THE REVOLT IN BRITAIN FORETELLS FUTURE REVOLTS IN EUROPE
(«Proletarian»;Nr. 8; Spring 2012)
The riots that erupted in the Tottenham district and then spread to all parts of London and to Manchester, Bristol, Liverpool, Birmingham, Glasgow demonstrate anew the great turmoil amongst large sections of the proletariat hit by unemployment, insecurity and marginalization, and prefigure what could happen all over Europe.
You can read it on the walls of the High Road in Tottenham: Fuck the police!.
It all started in Tottenham when Mark Duggan, father of four children, tried to flee a police patrol seeking to arrest him: the police shot and killed him. He was so disfigured by bullets that his mother was unable to recognize him (Manchester Guardian, Aug.7).
It’s natural that the police are the target of the anger and violence that engulfed the working-class neighborhoods of London. In recent years nearly a thousand people have been slaughtered by the police and not one police officer has ever been punished. Can anyone be surprised at the reaction of youths with no hope, no future, systematically humiliated, frustrated by a consumerism reserved for the rich and driven further and further down by each economic crisis?
Violent revolts in Britain have been contemporaneous with periods of economic crisis for thirty years. In 1981, in the midst of full-blown crisis, a veritable wave of riots swept across the country, starting with the so-called “racial unrest” in Brixton, riots then spread to Birmingham, London, Liverpool, Nottingham, Bristol , Bedford, Coventry, Edinburgh, Gloucester, Halifax, Leeds, Leicester, Southampton, and Wolverhampton. In 1985, Brixton exploded again, and in 1990-91 during the epoch of the famous “Poll-Tax Riots”, the whole country was shaken by protests and riots, in 2001 it was the turn of Bradford, Oldham in Greater Manchester, Harehills in Leeds, and then Birmingham in 2005. The revolts had generally taken place under conservative governments (Thatcher, John Major), but from the early 2000’s they broke out under Labour governments (Tony Blair, Gordon Brown), and now again it’s a Conservative government that runs the country: a demonstration that it is not the political coloration of the government that set the rioters in motion, but so-called liberal policy itself which when facing capitalist crises can’t think of anything else to do than to increasingly pressurize the great proletarian masses.
Although recent history clearly demonstrates that the deteriorating conditions of the workers and the impoverished is the basis of these explosions, the bourgeois governments react as if they had erupted for the first time; for them it’s only a problem of looters and hooligans.
In reality, the systematic violence that bourgeois power exercises daily over the proletarians and particularly over the young proletarians to whom it promises nothing but poverty, despair and death, cannot but lead eventually to these marginalized masses reacting in a violent, disorderly or even gratuitous manner against the police and the symbols of an economic system which crushes them down.
Driven by an uncontrollable rage, the masses of rioters responded with acts of violence and destruction against shops full of goods they cannot buy, against buildings and palaces that are an insult to their miserable life, against the hatred systematically aimed at the proletarians in revolt by the police and bourgeois power which direct them, today as in the previous disturbances.
You will feel the full force of the law! Prime Minister Cameron screamed at the rebels while mobilizing 16,000 police officers to halt unrest in London; but bourgeois law is based on the economic and social violence of a mode of production, capitalism, which has no perspective to offer to workers and the masses than those that drive them to revolt: poverty, unemployment, marginalization in an social environment that is deteriorating more and more!
Bourgeois hatred will not disappear with the end of the recent disturbances, nor did it disappear after the riots of 1981, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2001 and 2005; it will continue, expressing the systematic brutality of a class which appropriates social wealth through the exploitation, the repression and the crushing down of the working classes.
The proletarians have no choice: either they rebel, or they die suffocated in their own sweat and blood.
The recent explosive social situation, just like those that preceded it, was exhausted after a few days, like a volcano after an eruption. But that does not mean that the causes which provoked it have disappeared; they will continue to accumulate in the economic sub-stratum and they will provoke new explosions.
This is why the proletarians must recommence learning the lessons accumulated by the proletarians in the 1920’s: to organize their class hatred in forms of resistance to bourgeois pressure and repression, and in defense of their living conditions within the framework of the class struggle; a struggle which is not limited to a temporary blaze of violence but which gives itself long range objectives; a struggle which is reinforced by class solidarity and the exclusive defense of immediate proletarian interests; a struggle which does not die out when the physical force of the initial push becomes exhausted, but which persists through the highs and lows of the social confrontations; in short a struggle which represents a future perspective other than that of capitalist society, the society of the exploitation of wage labor, of repression and bourgeois privilege, of economic, social and political violence against the proletarian masses, and completely rejected by the vast majority of the population.
The class struggle is the great objective towards which the workers are summoned by the material conditions themselves, by the explosion of social contradictions destined to become increasingly worse; it is the great objective of the proletariat in all countries because it is only through the class struggle that it is possible to shake at its foundations the bourgeois society which oppresses and suppresses them, and to effectively oppose anti-proletarian measures that bourgeois governments take to deal with capitalist crises; it is the major objective of the proletariat which must be prepared to fight the policy of blood and tears on the economic and social terrain, but also the policy of war which will be adopted sooner or later by the bourgeois power, pushed inexorably by inter-imperialist competition which gradually consumes the resources of the welfare state kept in place for decades to exploit the workers with few problems.
The class struggle is the perspective in which the British proletariat, like the proletarians in revolt in the Arab countries in recent months and like the proletarians of the world, can find the necessary international solidarity to confront the bourgeois powers allied with each other in this time of economic crisis that causes difficulties for even the most powerful economies in the world.
This is the perspective always upheld by the proletarian class party, the revolutionary communist party that the proletariat will recognize as its leader in theory and praxis in the measure that the class confrontations will produce classist vanguards who will rip the workers away from the deleterious influence of opportunism, of democracy, of petit-bourgeois illusions and will transform the outbreaks of violence into organized class might.
The bourgeois attitude is always the same: repression and assassinations. The proletarian response which today is characterized by anger, devastation of neighborhoods, the blind explosion of tension accumulated for years, will have to surpass this primitive stage of street violence to be embodied in the organization of the class struggle, coherent and conscious of the irreconcilable antagonism between bourgeois and proletarians.
This is the only positive perspective for the proletarians, who, after the call to struggle of their class brothers in Greece, are today rebelling against bourgeois austerity in Britain, one of the most powerful capitalist countries the world, in anticipation of what will happen tomorrow in the other European countries.
August, 9th 2011
International Communist Party