The Socialist 23 January 2008 |
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Why should we pay for capitalist crisis?
Stock markets crash
THE BOSSES and their capitalist system - based on greed and profits for the few - have fouled up Britain and the world big time.
They give the impression that the world economic tsunami, which has already struck the US and is about to wreak havoc in Britain, is like a natural disaster, an 'act of God'. It is not! It's the failure of their profit system.
So who will pay the price for this failure? The super-rich, the financial wheeler-dealers, the top bosses? No, it'll be us! Already housing repossessions are expected to rise to 45,000 this year, up from 30,000 in 2007, a 50% increase.
And one in six households - that's four million - is living in fuel poverty in Britain, yet the government's latest energy bill makes no mention of this. Meanwhile, the largest six energy supply companies made a whopping £2,000,000,000 profit in just six months. But even this mountain of cash isn't enough for them, as they whack up gas and electricity prices by up to 23% for customers.
Under New Labour the wealthy have enjoyed an income and profits bonanza, doubling their wealth. As a result of the speculative frenzy on the stock markets the mega-rich have increased their incomes even further. However, to join this elite 0.1% of income earners you will need an average income of £780,000 a year.
But while real incomes of the elite grew by 6.6% a year on average, (while contributing only 4.3% of income tax revenue), low-paid health workers, teaching assistants, local government workers, civil servants, etc, are having to fight pay cuts under the government's 2%, three-year public-sector deals.
But before we complain, bear in mind that Gordon Brown and chancellor Alistair Darling are short of cash. They have had to guarantee £55 billion of our money to bail out Northern Rock.
But instead of nationalising it, the government will guarantee a sale of bonds to revive a potential buy-out for financial fat cats like Richard Branson. In other words, our money will guarantee the bank's debt to allow it to be taken over by another private bank to make a big profit! Northern Rock shares immediately rose as much as 55% in speculative trading as a result.
So how come New Labour and the capitalists can get away with this rotten system? Mainly because the working class is denied a political voice. Instead of funding a workers' party, many at the tops of the trade unions continue to spend our union political funds on supporting New Labour. Moreover, these same officials continue to hold back workers' struggles over low pay and against privatisation.
We need to change the unions to break with this government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich. Our union money and resources should be used to build a new left-wing party to represent workers' interests and those of the poorest in Britain.
The Socialist Party is working to achieve such a goal. Join us to end the rule of the rich and to build a society based on equality and fulfilling people's needs.