"Resistance, Reform or Revolution" (Glasgow)

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JimN
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Oct 18 2011 11:06
"Resistance, Reform or Revolution" (Glasgow)

"As capitalism grapples with (what is now being referred to as) its “greatest ever crisis” (Mervyn King), workers in many parts of the world are facing an increased onslaught on their livelihoods and quality of life. Whilst world socialists have never placed much faith in the idea that workers have actually enjoyed the recent economic boom, it appears that we are entering a different era now, where the expectation of ever-increasing living standards is starting to be reversed, and may continue for years or even decades, as the extent of the market correction commenced in 2008 emerges.

How are workers taking this? By voting Tory and then rioting? It is a confusing picture certainly, but one worth examining.

Since the last major economic downturn in the 1970s, the working class has lost much of its power, confidence and organisational strength. Unions are desperately weak. But workers have also lost confidence in the traditional ways of doing things: the labour/social-democratic parties of the western countries have deserted their traditional support in an effort to gain power to run capitalism. And now their traditional support (working-class) is deserting them. Similarly the Leninist left that once so effectively controlled and neutered worker anger, is now a complete irrelevance.

More generally, politicians have haemorrhaged support in recent years, along with other former figures of authority: bankers, police and journalists. In tandem with this, increasing numbers of workers appear to be starting to use social media and internet in a participative, unmediated and political fashion, free from top-down control.

As the main party conference season passes workers by, there are possible signs of new forms of organised worker political activity in the UK and beyond. Is there a link between the African Spring and the UK summer riots? Tent cities sprout around the city centres of the world, from Wall St to the City of London. But is this just the same old stuff (let's reform capitalism) being discussed in a different way? Certainly a quick look at the media provides plenty of evidence of the legitimacy of capitalism being up for much more debate than ever before.

What views do world socialists take on these events? What bits are positive, and which have downsides? And anyway, should we be interested in what the working class is thinking and doing? Is our audience the same as in 1904? For that matter, is our objective the same as then?"

Speaker - Brian Gardner

Wednesday, October 19, 2011, 8:30pm

Maryhill Community Central Halls, 304 Maryhill Road, Glasgow G20 7YE

All welcome. Free entry. Debate and discussion will ensue.

Organised by the Socialist Party of Great Britain