Editorial for Revolutionary Perspectives 19 (Series 4).
In the last issue of RP we were aware that some readers might be sceptical about the existence of a global capitalist economic crisis which has now endured for more than five decades. More generally, however, the FACT that humanity is facing multi-faceted ‘existential’ threats, not just from a capitalist-created pandemic which is far from over, not only from climate change as a result of ‘man-made’ carbon emissions (not to mention wider destruction of the natural conditions for life on earth), but also, increasingly, from rising imperialist tensions and a growing arms race that now extends to outer space, is becoming impossible to deny. In this issue we have tried to analyse the latest aspects of these inter-linked phenomena from the only genuine anti-capitalist perspective: the standpoint of the social beings on whose labour power capitalism depends, the working class.
As for an update on the situation of the working class, we have no illusions about how far workers in general are still wandering in the wilderness without a political compass and with little experience of how to organise on their own account. This is not to say there haven’t been any sparks of encouragement, notably amongst warehouse workers and in signs of a wider class struggle in the USA. The article here, written by an Amazon insider, captures the soul-destroying intensity of capitalist exploitation under today’s conditions of individualised Taylorism which, paradoxically, is sparking off sporadic outbursts of more collective resistance. Meanwhile, the little-publicised struggle of oil workers and others over wages and conditions in Iran surpasses all others in terms of determination, self-organisation and bravery against a vicious enemy. We have commented on all these on our website. Given what capital has in store for the working class in the coming year, it would be surprising if there are not more struggles for us to report on, and participate in, during 2022. The prospect of a doubling of the cost of fuel bills, plus more widespread ‘consumer price’ inflation as firms pass on their higher running costs to customers could encourage the revival of a wider collective struggle based on the recognition that we wage workers are all in this together … We say ‘could’ because there are a lot of obstacles to break down, from the privatised way most working class people live their lives to the individualising of work patterns, before a fleeting class solidarity becomes deeper and more widespread.
Undoubtedly, sooner or later, the collective class struggle spark will be lit again. For this spark to light the flames of revolution, the only way to save the world from capitalism, the workers of the world will need to have a political compass, a general awareness of the kind of new world they are fighting for and the major obstacles they must face on the way. In other words, they’ll need to embrace the communist programme as it has been clarified by revolutionaries who have had to learn from the hard-earned, bloody experience of the working class and whose task now is to propagate that programme and win over as many would-be revolutionary militants as possible to the only real ‘anti-capitalist’ cause: world revolution. The starting point for this is an historical one and involves would-be revolutionaries ditching so much of the counter-revolutionary detritus of the past which poses as “socialist”, as the article in this issue on Capitalism and Its Discontents makes clear. The historical stakes are now as high as they have ever been. The world working class needs both its political consciousness and organisation if it is to save humanity from the path capitalism has laid out for it.
Communist Workers’ Organisation