Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/687/12870
Socialism 2011: A weekend of discussion and debate
Capitalism in crisis: fight for socialism
In August 2009, Christine Lagarde, ex-French finance minister, and now head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), predicted "a definitive exit from the crisis in the middle of 2010." Now the IMF, which has been instrumental in conducting the austerity war against the poor, is forced to reluctantly concede what socialists have said from the very beginning: this savage austerity policy doesn't work.
For the last few decades we have been told that revolutions were not on the agenda any more. Now the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt have changed the face of the entire region.
Despite attempts by imperialist forces to cut across those struggles through military intervention and deals with elements of the old ruling élites as in Libya, these revolutions have drawn the outlines of a new era of struggle. They are inspiring the oppressed and the poor across the planet. They show that it is only through the mass intervention of the working class that society can be changed.
Worldwide, social tensions are being pushed to breaking point. Chile and Israel, both among the most unequal countries in the world, have been rocked by powerful social movements in the past months.
Mass occupations of Greek universities, starting even before the summer break is finished, have already given a glimpse of what the autumn will look like. Italian workers staged a general strike on 6 September against a government on the edge, while the "precarious generation" movement in Portugal is preparing for a mass mobilisation in mid-October.
Here in Britain, the public sector strike on 30 November provides an historic opportunity for 'our side' to take the initiative.
A wave of panic is hitting the ruling classes. They don't know how to get out of the mess they have created. And there is the threatening spectre of a new, deeper phase of the crisis. A default in Greece would trigger an explosive chain reaction with incalculable economic, political and social repercussions.
"Tax us", some of the fat cats are demanding, conscious that if they want to get away with this one, they will have to at least give the illusion that "we are all in this together".
Yet the number of people sleeping in the streets of London has increased by 8% in one year. The poverty rate has hit a record high in the US, with 46 million people living below the poverty line.
Everywhere, women are among the first victims of cuts in services, wages and allowances. The crisis is used as a pretext to attack their rights further, as shown by the recent discussions in the Polish and Russian parliaments about anti-abortion legislation.
The triumphalist epoch of capitalism is over. All the remedies that the big business rulers have attempted in order to heal their system have made things worse, except maybe for themselves. More and more people will come to the conclusion that this crisis is a systemic one.
Come to Socialism 2011, to debate about how to best prepare for the coming struggles, and ultimately, to replace this sick system with one that is planned to benefit the billions, not the billionaires.
In The Socialist 28 September 2011:
Building for 30 November strike
Jarrow march for jobs
The Socialist's editorials
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party review