John Pilger is, of course, quite right to contend that “normal” politics only exist to protect corporate interests. Nevertheless, while his conclusion that only direct action can challenge the disaster capitalists, who, as he says, are out “to destroy the tenuous humanity of the modern state”, is absolutely correct, we should not be too optimistic regarding the success of any such action. Indeed, when he goes on to contend that Britain’s workers can “more than match the French if they are resolute and imaginative”, we are left wondering, if he is not trying to compete with the xenophobic right for the allegiance of the working classes and the downtrodden.
However, such a ruse and the appeal to direct action which it supports can be commended, even if we are left suspecting that the call to battle is a desperate one. For, as he himself says: “In Britain, there is no need for tanks in the streets. In its managerial indifference to the freedoms it is said to hold dear, bourgeois Britain has allowed parliament to create a surveillance state with 3,000 new criminal offences and laws: more than for the whole of the previous century. Powers of arrest and detention have never been greater. The police have the impunity to kill; and asylum-seekers can be “restrained” to death on commercial flights.” It might be added, of course, that there is also a propaganda machine which makes Dr Josef Goebels and his ‘Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda’ look like the epitome of amateurism.
Furthermore, as Slavoj Žižek recently said in an interview with ‘Amy Goodman from ‘Democracy Now’, those demonstrating in France represent segments of what Marx would have called “the working class aristocracy” and, while that term might be somewhat obsolete, what they most certainly represent, is a workforce, which, despite the onslaught of Friedmanism on continental Europe too, is still organised and has managed to hold onto its privileges.
On the other hand, in Britain it is difficult to see what Mr Pilger calls a “resolute and imaginative” class that is capable of collaborating with wider movements for social justice to form the “greatest popular resistance ever.” Indeed, the evidence would at least suggest that an amorphous, motley collection, of social groups, in which too many have been subdued by game shows, the manufacturers of consent, and the all prevailing cappucino culture, will be unable to stop the ‘Chicago Boys’ from wreaking further havoc.
Nevertheless, Mr Pilger is not only, as ever, correct in his man thesis and he is also right to call for resistance. For, no matter how hopeless that resistance might be, it is never futile and that is why, we can only hope that as the struggle for the soul of a new Britain takes shape as many as possible will be involved. Moreover, that struggle will ensure that there will be no ‘tabula rasa’ in Albion and no need to hide after the war against the disaster capitalists has been won on continental Europe.