The third issue of The Class War Federation’s theoretical journal The Heavy Stuff, probably from 1989 with articles about the middle class, pornography and feminism, Northern Ireland and the 1970s.
The Heavy Stuff #3 - Class War
- Introduction - Warren O'Neill
- The middle class - Sean Reilly
- Soft porn or hard-core - Sally Starkey
- Taking the bull by the horns - Geoffrey Fox
- The no-go zones of Northern Ireland 1968-1972 - Glyn Rhys
- The seventies - John Casey
Class War’s guide to the Seventies – John Casey
An article on the politics, economics and culture of the UK in the 1970s. From The Heavy Stuff #3 (late 1980s / early 1990s).
Places like China are not the only countries where history is rewritten. It happens every day here in Britain. What follows is one person’s account and impressions of the 1970's, how does it match yours?
The main aim of this article is to stimulate Interest and curiosity about the recent history of the 70's and history in general. The control, by the media, of history is crucial to the continued did dominance of the ruling class - It's very important. So we should be more interested in the past and how it moulds the present, we owe it to ourselves and to our class.
This article is aimed at people who know little or nothing about the seventies, it does not aspire to be a detailed account of economics, politics, the Irish war, music or the machinations of the ruling class in plotting an armed coup or the downfall of a democratically elected government. These things have been recorded far better elsewhere. What it does try to do is give an idea of what it was like and to show the main themes that developed.
Background to the 70's the post war period: 1945-1970
This period is often referred to as the post war boom. it certainly was a period of long and sustained growth in the developed world. After the second world war the world and its markets were carved up by the major powers, they then settled down to a long period of rebuilding and expanding their economies.
As usual, imperialism in economic and military terms was closely associated with this process. The second and third worlds got the shit-end-of-the-stick, commodity and crop prices stayed static or low, whole countries were reduced to servicing the developed world with materials and to providing mass markets for western manufactured goods. The price was (and is) high in human terms - disease, poverty, famine, war and military rule was the result as the major powers continued their competition for markets and influence throughout the world. More people have died in wars In the 'underdeveloped' world since 1945 than in the whole of World War Two, more than 50 million.
Here in the UK although the working class in general enjoyed a level of prosperity higher than ever before, it was unevenly spread and plenty of the working class continued to live in poverty. It was not quite the "you've never had it so good" days that it was made out to be.
But the British economy did boom to such an extent that there was a shortage of labour. The trade unions enjoyed a high degree of power and influence as part of the deal struck with them by the ruling class to rebuild the British economy after the war. In other words, the working class were in a position of advantage, and realised it, they used it to the full in strikes, work to rules etc... In some factories you literally could not walk through the door without joining a trade union. Unfortunately the unions converted this position of strength and confidence solely into demands for better wages.
Politics were kept out of the workplace - that was what the Labour Party were paid (literally) to do. Throughout this period though, the ruling class kept up a constant stream of propaganda aimed at the unions and working class, all of it negative. TV series such as "The Rag Trade." and "On The Buses." and films like "I'm All Right Jack," with Peter Sellers, portrayed the working class as stupid sentimental buffoons and militants as mindless trouble makers. This together with the Labour movements lack of politics was to have dire results at the end of the '70's when the Tories cashed in on their years of propaganda.
It's worth remembering that during the boom people could put two fingers up to the boss one day and get another job the next, strikes were common: over the slightest thing - tea breaks, stroppy foremen etc... There was a whole series of jobs in the 70's over something call "demarcation" - although you never hear of it now. This was the strict separation of jobs by the skills involved. This meant, for instance, that labourers could not change a light bulb because that was an electricians job!
This had many advantages for the working class and the unions, it meant more jobs were created, that those with skills kept a higher wage level, and that the unions kept their power base in particular skills and industries. This of course drove the bosses mad - they were pulling their hair out in rage!
Every attempt to introduce new machinery, or new methods of work, was met with a seamless wall of non-cooperation and apathy. New equipment was in mothballs for years before it could be used, if ever. The printers were one of the last examples of this era to be crushed by Thatcher. It’s worth reminding ourselves just what a strongly organised work, force can screw out of the bosses.
