why does the daily mail suddenly have a heart?

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jaycee
why does the daily mail suddenly have a heart?
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I was just wondering what people think is behind the whole media campaign at the moment where even the Daily mail and other scum are all of a sudden deeply concerned about the well being of immigrants.

The whole campaign around the child found dead on the beach in Turkey is clearly got some ulterior motive behind it, I mean I am 100% sure that was not the first such picture taken. Why was this picture  released now and why have the media suddenly all realised immigrants are human beings.

My feeling is that the EU in particular Germany have realised that the situation is only going to get worse and that it simply isn't possible to just shut people out and they are now preparing some Europe wide system to deal with it and the media have been made aware that a change of tact is needed.

Would like to know what people think; is there more to it than this? 

Demogorgon
Why indeed?

My first thought is that they're searching for motivators to support the new push for military action in Syria and Libya.

MH
confirmed?

Demogorgon wrote:

My first thought is that they're searching for motivators to support the new push for military action in Syria and Libya.

This seems to be confirmed by today's story of 'secret' drone strike against  British 'Jihadi fighters' in Syria.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34181475

 

  

 

 

 

Alf
social dimension

No doubt they will use the refugee crisis to justify any kind of military strike but it doesn't really explain the whole scenario. Germany for example, is leading the 'humanitarian' campaign but it is unlikely that they will be directly involved in any military actions in the Middle East in the foreseeable future. Neither is it certain that Britain or America have a strategy for stepping up an intervention in Syria (which they have been carrying out on a low level for some time), although there is concern about Russia recently increasing aid for Assad. 

I think that to understand the 'turn-around' on the refugee question we have to consider the spontaneous expressions of solidarity towards the refugees which in Germany in particular has reached a considerable level. As with the tide of indignation which swept through France in the wake of the Paris killings, the bourgeoisie has a strong need to neutralise and recuperate such expressions. A crude policy reduced to police and razor wire, as in Hungary, is not an option in these conditions - it has to be much more subtle, even when the expressons of solidarity are not yet on a clear class terrain. There is also the demographic element in Germany of course - a slowing down in the birth rate means that Germany actually needs fresh injections of labour power, and many of the refugees are educated and qualified. But I think the social question is key.

And of course it's important to us, to the proletariat and revolutonaries, as well. The ICC has argued for some time that the proletariat in western Europe is the most important barrier to capitalism sinking so deep into decomposition that there will be no possibility of a new society. What's happening in Syria is a reminder of what capitalism is driven to do if such a barrier is missing. But the refugee crisis makes it obvious that there can be no separation between western Europe and the parts of the world hardest hit by war and chaos.  Indeed, by turning the central countries into a bunker against the 'threat' of this chaos, by convincing proletarians in these countries that the state is their only protection against the foreign swarms, the ruling class would be inflicting serious blows against the possibility of the class standing up against decomposition and developing an autonomous perspective. The response we have seen to the refugee crisis, however limited, offers some evidence that the ruling class does not yet have a free hand and cannot count on the unquestioning support of those it exploits. 

Fred
drone strikes

Is the drone strike and the consequent death of the British jihadis in Syria a truly significant event or not? David Cameron has ordered and brought about the execution of a couple of British lads in a foreign country which Britain isn't at war with because he says they were Islamic terrorists who were planning atrocities on the British mainland. So, according to him and his Defence Secretary, it's an act of self-defence and quite legal and above board.

Some others see it as murder. Others fear that such an act will call down the wrath of the jihadis on British people - as in Sousse recently - and in Britain itself this time in horrible ways, possibly much worse than the atrocities originally being considered, if they were being considered, by the two young Muslims officially executed without trial. 

