Revolution, we are usually led to believe, is either impossible or undesirable. According to this view any attempt radically to transform society is at best a dream and at worst a plan for dictatorship. Yet the capitalist world in which we live today was brought about by revolution. The world before this revolution – a process lasting from the 17th to the 20th centuries – was very different to our own. Most people lived in small rural communities. They did not have to sell their labour to a boss. Instead they were forced to give some of their crops to landlords or taxmen. Nation states, with their defined borders, standing armies, and unified markets did not exist. These societies were transformed by force to create the modern system of competition, wage labour and nation states.
By which I mean a four-part series starting in this week's Socialist Worker.