Socialist Studies Socialist Studies

Socialist Party of Great Britain - Capitalism In Crisis - Recession Again.

It should be noticed that the media apologists of capitalism like to use the mildest terms they can to describe the system’s convulsions. Recession does not sound so severe as slump or economic crash. However, when the Chancellor says: “Britain is facing arguably the worst economic downturn in 60 years which will be more profound and long-lasting than people had expected” (GUARDIAN 30 August 2008) nobody can misunderstand what he means and there can be no doubt who will suffer the worst effects of the “down-turn”, it will be the working class as always. The same newspaper tells of a warning from the Bank of England policy-makers “that 2 million people could be out of work by Christmas”.

Darling blames the “Credit Crunch” and he says the rest of the world is in the same straits as Britain. In referring to the equally severe downturn of 60 years ago, he failed to note that there was no “credit crunch” then.

Sixty years takes us back to 1948 and there was a Labour Government in power running capitalism then too. The conditions then were blamed on the war, which ended in 1945, a war which the Labour party served in Churchill’s war government and in which millions of workers lost their lives and many thousands of workers in London and other cities had their homes bombed.

Has it escaped Darling’s (and Brown’s) attention that other commentators have compared this recession with the one in the 1990’s and even the bigger crash of the 1930’s? Capitalism is an inherently unstable society full of imponderables.

The profit motive dictates that only maximum output is acceptable for the renewal of capital investment, the contradiction is, that the world market always remains the great unknowable and with the competition of rivals all seeking to grab the lion’s share, glut becomes a factor leading to falling prices and profit margins which in turn lead to cut-backs, bankruptcies and unemployment.

Workers as employees spend their lives at the disposal of the owners of the means of production, hired and fired as markets expand and inevitably contract. For Darling and Brown and the rest of the bourgeois apologists to blame the “downturn” in Britain on a world recession and the “credit crunch” only begs the question as to why these things happen if capitalism is not inherently unstable?

It was poverty in America among millions of workers who had bad debts that triggered the “credit crunch”, the loss of confidence among the banks that followed the Northern Rock fiasco, meant that lending was curtailed because of bad profit expectations. Many thousands of workers in the US and the UK face repossession of their homes as part of the ensuing mortgage crisis.

Under the headline: “Mortgages approvals slump to a new loss”, TELETEXT told us on 1st September 2008, that approvals dived by 71% in the past year to a new low- record. In July 20008 there were 33,000 approvals, down from 114,000 in July 2007 (Bank of England figures). It is convenient for Brown and darling to use the cop-out that:

Every country is facing the impact of rising oil prices, every country is facing the impact of rising food prices” (THE GUARDIAN, 30th August 2008).

And to add:

“…we have got to look at what we can do nationally on these issues

This is an admission that they have no policy and that the world forces of market capitalism are beyond their control but, this is not what Blair and Brown were saying in 1997 or in 2004 when a rosy future and an end to poverty were used as a means to gain power. There was no proviso; “prosperity subject to no world problems”.

Today’s Labour Government is a worthy successor to previous Labour Governments which went into war in Korea and launched the development of Britain’s arsenal of nuclear weapons. They are involved in two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq where workers in their ignorance are killing their fellow workers. It affords us no pleasure to refer to the workers as ignorant, but in following leaders and voting for capitalist politicians against their own interest there is no word more appropriate. It is a tragedy that the great majority of workers in this country and throughout the world, instead of uniting in their common interests to end capitalism, are still prepared to kill and die for the ruling classes that live from their exploitation.

For as long as capitalism remains this recession will not be the last. It is a simple case of cause and effect. Workers have it in their power to use their vote to end the mad-house of capitalism. First they must become politically and class conscious. They must understand the need to change society-worldwide, they must see that Socialism which has never been tried, will be a society of commonly-owned means of production, a classless system without money, wages or markets where all the useful things we need will be provided by co-operation solely to meet human needs. Majority, democratic understanding is the key to a world without wars and poverty. There will be no “recession” and no stumble bums such as a Darling and Brown.

The socialist Party of Great Britain has always promoted understanding and has never had any leaders. Our appeal is to ordinary workers like ourselves. The solution, Socialism, awaits the urgent need for workers to grasp it.

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