot tougher for us. The choice is bare boned. Sit back, adapt to the new demands of the capitalist (dis)order and swallow the natural and justified resentment that you feel or become a link in a chain raction that is lighting up the world. They are paying you less, making you work harder and, in taxes, taking more off you. The elite's fears of a Summer of Rage are justified in so far as you are not prepared to take this kind of treatment anymore. There are millions who feel exactly like you do. The game is rigged and we are the only force capable of stopping it all. Join in the rage. Indeed why let it be just a Summer and not a Spring as well?

Get going.