Published on World Socialist Web Site WSWS, by Peter Schwarz, October 21, 2011.
… This state of affairs cannot be changed by pressure from the streets. The crisis is not simply a consequence of misguided policy decisions, which can be corrected. It is the crisis of a social system based on irreconcilable class antagonisms. The capitalist system cannot be reformed, it can only be abolished. The current crisis has developed over decades. The incomes of working people have been stagnating or declining since the early 1980s or before, while a small elite at the top of society has accumulated untold riches. That wealth can only be sustained by constantly squeezing more surplus value out of the working class.
The never-ending attacks on wages and working conditions, the looting of public funds through tax cuts for the wealthy, severe cuts in social spending and the billions to rescue the banks all serve this goal. These measures are supported without exception by all the mainstream parties. Whether social-democratic, left, green, Christian Democrat, conservative or liberal, they all insist that cost-cutting measures are inevitable.
They in turn have the backing of numerous “left” organisations who attempt to transform the resistance against austerity measures into harmless protests and appeals to governments or subordinate the mass movement to one or another wing of the ruling elite.
In Greece, the trade unions, who are close to the ruling PASOK party, are desperately seeking to prevent the fall of the Papandreou government, which bears the main responsibility for the austerity measures. Under the slogan of “no politics”, the so-called “outraged” movement tries to suppress any discussion of political perspectives. This has the support of a host of pseudo-left groups.
Workers must break with all these organisations. Europe is heading towards massive class struggles. These must be prepared politically. The disasters associated with the last century can only be avoided when the working class intervenes as an independent political force. This requires above all a socialist program.
The workers of Europe must unite and reject all those who preach nationalism or social decline in the name of “saving Europe”. The task is to create and build the United Socialist States of Europe. A European workers’ government would expropriate the banks and big corporations and use their resources to create new jobs and meet social needs, rather than generate profit for the rich.
The World Socialist Web Site and the International Committee of the Fourth International fight for such a program and are building sections in every country to realise such a perspective. (full text).