In a recent article, for Bright Green Scotland, I discussed the problems regarding the union movement/labour movement reconciling with the Green movement. On reflection, there is something else that helps these two, sometimes contradictory movements, come together; that being the need for different movements and groups to organise collectively in the face of the current social, political and economic challenges.
Too often, these cuts and policies are framed as examples of a solely class war; the traditional proletariat vs. the bourgeoisie (which foes have merit, however). Whilst, the poorest are set to be the most unfairly affected (the only ones above them are the very, very rich – who wont notice the difference) it is important to remember the policies will affect the middle class too (especially when it comes to things such as university funding) and many other different groups.
The point being the need for an inclusive and pluralistic collective resistance. The cuts wont just undermine the poor (whilst this should be a central focus); also, protesting on the basis that it is solely class war misses the point that there are many out there, who even if not being affected as much as others, still don’t think it is fair. Furthermore, it is clearly a gender war (something I have been pleasantly surprised to see highlighted at recent protests). It is of course also an environmental war; as the government sells off invaluable forests and land to private companies, invests in nuclear and turns its back on renewable energy whilst putting a lousy £1bn into a Green Investment Bank. It is also a disability war, as the government sets about cutting the DLA (note: not an out of work benefit per se), changing incapacity claimants to the detrimental ESA and failing to change social, economical and political barriers (which DLA helps with) whilst prioritising the demand side.
People within these groups and others are set to be seriously affected by the government’s proposals. Thus, there is a need to make sure that the resistance to the cuts is not framed by an exclusive class analysis shaped by Marx’s production critique (whilst being of valuable importance) in neglect of other equally important problems. The need to recognise difference and redefine the movement to provide for collective resistance has never been more important.
This is something that movements such as the Coalition of Resistance needs to consider when they form their campaigns and movements. It is something the TUC have to bare in mind whilst planning their national strike for March 26th. The problems that groups from all sectors of society, including the middle class, need to be considered as well. Of course, the working class need to be central to concerns, especially seeing as the welfare cuts will disproportionately punish them for something they haven’t done, in the name of benefit fraud that actually costs only £1.5bn, not £5bn as so wrongly reported.
An inclusive movement is essential for collective resistance. I take the anarchist line regarding the need for collective emancipation and self liberation; a society needs to have a collective movement who’s organisational structures are not determined by traditional bureaucratic lines, it needs to focus upon liberation of people’s creativity – and this is true for all of society.