Looking at the world today there are few words that more aptly describe what is going on than the word chaos. We have seen street protests which at times have descended into violent confrontations. Earlier in the year the Black Live Matters protests erupted in the United States and elsewhere in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd. Many Belarusan workers unhappy with what is seen as the rigged re-election of Alexander Luschenko as president have taken to the streets to demand his resignation, Violent clashes between demonstrators and police have rocked Paris over a controversial security bill that will outlaw the photographing of police by bystanders. Wars are raging unabated in the Middle East and elsewhere. The US has experienced one of the most acrimonious Presidential campaigns in recent years revealing a great deal of anger and division within American society. Closer to home, we have the tortuous process of Brexit negotiations dragged on. The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the turmoil. Is it because we have the misfortune to be ruled by megalomaniacs and buffoons? Is human nature to blame?
In asking these questions we will come up with the wrong answers. What we need to look at is how human society is organised. Globally, humanity lives under capitalism, where the human race is divided into two antagonistic classes, the capitalist class, who own the means of production, and the working class, who have to sell their labour power to live. Capitalism can only exist through the production for profit and competition. This leads necessarily to economic crises and war. When the capitalists are unable to make a profit, as has been the case in the recent lockdowns ordered by governments to combat the coronavirus, businesses close and unemployment soars. Competition between capitalist enterprises in the market place periodically lead to crises of overproduction, as we saw in the 2008/2009 financial crash.
Competition between rival states can and often descend into armed conflict. We have seen this happen in the Yemen and in the recent war between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Unfortunately, there is also competition between workers over jobs and social benefits. Divisions appear among workers on the grounds of ethnicity and culture, between highly skilled and less skilled workers, between employed and unemployed workers. Being excluded from the means of living, workers are alienated and have feelings of powerlessness. This, at times, is manifested in anger and frustration, which leads to political support for populist politicians like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson.
The solution is not a change in leaders, but a fundamental change in how we organise society. The working class need to organise consciously and democratically to take political control of the state and convert the current system of private property into one of common ownership, where everyone has equal access to the social product, without the need of money as a means of exchange. There will be no nation states or classes. Just one world community.
We wish our readers, in the absence a happy, at least a safe New Year.