Host Peter Lavelle points out that we live in an age of disbelief: the people don’t trust governments and governments don’t trust the people. How did we come to this deficient of legitimacy? And more importantly, is there a way out? Is dialogue possible?
Comrade Joti highlights how the welfare state is used by capitalism to provide a safety net to keep the population quiescent. However, this safety net has been being dismantled since the 1970s. Joti points out that before the 2008 financial crisis we were told the reasons our public services were being dismantled was because there was not enough money to pay for them, that there were too many immigrants and resources would not stretch, and that in the main people bought into that lie. Yet when the crisis hit and the banks failed, billions were found to bail them out. This came as a total shock to workers and was a wake-up call to many.
Joti explains that when the banks were bailed out the question was then raised: who will pay? We were told the banks were ‘too big to fail’ and must not bear the brunt of the crisis on their own. THe government bankrolled the bailout, which in effect meant that it was the workers who paid, through money printing (devaluation), paycuts, pension cuts, benefit cuts, job losses and the destruction of all kinds of social services and facilities. The result of the bank bailout was a more rampant privatisation of public services, a drastic decline in the amount and condition of employment, and a rapid disappearing of our social services.
Joti talks about how the capitalist system was in crisis before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. The pandemic has exacerbated and accentuated the crisis but financial crisis is part of the system and the crash was long overdue. She points to an article in the Financial Times that ‘exposed’ the conditions of employment in sweat shops in Leicester where there was an outbreak of covid. It showed that the conditions in the factories there are common knowledge, that people are being paid around half of the minimum wage and enduring horrendous working conditions without any rights in full view of the authorities, who choose to turn a blind eye and allow this superexploitation, supposedly illegal in Britain, to continue.
All of this is resulting in a growing sense of disconnect between the people and their government; between the people and the institutions of the state. The nature of the state is increasingly being exposed: the idea of the state as a neutral arbiter of justice is being destroyed and its true essence revealed to be that of an apparatus designed to serve the interests of the super-rich ruling class.
Joti points to two articles, written for the ruling class by representatives of the ruling class, expressing their fear of the potential for revolution if something is not done to halt the rapidly growing inequality in our society, which is becoming increasingly evident and intolerable: The pitch forks are coming … for us plutocrats and Democracy will fail if we don’t think as citizens.
Joti ends by pointing out that Marx and Engels recognised 150 years ago that the growth of inequality is not a policy of this or that government, but is hard wired into the capitalist system itself; an inevitable effect of production for profit. She stress the importance of uniting as class against these inequalities, not being drawn into the narrative that is being spread by corporate media focused around identity politics.
Broadcast on 13 July 2020