The shock of the new: anti-capitalism and the crisis
Posted: 27 March 12
In February of this year the Tory employment minister, Chris Grayling, launched an astonishing attack on the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) while live on national radio. Responding to a campaign against a government “workfare” scheme which puts unemployed people to work for no pay, Grayling claimed that the SWP were “part of a broader anti-capitalist trend on our society. Campaign groups are waging war very deliberately against big business”.1 The fact that the government were spooked enough by the campaign against workfare to say such a thing indicates that anti-capitalism is indeed back on the agenda.
The past 18 months have seen the transformation of anti-capitalist politics across the world. The period has given rise to a multiplicity of struggles: from the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to the movement of the indignados in Spain and the similar protests in Greece; from the student revolt in Britain to the rise of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) to the global explosion of occupations that took place after the 15 October day of action. Across the world battle lines were drawn in the popular consciousness of millions, in the terms first popularised at the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York, between, on the one hand, the “1 percent of the population [who] have ended up with all the benefits of the last ten years of economic growth, control the wealth, own the politicians”, and, on the other, everybody else: the 99 percent.2