is syriza a workers’ government in waiting?

By Barry Biddulph

The elections in Greece have solved nothing. They have only provided a brief respite from intractable economic problems. The free food queues grow longer, as living standards collapse, the generalised political and economic crisis goes on. Larry Elliot, the economics editor of the Guardian, puts forward the view of many economic observers in Greece that the new Government is unlikely to remain in power.(1) A Guardian editorial agrees that a defeat for SYRIZA might yet prove to be a victory.(2) A view echoed in the Financial Times editorial.(3) The new government coalition will be weak. Democratic Left and PASOK will support Antonia Samaras and the New Democracy government, but not participate fully in the administration. In his victory speech, Samaras pledged to honour financial commitments to the Troika of capitalist economic powers. The New Government will have to implement a further 12 billion cuts by July 2012 . This will prove deeply unpopular with the Greek working class. So SYRIZA is a government in waiting, but can it become a Workers’ Government? Continue reading “is syriza a workers’ government in waiting?”

is capitalism’s crisis putting revolution back on the agenda?

A guest post by Mark Kosman. Every attempt to go beyond capitalism has ended in failure. But are capitalism’s present problems putting anti-capitalist revolution back on the agenda? To answer this question, this article looks at past revolutions, with particular emphasis on class struggle, while rethinking aspects of the Marxist, anarchist and feminist traditions.

In the 20th century, every attempt to go beyond capitalism ended in failure. Either people looked to socialist politicians, whose reforms made capitalism even more secure, or they supported revolutions that degenerated into repression and mass killing. Consequently, today, few people have much hope that humanity could ever successfully transcend capitalism.

But are capitalism’s present problems putting anti-capitalist revolution back on the agenda? And could a future revolution liberate humanity in ways that past revolutions failed to achieve? To try to answer these questions, I am going to look at past revolutions with particular emphasis on aspects that are rarely considered in conventional left discourse. These include humanity’s origins, gender and military history and the revolutionary transcendence of work and democracy. Continue reading “is capitalism’s crisis putting revolution back on the agenda?”

starting all over from scratch? a plea for “radical reform” of our own movement

An essay by Sheila Cohen. It is offered as a response to the question set by the Daniel Singer Foundation: “Given the devastating effects of the present crisis on working people, what proposals for radical reform can be raised which are both practical to the vast majority while moving us towards the goal of socialism?”

when workers mobilise for 'reforms', these are often just the tip of the iceberg

The current global crisis of capitalism makes the task set by the Daniel Singer Millenium Prize Foundation look relatively straightforward. Immediate proposals for radical reform would clearly include the demand that Western governments everywhere take over the banks and use the resulting trillions to fund health care, re-establish humane and affordable housing, rebuild education at every level, provide humane child- and elder-care, not to mention ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and rescuing the devastation to humanity represented in Haiti, Somalia, and other disasters of the “developing” world. Such proposals would certainly be radical, relevant to the vast majority of the human race and, if granted, enough of a blow to global capital to knock it off its pedestal more conclusively than Saddam Hussein. Continue reading “starting all over from scratch? a plea for “radical reform” of our own movement”

issue 12 of the commune

The March issue of our monthly paper The Commune is now available. Click the image below to see the PDF or see individual articles as they are posted online in the list below

To purchase a printed copy for £1 + 50p postage, use the ‘donate’ feature here. You can also subscribe (£12 a year UK/£16 EU/£20 international) or order 5 copies a month to sell (£4) online here. If you want to pay by cheque, contact uncaptiveminds@gmail.com.

a labour of love? – editorial of The Commune

english defence league march on parliament – by Amanda Latimer

strong pickets in two-day PCS strike – by Steve Ryan

turbulent times for public sector – by David Huckerby

student anti-cuts movement has managers running scared – by Tali Janner-Klausner

the lynch mob and our ‘broken society’ – by Adam Ford

michael foot: ‘not here to find elegant solutions’ – by Sharon Borthwick

recession bites in united states – by Dennis Marcucci

lightning strikes twice in greece – by David Broder

dawn of the crisis generation in california – from IndyBay

tory co-ops mean privatisation – by Gregor Gall

no surprises as rat boards sinking ship – by Chris Ford

defend migrant cleaners at UBS! – speeches by Jerry Hicks, Andy Higginbottom, Dave Esterton, comment by Alberto Durango

why does unite employ ISS at its HQ? – letter from Kwasi Agyemang-Prempeh

workers’ councils: red mole of the revolution – by Sheila Cohen

migrant workers across italy strike as one – by Andrea Strippoli

more hunger strikes at yarl’s wood – by Victoria Thompson

the cuts consensus and the general election – by Dave Spencer

should communists stand for parliament? – by Mark Harrison

twenty years after the poll tax – by Allan Armstrong

what is militancy? – by Nathan Coombs

why don’t we side with the humans in avatar? – by Sam Parsa

urgent proposals for dealing with global warming – letter from Chris Miller

what is ‘militancy’?

by Nathan Coombs

The word militancy’s usage generally refers to non-state military groups pursuing an ideological programme. In the way in which the term is deployed in the media, it is thus used as an ambiguous half way house between more legitimate terms such as, say, activist group, and the more loaded term extremists, or terrorists. Continue reading “what is ‘militancy’?”

the global commune: communism for the 21st century

On January 16th Edinburgh played host to the ‘Global Commune’ day school, hosted by Scotland’s Republican Communist Network and supported by The Commune.

Although we are faced with the greatest crisis of capitalism for decades, the majority of socialists today are not prepared to make the case for a viable alternative social order to get us beyond the ever-deepening capitalist crisis.

The objective of the day school was to develop communist thinking on what kind of society we want to create and how that relates to our activism and our slogans in the context of today. Continue reading “the global commune: communism for the 21st century”

beyond the party-state, beyond the big bang

A paper by Nathan Coombs for Sunday’s Communist Theory Forum

Wherever we look in the history of communist politics we see states which in one form or another have become dictatorships; the economic and political structures reduced to stifling bureaucracies. Can this be explained merely by recourse to contingent factors: the fact that revolution did not break out in Europe in the 1920s, imperialism against the socialist states during the Cold War, and so on?

The tempting answer for communists is to focus on these facts, lump the blame at the feet of Stalinism, or the leaderships of the Communist parties. This way guilt is apportioned and we can rest secure that the fundamental idea is fine; it is just the flawed implementation at the source of the problems, or the external pressures at work. Such an approach can be surmised by the optimistic refrain: ‘never mind, things will work out fine next time!’ Continue reading “beyond the party-state, beyond the big bang”