With the looters and against the left
“We are not involved in the looting and unlike the knee-jerk right or even the sympathetic-but-condemnatory commentators from the left, we will not condemn or condone those we don’t know for taking back some of the wealth they have been denied all their lives.”
- North London Solidarity Federation
“This is counter-productive behaviour whose only results will be division amongst working-class communities and an excuse for the state to step up its use of force.”
- Post on the blog of UK libertarian socialist group the Commune
“It is not for communists to condemn the riots. They are a sign of capitalism’s crisis and decay. Neither do we romanticise the riotous act as an effective form of struggle against capitalist exploitation.”
- Internationalist Communist Tendency
The potential for communism today is not centered in the orderly struggles of well off minorities of the class to defend their privileges against encroaching restructuring. Struggles all too often draped in national flags, defined by whiteness and speaking in the discourse of democracy. The coming social revolution will not be an orderly civil affair resolved upon by a majority vote in Syntagma or any other square peacefully occupied by the indignant and naive.
No on the contrary our hope for the future lies in the real majority of the class which is excluded, unemployed, precarious, malnourished, and “criminal”. Not in the hopeless demands of unionized workers for the restoration of a lost social contract or in populist movements for reform which take the moral high ground on a terrain defined by the mass media and petty bourgeois notions of what is “respectable”.
The systematic looting and destruction which has swept England is of course completely insufficient in and of itself for the development of autonomous proletarian politics. It is however a thousand times preferable to the demands for democracy which buried the Arab Spring in a cosmetic restructuring of the state. The mass appropriation of Nikes and Iphones without explanation or justification is like any struggle for higher wages and fewer hours of work a direct assertion of the material needs of the class-and as such immeasurably closer to the living content of communist politics then any nationalist and reformist movement with a “coherent” message.
Those who identify more with the vigilante gangs of the petty-bourgeois defending their small enterprises (where proletarians are exploited, humiliated and cheated everyday), then with working class youth carrying out the dictatorial expropriation of the social wealth show clearly that they are not revolutionaries but cops in waiting-and should be treated accordingly.