The printers were getting paid more than their managers, their conditions were good, new labour saving (i.e. labour cutting) technology was delayed by five to ten years and of course the practise of ‘ghosting’ (at least I think that was the right name) was common. In Fleet Street this meant that every issue of a paper printed at night had to have a set of casual workers taken on per night, the wage for these casuals or ghosts was very high untaxable, the signatures of these casuals included such classics as D. Duck and M. Mouse.
The unions were effectively holding the newspaper bosses to ransom every time they went to print. The Financial Times muttered darkly about these “Spanish Practices” in British Industry – I still don’t know what the fuck that means, perhaps it’s some sort of Masonic curse. Anyway the gist of my argument is that the working class were screwing the bosses, for everything they could get, which is lust fine by me.
But back to the 60s, the working class made advances in health care, housing, education and some joined the lower ranks of the middle class. And still the boom continued. Some Lefties thought this was going to go on forever and that the working class was disappearing because they were buying their own houses and even owning cars -shock horroor! The lesson to learn here is that as long as there is wage labour and capital there will be a working class - don't expect us to roll around in shit and wear clogs.
But as time went on deep economic changes were happening and the ruling class were making plans. Sections of the underdeveloped world were developing into industrialised nations with money from the Western ruling class. Countries like Brazil, Korea, Hong Kong, South Africa, the Philippines and India had far cheaper labour costs and often governments that would brutally suppress demands for higher pay. By the end of the 60's these countries were producing manufactured goods like steel and textiles that were set to demolish Britain's traditional dominance in these fields. The Northern textile industry crashed early on as a result of this change and was practically wiped out by the early 70's.
Of course the economies of West Germany and Japan were rebuilt from scratch with new plants and new labour methods. The seeds of the 70's and 80's recession in the British manufacturing economy can be seen in this earlier period.
Towards the end of the student unrest appeared as the new and growing middle class bit the hand that fed them. The ruling class's values were being questioned and apparently rejected by those whose job it was to ensure that those values were obeyed - the middle class.
This also pissed off the ruling class but they felt out of control of the growing tide of the 'permissive' society which seemed to go hand in hand with the boom.
Throughout the whole of 1945-70, right wingers like Margaret Thatcher, Norman Tebbit, Keith Joseph, Airey Neave, David Stirling and Uncle Tom Cobbley an'all sat on the side-lines watching in horror unable to do anything. Their experiences then are the key to understanding their actions now. If you listen to Thatcher or Tebbit speak about the 60's for instance you cannot help but be impressed with the venom of their emotions.
The Seventies – an overview
This section is based on one person's views and memories during a conversation on a long motorway Journey.
The 70's are important to us because they saw the definitive end of the post-war economic boom and with it the so-called period of 'consensus' politics, The 50's and 80's were a period when both Tories and Labour agreed on broadly the same political programme for the country, e.g. Nationalisation, public investment, broadening education and health care.
The 70's are important to younger people because this period saw a dramatic growth in unemployment and an end of an era of full employment and high wages. It also saw the openly anti-working class policies of the last Labour government and present Tory government. In 1971 unemployment had gone up to 880,000 — the highest since the war. By 1972 it had risen to 1,000,000. Inflation was running away and firms were crashing In the city. 1972 saw the highest number of working days lost through industrial action since the general strike of 1926.
This change was a great shock to many people especially to those who had grown up through their teens in the 50's and 60’s. They had been led to believe that the post war boom would go on forever. For many of these people being made redundant was a real personal crisis, which is hard for younger people to understand. For those who were not made redundant, they continued in a bubble of complacency, effectively isolated from those unemployed; a division which led to intense conflict between generations in working class families, which was encouraged by the media. Parents in their 40's and 50s simply could not understand why their offspring were unemployed. They believed it was their children’s fault, an attitude that the state has encouraged, shifting the blame for unemployment from British Capitalism to the British working class individually.
The 70’s saw some quite remarkable events. Perhaps the most obvious of which, to younger people, was the arrival of Punk Rock, an understandable reaction to the vomit-inducing, 'glamour' rock and the middle of the road pap that was being dished up.
