21 September 2009
Over the last three decades the advanced capitalist countries have tried to overcome the recurrent crisis of overproduction and to keep their economies and profits growing through the neoliberal offensive of exploiting cheap labor, seizing raw materials and dominating markets across the globe. Since the 1990s, they have resorted more and more to financial devices: speculative profits and debt-driven consumption and production.
However, the basic imbalance of capitalism has remained. Delaying the inevitable through inflating financial bubbles has only meant an unprecedented accumulation of problems and instability. The current global economic crisis has burst out as the financial illusions and false dynamic of growth can no longer be maintained.
Instead of instituting meaningful reforms, the ruling classes are using the global crisis to channel trillions of taxpayers’ money to line the pockets of the financial oligarchy, to resuscitate the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and push for more trade liberalization under the World Trade Organization and various free trade agreements.
The US government under the Obama administration has even chosen to continue the same War of Terror previously carried out by Bush and the neoconservatives even though this has been the biggest threat to world peace at the same time contributing to inflating the US debt bubble.
More of the same neoliberal globalization policies, financialization and imperialist wars have accelerated the over accumulation of capital in the hands of the global elite side by side with the deepening impoverishment and oppression of the world’s vast majority – the very same contradiction that inevitably leads to crisis.
While the initial savage economic and trade collapse has momentarily slowed, the sober prospect is for several years of low or no economic growth, with unemployment continuing to rise in rich and poor country alike. Even in the optimistic scenario painted by mainstream economists, we are faced with the prospect of a bitter ‘jobless recovery’.
Because the powerful finance capitalists in the USA and UK continue to maximize profits through the super-exploitation of the working people and financial speculation and resist any meaningful correction of the policies and culture that created the global wreck, there could easily be another global financial shock, and a renewed downward spiral of the global and national economies.
This is because for some years there can be no expansion of private debt to fuel profits, and there is growing resistance by monopoly capital, especially in the USA and Europe, to much more publicly-funded stimulus to prop up profits. Meanwhile, as unemployment rises and those in work have fewer paid hours, wages will not be able to substitute for debt as a driver of consumption and profits.
Those in the rich countries who look to China and India to ‘save’ global capitalism are deluding themselves. Tens of millions of workers in China have also lost their jobs, and also millions in India, in the first 18 months of this crisis. These huge but poor nations cannot replace the consumers of North America, Europe, and Japan.
The workers in China and India are themselves engaged in more and more conflicts with their bosses over basic rights and livelihoods. Small farmers and peasants who are the majority in these countries are also in often violent conflicts with their governments and landlords over conversion of their lands, supply of water, and costs of inputs compared to prices they can get in their markets.
This harsh economic outlook for the world’s majority combines with the emerging reality of global warming, with more extreme weather events, longer droughts, and rising sea levels affecting huge numbers of vulnerable people, especially in terms of the cost of food and security of homes.
Millions and millions of workers, urban poor, small farmers and peasants in all continents are seeing in a new way how destructive and dangerous the modern global capitalist system has become.
It was bad enough during the ‘boom’ – profits and sharemarkets soared wildly, but on the ground there remained serious long term unemployment, underemployment and insecurity. Basic public education, health and housing services were undermined everywhere. Workers, like cheap commodities, were being exported from poor to rich countries, mostly on shocking terms of exploitation and insecurity. Young women workers were particularly exploited, including sexually.
So if that was the ‘boom’, no wonder many people are terrified at the collapse of the ‘boom’.
How could a system that cares about people create a skill shortage in every rich country and a massive pressure for millions of poor men and women to take their vital skills from their own homes to work overseas, breaking up their families to help their families? The answer is that it is an inhuman system, degrading and destroying the lives of millions, putting whole societies into deep crisis, as well as the basic ecological systems we humans are part of.
Jobs and Justice for a better world
Instead of operating economies to create profits for a few hundred global corporations and banks, with a media illusion that ‘the benefits’ flow to everyone, we must radically re-make our economies to create really humane societies.
We have huge unmet needs for clean water and good food, good housing, education, health care, transportation services and ecological recovery.
Using our political power, mobilised through democratic action, we can direct existing economic surpluses into meeting these needs. The jobs we create this way will not only provide wages for individual and family consumption but also build stronger, more equal and united communities, able to provide both stability and security and unleash the creative potential now so hugely wasted. Instead of alienation and despair, we will build hope and connection, locally, nationally and globally.
We can shrink the obscene military budgets and dismantle the imperial armies, converting those deathly military industries to the urgently needed social and environmental programs we can identify as needed everywhere.
This is the pathway to jobs and justice. We the people demand real jobs, decent work, but in a way which opens up the possibility of a better world, where the profound economic and environmental crisis we see now can be overcome and not allowed to happen again.
We shall shall pursue this demand for Jobs and Justice with great determination, so that the political and financial power of the transnational corporations is curbed and broken, to allow the world’s peoples to decide to allocate the great resources now developed by our labour to be focused on the historic shift to low-carbon economies, the uplifting of the poor majority of the world who survive on $1, $2 or $5 per day through full employment in fair, secure jobs, with real education, health, housing and welfare services. All our work can be socially-useful and must rise to a new and higher level of human achievement.
We must overcome the scourge of imperialism and class exploitation. We must oppose war production and fight against wars of aggression waged in the pursuit of monopoly profit. Let us unite our movements into a great global wave of hope to break and sweep away forever the power of the ruthless, brutal super-capitalists who are now desperately trying to recover their now vulnerable global superiority.
Great masses of people are already struggling to create a really different system or set of alternatives to the present global capitalist order. They are using values of cooperation and equality to uplift their lives, and using democracy to create the unity that can really power this change.
Let us build a movement for this world of justice, peace and equality by expanding the militant trade unions, farmers and peasant associations, youth, student and women’s organisations, environmental champions, and political parties that uphold democracy and equality.
List of Initiators:
Asian Peasants’ Coalition
Bail out the People Movement
International League of Peoples’ Struggles
International Migrants Alliance
RESIST! (International Peoples’ Campaign to Confront Crisis and War)