It is in the nature of power to be always on the move. In this regard Marx was right when he pointed out that revolution is the locomotive of history. As power moves from person to person and from one institution and ideology to another each new powerbroker attempts, through policy, to freeze the movement and evolution of power, thus maintaining their own grip on power. Revolution then is the social and cultural mechanism that breaks it free and keeps power on its journey. That the word ‘revolution’ has become such a dirty word in contemporary political discourse is a result of this process of freezing power in the hands of whoever happens to have it. Revolution is the grease in the wheels of every healthy society.
Capitalism and democracy, in the decades since the end of the Cold War, have worked together and individually to form a globalised hegemony. The resulting globalisation of the expansion of work at the expense of labour has brought the power relationships between democracy, capitalism, and working people to the point of crisis. Four decades of the financialisation of the corporate sphere, the state, and the household has now brought the very functionality of capitalism into question. That the state, the financial sector, and the corporate world have conspired through state policy to disable the normal functioning of socio-economic change has resulted in the complete retardation of the working class.
Having thus stifled the movement of the proletariat – the industrial working class – the state-corporate agenda has successfully eroded organised labour along with working and employment conditions; creating an ever more vulnerable and powerless class of worker. Labour market flexibility and the financialisation of workers’ conditions of life through debt has effectively buried the traditional working class and replaced it globally with a new precariat – a workforce of people reduced to a state of precariousness before the demands of the market. These are workers who have no guarantee of work while in employment, and diminishing access to social and economic security.
On an international scale it is estimated that one billion human beings have died as a result of state-corporate labour market decisions, and this slaughter is only intensifying. Since the international credit crunch of 2007 and the resulting economic depression the idea of reform has been in the air – even inside the state-corporate citadels. Reformist ideas invariably tend to involve thoughts of government regulation, but seldom, if ever, take seriously the thought that capitalism itself might be the problem. Critique of the dysfunctions of modern capitalism frequently involve some degree of a Marxist analysis of how we got into this mess, and yet no one wants to consider the fullest flowering of Marx’s attack on the capital system. Without taking seriously the need for revolution, as a natural social response, no real change can be possible. Revolution is the only way forward.