THE ANNUAL meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) at the Swiss resort of Davos started yesterday on the theme of ‘history at a turning point’, with the stated intention of ‘offering world leaders an opportunity to take stock of the state of the world and shape partnerships and policies for the crucial period ahead.’
For the first time no Russian officials or companies were present, having been banned by the WEF.
Instead, the forum was opened with an address by the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky where he called for increased economic sanctions on Russia including a full embargo of Russian oil; all Russian banks barred from global systems; and no trade with Russia.
The world, Zelensky told the WEF, can’t be ruled by ‘brute force’.
This will come as news to American and British imperialism.
They have been attempting to rule the world through brute force throughout history with a never-ending list of wars and invasions throughout the Middle East, North Africa and beyond, for the world domination of capitalism.
Millions of men, women and children have died in wars to invade Iraq, Afghanistan, bomb Libya to pieces and wage war to carry out regime change in Syria.
Russia was forced to take military action to defend itself from the encroachment and arming by the NATO powers right up to its borders in preparation for a war to reconquer the land imperialism was kicked out of by the Russian revolution.
Zelensky’s call for ‘maximum sanctions’ on Russia was greeted with wild applause by members of the forum after he complained that existing sanctions have proved inadequate to bring Russia to its knees.
In fact, splits are emerging in Europe over any extension of sanctions against Russian oil and gas supplies as a number of land-locked EU countries are reliant on Russia for their energy needs and have blocked moves for a complete ban.
Even Germany, which has recently been proclaiming its intentions for a total ban, has been warned that crude oil from Russia will be impossible to replace.
Germany relies on Russian gas and oil for 40% of its energy needs, and a total ban has led to plans being drawn up to ration electricity and gas supplies to homes and industry.
Even the existing sanctions on Russia have produced a seismic crisis in the cost of energy across the world at the same time that the cost of food has been driven out of the reach of workers and the people in the poorest nations.
In Britain, Michael Lewis, the chief executive of E.ON, the UK’s biggest energy supplier, on Sunday said that one in eight of its customers are in arrears on their bills and that 40% of households will soon be in fuel poverty.
The charity Citizens Advice has reported that the number of people being chased by debt collectors from the energy companies has shot up by a third since last year.
At the weekend, it emerged that hospitals in the UK are setting up food banks or issuing food vouchers for NHS staff who can’t afford rent, fuel or food.
At the same time as NHS workers are facing poverty, the Tories plan a privatisation attack on the health service that will see thousands of workers sacked and private health companies dictating the price of health care.
History is indeed at a ‘turning point’, and the WEF clearly fears that history is not on the side of a bankrupt capitalist system that can only survive through war to re-impose its domination on the world accompanied by war to make the working class and people of the world pay through poverty and starvation.
With workers across the UK, Europe and the US rising up and refusing to see their lives destroyed to keep the bosses and bankers in profit, the time has come to put capitalism out of its misery and end imperialist war once and for all.
At this historic turning point, the burning issue of the day is to build sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International to lead the struggle to put an end to capitalism through the victory of the world socialist revolution.