- Created: Thursday, 07 May 2009 13:22
FRFI 199 October / November 2007
‘Modern capitalist society is like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells.’
Karl Marx & Frederick Engels, The Communist Manifesto
Crisis. This is the dirty word that the capitalists dare not whisper, but it is the word that best describes what lies ahead. Capitalism is an economic system riven with contradictions that it is unable to resolve. It relies on the need to produce more and more profit. This means higher degrees of exploitation, extension of credit and greater debt. This accumulation cannot go on indefinitely, so what is the result? Crisis. Full-blown crisis for the capitalist system. This is the inevitable result of the laws of capitalism.
The world economic system is not yet at crisis point but massive cracks are already evident. The sub-prime mortgage crash that has gutted many US financial houses has claimed its first major victim this side of the Atlantic. The bank Northern Rock has been brought to its knees after running to the Bank of England (see pages 1 & 3). Northern Rock’s customers only stopped closing their accounts when the government stepped in and guaranteed their savings. But how exposed are other banks and how can the government act as guarantor to all? In an attempt to stave off crisis both the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England will toy with interest rates, shift a few funds around and speak of calm instead of chaos. If enough people keep their heads in the sand the forthcoming crisis may just not happen. Purple pigs may also fly to Pluto.
Capitalism in its highest stage develops into imperialism. This is a system where major capitalist countries export capital abroad in order to seek greater returns. It is this exploitation of the majority of the world’s people and resources that allows the capitalist system to grow, dominate and delay the inevitable crisis. The only problem, from the imperialists’ perspective, is that people will not sit back and allow themselves to be exploited and robbed forever without a fight. As a result a key characteristic of imperialism is the reliance on brute force and military might. This aggression is most evident in Iraq, home to one of the largest resources of oil in the world. For over four years the people of Iraq have bravely resisted their brutal occupation. This resistance has recently forced the ignominious retreat of British troops from Basra Palace. Neither the US or Britain have any intention of leaving Iraq altogether and they will keep military bases in the country, having a watchful eye over the entire Middle East (see pages 6 and 7). Close to Iraq imperialism still has a trusty ally in Israel, where the Zionist state continues to brutalise the Palestinian people and seeks to divide them at every opportunity (see page 4).
Crisis of course has always existed. Rome was not built in a day, nor was it brought down in a night. Its supremacy decayed and was eroded over time as debt and discord grew at home, while its armies became overstretched abroad. Conquest is an expensive business – a necessary one for imperialism, but it has to bring dividends, it must pay for itself. The reality of Rome over-reaching itself is now coming true for the US empire as it seeks to maintain its global hegemony in an increasingly divided and competitive imperialist world. The economic crisis is becoming a political crisis of the system too (see page 5).
It is not necessarily the fate of humanity to continuously live out destructive cycles. Capitalism cannot overcome its contradictions, despite the protestations of some of its apologists (see page 12). We need to overcome it, smash it and replace it. It is only socialism that can free us from the barbarity and insecurity that capitalism creates. We should learn from the legacy of the Bolshevik Revolution which emancipated the working class in Russia (see page 10). We should also turn to the ideas of Che Guevara, who was executed 40 years ago this month, for guidance on the economic transition and evolution in consciousness that is necessary to build socialism (see pages 8 and 9). Che’s ideas are no mere theory, they are being revived and developed in Cuba and throughout Latin America.
Here in Britain it is our duty to learn from Che’s ideas and build a society free from the misery and suffering of this crisis-ridden system. See page 14 at the back of this paper to find out about the important work we have been doing and how to join us in action.