IN 2008, the then-Labour prime minister, Gordon Brown, actively considered ordering armed troops onto the streets of Britain as his response to the collapse of the capitalist banking system.
Damian McBride, Brown’s spin doctor, recounts in his recent memoirs that after the giant US Lehman Brothers bank collapsed on September 25 2008, Brown sought to stave off British banks collapsing by underwriting all their debts – in effect the state taking over the debts of the banks.
On the eve of announcing this nationalisation of the banking debt, Brown confided in McBride that he was scared rigid that the whole plan would fail, in which case preparations had to be made.
He told McBride: ‘If the banks are shutting their doors, and the cashpoints aren’t working, and people go to Tesco and their cards aren’t being accepted, the whole thing will just explode. If you can’t buy food or petrol or medicine for your kids, people will just start breaking the windows and helping themselves. And as soon as people see that on TV, that’s the end, because everyone will think that’s OK now, that’s just what we all have to do. It’ll be anarchy. That’s what could happen tomorrow. I’m serious, I’m serious . . . We’d have to think: do we have curfews, do we put the Army on the streets, how do we get order back?’
Nothing demonstrates the treachery of the reformist leadership of the Labour Party more than this – in order to ‘save’ capitalism the working class must be forced to pay for the banking crisis either by assuming the debts of the banks and paying for them through savage austerity cuts to wages, pensions and benefits along with the wholesale destruction of the welfare state or, if this fails, and workers rise up when faced with having all their money just evaporate overnight, then call in the army.
What Brown was actively considering was nothing less than imposing a police/military dictatorship with armed troops on the streets of Britain to crush workers and youth refusing to accept starvation as the price to keep this rotten bankrupt capitalist system going.
Brown’s plan to dump the whole world banking crisis on the backs of the working class through nationalising the bank’s debt was adopted throughout the capitalist world.
In order to further keep the banks operating and making huge profits for their owners and chief executives, the central banks embarked on a policy of printing worthless paper money to inject into the banking system in the form of quantitative easing (QE).
Trillions of dollars have been artificially created mainly by the US Federal Reserve but with the Bank of England also printing off billions of pounds to pump into the banks as ‘free’ money.
This mountain of valueless bits of paper has gone straight into the banks and used as the basis for another gigantic round of speculation, creating around the world even bigger debt ‘bubbles’ than existed in 2008.
Last week, the Fed ran away from its promise to put an end to QE precisely because it was terrified of bringing down the banks by cutting off this lifeline.
Instead, they were forced to accept storing up an even bigger crisis when all these bubbles burst in the near future bringing on a catastrophic collapse far greater than 2008.
To save capitalism, the state will be forced to rely on the army to crush the working class resistance to seeing their lives destroyed in order to keep banks from sinking.
For the working class there is no option: the revelations by McBride make it imperative that capitalism is brought down through the socialist revolution.
This means organising the gigantic strength of the working class in a general strike to kick out the coalition and bring in a workers government that will nationalise the banks under control of the working class as part of a planned socialist economy.