Original article, a speech by Jeremy Dear given at the Annual Conference of the Labour Representation Committee (the organising hub of the left wing within the Labour Party and among trade union activists), via Socialist Appeal (UK):
As an aside, you may be asking why we should be interested in what Jeremy Dear is giving a speech on? The answer, to me, is simple: Labour has been hijacked by the neoliberal militarists just the same as the Democrats have been. While the crisis in Britain may not be 100% the same as here in the US, it is part and parcel of the collapse of international capitalism. Our workers face the same problems as theirs. It is within this framework that I think Dear’s speech is worth a read:
Last year, Richard Desmond, the proprietor of Express Newspapers announced he was paying himself a chairman’s remuneration of some £52m – the equivalent of £1m a week.
It hardly raised an eyebrow.
It’s what the market would bear. Funny thing, what the markets can bear. Indeed, it wasn’t that long ago that the Chairman of ExxonMobile was given a $400 million retirement package. There was a bit of a furor for a day or so, but it went through. Needless to say, once the markets stopped expanding we found out what the markets really could bear: So little that they came crawling and stooped to their knees to get bailouts from the US and other countries.
It is little wonder that amidst such corporate greed, amidst a system bedevilled by failed light-touch regulation, short-term profiteering, under-investment, and a craven acquiescence to the demands of the wealthy and big business we now face a devastating recession – a recession which will be laid bare in grim statistics and graphs but which will spell human misery for millions of working people.
The craven capitalists are hoping to weather the storm so they can go on their merry way without any fundamental changes in how the world does business. Sure, if they’re successful millions, if not billions, of people around the planet will suffer for their greed. Such a small price to pay, isn’t it?
And as people struggle to avoid repossessions, to hang on to their jobs, to meet rising fuel and food bills, to cope with inflation the government has responded by bailing out the banks with workers’ taxes – and working people will pay with their jobs, their homes, their wages as redundancies sweep every sector and every region, as house prices collapse, as public finances are squeezed, as communities suffer and workers are asked to take pay cuts, pay freezes or below inflation rises to pay for the years of greed and profiteering.
And yet, the apologists for the parasitic capitalists will insist that it is in the best interest of those workers to suffer through such struggles. After all, it’s the money men who make modern business run. The workers should worship at their shrine.
Here’s a key to the whole speech:
Mass unemployment was not a price worth paying under the Tories. It is not a price worth paying under New Labour, as predictions are that up to two million could be out of work by Christmas.
Guess what? It’s not worth paying here in the US, either. The collapse of the US automotive industry threatens 3 million jobs up front, plus untold others in supporting industries, service industries and the like. Look at unemployment today, then add 3 million + to the ranks. Sure, save the bankster frauds and the bosses, but let so many Americans go on the dole.
His final paragraphs are a clarion call, not only to British workers, but to workers around the world:
The objective cannot be simply to recapture the economy and society we had pre-crash. It must be about creating a Britain – and a global system – where the long-term needs of people are put before the short-term gains of financiers, where social policy trumps fiscal policy, where the value of a nurse or firefighter or public servant is more than the value of those who run hedge funds or those who gamble and speculate with our money but produce nothing.
This is an opportunity to bring about a fundamental transformation in our economy and society.
The DLC presidency of Barack Obama is promising much the same as mainline New Labour. Any financial fix will be made on the backs of the poor, working and middle classes. Until we break away from the neoliberal militarists, we can hardly expect anything else.