Where does Occupy go from here?

Advertisements

Libyan Revolution: The February Stage?

"Gadafi go to hell! Game Over!"

The revolution in Libya Is reaching the end of its “February Stage” (as in 1917 in Russia). But, perhaps it isn’t!

For by that period the Russian Revolution had many long-standing political parties and the first self-devised and set up Soviets were cropping up in many crucial areas.

But, there are literally no political parties of any standing or experience, and certainly none who have made revolution their study and purpose in Libya. There are no self-organisations of a working class and hence no political history and ideas of Socialism. Indeed, even the Middle Class seem to be bereft of parties and political positions: the simple demand for the removal of the dictator seems to be considered sufficient, (as it was also in Egypt).

Indeed, there is a good argument for saying that there is, as yet, no Working Class, in the usual meaning of the term..

Certainly, Gaddafi, as with other Arab Rulers, had imported labour from all over Asia and Africa, as an easily-handles “working class”: any trouble and they would be out, without any rights at all!

Of course, although some middle class technocrats could, and were, also imported (usually well-paid), there could not be other than the development of a native middle layer arising too.

Indeed, perhaps the situation is more like Russia in 1905, when a revolution of great herosim arose and failed.

For though King Idfris was removed by Gaddafi, he merely replaced him in a very similar position. So that revolution did not run its full course.

And that makes the current revolution, a bourgeois revolution – an attempt by the Middle Class to get political power for themselves, by ripping it away from the autocrat and his attached aristocracy..

It may even be compared with the English Revolution of the 17th century, for there too, no revolution was possible without the involvement of the lower classes. The gentleman farmers and merchants were incapable alone of removing the King: they needed and made an alliance with the lower classes, with the promise of Freedom for All, to mobilise all classes against the absolutist ruler and his hangers on. And , of course, there, like here in Libya, these soldiers expected something from their victory. Organisations like the Diggers and the Levellers grew in number with demands that the supposedly allied Middle Class could not tolerate. But as long as the lower classes were still “in arms” they could not be removed from the situation. In the end Cromwell had to attack these organisations and disarm all who did not concur with his and the Middle Class’s idea of what the revolution was for..

The renowned New Model Army latterly became an instrument of repression, as evidenced most strongly in Ireland.

And as there, so long ago, so now in Libya, the lower classes in arms are the biggest threat not only to the ambitions of the Middle Class, but also to their supporters abroad such as the USA, the UK and France. Why else did these countries act as the rebels Air Force, and go well beyond their remit to safeguard civilians.

Now, you don’t have to study the TV news footage for long to realise that the bulk of the rebels are indeed the lower classes in arms.

So, what is considered priority number one, by both the middle Class rebels leaders and their friends in the West?

It is security!

By which they mean the disarming of the lower classes, before they take the situation too far..

Yet, it is these fighters in the main who have taken the brunt of the opposing professional soldiers, yet defeated them on the ground.

They have done their job, and must now be removed as a threat to the “required” following regime. Both the West and the Libyan Middle Classes want a Capitalist State, with parliamentary “Democracy”, where in spite of the veneer of rule by the people, it will as usual, be rule by the Capitalist Class. Libya is a rich country with only about 5 million inhabitants, yet it has 150 billion dollars salted away in the World’s Banks.

[I wonder who has been getting the interest on this over the last six months: it will be in billions of dollars itself]

And let us be absolutely clear the western capitalist powers will expect many privileges from their support of the Libyan Middle Class. They would like major and profitable access to Libyan Oil.

Cameron, Obama and Sarkosy took a risk in backing this revolution (it has not been done before: the usual response of such powers was to immediately send in armies of intervention to put the revolution down)

And of course, we must not forget about the Middle East at the end of the First World War, when the Arabs fighting for their Freedom from Turkey were betrayed (via T.E. Lawrence) and saddled with both British or French imperialism AND an amenable set of autocratic monarchs.

We should know what the West has in mind!

The major crisis of 2008 is still with them, and the very same problem remains. The vast borrowings against future profits have made even the USA, UK and France (not to mention many lesser states) mortgaged up to the eyes, and well beyond.

The investors are frightened to death . Will they lose their money?

What safe and lucrative havens are there left?

Now, all this being said, I must also ask the crucial question of the organisations of the Working Classes worldwide, “What are you doing to help?” What, indeed, are their policies?

