Last Sunday, on BBC1, the bankers' Darling called for miserly 2% pay rises, in line with his inflation target. He added that this "restraint" should apply "from the boardroom to the shopfloor"!
Well, yes, directors and shareholders can afford a cut in their purchasing power, with all the cash they piled up over the years, thanks to the record profits that companies made from our labour.
But, for the rest of us, with retail price inflation running at 4.3% a year, according to official figures - and much more, judging from our own bills - only a significant wage increase will do. In fact, a minimum £50/week rise would be just about enough for low wages to catch up with the loss of purchasing power due to the price hikes of the past year and the real wage freeze of the previous years.
This may seem a tall order given the ridiculously low wage offers being made by the bosses. But compared to the hundreds of thousands of pounds in salary increases that directors award themselves year in and year out, or the 15-25% annual return on capital that big shareholders earn without moving a finger, a £50/w increase is just peanuts!
To justify his "unofficial" pay freeze (private bosses are free to do as they please), Darling raises the spectre of "inflation". The old scarecrow is out, to lead us into believing that demanding decent wages is putting the economy at risk!
But who put the economy at risk, if not those pillars of capital - the banks - by starting and fuelling a housing speculative bubble? Who made this bubble possible, if not politicians who, from Labour to the Tories, are bent on cutting state spending on decent rented homes, thereby forcing workers into buying unaffordable houses? Who made a packet out of this bubble, if not capitalists, whose only concern is money, no matter the cost for society? And today, who is driving prices through the roof by speculating on oil and food, if not the same capitalists again - no matter how much Brown denies it, as he did again last week?
So, if anyone is to blame for inflation, it is the bosses and big shareholders, not workers demanding decent wages!
Last week, the contractors who drive Shell's tankers across the country won a 2-year deal, worth 9% on the 1st year and 5% on the 2nd. But they would never have won anything if it was not for their strike. Because there is only one language that the bosses and their politicians understand - that of the class struggle. And it is only by using it, with all the collective strength we can muster, that we will make the capitalists pay for their crisis.