Despite the misleadership of trade union and Labour party leaders, whose loyalty to imperialism makes them desperate to stop us coming together to resist the cuts in any meaningful way, working people are increasingly angry at the austerity measures being demanded by the ConDem coalition.
The government wants us to pay the price of preserving the bankers’ and billionaires’ dying system. It wants us to save capitalism by sacrificing ourselves, our grandparents and our children at the altar of free-market fundamentalism.
In 2011 we saw pension strikes, the student revolt, UK Uncut direct actions, the August youth uprisings and the Occupy movement – all signs that British workers were waking up to the fact that the price is simply too high. “Can’t pay, won’t pay” was the slogan that was heard on many of their lips.
Yet all the major parties – Tories, LibDems and Labour – agree that the system must be saved and cuts must be made. And TUC leaders say the same. What other solution is there when economic crisis strikes?
Capitalism breeds crisis
In the 400 years of its existence, spurred on by the laws of capitalist competition, capitalism has enabled humanity to make immense progress very quickly. Concentrated capital brought forth the most enormous means of production, capable of turning out goods at an ever-increasing rate. The world’s workers were able to produce wealth on a scale never before seen or imagined.
But these same laws of capitalist competition have a down side that now far outweighs any benefits that capitalism in its rotten, parasitic final stage is able to confer.
At the heart of the capitalist system is the contradiction that, to win the battle of competition, the capitalists need to cut wages and benefits to the working masses as much as possible, while producing and selling ever more goods at ever lower cost.
The relatively impoverished working masses, however, are unable to buy all these goods, resulting in a crisis of overproduction. Thousands of businesses go bankrupt and close. There are massive redundancies. Wages for those still in work go down. And this increase in poverty just makes the crisis worse and leads to more of the same.
Despite the incredible amount of wealth generated by workers, unequal distribution means that nearly half the world’s children live in poverty and 22,000 of them die every single day as a direct consequence of that poverty. The huge rise in food prices caused by the economic crisis has exacerbated this already horrific situation.
The present financial meltdown was triggered by the failure of banks, which had tried to counter the poverty of the masses by lending them money they could never repay. This trick allowed people to keep spending and so disguised the overproduction crisis for years. Now that the device has collapsed, the crisis is worse than ever.
Until recently, the imperialists were able to use their control of the economies of the oppressed countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America to confine the worst effects of the worldwide crisis of overproduction to those places. This bought social peace at home, as even the poorest British workers remained somewhat sheltered. Now, however, our relative immunity is under threat, and the working masses of Britain, Europe, the US and Japan are plunging towards third-world misery.
The present crisis is wiping out the purchasing power of the masses in many ways. Many jobs have gone and more will soon follow; the elderly are losing large chunks of their pensions; housing benefit cuts will soon force many families into homelessness; public spending and public-sector wages and pensions have been slashed to provide the funds for bank bailouts, etc.
The result of all this austerity can only be more failing capitalist enterprises, more redundancies, lower purchasing power and deeper crisis.
Capitalism means war
Besides mass poverty and insecurity, capitalism brings war on an industrial scale. The US and European capitalists’ need to control middle-eastern oil and supply routes led to the criminal wars in Palestine, Lebanon, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. Syria and Mali are their latest targets, and a covert war against Iran is underway.
Country after country is being laid waste in the endless quest for maximum profits. Land and water are poisoned; hard-won independence and infrastructure are destroyed; people are massacred and thrown into destitution. And there is no end in sight to this mad destruction, which threatens to engulf the world in the flames of a world war as the imperialists hatch their plots to try to destroy Russia and China too.
Time to make a change
It is clear that capitalism has outlived its usefulness. The longer working people allow it to linger on, the more we will suffer.
That is why those who profit from the system are trying to convince the working masses that there is nothing wrong with capitalism; that the only problem is the greed of a few ‘fat cats’. But this is like trying to blame blowflies and maggots for the rotten flesh off which they are feeding. Instead, our attention needs to be focussed on getting rid of the stinking corpse of the capitalist system itself.
Working people must take possession of all means of production now owned by the capitalist class (factories, machines, raw materials etc) in order to start producing goods that directly meet the needs of the people, as opposed to the current system, in which even the most basic necessities of life are only produced or distributed if there is a profit to be made.
The capitalist state has been perfected as a machine to prevent us challenging capitalist relations of production and it must be smashed. In its place we need to build a workers’ state, whose main jobs will be to plan production rationally and to stop the old exploiters returning to continue their reign of misery and war. This is the only way out of the mists of darkness.
The financial crisis is not of our making; our work can and will create sufficient wealth for everybody to be able to live well. If capitalism will not produce or distribute because there’s no profit to be made, then the working class must step into the breach to take over production for itself.
By spreading understanding about the real nature of the crisis among workers, our party seeks to help empower our class to fulfil its historic mission of killing off capitalism once and for all and building a new socialist society and a bright future for all our children – free of war and free of want.
Join us and help to make it happen!