Do we need a revolution?

As Russell Brand hits the headlines…… do we need a revolution?

Socialist Student meetings in Portsmouth and Southampton


Thursday 4 December,
4pm:    Room 4, upstiars, Portsmouth Uni Students Union
7.3pm: Avenue Campus, Highfield Road, Southampton

Do you agree with Russell Brand’s call for
revolution?
When Russell Brand first said last year
that none of the main parties were worth voting for he was vilified from all
sides. Commentators and celebrities were dragged up one by one to criticise
this ‘childish’ stance. Britain has a long and proud history of democracy they
said, you get to make your choice every five years and you should be happy with
that. How dare this upstart point out that for most people there is no choice
at all?
But his mistrust of out-of-touch
politicians, uninterested in the lives of ordinary people, is shared by
millions of people. Turnouts in elections had been falling long before he
appeared on Newsnight. It was his call for revolution as the alternative that
really struck a chord with many. Revolution is now the title of his latest book
which is flying off the shelves.
Is it any wonder that people are looking
for a different way of running society when capitalism offers them so little?
The cosy club of politicians Brand described will get an 11% pay rise next
year, their reward for picking the pockets of the working class and helping the
rich get richer. No such luck for the rest of us, more than one in five aren’t
even paid the living wage.
That’s here in Britain, a rich country –
in most of the world things are even worse. Capitalism has developed such
inequality that just 85 billionaires own as much wealth as the poorest half of
humanity combined. The world is stumbling toward an environmental disaster but
the profits of the rich are still being put first.
Young people
The list of reasons why the call for
revolution has found an echo is endless. It has been clearest among young
people who will be the first generation worse off than their parents, with
restricted access to education, work and housing. With capitalist crisis
revealing once again the failures of this system it is no surprise that people
are looking for an alternative.
We’ve seen many of the gains our parents’
and grandparents’ generations won being taken away. Reforms like the welfare
state and the NHS had been seen by some as steps in a gradual but unstoppable
march towards greater equality and better living standards for all.
But the efforts of big business and the cabal
of politicians that represent them to destroy so much of what we hold dear has
proved that, while their capitalist system remains in place, they will stop at
nothing to boost their profits at our expense. While we campaign hard for every
possible improvement in the lives of ordinary people, only revolutionary change
can make a lasting difference.
Knowing that things don’t have to be like
this is an important first step to making a difference. Brand’s comments may
have moved revolution up the agenda in Britain but they said less about what it
would look like or how it could be achieved.
Socialist alternative
We stand for a completely different type
of society – socialism. The biggest businesses that dominate the economy would
be taken into public ownership, meaning the wealth created by workers belongs
to society as a whole, rather than being sucked up into the pockets of the 1%.
Rather than have unelected bosses choosing
whether or not to invest based on what makes them the biggest profit, we could
democratically plan the economy to meet the needs of people and planet.
Workers have the power to make this
change. The capitalists play no useful role in society, they are entirely
dependent on the work that we do to make their money.
Need for a party
A glimpse of the potential power of
ordinary people was shown in the revolutions of the ‘Arab Spring’, where
dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt were overthrown in 2011.
But this also showed the need for us to be
organised and united. A revolutionary party that was clear and consistent about
what was needed could have helped resist the siren calls of those saying it was
only this-or-that leader and not the system that needed changing.
If you agree with the need to change
society then the next step is to get active and do something about it. We’re
out campaigning every day, making the ideas of revolution relevant and real by
linking them to the demands for a better standard of living, the defence of our
NHS, the fight for decent housing, pay and pensions, etc.
So don’t just get angry at the news or
throw your hands in the air, wishing things would change, get out there and
make a difference and join the fightback!

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