THE deepening capitalist crisis has seen the breakdown of the decisive Doha Round of World Trade Organisation talks, with the United States refusing and unable to satisfy the demands of its Japanese and EU rivals.
The ‘total globalisation’ perspective of the Blair-Brown leadership of the Labour government has been destroyed. Instead there is to be all out trade war, protectionism, and dog eat dog tactics, as the major capitalist states seek to wipe each other out, and grab hold of valuable markets, and areas where there are scarce resources, as well as driving back the working class of their own countries.
One of the main political and economic aspects of this crisis is the vast and continuing inflation of oil, gas and other basic commodity prices, such as copper.
This inflation is being caused by the imperialist struggle for resources. It is also being stoked up by the military failures of US-UK imperialism to seize Iraq’s oil resources, and now the war that is raging in Lebanon and Palestine. This is threatening to end with the US-UK being cut off from Middle East oil completely.
This situation is causing severe nervousness and acute fear amongst the world bourgeoisie, and is pushing oil and gas prices higher and higher and higher, along with the price of gold.
This trend is accelerated by the defiant masses of oil states such as Venezuela and Nigeria, while the masses of Bolivia have nationalised their oil and gas assets.
This developing crisis is like a knife at the throat of imperialism, especially British imperialism. In Britain, in the period from Thatcher to Blair, there has been a decisive effort to deindustrialise, and have a Britain based on the City of London exporting its capital, with the masses being directed into service industries. Thatcher and then Blair declared that Britain could flourish on the basis of cheap imported coal, gas and oil, buttressed by North Sea Oil.
Millions of manufacturing jobs have been destroyed, the coal mining industry has been shut down, what remains of a British motor car industry is in a museum, while GM, Ford and Peugeot are quitting Britain for cheap labour pastures, shortly to be followed by Nissan, Honda and Renault.
Britain has now got the biggest trade deficit in its history (£65.6 billion in 2005) and a big deficit in government spending.
The nation of shop keepers, and what was the workshop of the world, has been turned into a nation of debtors/ becoming paupers.
Debt has reached over £1.4 trillion in personal debt and over $1.3 trillion in mortgage debt.
Already masses of the people are being pauperised and the massive gas price increases that are ongoing with Centrica dictating a 12.4 per cent increase now and another 10.7 per cent in September are tightening the screw, especially on the pensioners.
Next month UK interest rates are set to rise, following the rate rises in the EU, the US and Japan. This will put an even bigger weight of debt around the millions of mortgage payers and credit card debtors faced with much bigger interest rate payments. Many will lose their homes and many more workers will lose their jobs as unemployment is driven upwards.
Brown has already said that Labour under his rule will have a five year two per cent ceiling for wages in the public sector. This in fact is a wage cut. Faced with interest rate rises and big increases in government expenditure he will bring in a series of open cuts in wages, pensions and benefits including the Job Seekers Allowance.
The working class needs its own crisis government and programme for the situation that is developing. This must be that the trade unions use their strength to bring down the Blair government to go forward to a workers’ government.
This must renationalise BP, and the big oil and gas companies so that their massive profits can benefit the people. In a period of energy crisis the coal industry must be reopened as a nationalised concern using clean coal technology.
The banks, that are awash with billions of profits, must be nationalised and the trillions of pounds of personal and mortgage debt, and also council tax debt, must be abolished.
All expenditures on imperialist war must be stopped and all British troops be brought back to the UK. This is the only programme for the crisis.