Capitalism today is not capitalism as Marx described it, over a century ago, and our economic system is the product of much evolutionary change relating to the political and financial situation in the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first century. Now in a new age of economic exploitation (I wrote a lot more about this in my previous entry), the antagonisms between the bourgeois and proletariat have changed character once more, and thus, revolutionary potential can be seen in several areas of the world that could have been glossed over by the Marxist intellectuals/communist movement several years ago.
Here’s a list I made of five countries (in no particular order) which, I believe will make the best candidates for future proletarian revolution. It’s judged on two things: which would be the most likely, and which would be the most strategically beneficial, in the name of advancing communism and spreading the revolution worldwide. There’s also an element of wishful thinking, hence why I included the UK, where I live, when other countries would probably have equal claim to that position (although in fairness, I was trying to keep it at five!) Feel free to comment and add to the list, and remember, this isn’t a complete assessment; it’s only representative of how I view the world today.
1. United Kingdom
A dwindling, yet still hugely prominent power in the western world, Britain contributes greatly to the network of international capitalism. From the industries of Wales, Scotland and the larger British cities to the overseas resources harvested by British companies, the signs of exploitation are clear. It’s also telling that many are surprised at the rigidity and profoundness of the UK’s class system, which still reflects that of an old capitalist power, despite the complicating effects of capitalism’s internationalisation. For example, it may surprise you that in 1996, a UN report revealed Britain to be the most unequal country in the western world, and a recent report (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/report-finds-that-britains-wages-are-the-most-unequal-in-europe-10259077.html) shows that the country’s wages are the most unequal in the EU.
There are those who argue that revolution isn’t possible in first world countries like the United Kingdom, but this isn’t true. What is certainly apparent is the fact that the country’s working class has shrunk and living/working standards have improved as the country grew more reliant on foreign exploitation, yet firstly, contemporary studies of our class system still reveal a large percentage of exploited individuals with a potentially rebellious character (evidence: the London and Birmingham riots of 2011) and secondly, the hoards of foreign workers who constitute a large percentage of Britain’s workforce should not be excluded from the revolution. If a communist movement was to take power, it should act on behalf of these people, and embrace their revolutionary potential.
If this was to occur, it would serve as a nail in the heart of the capitalist web.
The birthplace of Plato, Aristotle and Ptolemy has started to demonstrate significant potential for change after the financial crisis of 2007-8. One of the hardest-hit countries in Europe, Greece has already demonstrated signs of future revolutionary activity by the national radicalisation of their politics. Recently, a former communist was voted into power, showing not only the shift in views to extremes (something common in revolutionary situations), but a significant shift to the left. A neo-Nazi party with a fantastically sinister name (Golden Dawn) also did worryingly well in the recent election of early 2015, which also allows us to appreciate how desperate their situation is.
If real change was to happen as a result of such desperation, we may see something of a re-ignition in the Balkans. Greece, unlike Bulgaria, Hungary or Yugoslavia has never experienced communism, yet if fresh revolution was to establish a socialist Greek republic, it would be easily possible for such to spread and advance beyond the borders with Albania and Bulgaria, spurring revolutions across the whole of crisis-ridden Europe.
3. China (#2)
The revolutionary Maoist state is now one of the most exploitative and ruthlessly capitalistic nations on the planet. What began with reform and relaxation of communist policy resulted in the counter-revolutionary re-introduction of industrial exploitation, to the extent that the western powers now thrive on Chinese production, because they can get away with worse than they could at home. It’s time for the Chinese proletariat to realise they live under a pretence of a socialism, the reality being anything but. It’s time for a second 1949.
Not only would this be a highly valuable victory on the road to world revolution, given the huge potential China offers in the way of building and advancing communism, but it would help change the worldwide perception of the former. Today, many people with little knowledge of Marxism may happily take the view that China is a communist country. After all, it’s ruled by the Chinese Communist Party, it bears a red flag, and it’s officially known as the People’s Republic of China. But a second Chinese revolution will help to change this, and will hopefully allow people to appreciate the difference between genuine equality and masked exploitation.
