Friday, 9 February 2018

Leave it to the left

I've seen what happens when Liberals go toe to toe with the right in a debate. When they face off with anyone from mainstream conservatives to the alt-right to full-on fascists it nearly always ends in embarrassment.

Why should we socialists feel embarrassed by the antics of liberals that get in over their heads?

Because, for better or worse we get associated with them, especially when it comes to dealing with the reactionary right.

I've seen enough of liberals tying themselves up in knots, stumbling over their words, saying things they didn't mean to say (or at least saying things they didn't like the sound of when they came out). And the 'logical', 'strong', 'intelligent' right winger launches blow after blow with a smile on their face as, to their delight, everything they expected to happen when they got into a debate with a liberal does, in fact, happen:

The average liberal's world view turns out to be mere fluff. Full of inconsistencies, based on assumptions about expected norms of 'right' and 'wrong' and belief that social pressure can continue to enforce these, lacking any background study and so failing to understand the philosophical points at stake in each round they begin to look for a way out, or worse they begin seeking compromise or approval.

Why does this happen?

Because the right wing arguments are perfectly suited to their natural environment, capitalism. They often make fairly good sense in a world where everyone is an individual, responsible for whether they 'win' or 'lose'. In this world, plainly, everyone, is already getting what they deserve, because they deserve whatever they managed to grab during this short life and 'losers' deserve their lot too.

Liberals enter into the debate with the same basic individualist assumptions, even if they've got icing on top of theirs, it's the same cake.

If you accept a world where capitalists have freedom to run a private business you're going to struggle to show how people who don't own that business get a say in how it operates. If you accept a world where everyone has to compete to survive you will find it quite a challenge to justify inserting in special clauses that limit the way this operates to ensure that people who are ostensibly 'losing' don't get such a rough deal.

It gets worse.

I have literally heard liberals argue that all migration is good on the basis that "if we don't let migrants in who's going to do all the shit jobs we don't want to do?" At which point, presumably the fascist who hadn't considered the benefits of importing a class of slaves to clean their toilets begins to reconsider their position...

Leave it to the left. Please.

Let us show how the right are acting as lap dogs for the capitalist class who own our homes and our workplaces and run our government, require us to feel atomised and isolated, blaming ourselves for anything that goes wrong and/or being willing to step on people's heads to stay just above them on the ladder while the capitalists are ten floors up at the party already, egging us on and laughing. Listen then, to how our message - that if we all learn to have a bit of solidarity with the rest of our class  and start working together against these greedy bastards we can win - starts to sound a bit more appealing... no? Where are the right wing going to go now they've been exposed?

Let us show that private businesses are based on systematic theft and that the socialist alternative where industry is run democratically by the class of people who do the work, not unaccountable bosses is the only solid ground for demanding equality for all. Not begging the boss to be nicer, or kissing the bosses ass as the right advocate.

Let us show that people deserve the right to settle where ever they want but also deserve the right not to be bombed or starved out of their homes too. That bosses do try to use open borders to bring in cheap labour but that, obviously, isn't the fault of the workers than come to take up the offer. That the value of all working class people, immigrant or not isn't found in whether we can be of useful service to the boss or please the ruling class by adhering to their bourgeois morality or nationalism, but in our human dignity.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

The social gospel?

"But when I leave, you’ll remember I said, with the last words on my lips, that I am a revolutionary. And you’re going to have to keep on saying that. You’re going to have to say that I am a proletariat, I am the people. I am not the pigs. You’ve got to make a distinction" - Fred Hampton

I am a proletariat, and because I'm conscious of that fact I am necessarily a socialist and I am a revolutionary and so when I pick up my Bible and read it I read it as a conscious member of the proletariat and I'm looking for answers to proletariat questions.

If I continued to pick it up only in the way I'd been trained, in the way that has been handed down to us by the ruling classes, I'd be picking it up looking for the answers to questions I wasn't really asking. Abstract questions that I have very little time for. If I had continued to approach the Bible that way I would have probably given up on it a long time ago.

The ruling class have everything they need but they feel that their souls are troubled and so when they come to the Bible looking for salvation it's to save their souls alone. 

They may find it but they have to tread carefully, lest they fall into the hands of the real Jesus.