Many citizens in Britain including workers will doubtless feel a touch of satisfaction that these two overbearing over confident Muslim warriors have finally got what they deserved and been erased.  It'll be a lesson for other young and aspiring jihadis with similar ideas. You can be suddenly eliminated by a drone without warning just like that! For there's  a price to be paid for everything including fanatical jihadist ideas like rendering the UK a part of the new and fashionable Caliphate. And won't the drone strike go a long way  to make British adolescents tempted by the "X" certificate nature of IS doings in foreign lands think again about signing up for them?  Who knows?  

It isn't easy to feel a lot of sympathy for the pair so recently "droned" in Syria. But is the droning of those seen by bourgeois rulers as going "too far" to become the new order of the day? Could the day ever dawn when striking workers might find themselves similarly threatened? Time will tell. 

But PM Cameron so recently bruised by his climb down over refugees can at least present himself as Superman when it comes to dealing with insolent and  home grown jihadis plotting nastiness abroad. That'll teach Corbyn and Labour a lesson! 

 

baboon
Separate

Everything's connected of course but I don't think it useful to mix up drone strikes and increased tensions over Syria with the attitude of the Daily Mail (and the bourgeoisie of Britain  and Europe generally) in relation to the current surge of refugees into Europe.

Despite the parliamentary vote a while ago Britain has been "intervening" militarily in Syria for months. It has special forces on the ground, it is involved in training anti-Assad Pershmega forces on the Syrian side of the border and I very much doubt if this latest developement is the first use of British drone strikes in the country. Much the same goes for France. Britain and France are both NATO members and the latter is currently stepping up a new push into Syria using Turkish forces and assets. Along with this the White House yesterday confirmed Kerry's surprising warning to Russia that it would face armed confrontation if it carried on doing what it has known it has been doing in Syria for years.

But on the refugees, I agree with Alf that this is very much a social question that concerns the proletariat. In1938 the Daily Mail had an headline saying that Jewish children comiing to Britain fleeing the Nazis was an "outrage". Refugees were the scapegoats then but in different historical circumstances. In recent years the Daily Mail, over the Steven Lawrence murder, did more for "race relations" than all the anti-fascists put together. It was the only newspaper recently to record the spontaneous and somewhat successful demonstrations in Britain against evictions. So Daily Mail today doesn't necessarily equal backward and stupid - on the contrary.

And I think that there is no doubt that the refugee question and their plight has attracted considerable interest and not a little support and solidarity from the proletariat of Europe. If Cameron's "20,000" Syrian refugees turns out to be 340 or so then that's as maybe. But the British bourgeoisie, and others, have been forced to dramatically change their tune in the face of the genuine solidarity of the working class towards the refugees. It also brings home clearly the question of imperialist war and the absurdity and hollowness of the bourgeosie's intention to further bomb Syria.

A few weeks ago the anti-immigrant rhetoric was being ratcheted up in Britain and, in the face of the suffering of people fleeing war since - a war mostly imposed by the major imperialist powers - the utter cynicism and contempt of the bourgeoisie was being openly exposed. That's not a good idea for a "democratic" state so I believe it necessitated a more subtle approach by the bourgeoisie, particularly in the face of the response of the proletariat, and this is refelcted in the Daily Mail article.

For Germany there is also the aspect of relatively well-qualified cheap labour from Syria as Alf says.

lem_
really good thread,

really good thread, thanks.

and what would have happened if westerm europe had not suddenly had "a heart"? especially, how would have the tensions of solidarity found expression?

i am skeptical that even the momst powerful leaders of the ruling class, have no heart, are only interested in the well being of the rulers. of course i think that's how it works out: perhaps not just due to the necessity iof communism, but the logic of capitalism.

jk1921
Interestingly, the dead child

Interestingly, the dead child on the Turkish beach has become a major embarassment for the Harper government in Canada ahead of the upcoming federal election. It appears the family have relatives in Canada who had filed a refugee application on their behalf, which was denied. The Canadian media have run with the story and the Conservative party's poll numbers have dropped accordingly. It appears that this is being used in an attempt to dump the Conservative party after ten scandal plauged years in power. There is no guarantee it will work given the weakness of the Canadian state structure, which has allowed a party that wins less than forty percent of the vote to form a "majority" government. We'll see....

