Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/808/18499

From The Socialist newspaper, 23 April 2014

Editorial

New figures reveal capitalism in crisis - not recovery

Desperate times call for desperate measures. That must have been the line of Con-Dem Chancellor George Osborne's thinking when he went about claiming new jobs and wages figures proved that his austerity measures were yielding a recovery.

Far from bringing relief to 'hard-working families', the Coalition's cuts and pro-capitalist policies are rapidly turning the clock back on living standards at a terrifying rate. Real growth can however be seen in workers' anger.

Osborne's claim, faithfully reproduced across the big business-owned media, was that wages are now rising faster than inflation.

Statistical contortionists manufactured this figure by including fat-cat bonuses in the measure of wages and excluding sky-rocketing house prices by using the CPI not the RPI measure of inflation. In reality real wages are still 6% below the pre-crisis peak of 2008.

The London Evening Standard (ES) produced a devastating graph. It showed that energy bills have gone up by 57%, food prices by 40%, and petrol has risen by 49%.

Housing is in a league of its own with prices and rents increasing at a speed Usain Bolt would envy. London house prices have risen by 22% in the past year, with other areas also seeing significant rises.

We were also invited to celebrate the latest employment figures. Unemployment is down by 320,000 to 2.2 million.

But again the devil is in the truth. Almost half the jobless are young people. Scandalously almost a million workers are in the grip of zero-hour contracts, living precarious, stressed-out lives.

Unsurprisingly ONS figures show that two million or one in five part-time and temporary workers say they would like full-time work.

Lack of investment

Other figures reveal that Britain is being propelled back to the 19th century. As job cuts in the public sector hit hard and big business refuses to invest its hundreds of hoarded billions in new jobs "worried workers price themselves into the jobs market", as an ES writer put it.

In particular, frustrated and demoralised workers, seeking to avoid the monsters like Homer's Scylla and Charybdis of humiliating benefit regimes and workfare on the one side and low-paid insecure work on the other, have opted out to enter into self-employment.

Increases among Britain's 4.5 million-strong self-employed workforce account for more than 40% of the 'jobs' growth over the last year, and for almost two-thirds in the last quarter.

This, accompanied by aggressive privatisation drives, represents an attempt by big business and their servants in government to undo all the gains of the working class over the last century.

Self-employed people are often forced into financial and personal uncertainty. While the capitalist press is awash with tales of wealthy whizz kids, for the majority of self-employed workers this is hard graft with poor returns.

Tax expert Richard Taylor worked out that "the average, inflation adjusted, earnings of those who are self-employed fell from just under 15,000 a year at the turn of the century to 10,400 in 2011, a real decline of just over 31%."

As the Socialist Party has explained many times, capitalism is in a blind alley, unable to further develop the productive forces (factories, offices, science and technique), or to use the surplus created by workers to invest in much needed industrial development.

So the basics- clean water, homes, jobs, healthcare, environmental protection- are denied to billions of people.

Instead the capitalist classes appear to be retiring from their historic role. In Britain the number of employing businesses has fallen in most years since 2008.

The number of private-sector businesses with 250 or more employees dropped 8.2% to 6,600 between 2000 and 2013.

It is also predicted that there could be more self-employed by 2018 than the number of employees in the public sector.

The TUC reports that rapid expansion of this sector, normally a feature of recession, is growing fastest among impoverished pensioners, part-time workers and odd-jobbers.

Bubbling anger

But, as the Socialist Party has predicted, things will not continue like this forever. The working class will not continue trying to make ends meet while watching the rich get so obscenely richer.

The anger that is bubbling below the surface will explode at a certain stage and pay and jobs will be a major factor in that explosion.

A foretaste of the action we can expect has been provided by the construction workers who successfully demanded to be taken on by the profiteering building companies on direct contracts.

The frustration is also fuelling the votes for strike action on pay by workers in the NHS, among teachers, on the railways and more.

It is what makes the Bakers' Union and Youth Fight for Jobs' 'Fast Food Rights' campaign against junk jobs so appealing to the super-exploited workers in that industry.