"The work of salvation is a reality which occurs in history" - Gustavo Gutierrez

The real Jesus, real salvation. What are these things? We exist in a material reality. We are not divided up into two, the body and the soul/spirit we are one. The real Jesus was one and was one with us and the real salvation is a plan to save the world.

"...creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies." - Romans 8:21 - 23

The ruling class' have done their best to spiritualise away the true message of the Bible, that is to divide it, to divide it away from the everyday experiences of the majority of people on this planet and to confine it to a false prison, the soul. But read the above, isn't it creation that is to be liberated, isn't it our bodies that wait eagerly to be redeemed?

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour." - Luke 4: 18-19

In the ruling class' message of salvation it is essential that the prisoners and the blind and the oppressed are only imprisoned, blind and oppressed in a spiritual sense. In the real gospel of salvation we take Jesus at his word.

"What if Jesus meant what he said?" - Shane Claibourne

If Jesus meant what he said then the good news of the gospel is the announcement of the coming Kingdom of God. A revolutionary society in which those who are now first will be last, a society that has literally abolished death, sadness and pain (Revelation 21:4). This is not 'heaven' for after we die, it's the world transformed and turned upside down (Revelation 11:15). The mission of the church is to embody it now and to and fight for it. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are radical incarnations of the future - the future Kingdom of God already among us. The second coming of Jesus is that rupture with the old order where the revolutionary decisive break has been made. Sin is conformity to the old order, obedience to God is preparation for the new world and the new society.

Salvation really means salvation from all the things that you really thought you needed salvation from.

No blog post can stand in for you doing your own investigation. Read one of the gospels in the Bible (I suggest trying Luke first), suspend what you thought you knew about it or what Christians have said about it. Don't try to step outside of yourself, reflect deeply on your life, your needs, your anxieties and your hopes - not just individually consider your class, consider the ways in which people like you are oppressed and then go to it and see if it's got any of the answers.

Solving homelessness; novelty gestures, manipulation or housing activism

Novelty gestures

Special vending machines, reverse advent calendars, so called 'tiny houses' and attempts to squat and set up encampments for homeless people on derelict land, coats tied onto lampposts etc. These are examples of the 'novelty gesture' approach to solving homelessness. In some ways they're a bit like the old soup runs/ soup kitchens but they're way more fun and they generate much better social media content.

Image result for coats tied to lampposts for homeless people
Homelessness in the UK is at critical level and continuing to worsen. It's an acknowledged fact that there is a very serious housing crisis and that the entire housing market is broken from the perspective of millions of working class people, especially younger people. Real people are dying and real families are being torn apart. So does this model have what it takes?

Image result for tiny houses homelessAbsolutely not. This response continues in the tired old tradition of charity designed to make dire poverty feel slightly more tolerable but lacking any ambition to change the fundamental situation. At it's worst practitioners of the 'novelty gesture' approach limit their involvement to one off random outings where homeless people are not even consulted on what they want or need in any way.

The first vending machine for the homeless, set up by the charity Action Hunger in the Broad Marsh Shopping Centre, Nottingham. The real goals of this approach are to: get rid of waste food and old clothing, make givers feel better about themselves and provide them with the experience of a little adventure. Whether the practice is illegal - such a squat or handing out food against the wishes of local authorities or whether it's all permitted and above board makes no difference, it's simply not effective, doesn't really set out to change anything and only succeeds in treating homeless people like pet projects and receptacles for waste.

Image result for food not bombsThrowing spare change into a hat was never going to solve the housing crisis, neither was setting homeless people to work selling magazines or getting them to eat copious amounts of soup. And that's because, if we're all honest, they're not even vaguely intending to.

Manipulation

What about manipulating people into changing their behaviour so they make correct life decisions? Could this solve homelessness? This is the basis of most of the professional work done with homeless people in the UK. Again, no. However it's dressed up it's a way of blaming individuals for being the victims of systematic problems and cajoling them into doing things that commissioners of services find acceptable.

Maybe if homeless people would take more responsibility, maybe if homeless people would learn to be more independent, maybe if homeless people would stop drinking alcohol or taking drugs? Maybe it would turn out that there wasn't really a housing crisis after all, it was just a growing number of lazy stupid people who couldn't get their shit together all along and they could have had somewhere to live if they'd just put the effort in.

No. That's not the one. It's not setting out to solve homelessness. It does nothing to make housing more accessible, or affordable or to win more security for tenants... it just sets up hoops for people to jump through in order to help ration what little housing is available for the very poor.

