The biggest programme of cuts and privatisation in welfare and public spending since the second word war is well underway, and starting to have serious, even fatal, consequences for ordinary people.
Slashing social provision
Suicide rates among the unemployed are climbing, councils are starting to implement the much-reviled bedroom tax, disabled people are dying as a result of losing benefits, and debt, poverty and homelessness are about to spiral massively.
Every single member of the working class can expect to be affected by this all-out attack, which will blight our lives from the cradle to the grave!
Child benefit, educational grants, family credits, pensions, and social facilities are under attack. Libraries, youth centres and even fire stations are closing down.
Education is being hammered, and private contractors have been given free rein to loot our health service, raking in massive profits at the expense of patient care.
Moreover, as social services disappear, the cost of living is going up and wages are stagnating or going down.
Unemployment and underemployment are endemic. Over 10 percent of workers, and 25 percent of young people, are unemployed, and many more can’t find work that pays enough to live on. Under crisis-ridden capitalism, our future is bleak.
Who is to blame?
At a time of crisis, when working people are angry at being forced into undeserved hardship, it is vitally important that we are able to ignore the divisive propaganda that offers us convenient scapegoats and look at the situation from a class perspective.
What we have today is a crisis of capitalist overproduction. Such crises are built into the system of production for profit – they are as inevitable as exploitation and war while capitalism stalks the earth.
The problem is not one of ‘limited resources’, however. Britain is home to the oldest and most cynical capitalist class, who have truly earned their global-pirate status. Our country is swimming in ill-gotten riches that have been stolen at gunpoint from Asia, Africa and Latin America, in addition to the profits sweated from British workers.
Moreover, as all wealth is the product of our work, every new worker is capable of augmenting our collective wealth and wellbeing. It is unemployment that turns potential workers into a burden; unemployment that has arisen because the capitalists have so impoverished the world’s people that it is now impossible for them to make profits by selling all the stockpiled goods back to the masses who made them.
Since the 2008 crash, ‘reckless bankers’ and their ‘excessive’ bonuses have become the targets of much anger. It is certainly easy to hate those who made so much money out of gambling with our economy, but we must be careful not to mistake a symptom for a cause.
The systemic failure of capitalism did not come about because of the greed of a few ‘rogue traders’, no matter how cynical, amoral, and sociopathic they might be. In the last analysis, they are merely the ‘personification of capital’, doing what the system requires and rewards.
Regulation could not have prevented the crash. ‘Sensible, regulated banking practices’ inevitably lead to fevered speculation as production outstrips consumption and markets contract. There is no such thing as sane, sensible capitalism; no such thing as capitalism without crisis and collapse!
What is to be done?
Our rulers have made it clear what their plan is: they hope to pass the burden of their latest crisis onto the backs of working people through austerity and war, saving their fortunes and their system at our expense. They do not care what catastrophic effects their self-preservation strategies have on the planet or the masses of humanity.
It is time for Britain’s workers to make an alternative plan. The career politicians of the big parties have proven to be servants of the rich. Asking a Tory, LibDem or Labour MP to take care of the workers is about as sensible as asking a crocodile to look after a zebra.
If we want to stop this assault, we must stop expecting the minions of the capitalist state to deliver justice and get organised to claim what is rightfully ours.
We are many and they are few
Step one is defence. Our streets and estates should be no-go zones for bailiffs! We should oppose repossessions and evictions by physically protecting each other’s homes.
And communities need to join with put-upon care workers and teachers to do whatever it takes to kick PFI and privateers out of our schools and hospitals. Decent education and health care are incompatible with private enterprise! We must demand the abolition of fees and the reintroduction of grants for students of all ages.
Similarly, if a library or fire station is closing down, we should join with staff and do whatever it takes to keep facilities open – running them ourselves if necessary.
Workers’ organisations should be repossessing Britain’s one million empty houses and distributing them to the homeless. We need to appropriate surplus food stocks and distribute them to the hungry, and we need to switch on the energy for those who are facing another winter without heating.
Workers have the creative energy to make the attacks of the capitalists totally unworkable. We urgently need an organisation that will inspire and coordinate a truly mass popular resistance against cuts and austerity.
What we don’t need is yet another talking shop run by the same Labour-affiliated careerists who have been diverting and demoralising British workers for decades – not stopping the war, not stopping redundancies, not stopping privatisation and not defending the NHS.
After decades of calling for mindless, tame and fruitless ‘activity’ – dead-end lobbying of MPs, futile court cases, tokenistic demonstrations and endless petition-writing – the placemen who pretend to ‘lead’ our movement need to be given the boot!
Step two is offence. Defending ourselves against austerity won’t change the fact that the country is spiralling into crisis at home and conflict abroad.
If we want to give our children a future free from debt, homelessness, poverty, unemployment, hunger, disease and war, we need to get rid of the parasites who are bleeding us all dry and take the whole British economy into our own hands.
Socialist planning is the only alternative to capitalist anarchy – and the only way to ensure a decent future for all working people. It is time we forged a movement, organisation and leadership bold enough to put the concrete demands of workers back on the agenda.
Join us in this struggle to build a better future – for Britain and for the world!