Tuesday, 5 April 2011

The libertarian cheerleaders of the government's class war

As a response to the success of the March for the Alternative – where at least half a million people showed their opposition to the government’s cuts agenda – right-wingers have organised a “Rally Against Debt.” Due to take place on 14th May, this is a gathering of support for the attacks on ordinary people. 

It is telling that the rally is endorsed by the likes of Tory MEP Daniel Hannan, who attacked the NHS on American TV, and the Taxpayers’ Alliance. In essence, it is the privileged and elite crying out for increased hardship to fall on the working class so that they can be better off. Whilst Cameron and Clegg tell us we’re “all in this together,” this is the crowd who sneer and gloat at every job loss and every cut. 

Hence the contempt with which people like the Devil's Kitchen dismiss us as "evil" and "abominations." The working class, who through our labour produce all the wealth in society, represent "indolence, extortion and stupidity" and are thus a burden on "those of us who produce wealth through our hard work, our ideas, our capital and our innovations." That is, the parasites of the ruling class and petty-bourgeois for whom the state exists only to assert their property rights through its monopoly of violence so that they can expropriate our labour as their own profit.

The name, “Rally Against Debt,” is also misleading. The government programme that these people are cheerleading – from increased tuition fees to a slash-and-burn approach to welfare – will see household debt for most people skyrocket

Already, ordinary workers are saddled with debt. The past 30 years have seen the percentage of GDP that goes on wages shrink considerably. In real terms, even most effective pay rises of the past few years have been pay cuts when measured against inflation. Whilst the rich have gotten ever richer, the rest of us have had to turn to credit to make up the shortfall or just to make ends meet. As those at the top steal the fruits of our labour to line their own pockets, we are forced to borrow it back and pay obscene interest rates on it. 

With the recession and the banks, bailed out by the taxpayer, tightening credit supplies, this has only gotten worse. The credit rug is being pulled out from under us when there is nothing to replace it because the government promoted it as the only game in town whilst our wages shrank. 

Those attending the Rally Against Debt – from Tories and Liberal Democrats to the Taxpayers’ Alliance and so-called “libertarians” – are protesting not only for this to continue, but for every safeguard that working people have against it to be ripped away and torn down. 

This only proves that this latest round of cuts (like those that have seen us through the past three decades) are not “inevitable” or “necessary.” They are the ideological choice of yet another government in the pocket of the bankers, the bosses and the ruling class. They will make life so much harder for public sector workers, private sector workers, the old, the young, the unemployed, and the disabled – in other words that broad cross-section of society known as the working class. 

By contrast, the Rally Against Debt is representative of those groups that have an interest in attacking us. They are a minority in society, but they are the powerful minority who exert great control over government policy.

In response, the Coalition of Resistance is planning a counter-protest on the same day. Others are of the opinion that, since debt is a real issue (albeit not in the way presented by the rightists), left-wingers should hijack the event. Ian Bone has declared that the day will see "naked class war on the streets," and that "this march must be opposed on the streets." I'm of the opinion that some combination of the above, to sideline the apparatchiks of capital, would be the best approach.

I'd certainly hope to see enough people on the streets against the rally's organisers to prove that they are not the "quiet majority," but cheerleaders for the government. But I'm also of the opinion that we can troll a protest much better than "libertarian" fruitcake Old Holborn. I look forward to the results.