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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 December 2011

Capitalism is a failed system: support the socialist fightback

Ken Douglas, Socialist Party national treasurer
Inside Job: film on the global economic crisis of 2008

Inside Job: film on the global economic crisis of 2008   (Click to enlarge)

"The supremacy of finance capital over all other forms of capital means the predominance of the rentier and of the financial oligarchy," wrote revolutionary leader Lenin in 1916 in Imperialism - the Highest Stage of Capitalism.

Inside Job (Storyville, BBC 4), Charles Ferguson's film about the causes of the global financial crisis in 2008, showed the consequences of that supremacy borne out in monstrous form. Ferguson shows how 'financial oligarchy' brought the world economy 24 hours away from collapse.

This was only prevented at a cost of $20 trillion, yet all the main players in the crisis walked away with their millions and billions intact. Some, like Larry Summers, Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner, remain in key positions in the Obama administration and the US Federal Reserve.

They gamble...

When Ronald Reagan was elected US president in 1980, he removed financial safeguards put in place following the 1929 Wall Street Crash. This resulted in the failure of hundreds of local banks at a cost of $124 billion and the dotcom crash in 2001 with $5 trillion in investment losses.

Yet the regulation agencies did nothing. There were 3,000 finance industry lobbyists, five for every US congressman, on Capitol Hill.

There then followed "the biggest financial bubble in history" as sub-prime mortgage debts were bundled up into complex financial instruments. Ratings agencies - that now call on governments to make drastic cuts to our living standards - were paid to give top AAA ratings to these investments. Their profits alone quadrupled between 2000 and 2007.

The bankers raked in billions while dismissing the IMF chief economist's warning in 2007 that the investments were unsustainable.

Bankers moved seamlessly between Wall Street and the government. For example, Hank Paulson, earning $31 million a year as CEO of Goldman Sachs when they were heavily involved in the sub-prime market, became US treasury secretary in 2006.

When the insurance company AIG became bankrupt, Paulson forced them to pay their government-backed debts in full. $61 billion was paid out to the big investment banks, including $14 billion to Goldman Sachs!

We pay the price

Meanwhile the working class and poor paid the price - workers' pension funds were bankrupted by the collapse.

The 'Great Recession' that followed the sub-prime crisis led to the loss of 30 million jobs worldwide, 10% unemployment in the US and Europe, six million foreclosures (house repossessions) in the US alone, with another nine million in the pipeline, and the springing up of tent cities across the country.

Yet, in 2009, Goldman Sachs still paid out $16 billion in bonuses and even more in 2010.

Ferguson concludes at the end of the film: "the men and institutions that caused the crisis are still in power and that needs to change". He goes on to say that it won't be easy, "but some things are worth fighting for".

Inside Job gives compelling evidence for what Lenin said, that under capitalism the rich run society in their own interests and are incapable of taking society forward.

Lenin's conclusion was the need for the working class and poor to transform society - to establish socialism to enable the overwhelming majority to democratically plan the use of all the vast wealth and resources in the world for the benefit of everyone. That is what the Socialist Party is fighting for and why it appeals for your support.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 14 December 2011:


Socialist Party feature

Tories speak for the rich - not for us


Socialist Party news and analysis

Hands off our NHS!

Unacceptable! Draconian sentences for Dundee 'Facebook riot' teenagers

Striking to defend pensions

No progress at climate conference

Them & Us

Why I joined the Socialist Party


Socialist Party editorial

Stand up to the Con-Dem government


Socialist Party reviews

Inside Job: Capitalism is a failed system: support the socialist fightback

TV review: Britain's great housing scandal exposed


Socialist Party workplace news

All out now to stop the sites!

Pensioners and workers - united fight needed

Occupy London tours Canary Wharf

Action after N30

Langdon school strike

Public sector pensions - where now?

Tax workers on strike

Workplace news in brief


International socialist news and analysis

"Putin is a thief", "Putin is a thief"

Kazakhstan - 20 years of authoritarianism!


Readers' Comments

Cameron's drugs problems

Attacks on Tupe rights hit hard

Building bosses and their blacklist


 

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