We're living in the Empire's final days

We're living in the Empire's final days
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

No, really!

Many moons ago when I was a young lad, I remember reading of comments made by a Soviet dissident exile who arrived in Rome to see striking workers marching and using public transport at the prices set before the government tried to raise them. If I recall correctly this incident was later turned into the play Can't Pay? Won't Pay! by the playwright Dario Fo. The dissident was very confused. In the old Soviet Union that kind of thing would have resulted in very heavy handed response from the state. In Rome, people supported the protest, shrugged, and carried on with their lives. The dissident had what was for him a shocking revelation: Italian society could tolerate huge amounts of dissent without it challenging the status quo very much.

You may not remember this if you're younger than about 50 but the IRA tried to kill the Tory cabinet all the way back in 1984. Thatcher's response wasn't to attempt to ban everybody that supported the Irish republican cause, it would never have occurred to her to do so. Back then politicians of all stripes respected the right to peacefully demonstrate. Again, the status quo was too strong for protests to bother the establishment, even after the bombing.

Similarly there were massive protests against Iraq war in 2003. Nearly a million people in marched in London. There was a lot of rubbish in the media at the time about difficult decisions and how leaders (as in Blair) must lead, so the march didn't have much effect. Blair did his puppy dog thing with Bush and a million people died. They never tried to stop us protesting, though.

Now they can't allow us to be even be rude about Israel, never mind tell the truth. They label us anti semites and try very hard to stop people seeing the genocide happening live on Ticktock. The marches are every bit as big as the ones in 2003, and keep happening every week. The status quo keeps arming the zionist state and pretending it's business as usual, brown people far away being massacred is not important. Instead of the default of just ignoring our protests we have various government ministers lying about our motivations. In the US the college occupations have been violently suppressed. Congress has passed laws against the US constitution's hallowed first amendment attempting to stop people criticising Israel. German police are arresting ant-zionist jews in an attempt to keep them quiet about the genocide.

What's going on?

I've said here many times that despite its wizened claws ripping into our minds and blinding us to its naked realities capitalism is in a state of decay. It's no longer capable of much innovation or change. It innovates how to extract ever more rent from us and create thirty types of dog food, but there is no route to overcome its fundamental contradictions. Historically the various contradictions could be coped with a little and give it some wriggle room, but things have changed. We have the ineluctable ecocide coming straight at us, we have livelihoods and hopes being crushed under poverty and want, we have systems we all need to survive privatised and broken, we have sewage in the water, we have farms that can no longer grow food because they're under water, we have dirt-poor brown people being murdered in front of our eyes because someone wants to steal their land ... the failure has become too obvious, even to folks who are determined not to pay attention and pursue some half-blind hedonism to keep themselves together. People in the mass are beginning to see the status quo can't save us.

This fragility means that our owners cannot tolerate dissent any more. The status quo is fragile, and even with the billions they spend on propaganda we're beginning to see through the veil at the realities we're faced with if the system doesn't change.

They're weaker than they've ever been, but so are we after the onslaught of the last 45 years. Do not be disheartened. We can organise, we can work in solidarity with each other, we can unionise, we can love each other. We can support the students' camps and make sure what we know to be true is shared with as many people as we can. We can take back what was stolen from us. We can create a status quo that looks after all of us so no-one is left behind.

Our owners, our enemies, have nothing but the same old broken record and we're tired of that tune.