In just a few days it will be 2011 and the vicious and unrelenting war being waged by capital and its governments against ordinary people throughout the world will not only continue but it will escalate.
It is a war that cares little for national boundaries and it is a war that capital expects to win.
Whether its Great Britain, Greece, Spain, the United States or New Zealand, the end goal is the same; the working class will be forced to pay the heavy price for a massive economic crisis it was not responsible for. Capital will save itself by grinding working people into the dirt.
Here in New Zealand the Government's deficit blowout of $2 billion will mean further attacks on social services, more attacks on working conditions.
The gloves have come off and the ideologies of union-government 'partnerships' and 'socially responsible capitalism' have been exposed as the empty charades they always were. The 'third way' has been exposed has just another way for social democrats to justify their abject surrender to neoliberalism
But capital is not having its own way. Already massive resistance has emerged in countries like Spain, Greece and Italy. Britain's young people, so often written off as either reactionary or as complaint victims of an all-pervasive consumer culture , have been at the forefront of protests in London and other major British metropolitan centres. They have proved to be not quite 'the beaten generation' they have often been caricatured as.
Perhaps its more accurate to quote Percy Bysshe Shelley:
Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number!
Shake your chains to earth, like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you-
Ye are many; they are few!
Invariably this direct resistance has emerged despite the best attempts by conservative union bureaucracies and bourgeois political parties to channel the protests in a 'safe direction'. In the view of such political snake oil merchants, protests should be gutted of all meaningful resistance and be 'fun for all the family'. In effect they want them to be as impotent as sending a petition to Parliament.
New Zealand will see a general election next year and already we are being told from some quarters that the only 'pragmatic' strategy is to direct our energies into getting the dismal Phil Golf and his equally dismal Labour Party back into power.
We are told that we must stop our 'utopian dreaming'. In the face of a global capitalist crisis , the only 'sensible' and 'realistic' strategy is to support the Labour Party. We can't win the world but we can have a bag of carrots without the GST.
This is the strategy that the do-nothing trade union bureaucracy have adopted - without consulting the union membership.
In short, we must 'adapt' to the prevailing political current. As I've said in other posts, this is a counsel of despair.
The ideological message is that humanitarian utopias are not viable, that there is no alternative to capitalism. It says that capitalism has proven itself to be the only viable society and therefore we should concern ourselves with improving the capitalist system and not with building an alternative system. It's the Fabian view of the world.
In 1901 a young Lev Davidovich Bernstein, who had yet to take the name of Trotsky, was exiled in Siberia.
He looked out a the promise of a new century and wrote of what he sew:
In France-the poisonous strife of racial hatred; in Austria-nationalist strife,,,;in South Africa - the agony of a tiny people which is being murdered by a colossus; on the 'free' island itself-triumphant hymns to the victorious greed of jingoist robbers; dramatic 'complications' in the east; rebellions of starving popular masses in Italy, Bulgaria, Romania...Hatred and murder, famine and blood.
It would of been easy then, in the face of a world in crisis, to accept that any change could only be limited and, by necessity, would be constrained by the demands of the political and economic conditions that existed at the time.
The twentieth century stood before Trotsky and demanded that he surrender his 'pathetic dreams': 'Here I am, your long awaited twentieth century, your 'future'.'
But Trotsky's response was swift and sure : 'No, replies the unfounded optimist:' he wrote. You are only the present.'
The lesson still to be drawn today is that we must continue to put our faith in the future and confidently continue to knock at the gate of history.
We must always act against the prevailing current.
Simply tinkering with capitalism cannot change the course of history. Socialism represents a fundamental break with all that has gone before.