As the evidence mounts of a persistent, global attack on working people and the poor, my mind falls back on an interview given a year or so ago by the brilliant British Marxist urban geographer, David Harvey. Commenting on the global economic meltdown, he said capitalism could solve its many crises, but only by setting up the scenario for another inevitable crisis.
He traced the various stages of the handling of the meltdown, and said it had reached the stage where the argument had become as to who was to pay for it. Would it be the financial mavens who had created it? Or the workers. And Harvey prophesied that what we could expect in future was a relentless attack on unions and the organized working class throughout the world.
Hardly were the words out of his mouth before the streets of Paris were filled by hundreds of thousands of workers protesting against the attempt to make them pay with cuts and austerity measures designed to lower their incomes.
Since then we have seen an intensification of this attack on the working class in every sector of economic life, and in every part of the world. The European response has been particularly egregious, with the troika of the United States, the European Community and the International Monetary Fund zeroing in on an effort to impoversish further the workers of the smaller European countries (whose workers have already had to make concessions and reduce their standard of living).
David Cameron’s stringent austerity measures in Britain have already led to a further depression of the British economy, and similar results are underway in some of the European countries, with particular reference to Greece, which seems to have been chosen as the poster boy for a demonstration of the relentless cruelty of the capitalist structure that appears to have been the whole purpose for the establishment of the European Community.
In Canada, the worst is yet to come, but most of this government’s initiatives seem to have been designed to follow the global pattern, with useless and unnecessary measures such as the crime bill and the proposal to imprison more and more people in bigger and better prisons; such as the flirting with reductions in the Old Age Security, totally unnecessary according to most experts; such as the extravagant expenditure on new US fighter planes that apparently aren’t expected to work properly,;and such as Public Safety Minister Vic Toews having said anyone who is not in favour of internet censorship is with the child pornographers --- all these are signs of a government we have, somehow to try to get rid of as soon as possible.
Ah, well, what else is new? In a nation which once had corporate taxation of more than 90 per cent, the United States, politicians are vying for the distinction of which of them would cut the current corporate rate of 39 per cent furthest. Obama is preparing to cut it into the 20s, and Romney, if he is elected, can be depended on to do what he suggests, cut it even further.Mezantime, if readers feel so inclined, they might like to take a look here at an amusing illustrated video of a statement by David Harvey on the many fanciful reasons given for the Crises of Capitalism. Be my guest.