Pierre
Re: internationalism

Alf wrote:

...The proletariat in western Europe is the most important barrier to capitalism sinking so deep into decomposition that there will be no possibility of a new society.

ps - this is what part of the alphabet would look like if q and r went missing.

lem_
that's derpatable 

that's derpatable 

Demogorgon
Multiple reasons

This is personal post.

The motivations of the various national actors is different, of course. Alf is quite right about Germany essentially needing a new influx of labour as their population is in long-term decline. The UK, on the other hand, by some projections will be the most populous country in Europe by 2060. Very different situations.

On imperialism, the UK government has directly linked regime change to the "solution" of the migration crisis. Reuters reported Osborne as saying, "You've got to deal with the problem at source, which is this evil Assad regime and the ISIL (Islamic State) terrorists, and you need a comprehensive plan for a more stable, peaceful Syria."

Incidentally, the same article points out the France is also considering airstrikes, so there is clearly an opportunity seen by several bourgeoisies to use this moment to push forward their imperialist interests.

Cameron's EU games may be a factor as well. It's fairly common knowledge that his stance has not gone down  with his EU "partners" at all well. As the FT reported last week, "Tories admit that images of mass migration in Europe will make it harder for Mr Cameron to make the case for Britain to remain in the EU. Any decision to admit more refugees could compound his political problem.Chaotic pictures of migrants attempting to cross to the UK via Calais are particularly worrying British officials, who fear the immigration issue could overshadow the EU referendum campaign."

If you combine the Tory / UKIP share of the vote (36.9 + 12.6 respectively) you find 48.6% of the electorate voted for parties formally committed to an openly crude anti-immigration agenda. I doubt we could consider the 30.4% who voted Labour exactly pro-immigration either!

So there's a real problem here, related to decomposition, in controlling the right-wing of the electorate to make it vote in the interests of the dominant fraction of the dominant class. Not to mention the divisions on the EU question within the bourgeoisie itself! The political apparatus is trying to sort out the rules of the game between the factions, with the whole "purdah" issue, even as we speak.

Without being able to take home something that looks like a genuine win on Europe, Cameron's chances of victory in the EU referendum are looking very shaky indeed. He's got to have some support from the EU on this, to maintain unity in the ruling class or risk the whole episode degenerate into a vicious faction fight. I've no doubt there any number of pro-European bourgeois who are kept awake at night at the thought of the UK voting to leave.

So perhaps the sudden unity on humanising this crisis in the media is part of some deal between the various factions (or the dominant faction imposing its will), in order to justify taking enough to appease parts of the EU apparatus.

Of course, the whole "20,000" thing works on another level too. It's enough to enrage nationalist sentiment by letting in a small town's worth of "migrants", while allowing the Left to play the "we should take more" game. The working class gets caught in the middle of a sick bidding game on the lives of people. "How many will you take?" asks Fred ... and, indeed, some individuals are literally taking in refugees, into their homes. Solidarity is thus reduced, as it so often is, to acts of charity.

As a side note, there's also the issue around Corbyn. Cameron has hinted a vote on airstrikes might not happen if Corbyn is elected leader. It's too early to say whether this is just a political game or a genuine fissure in the ruling class. But it's worth considering that whatever capital the ruling class would be hoping to make out of Labour's left turn (assuming it actually happens which is far from certain) would be squandered pretty quickly if Corbyn was forced to support strikes after being elected leader!

jk1921
Demo, what do you suppose is

Demo, what do you suppose is the origin for the anti-immigrant sentiment in the electorate? Or at least sentiment in favor of anti-immigrant parties? This obviously is not limited to the UK--see the Trump phenomenon in the US.

lem_
you're annoying me now, tbh.

you're annoying me now, tbh. i've not noticed anyone here treat you with anything but patience. if you don't like the icc's theories, or practices, start a thread. maybe not post trollishly anywhere you like. this isn't an anarchist board, and no-one is getting paid to put up with it.