The early 70's saw the rise of the Trendy Leftie who was into posturing and lifestyle, feminism, Ireland, Black Power and anything else that was going. The various left parties all grew like the Socialist Workers Party, The Workers Revolutionary Party, The Communist Party of Great Britain ad-nausea. But where are all those lefties now? Holed up in some cushy local authority job waiting for the "upturn” and passing the time by personal development and caring for the environment or just getting on with their careers after their revolutionary fling, sending their kids to some god-awful hippy public school like that of the Steiner Movement. Some now hold reactionary views and a few have kept their with their beliefs.
But other things also happened in the 70's. In the early period we saw the bringing down of an elected government by trade union action, the 1974 miners' strike. This was a very important event. What forced the Heath government to go for an election was the militancy of the working class at the time. Unlike the miners’ strike of 84/84, there was widespread support and backing by the rest of the working class. Action was taken by lorry drivers, railway workers and power workers, to name a few. The strike coincided with the Arabs cutting drastically the supply of oil to the west and this resulted in the introduction of the 3-day working week to ration out available fuel. The British ruling class, to say the least, were really pissed off. For them this was very nearly the last straw, many people believe they were on the verge of using the army to get their own way. As we have heard more recently in the media, bits and pieces of the story have been leaked out by disenchanted members of MI5 etc…
That the ruling class were rattled can be seen by the behaviour of the Financial Times Index for the London stock market. In January '74 it stood at 500 points, by December of that year and two general elections later it had fallen to 150 points. This makes the recent stock Market crashes look like tea parties! In fact this was the biggest drop in share prices ever, beating that of the depression of the 1920's and 1930's. This was the year when right-wing private armies were being pushed by the media.
So what we have in the first hair of the 70't is working class militancy bringing down a government. The election of a Labour government, as usual, tended to pacify the wave of militancy. But as time went on, and as conditions in the world economy worsened, Labour was unable to deliver better wages. In fact they had the problem of coping with the rapid contraction in the British economy. This was concentrated in the manufacturing industry that was the Labour Party’s electoral back yard. This change in the British economy is given the quaint name of "restructuring" by the economists. It still continues today and could be briefly described as the removal of manufacturing industry to parts of the world where labour is cheaper and the introduction of new industries like high tech engineering, finance and information that are part of the new global economy.
Nevertheless, the Labour Party proceeded to ignore the disintegrating British economy and attempted to spend their way out of a dead end. Spending was concentrated on the weak pound, effectively the government was subsidising the British ruling class's gambling on the foreign exchange markets, by buying sterling at inflated prices.
The basic ideas that the Labour party were using were those of the economist Keynes. These were that public spending on things like roads, power stations and so on would stimulate the rest of the economy and so lead to a general economic recovery. It seemed to make sense because these were the ideas that post-war governments had found successful, but that had been at a time expansion and high demand. The situation in the early seventies could not have been more different.
The manufacturing side of the British economy went into a nose dive and was given a hefty boot In the goolies by the practice of asset stripping. It works like this:
- Examine the value of a company in terms of land, buildings, plant, stock and subsidiary companies - sometimes called the break up value for reasons that will become clear later.
- If this value is considerably more than the price of all the shares in that company (which it can often be) mount a takeover bid.
- When the takeover bid Is complete, break up the company and sell it off piece by piece.
- Pay off the merchant banks and other scumbags that lent you money in the first place and keep what is left as profit.
Of course, asset-stripping usually means that entire work forces and communities get wiped out. It was so bad in the early seventies that Edward Heath, the Tory Prime Minister, called it "the unacceptable face of Capitalism". Lord Hanson of 'The Hanson Trust' laid the foundations of his present empire by asset stripping in this period. The practice is now commonplace and is one of the markers of the change away from the post-war 'consensus' that the 70's represent - in this case a change within the ruling class.
So as the economy declined rapidly, so did the amount of income from taxes and company profits and the Labour government quickly became involved in a serious debt crisis, having borrowed too much to try and spend its way out of decline.
