Watch and witness or march and agitate

As a life-long socialist, I thought the world capitalist meltdown in 2008 would swiftly arouse workers the world over to bring on the Revolution.

As a life-long socialist, I thought the world capitalist meltdown in 2008 would swiftly arouse workers the world over to bring on the Revolution.

As an historian, I should have known better, and be prepared for a long slow upwelling when provocations against ordinary people by the ruling class and its governments would bring a series of crises that might, or might not, end a global economy that cannot even manage to keep food supply affordable for millions.

Loss of their homes and jobs in the mortgage and credit failures that started on Wall Street; then world-spanning finance and stock market disasters; then huge public debt loads taken on by government to bail out banks and corporations; then draconian cuts to social programs in “developed nations” — are theoretical (Marxian) reasons for the people of rich nations to be raising their class consciousness against the elites.

No nation of the developed world has escaped, though Greece, Ireland, and France have been notable cases.

And all the while, the human agents causing these catastrophes are untouchable or unknowable, and were soon back in business, posting record profits and pushing markets past the 12,000 point level.

Will ordinary folks be upset enough to rebel? Maybe not. But now the American elite offer one more insulting injury to their workers by beginning to roll back the rights of collective bargaining in states like Wisconsin and Ohio. The “system is broken” said a Republican governor. “We have to end public debt. Workers cannot expect things to be fixed without some suffering.” When have the rich ever suffered in the messes they foist upon the rest of us?

Arabs in revolt against regimes much less democratic than America’s are inspiring Americans and other Westerners to stand up against their rulers. The People are not asleep after all.

Watch, witness, observe and conclude from your armchair, or march, agitate, organize and mobilize outside with thousands of other angry people — you and I are privileged to live at this moment in time, to see the trembling of a planet-killing system on the verge of transformation.

May something better come from the violence that is gestating now.

Charles Jeanes, Nelson