IMHO.

as to the logic of class interest, wanting to help isn't the same as giving up. that's pretty much all i meant, that the interests of the bourgeoisie isn't limited to preventing a complete overhaul of capitalism.

 

Demogorgon
Why is the working class racist?

"Demo, what do you suppose is the origin for the anti-immigrant sentiment in the electorate? Or at least sentiment in favor of anti-immigrant parties? This obviously is not limited to the UK--see the Trump phenomenon in the US."

I think there are spontaneous elements within capitalism that drive the emergence of racist attitudes within the working class. In its everyday condition, i.e. not as a class for itself, workers are driven to compete with each other for jobs, promotions, benefits, housing, etc. So there's an economic basis for both individual competition as well as racism, sexism, etc. Add to that the cultural hangovers from previous modes of production and we have the historic basis for understanding where these sentiments come from. The working class contains the necessary elements required to overcome these problems, but it doesn't mean they don't exist.

Still, for all these spontaneous elements, there is a clear conscious effort to whip up the flames of racial hatred. The right-wing press in the UK has been carrying out a decades-long propaganda campaign on immigration that has plumbed such depths that UN officials felt compelled to intervene!

So the existence of racist ideologies, in itself, is not that surprising. What's of more interest / concern is the growing prominence of openly irrational and reactionary political currents. Elements that were previously on the fringes of the political apparatus are moving steadily into the central ground and coming close to power - or even into power. After all, we have the reactionary right in power in countries like Hungary and the millenial Christians (who basically defend Israel as they think the country's existence is necessary for the Second Coming!) have been close to power in the US via the Republicans for quite a while.

I see all this as an element of decomposition, which in itself is a symptom of the historic weaknesses of the working class in the current epoch. The lack of class identity and class consciousness, the low level of struggles, the recuperation of struggles for solidarity into campaigns around "equality and diversity" which is used to create further divisions, etc. all weakens the capacity of the class to resist these reactionary ideologies.

The whole bourgeoisie has played its part in pushing forward these campaigns, but their growing reach also empowers certain parts of the bourgeoisie in a new way, one that is not necessarily in the interests of the dominant fractions. The old adage of creating a monster springs to mind.

Back on the question of the EU referendum, this longitudinal poll in the Telegraph suggests that it might not be quite the knife-edge that I thought. Latest polls suggest a clear majority for staying in. Still, I heard a rumour recently that polls don't always accurately predict results ...

jaycee
I agree with all the points

I agree with all the points made by Demogorgan. I also think possibly the bourgeoisie in Britain and elsewhere (based on the election results you mention) may have thought that there was more support for a brutal approach than there perhaps is in reality.

Also I agree with Lem about Jamals post. Jamal if you want to argue a point then argue it don't just post nonsense. I personally feel like perhaps the ICC at times over-rates the importance or uniqueness of thye European proletariat today but it would be an equal error to underestimate it too. 

jk1921
I agree with much of Demo's

I agree with much of Demo's post, but have to wonder if having concerns over immigraton automaticaly equates with "racism." As Demo suggests, there may be a rational kernel in terms of seeking to protect certain living conditions that drives part of it--even if there is no long term perspective of basing a class response around opposition to immigration. The problem is how does the rational kernel transform into something more profound and questioning of the entire system? Its clear though that there is a certain instinct in the broader working class that the right wing of the bourgeoisie is tapping right now in an effort to pursue its own agenda. I don't think we can dismiss this instinct as a purely irrational effect of ideology.

Oh and BTW, good to see you back Demo!

Demogorgon
A fair point

"I agree with much of Demo's post, but have to wonder if having concerns over immigraton automaticaly equates with "racism.""

