Economic crisis

Economic crisis

Capitalism is in deep trouble - why is it so hard to fight it?

We are publishing - rather belatedly due to technical issues - a series of texts that have contributed to the public Day of Discussion held by the ICC in London, in July 2013. The presentations and summaries cover essentially two topics: "Capitalism is in deep trouble - why is it so hard to fight it?", and a discussion on the Transitional period from capitalism to communism. The audio recording for the first session is also available.

20th ICC Congress: Resolution on the international situation

An important part of an ICC Congress is always the discussion of the international situation, since this is a key element in determining the organisation's activity in the years to come. The discussion at the 20th Congress gave rise to the resolution, adopted by the Congress, which we are publishing here.

Chancellor’s careful but relentless development of austerity

The chancellor’s public spending review at the end of June announced that austerity will continue well into the next parliament, to the tune of £11.5bn worth of cuts in 2015/16. And since Ed Balls, Labour’s shadow chancellor, has promised to match the government’s current spending plans after the next election, we should be in no doubt that it will. In that sense the result of the election will be completely meaningless for the working class. We should not forget that the one promise carried out to the letter by the 1997 Blair government was to stick to the spending limits imposed by the previous administration, and that in 2010 the only issue at stake on spending was how quickly austerity should be imposed, with the majority of the coalition’s first cuts having already been announced by the Brown government.

Neither right nor left have a solution to the economic crisis

The average worker has lost around £4,000 in real wages over the past three years. In 2017, real wages are predicted to be no higher than their 1999 level. And although there has recently been a 7.8% fall in official unemployment figures, there has been an increase in involuntary part-time working and a sharp drop in productivity.

All budgets are for millionaires

It’s difficult to find anyone with a good word to say about George Osborne’s latest budget. Ed Milliband claimed it “failed the fairness test” and was a “millionaire’s Budget which squeezes the middle” and was an expression of the “same old Tories

Best years of your life?

It’s not much fun being young at the moment. If you manage to stay in education you end up accruing large debts only to be told standards are slipping and the only reason you’ve passed is because the exams are so easy now. On the street you’re either patronised as a ‘chav’ or feared as a ‘hoodie’. Everything from the summer riots to cultural decline is down to you and your self obsessed, greedy individualism: you just can’t win.

Working class living standards Decades of decline

One of the enduring themes of the ruling class is the idea that the current crisis is the result of a credit-fuelled consumerism. Supposedly the working has run up a credit card bill with high living during the boom and now we have to tighten our belts in order to pay for it. The really insidious lie is that the working class enjoyed some sort of renaissance during the ‘boom’.

Economic Crisis Unleashes its Wrath Upon the Working Class

The events of July and August all came in such rapid succession that the ruling class seemed dizzied by their speed and depth: the debt-ceiling crisis, the downgrading of the U.S. creditworthiness from AAA to AA+ by Standard & Poor, the plunges and volatility on the stock markets, the news of the insolvencies of countries like Spain and Italy and the impasse at the IMF over what to do, the flight of capital away from U.S. Treasury bonds to gold. The ruling class is running out of arguments with which to reassure an ever more uncertain working class with hopes for a better future. To add insult to injury, its options about how to address an ever-aggravating economic crisis are also wearing thin. What is going on?

U.S. Debt Ceiling Crisis: Political Wrangling While the Global Economy Burns

Throughout the month of July and into the early days of August, the bourgeois media inundated us with discussion and analysis of a veritable existential crisis for the entire global capitalist system, should the U.S. political class fail to resolve its differences and agree to an extension of the legal limit the U.S. government is allowed to borrow.

Anti-cuts alliances: Against cuts or against capitalism?

Since Cameron’s Coalition picked up the baton from Labour in making brutal attacks on public sector workers and state-funded services a plethora of ‘anti-cuts alliances’ have appeared around the country. In general, these alliances are conglomerations of leftist groups, trade unions or their representatives, and Labour Party members (in some cases including Labour councillors). In other words, most anti-cuts alliances seem to be a typical attempt to build a ‘united front’.

A taxing budget for workers

 

A penny off petrol duty, paid for by a windfall tax on North Sea oil companies. A rise in the basic rate income tax allowance (i.e. a tax cut). A freeze in council tax. And a new tax on private jets. Has George Osborne suddenly taken the advice of the leftists and begun to change the balance of the tax burden?

Pensions put out to pasture

Since the 1980s, the ruling class in Britain has been discussing how the various pensions schemes aimed at the working class have been too generous and unaffordable. Even at their peak, final salary schemes were generally only available to workers at the largest companies, leaving millions of workers dependent on the state pension or to be ‘mis-sold’ dodgy private pensions.

The economic crisis in Britain

The text that follows is, apart from a few minor changes, the economic part of the report on the situation in Britain for the 19th Congress of the ICC’s section in Britain. We thought it would be useful to publish it to the outside since it provides a number of factors and analyses which enable us to grasp how the world economic crisis is expressing itself in the world’s oldest capitalist power. 

The Working Class Bears the Brunt of the Crisis

The bourgeoisie’s calls for sacrifice are heard more thoroughly and the recent mid-term elections have potentially provided the bourgeoisie with the political pieces necessary to institute a harsher round of austerity. This article will turn its attention towards the elements of austerity that the working class are faced with today and try to present these elements within a historical framework of global capitalism’s permanent crisis.

Brutal attack on benefits

Like their European counterparts, the British bourgeoisie and its new coalition government faced with a massive deficit have unleashed an unprecedented attack on the benefit system. The British bourgeoisie has no choice but to carry out these attacks. They are the most savage since the 1930s. The same attacks are being conducted around the world as capitalism attempts to make us pay for their crisis.  

Public spending cuts: “only the first step” towards pauperisation

The announcement of £6.24 billion worth of public spending cuts from the Coalition Government on 24th May is, according to them, "only the first step". In reality, this new round of cuts is in perfect continuity with plans already drawn up by the Labour government which had pledged £11 billion "efficiency savings" in the pre-Budget report.

Despite 'recovery' propaganda the economic crisis continues

The present ‘recession' is not unique to Britain. It is not the result of Labour's mismanagement of the economy. It is not caused by the greed of the bankers or by ‘neo-liberal' economic policies. It is a crisis of capitalist relations of production on a global scale. And this is why all the propaganda about ‘recovery' is a lie, aimed at obscuring the real bankruptcy of this system of exploitation.

The Crisis Is Not Over, Despite Rhetoric of ‘Green Shoots’

Now, after two years of depressing economic news as the so-called Great Recession  unfolded, a new consensus seems to be forming among politicians and economists around the world that the worst of the economic crisis is over. There is plenty of cold water to throw over this excitement and you don't need to be a Marxist revolutionary to put in doubt the whole fairy tale.

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