War and crisis: capitalism is dragging us down

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
November 1, 2022

The abnormally hot and sunny days we’ve been having these past few weeks are a reminder of how serious the climate crisis is. And it’s not the only thing to be worried about because wherever you look, there’s a crisis.

There’s the political crisis with the war in Ukraine and the fear that nuclear weapons could be used. There’s the energy crisis with soaring gas and electricity bills and more shortages. And there’s the economic crisis. Today, the crisis manifests itself primarily through sky-rocketing prices. Tomorrow, it’ll be through bankruptcies and mass layoffs too.

Governments everywhere are promising us progress, peace and harmony but they keep pushing us closer to the precipice.

What’s the Western leaders’ policy concerning the war in Ukraine? To fuel it by providing more weapons, intelligence service and instructors. With the support of Macron and other such allies, Biden is taking advantage of the fact the Putin initiated the conflict after years of pressure from Western states to permanently weaken Russia and strengthen American imperialism in Eastern Europe.

The world leaders aren’t getting us out of war, they’re dragging us into it! They are all rearming and preparing for war. In addition to the war in Ukraine and the possibility it will spread across Europe, they are anticipating a war against China. To the US, Xi Jinping’s China is the number one rival to knock down and Western propaganda has already made him top enemy.

Even though European countries depend on each other both economically and in terms of energy, the European Union is incapable of elaborating a common policy that would ensure everyone is supplied with natural gas.

It’s “every man for himself”. The states that can afford to pay, like Germany, are pulling out their checkbooks to save their capitalists while the other poorer states accuse them of unfair competition. The Franco-German couple which has long been considered the driving force of the European Union is tearing itself apart to the point that some commentators are saying the specter of war between France and Germany is back!

And the government’s measures to protect the climate are ridiculous! This winter, the ecological transition will consist mainly in heating homes and facilities at 19°C (66°F) and wearing sweaters.

The energy transformation and thermal renovation projects that require investing billions of euros will be put off. In all urgency, European governments are rushing to purchase shale gas and to build LNG terminals to stock liquid natural gas imported from other continents. They’re also starting coal-fired power plants back up again, both in Germany and France. Never before have statesmen and capitalists talked so much about climate change while continuing to pollute at the same time.

“We’re having to govern in the midst of a storm”, they say. Except this storm isn’t the result of natural forces but of their complete failure.

It doesn’t even have anything to do with the quality and skills of the political staff. These crises are the product of a capitalist system dominated by vultures who go wherever profit-making, exploitation and competition lead them. And these vultures are ready to do whatever it takes including bringing the whole economy down just as the giant energy corporations are doing today.

The government is forcing workers to sacrifice their buying power, their rights to retirement and unemployment benefits in order to save this crazy system. We mustn’t accept this.

The rich and the big capitalist corporations always survive crises and war. They will even find a way to benefit from them as is already the case in the energy and weapons industries. The workers will be the first to suffer and, in order to save their skins, they’ll have no other choice but to fight.

Marx said that workers have nothing to lose but their chains. His words have always resonated in the minds of the workers who are exploited the most. In times of crisis and war, they will find a greater resonance and help workers fight till the end to wrest the economic and political power from the capitalist class that is leading us to disaster.

Nathalie Arthaud