Friday, 20 January 2012

My article for the Occupied Times: For Revolution

I am profoundly honoured to contribute to the ninth edition of the Occupy London newspaper, which includes an article by Alan Moore.

REVOLUTION OR REFORM? 

With Luke Shore, I argue in favour of the former:


Societal and economic reform is inherently revolutionary. The applies to whatever the Occupy movement may argue for, and however the movement may seek to see it realized. Being revolutionary does not merely indicate a wish for drastic action for its own sake. The principle of standing for revolutionary reform can be a response to to political, social and economic hierarchies. And the coalition government under David Cameron seems intent on causing further destruction to the welfare state until at least 2015. It will pursue an irreversiable institutionalisation of neoliberal ideology. Like Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution or Ukraine’s (unsuccessful) Orange Revolution, we have reached a clear consensus that our political establishment is almost wholly corrupt and illegitimate. This is not mere populism: More than fifty per cent  of the population voted with their feet in the last election and did not even bother turning up to cast their vote. Contrast the general apathy with the democratic appeal that has been expressed through the Occupy movement in the past months. A revolution is a matter of immediacy.  If we rely upon electoral “democracy”, how privatised will our National Health Service be before real change occurs? How many more children will be forced into poverty? How many more elderly or disabled people will die as a consequence of welfare cuts? How many more young people will be condemned to the status of debtor wage slavery? How much more untenable damage and endangerment to the natural environment will occur? How much more corporatism will implement its domination of our communities and lives? These inhuman injustices are happening right now. The choice we have is to either tolerate them while looking forward to a slightly less worse “Labour” government, or to call for fundamental and therefore radical political reform. A revolutionary movement would coordinate itself in the same way the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions did: Through mutual cooperation between trade unions and dissidents, through direct action, through citizen journalism and general strikes. Consider the metaphor of someone drowning: Should we dive straight in to rescue them from death, or should we wait until we can take a poll to decide which ineffective lifeguard can rescue them? It would be the same lifeguards who attached chains to their limbs. 

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