The Way the Wind Blows: The Collapse of Western Capitalism and the Second Cold War

The Way the Wind Blows
The Collapse of Western Capitalism and the Second Cold War

"History rarely repeats itself, but its echoes never go away."
- Chairmen Tariq Ali

"The first lesson a revolutionary must learn is that he is a doomed man."
- Huey P. Newton

The Unexpected

Mikhail Nikolayevich Smirnovskiy had been the Soviet ambassador in London for some years now, and before that he had been in America, and was generally regarded by his peers as a authority on dealing with the Anglo-Saxon Imperialists. Yet he now felt suddenly out of his depth, swimming in unknown waters, as if pulled by the current of history off the map of known world into an area marked "here be dragons".

It had been some days now since he'd last communicated with Moscow. Well, not that long in truth, but quite some time since he'd received any meaningful instructions other than "wait for instructions." Words had been exchanged but no information transferred either way, let alone intent. But now he'd received his instructions. The Central Committee had made up their mind, and the time had come to take the risk.

It was strange really, ideologically speaking they'd all expected this, ideologically speaking they'd all believed it was inevitable, hoped for it. But, on the other hand, that is to say, in the practical world of the day to day, of diplomacy, state dinners, handshakes, trade delegations, even of espionage, traded insults and the never ending arms race the possibility had become remote. Therefore, what ideologically was expected, believed and hoped for was in truth entirely unexpected, unbelievable and in truth more a subject of alarm than hope.

Of course, looking back, the signs had been obvious. The reckless neo-colonial wars, the increasing deterioration of America's civic and social fabric under the strain of racial conflict, the rise of far-right Fascists to power, Britain's descent into never ending labour strikes, the revolts of students in Paris and West Berlin, the unfolding economic crisis that had torn away the West's short lived enjoyment of post-war prosperity. They'd even said as much themselves in Radio Moscow's broadcasts and in Pravda headlines, but nobody had expected it now, so suddenly, so swiftly and so... bloodless. Well, not bloodless as such, in fact there were probably thousands dead and more to come, but still... mere thousands when they had all feared the near annihilation of all life on earth.

As of now, Mikhail was ambassador to a government that had mostly ceased to exist about a week ago. He was under the impression that wherever the Royal Family were they had not formally abdicated (though there was good intelligence to suggest the Prime Minister had resigned), but wherever that was not public and government must be seen in public to work. Perhaps they were with the American President somewhere, since he hadn't been seen much lately either. Policemen and soldiers no longer tired to stop the revolutionaries, even if they did not as of yet fully cooperate with them, and in the streets reigned a mood that was part carnival, part panic and part open war.

Huge demonstrations often filled passed the embassy itself, and what Mikhail saw often filled him more with trepidation than hope. Marxists they might call themselves, but these were no friends to the Soviet Union who held aloft portraits of Trotsky and banners attacking "Soviet Imperialism." These wild, unkempt men and women who hurled defamations against the "State Capitalism" of Soviet Russia in the faces of the embassies guards even as the proffered flowers and kisses of friendship. Sometimes it almost seemed as if they would sooner storm the embassy than renew diplomatic relations.

Frustratingly, the Communist Party of Great Britain (Moscow's loyal if rather pathetic British "fraternal party"), had entirely failed to assume a leadership role, and instead this gaggle of anti-Soviet elements had grasped the initiative instead. Trotskyists, anarchists, council-Communists, utopians, terms he knew by heart but had never felt the reality of until now. They had been phantoms in the history of the Party, exorcised by simple repetition of the calamines against them, but know they were real, and soon he'd have to met some of them.

It was a risk, but one the Premier and his Comrades on the Central Committee now felt it was one that must be taken. For weeks, the Soviet Union and it's fraternal nations of the Warsaw Pact had carefully maintained distance from the collapsing edifice of Western Capitalism. Only the most secret of channels had been opened to the various revolutionary groups, for fear that in some last crazed act of spite the Imperialists might "push the button" if they saw the East "intervening" on the side of the dissident uprisings. But now, it seemed, that this was now a remote (if still real possibility). Even if they still had the capacity to launch a strike, whatever was left of the old governments were not willing to do so. It might even be that the emerging revolutionary authorities might have seized control of a good section of NATO's collective nuclear arsenal.

So the appropriate messages had been sent, on what the Soviet embassy staff at least thought might be the new official channels, for the Soviet Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to discuss the matter of official recognising the new peoples revolutionary government. Whether this was even a government of the whole of Great Britain, let alone Northern Ireland, was still unknown. It might be that he was going to be establishing diplomatic relations with the independent Socialist Commune of London, such was the general air of uncertainty and chaos.

Mikhail was deeply aware of the very real historical importance of what he was about to do, as a witness first hand to the end of Western capitalism, of the Cold war, and of the victory of the world revolution. Yet even as the wildest of possibilities may have seemed open, at the same time he couldn't quite discount the feeling of weariness, that perhaps they hadn't really won quite yet...
Fascinating. I'm guessing the West has mostly fallen to the New Left, and not to Soviet allied forces.
I wonder what the PoD is? Trotskyist Vietnam? Left-Communist ascent in China after the Cultural Revolution? Popular Front win the first postwar Italian elections? Probably none of the above.
County Hall, London

"Order, comrades, order!"

The Greater London Council of Action, or as some members obstinately called it "the London Soviet", was currently holding session in County Hall, former home of the Greater London Council. Despite protests from the minority of anti-Trotskyist delegates, mainly pro-Soviet CPGB tankies but some "anti-Revisionists" and the odd reformist or anarchist, a stern portrait of Trotsky hung above the speakers chair. Debates on relocating the Council to the House of Commons had raged inconclusively. Some objected to the Commons as a symbol of the old order, others to the damage inflicted during the recent storming of the chambers. Yet more pointed to the fact that such a move would be a sure signal that the London Council intended to assert itself as the official provisional government, a status that was still contested. There were even rumblings from some regionalistic groupings of moving the capital away from London entirely.

But it was a status that most in the Council of Action wished to see bestowed upon them, at least until a proper nationwide election could be organised and some new higher assembly proclaimed. Already "delegates" from the other Councils were demanding they be allowed to take part in votes even as they questioned London's authority to enforce the result. As it stood it was uncertain where or what exactly currently constituted the "nation" as it now stood. The extreme Internationalists wanted to enter negotiations for a global workers union with any country that would answer the phone, while delegates from Wales, Scotland and even Cornwall were considering independence. There were even a rather strange delegate from Northern Ireland, a Stalinist called Brendan Clifford, who seemed to want to get English support and arms for those unionists still resisting the IRA. He'd nearly been thrown out.

If an election was called tomorrow, for what body (or number of bodies), and with what powers, with what constituencies and with authority over what territory was all totally unknown. For the moment, no one even agreed on a name.

Christopher wondered if maybe the Italian Gramscians, for all their petite bourgeois, reformist ways, had been onto something when they refused to partake in the general revolutionary fervour and had simply retained Italy's bourgeois liberal constitution. It must have saved a lot of time.

Christopher, sadly, was not a delegate, and frankly he'd prefer it if the everyone did away with the all the Councils for the time being and simply allowed the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party to govern directly until all this mess was sorted out. It was all a farce anyway, everyone knew the tankies were no where near as popular and the anarchists couldn't (and indeed, wouldn't) organise a piss up in a brewery. No, Christopher was here to record for prosperity these historic debates in his weekly column in the Socialist Worker. He just hoped that something historical would happen soon, and luckily for him, something just had.

"The next item on the agenda is our response to a communication we have received from the Soviet embassy..."

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