Despite the misleadership of trade union and Labour party leaders, whose loyalty to imperialism makes them desperate to stop us coming together to resist cuts and war in any meaningful way, working people are increasingly angry at the austerity measures being demanded by the capitalist class.
The bosses’ government wants workers to save capitalism by sacrificing ourselves, our grandparents and our children at the altar of free-market fundamentalism.
In 2011 we saw pension strikes, student revolts, direct actions, youth uprisings and the Occupy movement – all signs of the anger of the working class. “Can’t pay, won’t pay” was the slogan that was heard on many workers’ lips.
Yet without decent leadership, their resitance has, aside from occasional disconnected outbreaks, been pacified, and all the major parties – from Tories, LibDems and Labour to Plaid, ScotNats and Ukip – agree that the system must be saved and cuts must be made. The 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, this system 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 makes the crisis worse and leads to more of the same.
Despite the huge 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 because of that poverty. The huge rise in food prices caused by the economic crisis has exacerbated this already horrific situation, as has the insatiable drive to war.
The 2008 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 many people to keep spending and so disguised the overproduction crisis for years. But when that device collapsed, the crisis re-emerged, 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, that relative immunity is under threat, and US, British, European and Japanese workers are also plunging toward third-world misery.
The present crisis is wiping out the purchasing power of the masses in many ways. Social spending has been slashed to provide bank bailout funds; job losses, pay and pension cuts are affecting workers in all sectors; the elderly have lost large chunks of their pensions; benefit cuts and social housing sell-offs are forcing many families into homelessness and onto the mercy of foodbanks ... and so on.
We were told that ‘tightening our belts’ would save the economy, but the only result of all this austerity has been more failing enterprises, more redundancies, lower purchasing power and a deeper crisis, even as a very few capitalists are becoming richer than ever before.
Capitalism means war
Besides mass poverty and insecurity, capitalism brings war on an industrial scale.
The US and European capitalists’ drive to control resources, investment opportunities and markets has led to an unending list of criminal wars. Syria and Yemen are the latest imperialist targets, alongside Ukraine, Venezuela and north Korea.
Country after country has been laid waste by the desperate quest to maximise profits. Land and water have been poisoned; hard-won independence and infrastructure destroyed; people massacred and thrown into destitution.
There is no end in sight to this mad destruction, which has created a flood of desperate refugees and daily threatens to engulf the world in the flames of WW3 as the imperialists prepare for wars against 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.
Those who profit from the system will always try 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 blaming blowflies and maggots for the rotten flesh off which they feed. 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. We must finally do away with the current system, in which even the most basic necessities of life are only produced if there is a profit to be made and only distributed to those who can pay.
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 crisis of capitalism 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 capitalist system, our party seeks to help empower the working 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!