Housing Activism

Housing activism is different:

  • Treat the crisis of homelessness as a housing issue - soup can't fix it. 
  • Treat housing as a right - stop trying to work out who deserves it. 
1. First of all you can't have the people you're trying to help dying on you. Homeless people's average age of death in the UK is around 47. You also need to beat that crappy idea that people need to hit some kind of 'rock bottom' before they'll accept help. Rock bottom is often death, even if it's not it's just letting people fall further into the abyss making the journey out that much harder and longer. People who are traumatised and suffering from extreme depression or anxiety or other issues are not some how magically going to say - "okay I guess the only way is up from here!". It just hurts people so you do need to start with meeting some immediate needs - food, clothing, basic shelter, safety. But's it's got to be well organised and reliable and involve the homeless people in planning and operationally.

(If you feel I've slated your good work above under the 'novelty gesture approach' try thinking about what you're doing as 'step 1 housing activism' instead. You may need to think about how you can make some tweaks to make it more reliable and include the intended recipients in what you're doing but that's achievable right? - I encourage you not to stop there though, could you go on to step 2 below or link up with others who are attempting it?)

2. Step 2 is case work. Even under the existing system people do have some rights. Some people have a right to housing from their local authority, some evictions are illegal but does everyone who is a victim of this housing crisis know exactly where they stand? No. You can learn the ins and outs of homelessness and housing law. You can find out what help people are owed, you can understand the codes of guidance that local authorities work from, how case law has impacted on the way the system works. You can find out what landlords can and can't do, you can advise tenants getting into difficulties how to avoid being chucked out. You can offer to go along to court with people, you can even start calling yourself a 'legal advisor' if you get confident enough (since it's not a protected term like 'solicitor'. 

3. Finally, you've got to campaign to change the system. You know how to maximise people's ability to get what they need out of the current system but is it enough? No it is not. We need:
  • A mass social housing building programme - now.
  • Unions of tenants beating back landlord tyranny.
  • Legislation that recognises the fundamental right to suitable, safe, affordable accommodation for all. 
This is the answer to homelessness. 

Monday, 30 October 2017

Stop saying that there are only 4134 homeless people in England

In the autumn of 2016 all local authorities were required to either count or estimate the number of people sleeping rough on their patch. The returns came in with figures ranging from Westminster’s 280 to West Devon’s zero. When they were all added up they totalled 4134. This is currently the latest official national count of people sleeping outside in England therefore, isn’t it fair enough for people to talk about this as a fairly reliable indication of how many people are homeless in this country?

No, categorically, it is not. This real figure is probably around 60 times higher. The real number of homeless people is so completely incomparable with the results of that count it needs addressing. It needs addressing not just because it’s so wildly misleading but also because if the figure is more like 250,000 we have a very significant problem that requires a structural shift in the way our society handles housing. If it’s around 4000 we have a sad, but marginal issue which probably requires someone, somewhere to just have a heart and provide them all with a home.

So where is the disconnect between the two? I’ll tackle this in stages….

1.       This 4134 figure is just those people that can either be found or are known by agencies supporting them to have slept outside on the night when their count was done. Obviously, some people won’t have been found, or won’t have been known to anyone who was present when they came up with the estimates.

2.       This 4134 figure is just a snapshot. Even if it had been accurate on the night it was taken it could have halved or doubled by the next night. Homelessness is not a static issue. Treating it as static makes out that homelessness is an integral part of who some people are, not a temporary condition of being without accommodation. Homelessness must be understood as being in motion all the time, there are people losing their accommodation and becoming homeless and there are people finding accommodation who were previously homeless and becoming housed. If the rate at which people are becoming homeless is greater than the rate at which homeless people are getting housed then a snapshot count taken on a series of nights will show the number of people stuck in the middle, who are currently without anywhere to live, will be going up.

3.       The first two points there are quibbles really compared to this; homelessness doesn’t simply mean ‘sleeping outside’. Homelessness is a state in which a person has no accommodation that they have a legal right to occupy or could be reasonably expected to occupy.

a.       A person fleeing domestic violence has a legal right to occupy their former home but can’t be reasonably expected to stay there.

b.      A person whose friend is allowing them and their kids to sleep on their living room floor for a little while because they refuse to see them on the streets or in the hands of social services has no legal right to that living room floor and must be recognised as being homeless.

