It was the time of Arthur Scargill, the great miners strike, CND, cruise missiles, Free Nelson Mandela and stuff Maggie Thatcher. Those were the days, when as a youth in the 1980’s I first got involved in the grassroots leftwing political activism scene in Britain.
I’ve not really stopped since, busying myself with virtually every protest movement from the great anti-poll tax rebellion in 1990 to the giant anti-war upsurge in 2003 and amost everything in the times between. In these time I have been an anarchist, a Marxist, and eventually spent over a decade in the ranks of the Socialist Workers Party. Since deviating from the ways of a Trotskyist cadre, I’ve mainly acted as an individual in broad movements, although I am currently experimenting with being a socialist in the ranks of the Green Party.
In all these years of struggle, I have seen the left, socialism and the labour and trades union movements go from defeat to defeat, and grow ever more frail and timid. Powerful forces work hard to bury the traditions of working class solidarity, while corporations gain the upper hand from globalisation and the Labour Party sells its soul to wealth, profits and warfare. Yet I remain committed to supporting the loosing side in the class struggle. It is ever more necessary, and hopefully even possible, to move to a new level of civilisation beyond capitalism. Our species must be capable of developing a more advanced, humane, equal and sustainable society than this, if we are to survive on this planet.
As crisis of capital unfolds, new critiques are generated and new forms of struggle may emerge. While battered and bruised, anti-capitalist ideas and social movements wont go away, and contiually mutate and reform. New generations face anew the persistent questions of how to build resistance and transformation. This blog will try to engage with some of this, and survey and discuss the array of contemporary socialisms as they face the challenges of 21st century class struggle.