It has become a cliché to say that our society is increasingly divided. The disparity in
income, the choices people face, the turbulent effects of migration and the free movement of
capital, the dominance of multi-national corporations – all contribute to conflict and instability. Civic
society is correspondingly fractured, like the earth’s crust betraying the opposing elements beneath.
The simple fact that stares us in the face is that nothing will change until the fundamental conflict at
the heart of society is resolved: the irreconcileable and inevitable struggle between capital and
labour. Capital, in the shape of big business, must maximise profit. That means cheap raw materials,
access to markets and cheap labour. In turn, that means low taxes, weak unions and a vulnerable
labour force that can be turned on and off like a tap.
The needs of the working class are directly opposed: a secure job that pays a wage to support a family, a
secure home, taxes to support healthcare, education and care for the old and vulnerable. And much
more – we can all write a list of what is necessary for lives of dignity and fulfilment.
The interests of the two classes are incompatible. We’ve known this throughout history. Long before
Marx, John Ball of the Peasants’ Revolt in 1381 said “Matters cannot go well in England, nor ever
will, until all things shall be held in common”.
When will we take his words seriously?
Ken Loach – Film Director