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We are a Mass Movement! Class Struggle is not Dead

The Violent Minority | 06.02.2015 00:28 | Analysis | Culture | Workers' Movements | World

Over 3 million in the UK – that is the number of people involved in a movement that I am proud to be a part of. Each year, we refuse to register our names and addresses with the government’s “electoral register” [1]. We don’t care that this is technically against the law, [2] and we don’t care about not being able to vote – we hate all politicians anyway. The media tell us that we are just apathetic, that not voting can’t be an act of rebellion, even a small one. But why not? With over three million of us not even registered – it is obvious that none of us are alone. We are not organised, true – but then we don’t need to be. Our message is obvious: politicians are worthless to us. So worthless they are not even worth an X in a box. This is just one example of the rebellions going on around us every day – and most of them are less passive too [3]. Every time we shoplift something instead of paying for it, every time we refuse to grass our neighbours to the police, and every time we stand up for each other at work – that is an act in the class struggle. This short article will look at why we need to take these acts further, and some of barriers we will need to overcome along the way.

Acts of rebellion like shoplifting can make our lives better. Many of us would even struggle to get by without them [4]. But there is still plenty of room for improvement. The more we stand up to the rich, the better organised we are, and the more we have each others’ backs – the better things will be. If you look at shoplifting as something political then all of this is common sense. It doesn’t always feel like it, because television, newspapers, and preachers all constantly tell us that things like shoplifting are ‘crimes’ that we should feel ashamed of. If we are in debt or out of work then these people tell us that it is our fault. Many of us feel ashamed to tell anyone else that money is tight, or that we have a criminal record. However, the “morality” of most news reporters and religious preachers is obviously wrong if we look at the facts. Everything that the rich have was originally taken by force in wars and “colonisation” – in other words it was “stolen”. There are nowhere near enough jobs for everyone to be able to have one [5]. And countless people are short of money or in debt – because the rich have fucked up the economy! So there is no reason to feel shame for having problems like unemployment or debt – the rich created them, not us. There is also no reason we shouldn’t give them a taste of their own medicine – taking more of “their” things by force and standing up to them. So lets ignore them when they call us “apathetic” or “criminal” – if we hold our heads up high, rebel more, and get better organised then there is no limit to what we could do.

Shoplifting happens at the places where we’re meant to spend money, but small rebellions happen at the places we get money too – in jobcenters and at work. Strikes happen sometimes, but there is also a low-level class war being waged. Plenty of people slack off, steal from work [6], or call in sick every day. So long as it doesn’t hurt other workers too much, why not? The profits of our bosses are stolen wages – they get them by selling things made with our hard work, so there’s nothing wrong with trying to get a bit back. But some people go further by conspiring with other workers. Here’s a small example that comes to mind: one mate of mine works in a restaurant. Once when a posh customer was being a dickhead, the waitress she was on shift with added money to the customer’s bill and shared it with her. Another friend has a story about a factory where she used to work. Everyone there would take it in turns to sleep on shift, while the rest kept an eye out for the boss so no-one got caught. These are all small examples – but they show the kinds of things that we get away with without much effort, on a daily basis [7]. When “Left Wing” academics tell us that we need to “get organised”, they normally mean joining a trade union. The fact is we already do “organise” – we just don’t want to be part of their bureaucracies and power games. But imagine what it would be like if we formed real unions along the lines of the rebellions I’ve been talking about. If every time a benefits claimant got sanctioned, a hundred-strong mob turned up outside the job centre? Or if every time we wanted something more from our bosses (more wages, more holiday), we just made their business unworkable till we got it? This is something we could achieve!

On the other side of all this, the rich will not stop fighting until they have everything – total control of our lives and total ownership of everything we make and use. Governments repeal as many of our rights and benefits as they can get away with. Bosses cut our wages and increase our workload the second we give them the chance. Shop owners and landlords charge us as much as possible for the things we need. Even if things are bearable now, if we all settled down and stopped fighting then things would get worse very fast. So when any of us do manage to “make it” and get some reasonable level of income, or stable housing – the fight is not over and that is no excuse to abandon everyone else. One of the big barriers we face is just this – people who are in a similar situation as us, but who still try to stop us rebelling. Too many people have the attitude that “if I can’t get away with it then no-one else should either”, and will even help arrest shoplifters and grass on benefits “thieves”. The worst offenders call themselves the “lower middle class”, and try to adopt the culture of middle class people while looking down on the rest of us. The “upper middle class” laughs at these deluded people, but they are a serious problem for us [8]. If we’re going to challenge them then we need to create more feeling of solidarity in our communities, and to stand up for each other. We need to build what academics call a “culture of resistance” in our neighbourhoods and workplaces – where grasses and scabs feel ashamed to walk down the street, not the people who fight back and stick together.

So to sum up, all our lives would be better if we took our every day rebellions further – doing more, involving more people, being better organised [9]. To make this possible we need to create a “culture of resistance”, where people have each other’s backs and don’t feel ashamed to admit to things like shoplifting or being in debt. If we keep at it with all the passion and dedication that we can – maybe one day we can even get rid of the rich forever. We’re already part way there, we just need to go further and act with more confidence. Let’s make it happen!

[3] For example, according to one survey, more than ten percent of people in the UK admit to shoplifting. At least one third of people have stolen from work, and the same number have downloaded pirated music. Source:
[7] While we’re on that – one survey showed that about 43% of people in the UK admit to having pulled a sickie at least once. Source:
[8] For example, about a quarter of the people who get caught stealing from work are found out because someone snitched on them. Source:
[9] As an example – look at the 200 people in Spain who looted a supermarket in broad daylight: ; or the “robin hoods” in Greece: . For your own safety, I suggest you read the article on black bloc tactics before taking part in any redistribution of food –

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Display the following 7 comments

  1. we are the mass, but we are not a movement — Lenin
  2. Re: Lenin — TVM
  3. reply to why — Lenin
  4. Re: reply to why — TVM
  5. reply to why — Lenin
  6. Re: reply to why — TVM
  7. reply — Lenin