This also pissed off the rung class. Not only had a Tory government (the ‘home team’ of the ruling class) been defeated by the force of successful industrial action, but the Labour administration was coming close to bankrupting the State - the very means of control itself. As if this was not enough from the ruling class's point of view, there was more. The Labour government included left-wingers like Tony Benn and Eric Heifer who sat in the cabinet. They were into ideas like nationalising the banks and the building industry and controlling the movement of money into and out of the country, and of course higher taxes for the rich. This was reflected in the party nationally and was also aimed at pacifying a militant working class. The Labour party also wanted to force the capitalists to invest in this country rather than taking their profits abroad where there was a higher return on their investment, something that had been happening with increased regularity in the 60's and 70's which of course fuelled the economic decline.
These ideas were seriously on the agenda in the Labour party at the time. These people, the lefties, thought that all they had to do was pass a few laws and the ruling class would say "OK it's a fair cop", and give up all their ill-gotten gains. Naive fools, maybe, but dangerous certainly.
Of course, the ruling class would not agree to these demands, but they would be faced with the problem of having to overthrow a government. Something which filled them with deep dread as this would probably have resulted in the already volatile British working class, suffering under inflation, going completely apeshit.
So, by around 1975 we can see that the British ruling class were deeply unhappy. in fact, we could say they were having a screaming head-fit. And it's precisely at this time (74-76) that many people believe we came near to an armed coup by parts of the ruling class.
It is certain that armed intervention was planned, and there was a period of intense media activity geared towards this end. The need for strong government to counter the internal threat was touted widely by such unlikely figures as Hughie Green on "Opportunity Knocks" and David Frost. I remember sitting absolutely gob-struck watching a Frost "special" on TV where the topic of discussion was the coming civil war in Britain!
Another example of media and state activity interlocking at this time was the deployment of troops with tanks assisted by the police at Heathrow airport supposedly because of some middle-east terrorist threat, but the real purpose of the exercise was to get the British people used to the sight of armed troops patrolling the streets of mainland Britain.
The ruling class did not have to take the military option. Instead they chose to play the economic card. They were able to do so because of the immensely powerful position they occupy in the world economy. This power is based on their control of part of the international finance markets. They decided to subdue the rogue Labour administration by pulling the financial plugs out of the economy. In effect they accelerated the debt crisis that the Labour government had got itself into.
This resulted in the stock market and the pound plummeting, effectively the British government went bust. This was a much neater solution than bullets and forced the Wilson government to clean up the mess by screwing the working class with public spending cuts and a freeze on wage claims. All the time the ruling class knew if Labour fucked up on their task they could bring the army in at any time and even more justification - you can almost hear the media's off-the-peg phrases like "national crisis", “the enemy within", "breakdown of law and order”, "left-wing agitators", "terrorists", "the survival of democracy" etc... The whole process of economic sabotage was neatly engineered through third parties like dealers in the currency markets.
"The further decline in the value of the pound has occurred despite the high level of interest rates… dealers said that selling pressure against the pound was not heavy or persistent, but there was an almost total lack of Interest amongst, buyers. The drop in the pound is extremely surprising in view of the unanimous opinion of bankers, politicians and officials that the currency is undervalued". The Times 27/5/76.
The situation got worse...
"By now the treasury has been spending $100 million day buying back its own money on the markets to support the pound.” The Times 10/6/78
The final act in this plot started with the arrival of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in London for discussions with the government about the ‘economic crisis’. This was something that only happened in “tin-pot banana republics” in South America. The situation facing the Labour government was simple and brutal. These two institutions, the IMF and the World Bank, control the flow of capital around the world that governments can use. Effectively they are the heavies of international capitalism. It was in their power to deliver the much needed cash to bail out the government, at this time the state administration was literally bankrupt, there were practically no reserves of foreign currency or gold bullion left in this country.
The IMF and the World Bank were in a position to demand whatever they liked of the Labour government. Knowing that the alternative was bullets, Labour had little choice anyway. The conditions of the load to Labour were:
- The dropping of all this “nationalisation of banks” nonsense.
- The climb down from control of capital out-flow from Britain.
- Most importantly, the determining of the economic policy of the British state and therefore of course the political policy of the government was to be handed over.
The policy, under IMF control, was fairly simple. It was to reverse Labour’s attempts to lessen the effect of the economic decline on the British population by public spending.
Instead, the IMF dictated that the government had to cut its public spending because this was getting in the way of the British capitalist’s reorganisation of the economy, which is still underway today.
