The euro is the way forward: it is a step towards a federal Europe. The idea of a United States of Europe first seems very wrong, for it will become a major imperialist power, yet I wish to explain why we should not be opposed to this future federal Europe.
Firstly, it would mean a united European left, which is a positive occurrence, for it is a known fact that the continental Europeans are far more militant than those of Britain. This then means that the British proletariat would be influenced by the continental proletariat and their militancy would thence rise.
Secondly, because all countries lose their economic sovereignty - by this I mean the control over exchange rates - the only way by which firms could remain competitive would be to cut costs, not least in the field of labour costs. Hence wages would fall and consequently proletarian conditions too. This horrifies reformists and those who promote economism, yet to those advanced proletarians it is a good sign. Why? Well, the lowering of wages would increase the revolutionary nature of the proletariat on the European level, so drawing capitalism?s end in Europe ever nearer.
And thirdly, as three quarters of British trade is with Europe, the euro would enhance this and there will be an increase in income distribution. The more obvious this is to the almost conservative British proletariat, the better.
I saw your web page containing selected articles from the Weekly Worker and read the one on the political fund (July 5).
I work in a delivery office where 112 out of 114 Communication Workers Union members have opted out of the political fund over the last two years. Having dumped one lot of failed lefties, I don?t see us redirecting our funds to another lot. We?re for a working class victory in the class war, and don?t want a mob of middle class arseholes from the SWP/SA directing us up an electoral cul-de-sac every four years.
Words of clarity
Currently, in the UK there are around 45,000 students at universities and colleges enrolled in media studies, this partly no doubt the result of declining opportunities. But, as this trend has been around for some years now, during, for example, the so-called technology boom, then other more technical opportunities were there and not just in the actual delivery of media content via evolving technology.
I find it interesting that as the decline of this society continues unabated, young people (mostly) are attracted to an industry that in the main delivers dreams and illusions. Even mainstream news, as we know, is more than just heavily tinged with agenda. A whole generation trained to deliver dreams and to be remunerated for it is, I suspect, a symptom of the essence of decline of this society.
Digital interactive technology offers second by second, minute by minute direct digital payment by the consumer to the producers of the product. For example, you are watching a Japanese documentary. Well, by the second your account is being deducted and sent digitally to the company who owns the product. This is the economic attraction, but does not in itself explain the attraction for many of our young people.
What it does, I feel, is reveal that our lives in the recent past and present have been dominated by the industry of dreams. New technology, yet again, used to enhance and expand this industry. It is not just that everyone wants or even expects that they could be a superstar, but that the illusions fostered by the media impinge on already false consciousness. All of these dreams are about to be shattered. The technology bubble has burst.
Investment in hardware, software and advertising has plummeted. Unemployment is rocketing. University and college graduates, already heavily in debt, and from all faculties, see no future. Colleges and universities are themselves at risk. Lying well away from the bright lights, millions of our youth are already dead to the job market. These young people are the future of society. Their dreams and aspirations are killed at birth.
As this society grinds to a halt, the greatest socialisation of labour ever brings redundancy to all in inextricably linked sectors. Not just soft hats this time, not just bankers, not just the countryside, but each and every branch of socialised capital. Never before has our class in this country (and most others now) been so united. And yet, never before have the left been so ill prepared.
Therefore, all ideas of the left that fall back on previous moments from history can only be guidelines. And, as most of the best thought from the left?s history would agree with that, this means that we have much work to do to make the best of this moment for our class.
Couple the predicament of youth with an older generation increasingly dismissive of politics and we have then the mass of the working class rapidly emerging from the illusionary false consciousness of capitalist society. But, as yet, with no alternative vision. The vision they require, of course, is of socialist society. What?s to be done? Not new. Yet never more relevant for our class. Well, for one we must talk to our youth. Not only are they the future in a very real sense: they are also the greatest resource that we require to overcome capital.
But there?s a generation gap, some say. Yes, but why? The dream factory of capital accelerates through each generation. Parents do not see the world as their children. In many ways the struggle among some of our youth to break through illusions is stronger precisely because the weight of the illusions are greater set against their greater awareness of the horrors of decline.
One of the greatest illusions for our class is, of course, parliamentary democracy. Not many of our youth will buy into this, not now. Increasingly the older working class are rejecting this aspect of the illusions of capitalist society.
All around we are offered dreams and soap operas. In a society where essence is hidden, the world of illusions must be the domain of our rulers in decline. Royal soap operas times two, innumerable others on all channels, radio and TV. Politics itself. How then do we bring clarity? What must we do to become the people that our class, young and old, will recognise as the source of rationality in a world of collapsing illusions? Our class can?t suck clarity from its thumb. And, they will not be patient. Particularly if offered what they already know are more illusions.
It?s then a race. A race for the left to come of age against a class that needs answers. Only the left can lose. We will see soviets of a much higher form. And this, most definitely, not decades away. We will be welcome if we speak words of clarity. Not words of future hope, not words of reconciliation, not words of reforming existing structures, but only if we offer words of a rational vision in tune with need. And, when soviets spring up, our youth will flock to them. The generation gap bridged. Struggle, the basis of education and no going back. And the left, well, already there, one hopes. Unity and equality and democracy will then be a reality. The history of dreams gone forever.
