|The News Line: Editorial
Thursday, 18 May 2017
Labour blindfolds itself so as not to see the developing capitalist crisis!
THE Labour Party manifesto launched on Tuesday contained a number of slight but significant changes from the draft leaked to the press last week.
On the EU, the manifesto talks of negotiating ‘transitional arrangements to avoid a “cliff edge” for the economy’ rather than reversing the referendum result. The fudged pledge in the draft to ‘phase out’ student tuition fees has been replaced with a firm commitment to end tuition fees, restore grants and make education free as a right.
On Palestine, the draft stated a Labour government would ‘support Palestinian recognition at the UN’. The manifesto now fully commits to a Labour government ‘immediately recognising the state of Palestine’. These moves to the left are to be welcomed, but the manifesto reveals the dangerous illusions these left Fabians have in capitalism.
In the draft manifesto, the world economic crisis didn’t get so much as a mention whereas in the final version it gets a cursory: ‘A decade after the devastating international financial crisis, our financial system is still holding back too many of our small businesses and local economies.’
In order to deal with this, the manifesto simply states, ‘We will stop our financial system being rigged for the few, turning the power of finance to work for the public good.’ For the Labour leadership, the world economic crisis of capitalism that brought the entire banking system to the point of collapse is over, and capitalism is fundamentally healthy, only needing a bit of tinkering to make it work for the benefit of working people.
Far from the world crisis being over, the objective reality is that it has deepened vastly since the crash of 2008. This was highlighted by figures showing that global stock markets had reached levels not seen since the crash of all the dotcom companies in 2000 – a crash that anticipated that of 2008.
The stock markets of the world are so overpriced that you have companies being traded at prices nearly 30 times more than these companies actually earn. This ratio of share prices to the actual value of companies today is on the same level, and increasing, as that in 1929 just before the Wall Street crash while stocks today are the most expensive since 2000 when the dotcom bubble burst.
After the world banking crash of 2008 the only thing that prevented a complete collapse of the banking system was governments taking on the bank debts. The central banks poured trillions into keeping the banks from sinking by printing money and handing it out for free through the various quantitative easing programmes and zero interest rates. The working class is still paying for it.
While manufacturing industry has collapsed in Britain and across the capitalist world, all this ‘free’ and worthless paper money has gone to fuel a financial bubble that will burst in the very near future and bring down the financial system and the banks in a crash that will be more catastrophic than 2008.
Labour’s reformist manifesto shows clearly that Labour’s leadership is incapable of recognising this reality, never mind dealing with it. Indeed, the manifesto talks about ‘living within our means’ and abolishing the budget deficit in five years along with borrowing millions to fund their plans as if capitalism was not headed for a fiscal cliff.
They have absolutely no policies to deal with crisis-ridden capitalism. When the bubble bursts, they will be as incapable of doing anything about it as was Gordon Brown in 2008, when he organised with Obama to bail out the bankers of the world with the working class still paying for it. The only party standing in this election with clear policies to confront the crisis that faces the working class is the WRP.
Our election manifesto alone provides the revolutionary leadership that can match this crisis calling for the nationalisation of the banks and major industries under workers’ control and management, as part of a planned socialist economy, as the only way forward for workers to end eternal austerity before it transforms itself into a new world war. The truth is that bankrupt capitalism cannot be reformed – it must be overthrown.
We call on every worker and youth to vote Labour to kick the Tories out, but in the five constituencies we are standing to vote WRP, and then join it to build the revolutionary leadership required to go forward to a workers government and socialism.
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