For a real living wage

The Socialist Party fights for the immediate implementation of the Living Wage (currently set at 7.65 or 8.80 in London) as a step towards a minimum wage of 10 an hour, with regular increases to cover price rises.

We oppose the pay cuts and pay freezes, parts of the Coalition strategy to make the working class pay for the bosses' crisis.

We say that, for example, the estimated 120 billion lost to tax evasion mainly by the super-rich 1%, would go a long way to rolling out a mass programme of socially useful job creation.

That would mean more homes built, more staff in our threadbare public services, and fewer people forced onto the dole or pushed into instability.

Protections against precariousness and poverty are also needed for workers who wish to remain self-employed.

Making affordable credit available from banks would help. National Insurance payments should guarantee benefits when workers are unable to work.

But a programme needs a strategy to achieve it. Socialist Party members at trade union conferences have been winning big support when they argue for decisive action to defend workers' rights.

This includes making the case for a 24-hour general strike as well as arguing the case for action on the issues affecting workers in the different sectors.

Fundamentally, though, we explain that capitalism is utterly incapable of satisfying even the modest aspirations of the 99% for a secure job, for a home that is not prey to the whims of greedy landlords or banks, for public services that meet their needs.

So linked to the struggles for jobs and decent pay, must be a struggle to achieve all these basic needs, as part of a struggle to change society along socialist lines.

This would mean, as a start, nationalising the banking system and the big companies that dominate the economy and placing them under democratic workers' control and management.

Socialism would mean democratic planning to end the chaos of the market and environmental destruction.

And it would mean the end to the misery of millions in Britain and across the world. Join us in the fight for a future, a socialist future.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 23 April 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Hungry Britain: Fight for jobs and a living wage for all

New figures reveal capitalism in crisis - not recovery

Scotland: Capitalist 'Project Fear' backfiring?

Why is there a housing crisis?

Zero-hour contracts damage your health

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Building Socialist Alternative in the United States

China: labour disputes soar


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Over 550 TUSC no-cuts candidates in place


Socialist Party workplace news

Every job matters: Support the Tube workers' strike

Care UK workers stepping up the action

Don't let Gove wreck education!

Rail workers prepare for action

CWU conference: Renationalise Royal Mail!

Workplace news in brief


Readers' comments

In the fight to defend our NHS, know your enemy

The Broad Left Organising Committee

Workers' Memorial Day: strike for safety

25 years after Hillsborough


 

Home   |   The Socialist 23 April 2014   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Austerity:

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleManchester rally discussed unionisation and nationalisation

triangleThe fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity

triangleHousing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

triangleIMF helps cause inequality it slams

Capitalism:

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: "You can't have capitalism without racism" (Malcolm X)

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: Capitalism in Crisis - is Corbyn the answer?

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: Is equality for women possible under capitalism?

triangleThe end of the Tories?

Jobs:

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleBoeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangleMonarch abdicates responsibility to workers

Pay:

triangleJustice for Tube cleaners demo

triangleThem & Us

Britain:

triangleShocking insight into Isis

Inflation:

triangleVenezuela: Capitalist offensive sharpens after assembly elections

Cuts:

triangleSalford Unison condemns pay cuts

Food:

triangleFood processing workers vote for action against miserly bosses

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

13/10/17

Labour

The end of the Tories?

11/10/17

Tories

Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

11/10/17

Black history

The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity

11/10/17

Housing

Housing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

11/10/17

Universal Credit

Major attacks 'Universal Credit', half a million more face poverty

11/10/17

Them & Us

Them & Us

11/10/17

NHS

NHS meltdown - fight the Tory cuts

11/10/17

IMF

IMF helps cause inequality it slams

4/10/17

NHS

Tories wreck our NHS

4/10/17

Workers

Monarch abdicates responsibility to workers

4/10/17

Capitalism

Capitalism and human progress

4/10/17

Trump

Bending the knee v Trump

4/10/17

Tories

The Tories must be driven out

29/9/17

Labour

Labour Party conference: Action against establishment sabotage still needed

27/9/17

Anti-austerity

Anti-austerity opposition needed to seize on Tories' weakness

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle16 Oct Teesside Socialist Party: After the party conferences

triangle17 Oct London: TUC lobby & rally; and London march

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2