Although a loose coalition of anarchist hooligans may have initiated the recent frenzy and violence in Britain, socialist organizations are now attempting to capture the student protests and use them as a pretext for wider social unrest. This, probably far more real threat has, however, gone unnoticed by the mainstream media.
The lack of official comment is far from unusual, and must be accredited in part to the sympathy of the Left-leaning media and politicians. Notably, two member of the "democratic socialist" Labour Party have lauded the rioters via Twitter. MP John McDonnell commented that it "just shows what can be done when people get angry. We must build on this;" while fellow party member MP Alex Cunningham tweeted: "Well done our students – thousands outside the office getting stuck into the LibDem / Tory government."
Cunningham was referring to the first protest, in which anarchists attacked the Conservative Party HQ, Millbank Tower. Windows were smashed with hammers, metal bars, and sticks. [God! If the EDL ever came close to this level of political violence – it would be immediately banned! The BBC, for one, is remembering its own student days in the 1960s and after.] Ceiling fixtures were pulled down. Walls were sprayed with graffiti. After which students poured into the building, with some reaching the rooftop. One of these protestors then threw a fire extinguisher, which missed a number of police by only a few feet as it crashed to the ground several stories below.[Still not as bad as the EDL, eh?] By the end, seven police needed hospital treatment due to the sustained attack.
Despite the coalition government's attempt to cut benefits, Britain remains a welfare state. There are families in Britain in which no one has worked for three generations; and those who decide that they cannot afford a college education will have no problem in collecting welfare checks. Clearly three things need to happen: Cuts need to be made; the mentality of the welfare state needs to be recognized as out of touch with current reality; and aspiration needs to be encouraged.
A few weeks ago rioters again showed their contempt for Britain and its values, tearing Union Jack flags down from the Cenotaph, spraying it with graffiti, and urinating on a statue of Winston Churchill. The mob – some of them wearing black balaclavas – set fires in the centre of London and attacked police, throwing bottles of urine and sticks. As one Daily Mail reporter put it: "Every symbol of government or establishment became a target. Anything to hand became a missile." [Still not as bad as EDL violence – because that’s ‘far right’, isn’t it?]
A number of rioters broke away from the main protest, and made for London's West End, an affluent and busy area known for its shopping and nightlife. There they were able to attack the car of Prince Charles (heir to the British throne) and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, as it passed through the area. Rioters – who were chanting "off with their heads" – kicked and threw paint bombs at the vehicle, fracturing two of its windows. Although they were only seconds from drawing their guns, protection officers were able to get the car away from the mob, and out of the area, without using force. Nevertheless, Camilla appeared to be visibly shaken by the attack.
Although this Greek-styled riot was one of the most violent, Britain has been experiencing them since November, when the first student protest against a proposed rise in university tuition fees collapsed into chaos. The Daily Mail noted that "Militants from far-Left groups [had] whipped up a mix of middle-class students and younger college and school pupils into a frenzy," and pointed to the presence of animal rights activists and one member of Class War. It later suggested that Anti Cuts Action, Students for Climate Change and Counterfire had also participated in the riots, although it failed to note that a flag in one of the photographs it published was that of the violent, self-described "anti-fascist" group Antifa.
Although there are good arguments both for and against raising the tuition fees, the violence that has blighted the UK for more than a month is not the spontaneous outburst of disgruntled students, but the coordinated efforts of anarchists and socialist organizations.
A special publication of the Socialist Worker cites the attacks on the car of Charles and Camilla, the Treasury and the Supreme Court without the slightest hint of condemnation. (It instead appears to revel in the turbulence.) The reader is also informed that "Most of what happened was the result of independent organization, not 'official' protest from the [National Union of Students]." By "independent organization" the organ appears to imply that the Socialist Workers Party was behind, or at least, connected to the chaos.
The party is well aware that the issue of tuition fees can be manipulated to create unrest in the UK. This, they hope, will cause the government to collapse, giving them an opportunity to establish a socialist state. As the Socialist Worker remarks:
[I]f the revolt develops, the Tories and lib Dems can be blown away like the scum they are. […] We need bigger numbers to win. And we need the social power of workers to guarantee victory. […] That will be the most effective preparation for the battles to come.
Prime Minister David Cameron has made one of his more forceful statements, calling the anarchy "completely unacceptable." There is, he said, "a right to protest peacefully […], but there is not a right to go on the streets of London, wanting to pursue violence and smashing up property […] it is no good to say this was just a very small minority – it was not – there were quite a number of people who were clearly were there wanting to pursue violence and destroy property." If Cameron is correct, then it is possible that the agitators are guilty of offences under the Terrorist Act 2000, which defines terrorism as the use or threat of action "designed to influence the government" possibly involving "serious damage to property," risking public safety or endangering the life of someone other than the perpetrator. [Still, the minor offences at EDL demos are much worse and treated in such a way by almost all the press. Why does the extreme left get it so easy from the BBC and the rest? I wonder.]
