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AUSTRALIAN
MARXIST
REVIEW

Journal of the Communist Party of Australia

ISSUE 51March 2010

Communist Party of India (M)

Contribution by Manik Sarkar

Dear Comrades,

On behalf of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), I extend my fraternal greetings to all the parties that have come to attend this important 11th International Meeting of the Communist and Workers’ Parties, to discuss “The international capitalist crisis, the workers’ and peoples’ struggle, the alternatives and the role of the communist and working class movement”.

The present capitalist crisis, which is the severest of all the crises witnessed in the post-Second World War period, has left no country untouched. It was rightly pointed out as the “most intense and all encompassing crisis — post-Great Depression of 1929”. As it happens during every crisis, it is the working class, peasantry and other poor sections of all the countries who are bearing the brunt of this crisis. Industries are being closed in large numbers across the world, leaving millions of people jobless and unemployed. A recent report of the OECD states that the number of unemployed may reach 57 million. This naturally is increasing the rates of poverty and further widening the gaps between the rich and the poor. According to the FAO, more than 102 million people have joined the already millions of hungry people in this world due to this crisis, meaning more than one billion people in the world are suffering from hunger.

As we have been witnessing for the past year, the efforts of the respective governments, true to their class nature, are not to address the concerns of the working class, the poor and suffering people and postulate policies to free them of this suffering. They are more concerned about the capitalist class and are concentrating their entire energies to protect their profits. All the apologists of neo-liberalism, who have so far decreed the state, pleaded with the state for rescuing the big business houses from this mess.

While the costs of the rescue packages and bailouts is at public expense, the benefits accrue to few and are addressed to help the very elements that had created this crisis. Banks and financial corporations that were responsible for colossal volumes of speculative trading, conservatively estimated to have crossed 60 times the volume of global GDP, are back in business by making profits.

Bailout packages always pit profits before people rather than putting people before profits. This fact is once again proved by Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase, the two financial giants that collapsed on Wall Street. They have now emerged from the ruins, feasting on the monies they have received through such bailout packages and are reporting enormous profits. They ranted for aid when on the verge of bankruptcy and now out of it, they are despising even the minimal efforts to regulate their speculative activities. Instead, these banks are doling out perks and super bonuses to their executives.

While common people continue to get ruined, taxpayers money continues to be doled out in unprecedented amounts to bailout the corporations. Growing unemployment and depression of real wages is the gift for the working people as compared to the gift of huge bailout packages for the corporations.

This crisis has occurred not due to an aberration based on the greed of a few or due to the lack of effective regulatory policies. It is the urge for profits, the very reason for which capital works, that has sharply widened economic inequalities both between countries and within countries in these decades of globalisation. The natural consequence was a decline in the purchasing power of the vast majority of world population. This impediment to profit maximisation was sought to be met by turbo-charging the global economy through cheap credit. The speculative character of international finance capital exacerbated this through the fanciful financial new commodities like futures trading, credit swaps etc.

The urge for profits had assumed newer heights under neo-liberal globalisation. Finance capital had used its control over the state to re-write the rules according to its needs and to suit its interests. The absence of credit-worthiness amongst the recipients of such cheap credit — thanks to this very unfolding of imperialist globalisation — triggered this current global crisis.

It is the new attacks and the reordering of the world for profit maximisation, under dictates of international finance capital, that defines neo-liberalism. It operates firstly, through policies that remove restrictions on the movement of goods and capital across borders. Trade liberalisation displaces domestic producers engendering domestic de-industrialisation. So also liberalisation of capital flows allows multinational corporations to acquire domestic productive assets, vastly enlarging capital accumulation.

The imposition of such neo-liberal policies by browbeating the developing countries is achieved by imperialism through the agencies of IMF, World Bank and WTO — globalisation's triumvirate. The structural conditionalities imposed by the IMF and separately by the World Bank, while disbursing loans to the developing countries, ensured compliance to neo-liberal reforms. The WTO similarly, especially in the current Doha round of negotiations, is used for further prising open the markets of the developing world for imperialist profit maximisation.

In two important areas — Doha round of negotiations in the WTO and on climate change — imperialism is seeking international agreements and arrangements that would allow it to retain its advantage and impose greater burdens on the people. Imperialism seeks to emerge from its current crisis by seeking to shift the burden on to the developing countries and onto the shoulders of the working class and other toiling sections.

The impact of these disastrous policies is already being felt in these countries where, during the last two decades, neo-liberalism has led to grave agrarian crises. In our country more than 200,000 peasants committed suicide due to the acute agrarian distress.

The only way out of this capitalist crisis for the working class and the common people is to wage struggles to protect their present levels of livelihood. It is the experience of the working class that wherever it had mobilised its might and resisted these attempts, it was successful in protecting its rights. It is only the struggles that were waged by the working class that had forced the ruling classes to consider the demands of the workers. In these times of crisis, once again the working class is seething with discontent. Many countries have witnessed and are witnessing huge working class and peasant struggles, demanding relief. These struggles have to be further strengthened in the coming days by mobilising millions of people. These mobilisations should not be just confined to their economic demands but also for a political alternative to this crisis-ridden capitalist system. This alternative, we believe, is socialism.

As Marx had pointed out, it is people who decide the real course of history through their actions. Thus, though the capitalist system is inherently crisis ridden, it does not collapse automatically. It has to be overthrown. In the absence of a communist-led attack on the rule of capital, the right-wing conservatives and fundamentalists will always try to seize this “opportunity” to safeguard and further consolidate the capitalist system. History has shown that it is in the period of such crisis that fascism had risen. We should not allow this to happen again.

Imperialism and the ruling classes will launch an all-out attack to prevent the growth of the communist and the workers’ parties and protect the status quo. All sorts of theories, like “there is no alternative to imperialist globalisation”, are propagated and would be propagated. These should be effectively countered by projecting that socialism alone is the alternative.

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