4.       A further category of people should also be categorised as homeless; those people who are currently occupying specialist temporary accommodation for homeless people. This may be a Night Shelter provided by a small charity, a supported housing project (hostel) provided by a housing association or a room in a B+B provided by the local authority as a part of their statutory duties under the 1996 housing act or by social services because there were children involved.  

It’s once you add in those last two categories that you get close to the real figure. Shelter have done the hard work in estimating these and it was them who came up with the 250,000 figure albeit almost a year ago now so we can’t keep on quoting that one forever.

A quarter of a million people in this country with nowhere to call home is a huge issue. In London it’s 1 in every 51 people and it’s getting worse every year. This is the direct result of the attack on social housing and the pushing of the private rented sector.

Despite the cheap talk from the Tory government about support for social housing they have put a stop to councils being able to borrow money to build it, they have given developers new loopholes to avoid planning regulations which require them to provide it, they have redefined what it means to include houses for sale which only people on way above average incomes could afford and they have accelerated the speed at which it’s being sold off.

At the same time, despite the whining of private landlords over them not being able to deduct mortgage interest from their tax payments (this is taken to be an all-out ideological assault on their right to exist and practice their ‘profession’) the Tories have, over the years laid on all of the conditions necessary for their sector to more than double in size since the turn of the century. The scene was set by the ripping up of private renters’ rights in the 80s and the financial incentivisation of buy-to-let in the 90s. All the while the government were busy creating a new market for private landlords by selling off social housing and preventing more being built, changing the rules to allow local authorities to discharge their homelessness duties by setting people up with private tenancies and filibustering bills written to provide tenants with just a few simple protections again.

Reliance on the private rented sector for housing will lead to what it always led to from the beginning of the industrial revolution up until the mass building of social housing and the expansion of homeownership in the post-war 20th century – slums and homelessness. And it’s already well on its way.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Attending a lecture by Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky is 88 years old. Born in 1928 he witnessed the bulk of 20th century history, not through the eyes of a passive observer but as someone who was actively involved and also constantly reflecting intelligently on the events unfolding throughout what was undoubtedly one of the most dramatic centuries in human history.

On 10th May 2017 he gave a lecture entitled "Racing for the Precipice: Is the Human Experiment Doomed?" at The Concert Hall in Reading, England. I was lucky enough to have been offered a ticket by someone with the foresight to buy a few before they all sold out. It was a memorable evening. Chomsky is of an age where if you haven't seen him in the flesh yet you don't really expect you will get the chance. Kropotkin lived until he was 78, so did Malatesta (dying when Chomsky was aged 4) and even the old man Rudolf Rocker died 3 years younger than Chomsky is now. He's doing exceptionally well for an anarchist, (it's only a shame he hasn't chosen to grow a huge beard!) so it was a real treat and a surprise to get the chance.



The theme and Chomsky's introduction instantly reminded me of Kropotkin's 'species-ism' outlook found in books like 'Mutual Aid - A Factor of Evolution' and 'Conquest of Bread'. The idea of stepping back and looking at humanity as a species and asking the questions, where have we come from and how has this shaped us? Where are we destined to end up? And ultimately, what kind of species are we, can we pull together to survive and thrive or will we fail?

The diagnosis was less optimistic than 100 years ago when Kropotkin was giving his last lectures. We may be an intelligent species but intelligent species don't necessarily fare better, in fact it's the most simplistic species that go on for millions upon millions of years. We've already surpassed our life expectancy. Not only that, but now, through the looming dangers of nuclear war and environmental catastrophe we have directly threatened our own existence in a very real and concrete way, and the one weapon we have in our favour, democracy, is failing. 

This grim take on the prospects for the human species aptly reflected the mood in the car on the way there as we'd discussed the prospects for the coming UK general election with most people having already conceded it to the Conservatives who remained stubbornly ahead in the polls by a margin of up to 20 points (although this is dropping now). The idea that we as humans might be fundamentally selfish/ idiotic/ stubborn probably seemed plausible enough to most of the enlightened, well educated audience members. 

