The never ending economic growth required by capitalism has brought unprecedented wealth to the owners of capital, prosperity to the world’s middle classes and untold misery to the majority of people particularly in the colonies, the third world, the global South. Capitalism plunders the resources of the earth and of the people. It creates poverty even in the boom times and compounds poverty during the busts.
In a contextual analysis conducted in early 2013, CLP noted that the economic conditions of the masses of the people were characterised by:
· Hunger due to the destruction of people’s food production regimes as a result of climate change.
· Strikes for basic wages and salary increases across the country.
· Job losses (real and threatened) following strikes and provoking strikes and resulting from the underlying causes giving rise to strikes.
· High unemployment, with more dependents on each salaried job, raising the stakes around strikes for higher wages.
· Another hike in the cost of electricity, which was already un-affordable for too many people, alongside escalating costs of paraffin and fuel driving up consumer prices generally, driving up business costs and driving down employment capacity, making poverty worse, and so on in a vicious circle;
· And that circle is the result of an economy that is crazy and unbalanced – including in its ecological aspects (discussed later).
Militant, autonomous and “out-of-order” worker struggles during 2012 fundamentally shaped the economic debate. The struggles at Marikana and on the Western Cape farmlands were led by workers and therefore tell something of the truth and deserve support. They raise fundamental questions which, beyond a certain point, cannot be resolved within the possibilities of capitalism and the state. So while such moments of rupture signal the Real of our situation and mark an irruption (if momentary) of sanity and truth, to keep looking for their resolution in modes of politics enmeshed in the state is to degenerate back into insanity, delusion and falsehood.
A wider conversation is needed if we are really to break with what is and imagine what could be. This means moving forward on a totally new and different set of values and premises, of organisational forms and modes of struggle that anticipate what could be. The emphatic ‘No’ to the brutality of what is may then become the ‘Yes’ to an altogether more beautiful, dignified and humane way of being together. To recognise them as such threatens the state (of things as they are) in a very fundamental way – which is why the rebellions on the mines and on the farms must be cast as violent, crazy and ugly.