Doom on the Horizon?

BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN

In 2018 Mark Carney, then Governor of the Bank of England, warned that inescapable automation and AI are to blame for wage stagnation that is like that of the nineteenth century, which helped give birth to Communism in the twentieth:

“If you substitute platforms for textile mills, machine learning for steam engines, Twitter for the telegraph, you have exactly the same dynamics as existed 150 years ago when Karl Marx was scribbling The Communist Manifesto”.

What Carney failed to see, as his speech was made before the first case of Covid was diagnosed, was the sharp rise in a new anarchist class who seem intent across the West, at a time of rudderless government, to pull down the current system, perhaps violently. These antis are anti everything they can be.

Aside from the Islamist threat, the Communist threat is now joined by Anarchist revolutionaries who, although relatively small in number, are loud-voiced and riding the same hybrid anti-capitalist bandwagons from animal rights extremism to BLM to Antifa to Extinction Rebellion. Their online presence has gone from the hundreds to the thousands.

Who are these new anarchists, many who do not identify as anarcho-communists?

Take Charlie the Fox, @SabCharlie a “dedicated hunt sab. Also interested in animal rights, anti-fascism, land rights and intersectionality”. Harmless loon, right? No. The man from Bristol, going by the name Charlie Querecox, is a former soldier who fought with the YPG an offshoot of the designated terror organisation the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Yes, a loon – but dangerous.

Anarchists are open about what they stand for. Take the Bristol Anarchist Federation (AFed) who describe themselves as:

 “an active group of class struggle Anarchists. We are working in shops, we are working in offices, we are unemployed, we are students.  We fight for a world without leaders, where power is shared equally amongst communities, and people are free to reach their full potential. Bristol AFed is part of the UK Anarchist Federation made up of individual members and local groups who are politically active in many workplace and community struggles.”

A century ago there was genuine optimism among communist revolutionaries who, albeit wrongly, saw a perfect and equal future with modernising technology as its fuel just as some of today’s thinking communists incorrectly dream of an AI-fuelled communist future marked by a one-size-for-all universal basic income. But that optimism is no longer shared by most of today’s revolutionaries, especially the anarchist and hard left anti-capitalists who rage at their lot, finding immediate solidarity within the high-pitched cacophony of social media. They are seeing work move abroad and the rich get richer while wages stagnate, industries get damaged by Covid, house prices escalate beyond their reach – an all-round doom lurks on their horizon, especially in the eyes of the young.

Who is the more dangerous revolutionary? The hopeful one or the one who is irate and without hope?

The latter are the far more dangerous sort, as Islamist crazies have demonstrated time and again, showing their hatred for this world, bitter that it will never be another. Nihilist losers are always the ones more prone to careless violence. 

With the rise of China and its dragooned digital society, liberties in the West will come increasingly under threat. There are arguments to be won now and the West needs to get a move on by enfranchising its young and restless with new skillsets, offering them genuine economic hope while underscoring hard-fought freedoms – rather than taking them away via digital capture and social credit systems leading to some godawful virtual gulag. How can these people learn responsibility when what they require materially to be responsible for – a house and a well-paid job – are seemingly so far out of reach?

Apparent cronyism in the West and an all-round lack of clarion leadership is doing great damage to today’s governments who probably actually mean well and are not quite as louche and self-serving as they too often seem.

For the first time in my lifetime the future looks a tad scarier but sense can still win the day.

Let us hope someone will provide the leadership to win the arguments and restore freedoms within which the West and its allied democracies can outwit and outperform any oppressive regimes. Right now none of Sleepy Joe, Mr Antoinette or Monsieur Macron seem to hold a winning hand nor inspire much confidence, while the West goes mad.

Dominic Wightman is Editor of Country Squire Magazine.