Dousing the fires: On the crisis of hegemony, the forthcoming war of manoeuvre, and how only love can win this war
Part Four: Predicting the next 12-24 months: an outright war of manoeuvre begins
As usual, you can listen to this blogpost here…
In the previous article (three of five), I offered evidence for how neo-liberalism is dead as a functioning ideology able to construct a hegemonic order and for how dramatic the leftward shift in the ideological landscape in the UK has been in recent months and even weeks. I am now going to do something possibly bold, probably foolish. I will offer a prediction of what I think will happen in the next 12 to 24 months. This prediction is based on my understanding of the history of capitalist crises and of hegemony.
I now see very little chance of the Conservative Party surviving the next 12 months. As I stated above, it is now faced with a dire choice. It can choose to try to out-Labour Labour. This will be received with even more cynicism than previous Labour attempts to out-Tory the Tories. Even if the Tory government continues with the government spending/social justice talk, it cannot walk the walk. To do so would be to betray its own structural interests and the interests of its capitalist backers. The events of this day of writing, 28th June, exemplify this. Under pressure from Corbyn, senior Tory ministers suggested the 1% cap on public sector pay would be reviewed this Autumn only for the Prime Minister’s office to deny this just hours later! This exposes both the practical impossibility of a leftward shift in policy and the complete chaotic confusion of the Tories right now. The second choice is doubling down on the politics of fear. This is the only feasible path. The problem is that, as the election revealed, the politics of fear is only successful in the absence of the politics of hope. Nonetheless, it is far too early to pronounce the death of the politics of fear just yet for two main reasons. First, the politics of hope is far easier to deliver convincingly when in opposition than when in government. Second, a new major economic recession could swiftly recreate potent conditions for a far more dangerous, outright fascist politics of fear. Both of these conditions are, I believe, going to materialise quite soon.
A progressive government faces the maelstrom
Whether provoked by a new financial market crash, economic recession, Brexit talks collapse, mass protests, Grenfell Tower fallout, or another unpredictable event, I believe that the Conservative government will collapse probably well within two years. In its place, a Labour majority or Progressive Alliance coalition government will be elected. This new government, with Corbyn as its Prime Minister, will then face the combined wrath and power of the British state and corporate and financial elites determined to crush it and all support for it.
The first mechanism in this reaction will be an orchestrated financial markets crash. The pound will be attacked; bond markets will raise the rate at which the UK government can borrow to rates comparable to Greece and Italy; if the new government ends the supposed ‘independence’ of the Bank of England and reins in quantitative easing, there may be a renewed credit crunch; the housing market will crash as foreign owners and buy-to-let landlords sell up. City banks, who have threatened leaving in the wake of Brexit, will start to actively move out of London. At the same time, many multi-national corporations will follow suit. As the financial crash shifts into the real economy, we will see major job losses and house repossessions. A serious economic and social crisis will unfold. This will all take place within months (weeks probably) of the new government coming to power.
With the right-wing press (and BBC too) shouting ‘we told you so!’ and decrying the predictable chaos of socialist governance and economics, the state will also move against the government. We know already that Jeremy Corbyn and other prominent left-wing politicians like Caroline Lucas have been surveilled by undercover police for years. We know also that, soon after Corbyn’s election as Labour leader, senior military figures suggested the possibility of a military coup were he to be elected Prime Minister. When one joins the British Army, one swears an oath of allegiance not to the British people or its democracy, but solely to the monarch.1 The police swear a more progressive version, but, still, their first promise is to serve the Queen. Rest assured, the armed forces will make moves to uphold their oath. They will work with the police to sew ferment. This will begin with infiltrating and supporting nazi gangs to wreak havoc and will escalate to the funding, training, and arming – Northern Ireland style – of paramilitary groups. We cannot also exclude Islamist terrorist attacks, either genuine or state-created, further fanning the flames of hatred and division. Politically, there may be a split in the Conservative Party with a new far right nationalist alliance between Tories and UKIP forming and leading the political wing of this reactionary insurgency.
With regard to the mainstream media, they will, of course, denounce the new government as Britain and freedom-hating Stalinists and terrorists, of course. More insidious by far will be the social media strategies. We know that billionaires like Peter Thiel and Robert Mercer fund, develop, and utilise operations like Cambridge Analytica to manipulate us. With the election of a progressive government, this will develop into full-blown psychological warfare.
We can expect all this, then – a full-blown economic crisis generated partly by the inevitable bursting of bubbles reflated by desperate capitalist fiscal and monetary policy since 2008, but timed intentionally by the ruling class to bring chaos to the new government. This will be exacerbated by the full conniving wrath of the corporate, military, policy, and media sectors.
How can we overcome and emerge victorious from this crisis, from this war? This is the question I address in the fifth and final part of this series. I will set out a four-fold framework for the democratisation of power and the empowerment of democracy underpinned by the principles of radicalism and love.
Thank you so much for reading.
Solidarity and love,
1‘I (your name), swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors and that I will as in duty bound honestly and faithfully defend Her Majesty, her heirs and successors in person, crown and dignity against all enemies and will observe and obey all orders of Her Majesty, her heirs and successors and of the generals and officers set over me.’ See http://www.whodareswins.com/british-army-oath-of-allegiance.html