The recent student protests have attracted thousands of people; considering the large scale, it was probably unavoidable that a number of people intent only on behaving violently would emerge within them. It would be one thing, as well, if the socialist groups had intended merely to protest peacefully, with a few of their members going against the spirit. This is not what happened.
Looking at the websites of socialist organizations, one discovers that they have grasped the potential of exploiting the anger and frustration of students. [As per usual? Nothing changes.] Their immediate intention is to draw in other groups – workers first of all – to initiate wider social unrest.
John Rees of the Marxist-Islamist alliance called the Stop the War Coalition showed up to one protest, calling it "a decisive battle" and "a decisive test between a new mass movement and the Con-Dem government", while The Socialist Worker – the organ of the Socialist Workers Party – has literally called for "a wider revolt." Linking the "student revolt" to a number of the party's other issues, and its ultimate aim of a socialist society, it tells us that:
Everywhere there are people who back the student revolt, hate racism, support workers fighting back and want a socialist society.
Everywhere there has been struggle over the last month individuals or groups raised the idea of a fight, learned quickly how to organize, and won others to resist. They need to get together.
Elsewhere, apparently to laud the expansion of the protests, we are told "what a revolutionary socialist political party is about. It is an organized and democratic group of people who discuss, debate and then move into united practice."
In Marxist theory, such "practice" is referred to as "praxis," of which the above statement is a virtual textbook definition. As Marxism aims at changing, rather than merely interpreting the world, theory exists as justification for action, including violent revolution. "Praxis," in this sense, as "the use or threat [of action] made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause" is also illegal under terrorist legislation.
Although newspapers have failed to comment on the abundance of socialist party flags, the appearance of these organizations is clear from photographs that have been published, and from looking on militant Left-wing blogs, where there is an even greater wealth of evidence.
Although he is in the US, Nicolas Niarchos was able to describe the scene at the city of Oxford for the Huffington Post:
The Socialist Workers Party posters posted over the glass of the ground floor windows clashed more than just a bit with the architecture of the Radcliffe Camera. Student protesters from the Occupied Oxford group seized control of James Gibbs's 1748 Palladian masterpiece last week, hanging red banners from the second floor and barring the doors to police. They were eventually dragged out by police after a two day siege. [Pure second-rate leftist theatre.]
Students have "occupied" classrooms and parts of educational institutions at Exeter, Newcastle, Leeds, and Camden in London, although members of Socialist Students and the "international socialist youth organization". Revolution are known to be among, if not leading, them in some cases.
At one demonstration a few days ago, a member of Revolution addressed the crowd; he admitted that "We are not just fighting for education rights… when we march down to Parliament we are marching alongside workers, the unemployed and pensioners, [and] everyone who stands to lose under this government." [We will support any group which will do our dirty work.] On its website, Revolution makes it clear that its agenda is "to bring down Cameron] and Clegg's millionaire coalition and replace it with socialism."
In a special publication, Revolution clearly articulates its strategy for initiating a socialist revolution in Britain. Illustrated with photographs of Lenin, and comparing the current "struggle" with that of the Bolsheviks, the publication states that "A revolution means the use of force [author's italics] to end capitalism because no ruling class in history has ever given up power peacefully." Socialist revolutionaries have understood for some time that terrorist legislation, enacted over the last decade, means that they skirt very close to the law. Under the Terrorist Act 2006, it is an offence to glorify even past acts of terrorism, if "a suggestion that what is being glorified is being glorified as conduct that should be emulated in existing circumstances." Revolution's propaganda seems to fit the bill quite neatly.
Revolution aims at "the smashing of the capitalist state (which includes the police, the prisons and the judges) and their replacement by mass democratic bodies of workers and young people." In Russia, these "bodies" were known as "soviets" (councils).
The British-based socialist organization aspires to create a party composed of "the best militants," and to place "Revolutionary militants […] in every workplace and community" to act as the vanguard of the revolution. As Marxists, the notion of praxis lies at the heart of Revolution's ideology:
We need to organize the best activists around a program – a physical, democratically agreed document – for turning resistance into revolution against the state and the capitalist system.
The document will, apparently, call for "broadening out the struggle" by linking student protests to "all workers getting hammered by the cuts." "This strengthens our resistance and can link the power of the workers with the energy and militancy of young people."
