We live in dark times. Mental health issues and depression in particular are growing rapidly, especially among young people. If you were to believe certain clever journalists, smartphones and social media are to blame. It seems like some people have their heads buried in the sand and cannot see what is going on around us. However, if you take a look around, it is not that difficult to understand. Every day, there are new attacks on our living standards, a new war, a new massacre carried out by a far-right fanatic or a new natural catastrophe caused by climate change.
Capitalist society today seems to be taken straight out of a dystopian science fiction novel. Like an old Tupperware container left on the counter too long, capitalism gives birth to the worst abominations. Fortunately, the decrepitude of the system does not only cause distress, but also revolutionary sentiments. More and more youth are becoming aware of the need to fight to get rid of this obsolete system. It is time to throw this rotten system into the trash bin of history! More than ever, we need a revolution to get rid of this economic system before it destroys all of human civilization.
But for those of you who still have doubts, here are five reasons why we need a revolution.
1) A system in perpetual crisis
While bourgeois politicians and the hordes of journalists at their disposal may congratulate themselves on the low unemployment rate and the supposed economic health of Quebec and Canada, the reality is that this respite we are currently experiencing won’t last long. The world economy has barely recovered from the 2008-2009 economic crisis, and economists are already announcing that a new recession is approaching. Stock markets are volatile and investors are cautious. Germany, one of the most important world economies, risks entering recession in the next quarter which itself could create a chain reaction all over the planet. Governments saved the system during the last crisis by bailing out the banks with billions of dollars, leading to massive public debt. This time around, governments are already drowning in debt. Central banks also lowered the interest rates in order to stimulate consumption and investment by providing cheap credit. But this time around, rates are already at their lowest in all of the key world economies. When the next crisis hits, governments will be powerless. The coming crisis will be huge, and as always, it will be ordinary people, the workers, the poor and the youth who will suffer. The capitalists, meanwhile, will face the recession by limiting their travel by private jet and drinking a bit less champagne.
2) An unequal system
In fact, the so-called economic well-being is actually an illusion. Even if technically growth has returned, the current recovery is the weakest recovery since the Second World War. Yes, there are jobs, but what kind of jobs? The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) last year noted that “the upturn in employment is overshadowed by unprecedented wage stagnation.” In fact, real wages have stagnated since the 1980s in the industrial world. And while our living standards and working conditions stagnate or decrease and austerity grinds away what is left of the social safety net, wealth accumulates at a growing rate in the hands of the wealthy. According to the latest data from Oxfam, the 26 richest people today own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population. While a small handful of individuals live in obscene luxury, the vast majority of us have nothing to expect from life other than giving our time to a boss in a depressing job in exchange for a measly paycheque, until this disease that is capitalism finally takes us away. Capitalism has nothing to offer workers and youth other than a life of exploitation, lining the bosses’ pockets.
3) A violent system
As the Justin Trudeaus of this world take selfies, our governments are complicit in the worst imperialist wars and bloodshed. The Middle East and large parts of Africa are currently in a state of perpetual war created by vultures sitting safely in their offices in Wall Street, London, Paris, Moscow, Beijing and Riyadh. These fine ladies and gentlemen send millions to die in their place in order to secure markets and access to oil reserves. At the beginning of the millennium, the imperialist invasion of Iraq led to the death of one million Iraqis. The intervention of U.S. allies in Syria backing different religious fundamentalist factions has wreaked havoc on the country, killing more than half a million people and displacing millions more. Libya, which was a relatively modern and developed country, now has an enormous slave market thanks to the so-called humanitarian intervention led by Canada, the United States, France and Great Britain in 2011. Now, it is Yemen that has been ravaged by Saudi Arabia, with the help of Justin Trudeau and the military vehicles he sold them. Who knows which country will be the next to be brought back 100 years by a CIA-financed warlord? Decaying capitalism and the insatiable appetite for profits of the imperialists and arms manufacturers produce wars at an industrial pace.
4) A system that foments divisions
But the millions of people fleeing wars must find refuge somewhere. The collateral victims of imperialist wars migrate to Europe, where they are greeted with barbed wire and detention camps. With the falling living conditions for workers, capitalist politicians—needing a scapegoat for the problems that they themselves have created—point the finger at immigrants and refugees. This is a tactic as old as class society itself: divide and rule. To deflect the anger of the masses and head off the rise of revolutionary sentiments, capitalists are fanning the flames of xenophobia and the worst reactionary ideas. Racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia, which certain naive liberals believed were things of the past, are regaining popularity among certain layers. The extreme-right rodents are coming out of hiding more and more, and are becoming more bold. The United States was recently hit by another wave of far-right shootings, and Quebec and Canada are not immune to this as was demonstrated by the sad events at a Quebec City mosque in January 2017. Abortion rights have seen a series of setbacks in the U.S. this year and some Canadian politicians have made it known that they wish to do the same thing here. And in Quebec we are witnessing a climate of growing racial hatred, with journalists and politicians demonizing Muslims and immigrants for years during this debate on so-called secularism. Under capitalism, advances made for women and oppressed minorities are constantly at risk of being thrown back. This is a racist, sexist and oppressive system led by a xenophobic and conservative class.
5) A system that destroys the planet
As the ruling class spends a great part of their energies and resources debating ridiculous “issues” like banning religious symbols, the planet is literally burning. The Amazon rainforest, referred to as the “lungs of the earth”, is ablaze and world leaders are doing nothing. The glaciers are melting, as each year record temperatures are being set; species are going extinct at an alarming rate and oceans have become enormous waste depositories, while profits grow without interruption. The capitalists control the main economic levers of the economy: the wealth, resources and immense industries which could be used to develop green technologies and vast public transportation networks, and to reorientate production in a sustainable way. Instead, they do next to nothing while continuing to exploit the planet in order to enrich themselves. Their only solutions consist in asking workers to make sacrifices: eat less, drive less, take less showers and use cardboard straws. The capitalists have been unable to solve the environmental crisis. It is high time to get rid of them and run the economy in an environmentally responsible way. Capitalism destroys the planet: we must destroy capitalism!
We need a revolution!
It is likely that many readers already know these reasons for needing a revolution. And of course, there are many, many more reasons. We all watch the latest horrors on our Facebook feeds which we share in a bitter, half-angry, half-jaded state. Deep down we all probably know that this cannot go on and something must be done. We all instinctively know that in a rationally organized society, we would cease to spend so much on arms production, we would put out the forest fires, begin an ecological transition and put an end to poverty, hunger and wars. But at the same time, many people feel hopeless and feel as though there is nothing that can be done. The reality is that it feels as though nothing can be done because the system is organized in a way which makes it impossible to do anything. All of the important decisions are made by bankers, lawyers and industrialists who pull the strings behind the scenes. However, we shouldn’t despair. Rather than passively sitting back, waiting for a magical solution, we need to get organized. A revolution consists precisely in organizing consciously to do away with these parasites who are an obstacle to the establishment of a rational society. We, the ordinary people, the workers, have every interest and are fully capable of managing society ourselves in the interest of the vast majority, rather than for the benefit of a minority. This is what socialism is all about.