THE CRISIS of capitalism is now acute. It has reached the point of explosion, with its very life blood – gas and electricity now so expensive that the bosses are warning they will have to begin shutting down production, closing petrol stations, emptying supermarket shelves, with a return to the ‘three day week’ of the 1970’s, or worse, being contemplated.
Global gas prices have gone up 250% and, as a result, some companies, including steel producers, fertiliser manufacturers and glass makers, have had to suspend or reduce production in Europe and Asia.
The bosses are desperate – they were relying on China for production and are now begging Russia to send them more gas. How the mighty have fallen! They are forced to ask their enemies to help them try and keep their bankrupt system from collapse.
More gas will flow from Russia by the end of the year, with the country’s new Nord Stream 2 pipeline awaiting approval from Germany’s energy regulator.
In Britain we have already had Tory business secretary Kwarteng’s ‘crisis … what crisis?’ moment. This was when he attempted to convince parliament that there was no problem with gas and energy supply in Britain, and that energy companies going to the wall one after the other ‘was normal for this time of year.’
Now Kwarteng is claiming: ‘There will be no question of people being unable to heat their homes, there will be no three day working weeks or a throw back to the 1970s. Such thinking is alarmist, unhelpful and completely misguided.’
Nevertheless in doing so this modern day King Canute has raised the spectre of a return to the 1970’s, where manufacture was reduced to a three day week after Israel’s defeat in the Yom Kippur War resulted in the Arab states massively increasing oil prices!
A massive movement of the working class and the youth was ignited under Tory PM Heath, that led to him bring driven out of Downing Street.
There is no doubt that there will be a massive movement of the working class in response any new ‘three day week’ type policies. The strike mass movement of the working class now looming will eclipse that of the 1970s.
We must make sure that we build up the revolutionary leadership of the working class, in the WRP and the Young Socialists to make sure that this time round the working class seizes the power and brings in a Workers State with the nationalisation of the banks and the major industries under workers management.
As petrol stations close the Tory Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has urged against ‘panic buying’ of petrol and has said that the government is prepared to bring in the army to drive fuel tankers if it becomes necessary. To add fuel to the fire it is estimated that the UK is short of about 100,000 HGV drivers.
Meanwhile 1.5 million people have been hit hard by their energy companies going bust in the last couple of weeks. Families’ bills have spiralled in recent months, with the cost of electricity increasing 35% over the last year and nearly 8% in August alone. Families face not being able to heat their homes, keep the lights on or cook their food.
For those driven to food banks in order to survive – how exactly is a family expected to cook food without gas or electricity?
The madness of private ownership is there for all to see. You have over 50 energy companies in the UK who have been making vast profits out of the poorest people. Those on electric or gas keycards when they top up are left with just a few hours of heat, light and energy for cooking before the money on their meter runs out again and they are left in the dark.
Now that these companies can no longer make profits and are going bust, 1.5 million people have been left high and dry, not knowing wether they will be able to have access to such basic human needs, such as heating, lighting and the ability to cook food.
Everyone can see the crisis of capitalism. The trade union leaders lament the suffering of their members. But the burning question of leadership remains … what are they going to do about it? And all indications so far are that what they will do what they have been continuously doing over the last period – plead with Boris Johnson’s government to see reason and be kinder to the workers!
Labour Party MPs, led by Keir Starmer, are busy placing themselves at the disposal of Johnson in an advisory role, offering positive criticism! No doubt they will be prepared to serve in some National Government to make the working class pay for the crisis. The Socialist revolution is the only way forward, not just in the UK but throughout Europe and the USA. We urge workers to form sections of the Fourth International in every country, to organise the victory of the worldwide socialist revolution!