Thursday, 29 January 2009

Britain needs a workers' government ...

and Europe a United States

Part One

Many will be tempted to respond to this title: `Hey,
isn't that what we've already got? Labour in power and
the EU long established.' I'm afraid they'd be wrong.
These pale imitations of the real thing are in many ways
the opposite of what is so urgently required especially
now that the global capitalist system has gone into
meltdown. The EU and New Labour constitute a sort of
post-modern, ironic, farcical, bourgeois piss-take of a
long-standing, and possibly fatally overdue, requirement
for socialistic measures in both politics and economy.

In Britain, New Labour has been using the capitalist spur
to discipline the public sector and maintain the fiction
that capitalism is both working and efficient at the same
time as bending over backwards to the monopolies. A sort
of constant reasserting and recreating of the class
struggle sometimes where there was none by people who
called themselves socialists. Now, with the credit crunch
the pretence is over and the opposite tack of using the
public sector to prop up capitalist monopolies while they
chuck millions on the dole has been adopted. Let's face
it, for reformism to have any credence then there must be
at least a modicum of potential for it and when there
isn't the reformists openly become both the captives and
the policemen of the system. With the economy collapsing
all around, what's to reform?

Yes, New Labour have partially nationalised some of the
banks but the rest have gone to foreign billionaires who
are sucking the remaining credit out of the economy by
charging 14% interest on their investments. And what is
the point of nationalising the bankrupt banks in order to
get credit to small businesses, and pass on interest rate
cuts to home owners, if the major monopolies are free to
carry on closing down competitors and shedding jobs by the
million? In these circumstances where do the tax dollars
used to bail out the banks so they could lend again go?
Why, back to the banks of course. Small businesses use
the money to pay their debts rather than invest to bid for
increasingly non-existent work from the `restructuring'
monopolies or big state departments. Home owners aren't
spending, they're paying their crippling mortgages. And
what do these banks do with the money? Pay off their
debts to American pyramid schemers, hold on to the
remaining cash and wait for the economy to totally
collapse so they can buy everything up on the cheap. As
it was after World War II. Anybody holding some folding
at that time was king and could buy whatever they wanted
(mostly the draught dodging spivs). Ironically, New
Labour are organising things so that at the end of this
recession/depression the only people with cash will be,
you guessed it, the banks and the monopolies that got us
into this mess. They, and Gordon Brown are plotting the
greatest leveraged buyout the world has ever known,
featuring an entire economy, purloined tax payers' money,
`rationalising', downsizing and mass unemployment. Even
the recent VAT cut which left everyone scratching their
heads and which was sold as an effort to stimulate the
economy was nothing of the sort. If was the transference
of £12 billion of tax revenue through the indebted often
bankrupt retailers straight into the coffers of the banks
to cover yet more of their toxic debt and help them
`recapitalise'. Public services and public workers will
pay dear for that alone. But of course Brown and the
bankers can't fulfil their little plans. This collapse is
beyond their ability to cope with let alone comprehend.
The City of London, the greatest casino the world has ever
known, is bust to the tune of billions possibly trillions
and Gordon Brown is squandering the last of the nation's
wealth trying to keep it open. That will not happen. The
current collapse will both confirm and complete Britain's
historic decline, relative to its competitors, that has
been taking place over the past 120 years. Even if global
capitalism as a whole climbs out of this new wreckage
Britain's place in it will be immeasurably and irrevocably
weakened. Now that the City has collapsed the result of
turning Britain from a one-time manufacturing hub into
nothing more than a global casino and a usurious state are
apparent? It is an economy owned by an increasingly tiny
minority hardly any of whom live here consisting of
enormous pockets of ghettoised poor. As a capitalist
economy Britain is a bankrupt old gambler, pissed up and
sleeping rough. Just as an aside, isn't it funny how
capitalism celebrates how efficient it is, how competition
spurs us on to greater and greater achievements yet in the
world of banking it seems inefficiency is both encouraged
and required? The more banks there are the more they can
get away with ripping off the public by charging interest
rates that bare no resemblance to those at which they
themselves borrowed the money from the Bank of England.
They call it the inter-bank lending rate i.e. the rate at
which banks lend to each other before lending on to us.
Of course, the more banks there are the higher the
inter-bank lending rate is. If there was only one,
efficient state bank then it would be lending at virtually
the base rate with maybe a small percentage difference to
cover costs.

Anyway, where were we? Historic decline. Right, so there
is no point nationalising the banks if we don't at the
same time nationalise the big capitalist monopolies. They
will shed jobs and close down competitors making solving
the credit crunch superfluous in any case. For all the
talk of `doing something' this government is doing nothing
specifically for the working class and Brown's taunting of
the Tories on this score must have an exceedingly hollow
ring to it for the freshly redundant or bankrupt or
homeless. These two things, then, would be the priority
tasks of a workers' government: complete nationalisation
of the banks and credit system and nationalisation of the
major capitalist concerns to prevent mass unemployment and
the collapse of small business. Mass unemployment through
job shedding, bankruptcies and takeovers is the biggest
danger facing, and happening to, the working class whether
they become unemployed or remain employed. It will be
necessary for the nationalised and state sectors to take
in the unemployed and share the work. Let's make this
even clearer: the struggle against unemployment is the
most important issue of the day. It is not a question of
enacting socialism as such but potentially involved the
very survival of the working class. Simply to bring these
important economic instruments under the control of a
workers' government so that they may be wielded in their
interests and those of society in general is the most
important immediate task we face.

Part Two (The United States of Europe) to follow . . .