The militant Left is adept at temporarily adopting whatever causes suit its real aims of establishing socialist uniformity. Having formed working alliances with Islamists over the last decade, socialist organizations were instrumental in organizing the violent "anti-Zionist" demonstrations of January 1999, during which Britain saw an unprecedented rise in anti-Semitic attacks. Divisions in society, they recognize, can be exploited for political purposes.
Revolution and the Socialist Workers Party have both adopted the usual disguises of "anti-fascism" and "anti-Zionism." Revolution recently, accused Israel of "massacring" the flotilla "freedom activists", and (although rejecting its "reactionary" program) vocally supported the genocidal anti-Semitic terrorist organization Hezbollah and the "Islamic Resistance" in the 2006 war with Israel, or "the Zionist state."
In addition, there are serious problems with Britain's welfare state. Public spending skyrocketed to unsustainable levels under Britain's previous "democratic socialist" Labour government, ousted in the May elections. With the economy having declined in recent years, the coalition government (comprised of the Conservative and Liberal Democrats parties) has had to make some stark choices about how to balance the budget, and what government spending to cut first.
Also in May of this year, after the government of Greece announced widespread spending cuts, aimed at averting economic collapse, riots broke out in its major cities.
With an estimated 60,000 taking to the streets, and socialists and masked black-clad anarchists attacking police, the Euro plummeted, and the European Union was in crisis.
The range of benefits available to UK citizens (and, in many cases, to non-citizens as well) is generous. With an aging population and a declining economy they have also become unaffordable.
The Conservative Party proposed cutting unemployment benefits during the election period; and since then, has been looking at potential cuts in housing benefits. The child benefit allowance will also be scrapped by 2013 for families where one parent is earning more than 44,000 pounds sterling (nearly 70,000 US dollars) a year. Few Americans could conceive of those in this earnings bracket still being able to claim benefits, let alone that the proposed scrapping for higher earners should meet with opposition.
With stories regularly turning up in the press about parents of large families unable to afford to work, as a reasonable middle class salary cannot match benefits in some cases, the British public has largely grasped that cuts are necessary. Although no doubt believing that these are a way for "capitalists" to dominate the "bourgeoisie," many people also sees the cuts as an opportunity for militancy.
Trade unions threatened Greek-style strikes in May, at the prospect of a loss of public sector jobs, and have been keeping up the pressure ever since. In September there emerged the prospect of coordinated strikes by immigration officers, firemen, teachers, and trash collectors – a move that could potentially see the UK return to the situation of the 1970s, when widespread strikes, led by militant Marxists, plunged the UK into literal darkness, with frequent blackouts, trash piled up along the streets, and army fire engines and soldiers on the streets (standing in for striking firemen).
Many in England seem to hope to recreate the scene, and have seized on Britain's financial situation to create mayhem in Britain's cities. Their opportunity came this month when the government proposed to allow universities almost to triple their current annual fees to 9,000 pounds sterling (approximately 14,000 US dollars). The measure was subsequently passed in Parliament 323 to 302.
Fiscal conservatives may be applauding the government, which will continue to lend students money to cover the fees (although interest rates will be raised), and which has pledged to help poor students. The middle classes will have to fend for themselves.
Americans are used to having to save for their children's education, perhaps twenty years in advance. The British, however, in a trade-off made several generations back, have been told that their high rate of taxes pays for public services, from which they and their children can benefit.
Britain was not alone in this: other EU member states continue to have lower or no university tuition fees. Universities in Scotland and Wales (which, with England and Northern Ireland, make up the United Kingdom) will also be exempt from the fees hike.
British and other EU citizens studying at a university in Scotland will not have to pay any fees. In Wales they will be charged only 3,200 pounds.
The discrepancy within the UK is made possible by the Barnett Formula, which allocates higher subsidies to Scotland and Wales. This has meant that some expensive medical procedures that must be paid for in England (and are unaffordable to many English people) are free for those who live elsewhere in the UK. About 90% of the population lives in England, however; and, despite their taxes subsidizing Scotland and Wales, English students may end up with debts of more $40,000, while those in other parts of the country may have either no or substantially smaller debts. Sound fair?
University education was one of the previous Labour government's big themes. Young people were encouraged to go to college – even for often worthless degrees – as this kept unemployment figures down. The sales pitch is familiar: the rise of China and mass immigration (which has transformed Britain over the last decade) would not adversely affect the educated. As high earners, they might even benefit from inexpensive imported nannies and gardeners.
The beliefs of these socialist organizations might be absurd, but apart from endangering the public and the police, their "demonstrations" might eventually negatively impact the UK's economy and hollow out its international reputation. With a long record of supporting Islamists (including terrorist groups such as Hezbollah), provoking violence on the streets of Britain, and with the expressed intention of fomenting "wider revolt" and "revolution," is it not high time that the coalition government recapture the rule of law and call these subversive organizations to account