Are there any revolutionaries left, or have they all succumbed to a measure of privilege themselves? Have the crumbs from the masters’ table been big enough for them to abandon their once loudly trumpeted internationalism?

For example, what should be their advice to the fighters in Libya?

How about:-

  1. Do not give up your arms. You may need then again!

  2. Set up your own local organisations – Committees or Soviets, to organise your areas, delivers its needs and protect your rights.

  3. Demand that the 150 billion dollars of wealth salted away in banks be given back (plus interest of course) to change the lives of all Libyans: it amounts effectively to $30,000 to each and every citizen in the country..

  4. They should also insist that there should be NO foreign workers at all. Native Libyans can work the Oil Wells , Transport and resources systems nationwide. And where they are not yet up to it, they should be educated, both for this and a better life overall.

I wonder if these will be suggested to these heroic revolutionaries? Any competent revolutionary must know that this “February” deserves its “October”

Jim Schofield August 2011 (a revolutionary Marxist for 52 years)

Anger for Doomed Youth

London Riots 2011

On April 11th 2010, Nick Clegg predicted in interview that if the Tories were brought to power, there would be rioting on the streets of London, to great derision by Cameron and the media. It was, of course, a transparent attempt to win votes. I wonder, however, if that moment went through his mind yesterday as he was confronted by the citizens of Hackney, desperate for answers as their homes and shops burnt. ‘Is this how England is going to be now, after the cuts?’ asked one man. ‘No, I don’t think so,’ was his weak, soft-voiced retort. The folk on the ground know it; even shopkeepers whose reactionary views are only to be expected have been heard to suggest it is the disenfranchisement of our youth that is behind this wanton destruction of property. This depth of thought seems to end, however, when the situation is interpreted by the media and those in power. Like the desperate children they so fear, the right only call for retribution, for an end to a situation they despise, without dissecting the reasons why it has escalated to this point.

Capitalism is in crisis. The evidence is all around us. Famine kills thousands while we reinforce hospital beds to deal with the obesity crisis. Oil wars rape the middle-east. Revolution and repression reign in Syria, Egypt and Lybia. There is so much international upheaval that following global politics is a full-time job. Governments around the world are cutting services because of deficits caused by greed. The poor are being made to pay for the mistakes of the super rich and unemployment is sky-high. In the UK, youth centres, sure-start centres, are closed down. Schemes offering books for disadvantaged children and subsidising food for young mothers are slashed. Many communities are in dire straights. Police morale is at an all-time low after too many cuts and too much corruption. The markets slump again in what is now being coined a double-dip recession and teenagers take to the streets in the worst riots for a generation. It all begs the question: what the fuck is going on?

The right-leaning media appears to offer few answers. Talks of ‘pure criminality’ (whatever that is) and swift ‘justice for the perpetrators’ wear thin. Can we really be so short-sighted as to think these kids just appear, evil, intent on destruction? How can we so universally, so ruthlessly condemn children who are behaving in the exact way society has trained them to behave? They value what we trained them to value: wealth, power and materialism – they are children of capitalism. Our society created this underclass, and kept them quiet with material aspiration… now there is no hope for material aspiration, this is the only place they have to go…

This is not Egypt, this is not Sudan. Our poor are not starving, our prisons (at least the ones based in the UK) are not places of torture and systematic abuse. During the Arab Spring, many of us were discussing exactly why such an uprising was impossible in this country. We cited our advantageous economic condition, the relative comfort and high living standards of our poor, stating that it would take much more then a little economic hardship to push the British over the edge. In hindsight, I think we neglected to address the potency of extreme inequality in this equation. As the gap widens, and the capitalist machine continues to push excess as an indicator of success, such anger is inevitable. Universal hardship unites us, but when we scrape together pennies for a loaf of bread, and pass six audis on the way to the shop, hatred and hopelessness begin to take hold. In their hopelessness, why should these children care about the repercussions of their looting and arson?

These riots have not been a grass roots rebellion, and they have been universally condemned from both left and right, but since when was vandalism labeled violence? Why are we only outraged now they are destroying property and not each other, in their quest for unattainable material possessions? It is this right-wing division of “us and them” which causes these sorts of problems in the first place. Continuing with this attitude towards our country’s disadvantaged youth will only help perpetuate this division. Reaction provokes reaction and the powers that be seem unwilling to address the bigger picture only talking in terms of short-term solutions. If these kids believe they are not part of society it is because they aren’t. Not the blasting of water-cannon nor the shooting of rubber bullets will solve that problem. Let us not forget, it was a shooting at a stop and search incident which provided a catalyst for these events in the first place.