India has, for centuries, been victimised by capitalism. Ever since the United Kingdom colonised the country, it was subject to imperialist exploitation in the interests of its colonists. Since the departure of the British, India found itself victimised by a new form of imperialism, with workers in sweatshops sewing clothes for western companies, their consumers in France, Britain and the United States happy to turn a blind eye. Now, the country is quickly rising as an advanced, capitalist power, yet the majority of its citizens live under the yolk of capitalism, impoverished by inequality.
Revolution in India would change the lives of over a billion people, and would transform the political landscape of South Asia, given the immense size and influence of the country. An advanced nuclear power with a space agency, one of the largest armies on the planet and a culture famous throughout the world, this country’s importance is obvious. In addition to this, a strong communist movement already exists in the country. I part with them ideologically as they are largely influenced by Maoism, but their presence nonetheless shows something remarkable: a people fighting back.
5. Russia (#2)
Russia existed for 74 years under communist rule, a world record in that regard. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, however, saw the national economy diverge, giving rise to both wealth and poverty in extremes. The oligarchy that now owns much of Siberia’s oil exists at the expense of many deprived citizens. According to Tim Marcin’s article on the ibtimes, the number of Russians living in poverty has topped twenty-two million (http://www.ibtimes.com/russia-poverty-critical-amid-western-sanctions-oil-price-dropping-2008577).
After the fall of communism, Putin has tried to fill the void by cultivating nationalism, but I don’t believe this solution will last in a country like this, with an economy driven by business elites, likely with government connections. A return of Bolshevism will also hopefully end the attitude of strict conservatism fuelled by the Eastern Orthodox Church, and I don’t know, but it seems right that when it comes to building socialism, 70 years of experience should make a difference. Lenin, the original founder of communist Russia, once said that ‘It is impossible to predict the time and progress of revolution’, yet nonetheless, I believe we can count this country a likely candidate for the next one.
Can we please add Yorkshire to the list?
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or swaziland, with its redundant copnstitutional monarchy, or Kenya where rampant corruption, and skyrocketing interest rates are squeezing the population, or Brazil, or Palestine.
Basically did you take a good look at the ‘Global South’ at all before writing this?
If Kenya, Swaziland, or Palestine turned communist the global impact would be minimal, so, whilst revolution may be likely in countries like these, they’d only fulfil my first criteria. Revolution in a country like Brazil may have a larger impact, but I was trying to limit the list at five.
Did you? In the global south there are four or five major socialist/Communist revolutions going on (Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia), in Latin America that you haven’t mentioned, or seem to be ignorant of, and at least two which have established left-wing governance (Nicaragua and Cuba)
This seems like an unnecessarily aggressive comment on the post
Thank you for your latest blog Max; hold on to the pebble. More mocha slices or Harri’s broken biscuits? Nana xx
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When considering the possibility of revolution you should also consider the culture and history of a country. The UK has never had a revolution and I don’t believe British society would support a revolution. There is the possibility of radical change via democratic means. If you haven’t read it you should read “A very British Coup” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Very_British_Coup
It describes the election of a left wing PM with views not dissimilar to Jeremy Corbyn. Could it happen?
Another really interesting article to read.
The U.K. has been pretty stable since Charles I… Perhaps it will take a lot more than two terms of a regressive government to see a change of this magnitude? But to see a serious improvement in equality of opportunity would be something indeed. Labour tried and failed to meaningfully alter on the last economic cycle when they had the chance.
Hang in there anonymous revolutionary.
I would like to know your take on quantitative easing and the reality of negative interest rates. Best Dn
Your aunt told me about your blog and about your situation. I’m clearly not quite in the same place as you ideologically, but you make some interesting arguments, and I just wanted to wish you all the very best at what must be a really difficult time. You are very brave.
Chris Grayling MP
Leader of the House of Commons.
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