We are in an interesting period in world history yet again. I say that because nothing is new under the sun and history really does seem to cycle.
A hundred years ago this month Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin overthrew the interim coalition government of Russia after years of growing unrest as a result of the nation's wealth being corralled by an elitist monarchy. Conditions for the ordinary people of Russia were appalling, food was not plentiful, conditions were dreadful and they could see the super rich enjoying their ill-gotten gains.
Does this sound familiar?
All around the world, particularly in westernised democracies, volatile groups are gaining a foothold and representation in the political make-up of their countries. In the UK UKIP gained popularity and were probably a key to the Brexit vote in June last year. Also the rise of Jeremy Corbyn to the top of the Labour Party who swung the voting public against the Tories and against all odds removed the Tories majority in parliament. His policies are certainly Marxist in nature as were those in Russia 100 years ago, but that is not necessarily a bad thing as it is necessary to re-balance the nature of our society.
The point is that those who are currently holding nations' purse strings need to beware. There was revolution in the UK in the 17th century because of the puritanical rule and cornering of wealth but in fact there doesn't always need to be overt beligerence to begin revolution. In Russia it was rather indifference to the plight of the Russian peasantry than any overtly cruel actions by Tsar Nicholas II, but it still led to his overthrow.
Thatcherism which rose in 1979 as a result of weak and ineffective Labour and Liberal parties blossomed under the 'Iron Lady' who released the banks from the constraints placed upon them by the Labour Party. She limited the power of the unions to the point where they almost disappeared, pushed hard the ideas that everyone should aspire to own their own homes and removed retail price maintenance. Sadly, even when Blair won for Labour in the nineties, his philosophy of 'we have to be like them to get elected' pulled the teeth of the party which was further compounded by the ineffective efforts of Milliband. It was only a sharp swing towards the needs of the people, seen as left wing Marxist ideals, that brought about the election of Mr Corbyn as leader and the surprising turn round in the 2017 election result.
The media also got it wrong. In fact they are controlled by huge corporate managers who believe that they can control the news that we are fed and so influence the actions of governments. Ironically, Trump's 'fake news' was not aimed at the elite at the top of society but at the people. This is now beginning to change.
'Ignorance and Want'
In Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol there are warnings about the way in which poor people were treated. In fact the book is a tirade against greed, selfishness, and neglect. When the ghost of Christmas present reveals the two ragged children from beneath his robes named Ignorance and Want he gives a warning.
“Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy for on his forehead is written the word DOOM"
It is a brief moment in the story but surely a key moment - and a big part of why the story is still so relevant. Ignorance and Want remain the prime movers behind so many of the worlds ills. I'm sure that Dickens would be shaking his head at the way the warnings of his story of 1843 have been ignored.
In this current world of food banks, which were unheard of in this country 10 years ago, working people having to claim financial support, and the overt greed of huge corporations; the mass of disgruntled citizens will grow and may well reap the harvest of what they are sowing.