If this sounds only too real to some comrades and less probable to others then, others may wish to take an eye test.
Words of clarity
Whatever Bill Jeannes of Teeside is trying to say was completely lost on me because of his repeated use of the word ?paedophile? without ever telling us what he means by it (Letters Weekly Worker July 5).
We all know there is a technical medical definition of the term, but this has been totally replaced by the use of term as a cover-all expression of irrational hatred for anybody who does anything to anyone on the young side that the press or the mob don?t like. It is applied to child-killers, people who use violence on children, violent rapists and people whose girl/boy friends are under the state?s age of sexual consent.
It is commonly used today as a term of abuse to any older person going out with a girl/boy over the state?s age of sexual consent, but somewhat younger than themselves. As we have seen, the mob isn?t bothered with facts or debate, or even evidence: once someone paints your name on a wall, pal, or notices you like the company of children - that?s it: you?re guilty.
Until we are talking of some rational definitions and arguments, the so-called ?anti-paedophile? crusade must be viewed as utterly reactionary and should be opposed like any other lynch mobs.
Darrell Goodliffe?s article on the Irish rejection of the Nice Treaty struck me as rather misleading (Weekly Worker June 28).
The entire Irish establishment was in favour of the treaty. The government, all four of the major rightwing parties, the employers? federation, the media, the Roman catholic hierarchy and the trade union bureaucracy were united in their desire to see the treaty pass. Organised opposition was divided between, on the one hand, a number of progressive campaigns (including those of Sinn F?in, the greens and the Socialist Party) and on the other hand the No to Nice Campaign, run by the remnants of the religious right.
The various socialist campaigners allied to issue a joint statement of the socialist case against the Nice Treaty, which was signed by the Socialist Party, the Workers and Unemployed Action Group, the Socialist Workers Party and the Workers Party and also by the Socialist Party?s and WUAG?s MPs. At no stage did any of these organisations collaborate on joint work of any kind with the rightwing No to Nice Campaign.
Yannis Ivrissimtzis presented the ?socialist? case for voting ?no? in any euro referendum (Weekly Worker July 5). A botched job, I?m afraid. It is true that the ?Eurozone has a central bank to exercise monetary policy, but doesn?t have a proper government or a proper parliament to exercise fiscal policy.? What seems to have slipped Yannis?s mind is that chancellor Gordon Brown handed independence to the equally undemocratic Bank of England.
Even if a future government did take back control of interest rate policy, just let us consider the economic priorities of the two credible (for the forseeable future) alternative parties of government. If a xenophobic, little Englander Tory Party formed yet another government, does any socialist seriously expect it to pursue economic policies any less reactionary than those pursued in the Eurozone? A modified version of the monetarist ?convergence criteria? would remain a target - not in order to enter the euro, but to keep sterling competitive with it.
Does Yannis truly believe that if Blair lost a referendum he would not keep to his anti-working class agenda? The ?convergence criteria? would not be lost sight of, comrade. Blair would maintain this target in order to get another bite of the cherry.
The Scottish Socialist Party and Socialist Alliance really need to get to grips with reality here. We need to appreciate the futility of our leading our class into the arms of either wing of the British ruling class. On the contrary, we need to grasp with both hands this historic opportunity to assert our own class agenda. Rather than playing into the bosses? hands, by allowing ourselves to become distracted by shadow-boxing that will settle absolutely nothing other than the form of our exploitation, we need to come up with a completely different strategy. To see what strategy we need, let us consider two scenarios: a victory, and a defeat, for the ?no? campaign.
Were we to throw in our lot with the ?no? group, we would effectively liquidate ourselves into a campaign inevitably dominated by the Murdoch press, monarchists and xenophobes. To the extent that extreme political groups find themselves dragged along on the coat-tails of the dominant forces, to manage to make political capital out of it, it would be the UK Independence Party, BNP and NF that would benefit. The SSP/SA would, given such circumstances, find ourselves swamped, and there would be nothing we could do about it.
If this ragbag of reactionaries won a victory - and if we were so idiotic as to delude ourselves into interpreting the ?no? vote as ours, painting it in the brightest red colours - we would be complicit in demobilising our class at precisely the time that the greatest vigilance would be necessary. We would be guilty of encouraging complacency when the content of the monetarist ?convergence criteria? would remain every bit as much a government target as previously.
If, on the other hand, the pro-euro wing of the ruling class (in concert with a significant layer of the trade union bureaucracy) won the day, our having pinned our colours so firmly to the ?save the pound? banner would inevitably, and quite unnecessarily, demoralise that section of our class we had managed to bring under our hegemony. They would believe the battle against the ?convergence criteria? had been lost, when in fact it had not even begun.
The SA and SSP must alert workers to the necessity of defending ourselves from the monetarist policies of both wings of the British ruling class. The best outcome for us has to be the most massive boycott of the referendum vote. The lower the vote for whichever side eventually wins, the more illegitimate in the eyes of our class will be the attacks on us by those who will seek to use that vote to justify their rightwing policies. A boycott, and only a boycott, makes sense for the SSP/SA.