Thursday, 16 June 2011

The contours of History Re-appropriated

The world is in chaos. What was once a guaranteed global social order, global capitalism, is now laying bare, shattered and facing turmoil. As Mao once said “there is great chaos under heaven – never has the time been more prefect”.  

Form the early 90s to 2001 we lived in an era of truly ‘Fukuyamaist’ western parameters, where there was no longer a need for political opposition to the ‘democratic’ capitalist system. Communism had fallen and capitalism had won. Enter the, devastating, conquest of Thatcher to Blair to Cameron. The ‘middle class’ was expanding, by middle class what is meant is those who have an expendable income, free to purchase beyond our means through the invention of credit, a further expanse toward a disassociation between cause and effect. The cause being purchasing beyond your means the effect of which resulted in boom and bust, a dynamic that Engels was writing about in his Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy of 1844!  

“No worker can hold his own against his competitors if he does not devote all his powers to labour. No one at all who becomes involved in the struggle of competition can stand the strain without the utmost exertion of his powers, without renouncing every truly human purpose. The consequences of this over-exertion on the side is, inevitably, collapse on the other. When the fluctuation of competition is small, when demand and supply, consumption and production, are almost equal, a stage must be reached in the development of production where there is so much superfluous productive power that the great mass of the nation has nothing to live on, that the people starve from sheer abundance. For some considerable time England has found herself in this crazy position, in this living absurdity. When as a necessary consequence of such a situation, production is subject to greater fluctuations, then the alteration of boom and slump (bust), overproduction and slump, (bust) sets in”

Currently there is numerous accounts of the contradictions and fallings of the capitalist system, such critiques will continue to be presented for as long as capitalism, in its current form, continues to function, but what would be a true act would be for the left to move away from such a dynamic, and purely formulate a way to live outside the contours of a critique of capitalism. The most prominent critique of this era would seem to be Naomi Klein Shock’s Doctrine, where she systematically attributes all the horrendous contradictions, decisions and consequences of the catastrophe of Capitalism. What would be ideal in situations of global fragility would be to re-appropriate the way we engage with capitalist proponents and the system itself, this is the area where we need to be preparing the battle ground. A revolution may be caused through great unrest, caused from an expansive disenchantment with the ruling order, but what truly matters is the events after the revolution. To make an event after the revolution, ‘the true event’, the left needs more than just a critique of where capitalism went wrong but a new agenda of how we can move forward in such a way that would engineer a functioning emacipatory global civility. It must be recognised here that revolution cannot happen in isolation, for the Arab springs to be successful they all need to combine their new orders in co-operative with other Arab uprising and combine their efforts to construct new societies. And if those in Greece end up causing the biggest upset in European history and stage a full scale revolution then this will only work if Spain and other European states follow.        

Owen Jones and his contemporary analysis critiquing the way the phrase ‘Chavs’ has been appropriated by ruling elitist discourse, has laid bare the way class functions in British society. What is more pertinent than the fact that ‘Chavs’ is derogatory terminology which, in the words of Owen’s book Subtitle, “demonises the working class”, this functioning goes further than its immediate cognitive function, it suggests a deeper psychoanalytic consequence: on the surface those who are working class are made to believe that they are of lesser worth than a bourgeoisie, and so do not want to be deemed ‘Chavs’, or more precisely worker! What, in effect, this means is that there is disillusionment amongst the workers of Britain of the potential they hold to escape this demonization and embrace their true reality, which would surely lead to a new class consciousness and class appropriation, or rather class re-appropriating its position.

That fact that they are not an equal in the domineering cultural agenda, where it is believed that those with wealth and possessions are worthy of their circumstance and that those without are ‘lesser’ people of not having. Incidentally and crucially the wealthy have attained such wealth in the past couple of decades through the invention of credit given to the workers, which turned out to be a false economy as we saw in the credit collapse in 2008. This has caused a double blow to the workers. Not only have they been coerced into accumulating large debts as a result of bankers deceiving its customers into believing that the credit was entirely legitimate and stable, but also their mantra that wealth trickles down was for a time deceiving many workers to believe, that capitalism is a system that works, creating a scenario where no longer would a working class exist, we can all be wealthy now, a dream the working classes clearly bought. But which has only truly been a mechanism for the rich to smother their wealth and power in their envious capacities of nothingness.