A fair point, and an example of lazy thinking / expression on my part. Racism, nationalism, and anti-immigration are not necessarily identical, even if they spring from the same fundamental roots. All are, obviously, anti-proletarian ideologies but they do have their own specific characteristics and dynamics.

lem_
i wonder if anti immgration,

thanks for the post JK.

i wonder if anti immgration, anti immigrant, virulent ant immigrant, individuals, actually do empathise but stay mean anyway.

IMHO that's whack (which i think means bad)

jk1921
Instinct

lem_ wrote:

thanks for the post JK.

i wonder if anti immgration, anti immigrant, virulent ant immigrant, individuals, actually do empathise but stay mean anyway.

IMHO that's whack (which i think means bad)

It seems to me that the anti-immigrant instinct is difficut to resist. I am actually amazed when workers are able to do so. In the US context, the wave of mass immigration from Latin America has created very real material pressures on the broader proletariat that is difficult to wish away with flowery rhetoric about the unity of humanity, compasion, empathy etc. This of course doesn't stop various leftists from attempting to do so, which usually ends in an attack on the "white" working class for being racist, xenophobic, "unable to recognize its own interests" or hopelessly recuperated into a system of "white supremacy". For the left, the white working class is the political villian du jour. While there are certainly elements of these things that condition the political consciousness of the working class, I think to deny the reality of the pressures posed by mass immigration only tends to leave the broader working class at the mercy of the bourgeois right. Of course, as I said before, the mass immigration that is happening today is not something that can be understood properly outside of the context of a deeper appreciation of longer term forces affecting global capitalism (decadence, decomposition) and bourgeois society and culture more generally. Still, it is asking a little much of ordinary workers to grasp all of that at this juncture. So we sit where we sit. Momentary expressions of solidarity with human suffering compete with an instinct to protect one's own particular position within the system for as long as its feasible. What breaks the impasse?

lem_
> to deny the reality of the

> to deny the reality of the pressures posed by mass immigration only tends to leave the broader working class at the mercy of the bourgeois right. Of course, as I said before, the mass immigration that is happening today is not something that can be understood properly outside of the context of a deeper appreciation of longer term forces affecting global capitalism 

I agree.

I would never label the "white" (or otherwise) working class as racist, on the whole or otherwise. Doing so is problematic if only for the reason that (similar, to how you say) it ignores the nuance of the reality that individuals face and respond to.

Whether or not you think that's "excuse" making, would depend - both on how you think about abstract terms like "the working class", and I suppose the importance of liberal anti-racism... Which, while I personally to adhere to, is to some extent just a convenience, however uncomfortable we find ourselves.

I guess I mean thet the proof of the racist, is in proletarian solidarity.

baboon
What breaks the impasse is

What breaks the impasse is the development of class struggle and the development of a class consciousness. The word "instinct", which been used above a couple of times to indicate an anti-immigrant bias existing within the working class, and the idea that goes along with it, doesn't explain very much about the present question of migration and refugees, as well as underestimating the bourgeoisie's campaign around it. Is the working class "instinctly" nationalist because it votes for nationalist parties in bourgeois elections? If the working class has any real instinct it's that of association, organisation and solidarity and it is this that has been consciously hammered by the ruling class, including within this present campaign.

 

Fred makes a good point on the other thread he's opened and that's the point about "exclusion". We can see it clearly in the development of fortress states in Europe, the mythical "national indentity", "look after number one" all the way to the ethnic and religious divisions.

 

jk1921
Begging the Question

baboon wrote:

What breaks the impasse is the development of class struggle and the development of a class consciousness. The word "instinct", which been used above a couple of times to indicate an anti-immigrant bias existing within the working class, and the idea that goes along with it, doesn't explain very much about the present question of migration and refugees, as well as underestimating the bourgeoisie's campaign around it. Is the working class "instinctly" nationalist because it votes for nationalist parties in bourgeois elections? If the working class has any real instinct it's that of association, organisation and solidarity and it is this that has been consciously hammered by the ruling class, including within this present campaign.

