From Tahrir Square to Zuccotti Park, from Athens to Madrid, millions have mobilised and are mobilising against the dictatorship of capital, whatever its local expression might be. Although such massive protests and upheavals would have been unimaginable just a few years ago, with the onset of the great recession in 2008, it seems millions are saying, once again and in a united voice: ‘We have nothing to lose but our chains!’ History that was halted and buried by the epigones of the ruling class has escalated and made visible what will always determine the capitalist system of production: a class-divided society driven by werewolf’s hunger for surplus-labour.
Inspiring as these events are, they have yet to seriously challenge the accumulation of capital. In achieving such long-term goals, questions of a more steady organisation beyond occasional protests inevitably have to be addressed. It is crucial to conceptualise policies as well as organisational forms that will not only pose demands, but will also have the strength to achieve them. Michael Lebowitz put it succinctly when, criticising the old saying ‘If you don’t know where you’re going, any road’ll take you there’, he stressed that the contrary is actually the case: if we don’t know where we are going, no road will take us there.
It is precisely at this point that imagining and developing a socialist alternative is of crucial importance. This involves both practical and theoretical work, as it is equally important to envision such society or the goal we are trying to achieve, while at the same time working on the practical, organisational issues, that is, measures through which the goal can be achieved. One of the most urgent tasks at hand is to improve the living conditions of the working class and to effectively combat the austerity measures that are devastating it. This panel will tackle both these issues in envisioning the society in which full human development will finally be possible and in which mankind will achieve the ascent from kingdom of necessity to the kingdom of freedom.