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Meltdown and revolt

The global capitalist financial system is grinding to a halt amid a meltdown of support for bailing out banks and political paralysis in the United States, the most indebted country of all. Without forms of finance/credit, the economy itself cannot function. It’s that serious.

When two-thirds of Bush’s own capitalist, right-wing Republican Party refused to endorse a $700 billion transfer of taxpayers’ money to financiers in return for worthless, toxic “assets”, they were looking nervously over their shoulders at a grassroots revolt. An overwhelming majority of their constituents are opposed to the hand-out while they suffer job losses, repossession and falling living standards. Many have taken to the streets in spontaneous protests on Wall Street and throughout America.

The fact that capitalist politicians baulked at rushing through a bill which was painted by president Bush as necessary to prevent a collapse of the financial system, is just one of many insoluble contradictions:

In the end, there are no capitalist-type “solutions” to this momentous crisis. They would have been discovered by now if there were any. Politicians and financiers are powerless to control and direct events because ultimately capitalism functions in an unplanned, uncontrolled and anarchic way and is prone to catastrophic crises like the one now unfolding.

Capitalist socialisation of the failing banks is a backhanded acknowledgement that private ownership for profit has failed. Now is the time to seize the initiative and finish what the capitalist politicians cannot. Millions mostly new to political action can coalesce into an organised movement to refuse to pay their existing debt. From there we must build a movement that aims to create a new democratic power.

This would take control of both financial institutions and the essential productive side of the economy. Then we could re-establish these resources on sane, rational lines and operate them on a not-for-profit basis for the benefit of the majority. These are without doubt revolutionary proposals that will take some achieving. Yet it would be dishonest to suggest that there are more palatable, less challenging ways forward in these dangerous times.

Gerry Gold
Economics editor
30 September 2008

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