U.S. capitalists are finding it extraordinarily difficult to organize their way out of the worsening global economic crisis they created. The most powerful sections of the ruling class are beginning to assert themselves by either taking over smaller, failing banks and companies or eliminating them. This will enable the top financiers to control the entire banking system and enforce their long-term strategy of fascism at home and war abroad to protect their oil empire. All the out-of-control profiteers seeking short-term gains are now being disciplined, to follow the top guns or fall by the wayside.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Paulson’s original bailout bill couldn’t make it through a rebellious Congress and the remake failed to inspire investors and contributed to Wall Street’s worst week since 1933. “Some $8.4 trillion has been lost from US stock markets in the past year.” (Times of London, 10/12/08)
Another failed cure was Paulson’s decision to let Lehman Brothers go under. Rather than cleanse the investment banking system, the move worsened the situation. Wall Street investment giants Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch have all had to find new ways to exist.
Even a massive bailout from Washington may not save General Motors as an independent company, it having launched merger talks with Ford and Chrysler. Tens of thousands of auto jobs are at risk, on top of the 750,000 jobs lost overall this year.
MEGA-MONEY BOYS SOROS, BUFFETT, BLOOMBERG TAKE CHARGE
But economic chaos and destruction represent only one side of the coin. While the bosses appear to be losing control, the biggest U.S. capitalists, those with major stakes in U.S. imperialism, are in fact tightening their economic and political grip. Billionaire George Soros — who bankrolls anti-Russian regimes in Eastern Europe and urges anti-China “intervention” in Tibet and Darfur — helped steer a big shift in the bailout policy.
The New York Times reported (10/12): “Two weeks after persuading Congress to let it spend $700 billion to buy distressed securities tied to mortgages, the Bush administration has put that idea aside in favor of a new approach that would have the government inject capital directly into the nation’s banks — in effect, partially nationalizing the industry.”
On Oct. 1st, Soros had written in London’s Financial Times, “Instead of just purchasing troubled assets the bulk of the funds ought to be used to recapitalize the banking system.” Nationalizing the banks helps imperialists like Soros & Co. control capital and channel it to their own, increasingly military, needs to maintain U.S. rulers’ super-power status. That the Soros position prevailed over both Bush and the Congress reveals the true nature of state power. As Lenin said ninety years ago, politicians are ruled by finance capital.
Financier Warren Buffett, Forbes Magazine’s “Richest Man on the Planet,” is another master of U.S. capitalism’s rapidly evolving new universe. Buffett, an ally of the Rockefeller-led Eastern Establishment, has a big say in who survives the current carnage. He just threw multi-billion-dollar lifelines to two of U.S. imperialism’s flagships, worldwide deal-maker Goldman Sachs and arms maker General Electric.
Known for having a long-term outlook, Buffett recently invested heavily in U.S. railroads. Though not very lucrative at present, Buffett’s railroads will prove indispensible in mobilizing for global war and are beginning large-scale infrastructure rebuilding. Without an efficient rail system, it becomes very difficult to move large number of troops, supplies and weapons coast to coast.
Buffett is also the largest single owner of Wells Fargo, which bested Citigroup in its attempt to seize Wachovia, saddled with toxic subprime mortgages.
Wall Street darling Bloomberg’s bid for a currently illegal third term as New York mayor serves the same imperialist capital-concentrating purpose. On October 2, thirty ruling class big shots published an Open Letter in the NY Times urging lawmakers to “extend term limits [to three terms] in order to give New Yorkers the opportunity for whomever [sic] they think can do the best job during these tough economic times, including our current mayor.”
The signers included ultra-imperialists like David Rockefeller and his war criminal henchman Henry Kissinger. Others were J.P. Morgan Chase chief James Dimon, Goldman boss Lloyd Blankfein, and financier Wilbur Ross. The latter is bent on safeguarding U.S. industries like coal, steel, and textiles, all crucial to the manufacture of weapons, tanks, warplanes, troop uniforms and gear, and all the other ingredients of modern warfare.
GLOBAL WAR: OBAMA, MCCAIN AGREE ON GOAL, DIFFER ON APPROACH
Stopgap measures like bailouts, buy-ups, and partial nationalization can only bring a mix of successes and setbacks to U.S. rulers. Their imperialist wing, however, eyes the Big Bailout, top-to-bottom militarization for global war with rivals like Russia and China. Liberal Robert Reich, Clinton’s Labor Secretary, let that cat out of the bag in an October 9 NY Times column.
Encouraging broad federal spending to counter the current crisis, Reich said, “the government will probably have to run deficits to keep the economy going anywhere near capacity, a lesson the nation learned when mobilization for World War II finally lifted us out of the Great Depression.” That’s when the mass unemployment of the 1930’s — 17 million jobless in a 50-million workforce — was “solved” by drafting 14 million into the military.
Candidate Obama vows to put millions to work —in low-wage jobs— in New Deal-style programs to rebuild strategic infrastructure. His call to reinvigorate the nation economically serves the rulers’ war agenda even better than McCain’s openly militarist appeal.
The rulers well know that most U.S. workers and GIs in World War II did not back the McCain-like, patriotic, right-wing “America First” line. Opposed to Hitler’s fascism, they bought into “The American Way of Life,” Roosevelt’s promise of state-sponsored post-war prosperity. This built the illusion that “reformed” capitalism can guarantee a decent life and tie workers to the profit system. Obama hopes to revive that illusion.
Neither economic crisis nor voting can eliminate the class dictatorship finance capitalists blatantly flaunt every day. Only communist revolution can because it abolishes profits, bosses and their wage slavery system and puts the workers in control of state power, guaranteeing our class — which produces all value — will share the fruits of our labors.
The profit system’s crisis, with its wholesale attack on workers’ wages, pensions, housing and healthcare, its racist super-exploitation of black and Latino workers, opens up limitless opportunities for communists to expose the anti-working-class nature of capitalism.
However, no matter how low capitalism sinks, it will not topple itself as long as the bosses hold their ace-in-the-hole — state power. That’s why the revolutionary communist PLP must be built and win workers to bury capitalism in the garbage heap of history.