Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Who Will Bail Out the Workers?

Lst year when the global finanncial system of Capitalism was on the brink of collapse, due to the reckless actions of bankers, who took the basic principles of Capitalism to their logical conclusion, Governments around the world bailed them out to the tune of trillions of pounds.

At around the same time huge Capitalist enterprises such as General Motors, Ford etc. also facing economic collapse after years of gross mismanagement were also bailed out by Governments to the tune of billions of pounds.

Now, airline companies, whose competition amongst theemselves have driven the price for airline travel down to ridiculously low levels by driving the wages and conditions of their workers down, and by not making proper provision for the full costs of airline travel are also demanding similar bail-outs, because having driven their prices down to suc low levels they do not have the reserves to cover the cost they are legally bound to bear of putting up and feeding their passengers when they cannot delive them to their destinations.

On top of that billions of Euros have been given to the Greek Government to cover its debts, debts run up by a Government that has been shown not only to be corrupt, but to have deliberately falsified its accounts, a Government that does not even make sure that its citizens pay their taxes. Today markets have decided that the bail-out isn't enough, and the interest rate demanded for Greek debt has risen. In addition the markets have spread rumours that Spain is to a request massive bail-out to cover its debts - rumours denied by the Spanish PM - which has caused rates for Spanish Bonds to rise sharply, and led to a 5% drop in the Spanish Stock Market.

As I said the other day, the obvious conclusion to this is for the debts of these European economies to be monetised. That is instead of borrowing to cover these debts, money is simply printed to cover them, so that creditors are simply paid back with newly created money. Its what Governments down the ages have done. In the past when they had currency based on Gold or silver, the Government used to simply mint new coins that contained less of the precious metal. Today, with paper money its even easier. All you have to do is crank up the printing presses.

The effect is always the same. In the past people realised that their coinage contained less precious metal, and raised the number of coins demanded in return for their products. Today, printing more money in the same way results in inflation about two years after it has been put into circulation. Who suffers most from that? It is ordinary workers who cannot simply raise the price for the only commodity they can sell - their labour power. A manufacturer raises prices to cover their costs, and everyone accepts that it is not only normal, but their right to do so. A shop raises its prices because the price it pays to the manufacturers have gone up, and no one quesstions their right to do so. But, if workers follow suit, if they raise the price of their labour because the costs they have to cover have gone up, then the media is full of stories about greedy workers holding the country to ransom!!! If you go into a shop and the shopkeeper tells you that the price of the food you need is £10, you would not thyink him unreasonable if he refused to sell it to you because you only wanted to pay £8. Yet, in doing so he is only doing what workers do when they are forced to go on strike. A strike is only workers telling employers what price they want for the only product they have to sell, and refusing to sell it if the employer will not meet it.

Yet, the Tories and Liberals would have workers give up this basic right to set the price they require for selling thier labour. They would deny them the right that every other seller of commodities has - to refuse to sell if the purchases will not pay the required price. They would try to deny workers the right to strike i.e. the right not to sell their labour power if its price is not met by the purchaser, and would do everything in their power to break such strikes when they occur.

Yet, these are the same Governments that not only guarantee those same rights to businesses, they are also the same Governments that bail-out their rich friends in those businesses when they get into trouble. In doing so what they really ask for is or workers to bail-them out from their taxes. If these Governments can bail-out the rich, the corrupt and unscrupulous, or just the inefficient why then should we not demand that the workers be bailed out from the consequences of those actions too?

But, of course, the Tories and the Liberals will have no such intention of doing that for all their talk of us all being "in this together". There is no together, other than them being together with their rich friends, and us being together with the rest of our class in opposition to them. They will bail-out the rich at our expense, by cutting wages, by reducing pensions and benefits and the value of savings through inflation, by cutting back on Education, health and Social Care and the other Public Services that workers have paid for, but which they often never receive, and when they do its often not to the standard it should be.

If we are to stop them getting away with that, its necessary to prevent the Tories and Liberals having the benefit of Government office to launch those attacks. Of course, the bosses, the Tories and Liberals and their agents within the Capitalist State will still try to bring that about with a Labour Government, and unfortunately the experience of Labour Govenments in the past shows that they see things in terms where the interests of Capital are also the interests of society. But, the majority of ordinary LP members are ordinary workers, who feel the pressure of thier workmates and neighbours, the Trade Unions continue to have the ability should they choose to use it to also pressure the Party. If workers join and pressure the Party they can use it for their interests.

That is why its necessary to Vote Labour, but organise to fight. The bosses won't bail us out, we have to do it ourselves.

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