|The 30 November mass strike against the attack on public-sector pensions is a sign of working people’s anger at the austerity measures being demanded by the ConDem coalition.
The government wants ordinary people to pay the price of saving the bankers’ and billionaires’ dying system, but strikes, the student revolt, UK Uncut direct actions, the August youth uprisings and the Occupy movement are all signs that British workers are waking up to the fact that the price is simply too high. “Can’t pay, won’t pay” is the slogan that they are increasingly adopting.
Yet all the major parties – Tories, LibDems and Labour – agree that the system must be saved and cuts must be made. What other solution is there when economic crisis strikes?
Capitalism breeds crisis and war
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. These same laws of capitalist competition, however, have a down side that, today, far outweighs any benefits capitalism is still able to confer.
At the heart of the 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 acrisis of overproduction, the bankruptcy and closure of thousands of businesses, massive redundancies and reduced wages for those still in work, all of which aggravate the crisis still further.
Despite the incredible amount of wealth generated by the workers of the world, 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 that tried to counter the impoverishment of the masses by lending them money they could never repay. This manoeuvre allowed people to keep spending and so disguised the overproduction crisis for years, but 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 coming to an end, and the working masses of Britain, Europe, the US and Japan are being plunged into 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; public spending and public-sector wages and pensions are being 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.
Besides mass poverty and insecurity, capitalism brings war on an industrial scale. The world has not been free of war since capitalism developed, and these wars are increasingly all-encompassing and vicious. The US and European capitalists’ need to control middle-eastern oil and supply routes led to the criminal wars in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Libya has been their most recent victim, and Syria and Iran could well be next. Whole countries are being laid waste in the never-ending quest for maximum profits, with no end in sight to this mad destruction.
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.
Working people must take possession of all means of production now owned by the bourgeoisie (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 bourgeois 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 job will be to stop the ousted exploiters returning to continue their reign of misery, war and destitution. This is the only way out of the mists of darkness.
The financial crisis is nothing to do with us; our work has created 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 the levers of production.
By spreading understanding about the real nature of the crisis among workers, the CPGB-ML 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!