Humanity will soon reach a historic fork in the road, as happened in the 1930s, we will have two choices, democratic socialism or barbarism, and when future generations look back they will ask only one question of us. "Which side were you on?"
Most Marxist agree that capitalism is a system of booms and slumps, yet some comrades in the first decade of this century seemed to have lost the faith and got themselves into one hell of a slump when they fell for the end of history bullshit which was manufactured and widely propagated by the reactionary right's think tanks in the USA and then the UK.
Looking back over the history of capitalism there have been long historical periods when our socialist forbearers could have claimed socialism had been defeated as its immediate prospects on the national and international stage looked extremely bleak. Of course they didn't do so because they understood political struggle, like the capitalism we oppose is about highs and lows, or dare I say booms and slumps.
We win some we loose some and move on to the next stage. In the process we do not spread gloom and demoralisation by claiming the last phase of the struggle was pointless and doomed from the start, we see it in the historical epoch in which it took place, carefully analyse our own shortcomings and the over all strategy of our opponents, and learn the lessons and if we can, devise a strategy and the tactics which are necessary to move our struggle forward.
Today we are faced with much the same choices socialists have always faced, a form of socialism or barbarism, whether it be at home or abroad. But has this not always been so?
Like many Irish republicans who are our kith and kin, we are in the struggle for the long haul, when one door closes another opens and nowhere is this better demonstrated than in the world today.
It's true the organised labour movement in the UK has had a tough time over the last three decades when hard won rights were dismissed from the Statute book at a stroke of the law maker's pen, but it is far from defeated. The British trade union movement is still the largest membership organisation in the UK and the European Union with over six million members, and left socialist parties are bubbling to the surface throughout the EU although sadly not yet in England.
Indeed in Greece, Syriza may well become the government after the soon to be held general election and in a number of other EU countries emerging parties of the left are gradually and in some cases spectacularly gaining mass support.
In Ireland large sections of the electorate are not only willing to listen to socialist ideas but are increasingly turning to socialists to represent them in the parliamentary chambers, whether local or national. There is no better weather vane of this left turn than Sinn Féin and the Scottish National Party, which like all nationalist parties have a tendency to swing with the prevailing political wind. Today Sinn Féin has placed itself firmly on the socialist left and the SNP has introduced policies which would be acceptable to Labour Party left reformists if they were not draped in the Saltire.
In Germany the Left Party recently won control of a Länder (State) administration, and in Spain Podemos, led by Pablo Iglesias, which did not exist this time last year, according to the latest opinion poll would win over 28% of the vote if a General election was held today. The Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), once the bastion of the Spanish left would receive only 25.5% of the vote and the governing Popular Party slumps to just 20%.
The most important fact about both Syriza and Podemos is they are both led by charismatic leaders as indeed is Sinn Féin, and all of these left populist parties are attracting younger voters, many of whom have never voted before. Indeed a recent opinion poll published in the Observer found only a small percentage of young people in the UK would vote for parties of the right, whether they be the Tories, UKip or Liberal Democrats. I have no data for the rest of Europe but I would expect it to be little different there.
In South and central America left wing governments have been elected which have a form of socialism at their core. In nations like Venezuela, Bolivia, Uruguay and Brazil, as far as the masses are concerned socialism has become the common sense of the age.
It is hard to believe the fall of the USSR and its satellite states only happened in 1991, a mere 24 yeas ago, when many including some who should have known better claimed capitalism was invincible. If you consider the amount of excreta which was poured over the very idea of socialism in the years that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall, what is truly remarkable is how the idea of socialism has bounced back into the world's political consciousness. Rather than the end of history as some intellectual louts predicted we may well be on the verge of a new socialist epoch.
We are witnessing new generations coming to socialism, young people who have not experienced the defeats and setbacks we older folk witnessed in the last thirty plus years. Today capitalism is passing through one of its most arrogant and ignorant phases, the combination of which is always a recipe for revolutionary change.
Nevertheless all is not going to be plain sailing, one only has to witnessed the way the political, financial, and media elites have responded to the prospect of Syriza coming to power in Greece to understand the lengths they will go to see this does not occur. To maintain their power and wealth they will not hesitate in creating murder and mayhem if it achieves their aims. We need to remember these are the same people who trashed Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and who have over the last 30 years moulded their secret and judicial state into a formidable repressive machine . The left needs to be ever vigilant and above all else resist the temptation at the slightest setback to turn on our own. Now is the time to truly practise the old beards slogan, unity is strength.
Humanity will soon reach a historic political fork in the road, as in the 1930s we will again have two choices, democratic socialism or barbarism, and when future generations look back they will ask only one question of ours "Which side were you on?"