In our gang culture it is viewed that there is an on-going war with the police, and these kids must feel they have had their first decisive victory in that war. In a battle for London’s streets last night, it is laughable to conceive that the police did anything other than lose.

Floatfly & Micolagist

End the war on drugs

mexican drug war

In 72 hours, we could finally see the beginning of the end of the ‘war on drugs’. This expensive war has completely failed to curb the plague of drug addiction, while costing countless lives, devastating communities, and funneling trillions of dollars into violent organized crime networks.

Experts all agree that the most sensible policy is to regulate, but politicians are afraid to touch the issue. In days, a global commission including former heads of state and foreign policy chiefs of the UN, EU, US, Brazil, Mexico and more will break the taboo and publicly call for new approaches including decriminalization and regulation of drugs.

This could be a once-in-a-generation tipping-point moment — if enough of us call for an end to this madness. Politicians say they understand that the war on drugs has failed, but claim the public isn’t ready for an alternative. Let’s show them we not only accept a sane and humane policy — we demand it. Sign the petition and share with everyone — when we reach 1/2 million, it will be personally delivered to world leaders by the global commission.

Petition

To Ban Ki-moon and all Heads of State:

We call on you to end the war on drugs and the prohibition regime, and move towards a system based on decriminalisation, regulation, public health and education. This 50 year old policy has failed, fuels violent organised crime, devastates lives and is costing billions. It is time for a humane and effective approach.

Click here to sign the Avaaz Petition

Corporate Armies

Yesterday, in The New York Times, it was revealed that the UAE (the United Arab Emirates) have hired the services of a private army, run by Erik Prince, a Christian Fundamentalist and the billionaire founder of Blackwater, a private military corporation. The Emiratis have paid $529 million dollars for this secret army, apparently to respond to terrorist attacks, uprisings amongst the countries largely foreign workforce and to defend themselves against Iran.

 and  write: “The force is intended to conduct special operations missions inside and outside the country, defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from terrorist attacks and put down internal revolts, the documents show. Such troops could be deployed if the Emirates faced unrest in their crowded labor camps or were challenged by pro-democracy protests like those sweeping the Arab world this year.”

You can read the full article on this in the New York Times here.

Blackwater Mercenaries in New Orleans

Mercenaries are not a new phenomenon, their use is as old as war itself. Neither is American security investment in the Oil states or wartime contracting. But something really troubled me about this news, particularly in the wake of watching The Corporation, a documentary on the psychopathic nature of big businesses, and their pathological pursuit of profit and power (see Matt Jones’s article on this here). It may seem like the dystopic fantasy of a science fiction geek, but we may only be a few years away from the corporations tooling up. Currently the military-industrial complex is armed by the state, governments are in the hands of big business, and corporations can get governments to do their dirty work – those caught in the crossfire are considered ‘externalities’. But what if this was to change? The corporations would seek to defend themselves without the aid of powerful western governments. Companies akin to Blackwater could provide the firepower, and war itself could be privatized. This may not be that dissimilar to what is happening on the ground as we speak – in exactly whose interests is it that we have troops across the Middle East – who benefits from this? The difference is, our governments are supposedly still accountable.

As our precious fossil fuels gradually run out, the scrabble for the last remains of these dwindling resources is bound to get messy. And if corporations can fight these “resource wars” without the armed support of national governments, it removes any accountability for that military action – you can’t vote a CEO out of office  – who would be liable? I realise that a lot of this is conjecture, but we need to look into these sorts of possibilities now, to prevent them from happening, especially in the light of this latest development, as it appears these sorts of deals are already going on behind closed doors.

Al Thawra (The Revolution)

Hip Hop track inspired by the Egyptian Revolution. Rhymes, beats and video by Red Eye contributor Micolagist.

Donald Trump “Take the oil…”

Donald Trump Announces Scottish Golf course Plans

At least he’s an honest right-wing bastard.

Donald Trump: On Libya, he says: “I would go in and take the oil… I would take the oil and stop this baby stuff.” On Iraq, he says: “We stay there, and we take the oil… In the old days, when you have a war and you win, that nation’s yours.”

Read more here in an article for The Independent by Johann Hari