Put bluntly, this meant that the British working class were going to have to pay the price of capitalism’s fuck ups in the way of unemployment and wage cuts. In economic terms, profits were going down in the British economy, so the capitalist required a drop in the overall level of labour costs. Or in plain speak, the level of exploitation of the working class had to be increased. As The Economist magazine commented at the time, Britain was effectively being governed by the IMF.
Wilson’s successor, Callaghan, was so successful at implementing the IMF policies that The Economist dubbed him “the best Conservative prime minister the Tories ever had”. The success led to the “Winter of Discontent” where the unions and working class finally broke with the wages policy of Labour. The working class now saw that the Labour government, rightly, as the enemy.
This opened up an opportunity for the Tories – that they had prepared. With a well-researched and clever publicity campaign from Saatchi & Saatchi, the Tories swept to power with a promise to restore order and make Britain great again, in doing so they stole the ground from under the feet of the Fascists with their policies. Far from failing in the 70s, as the SWP claim, Fascism entered government. The rest, as they say, is history.
Hand in hand with the economic crisis that the ruling class engineered for the Labour government went a propaganda and smear campaign against members of the Labour government and the Liberal Party, whose support was becoming more and more crucial to Labour in Parliament. The campaign aimed at Wilson personally is the most notable and of which we still don't know the full facts. But it almost certainly led to his resignation in March 1976. Wilson is on record at the time, complaining of persecution by MI5 etc... This was taken lightly by his colleagues in the Labour party who put it down to his personal tendency towards paranoia which had grown through years of back-stabbing in the party and in government.
It is almost certain Wilson was being blackmailed, amongst other things, by the security forces. His successor, James Callaghan, held a government enquiry into Wilson's claims but its scope was restricted solely to whether No 10 Downing Street had been bugged or not. It Is upon this obviously fixed enquiry that all subsequent denials of misbehaviour of MI5 have been based. As we now know, this enquiry did not even mention the fact that Wilson's private home, the home of his lawyer and a personal document store were burgled six times shortly before his resignation with various papers being removed.
The two people who have the most to gain by covering up the security forces activities during this period are Wilson's successor (and perhaps MI5 candidate) James Callaghan, and his eventual successor (and certainly MI5 candidate!) Margaret Thatcher. Only this way of looking at things makes any sense of the Tory government's recent and embarrassing attempt to suppress leaks from and ex-members of the security services (Clive Ponting, Cathy Massiter, Peter Wright, etc...)
What Thatcher is doing is twofold. First, she is trying to scare the shit out of those who are, or have been, In the security forces in order to stop them spilling the beans about the dirty tricks campaign in the 70's against the last Labour government. Secondly and more worryingly she has served notice on the security forces that the old ways will not be tolerated, that discreet leaks and memoirs are out. Why should they require a tighter security force? The answer must be that they are doing, and expect to do, things that some people in MI5 are going to find it hard to accept.
Any account of this period cannot ignore the rapid rise of Fascism. As unemployment increased, Black and Asians came to be blamed and the solution was repatriation. The ground was fertile for Fascism as was shown when the London Dockers marched behind Enoch Powell demanding an end to immigration and for the start of repatriation. Ironically, Powell was involved with persuading people to come from the Caribbean, Asia and Ireland during the 1970s.
The National Front grew, polling hundreds and sometimes thousands of votes in local and national elections.
As the economic situation worsened in the 1970's Fascists and the far right prospered. Upper class Fascists prepared plans for secret armies. As usual, when Capitalism is in trouble, the dogs of the far right are brought out of the kennel. Racist attacks grew with many people dying in fire-bomb attacks and stabbings, many of these attacks were denied as racist by the police and were not reported by the media at all.
In the mid-70's when the economy was lurching around with Labour trying to control it, the Fascists seemed to be having a field day. As usual working class kids with no future were the fodder for the Fascists, in return for their support they gave them a sense of identity, a place to belong and of course fed them a load of shit ideas.
Into this situation came the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). They had the bright idea of forming a ‘front’ to combat the growing Fascist menace and of course to recruit members to their party at the same time. This front was called the Anti-Nazi League and this in turn spawned “Rock Against Racism”. With these as a focus, opposition to the right grew rapidly and it succeeded in weaning many working class kids away from the Fascists by giving them something better. Direct physical opposition to the Fascists was the foundation of this success and crucial in attracting working class support.
