The other day I was thinking about revolution, reading Herbert Marcuse:
The need for freedom, which spontaneously appears in social revolution as an old need, is stifled in the capitalist world.In a society such as ours, in which pacification has been achieved up to a certain point, it appears crazy at first to want revolution. For we have whatever we want. But the aim here is to transform the will itself so that people no longer want what they now want..
Up until very recently i would have agreed with him on all points- yes, a handful of people had the insight to know that society could be better rebuilt along new lines for the benefit of the majority, but the majority themselves remained ignorant of this fact.
But what about this transformation of the will? Why should we want a revolution? life is surely comfortable? Yes, the impulse to break down the extant social system and start again is as old as the concept of society itself, but it is never a choice, a luxury. Revolution is born out of necessity, and circumstances themselves will bring about the change of desires to which Marcuse refers. The old order will disassemble itself- and the process has begun. Durutti's assumption that the bourgeoisie might blast and ruin its own world before it leaves the stage of history will prove to be true. The current system is busy digging its own grave...
We need not, as Lucy Parsons said, arm the tramps to kill the rich, or destroy the avenues in which they live. They will take care of that themselves...
But when the current milieu becomes intolerable for the mass of people, they will abandon their lives of quiet desperation in favour of action.
Already the old foundation for people’s thinking is being destroyed. This beginning of the "leap in the subjective" provides the conditions in which preparations for political revolution must be made.
The convulsions that have shaken capitalism over the last few months are the beginning of its death throes. Can we imagine the circumstances under which revolution becomes a necessity? Will it be mass poverty, mass unemployment,the collapse of the the welfare state, an ever widening chasm between the haves and the have nots, real hunger on the blacked out streets where now we are sitting comfortably obese in front of our plasma screens and wiis?
So what if the banks go bust?
So what if governments go bust in their ever more ludicrous efforts to bail out the banks and patch up the rotten old boat of capitalism?
A world of temporary want and chaos is nothing to fear. Remember the words of Durutti-
It is we the workers who built these palaces and cities ...We, the workers, can build others to take their place. And better ones! We are not in the least afraid of ruins. We are going to inherit the earth; there is not the slightest doubt about that... We carry a new world here, in our hearts. That world is growing this minute.
The collapse of capitalism and the resultant revolution is inevitable. We have to be as prepared as we can for this.
As Lucy Parsons wrote: Anarchists know that a long period of education must precede any great fundamental change in society, hence they do not believe in vote begging, nor political campaigns, but rather in the development of self-thinking individuals.
That's not to say that there's nothing to be done except read- constant tapping breaks the stone, and the shaky old wreck is ready to be pushed over...