We are in a class war. Working people have taken a hammering over the last few decades after some brief respite in the form of social democratic reforms following the Second World War.
Since we won the Welfare State and the NHS, there has been a gradual loss of our gains despite the occasional victory like the abolition of the Poll Tax. Since 2008 we have seen an astonishing level of cuts and demonising of the working class, the poor and those on benefits.
We now live in a world where capitalism rules virtually unfettered and this presents us with a dilemma. If we accept the present situation as inevitable, then we become slaves to the system. But if we don’t accept it what is our plan for change?
As an anarchist, I want a society not based on the hierarchy and power of the wealthy but one where we all have a stake. I want democracy extended so our voices matter. I want wealth and power to be shared amongst us all fairly.
I am the prospective parliamentary candidate for Class War in the Croydon South constituency. This is, of course, madness. It is one of the most Conservative constituencies in the country where they regularly get more than 50 per cent of the vote. On top of which, anarchists tend to consider liberal democracy as part of the problem. So why bother?
Well, no matter what vote the Tories get, I know that most people living in Croydon South work for that living. We’ve been badly served by politics. Just last week, I was part of a very small group from various political persuasions who turned up at the office of the present MP, Richard Ottaway, to hand him a petition on the Lobbying Bill. When he heard that so many people had arrived he got scared and phoned the police. He wouldn’t allow us in.
This tells us a lot about what can happen when the rich and over-privileged get power. They don’t see us as constituents to represent; they see themselves as above us to treat as they choose. After centuries of giving the arrogant stuffed shirts of Eton and Oxbridge a go at running the world, isn’t it time we started to take responsibility? It must be our turn now.
I’m not expecting a massive vote for Class War candidates but this gives us a chance to talk about freedom and equality. That’s anarchism for me. By bringing down the powerful and the rich, we can have some of that, share it out and thrive together. At the next election we can occupy the ballot box and set the agenda. We can challenge the powerful in as many constituencies as possible between now and then. We can show them that their time is over.
In doing so we can also show that politics doesn’t have to be a boring choice between the Tesco and Sainsbury parties. Alright, we all have our favourite supermarket, but basically they’re both the same. So it is with the Tories and Labour. The three main parties all want to run capitalism better. In Class War, we want to turn it upside down. Our policies will be about redressing the balance between the rich and the poor. They will be policies designed to strip power from the powerful.
All the main parties will claim to represent everyone while really representing the vested interests of their backers. The super-rich rule our politics, but we can change that. We can vote for something different. We can actually do what democracy was invented for and get into our public spaces to act politically.
Whenever a politician visits our towns we can mobilise and call them to account. When they knock on our doors, we should challenge them. Who funds them? What makes them think they can possibly represent us? We can tell them that we want to run the world now and their time is coming to an end. We want the powerful to realise that they’re being held to account. That will only happen if we get out there and challenge them.
That’s what Class War is all about. The ruling class started it and we, the people, will end it. If you are a Croydon South constituent and you don’t vote Tory, then you will be wasting your vote. You might as well waste it making a positive point for freedom and equality. If enough people do that we will be sending quite a message to those that aim to rule us.
- Jon Bigger tweets as @campaignbeard, and blogs at tradeonion