As we gear up for a autumn and winter that is set to hold much battles with the boss's and this government who dont seem to be wanting to back down on any of their savage cuts programme i thought i'd examine where current contiousness lays in the working class and labour movement as a whole, in this country.
As Leon Trotsky observed and stated in his writings on Britain which you can read for yourselves i have found very interesting and pretty accurate to todays situation.
For an analysis of a situation from a revolutionary point of view, it is necessary to distinguish between the economic and social premises of a revolutionary situation and the revolutionary situation itself.
2. The economic and social premises for a revolutionary situation begin, generally speaking, at that moment when the productive forces of the country are going not up but down, that is diminishing; when the specific weight of a capitalist country on the world markets is systematically reduced and when the incomes of the classes are likewise systematically reduced; when unemployment becomes not a conjunctural event of fluctuation but a permanent social evil with a tendency to growth. All the foregoing characterize the situation in Britain completely and we can affirm that the economic and social premises for a revolutionary situation exist there in this form and are always becoming more and more acute. But we must not forget that the expression, revolutionary situation, is a political term, not alone sociological. This explanation includes the subjective factor, and the subjective factor is not only the question of the party of the proletariat. It is a question of the consciousness of the whole class, foremost, of course, of the proletariat and the party.
The revolutionary situation, however, begins only from the moment that the economic and social premises of a revolution produce a break in the consciousness of society and its different classes. What must be produced in this way for creating a revolutionary situation? (a) In every situation which we must analyse, it is necessary to distinguish three classes of society; the capitalists, the middle class (or petty bourgeoisie) and the proletariat. Those changes in the consciousness of these classes in order to characterize a revolutionary situation are very different for every one of these classes. (b) That the economic situation is very acute, the British proletariat know very well, far better than all theoreticians. But the revolutionary situation begins only at the moment when the proletariat begins to search for a way out, not on the basis of the old society but along the path of a revolutionary insurrection against the existing order. This is the most important subjective condition for a revolutionary situation. The acuteness of the revolutionary feelings of the masses is one of the most important measures for the ripeness of the revolutionary situation. (c) But a revolutionary situation is one which must, in the next period permit the proletariat to become the ruling power of society, that depends in Britain, less than in any other country, but also there to a degree, on the political thoughts and feelings of the middle class; the revolutionary situation would be characterized by the loss of confidence of the middle class in all the traditional parties (including the Labour Party, which is reformist), and its turn of hope to a radical, revolutionary change in the society (and not a counter-revolutionary change, viz., a fascist change). (d) Both the changes in the consciousness of the proletariat and the middle class correspond to the change in the consciousness of the ruling class which sees that it has not the means to save its system, loses confidence in itself, decomposes and splits into factions and cliques.
It cannot be foreseen or indicated mathematically at what point in these processes the revolutionary situation is totally ripe. The revolutionary party can only establish that fact by its struggles, by the growth of its forces, through its influence on the masses, on the peasants and the petty-bourgeoisie of the towns, etc., and by the weakening of the resistance of the ruling class.
I would say after all that that we find ourselves in a period of very low contiousness in the workers of today. Many are taken in by reality television and trashy newspapers like the Sun unfortunatly. I do sense a growing awakening in parts of the class though with a sharp uprise in protests and a want to fight back against the savage austerity measures being pushed through today.
But i would say at present this is largely unorganised and quite factional with groups thinking they can go it alone much like UK uncut who do a good job of highlighting tax evasion but such movements need to put the interests of the class first and not look to do the class's job for them. A united struggle must be our next viewpoint.
In terms of the Labour party which i would say the unorganised working class still largely cling to is still a factor today i would say. Only when the mass of workers become fully disenfranchised by this party of reformists and blairites mixed in with a few tories and form their own new workers party we may start getting somewhere.
Tommorrow night i am attending a socialsit party open public meeting in Stevenage on " why we need a new workers party". This for me is really key to uniting our daily struggles uniting all the anti cuts campaigns and giving them a political voice and a direction on a political scale to bring it all together not just for electoral gains but to counter act the arguements which the tories, labour and lib dems are pushing that there is no alternative.
I do still think there is much much more work for revolutionaries in this country but as events unfold as Trotsky rightly pointed out contiousness can change very quickly and rapidly in one way or another. We as the revolutionary party must be there looking to be that guiding light and becon for workers to look for to unite our struggles.
We do not have all the answers and cannot fully carry out a revolution but our role is to agitate , organise workers and influence the class by raising socialist transitional ideas that workers can relate to to push the struggles forward. When the whole of the working class moves forward it is extremely powerful but as yet we are still largely unorganised i would say. I think we are starting to see the shoots of something resembling a large scale fightback with the emergence of public sector workers going on strike this autumn in november. To unite around that struggle and to link trade unions to ordinary workers employed or not will be key to winning and raising contiousness.
To fully explain why we are to be going on strike and why its the right thing to do will be key too i feel. With up to 3 million public sector workers on strike possibly affecting many this strike is likely to have a larger impact than 30th June and more members of the public will be affected. For us it is key we get our ideas out there that this is nessesary and to support the strikes and not be taken in by government/media properganda of nuisance and divide and rule. Lets not give in to crude tactics like that.
In my view contiousness is growing all be it slowly but i think i can sense the start of something bubbling away as small as it might be at present workers are starting to sit up and take note of our ideas.