Economics/Class Relations

Socialism for the Ruling Class

It’s interesting how the ruling class already largely practices anarchism (in the sense of being exempt from laws) and socialism (in the sense of having their individual and collective needs met through socializing the costs). Who says socialist-anarchism can’t work? 🙂

By Troy Southgate

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Some of us have been pointing out for a good many years that trying to juxtapose capitalism with socialism creates a false dichotomy and yet the Far Right continues to use the term ‘socialism’ as though it were some kind of threat. It’s a threat all right, but only in the sense that it reinforces the centre and enables the usual coterie of professional crooks to keep their grubby paws on the economy. In short, despite noble efforts by anarcho-socialists like Oscar Wilde to redeem it the term ‘socialism’ has become synonymous with state captalism. This, of course, is why left-wing parties in government never make any serious attempt to implement social justice and merely provide an alternative face to that of existing financial servitude. Thanks to the arch-capitalists at the Financial Times, who have just called for a system of universal ‘socialism’ to help deal with the present situation, this fact has been made crystal clear: “If there is a silver lining to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is that it has injected a sense of togetherness into polarised societies. But the virus, and the economic lockdowns needed to combat it, also shine a glaring light on existing inequalities — and even create new ones. Beyond defeating the disease, the great test all countries will soon face is whether current feelings of common purpose will shape society after the crisis. As western leaders learnt in the Great Depression, and after the second world war, to demand collective sacrifice you must offer a social contract that benefits everyone.”

This is the same bastion of diehard capitalism which recently called for immigrants to cross the Greek-Turkish border, something else that you would expect to hear tumbling from the lips of your average liberal-leftist. Whilst the latter is ridiculously naive and idealistic, the former are merely thinking about the economic considerations and this is why they are now re-examining ‘socialism’ in a more favourable light: “Overnight millions of jobs and livelihoods have been lost in hospitality, leisure and related sectors, while better paid knowledge workers often face only the nuisance of working from home. Worse, those in low-wage jobs who can still work are often risking their lives — as carers and healthcare support workers, but also as shelf stackers, delivery drivers and cleaners.” Although the FT’s sudden concern for the working-classes offers as much sincerity as Margaret Thatcher paying her respects to a deceased trade union leader, what its editorial board really wants to see is a bigger role for government and for them “to accept a more active role in the economy. They must see public services as investments rather than liabilities, and look for ways to make labour markets less insecure. Redistribution will again be on the agenda; the privileges of the elderly and wealthy in question. Policies until recently considered eccentric, such as basic income and wealth taxes, will have to be in the mix.”

Naturally, part of the newspaper’s change of direction relates to a concern for its own gold-plated backside, but big government will not rid us of corrupt politicians who happily do the bidding of the banks and corporations. If anything, more centralisation will usher in the kind of ruthless dictatorship that we already see operating in modern China. Again, this is not how one would have envisaged ‘socialism’ prior to the publication of the Communist Manifesto in the mid-nineteenth century and the FT’s bowler hat-and-brolly brigade soon reveal precisely which type of individuals and organisations they would like to see administer this new system: “The leaders who won the war did not wait for victory to plan for what would follow. Franklin D Roosevelt and Winston Churchill issued the Atlantic Charter, setting the course for the United Nations, in 1941. The UK published the Beveridge Report, its commitment to a universal welfare state, in 1942. In 1944, the Bretton Woods conference forged the postwar financial architecture. That same kind of foresight is needed today. Beyond the public health war, true leaders will mobilise now to win the peace.” As I explained several days ago, after being quarantined to the extent that they develop a serious dose of cabin fever the overwhelming majority of people will accept anything that comes along. If only for the sheer bliss of being able to go shopping again.

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