THE barrage of propaganda from every mouthpiece of the capitalist class that the economic crisis of capitalism is over, suffered a blow last week with the publication of a year long survey showing that the crisis is in fact deepening across Europe.
The survey, conducted by the charity Caritas, focused on seven Eurozone countries that have been subjected to the most savage austerity measures imposed by the EU, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
In these seven countries – Greece, Cyprus, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Romania – the survey found vastly increased levels of poverty and deprivation especially amongst young people and children.
In Ireland, long held up as a ‘poster boy’ for austerity, it was found that income inequality has soared since 2009 with the top 20% of the population earning five times more than the bottom 20%.
In Cyprus poverty levels have more than doubled in the past year.
In Portugal, Spain and Greece youth unemployment has rocketed, with Spain recording levels of 58% and Greece over 59% – in parts of Greece the level of youth unemployment is estimated to be over 75%.
A spokesman for Caritas, Thorfinnur Omarsson, observed that: ‘We in Brussels keep hearing that the economic crisis is over. These findings not only doubt that the crisis is over but show it is the poor who are paying for a crisis they did not cause.’
What the survey leaves out, with all its talk of the crisis creating a ‘new poor’ throughout Europe, is that the crisis is creating an unprecedented revolutionary situation that is sweeping the continent.
Last weekend, tens of thousands of workers and youth marched on the Spanish capital, Madrid, under a ‘March for Dignity’ banner demanding that the government refuse to pay the debt owed to the international bankers and end all the austerity measures imposed on the working class. This massive demonstration was met with a violent attack from riot police that left 101 people injured.
Similarly in Greece, the working class is almost daily engaged in violent confrontations with the state forces as it fights against the poverty and mass sackings that are the price the EU, ECB and IMF troika are insisting upon for yet another bail-out of bankrupt Greek capitalism.
Protests by public sector workers, including teachers, civil servants, school guards and municipal police, who face 14,000 sackings this summer, have been met with violent attacks from armed riot police.
Far from being deterred by this state orchestrated violence workers have demonstrated massive determination not to give up their fight, this characterizes all the struggles that are erupting across Europe.
But the other main characteristic of the crisis is the downright refusal of the reformist and Stalinist leadership of the trade unions to lead any struggle that would lead to a confrontation between the working class and capitalism.
In Greece, the leadership of the trade unions have refused to call for united action by all public service unions. Instead of demanding a general strike to bring down the Greek government, the leaders of the main public sector union, ADEDY, have restricted themselves to calling for the ‘overthrow of the policies of the Austerity Accords’.
They deliberately ignore the fact that overthrowing the policies of the troika means overthrowing the government that faithfully carries them out, something that these reformists are bitterly hostile to.
The situation is no different in Britain where this hated and despised government is only able to get away with its ‘permanent austerity’ plans because of the abject refusal of the TUC to call a general strike to bring it down.
The revolutionary situation that is rapidly developing in Europe and Britain demands that this rotten reformist leadership by removed immediately and replaced with a new revolutionary leadership.
This means building the WRP and sections of the Fourth International in every country prepared to lead the fight for the revolutionary overthrow of this bankrupt capitalist system and advance society to socialism.