In the week before Christmas, a 43 year old homeless man, Gyula Remes, died just a stones throw from Parliament. In responding to the tragedy on the December 24 edition of ITVs Good Morning Britain programme, journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown was alone among her colleagues in intimating that the Queen would have been better advised to record her message imploring the nation to come ‘closer together’ at a food bank or homeless centre rather than the Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace immersed in gold.

The media’s passive reaction to the obscenity of both the location and nature of the speech and their virtual silence in response to the recorded 24% increase in the amount of homeless deaths over the last five years, reflects what writer John Wight alludes as the establishments ‘consensus of indifference’ that occurs immediately prior to revolutionary insurrection.

The Queen’s 2018 Christmas message in front of her huge gold piano.

While the political class continue fighting their internal battles over Brexit, a complicit corporate ‘mainstream’ have largely overlooked the plight of homeless people like Mr Remes and millions of other UK citizens blighted by four decades of neoliberal socioeconomic policies of successive UK governments.

Waging war against the people

It’s a sad indictment of our times that, in the aftermath of the EU referendum vote, millions of ordinary people appear to have been persuaded by the liberal media commentariats obsession with the arguments of ‘Leave versus Remain’. That the waging of a non-existent class war between the two factions is, first and foremost, an ideological ruling class battle for the reins of political power, is unmentionable in mainstream media parlance.

What has also been excluded from ‘mainstream’ media discourse is any mention of the fact that the real class war, is one in which a deliberate and calculated attrition strategy has been waged by the political class against the citizens of the UK – a fifth of whom have been immiserated by poverty. The class war is also impacting negatively on vast swaths of the professional ‘middle class’ demographic hitherto regarded as being largely immune from the vagaries of the rigged neoliberal market-based system.

Even the UN’s Philip Alston says poverty is inflicting ‘great misery’ on UK citizens in the damning report on the UK. ‘Poverty is a political choice’, according to his report.

What this indicates is that the mass of the population is losing the class war and losing it badly. Naturally, the hardest hit are the weakest who are least able to defend themselves. Figures from 2017 show that 120,000 of the UKs most vulnerable citizens have suffered preventable ‘excess’ deaths caused by the Coalition and Tory governments since 2010. 170 years ago, Engels coined the phrase “social murder” which is as relevant in the UK in 2019 as it was in Victorian Manchester. ‘Austerity’ is the establishments preferred euphemism.

Violent proletarianisation

Dr Chris Grover, who heads Lancaster University’s Sociology Department says that austerity can be understood as a form of violence that is built into the very structure of society.

In order to address what Dr Grover describes as a process of “violent proletarianisation”, the sociologist argues that what is required is not the tweaking of existing policies but fundamental change that removes the economic need for people to work for the lowest wages that employers can get away with paying and which people on benefits are coerced into accepting.

A working poor demographic that is so impoverished it needs state benefits to survive is a policy of despair and an effective admittance of state policy failure. But more than that, the manipulation by the ruling class of the institutions of society upon which neoliberalism is predicated and through which the said class enrich themselves, is socioeconomically and environmentally unsustainable. There is a need to regulate neoliberalism in order to save the system from either the revolutionary impulses of an impoverished population, or the rapacious actions of competing capitalists who are driven, as Marx put it, by their need to “accumulate for accumulations sake”.

Given that an influential venture capitalist has acknowledged that capitalism either reforms or the ruling class will be faced with revolution, the latter would be wise to listen. John Wight’s recently penned article in which he argues the UK is ripe for revolution given that the ruling class clearly has no intention of listening, is as perceptive as it is analytically cogent. With the recent widespread Yellow Vest protests in France united in their demands to put an end to neoliberalism, class analysis is once again featuring centre stage as the theoretical catalyst for revolution.

“But it’s a revolt? – No, Sire, it’s a revolution!” Gilets Jaunes have begun demonstrating for economic justice in France.

“As we move into 2019, the contradictions of a society in which so many have been pushed into poverty and destitution in service to the ideology of wealth and privilege, have become more acute than at any time since the Second World War”, says Wight.

A system at breaking point

Both capital and labour form part of a mutually reinforcing dynamic that are dependent on a relative equilibrium in order for them to thrive. However, the tensions in society – conceived as a unity of opposites integral to the exploitative capitalist system – are at breaking point. As Wight puts it, “the Tories have pushed the austerity envelope too far”. They have done this while remaining in a state of denial, which is precisely the consensus of indifference required for a revolution to take place, as outlined at the beginning of this article.

“In Britain we have been conditioned to believe that revolutions are either a thing of the past, a mere footnote in history, or only ever take place in far away places we associate with instability and chaos”, says Wight. This is true.

But we have also been conditioned into believing that they happen spontaneously without logical reason as if emerging out of a metaphorical clear blue sky.

“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen”, said Lenin.

Fundamental shifts in human consciousness resulting from 40 years of neoliberalism have led to a storm of revolution appearing on the UK horizon – a storm, as Marx put it, borne out of the shifting “ensemble of social relations” over time. In other words, human consciousness shifts as part of a process in time culminating in a succession of small changes which beyond a certain point can lead to the complete transformation of society.

