Archive for December, 2011
The task today in all the countries and regions of resistance, in the Arab countries, in Europe, in the US, even in quiet Australia, is to further the movement for democracy and the opposition to austerity and to build a mass working class party of revolution.
What was the highlight of the year for you? For me it was and is the revolution in Egypt. In Australia it was the fantastic Baiada picket line and the great victory of the workers there after 2 weeks striking and picketing.
The aim of socialists is to build a mass revolutionary party that can cohere working class resistance to the attacks of the capitalist class and eventually lead a revolution that will bring workers to power. But the reality is that in every country socialists are a very long way from achieving that goal. There are today no mass revolutionary parties and a genuine revolutionary party is not going to be conjured from the air. There are no short cuts, no magic formulas. It is going to take determined effort by serious-minded socialists. But the previous history of the socialist movement does provide us with some important guidelines as to how to approach the task.
Karl Marx and Frederick Engels showed that socialism, a society of human liberation, would only be possible if workers took over all the means of making wealth – the factories, offices, hospitals, mines, schools, and banks. The power to allocate resources, to decide how to produce the things we need, has to be taken out of the hands of the tiny capitalist class and put under the control of the vast majority.
The working class, with its power in production, can lead all the other oppressed layers in a struggle to carry through a social revolution which can begin to fulfil the needs and aspirations of the masses. If it does not, then reaction will triumph. This is the vital lesson the Iraq revolution teaches us.
The problem is how the revolutionary groups can succeed in building a social programme which transforms the slogan of social justice adopted by the revolution –and which sets them apart from the liberals and the Islamists – into concrete, practical steps linked to wages, prices, rights to housing, health, education and employment, inter-connecting the achievement of this programme with the presence of a revolutionary government in power.
The swift retreat of Tag-al-Din and those in the Brotherhood who wanted to work with the military council to attack the revolutionary forces, shows the pressures and contradictions faced by the Islamists as they stand on the verge of political power.
But it is likely that there will be other such attacks on revolutionary activists in the near future. As Sameh Naguib warned in a meeting on Monday night “the campaigns of repression and smears have only just begun and organised solidarity between all the revolutionary forces is crucial. But the Egyptian mass movement has broken the barrier of fear.”
The Sydney to Hobart yacht race is a race for the billionaires and multi-millionaires, the one percent. These people lead a very different life to us. They don’t and won’t mix with the rest of us. They live in rich ghettos. They speak a different language of finance and investment and money. They even eat differently. We don’t want them here. It’s time to turn back the yachts.
My hope is to bring in my own small way reason in revolt to the world of tax and end the age of cant. That can only really happen if 2012 becomes the year of revolution, of working classes across the globe – from Egypt to Italy, from Wisconsin to Wukan -fighting back against the bosses and their state and setting up their own profoundly democratic society to satisfy human need.
The Queen said that she would like to speak and maybe some tape over Abbott’s mouth might help. We obliged with lots and lots and lots of tape.