Socialist Worker

Break power of rich to win real change

Issue No. 2684

Challenges to the status quo can feed resistance

Challenges to the status quo can feed resistance (Pic: Guy Smallman)

The ruling class and its hangers on threw everything at Jeremy Corbyn in the run-up to the general election.

Right wing newspapers ran screaming front pages calling him a Marxist who would wreck Britain.

Bosses threatened to use their economic weight to sabotage a Labour government.

Billionaire founder of Phones4U John Caudwell said, “Nearly every wealthy person I know is thinking of leaving, including me, if Labour get in.”

Meanwhile, the National Grid and SSE Energy set up offshore firms to avoid renationalisation under a Corbyn government.

The furious reaction gave a glimpse of how capitalist societies really work.

We are told that we live in democracies where we all have a stake in the system and the state protects us all equally.

In fact, the system makes a tiny handful of people obscenely rich and powerful at our expense.

The state and its institutions—the cops, judiciary, army and spooks—protect the smooth running of capitalism.

They back up the unelected bosses, bankers, media chiefs and billionaires, who hold real power in society.

For all the talk of democracy, this ruling class will use its power to influence elections, undermine votes, destabilise and even overthrow governments.


Corbyn had proposed policies such as nationalising industries. This isn’t outlandish. Every major industry in Britain has been run by the state at some point.

Yet the bosses howl at any suggestion that the current set-up could be tilted even a fraction in favour of ordinary people.

This is because they know that any challenge to the status quo, however mild, can tap into a wider discontent and feed resistance.

Millions of people are disconnected and alienated from society because it doesn’t work for them, and not just in Britain.

Across the world, mainstream parties are collapsing because they have made people’s lives worse.

Sometimes right wingers can gain from this.

But there is also a wave of revolt—from Latin America to the Middle East—that is demanding radical changes. In France we’ve seen mass strikes and protests.

Capitalism doesn’t just mean an elite getting richer while our lives get harder. The drive for profit means our rulers repeatedly use racism and sexism to divide us.

It means people starve while “too much” food is produced, and others are slaughtered in wars waged to protect our rulers’ interests. And it threatens climate catastrophe.

But working class people have the power and the numbers to take on the bosses and create a socialist system run for people not profit.

To win a better world means focusing on resistance on the ground and being prepared to take on the ruling class.

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