All principled socialists should join the newly forming A*CR, argue Neil Faulkner and Simon Hannah. Here’s why.
20 September 2020.
We have taken a small step forwards in the attempt to realign the Left. At the weekend, around 70 people joined the Ecosocialism or Disaster Capitalism event organised by Anti*Capitalist Resistance.
What is Anti*Capitalist Resistance? Not another left group! The A*CR is an attempt to facilitate regroupment around revolutionary, internationalist, and anti-imperialist politics; an attempt to create a broad, democratic, member-led, bottom-up revolutionary organisation that will embrace debate; an attempt to overcome the utterly debilitating fragmentation of the Far Left.
Disaster capitalism is destroying the planet through profit-driven climate change and is creating the morbid conditions for a revival of fascist and violent racist ideology across the world.
In Britain, several years of Labour Left revival have been ended by the 2019 General Election defeat. Now we face perhaps a decade of hard-right Tory rule while the world burns. The A*CR is not intending to stand in elections. We know most working people will vote Labour to kick out the Tories no matter how right-wing the leadership under Starmer. The task of the A*CR is different.
We want to popularise the idea of socialism, to build a network of revolutionary activists rooted in the movement, and to link together different campaigns and struggles.
The politics of the A*CR are anti-capitalist because we face a systemic crisis that poses an existential threat to humanity and the planetary ecosystem. Extinction Rebellion recently tweeted that they are neither ‘ideological’ nor ‘socialist’. This is ludicrous. XR organises fantastic protests that involve tens of thousands of people and grab the attention of the world. Then some of their leaders pretend that XR is not part of a struggle to overthrow the system that is causing climate catastrophe! The XR tweet reveals the desperate need for grown-up revolutionary politics.
The deeper problem here is 40 years of defeat and retreat for the labour movement, a much-weakened trade union movement, a sharp decline in class consciousness, and a collapse in the very idea of socialist transformation. We have to reverse that. We have to inject huge doses of revolutionary politics into the mass movements of the contemporary world. We have to fan every spark of resistance, spread every local flare-up; we have to fan the flames into a conflagration; we have to show how everything is connected with everything else, how it is one system, one crisis, one crying need for a new social order.
In the first session of the weekend school, Phil Hearse and Susan Pashkoff argued that we face what is probably the greatest crisis in the history of the system, a ‘perfect storm of interlocking crises’ – the pandemic, climate breakdown, long-term over-accumulation of capital, a rising mass of ‘surplus humanity’, the emergence of a ‘global police state’, and much more. In Britain, compounding the global crisis, we have the specific problem of a hard-right regime carrying the banner of Brexit and Fortress Britain.
In the second session, Nina Fortune and Simon Hannah led the discussion on class and oppression. Central to this was our understanding, first, that class is determined by exploitation and that the great majority of humanity now belong to the global working class, and second, that most of the oppressed are part of the working class but experience both ‘hyper-exploitation’ and oppression. We favour the autonomy and self-activity of the oppressed, but also the unity of the oppressed and the working class in common struggle; not one or the other, but both at once.
In our third session, Simon Pearson and Ali Treacher spoke of the struggle today – organising in the workplace and the community, the way real victories can be won, the importance of creating rank-and-file networks, the need to link up the struggles. This fed into our final session, where we discussed the kind of organisation we want to create – a revolutionary socialist organisation fit for purpose in the early 21st century, based on democracy and debate, committed to struggle from below, but based on firm socialist principles of ecosocialism, internationalism, and solidarity with the oppressed.
If you are a socialist and you agree with the founding statement of the A*CR, if you want to get active in the fight to change the world, please join, please become a founding member.
Our first members meeting will be on Zoom at 18.30 on Tuesday 6 October. Everyone who has signed up as a member at that point will be invited. Join us and help create the kind of fighting revolutionary organisation we need for the battles ahead.
We cannot let the fate of the world and the planet be decided by Trump, Johnson, Bolsonaro, Modi, and all the other nationalist-racist authoritarians. We have to fight and fight and fight for another future.
Neil Faulkner is the author of A Radical History of the World. Simon Hannah is the author of Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay: the fight to stop the Poll Tax.