This is my first article for Critical Mass, and I strongly believe this is the future for creating a greater solidarity in the socialist movement. I have connected with many good friends on Twitter, all wanting the changes that I agree we need in our society, but social media has muddied the waters. So what’s happened?
When I was young, as an active socialist, political views were straightforward. If you saw through the glaring inequalities in a class system created to benefit the few, you were on the left. You would demand change and combine with like-minded people. Some of the more radical were prepared to do more to get change, a greater number were more cautious, influenced by media, not so keen to rock the boat. Today the second group would be termed centrist.
The radicals could see the motives of the few more clearly and the media agenda seemed obvious to them. While there were various tags for their views – Trotskyists, Marxists, Communists, Maoists, etc. – essentially they all agreed that what was needed was a socialist society. Which meant one with the means of production in the hands of the state, controlled by the masses for the benefit of all, with private enterprise strictly limited.
Battle with centrists
Today the aims of socialists are pretty much the same. The battle with the centrists goes on, often with more vitriol than when taking on the Tories. There is nothing more frustrating than those, who are often well meaning, unable to see the propaganda for what it is.
Enter the new kid on the block, a creation of the power of social media. We have a billionaire class hoarding phenomenal wealth and western governments moving to the right, in the pay of these few, and social media has responded. Millions are struggling to get by and many with no political perspective, searching for answers, which in the past would have come from the politics of the left, are turning to social media for those answers.
But now on social media there are a multitude of answers to to your problems – it’s a secret world council creating a virus to vaccinate us to submission, or it’s science that has become a religion used against us, 5g masts are not what they tell you, the suggestion is that everything you are told is a lie including science. And how many times, on Twitter perhaps, did you chat with a supposedly like-minded person, only to have them say that the Tories are going to extend the lockdown because they want to take our freedom and have us all under house arrest wearing masks to break our spirit, for a virus that doesn’t exist, or is just the equivalent of ‘flu. I have even known alternative journalists I respected get pulled into this conspiracy fantasy.
Potentially there are millions of comrades here looking for fundamental change, so how do we pass on our political perspective because that is what this is about? Remember, many bigots and racists are that way because they have been encouraged, often by the media, to blame the wrong reasons for their falling living standards. Social media is full of similar false flags, and now these very people are on demos against vaccinations, and breaking into the BBC to make demands and socialism is not on their menu.
This outpouring of frustration against the establishment needs to be harnessed because, without a political perspective and a knowledge of history, it will achieve nothing but sectarianism. One thing is certain, as time passes it will become apparent that these conspiracies are not based on truth or evidence. Climate change will continue to gather pace as opposition to capitalism and its exploitation of our world fails to organise, so we on the left must be an effective force.
So what is the answer?
Certainly history tells us we need a viable political system as an alternative to the free market system that is so readily destroying our world, which is based on greed and dog eat dog. More than ever, we must use social media to debate and engage with people who clutch at such conspiracies, despite the lack of evidence. The only way forward is with political change. This requires a political perspective capable of understanding the motives of the western establishment. ‘The workers united will never be defeated’ has never been more true but, at a time of increasing sectarianism, it is time to spread the word. There is more unrest than ever but that huge army is split.
On the plus side, social media has certainly given us the opportunity to create alternative news channels and give a socialist perspective to news.
Ventures such as this publication, Critical Mass, and others help to open people’s eyes and unite us, and with so many conspiracies, we need more than ever to deliver the clear message that we need a fundamental change to our political systems.
My hope is that, during a vital period in our history, we can engage with an angry populace and make the message clear. We must mobilise and take positive political action. Around the world this is already taking place in Bolivia and Venezuela, and will spread.
The enemy is wealthy and powerful but that power is a paper tiger. The real power is held by the masses and if we can unite and make our message clear then…
CHANGE WILL COME.