‘Resistance is futile’

Or so claim the Borg in Star Trek. We wouldn’t go that far. But it is true that as an end in itself it can’t get very far. Separated from a struggle for a new and different society, it’s a dead-end. It’s running fast to stay still, rushing around trying to deal with effects while the cause remains intact.

Those advocating mere resistance fall into two groups. First, the genuine reformists who have no vision of an alternative society to capitalism and who just want to bring in a few minor changes such as the pathetic Tobin tax (a tax of 0.01 percent on speculative currency transactions) while leaving the rest of capitalism unchanged. These are the NGOs, the religious groups and organisations like Tax Justice and Jubilee Debt Campaign.

The other group is composed of people for whom mere resistance is only a tactic. They are recognisable on demonstrations by their red flags and portraits of Lenin with Trotsky, or Mao or Che. As Leninists they believe that ‘ordinary’ people are not capable of acquiring a vision of an alternative to capitalism, but only of resisting downward pressures on their standard of living, and so need to be led by a conscious minority—them.

Their tactic is to encourage mere resistance in the hope of riding to power on its back. To this end they have set up front organisations with names like ‘Globalise Resistance’ or ‘International Resistance’ which rival the genuine reformists in the limited nature of their demands. They do in fact have an alternative to private capitalism but, as an idealised version of the state capitalism that used to exist in Russia, it’s not an attractive one. No wonder they feel the need to disguise it.

What, then, is the alternative to capitalism? Socialism, but in its original sense of a world-wide society without frontiers based on the common ownership of the Earth’s resources and the application on a global scale of the principle of ‘from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.’ Such a society has never existed, certainly not in Russia or China nor under Labour or Social Democratic or left-wing governments. It’s yet to be established and is urgently needed to tackle the problems currently facing the world.

We think the way to get there is for the vast majority of those who are excluded from control of their own society, so that they can be used as wage-slaves, to organise consciously and collectively to remove the tools of political power from the hands of their exploiters. Without those weapons being used against us, there’ll be nothing for us to resist, and we can go about running society in our own interests, not those of a tiny few.