Make the Earth a common treasury for all - AB

Submitted by Fozzie on April 27, 2021

In my view the violence that took place at the London event was completely counter-productive and those who set out to engage in it should be told they're idiots.

Presumably the purpose of the event was to make a point, among other ways via the media. As one of those distributing leaflets both before, during and after the event advocating, as the front page article of Maybe put it, "a stateless, moneyless society where goods were produced not to make profits but simply because people needed them", I was pleased with the free publicity given by the media beforehand to the idea of "anti-capitalism". OK, it didn't have much content but the mere use of the word by them itself did the work of spreading the idea. In other words, before the event the media were, no doubt unwittingly, doing our work for us.

After the event, it was a different story. Then, they were able, this time quite wittingly, to discredit the idea of anti-capitalism by associating it with what they called "mindless violence". For, as Murray Bookchin points out in his latest book Anarchism, Marxism and the Future of the Left,

"to ordinary people, however dissatisfied they may be, no protest is more frivolous than the sight of a spindly kid throwing a stone at a cop - the image, par excellence, of irresponsible, juvenile bravado".

Male bravado, I would add. All the previous good publicity was undone.

Of course, the violence wasn't "mindless", it was "minded" - and that makes it worse. Presumably, the idea of those who planned it was to discredit the police in the eyes of other participants who, in their arrogant view, were less informed about the repressive role of the State and its agents. I don't know if they're satisfied but the effect was to change the whole tone of the event. Suspecting - in fact, no doubt knowing through undercover agents - that there was going to be violence the police adopted the tactic of trying to contain the participants and so confine it to an area of their choosing. This involved hemming in all the participants, whether violent or not, into the selected area and not allowing people out except on a one-by-one basis.

In the meantime people had to wait as the advocates of violence provoked the police in order to teach them (the other participants, not the police) a lesson. Hardly a carnival atmosphere - and hardly an encouragement for people to participate in future events. In fact, one person I met said he won't be going to any more. I am sure there'll be others who'll have made the same decision.

So, the lesson here would be to make it quite clear to the advocates of violence that they're not welcome and should stay away.

As to the content of the event - guerrilla gardening - there's nothing wrong with allotments, but they're not the solution to the problem of world hunger, are they? The Liberals may have won elections in the 1880s with the slogan "Two Acres and A Cow", but I don't think that "A Quarter Acre and No Cow" is going to find much echo these days. Small may be beautiful but that doesn't mean that big is necessarily bad.

In the case of feeding the world's malnourished millions, big is essential, at least to start with. Large-scale farming backed up by the farm equipment supplied by modern industry will have to be a key element in feeding the world's present population. OK, the farming methods can - and should, as far as possible - be organic and the technology and science ecologically-acceptable, but it's still going to be relatively large-scale.

UN agencies like the FAO have recorded that much more food could be produced than is at present. So people are not starving today because we don't have the resources, equipment and knowledge to produce the food. It's because it is not profitable to produce it for them. Food, like everything else today, is produced for sale on a market with a view to profit. Those who are starving starve because, not having money, they don't constitute a market and so don't count for the profit system.

This is the anti-capitalist message we should be trying to get across: the world could produce enough food to ensure that no man, woman or child anywhere on the planet goes without adequate nourishment, but that this is not done today because there's no profit in growing food for people who can't pay for it. This is a striking demonstration of the way in which the so-called profit motive is in fact a barrier, not an incentive, to producing enough.

At the same time we should put forward the alternative to capitalism. Which is precisely the same frontierless, stateless, moneyless world where "goods are produced not to make profits but simply because people need them", where all the Earth's resources have ceased to be the private property of corporations or States but have become, in the words of Gerard Winstanley, "a common treasury for all". How about "Make the Earth a Common Treasury for All" as the theme of the next anti-capitalist event?