David Cameron, seeking the high ground on behalf of his Cutback Coalition, postures a rose-tinted vision of “The Big Society”. But his velvet-glove soundbites hide an iron fist: “Cut Government Down to Size”, “Free People and Communities to Help Themselves” and “Involve Voluntary Organisations”. The Coalition offers seductive sounding phrases to soothe reaction to the ruling class’s next Big Leap Backwards.
But no amount of rhetoric can hide the fact or assuage fears that capitalism intends to remove yet more essential social fabric from our society that will make workers’ lives even more perilous.
Strip away the rhetoric and what is their project? In a nutshell, capitalism's dark age is to be deepened in some key ways. Huge cuts in public service for the long term. A further privatisation phase attacking schools, health provision, parks, libraries, post offices and beyond. The encouragement of the voluntary sector and philanthropy to displace state or council services (echoes of the Victorian mutual help schemes here - they've obviously read their history). The replacement of public service jobs having negotiated conditions of service by free or cheaper voluntary or private providers without negotiated conditions.
The Big Society rehearses unpalatable ideas under a “Big Lie”. Beneath the verbiage, it is a clear declaration of war. The Coalition wants to promote a last-ditch survival plan for dying capitalism whereby no countervailing opposition in the form of public services will be tolerated. In its senility, capitalism attempts to recreate in the 21st century the naked, raw, conditions from the 18th and early 19th century.
That harsh environment was found wanting, and failed, largely because British workers organised against it. For example, by the late 19th century, municipalisation pioneered the provision of public services across a range of socially necessary areas.
Today, we must take stock of what is happening, see its harm and act in our own interests. To do nothing is to invite greater and greater inroads into the quality of our lives. To do nothing is to welcome pauperisation, degradation and social misery on a scale not witnessed for centuries.
We must come together collectively to defend and enhance our jobs, our industries, our services, our conditions of service, our publicly organised provision, our pensions. We must come together and change our thinking. A protracted Battle for Britain is developing that will decide the future shape and nature of our country.
Workers are grappling with capitalism's absolute decline. Why accept or tolerate a moribund system that is intent on our destruction and demise? We must start to assert our needs; we must start to take mental and physical control of our land; we must start to refashion our economic and political landscape.
Our absolute ascendancy against their absolute decline. Workers do not need capitalism. We have all the skills and talents to run society without capitalists. Make them redundant!