Friday, December 29, 2006

For a new kind of politics in 2007

As 2007 beckons, behind the façade of consumerism and the "success" of globalisation a ticking time bomb of popular revolt is waiting to go off. A few things are clear in an uncertain world. Global warming will continue to threaten to extinguish human, animal and plant life. Starvation, disease and wars will plague Africa. Bloodletting will go on in Iraq, Palestine, and Afghanistan as the United States, Britain and Israel pursue their strategies of making the world "safe". Closer to home people will fall ever more deeply into debt as they struggle to meet their bills. Affordable housing will remain non-existent for countless households. Innumerable new laws, including the proposed imposition of identity cards, will give the state ever greater powers over us. Faceless bureaucrats and the police will hold our personal details in ever-growing surveillance systems and databases. Public services will continue to deteriorate as they are opened up further to the private, corporate sector. Meanwhile, business will go on as normal. Profit making and incredible bonuses like the £35m for the chairman of investment bank Goldman Sachs will enrich a few and increase wealth inequality in Britain.

There is evidence of growing world-wide anger and resistance. People of South America have re-elected the anti-imperialist president Hugo Chavez, and neighbouring countries have elected progressive candidates. In the United States, the Bush regime is increasingly isolated and unpredictable. In Britain, New Labour is despised by the majority of the electorate and the party’s membership has halved in 10 years. The question is: how can this popular hostility find an expression? Like it or not, the answer is politics. But not the politics of the existing parliamentary parties, who seek only to preserve the status quo. Government contempt of those who have elected them to power is clear in their policies and practice. A new survey shows that majority of people in Europe and the US favour the withdrawal of troops from Iraq (France 90%, Spain 84%, UK 83%, Germany 82%, Italy 73%, US 66%). And yet clearly their wishes are totally ignored. Other forces are waiting in the wings as discontent mounts. In the last few days there have been more rumblings from within the British military establishment about the debacle in Iraq. They don’t want to be bogged down in a quagmire and are appealing over the heads of the Blair regime to popular opinion. In other words, the state is divided against itself and this instability will only grow, especially if Blair goes along with plans to attack Iran and Syria. This capitalist state is only concerned with preserving the private ownership of the world’s resources which is essential for the rule of the corporations and investment banks like Goldman Sachs. As we have seen, the parliamentary political system is exhausted and no longer offers a way of solving society’s most pressing problems, while authoritarian take-overs cannot be ruled out. Alternative forms of democratic control of the levers of power can provide the answer if we have the courage and conviction to develop these as a popular solution to key issues. We urge you to join A World to Win in developing the policies and actions that will help bring about the economic and political transformation so urgently required in the coming period.
Corinna Lotz

AWTW secretary

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