Barack Obama recently lectured workers, not on capitalism’s systemic inability to avoid crisis and depression, but to “look beyond our own short-term interests to the wider set of obligations we have to each other…That’s when we succeed. That’s when we prosper. And that’s what’s needed right now.” The working class, not the bosses, will take the losses, that’s the meaning behind Obama’s stimulus package.
The international working class must brace for this “stimulus” as an outright attack, foreshadowing even greater misery. One former economist of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Thomas Worsley, openly pondered the bosses need for war, saying to Bloomberg news recently, “Can we spend enough with peacetime spending to get us out [of the crisis?]”
In addition to the major banks, many states are on the verge of bankruptcy; their failure would trigger a catastrophe. Only $54 billion has been allocated to states while 43 face a combined deficit of at least $200 billion for this year alone. “This is a band-aid” said Michael Bird, of the federal affairs counsel at the National Conference of State Legislatures (U.S. News & World Report, 2/25/09).
Between mounting job and home losses, decades of gutting federal social programs, and deep cutbacks made after the previous recession of 2001, the crises facing workers, especially in states like California, New York, Florida, and Michigan, are set to intensify.
While Obama stated that this crisis was years in the making, Marx predicted crises like these in the mid 19th century. Workers in the U.S., especially blacks and Latinos, the biggest holders of sub-prime mortgages, are being crushed under mountains of debt which threaten to amplify the crisis as millions are tossed out onto the streets, unable to make their payments.
As for solutions, the bosses can’t seem to print money fast enough. The billions of dollars in cash “injections” triggered unease amongst the Chinese ruling class, which holds several trillion dollars in U.S. Treasury Bills made worthless by the influx of dollars. The Chinese imperialists, flexing their new muscles internationally, recently called for a replacement of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.
The Path Towards Wider War Among Imperialist Rivals
Obama’s plan to “tax the wealthiest” is a sham, since the upper echelons of the ruling class have all sorts of loopholes to avoid paying taxes. Since the U.S. bosses can’t sell off their own assets to rival imperialists without losing their position as top imperialist dog; their only option is to look to squeeze profits from workers currently being exploited by their imperialist rivals. This is a path towards war.
At the end of WW II the U.S. rulers were in a position to penetrate Latin America, Asia, and Africa unopposed by other capitalists. Times have changed. There is not a single part of the globe that hasn’t been penetrated by one or more rivals to the U.S., namely China, Russia, and Germany. The era of unchallenged U.S. dominance is over.
It’s unclear whether or not the financial wizards can cook up even a short-term solution to this crisis; the best they can hope for is to postpone this crisis for a larger one down the road. Rising competition in the face of worldwide crisis will ultimately lead to war between the biggest powers. The U.S. rulers will be forced to directly confront one or more of their rivals in wars of a scale that will dwarf the so-called “brushfires” around the globe now.
As the crisis deepens, millions of workers in the U.S. have been and will be laid off, and bankruptcies will only mount. The U.S. bosses will intensify exploitation here, and make us pay for their losses. As Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel put so eloquently to the Wall Street Journal (11/21/09), “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”
The Revolutionary Path Workers Must Take
As May Day approaches, PLP’ers and friends must step up our efforts to win workers and their allies to our Party to fight for a path for workers out of this hell: the fight for communism. Our fight is to organize as large a section of the international working class as possible to oppose these cuts and “make the bosses take the losses.” Everywhere we must support and build unity between employed and unemployed workers, and sharpen the struggle against racism in our schools, workplaces, and barracks. Workers worldwide must see that this crisis is capitalism’s “business-as-usual,” and that this system can only oppress us, bankrupt us, and send our children to kill and die to save one or another bosses’ empire, while sticking us with the bill!
‘Renewable Energy’ Subsidy for Profiteers?
Attempting to ride the growing wave of genuine concern many workers share over the health of the environment, the handouts given to “renewable energy” programs are supposed to reduce dependency on foreign oil but most of the petroleum consumed in the U.S. comes from either Mexico or Canada, and a large share is produced domestically. The U.S. rulers’ main interest in Mid-East oil is about controlling the other imperialists’ access to it. The popular slogan to “reduce dependency on foreign oil” is nothing but a hollow lie, but that won’t stop Obama’s ruling-class allies from paying their friends and business cronies at the expense of workers’ taxes!