This contribution to our series on the Labour Party has been written by London Plan C Member Nik Matheou....
Knock Out Capitalism. Seize the Moment. Everything For Everyone
The government is weak. We have to knock them out.
It’s not just the usual suspects who think this – lots of people are pissed off with the government; that’s why millions voted against austerity and why hundreds of thousands will march on July 1st. Over the last ten years we’ve marched a lot, mostly against the devastating effects of austerity and war. Marching has never worked on its own. Over the last few months people have campaigned for the Labour Party, winning seats and destabilising the government, but that doesn’t work on its own either. It’s not just that the demos need to get bigger or that we need to win more elections – it’s that if we want to bring about a better future we need tactics and ideas that go beyond marches and elections. We need to go further than parliamentary politics and not be afraid to build our own movements alongside the insurgency taking place in the Labour Party.
As well as knocking out the government, we need to knock out the system that creates the government: capitalism.
Capitalism is the brutalising system that values the profits of landlords over the lives of working class residents in tower blocks. It is the system currently bringing the NHS to crisis point – because making money is more important than our health. It’s the system that makes us spend our lives doing shit work we hate to make money for other people and leaves us questioning whether our pensions were worth all that effort. It’s the system that’s willing to destroy the ecological conditions for human life on earth if there’s money in it.
Since 2008 we’ve been living in a crisis. Nine years is a long time. It’s obvious by now that capitalism doesn’t have the answers. Everything is falling apart: schools, hospitals, the economy, the environment… everything. Capitalism’s only answer is more violence, more pain and more markets. Capitalism is a system of constant crisis. The Great Depression, the Oil Crisis, the Financial Crisis to name a few. It’s a history of hopelessness and false promises for us and profit for them. Capitalism’s crisis tendency cannot be solved with more capitalism. We need an alternative system based on the democratic self-organisation of our class and the end of an economic system which puts the profits of the few against the needs of the many. It’s hard when it feels like our side has been losing for so long – but we need to dream and plan for a world in which we do more than administer capitalism in a nicer way.
Our choice is simple: We either take control of our society or we continue to be held at ransom by those who currently are.
This isn’t as farfetched as it sounds – every time we are faced with a state of emergency, with terror and violence, from Manchester, London Bridge or at Grenfell – it is people, working together to provide each other with housing, food, donations and care that shows us that self-organisation is not only possible but already happening.
Taking control begins with the knockout. We knock them out by hitting them again and again. One demo won’t ever be enough but it’s the beginning of a new wave of struggles that breaks open what is possible.
On July 1st we will come together behind the banner of Everything for Everyone. This is a call for all those who want a future beyond capitalism, a liberated society as well as a different government. The movement is more important than its parts, and the movement only exists when we work together – on the streets, in the creches and in the kitchens.
Everyone who has already gone to the streets, to ballot boxes, to the food banks, to occupations, to help centres, to the picket lines – let’s get ready to rumble!