Tag Archive: social democracy

Nov 09 2014

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: The Word is Crisis, Not Recession! by NY Brit Expat

Yes, comrades, we need to talk about crises again, the term recession simply does not explain what is really going on! Just in case you might not have noticed or perhaps the mainstream media where you live ignored it, the obvious has happened and the end of the so-called recession has disappeared into the fantasy novel. Once again there is a slowdown in growth and the financial markets are not particularly happy. This time, Germany and China are showing signs of slowdown. Globalisation has not ended the potential towards crises in the capitalist economic system; in fact, the greater interconnectedness of the world economy has exacerbated the situation and ensured that the contagion spreads.  

For those who believe the fantasies of neoliberal economics, the shock of these latest failures of neoliberalism must come as a surprise. But for those of us that have been warning of the stupidity of squeezing wages and destroying work conditions, rising inequality in income and wealth, the dangers of export-led growth when wage incomes are being squeezed meaning that unless governments become the sole purchasers of goods and services that are being produced (and they are not) that obviously there comes a point when working people cannot purchase goods and services as their incomes are too low, wiping out of savings  has happened and personal indebtedness leads to default and bankruptcy. Neither of these things helps to maintain capitalist growth, accumulation and profitability in the long run; forget that, it hasn’t even lasted in the short run.

I will be giving a run through on what is going on and why our lives feel as though we are living through the Shock Doctrine (which we are) then address the proposals of dealing with persistent unemployment under capitalism from the Left on which there is significant disagreement.

Mar 16 2014

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Don’t Mourn, Organise! by NY Brit Expat

The slogan “Don’t Mourn, Organise!” was written in a telegram from Joe Hill to Bill Haywood before Hill’s execution on trumped up charges in Utah. Joe Hill wrote “Goodbye, Bill, I die like a true blue rebel. Don’t waste any time mourning. Organize!”

This slogan is not a call for us to be beyond human and not grieve or mourn. What it is instead is a call not to get so caught up in grief and mourning that we give up the struggle out of despair; it is a call to remind us what we are fighting for and that the struggle continues irrespective of our losses. It takes the loss and puts it in the past (and of course part of our present) and brings to the forefront what those who have passed on have spent their lives fighting for! Presente Bob Crow and Tony Benn!

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This week Britain’s left has seen the loss of two stalwarts, two great fighters for economic, political and social justice. Two men from different class backgrounds who spent their lives fighting in different arenas; one as a member of Parliament in the Labour Party and the other as a giant of the trade union movement, a militant trade union organiser. Both men were thorns in the sides of the ruling class and mainstream politicians … both men not only fought in their chosen arenas but were part and parcel of the general movement for socialism, for democracy, and worked alongside, not as an elevated leadership, those struggling against the not only the excesses of capitalism, but in favour of the creation of a better future for all.

Rather than speak for these men, I will let you have the pleasure of listening to them speak for themselves and am including speeches made by them. Both great orators in their own way, the comparison between Bob Crow’s east London working class accent and Tony Benn’s crisp Oxbridge accent in itself is a pleasure; what they are saying exemplifies their different approaches to the struggle for socialism.

Aug 25 2013

AC Meetup: Being Left of Labour is Easier than Ever… so what’s the problem? by NY Brit Expat

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“Our starting point for 2015/16 will be that we cannot reverse any cut in day to day, current spending unless it is fully funded from cuts elsewhere or extra revenue – not from more borrowing.

So when George Osborne stands up next week and announces his cuts in day to day spending, we won’t be able to promise now to reverse them because we can only do so when we can be absolutely crystal clear about where the money is coming from (Ed Miliband, June 22, 2013 (http://www.channel4.com/news/miliband-labour-will-not-borrow-more-to-reverse-cuts).”

It has become rather obvious that the tactic of shifting the Labour party to the left is futile, even in situations where government cuts are unpopular and they can pick up votes they refuse to reverse direction (e.g., bedroom tax and changes to child care benefit). Instead of saying we won’t be borrowing to reverse changes, the idea of taxes on wealth, the introduction of a general financial transactions tax, or introducing more bands on income tax to make it more progressive or closing tax loopholes to fund these changes is not discussed.

Adoption of neoliberalism as the basis for economic policy decisions is a political decision! It is not as though there is a dearth of other choices for economic policy that do not rely on lowering wages to maintain profitability and privatisation of public services.  As such, choices in the electoral arena are essentially mainstream political parties upholding a neoliberal position. There is essentially no political party that represents the interests of the majority in the context of a grotesque attack on the social welfare state, divide and rule ideology, and privatisation of what remains of the state sector including parts of the NHS.

h/t to Elise Hendricks for the title of this piece!