The growing crisis of capitalism has become increasingly transparent however at the same time there is a crisis of the labour movement frustrating a mass movement to defend the conditions of the working class.
The European Union, now the centre of the crisis, has Germany calling the shots, France playing second fiddle and Britain sidelined. Germany demanded and gained agreement that will mean closer European fiscal integration with strict rules and greater austerity. While German exports for the first time in history reached 1 trillion Euros, like all European countries, their public sector is under attack.
In the middle of this crisis Cameron vetoed a Euro zone deal and found himself out in the cold unlike during the Thatcher years and a deep friction exists between Germany and the small parasitic clique of British financiers.
The IMF and the USA approved the recently agreed pact however they do not think it goes far enough. Germany and France, with the support of the IMF and USA, are demanding a restructure of the EU in order to use the crisis to directly control and rob the economies of other European countries and save themselves by demanding that weaker countries lose their sovereignty. The EU and the USA have every intention of placing the weight of this crisis on the workers of Europe and the rest of the world.
These are unprecedented times; this crisis is far deeper than that of the 1930s. A mountain of fictitious capital was built up, so capitalism is forced to protect itself from its own crisis with the banks and financial sectors determined to call the tune and make the working class pay for their gigantic debt.
In rejecting a 0.2 per cent tax on financial transactions Cameron was driven by the greed and instability of the banks. He was defending the interests of the 20,000 richest speculators and hedge funds managers in the city of London (2 million people are employed in the sector) – those who payroll his party, right wing media tycoons and Tory euro-sceptics.
There are no differences in the EU over defending capitalism but the failure of the British Prime Minister to come to any agreement reveals an historic weakness of the oldest capitalist nation.
And while the Eurozone is making its plans the ECB (European Central Bank) is more willing to lend to banks than countries. At the same time the ECB is trying to prevent another credit crunch in Europe by reducing interest rates by a tiny amount, such is the fear of inflation. At the same time Obama is demanding that new mountains of debt be created to unfreeze the markets. But none of these plans will work.
Unions and workers must fight the government
Whether in or out of the new Euro pact, capitalism is agreed – deepen the attacks on the working class. So to answer this unions have to mobilise the working class as a whole but the problem is that the present union bureaucracies are not preparing for what is coming. The working class has to fight the social war that is being waged against them and this requires a greater determination in the labour movement to intensify and unify union and community struggles.
There are capitalist forces that will push countries to the brink despite any agreements made, for example if Greece leaves the Euro it is estimated that Greek GDP would drop dramatically and that a collapse of the Euro would trigger a contraction in GDP across Europe and the world. Governments are desperate to avoid this yet pushing Greece in just that direction.
Marx explained that capitalism in its decline will be forced to exert an ever greater naked dictatorship over the working class. In Britain and the rest of Europe millions of workers are facing attacks on their living standards which in Britain led to 29 public sector unions going on strike on November 30. But unions must go further, they should be responsible to their class explain the seriousness of the crisis and where it is leading and develop a programme to fight and defeat the government.
Increasingly workers are ready for action, so unions should develop a class independent programme with the understanding that if the crisis is left in the hands of capitalist governments then the working class faces certain catastrophe.
The working class needs a programme and leadership based on the need for socialism, to link workers throughout Europe – with a demand for unity of struggle and action throughout Europe , and the basis of the struggle should be for the Socialist United States of Europe. A crisis as deep as this also drives the threat of new wars as happened in the 1930s which led to world war and fascism. Today we are seeing the drive to war being posed in the offensive against Iran.
So the main points that the Labour movement is basing their programme on are not adequate enough to avert the disaster we face. The immediate and urgent task we must face is to deepen this discussion in all unions through democratic assemblies so as to develop a programme based on these points raised.
We have to mobilise the working class on the understanding that only a system with public control of services, banks and the main industries, and public accountability can the working class save itself.
We have to unite all sectors against this crisis with the youth, students, immigrants and the poor.
We have to link with the European working class directly, learn from each other and agree joint struggles and joint European days of action.