On this day, 15 March 1845, Friedrich Engels published his masterpiece of social analysis, The Condition of the Working Class in England. This year is the 200th anniversary of Engels’ birth. Below is a short (rough) extract from my upcoming book on the contribution that Engels made to Marxian political economy.
In 2015 I was wrongfully convicted of, and imprisoned for, violating the U.S. Espionage Act. Now, while there is no question that I stand in solidarity with WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange in a British court as he fights extradition, little did I know that my presence is also there as fodder to support extradition. If I am going to be used in such a way, there should at least be a modicum of truth to my inclusion. I found nothing reasonable about being persecuted and sentenced to prison under the Espionage Act.
Some on the political opposition will enjoy watching the government of Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings struggle over the unfolding Covid-19 crisis. Others will profit from it. All the while, the threat of thousands losing their lives early beckons menacingly, when there was always a better plan in plain sight.
The people are ahead of the government in making serious moves to combat the spread of the coronavirus. It is clear the government were pushed by organisations already taking action to close down large events, a move we very much welcome. Where government refuses to act civil society institutions, trade unions, and ordinary citizens are taking matters into their own hands. We reject the ‘herd immunity’ theory that coronavirus can simply be left to rip through society until enough people develop immunity. Not only is there no proof this will happen with this virus, it is the most deadly and careless approach the government could take. The government should be acting on World Health Organisation guidance and learning from those countries it commends for swift and decisive action. Older and vulnerable people matter as much as everyone else. We insist the government alter course immediately and implement the following measures:
Panic selling on Wall Street, and panic buying in supermarkets, those are the twin axes, in both meanings of the word, upon which the black hole of capitalism rests, rotates, wobbles, staggers, turns, turns, turns, and above all else, spins. Welcome to the culmination/collapse/triumph/apex/nadir of neo-liberalism, Friedmanism, the Reagan “revolution,” the cult of the Iron Lady, the Washington Consensus, globalization, nationalism, and all the other lies, frauds, schemes that make up the racket called laissez-faire. There’s an invisible hand, all right, and it belongs to the Boston Strangler.