Only one "alternative" - make big business pay!

11 April 2011

For the first time in 30 years, official figures acknowledge that households' standard of living has dropped by 0.8%. But this is only an average. For working class households which do not benefit from the bonuses and fat dividends of the wealthy, this drop is much steeper.

Welfare cuts, wage cuts and wage freezes, rising unemployment, an increased proportion of part-time and casual jobs, higher inflation - all this has already taken its toll, even before taking into account the impact of the government's cuts in public services.

This is the cost that the working class has been made to pay for the bosses' crisis over the past years, while the bosses' profits were booming, and we've had enough of footing their bill!

Building on our collective strength

This is why it is vital that our show of strength on March 26th, at the TUC protest in London, should be followed by more, even larger protests.

So far, the TUC leaders have chosen to focus only on public sector cuts and public sector workers. And just on that basis they managed to mobilise hundreds of thousands in the streets. This is a measure of the discontent among workers. But it should be the starting point for a much wider mobilisation.

All sections of the working class have been directly hit by the attacks of the bosses and their politicians. And there are much more to come. Our objective cannot be limited to just stopping the ConDems' cuts in public services - it must also be to stop the on-going attacks taking place in the private sector and, above all, to start reclaiming the ground lost to all bosses, public and private, over the past years.

In this respect, we cannot rely on the "alternative" put forward by some union leaders. This "alternative" is nothing but the programme of the same Labour party which first bailed out the bankers, then initiated the present austerity and is now saying that the problem is the way the cuts are made, not the cuts themselves! What "alternative" is that? The working class cannot expect anything from a party whose leader, Ed Miliband, was bending over backwards, last week, in front of the British Chamber of Commerce, to show what a good errand boy of big business he is prepared to be, by declaring: "I am determined that Labour will continue to be a pro-business party"! Doesn't that say it all?

Any "alternative" for the working class has to rely on the collective strength of the millions who make up its ranks, not on politicians like Miliband, whose only ambition is to serve the interests of big business. And the "alternative" we need must be aimed squarely at meeting the needs of the working class majority of the population, not the greed of the tiny minority of the profit sharks!

The need for radical measures

The capitalists, their greed and their parasitism have brought about the current crisis. The capitalist class as a whole should be made to pay for it, out of its accumulated wealth and its fat profits. And achieving this requires radical measures.

Against unemployment, all the work available should be shared out between all workers, without loss of pay. Isn't high time workers should stop killing themselves on long hours and crazy shifts?

Against the erosion of workers' purchasing power by rising inflation, wages should be uprated as often as is required, to take into account the real increase of the cost of living - not according to the government's massaged indexes, but on the basis of real prices where workers do their shopping.

The financial system and its bingo machine represent an on-going threat for the economy and the whole of society - as the latest hiccups of the crisis are showing in Ireland and Portugal. Tinkering with this system by having a so-called "Independent banking commission" pretending to make the banks less prone to failure, as Cameron does, is a farce. Especially when the majority of the commission's members are ex-high-flying bankers!

Financial speculation and greed are diseases which are built into capitalist private property. The only cure would be the wholesale nationalisation and merger of all the banks into a single one, placed under the control of bank workers and the population as a whole, without compensation for shareholders who have already benefited far too much from the largesse of the state.

These are the kind of objectives which would constitute a real "alternative" for the working class by addressing the problems it is confronted to - an "alternative" which would be worth fighting for with all the collective strength we can muster!