2012 was a grim year for most working class people and for those on the radical left it was particularly depressing. The high hopes roused in the 2011 revolts came back to planet Earth with a bump as the youth rebellion and Occupy seemed to fade away and the emancipatory dreams of the Arab Spring degenerated into civil war, foreign intervention and power grabs by reactionary political and religious organisations. The public sector unions regardless of a lot of fighting talk gave up the struggle and put on another purely symbolic A to B march dominated by union bureaucrats in October. We drowned in a spectacle of national celebration and flag waving as the Jubilee and the Olympics were pumped out by the mass media and the left retreated into its usual comfort zones, separated from the complex and messy world outside by a wall of outdated dogma that has not changed much since the Russian Revolution or The Spanish Civil War.
But this is not a time for wallowing in pessimism either. It is obvious we are entering an era of momentous change as the horrors of austerity hit more and more people, in the process throwing up more and more sites for grassroots resistance. Capital is restructuring itself before our very eyes, using the economic crisis to accelerate the processes of Neoliberalism-a formation of a down trodden work force without any employment rights or a welfare safety net, with virtually all public services privatised. But capitalism has major problems in achieving this free market Utopia for the rich and powerful. As the comforts and illusions of mass consumerism and easy credit are slowly taken away and the police/security state becomes necessarily more oppressive, breaking basic human rights to contain spreading dissent, more and more people will began to see through the ideology of so-called liberal democratic capitalism. Revolt will be ungainly, messy, sometimes frightening but inevitable it will arise and out of this a counter-power (federations of workers councils, neighbourhood assemblies and radical municipalities) has a possibility to form, challenging capital and the state which sustains it and providing a genuine alternative. 2013 might be the year that we get a real glimmer of hope for the future.
Donna Tartt's The Secret History - I finished reading this about five weeks ago and have been meaning to write something about it ever since. However from indexing my own book (Elinor Ostro...
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