 

I think this misses the point. I think, at least in the American case, that much of anti-immigration politics is driven by a kind of spontaneous anger in the broader working class about the decline in their living standards. This anger, while both stoked and exploited by the right-wing of the bourgeois political apparatus, is actually regarded as rather threatening and dangerous by the main factions of the ruling class, precisely because of the threat of leading to the kind of political outcomes Demo describes above. The "instinct" I refer to is the semi-conscious drive to defend one's living conditions from what is perceived as the immediate cause of the decline: mass immigration that drives down wages, depresses property values, changes the nature of neighborhoods and leads to cultural and social dislocation. To what extent this perception is real and to what extent it is fantasy can be debated--but I think it is wrong to see it all as an effect of bourgeois ideological manipulation, part of it derives from material factors staring real concrete workers in the eyes in their daily lives. That they blame immigration rather than capitalism as a whole should not be entirely surprising, but it is precisely this problem that Marxism has to grapple with and has always had to gapple with. In John Reed's words, "How do we make them want the whole damn revolution?" rather than some temporary half-measure within the system.

However, I think what doesn't explain much is to simply to posit the solution to this as "the development of the class struggle." That's just cheap boiler plate that doesn't attempt to grapple with the real problem. But more than that it is incoherent. Class struggle can't be both held back by bourgeois ideology, while at the same time it is the thing that transcends it. I am not sure if that is a tautology or just a contradiction, but whatever it is, it is problematic. We give such power to bourgeois ideology that it alone is what appears to keep the class struggle down but at the same time it almost appears as a nonproblem that the" development of the class struggle" will ultimately render superfulous. I am afraid it can't be both things simultaneously. The lack of the development of the class struggle is precisely what we have to try to understand.

Link
Don’t quite understand where

Don’t quite understand where JK is going here.  

I disagree that the contradiction between bourgeious ideology holding back class struggle and the capacity of class struggle to change society is a problem. It is this contradiction itself that can produce change and drive it forward.  What holds back class struggle is material conditions with capitalism as you say,  because workers work to protect their income and living standards but its not just that. It also the ideas that bourgeois society produces and nowadays such ideas like 'wrong to struggle, striking only hurts other workers, improved living standards must come from improved efficiency' have a great hold on everybody. 

Along with Baboon, I also disagree with the use of the word instinct to describe racism and anti-immigration etc.  It is certainly interesting to see how these ideologies take hold and envelope society, and it is likely to continue to be a major issue for some time now given all the failing states int he africa and asia.  However, itts not instinct because its not inherent, it’s a product of living within a national boundary where that national society believes it does things the right way and then of course foreigners do it differently and not as good.  The nation state is the core of capitalism’s organisational structure and nationalism is at root of these anti-anyone different ideas and is one of the very core ideologies that keep us tied to bourgeois society

Perhaps a problem here is this quote from John Reed. WE cant make them want a revolution.  That can only happen when THEY want it to and that is the class struggle against capitalism

Demogorgon
In response to baboon, I

In response to baboon, I don't think anyone is saying that working class is prejudiced in its essence. The point is that there are material and ideological factors in its situation in capitalist society (and in capitalist society in general) that can cause the spontaeneous development of prejudice. It's simply not the case that these reactionary prejudices only have life because the bourgeoisie pushes them through its propaganda networks.

 

I agree with JK that there is a material basis behind the power of reactionary ideologies in the working class at present that is not simply down to bourgeois manipulation. And, JK is right that not all factions of the bourgeoisie are entirely happy about the way it's going - let's not forget Gordon Brown, the bourgeois, who denounced (when he thought no-one was listening) the proletarian Mrs Duffy as a "bigot". Of course, as I mentioned above the whole bourgeoisie has an interest in fanning the flames of prejudices within the working class but the idea they create all these things ex nihilo is wrong, in my opinion.

