U.S. Politics

Editorial on the World Capitalist Crisis

       By Nat Weinstein

If one reads newspapers like the New York Times, along with surfing the Internet to see what revolutionary socialists have to say about the worst global capitalist crisis in history, we can observe that there are many working and middle class people who are coming, or have already come, to the conclusion that capitalism is so badly broken that it cannot be fixed. Among those who are thinking along these lines are some of the most sophisticated bourgeois economists who fully realize that it’s only a matter of time until one of the world’s major currencies collapses. 

If the world›s Wall Streets and their governments can›t afford to bail out Greece, they have zero chance of bailing out the Eurozone. Sure they can print euros, pounds, and dollars by the trillions, but the argument between Democrats and Republicans about whether or not to raise the debt limit is real. And all of the players in the Eurozone and everywhere else knows, or should know, that purely paper money is valueless. They aren›t stupid. They already know that it›s only a matter of time before the global monetary system›s house of cards comes tumbling down.

I would make a big bet that there are a lot of people like Doug Henwood [see his interview with Sam Gindin in this issue] who are drawing all the right conclusions. 

What is most important to say in addition to pointing out the irreconcilability of this particular many-sided crisis is the inevitability of a reaction by the oppressed. The world’s workers are literally being forced by world capitalism’s ever-deepening austerity offensive onto the road of class struggle.

Karl Marx predicted this a long time ago in 1848. He wrote:

“The development of Modern Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own gravediggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.”1

We modern day socialists have said this again and again. It’s still true. We can’t let the pessimists get away with discounting the role history has commanded the working class to play. In other words, by forcing workers to either starve or fight, capitalists are—as the old man said—busily digging their own graves.

Self-preservation is a powerful force for good as well as for its opposite. We can’t let the pessimists and those they influence forget that us social animals are not only capable of putting ourselves first, and our tribe or others of our social formations, second. But we are also capable of putting our tribe (and by this I mean our social class) first, even at our own peril just as a mother or father would do for their child.

In a word: working-class solidarity in the age of capitalism is the highest form of human solidarity. And we should be proud of our species as being the only one that is fully conscious of our nature as social animals and is capable of consciously risking all they are and have so other human beings—and indeed the other species of the planet—may live.  

1 Manifesto of the Communist Party, by Karl Marx and Frederic Engels, Chapter 1