Johnson's "new deal"? no, just the same old one: feeding the private sharks!

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
2 July 2020

So now Johnson is posing as the future economic saviour of Britain's severely-slumped economy! On Tuesday, to much fanfare, he announced a "new deal", which he claimed was "Rooseveltian" in scale...

It might well come as a surprise to some, that a right-wing conservative government suddenly hails the public spending of democrat US president, Franklin D Roosevelt. Of course, FD Roosevelt's 1935 economic recovery plan - known as the "New Deal" - is certainly credited with pulling the US out of the ravages of the Great Depression. And given that the word economy today is facing a recession which is probably far worse, with the combined effects of the unresolved 2008 crisis, C-19 and Brexit, yes, the capitalist class is shouting loudly for something to be done...

In fact with every crisis, the state of the capitalist class has duly stepped in with a bail-out in order to rescue the capitalist economy from destruction - or indeed self-destruction, as was the case in 2008! And while politicians always claim their aim is to help “everybody”, as the working class knows from experience, not only is it not helped, but it has to pay the cost.

Roosevelt’s grand building schemes of the 1930s - including the Hoover Dam - were undertaken by workers in "chain gang" conditions. And after the labour programmes were done, workers were thrown once more into the ranks of the unemployed. In 1937, just 2 years into this "Deal", unemployment rose again to 20%. It was only due to a massive arms-building programme, in the lead up to WWII, and then with the war itself, that the US economy finally emerged out of recession.

In fact Johnson's bluster does not even come close to matching Roosevelt's failed "solution" to the capitalist crisis of the 1930s. His commitment to bring forward infrastructure spending of £5bn (out of an already-announced £640bn!) amounts to just 0.2% of current British GDP. In contrast, Roosevelt's New Deal was estimated to be worth about 40% of the US national income of 1929!

New opportunities for the blood-suckers

Johnson let the cat out of the bag when he explained that what he really wanted to do was to “build a platform for the private sector to invest and create jobs”. And when asked by a naive reporter if he would increase taxes to finance this, he quickly denied it: no way was he “attacking our great companies” nor was it a “raid on the wealth creators” - as if anyone could have been mistaken over that!

Actually, he went a lot further than necessary, confessing that: “My friends, I am not a communist"! And then he continued digging: "yes of course we clap for our NHS, but under this government we also applaud those who make our NHS possible, our innovators, our wealth creators, our capitalists and financiers, because in the end it is their willingness to take risks with their own money that will be crucial for our future success”.

Indeed, how could he not pay tribute to the way the capitalists and financiers risk their "own money", AKA the materialised blood and sweat of the working class, to build the economy! So, no possibility of mistaking him for being in favour of government spending for the public good, then! What was conspicuous by its absence was precisely the plan to “create jobs”!

The no-deal which workers need

And no sooner had his current furlough scheme come to an end on 30 June, than the job cuts announcements started coming, thick and fast.

Just how many of the 9 million workers who have been getting at least 80% of their wages under this scheme will still have their jobs by October, when the scheme ends?

The mere fact of the government tapering the reimbursement of the bosses’ wage bill down to 70% and then 60% of the cost, before the scheme ends completely in October, has been a green light for bosses to start firing workers! Yes, to add to the already 3.9m unemployed!

Within 48 hours 12,000 workers in the retail sector - Harrods, Topshop and John Lewis among others - and another 18,000 in the aviation industries have been thrown out of their jobs. Office for National Statistics figures show that the number of workers on company payrolls have already fallen by over 600,000. These numbers are the tip of an iceberg.

This is bad news for the working class, for sure. But it does not have to be. Because the “new deals” and “no deals” offered by the rotten politicians which this decrepit capitalist system spawns, are so obviously “fake”! And because the collective strength of the working class can easily be used to reshape the social system, so that in future, production is based on society’s need, not profits. And yes, actually, that would be “communism”!