workers' "comfort zone"

Adam Rose adam at pmel.com
Fri Feb 16 03:19:00 MST 1996


Mike Dean writes that socialist revolution isn't on the immediate agenda
in advanced countries, and therefore advances a type of "stages theory".

I disagree.

First of all, the empirical data : there have been revolts in most advanced
countries in the last few years which show the possibility of revolutionary
upheavals.

In the US, the LA riots etc.
In Germany, the social concensus is breaking down, and there have been big
strikes of eg Engineering workers.
The Poll Tax rebellion, the 1992 miners protest, etc in Britain.
In Italy, and of course most recently France, there have been General Strikes.

If workers are satisfied with their lot, how do you explain these upheavals ?

Secondly, in every advanced economy, there are great lakes of poverty. The
infant mortality rates in parts of the US are higher than Bangladesh. The
poor in Britain have become poorer in absolute terms over the last 20 years.
Every country can give similar examples.

Thirdly, because of the inability of capitalism to solve its economic problems
in any meaningful sense, they have been forced to attack the very reforms
you have described as "the comfort zone". Because Trade Union and reformist
( Socialist Parties, Labour Parties etc ) support the system, they have gone
along with or actually been the driving force behing attacking these reforms.
These attacks on existing welfare arrangements have behind many of the big
upheavals I referred to above.

And Finally, revolt doesn't have a mechanical relationship to poverty. Quite
often it is the best paid workers ( who have been well organised and therefore
have won high wages, pensions, + good working conditions ) who are at the centre
of the revolt.

Adam.

Adam Rose
SWP
Manchester
UK


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