Here is where this approach can hit the limits of how far it's going to take us. By treating humanity as one big lump, (or at best divided between a minority of progressive individuals and a mass of idiots) we naturally move on to supposing that we, as humans, mostly have relatively fixed attributes - whether these be for the better as in Kropotkin or for the worse as in Chomsky's lecture. 

So if we really are a recklessly short sighted and short tempered and possibly short lived species it's hard for a person to know what to do. If you've decided that you don't want to see the end of life on earth as we know it, if you think you've got an idea of what kind of social system could take us back from the precipice and allow us to go on to survive and thrive, then what? How do we get from here; at one and a half minutes to midnight on doomsday clock, to there; peace and harmony and justice?

The options seem limited, do we try to persuade people? If so who? In a world where some people have much more power and influence or sheer money to do something about all this than others then surely them? Or do we start to think about how we could protect ourselves and the people we care about from impending doom? Or do we prefer to try to to stay pure, and to at least ensure that if the world is going to die it's not going to be our fault? 

Chomsky's voice is silent on this issue, like a last warning from a person who has seen us repeatedly refuse to learn lessons from the past intentionally leaving us to frantically search for the answers ourselves if we want to prove him wrong.

Proving such a pessimistic assessment from such an intelligent man wrong will be no easy task. As the capitalist system enters what must surely be it's final decades before we face the crossroads of revolution or collapse we will need now more than ever to be armed with the right analysis and theory and be ready to take the right actions derived from it. Both Chomsky and Kropotkin's methods of analysing human history undoubtedly have a basis in science but neither of them seem willing to engage with and contribute towards a whole field of study set up to answer these questions; scientific socialism. Anarchists everywhere avoid it, probably because it sounds exclusively Marxist and so arrogant but it's a treasure trove. 

I've found (to my gratification) that in general people don't listen to someone ranting on at them trying to convince them to think a certain way. They have to grab hold of questions for themselves, wrestle with them, attack the key texts, fight the seminal thinkers and come out the other side and face the original problem again. 

To deal with the challenge that Chomsky left in this lecture, and for another way to approach the problem in itself I recommend starting with this short pamphlet from Engels: Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

Don't take my word or Engels word or Chomsky's for anything, see what you think.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Nationalisation in the Labour Party Manifesto - an anarchist perspective

The leaked Labour Party manifesto contains plans for the nationalisation of certain Key industries. I've called for a vote for Labour and yet I still call myself anti-state. How does that work?

Let's hear from Engels about nationalisation first:

"...the transformation — either into joint-stock companies and trusts, or into State-ownership — does not do away with the capitalistic nature of the productive forces. In the joint-stock companies and trusts, this is obvious. And the modern State, again, is only the organization that bourgeois society takes on in order to support the external conditions of the capitalist mode of production against the encroachments as well of the workers as of individual capitalists. The modern state, no matter what its form, is essentially a capitalist machine — the state of the capitalists, the ideal personification of the total national capital. The more it proceeds to the taking over of productive forces, the more does it actually become the national capitalist, the more citizens does it exploit. The workers remain wage-workers — proletarians. The capitalist relation is not done away with. It is, rather, brought to a head. But, brought to a head, it topples over. State-ownership of the productive forces is not the solution of the conflict, but concealed within it are the technical conditions that form the elements of that solution". (Socialism, Utopian and Scientific).

That speaks for itself but there is a bit more from me.
These industries, which were previously nationalised and then sold off into private hands by the Conservatives were never really de-nationalised. They still operated with contracts to run from the state and they were still largelly funded by taxation. The only difference was that capitalists have been allowed to use them to make a profit since they were "sold off". "Re-nationalising" them puts them back into some level of democratic control by the people who funded and built them and prevents any parasites from getting rich off them. It's clearly a step in the right direction, however small.

The anarchists' job is not to try to stall steps like this but to never be satisfied by these small ventures towards socialism and to demand the maximum personal autonomy for the working class at every stage. A vote for Labour is still perfectly good and fit for the purpose of accelerating the revolutionary process (as described in the previous post here Positive Accelerationism).

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Positive Accelerationism

(I refuse to give a spoiler warning for the film Inception when it's been out for 7 years... and now I've done it anyway) 

In the film Inception the main character Cobb and his wife Mal get trapped in a dream world limbo for decades. Eventually Cobb realises that the only way to wake up is to die in the dream. He has to convince his wife that the world they've lived in for all those years was just a dream and to get back to reality they have to kill themselves. The idea becomes so powerful that it won't go away, even once they've awoken again in the real world it comes to absolutely define Mal, leading her to commit suicide for real in a vain effort to wake up for real.