Incredibly, the SWP decided to shut down the ANL and RAR, their reasoning was that Fascism had been defeated. This was not true, the real reason was that the leadership of the SWP felt that they were losing control which was far more important to them as the self-appointed saviours of the working class. They expelled a group of people who wanted to continue the physical resistance to Fascism, this group became "Red Action" which still exists today.
Fascism is still alive and well in Britain, the Tories have absorbed much of its higher membership and policies. The white working class is still crippled by the racist attitudes fostered by the middle and upper classes. Racist abuse and attacks continue on both a casual and more organised way. The links with European Fascist movements are producing more “sophisticated" ideas and strategies, for instance we are coming across Fascists who think that the struggle of the Irish against British occupation in Northern Ireland is right and that the IRA are freedom fighters, others are trying to make links with Welsh Nationalists. We even find Fascists saying they would like to recruit from the environmental and animal rights movements. While these new developments do not apply to all Fascists, they show that they have not been letting the grass grow under their feet since their supposed 'defeat' at the hand of the SWP.
The reluctance of the British media to expose this state of affairs can be seen by recent attempts by Labour MPs to have an enquiry into the coup allegations of the 70's - they practically have to force feed journalists details to get the slightest peep out of the media. The Mass media in Britain must be one of the most tightly self-controlled operations outside South Africa. It does not matter if a few Lefties or intellectuals know all about the ins and out of the dirty tricks campaign against the last Labour government or the links between Fascists and the security forces. As long the mass media does not ruin it, the ruling class are home and dry, it’s even useful for them to let the Lefties let off steam in obscure publications that nobody reads. Even "Private Eye", which has run articles on this subject and about the shoot to kill policy in Northern Ireland falls into this 'obscure' category as its readership is mostly composed of middle class cynics. No wonder the media Industry is regarded as the "Fourth Estate" of Capitalism.
The decade saw Britain up to its neck in dirty tricks and double dealings in Norther Ireland. Years of experience in putting down rebellion in former colonies were adapted for use in Northern Ireland and new techniques were developed. It's a platitude in the left by now that Ireland is a training ground for what is going to happen in mainland Britain, it is nevertheless true.
The early seventies saw the Tory government having face to face talks with the Provisional IRA, with people like Gerry Adams and William Whitelaw sitting at the same table. They were playing for time, their problem was to get rid of the Catholic no-go areas that had been operating since 1969 as practically self-governing areas. They used 21,000 troops together with tanks to smash their way into the No-Go areas.
The discredited Stormont parliament with its built in Unionist majority was dissolved and direct rule was imposed form Westminster. A new form of government called "power sharing" was invented where Catholic politicians were guaranteed cabinet places, it was called the Northern Ireland Assembly and was aimed at removing support for the IRA and modernising the prehistoric attitudes of the Unionist MPs. This happened under a Tory government and seemed a very smart plan.
The Labour government of Wilson inherited the 'smart plan', but found it falling apart at the seams because the protestants would just not accept it. The UDA had other ideas too, they organised a strike against power-sharing that toppled the Assembly. The Labour government ordered the Army to break the strike by taking over essential services like sewerage and power stations. The army did not move. Worse was to come, at the end of that year (1974) another truce was agreed with the IRA that lasted on and off 'till July the following year. Throughout this period the British army largely ignored the truce. In fact, the army Officer Corps were in open mutiny against the elected government it's as simple as that. If a squaddy had done what they did he would have been court-marshalled. The reasons for this are that after the fall of the Heath government and the civil unrest that preceded it, the ruling class was extremely distrustful of the Wilson government and the posturing of the Labour Left. So when it came to crushing a strike by Unionists (traditional supporters of the Ruling class) against a Labour government it was just not on.
The mutiny in Northern Ireland coincided with the period that the army, or parts of it, were preparing for a coup on the mainland. It was also around this time that there was an intense media campaign on the mainland about the imminent breakdown of law and order and the drift towards civil war and 'anarchy'. It must have been a sobering experience for the Labour politicians to see just how little influence or power they were allowed to have when it came to the crunch.
