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Vol. 74/No. 10      March 15, 2010

Fighting the dictatorship of capital
Steep attacks against the standard of living of workers and farmers in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain have been launched in the name of lowering budget deficits and avoiding loan defaults. The ruling classes in these countries are making working people pay for the capitalist economic crisis.

The governments in Greece, Spain, and Portugal are headed by parties that belong to the Socialist International, sometimes known as social democrats. These parties are demonstrating once again that they are bourgeois socialists; whatever their rhetoric or ties to trade unions, they defend capitalism.

When Greece’s prime minister George Papandreou, who is also president of the Socialist International, says he will “draw blood” with the austerity measures, he means workers’ blood, not the capitalists’.

The trade union leaderships in Greece, Spain, and Portugal are tied to these bourgeois socialist parties or to Stalinist Communist parties that act no differently. They organize mostly symbolic protests and short strikes. They are not interested in a real fight against the austerity measures: they want to act “responsibly,” convince the capitalist class they should “share the pain.”

As the worldwide capitalist crisis unfolds, whatever the ups and downs, there will be more austerity measures, more wages cuts, more attempts to raise retirement ages, and more layoffs. There will be more trade disputes; some will become trade wars and even shooting wars. This takes place as the myth of the European Union’s “unity” continues to unravel and the EU’s competing capitalist classes maneuver against one another.

It won’t be long before the scapegoating of immigrants for the crisis will be joined by blaming Jews, in an attempt to get workers to take their eyes off the real enemy: capitalism.

Workers around the world, including in the United States, face many of the same challenges as our brothers and sisters in Europe. Across the globe we need to build a fighting labor movement that calls for massive public works programs, that demands legalizing immigrant workers, that rejects capitalist austerity measures, that opposes imperialist wars in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and demands canceling the foreign debt of semicolonial nations.

In the course of this struggle workers can force some concessions from the capitalist rulers. But these concessions cannot reverse the workings of the capitalist system itself. To accomplish that—to end the dictatorship of capital—the working class needs to take state power and expropriate finance capital. That will lay the basis to rebuild society based on working-class solidarity, not exploitation and discrimination.
Related articles:
Greek gov’t to deepen austerity measures
Pushes workers to pay for capitalist crisis  
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