The idea of accelerationism grew out of a tiny seed of truth implanted deep within the minds of those who first came up with it but it's grown well beyond it now.

The idea is:

Capitalism produces the conditions that will eventually destroy it.



 The gravediggers of Capitalism

The unthinking assumption about the sequence of events made by adherents of accelerationism is that capitalism makes people's lives unbearable and brings them to a point where they have nothing left to lose. They then revolt in huge numbers, this snowballs into a revolution and capitalism, just when it was at it's most crushingly brutal, is suddenly brought to it's knees.

It's a somewhat convincing tale at first. When people's quality of life is reasonable what real incentive is there to risk death in a revolution? That's why our protests become more and more docile the more comfortable everyone's lives are, right? That's why a lot of people are totally disengaged with politics and the struggle altogether right? Because their lives are basically fine?

The trouble with this is that it really is an assumption and it takes no account of some huge problems that should be obvious:
  • Capitalism in recent years has destroyed most of the horizontal links between the working class. From freindly neighbourhoods looking out for each other to trade unions to even our families everything is melting away. We're becoming scared, isolated individuals that accept the blame for our miserable lives and believe that we deserve what we get. 
  • As capitalism progresses, our jobs and our homes become precarious, stepping out of line can lead to anything we've managed to hold together in life from our mental health to our bank balance or a relatively pleasant life for our children being wrecked.
  • In recent years we've seen that as capitalism cannibalises the welfare state that was put in place to stabilise it people are going hungry and not getting the health care they need. Even life expectancy is beginning to fall. Every person who hasn't eaten properly for months or is walking about waiting for an operation is another person who is going to have difficulty concentrating or carrying out any kind of revolutionary actions.
  • Every step that capitalism strides forwards involves working class resistance to it being crushed. Every cut to vital services that was resisted but happened anyway or every strike that never achieved what it intended to do and was broken is a defeat and eventually after enough of this people just give up.
  • The less disposable income people have the less they can travel around to protest/ meet people/ fund actions. 


It also ignores the historical evidence. During the 1950s and 60s when conditions we're rapidly getting better people wern't pacified at all. With a sense of security from full employment and rapidly expanding social housing, a few 'wins' under their belts to give them some hope the unions were powerful, the youth were getting militant and the authorities were worried. 

As conditions began levelling off and then deteriorating during the 1970s, 80s and 90s there were some extremely bitter struggles (e.g. miners strike and poll tax resistance) but I would argue that these were so furious and bitter because people had glimpsed that a different way of living was possible and many people still had a certain level of community solidarity and security that had been built up during that period and the collective memory of winning a number of previous struggles convinced them that it was worth having a go.

Since then in the 00s and the 10s we've been in a funny stage. Since the crash and recession post '08 there certainly has been a return to struggle but it's hardly been a mass movement. We haven't even been able to convince people to vote the Conservatives out yet because they've been so ground down, betrayed and atomised that even after a huge spike in homelessness and millions of people being pushed into relying on food-aid and insecure work no one seems to really believe that we can do much about it, or they have come to interpret it as basically the fault of the homeless and hungry and just hope that they can keep their own heads above the water.

Positive Accelerationism

Anyone who is really serious about accelerating towards a revolution should look carefully into the evidence about what kinds of conditions are right and necessary for it to come about. I doubt they will find that there is a sure fire recipe but there is certainly some evidence from history that it's not revolts due to total desperation that are likely to snowball into revolution but the experience of progressive 'wins' that build confidence and improve people's material conditions and teach them about who's got the same interests as them and who will fight them all the way, that could turn into something much bigger. 

Why not think of this as positive accelerationism? The idea that trying to accelerate the demise of capitalism is a noble thing but this belief that the rise of fascists or total domination of conservatives politically will provoke it is probably not justifiable. 

In positive accelerationism it's all much more straightforward, wins are wins and are to be celebrated. The eventual revolution in this model will occur when we provoke desperate revolt from the ruling class because we've pushed too far - not the other way around. They will attempt a coup or a massive repression not because they're confident they can get away with anything but as a last hope. This then provokes seasoned confident individuals used to struggling together to smash it once and for all.