FOOD riots and major strike actions are erupting all over the capitalist world, driven forward by a doubling of food prices in many countries, as part of the growing worldwide inflation.
This situation has emerged out of the failure of the US-UK attack on Iraq, and the massive increases in oil, gas and all energy prices that have taken place because of it, virtually bankrupting many poor, developing and even ‘advanced’ countries.
Now the contradictions of the capitalist crisis are being further sharpened by the collapsing US dollar and the undermining of the banks by the deepening financial crisis, with the indebtedness of the banks now being measured in trillions of dollars.
In Haiti, hungry workers and youth stormed the presidential palace on Tuesday, throwing rocks and demanding the resignation of President Rene Preval over soaring food prices.
UN soldiers opened fire with rubber bullets and tear gas. Meanwhile, hungry workers are looting shops and stores.
‘We are hungry! Preval must go!’ shouted the crowds. Food prices have doubled, leaving the masses with revolution as the only option. Abdolreza Abbassian, secretary of the Intergovernmental Group for Grains for the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, commented: ‘Currently if you’re in Haiti, unless the government is subsidising consumers, consumers have no choice but to cut consumption. It’s a very brutal scenario, but that’s what it is.’
It is not only a brutal scenario, it is the scenario for revolution!
Likewise, there have also been food rioting and general strikes in Burkina Faso and Cameroon, and major clashes between tens of thousands of workers and riot police in Egypt in the last few days.
In Egypt, the price of bread is up 35% and cooking oil 26%, and the government recently proposed ending food subsidies. The plan has produced revolutionary developments. ‘A revolution of the hungry is in the offing,’ said Mohammed el-Askalani of Citizens Against the High Cost of Living, a group established to campaign against the ending of subsidies.
Workers in Sri Lanka are now going hungry along with their families, after a doubling of the price of their staple rice diet. Many Sri Lankan workers cannot now afford rice, and a major clash with the Rajapaksa military dictatorship is on the way.
Likewise in India, where the very rich are even richer and the poor are going hungry.
In the EU, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Slovenia’s capital on Saturday to denounce low pay and corporate greed across Europe as politicians and central bankers called for wage cutting to combat inflation.
These are the same politicians and central banks that are handing out tens and even hundreds of billions to the bankers, whose anarchic practices have been at the root of the inflationary phenomenon. At a time of surging food and energy prices worldwide, the European Trade Union Confederation organised the demonstration, describing it as a show of anger and determination to improve on the ‘poverty wages’ of more than 30 million workers across the Continent.
However, more than a show of anger is going to be required.
In the UK, the leaders of the GMB, UNISON and RCN trade unions are even urging their members to accept the three year wage deal being offered by the Brown government which offers an eight per cent ‘wage rise’ over three years, when even the government’s RPI inflation rate is showing 4.1%, and when nobody can even guess at what the real inflation rate will be in two or three years’ time.
The time has come for working class revolution worldwide to defend wages, jobs, and the working class and middle class from being pauperised.
The only remedy for this crisis of capitalism is the rapid building of the Fourth International worldwide to lead the world socialist revolution to replace bankrupt capitalism with worldwide socialism.