You wait 30 years for a crisis of capitalism, and when it comes you´re still not satisfied. I mean first off, for the most part, certainly the British Left, spent the last couple of decades intently staring at it´s own navel, fighting with each other, worrying about solidarity with villagers in South East Kurdistan, and generally doing anything except building a strong and lasting alternative to the political mainstream.
So, here we are in the midst of a big economic and political crisis and who benefits? The fucking Tories, the arseholes who actually designed the absurd economic system that left the UK so vulnerable. Now they´re getting to turn round and say, ooh, it´s Labour´s poor economic management you see. Of course, it´s no coincidence that the countries hardest hit are the one´s, like ours, that built in the highest degree of dependence on the finance, construction and retail sectors of the economy, and, not to go all shouty: THAT WAS EVERYONE´S IDEA, THE ENTIRE FUCKING POLITICAL CLASS, YOU DON´T GET TO DISOWN IT BECAUSE YOU AREN´T IN POWER.
Furthermore, it´s not badly managed, it´s not being taken advantage of by greedy businessmen (now, convenient hate figures, previously heroic wealth creators), the thing is functioning exactly how it was designed to. If you design a system in a certain way, and claim credit for it when it works, when everything goes wrong, you don´t get to just wash your hands of it.
Outside of the Tories, guess what, just like we warned when everyone was mincing around waving their lollipops about the war, the force that is probably going to explode over the next couple of truly depressing years will be ... fascism. Already the warnings are flooding in about the BNP getting to send off their little shaven-headed white power comrades to the European parliament. More than one anyway. Well, why? Why is it that form of extremism that´s getting play and not some variety of Leftism, or even, maybe, why not both. Because, the BNP have actually been on the streets doing ordinary everyday politics and, come the crisis that´s going to give them a base from which explode. The various groups of our side have spent the years complacently talking about a downturn as some kind of explanation for decline or stagnation, will now pay the price for neglecting the hard yards.
Aside from that, the protests that we´ve had over the past few months; the strikes, the demos, the throwing stuff at union reps. I mean. Nobody likes to say I told you so, but fuck me. Casualisation, agency work, subcontracting, privatisation. We said it made workers more vulnerable, we said it made them easy to fire, that in the end it was going to turn back the clock to Victorian labour relations, where we all go back to being in employment day by day at the employer´s discretion. We said the unions were fucking gash and wouldn´t, couldn´t do anything about this. And, lo, it came to be. Half the workers at Cowley were agency. How the fuck didn´t that get fought before the crisis? Why wait until employers don´t give a shit whether you strike or not? Why organise, why protest, when everything´s so bad that management don´t even care what you do? Why didn´t we do this shit when we actually had the leverage of being in boomtimes?
And bollocks to the boom, when was that? It´s not like we´ve all been living it up the last 15 years. Getting by, throwing a quarter of society on sink estates to rot in longterm unemployment and near destitution, other people watching their real wages slowly deteriorate, their pensions disappear, their rights eroded, their housing become prohibitively expensive, the cost of living steadily rising. Now what? Kicking millions out of work, probably millions more taking cuts or freezes. Everything still seems to cost as much, even though we´ve got less money. More jobless, more homeless, more cuts to the support system, more with less.
The question is: how angry are we, really?
Red Riding 1980 (2009)
23 hours ago