On the continent banks are dropping like flies. Meanwhile, HBOS has been taken over by Lloyds TSB, Wachovia by Citigroup, Lehman Brothers have gone bust, whilst the US government bails out AIG and nationalises mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Capitalism is in crisis.
What about us?
Whilst governments around the world are handing out our tax money to these profit hungry bankers, the rest of us are struggling on, suffering the fallout of this financial crisis. As a result ordinary working class people here in Herefordshire and elsewhere are losing their jobs; W & J Scaffolding is the latest of many firms across the county who have announced redundancies.
Meanwhile the number of people at risk of losing their homes to repossession in the county has risen by a staggering 37%.
Energy bills are going through the roof and some sources are saying that inflation has risen by 11% this year. So where’s the free handouts for the rest of us who really need them?!
Some commentators are saying these problems are down to a free market that has been allowed to get out of control. The solution, apparently, is regulation. But we think it’s the economy as a whole that’s the problem not just how it’s managed.
Capitalism is the dominant economic system that allows private businesses to operate for profit, not need, and determines what goods are produced and at what price. In times of health the profits roll in making the rich richer, whilst for the rest of us, well … nothing changes for us. But in times of crisis it will always be the working class that gets hit the hardest. Take this: Cash strapped HSBC have announced that they are sacking 1,100 workers worldwide, with half the cuts coming from back room staff in the UK (note: no pay cuts for the top bosses). And why? They only made $10.2 billion profit in six months this year! Poor them, maybe we should organise a whip-round.
With British Gas and other energy companies raising prices by as much as 35%, the government could’ve given free fuel to pensioners and people on benefits. But they probably couldn’t afford to after effectively giving one-time private bank Northern Rock £91 billion of taxpayers money!
They could’ve taken over all the small businesses that have gone under saving hundreds of thousands of jobs for ordinary people. But why bother when they could nationalise Bradford & Bingley, making sure that those filthy bankers earning obscene amounts from gambling our money stay safe in their cushy little jobs.
But we don’t expect the government to work on our behalf. As anarchists we know that if we want something doing we have to do it ourselves.
This means organising to stop the repossession of homes: if you’re expecting the bailiffs, get some legal advice, but more importantly, get friends and neighbours together to see them off.
If redundancies are being made, occupy your workplace and get rid of the boss; that should save a lot of money for a start!
And inflation shouldn’t be a problem with ‘Greek shopping’. Angry shoppers in Athens, faced with rising food costs, filled their trolleys before walking out of the supermarket without paying a penny.
But the only real way we can prevent this happening again is by revolution. Capitalism is the basis of all inequality and must be overthrown and replaced by a society that is organised according to human need not profit. It may sound like we’re away with the fairies, but really, what’s the alternative? Continually living through the booms and busts of an economy that will never benefit us? No thanks.
Revolution is the only hope we have of living in a free and equal society, something that capitalism cannot ever create.
Get credit and debt fact sheets from the Citizens Advice Bureaux website