These changes are correspondingly accompanied by changing ‘human nature’: “The essence of man is no abstraction inherent in each single individual”, said Marx. There is, in other words, no such thing as ‘human nature’ in the abstract. Rather as society changes, so also do the desires, beliefs and abilities of human beings.

John Wight has summarized these processes perfectly:

“Consciousness shifts slowly and in fits and starts, but inexorably and inevitably, due to the maturing crisis within capitalism. It reaches the point of critical mass when that which is normally invisible is made visible; when, per Marx, the illusion of the condition of existence gives way to reality.”

Wight envisages the opulence on display at the Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace as more than symbolic:

“I believe this year’s Queens Christmas message is just such a turning point, a moment of profound crystallisation with regard to the status quo. The upcoming demo on January 12 in London could thus not be better timed to take place.”

Daniel Margrain

Daniel Margrain

Daniel graduated in 2001 with an Upper Second Class Honours degree in Human Geography and Social Policy. He has a masters in Globalisation, Culture and the City at Goldsmiths, London. He is a massive fan of musician, Neil Young. His favourite book is Murder In Samarkand by Craig Murray. His favourite album is Van Morrison's Astral Weeks and his favourite film is Giuseppe Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso. Daniel's interests include politics and current affairs and social and urban theory.
Daniel Margrain

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3 thoughts on “UK revolution in 2019?

  1. Yes we have to remember when it comes to austerity “there is no magic money tree”

    …unless of course when it is required to bail out the banks after their ‘mistakes’, then multiple trillions in all manner of currencies globally can be created by a few keystrokes on a computer keyboard, instantly. There very much IS a magic money tree in that instance. Strangely.

    …or there’s a new unwinnable war against a nebulous enemy to create, OOOPs I mean to finance, in the name of ‘democracy’ – never any issue finding the cash for that either, strangely, even when you’ve a debt and deficit to deal with.

    It is , as they say, indeed a funny ol’ world. And we are governed by some very strange, very self-interested ideologues.

    1. PS all ‘royal families’ are anachronisms which need to be swept away. They are merely organised crime syndicates, who appropriated land and then demanded tribute in the form of taxes. What we refer to now as ‘extortion’. Then they invented myths (as elites in all countries do/have done) that their power and influence were granted to them by some non-existent deity or another (insert as applicable), and hence to challenge them is to challenge ‘God’ – so tug your forelock and obey.

      As long as that kind of garbage goes on, the human race will never move forward.

  2. There are in main two things preventing a revolution today, The first, an enigmatic voice or idea. Carl Marx is now nothing more than a message from the past, no amount of admiration or respect can change the reality that elitists already know how to deal with Marxism, after all would you be surprised if a vast number of elitists turned out to be relatives of those who stamped it out before! once upon a time. The masses need an awe inspiring vision of a future, a feeling that something worth winning can be won by a revolution, some form of hope, something new to believe in! we witnessed a glimpse of this in Jeremy Corbyns slogan, for the many not the few which did far more to increase the likelihood of a revolution than many give it credit for as we witnessed both the fear and reaction from the upper echelons of society, we saw in this the tactics and strategies the upper class society would use to stamp out revolutions first hand, if Jeremy Corbyn were to be playing a game of chess they allowed him the tactical advantage in the very first round, if a new voice or idea capable of leading a revolution were to arise today we each of us should predict that it would firstly be confronted by division and secondly by smear campaigns. Which leads me to the second point. WE ARE living in an era of revolution real or imagined it doesn’t really matter those in power are fighting it already. revolution was attempted and not just once we have had the occupy movement, the Iraq protests, the 2017 election and regardless of how hard we did or didn’t fight, we are at present suffering its onslaught, division and despair!. We live in a country plagued by mental illness, people are fighting desperately not only to live, just to exist, just to matter, loneliness, worthlessness a numbing feeling that nothing can or will ever change,giving up entirely are all feelings thrown upon us deliberately, politically and tactically purely to cling on to the power the upper class have and this is resulting in massive numbers of people facing either a lethargy or a panicked energy filled with anger desperately seeking an outlet, just imagine if the LGBT movement were to stop speaking of gay rights, if the disabled stopped fighting against the targeted deaths and the wind rush generation were to stop complaining of deportation fears, just imagine they escaped the plights of their situations, just long enough to instead reach out their hand to their neighbour to utter the words I may not know your pain but I feel your pain and you are not alone I am not your enemy. I choose not to matter above you but beside you as an equal no matter how different we are, together we stand united, then this would no longer be a silent revolution. I read somewhere It takes approximately 3 percent of a population to overthrow a leader, just 3 percent to outnumber the entirety of both army and police of an entire country 3 percent to create an unmanageable protest big enough to become a full scale revolution now imagine for just one second you belonged to a community of 99 percent!.A number like that is a number large enough to change everything.

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