 

However, I don't agree with the way JK poses the question of class struggle. Baboon is right to say that the class struggle is the answer here. He is right to say that "If the working class has any real instinct it's that of association, organisation and solidarity". Although he misses the problem that this instinct can, in fact, be diverted into nationalism, etc. it is nonetheless true that this fundamental essence of the proletariat is also the key to overcoming those barriers. Which leads us to JK's contradiction in the idea that "Class struggle can't be both held back by bourgeois ideology, while at the same time it is the thing that transcends it".

 

But this problem isn't a logical contradiction but a dialectical one located in the contradictory motion of the class struggle itself. The struggle always contains tendencies and counter-tendencies that continually wax and wane in their relative strengths. Just as there is a material basis for the reactionary ideologies present in the proletariat at the moment, there is also a material basis for producing the class consciousness that can respond and overcome these ideologies.

baboon
I think that jk raises valid

I think that jk raises valid questions regarding elements of the “migrant crisis” but think that there are significant differences over the way forward. I think that Link clarifies the situation regarding the class struggle and demo does the same.

Weighing up the objective and subjective factors can be difficult and that’s why it’s useful to have a more profound analysis that doesn’t get lost in dead-ends or details that we can’t pronounce on. Rosa Luxemburg gives us such an analysis in the “Junius Pamplet” because, among other things, she attacks this particular issue of a working class bent to the will of the bourgeoisie. She talks about the “intoxication” of the working class as it’s mobilised for war, it being in a “drunken sleep” and the stakes being either the “triumph of imperialism or the consciousness of the international proletariat”. She talks about how, before the outbreak of World War I, the bourgeoisie whipped up their populations into a “nationalist frenzy”, with violent mobs, pogroms, “the atmosphere of ritual murder.. that left the policeman on the corner as the only remaining representative of human dignity”.

The barbarity of capitalism is, in essence, exactly the same today as it was before and during the war that Luxemburg talks about and what she said still applies today not least about capitalism “wading in blood and dripping in filfh”: “War is methodical, organised, gigantic murder. But in normal human beings this systematic slaughter is possible only when a state of intoxication has been previously created. This has always been the tried and trusted method of those who make war. Bestiality of action must find a commensurate bestiality of thought and senses; the latter must prepare and accompany the former”. Luxemburg straightaway took great care to denounce the role and content of capitalist propaganda from all sides in mobilising the proletariat to fight against its interests.

Today, the bourgeoisie has refined its propaganda, lies, manipulation and repression way beyond previous levels. It even uses the effects of its own decomposition in order to attack any possible development of class consciousness. Orwell’s “1984” is very much valid, not just in its depictions of surveillance but the power that gives the bourgeoisie to manipulate thought and feelings – one big lie after another. But Orwell’s book still manages to underestimate the depth and the scope of the totalitarian state today.

Let’s take a recent example of where “base instincts” seemed to take over – the war in ex-Yugoslavia in the early 90’s. Here was bestiality and war in Europe that plumbed the depths of the “intoxication” of the mob, of depravity and blood-lust. Did these phenomenon come from some subjective factor within human beings that may loosely be called an instinct; an instinct to protect oneself at all costs, an instinct to attack an enemy or has the enemy already been created, has the ground already been laid, has the bourgeoisie quickly adapted to a developing situation (the breakdown of the bloc system) by defending its own particular interests? I believe the latter. It was the major powers, their imperialist impulses, their propaganda and their ideological covers which generated war in ex-Yugoslavia. You could say, with justification, that there was (and is) a political immaturity in the working class which allowed it to be fooled and mobilised behind various capitalist factions. But it was these and mainly the major capitalist factions that did the mobilising.

I think that it was the same for the “Arab Spring”. Political immaturity of the working class certainly, but after these significant events, revolts even, there was no vacuum. The bourgeoisie, imperialism, moved immediately again with a planned ideological cover in order to crush any semblance of revolt even if it meant backing and conjuring up the most regressive, barbaric forces. There’s no doubt that at the moment the bourgeoisie are very powerful but at the same time they are not complacent.