Never before has there been a more justified time for the rise of an authentic left. A left which would recognise now is the time to re-appropriate the contours of history! Owen Jones and his latest book goes some way towards a step in the direction of a left wing re-appropriation not only of history but of the reins of the future. We need to direct our lives against the contours of capitalist appropriation of the way things seem and the way they are and fight the system not within the liberal framework laid down by capitalism, but by undermining its functioning, whilst continuing to mobilise for strike action an integral part of the left, a dynamic which needs no re-appropriation!   

Thursday, 9 June 2011

The Contours of History: Now let’s re-appropriate

 Blade Runner? See link

A battle has been ensuing since the writings of Karl Marx and Frederic Engels who were the first to critique the political economy, of which they had seen the start of the capitalist process, the full extent of which they could never contemplate. They would never learn  the true extent  that the monopolisation of capitalism would have over the governing of the entire globe. The purpose of what Marx and Engels stood for most was class war and the ability of capitalism to manipulate and control, the violently pacifistic, classes, and dominate the workers of the world. This collective of the population has diversified immensely since the social capacities of the 18th century.

Never before has their existed a more populace globe than the era we currently inhabit and never before have we lived in an era where communication and information have been more readily available. What such a scenario has created is one where the greater the size of the population the lesser the amount the upper classes will number. However the rulers and elitists are still holding the reins of history, one where the workers, proletariat and underclass are being steered down a path of a dark future.

In large part this is to do the way neo-liberalism has re-appropriated the contours of history and how the West sees no alternative organisation to the world we live in. A world deeply disparate and unrepresentative of its inhabitants, this world caters for the survival and prosperity of the wealthy. No other example of this could be more clear than the fact that after the worst financial collapse in history the less economically endowed are becoming less so whilst the oligarchic, monopolistic, birth coincidence... amongst; bankers, bosses, hereditary wealthy are ever increasing their wealth.

Why have we let such a scenario go on for so long, and let them make us believe that we really don’t believe that, “There may be light at the end of the tunnel but that light might be another train coming towards us”,  Why does society choose to accept such contours of history? We know that we are affecting the temperature of the earth, or even we are at the whim of the earth’s temperature or anything else it has to throw at us; earthquakes volcanoes and such. What would happen if a huge population would be displaced by a mega volcanic eruption, and they do happen, where would the inhabitants go? We have no provisions to cater for such a scenario.         

The human catastrophe in the Congo as poignantly re-emphasised in the recent BBC episode by Adam Curtis, All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace what this episode highlights is how endemic the current neo-liberal capitalist construct is. This endemic disease prevents the abolition of charity, a world which would exist without the need for charities, a world where no one went hungry, without decent shelter and basic access to health care, a world which entailed little, if any, citizenry discrimination by the state and perhaps even its inhabitants, where no one was a migrant or immigrant but merely a citizen only the corrupt and murderers would be excluded. Exclusion would not be based on discrimination but on the basis of one’s actions. There would be no privileging of education all would be educated to the highest possible standard not with the intention of gaining wealth but to better the course of history toward a trajectory of global sustainability, the abolition of private property, and the increase in leisure time for the worlds inhabitancy who presently work with the bare minimum of leisure time to contemplate and evaluate the human experience, yet we are stuck with cultural capitalism.  

Many of the left today, amongst the ‘disenfranchised’ (or rather those violently pacifistic ‘apathetic, citizens) have forgotten or have chosen to ignore the formidability of the neo-liberal capitalist system. It is ingrained in our very being! The ruling class has given us the tools with which to fight it. It gave us multi-culturalism then demeaned it, and then we fought for it. It gave us charity, and then decreased it, and then we fought for it. It gave us protests, and then impeded them and we fought for them. They gave us trade unions, and they attacked them, and we fight for them. This is Capitalism with a human face... a little bit reform here and there.

The recent unrest we have seen at the end of the last decade and which continues today is a small window of grace, these are dark times the global edifice has never been more fragile and interdependent, the unrest represents the outbursts from the void. The void being the failure of neo-liberal ideology; where any real alternative is absent from debate. We see catastrophe movies by the abundance but never alternative realities in the movies. That is to say democracy in its current form is not democracy but a pathetic choice between two parties, parties which consist of the elites and in no way are representative of its mass population. The western culture under capitalism has failed to produce an alternative society and the regimes of the Middle East, which are a direct result of imperial intervention, are beginning to crumble in dramatic and in some instances in tragic ways. But lest not forget it is not the revolution that is the important part it is what happens after that matters. 

Now is the time to end the suffocation of the left and NOT continue fighting within the proposed parameters introduced by the enemy but to re-appropriate the struggle for humanity on our terms and fight for radical reform. To alter the contours of history. We must re-appropriate the contours of history.

Part 2 coming soon!