19 May 2012     

Capitalism in the raw

By Lynda Walker

A spectre is haunting Europe: the spectre of chaos created by capitalism.
     The European Union strives to retain its purpose as a bastion of imperialism. Country after country faces crisis as people are pulled through the hedge backwards. Programmes of privatisation, social service cuts and payments to bankers are the order of the day. There is no hidden agenda here: this is capitalism in the raw; what you see is what you get.
     The campaign for a No vote in Ireland‘s referendum on 31 May on the EU fiscal treaty got under way this week in Dublin. As Eddie Glackin, member of the National Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Ireland, warned at an oration at the graveside of James Connolly in Arbour Hill Cemetery last weekend, “the Republic’s main political parties intend to deliver the Irish people bound and gagged to the bankers and bureaucrats of the EU.” In the coming days the broad-based People’s Movement will vigorously campaign for people to vote No. The corporate media, supporters of the bankers and big business, strongly support a Yes vote, and they wield great power.
     In Greece, the mishmash of a coalition hit the rocks and the Greek people are facing another election. The demand for €14½ billion (£11½ billion) worth of additional cuts for 2013–14 is being challenged by the left, and there is popular anger as the people demonstrate in their thousands. In the elections on 6May more than 60 per cent of the vote went to parties that campaigned against the 2010 EU-IMF-ECB loans-for-austerity.
     “Austerity”—now there’s a great word. It covers up a multitude of sins; like the term “credit crunch,” it becomes almost meaningless in the face of reality.
     The right also won some gains in the elections of 6 May, something that we cannot afford to overlook. In response to these gains the Greek Communists said: “The youth and the workers in general who are suffering must correct the vote they gave to ‘Golden Dawn,’ as they surely do not agree with their Nazi views.”
     In elections in another part of Europe, in North Rhine-Westphalia, the Christian Democratic Union of Angela Merkel took “the worst beating in its history in this key state, which has more people than all of East Germany.” Her major opponents, the Social Democrats, were greatly strengthened, and the Greens held their own. In the same election in NRW the other main loser was the Left Party. It not only failed to reach the 5 per cent needed to keep any of its seats in the state legislature (it won eleven in the last election) but also lost severely, getting only about 2½ per cent. This was the second West German state in a week where it lost its representation.
     This area is hard hit by an economic crisis, worsened by constant shut-downs of coalmines and steelworks in its Ruhr Valley. Why do severe cut-backs in the budgets of nearly all towns and cities not work to the advantage of the Left? Left critics point to media influence and say that in comparison with the left, the catchy new Pirate Party was treated to almost daily pageantry. Although it still has virtually no programme, it reaped the rewards at the polls, with over 8 per cent.
     This is just a snapshot of what is happening in the Capitalist State of Europe. The need for the workers to rise up has never been greater.

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