Yes, there are revolutions, one after another, and February has only just ended. I was touring Ireland with a theatre production when the election took place, wondering why they even bothered to go through the motions when the polls already knew the result and could declarer the new government without forcing the elector to go to vote.
The world is changing rapidly, but no-one in authority seems to be able to do anything except to blindly declare that good times must come back and growth will start again. It is clearly impossible! What is certain is that revolution will spread like a virus, and that ever more dissatisfied countries will find violent ways of changing the regime, not necessarily for the better; in fact it will often be for many people much worse.
Sixty years ago, it seemed for many that an honest, humane and benevolent socialism might replace a corrupt, greedy and basically evil capitalism, which is becoming ever more exploitative of poorer countries, globalising and swallowing up well-run smaller concerns that ran well and gave good employment and good value for what they produced. But no! Now, it is the old third world, overpopulated under iron authority, producing cheap goods to undermine European local produce and labour, all for the benefit of a capitalist class with no respect for anything other than profit, without the ability to realise that their day is about to end. Only repression through violent force can hold down the boiling discontent which will now quickly grow and soon lead to violence which can go in any direction. There seems to be a tendency at times of economic hardship for right-wing parties to get elected, and their instinct is always to cut social benefits and protects the better-off, whereas only left-wing measures, such as Keynes advocated, which Roosevelt and Clement Attlee’s put into practice, can bring society, through austerity and equalising taxation, onto a surviving level, which must of course be anathema to the middle and affluent classes. As was proved during the 1950s, it gradually leads to a small battering of life for all, but middle-class resentment does not see it that way.
Trouble is coming, in some places through the revolutions which have already started, elsewhere through incipient protest or some other activity caused by massive discontent. Racialism will play a part, class-war will grow, and violence between the public and the forces of order, which may ultimately include the army, it inevitable. Although I have no confidence that what I have to say will be noticed except by the few who read this blog, I will outline what I think could change the situation for the better.
First withdrawals from all the places where troops have been sent to interfere in supporting of interfering in the local situation. An invader quickly becomes the hated enemy and hated by all, even those who came to help. Sooner or later every country must solve its own problems internally.
Secondly there should be a total ban on all takeovers of healthy companies, especially by foreign interests. This would stop the rise in unemployment, because take-overs are always followed by redundancies, often because work is cheaper in another country.
Third, there should be a national incomes policy with a fixed salary for each profession, job or form of labour, decided by the government, known to all, with divided limitation, and bonuses, if any, also decided by the government through a regulation-board to reward exceptional service. Taxation should make spend ability what it was sixty years ago, roughly one to fifteen.
Fourthly, rationing should be introduced where necessary to share out scarce but necessary supplies of food, energy, petrol and whatever else is needed for a civilised existence.
Banks should be rigidly controlled and in many cases taken over with management imposed by the government.
The position of the NHS, all education, and the arts, should come under a hands-off publically owned series of public boards, not with celebrated names involved, but real experts with proper qualifications.
Whatever was previously nationalised that world well, should be renationalised with compensation of small dividends for a decade and then nothing.
Imports and exports should be made to match with ethnical considerations present and made to merge with whatever rationing becomes necessary.
No reduced taxation allowed for foreign domiciles. If the income comes from here, it should be taxed here.
The alternative is revolution which could lead to anything. The media, which will certainly object to what I have written, must not be allowed to wreck a system which can lead to gradual recovery. The key-word is a sharing society with work for all and a growing standard of civilised life with healthy, education, creative activity and responsible attitudes replacing inequality, greed, laziness and poverty.
John Calder 28/2/11