Their crisis – our right to resist


Protest Key’s Summit this Friday Feb 27 from 4pm till 6pm, TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre, 770 Great South Road, Manakau.

Summit programme HERE.
Contact Joe at 021 1861450

I’m not expecting this protest on Friday to be huge, after all the trade union movement will be officially represented inside – the reformist way is to attempt to deal with the bosses. However, I think it’s about time that we organise and educate ourselves about the crisis. It’s not just a few bad eggs among the banking fraternity – though there are plenty of those – it’s a systemic crisis.

Capitalism is system of booms and busts because it depends on an anarchic business cycle and the ever-increasing exploitation of labour. Marxists call this the labour theory of value.

Bourgeois economists have tried for a century to disprove Marx’ theory, but so far have failed miserably. This small example from a respected online encyclopedia shows what I mean:

Although the labor theory of value is demonstrably false, it prevailed among classical economists through the midnineteenth century.

OK. so the premise is established – Marx theory is “demonstrably false”. So what’s the counter-argument? Well, I don’t mean to be mean to David L Prychitko, but really is this the best you can come up with:

By the late nineteenth century, the economics profession rejected the labor theory of value. Mainstream economists now believe that capitalists do not earn profits by exploiting workers. Instead, they believe, entrepreneurial capitalists earn profits by forgoing current consumption, by taking risks, and by organizing production. [Concise Encyclopedia of Economics]

Oh yeah, like all the Wall Street b(w)ankers who forgo their annual bonus (on top of multi-million dollar salaries) and took a risk on sub-prime toxic debt. Well that’s hardly a ringing endorsement of mainstream economics is it? David Prychitko is a professor of economics at a large American university.  He’s a class warrior for the bourgeoisie. Economics today is a failed attempt to discredit Marx. The weak excuses that they proffer for the current crisis offer no solution except more pain for workers.

There’s already talk of forcing a wage freeze on the public sector in New Zealand. A similar decision by the Irish government led to one of the biggest protest marches in that country for decades.

In a statement, the Irish government said it recognised that the measures it was taking were “difficult and in some cases painful”.

It reflected “the reality that we are not in a position to continue to meet the public service pay bill in the circumstances of declining revenue”, it added.

Reports say the plan could cost the 350,000 public sector workers between 1,500 euros and 2,800 euros (£2,500) a year. [BBC]

The Irish government may still attempt to push ahead with plans to cut wages and conditions for public servants, you can bet that John Key and the Nationals have a similar plan.

Last month there were also huge protests in Iceland, one of the first countries with a badly affected economy.

The discontent over high fuel prices is being exacerbated by a sharp decline in Iceland’s economy.

The Central Bank of Iceland has hiked interest rates to 15.5 percent to staunch a steep slide in the Icelandic krona. Inflation is nearing 10 percent and, after years of impressive growth, the country’s economy is forecast to expand just one percent this year.

Iceland’s biggest banks — Kaupthing, Glitnir and Landsbanki — have been borrowing from abroad to finance their international expansion making them particularly vulnerable to the global credit crunch. [CNN]

All this is sounding familiar and it’s the global background to Key’s Employment Summit. Another good reason to be there is that much of the discussion will go on in secret. While the news media is able to report on some high profile public events – mainly John Key’s speeches – many sessions will be held under the  “Chatham House Rule”, which means that the journos present will have to respect the secrecy of the discussion.

The six working groups will be open to media on a similar basis to the ‘Chatham House Rule’ – that is, media can attend, but not film, record or report anything said in the working group sessions. This is so participants feel able to participate freely and frankly in the sessions without feeling constrained because their comments might be recorded and reported. [Beehive]

What have they got to hide? Perhaps they know that if the plans they’re making were leaked that there could be a public backlash.

It seems that our rulers (not just here, but globally) are actually falling back on what Naomi Klein calls the “shock doctrine“. This basically means that the current “hard times” will be used to provide a smokescreen for brutal cuts in expenditure and jobs across the board using the excuse that it’s the best medicine for the economy right now.

We’ve seen how the bankers and money-lenders have had their cake and eaten it too – at our expense – now we have to organise to resist.

Rather than write a lengthy post here explaining my views on the crisis, I’ve linked to some handy resources that give a perspective which won’t get a hearing inside Friday’s Job Summit

The economic crisis – Socialist Worker UK

Review of global protests so far and The global recession – Socialist Alternative (Australia)

The crisis in America – Socialist Worker USA

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