The 1970's should be seen as a pivotal time in recent British history. In many ways the present is a continuation of that period. The restructuring of the economy continues and the onslaught on the working class is intensifying as they are made to pay the price of Capitalism's problems. The ruling class objective is a Right-wing society with lower wages and a working class crushed into submission. They cannot turn back, the stakes are too high. If anything, higher than in the 70’s because the money is not available as it was in the 50's and 60's to buy off the working class. The present government's policies are a continuation of those of the Heath, Wilson and Callaghan governments. They must suppress the working class even further to succeed.
Some of the 'liberal' ruling class are choking on this diet of neat 'Class War’ and are getting scared as they see the scale of the project that the right wing are involved in. Prince Charles, Ted Heath, The Church Of England and old style "one-nation" Tories are getting cold feet. A debate is starting in the 'professional' classes about the future of democracy, the need for a written constitution and a bill of rights for the citizens. The middle class are only starting to agitate because the right wing are treading on their toes and privileges. The media creeps, teachers, doctors, lecturers, social workers, civil servants etc. to do not like the way things are going and can see things getting 'unpleasant', Britain as the Chile of Europe? It’s not far-fetched. It's possible to see the future outline of some 'liberal' coalition in this country in the way the debate about rights and democracy are going. Obviously the Labour party can be included under the liberal heading.
Our destination seems to be a dog-eat-dog parody of the USA where working class identity and values are blitzkrieged out of existence. Obviously organised control of the media is crucial here hence the organised screams of the journalists and the BBC etc. who after cooperating over the miners' strike and Northern Ireland are being rewarded by having their noses rubbed in the shit.
The disturbing thing about this situation is that the ruling class have gone from just responding, to working class resistance and are now taking the initiative, planning ahead often in terms of years (the Ridley plan for instance, developed in the 70's to crush the miners' in the 80's). Social engineering is as essential part of this, the encouraging of ‘enterprise culture’ , a 'share owning democracy' with 'peoples Capitalism', increased home ownership, easy credit, promotion of simple Authoritarian values and morals through increased control of the church and education, neighbourhood watch, the whipping up of Nationalism and the constant need for an enemy to unite the country behind them, whether it's Argentina or the NUM. The Think-Tanks have been doing their homework well and have a better understanding of the working class than most Lefties.
The preparations for armed intervention have continued with joint police and army training, the arming of the police and the formation of a national police force - the third force, somewhere between the bobby on the beat and the soldier, is now an accomplished fact whatever the home office says. Training exercises continue with our NATO partners where a civil war in this country is the subject of the exercises. The use of soldiers in police uniform during the miners' strike and the rumoured involvement of military intelligence to work with the Special Branch and MI5 also indicate the direction things are going in.
So, things look bad. But we should be prepared to look straight at our enemies and asses them, dreaming will get us nowhere. The Left in Britain do not look up to much when compared to the ruling class. The SWP cuddling up to the Labour Party, the Labour Party cuddling up to Capitalism, the Communist Party of "Marxism Today" saying the working class does not exist (so what are the ruling class worried about?), Militant - the tapeworm tendency still burrowing into the rotten carcass of the Labour Party, the RCP the most serious of the Left and most theoretically shoddy continue to 'love bomb' their way through the higher educational establishments of Britain and of course the Anarchists who with a few honourable exceptions are still coming to terms with the idea of class!
Looking on the bright side, for a change, we should note that under the glossy veneer of ruling class propaganda they are not having things all their own way. The majority of the working class are locked out of the Tory's economic miracle, regional and national tensions are building up and breaking out within the UK, the working class has now a greater contempt for 'law and order' than at any time since the Second World War. The miners' and printers' strikes showed the working class recognising the need to organise away from the Labour Party and coming to terms with the role of violence, they also saw the beginnings of building up independent lines of communication within the working class.
As interest rates stay high to please the finance sector and inflation rises the working class are being clobbered financially leading to a resurgence of stroppiness in the workplace. The Poll Tax is going to shake a lot of people. Sections of the ruling class are moving to criticise and oppose the present ruling clique fearing that it is unwise to push the working class too far. They know better than anyone that revolution can break out just when it is least expected, we should remember that too.