May 18, 2022
From Alternative Bristol (UK)

April’s inflation rate hit 9%, and is predicted to go over 10% in coming months – just one of many crisis afflicting ordinary people in the UK and around the world, from wars to famine to poverty to disease to the out of control climate crisis to the ongoing attacks on us by the ruling elites. The spetcre of a global hangs over us too.

Perhaps rarely before has the class based nature of society been laid so bare. As life gets ever harder & shittier and more fragile for us, those ruling elites just get richer and richer – they really do not give a toss for ordinary people. For the elites, and their profit driven military-industrial-complex, war is good news & more profits. For ordinary folks it’s a matter of life and death.

Sometimes the complex and inter-related combo of bad news, fake news, and class attacks on us makes it hard to see the wood from the trees. Mainstream media is generally shit, and makes no attempt to speak truth to power, nor to actively expose power’s lies and manipulation. In the UK party political scene, the situation is awful. Labour are at best just Tory-lite; as are the LibDems, who we know from recent experience can never be trusted anyway; the SNP are little better; and the Greens, well lots of noise but minimal power to do anything about it, and again recent history indicates that where Greens have taken some power, they behave just like the rest of the parties.
But in fact, as always, it is possible to drill down to the basics, and remind ourselves of what’s really going on. The following two articles appealed because they seek to do exactly that. We’ve nicked them from the ACG (thanks eh!) and lightly edited them. Links to originals are below.

Hungry For Power
“…they make a desert and call it peace.” Tacitus.
The world is not short of food. We always produce more than we need – scarcity itself is generally ‘manufactured’ but rarely to the point of global crisis. So what has happened? Most of the world’s grain and pulse crops haven’t disappeared – they have been sequestered, kidnapped, held to ransom.

Despite the war, three quarters of Ukraine’s harvest from the winter sowing is ready to be gathered. Whether the missiles and bombs allow this to happen or not, there will be nowhere to store it. The warehouses and granaries of southern Ukraine are full but blockaded from export. Russia’s leverage of this has purpose. Until that ends, the new harvest is not conservable. The key supplies for Europe and North Africa are technically plentiful but without peace, will be left to rot. Unless the current harvest is gathered, there will not be (an already late) spring sewing or a summer harvest. One hand of imperialist conflict is on our neck, the other is hollowing out our stomachs.

We are being choked or starved in this rivalry and greed between the capitalist blocs. The details of this conflict are becoming increasingly relevant as they indicate the next direction of threat to our collective survival and the challenges to our class. Central to this is the port of Odessa, once the centrepiece of proletarian revolution, it has become as important now as the Shat-al-Arab waterway was for oil in the Iran-Iraq war. It will remain so as food reasserts itself as a more fundamental need than hydrocarbons and petrochemicals. If Russia decides to try and land-lock Ukraine to secure its defeat, the implications of the resulting potential for famine and unrest may prove a decisive red line for the west. The warning signs are everywhere. Most recently India has stopped exporting to protect its own supplies while Iraq has joined the growing list of countries angrily protesting over scarcity and increasing prices. Riots have already been reported in Iran.

Finland and Sweden’s rapid repositioning towards NATO is front and centre of the West’s response and escalation. Apart from doubling NATO’s potential operational border with Russia (implying threat and dividing Russian resources) it is a significant military gain to that alliance. The £4million centrepiece Russian T-90 tank destroyed this week was hit by a rifle launched Swedish rocket costing £18K, while Finland brings the largest concentration of sophisticated heavy artillery equipment in western Europe. Additionally, because of its conscription and reserve system geared to protect its neutrality, Finland has a rapidly deployable ground force exceeding in size that of Ukraine’s at the outset. NATO has pulled a knife to Russia’s jugular. The apparently stuck war in the Donbass is dynamically escalating by other means. A big picture – peace through annihilation – is being misdirected to the small screen of ‘plucky little Ukraine’, whilst they further distract us with WAG’s, Twitter, party-gate and fucking starving! This war is a present and immediate danger on every conceivable level. It’s causes and impact are interwoven with every other threat we face from cost of living to forced migration. Every struggle we actively engage in is also a struggle against this bosses’ war. As internationalists we are committed to exposing and sharing the totality of this global struggle as we engage in solidarity globally, and at every local level against the total war against us.
(original article dated 16.5.22 here)

Are we at war?

Millions in the Uk are destitute and poverty-stricken, whilst hundreds of thousands more may soon lose the roof over their heads as interest rates (of mortgages) increase. Food supplies running short or becoming too expensive to buy; kids and parents/carers going hungry as bills shoot up. Refused refugees & other vulnerable people in housing need are lying in the streets. All whilst a warmongering, corrupt leader condemned as a criminal clings to power, ramping up the repressive tools of the state to crush and imprison those who non-violently dissent (whilst those who fightback against the violence of the state & capital are shown no mercy at all ie Bristol’s #KillTheBill defendants & prisoners).

Did we lose a war or something? Not Ukraine under invasion, but the UK now. 1.5 million breadline households, according to the independent National Institute of Social and Economic Research, is the impact on us of our occupation by capitalism. We haven’t ‘lost’ a war, but we are in the middle of one, the class war, and our rulers know it.

The attacks on refugees/migrants, and the Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Act, closely followed by the new Public Order Bill, along with a host of other repressive moves, are the results of their conscious preparations for the consequences of their domestic and international actions. Our treat of being shown, on all channels, gilded monarchs offering help in the future and jam tomorrow, show us exactly what and who needs to be levelled. ‘Currygate’ and ‘ambush by cakes’ do not just expose the universal hypocrisy of those who seek power, they work to convince us that each detail is independently trivial, temporary and transitory. Coincidental unavoidable happenstance: a consequence of a banking collapse, a petulant EU ex, a cheating China, a post-aberrant US presidency, an unforeseen pandemic, a consequent supply chain issue or a Russian aggression. Let’s worry about one unforeseen circumstance at a time. The whole global picture is their construct and raison-d’etre. Joining the dots exposes a clusterfuck aimed at our class to rob us where they can and destroy us when they can’t. We are under no illusions that our class is at war. These are by no means the first shots and they are certainly not the last.

To win we must connect the dots and exploit their divisive greed and short-termism through unity, community, solidarity and mutual aid. Their war against us is as longstanding as our resistance and our class has its own history of showing how to level up.
(original article dated 15.5.22 here)