Facing the crisis of the bosses falling profits and the destruction of many trillions of fictitious capital, workers have to mobilise to solve the crisis on our own terms.
The alternative is capitalist barbarism or workers socialism!
In order for workers to live, capitalism must die!
We are facing more than a crisis (which is the interruption of the flow of capital) and are now facing a global depression. Depressions function to destroy surplus capital that is unprofitable so that the surviving capital can be reinvested in production and realise a sufficient profit. What is being called the global finance meltdown is no more than this destruction of surplus capital to renew the conditions for profitable production. We are witnessing the wholesale devaluing of surplus capital that has created a massive speculative bubble in the last decades but cannot return a profit.
State nationalisations to rescue the bosses system
The central banks and the state treasuries of the major imperialist powers are taking responsibility for this process of destruction and restructuring of capital. This is to be expected. Capitalism has always made use of its state power to create and defend the conditions for capital accumulation -from the 'primitive accumulation' of conquest and plunder in the 15th and 16th centuries to conquest and plunder of state monopoly capitalism today. We live in the epoch of imperialism, in which finance capital -the fusion of banking and industrial capital - rules through the state machine to invade, destroy and plunder the world resources for profits.
Thus facing a massive crisis of devaluation, capital relies on the state to prevent its collapse and demise. The measures used by the US, EU and UK central banks to subsidise the losses of banks, including 'nationalising' them, are being done on behalf of the whole capitalist class in the general interests of that class (and not as some would say the workers). It is the general interest of capital as a class that the weakest capitals are bankrupted and that the strongest concentrate and centralise capitalist assets in larger firms. This destroys the vast supply of surplus capital that cannot realise a profit reducing capital stock to the level that it can be reinvested profitably.
Imperialist wars on the horizon
This is also true between nations. While it appears that the rescue operations are coordinated between the major powers, in reality the costs of the destruction of capital are being partly transferred from US based finance capital onto their rivals in the EU, UK and Japan. Further, the biggest cost is downloaded on to the weakest nations as the destructive process becomes global. The nations that will suffer most are those without real assets, productive investments, or huge sovereign funds such as the oil rich countries of the Middle East and Russia and China.
For example, the UK while a political ally of the US is paying part of the cost of the US subprime crisis and its own finance capital speculation in fictitious assets. As well as nationalising the 6 main commercial banks, Brown has used anti-terror legislation to freeze the assets of Icelandic banks in which UK state agencies, the police and local councils, have invested their funds. This will also have an impact on Russia which has just made a massive loan to Iceland. Thus Brown is seeking to download part of the cost of US and UK finance capital speculation in risky assets onto the people of Iceland and the people of Russia, and of course to UK workers.
Workers bear the cost of the depression
Clearly it is the working class that will bear the biggest burden of these bailouts and rescue operations of finance capital. Depression destroys not only surplus constant capital, but also variable capital. Variable capital is basically the value of labor comprising the total costs of the 'wage basket' - food, housing, transport, health, education etc. Loss of jobs and conditions drives down wages and allows bosses to reinvest productive capital in industry along with cheaper more exploited labor. But widespread loss of jobs, incomes, housing etc means that the process of destruction hits workers hardest and creates the conditions for the rise of anti-capitalist resistance.
So when the bosses talk about the destruction of "the system" they don't really mean the loss of trillions of surplus capital, they are talking about the massive anger and opposition to the effects of this on the working class that has the power to organise and bring down capitalism and replace it with socialism. Thus the attempts by the bosses' states to manage the crisis are directed almost entirely to the management of the impact of the depression upon the working class and the supression of organised anti-capitalist resistance.
The strategy of workers fightback is to expropriate the value they have produced
The value that is being destroyed so far is mainly fictitious capital (the paper assets that have no real value because they cannot be exchanged for commodities embodying the labor of wage workers). It is of no interest to workers to defend this fictitious capital that is invested in non-assets with no value from destruction. So the housing mortgages that are based on hugely inflated prices of land and housing should be cancelled. It is a good thing for this fictitious value to be destroyed so that homes can return to their real value. This is their actual value representing houses as commodities that needs to be defended.
- Mobilise to occupy homes, fight foreclosures, and build neighborhood union-based defence committees.
The big investment banks are the headquarters of finance capital. They are the repositories of money capital, that is, the value produced by workers in commodities that are exchanged for money deposited by the capitalists in banks. Much of their assets will be fictitious capital which is reflected in their massive losses.
The nationalisation of the surviving investment banks under workers control would not compensate their owners for bad assets. It means revaluing assets at their real value as a capital fund for investment in planned production. Commercial banks based on workers deposits would be nationalised and combined as a single state bank.
- Nationalise the banks without compensation and under workers control!
The productive capital invested in industry only survives on the basis of massive state subsidies as well as at the expense of workers who have lost jobs, decent wages and benefits. The sub-prime crisis which triggered the meltdown of fictitious capital originated in the attacks on workers living standards so that they could not afford their mortgage repayments.
- Occupy and demand the nationalisation without compensation and under workers control of all industrial corporations and big landlords!
The workers' fightback needs to be mobilised by transforming the exising organisations of the labor movement, the unions. However, the leadership of such unions are reformist and will defend the reformist policies of social democracy to meet the bosses attacks on workers. Thus it will be sufficient for them that the unions subordinate their actions to voting for political parties that promise to manage the nationalisations of finance capital "in their interests". This is a lie and a fraud. Nationalisations must not be paid for by workers and must be under their direct control.
- Workers Democracy: for rank and file control of the unions and all organisations of the workers to implement the demands for nationalisations under workers control!
The fight for workers democracy in the unions means breaking the rank and file from the reformist leaders who preach bosses democracy and prop up the capitalist class. In the US they are the AFL-CIO backers of Obama. In Latin America they are the reformist left that politically supports the Bolivarian regimes of Chavez, Morales, Lula etc. In NZ they are the CTU that politically supports the Labour Party. [on the Crisis of Monopoly State Capitalism in NZ]
To make this break it is necessary to build a revolutionary workers party on the tradition of Marx, Lenin and Trotsky in the vanguard of the union movement.
- Build a revolutionary Leninist-Trotskyist party in the vanguard of the labor movement!