New Year Message from the Anarchist Communist Group

The Anarchist Communist Group sends its revolutionary best wishes and solidarity for 2024 to all our supporters, readers of our website and publications, and to all those who we have collaborated with in various activities over the past year.

This coming year will undoubtedly prove to be as ‘interesting’ a year as 2023. All the problems created by capitalism, the state and patriarchy are ripening even more. We have cost of living crises, further degrading of existing infrastructures, the drive to war which threatens to escalate from regional to world war, the deepening climate crisis signally and wilfully not addressed by either the Sunak government or by COP28. These are among many other problems.

Here in the UK we had the biggest strike wave seen for decades, with hundreds of thousands involved in industrial action, many for the first time. Yet practically all of these strikes ended in defeat and in pay deals still below the rate of inflation. The trade unions signally failed to deliver, actively sabotaging struggles. One sign of hope was the action of workers on oil rigs in the North Sea. They organised a strike committee, independent from union structures, and carried out two wildcat strikes across 19 rigs. This brought results, with new collective bargaining agreed this December. The trade unions attempted to deter workers taking wildcat action, and then, typically, claimed credit for the victory! The North Sea workers provided a shining example of how strikes can be fought successfully. These lessons need to be noted by any workers going into struggle. They must rely on themselves, creating their own independent organisations such as strike committees and mass assemblies.

Two cheeks of the same arse

This year will see an election with Labour likely to win and a loss of many Tory seats. This comes amidst a failing rail transport system, a health service on life support, the literal collapse of school buildings and the fat cats of the water companies enriching themselves whilst pumping sewage into rivers and the sea. This is accompanied by a looming recession, rising inflation, lack of job security, and increasing poverty and homelessness.

But if you thought that Labour will address these problems, then you’ve got another think coming. The Starmer shadow cabinet has made it clear that it will not protect the NHS, will be tough on immigration, promote fiscal conservatism, will not increase the minimum wage, will not defend the pension triple lock and will not deprivatise the water companies whilst disapproving of workers on picket lines. A disapproval which, once in power, will become outright attacks upon strikes.In addition, it will do nothing to stop the Rosebank oilfield, at a time when it becomes more essential that reliance on fossil fuels needs to be drastically reduced. Its support for Israel and the USA will continue.

A Starmer government will be worse for the working class than the Blair government because the British economy is in a far sorrier state than in 1997. Starmer has said that he is happy to be branded a fiscal conservative, and will not spend on the NHS and other public services. Like previous Labour governments, the Starmer administration will attempt to break strikes, will do nothing to help solve the climate crisis, will continue with bellicose foreign policies, and will threaten civil rights, using legislation already put in place by the Tories that it will signally fail to repeal.

That is why it is essential that we create a resistance movement in both workplace and neighbourhood, a hard task but one that needs to be tackled.

It’s Too Darn Hot

The Sunak administration has launched an all-out attack on net-zero policies with a slew of bizarre scare stories in the media, with a removal of plans to tax uninsulated buildings, the afore mentioned approval of Rosebank, the delaying of the phase-out of petrol and diesel vehicles by five years, amongst other policies detrimental to the planet. As we said above, Labour if elected will do little to reverse this situation.

Even more laughable and at the same time more tragic, has been the recent COP28 conference, hosted in Dubai by the United Arab Emirates, a main oil producer, and presided over by Sultan al-Jabr, head of the UAE state oil company. This was a conference attended by at least 2,456 fossil fuel lobbyists, and where the UAE took the opportunity to make deals of £175 billion for their oil industries! The conference, not surprisingly, achieved less than nothing.

War, What It Good For?

The Biden administration has approved $150 million sales of arms to Israel. This is happening in the context of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, calling for the seizure of the Philadelphi corridor, a buffer zone between Gaza and Egypt, and declaring that the Gaza offensive will last “for many months.” It re-affirmed this on the last day of 2023, stating that the war would last through the whole of 2024.

The Israeli war cabinet has declared that it is engaged in a “multi-front” war. Yoav Gallant, the Minister of Defence, described these fronts as Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, Iraq, Yemen, and Iran. Israel is preparing for war on Hezbollah there, only deterred for the instant by US pressure. However, Netanyahu is discredited at home, so may go for an escalation of war, which would close down domestic criticism and delay calls for early elections and his resignation.

Netanyahu has often stated that he is ready to take on Iran. So far, Iran has acted through its proxies in the region-Hezbollah, Hamas, the Houthis in Yemen, and Tehran-alllied groups in Iraq and Syria. These have all been armed, trained, and supplied by the Iranian theocracy. Iran has preferred an arms-length strategy, using its allies without directly involving itself in the conflict. So far.

However, the continuing slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza by the Israeli Defence Force – more than 21,000 as we write- is putting pressure on both Iran and its regional allies. The attacks by the Houthis on marine transport in the Gulf thought to be supplying Israel is one sign of this. Another sign is the Hezbollah shelling of Israel. Here the Netanyahu administration may rapidly open up another front to create a buffer zone in Lebanon. Another member of the war cabinet, Benny Gantz, has intimated that this might happen.

A former Israeli prime minister, Naftali Bennett, writing in the US paper the Wall Street Journal, declared that the “evil empire of Iran” must be brought down. He expresses the views of many in both the US and Israeli administrations. This echoes the rhetoric around previous foes like the Soviet Union and the Saddam regime in Iraq.

Israel has undertaken strikes in Syria against Iranian commanders there, the latest being the targeting and killing of Sayyed Razi Mousavi, a senior military official in the Iranian regime, and of 11 senior members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard at Damascus airport. On November 8th, the US Air Force undertook an attack on a weapons storage centre of an Iranian-backed militia in Syria. On the last day of the year, the US destroyed three Houthi boats.

At the same time, the war intensifies in the Ukraine, with both sides exchanging bombardments. More civilian casualties, more destruction.

Both these battlegrounds risk escalating beyond the regional. Capitalism is threatening more and more carnage as the result of inter-imperialist rivalries.

The escalation to war, the degrading environment, the attacks on the working class worldwide through wage and social wage cuts, the increasing poverty of many, should be countered by the vision of a new society, one without classes, without borders, without wars, without oppression and inequality. This is libertarian communism. Join with us in helping to make this come about!