NEW YEAR’S MANIFESTO by the News Line Editorial Board
THE News Line Editorial Board sends its revolutionary greetings for the New Year of 2016 to all our readers and to the working class, young people and poor of the world who are rising up and refusing to allow their lives to be shattered by a bankrupt historically redundant capitalist system.
We send our special greetings to the masses of Syria, to the struggling, heroic Palestinian people and to the millions of refugees that imperialist war has created. We urge the workers of the world to make sure that refugees are made welcome in every country.
2016 will be the year for the organisation of the working class to take power through the world socialist revolution as the full impact of the global crisis of capitalism drives forward revolution in every corner of the globe.
It will be the year for building sections of the Fourth International in every country to lead the developing struggle to victory and consign capitalism to the dustbin of history. 2015 will be remembered for the year that the leading bodies of the international banking system finally threw their hands up and openly declared that capitalism was bankrupt and could no longer carry on in the same old way.
In March 2015 the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) warned that any rise in US interest rates would bring down the world banking system and plunge whole nations into bankruptcy. In September, the BIS issued another report on the state of the world capitalist economy which openly declared that a banking collapse was not just a possibility but a certainty, pointing to the massive debt run up by capitalism to keep the banks from collapsing.
The BIS estimates that the combined public and private debt accumulated by the developed economies of the world has shot up by 36% since the crisis first broke through in 2007. This represents debt levels in these countries that are 265% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – the total wealth produced by these countries.
With the central banks printing trillions of dollars, pounds and euros which were handed over to the banks under Quantitative Easing (QE) and interest rates kept for nine years at near zero, the banks enjoyed virtually ‘free’ money fuelling this massive debt mountain. At the end of 2015 the worst nightmares of the BIS were realised when the US Federal Reserve, terrified at the inflationary bubble they have created, opened the floodgates by raising interest rates by 0.25 of a percentage point.
Even this tiny increase will push up the interest repayment of the trillions of dollars worth of international debt to levels that companies and whole countries will find impossible to meet.
We live in the era of massive state and industrial bankruptcies as capitalism’s debt time bomb explodes.
The working class had a foretaste of what this means when, in the dying days of 2015, four Italian banks collapsed and the ‘rescue’ plan invoked to save them involved a forced ‘bail-in’, where instead of the state just pumping money in to prevent bankruptcy, the deposits of ordinary people were seized (confiscated) under new rules that apply across the capitalist world.
This new and decisive stage in the world crisis is driving the working class along the road to revolution. In America, we witnessed the largest movement of workers and youth in modern US history when in April 60,000 low-paid workers came out in mass strikes and demonstrations over the demand for a $15 dollars an hour living wage. This fight by low-paid workers linked up with the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign, bringing together the economic struggle of workers and youth with the whole issue of the murderous campaign of state-orchestrated violence.
2015 was dominated by a massive strike wave across the country, in particular the lengthy strike by dockworkers on the West Coast that at one point cost the US economy billions in lost exports and threatened the entire economy of the country. This developing mass movement can only be accelerated as the interest rate hike really bites home in 2016 and the heavily indebted US working class finds that it can no longer sustain the debts that have been forced on it by the banks.
The conditions for US unions breaking with the Democrats and building a Labour Party that will fight for a socialist USA have never been better. 2016 will be the year for building a section of the International Committee of the Fourth International in the USA to fight for this perspective and for the American socialist revolution. In Europe, the crisis is at its most acute.
The European Banking Authority has warned that European banks are weighed down by 1 trillion euros of bad debts – ‘non-performing’ loans that will never be repaid. The multiple bank collapse in Italy is just the beginning. The class struggle in the EU will reach explosion point in 2016. We have already seen the workers’ uprising against EU austerity leading to the collapse of traditional parties and the rapid growth of mass anti-austerity movements.
This was most clearly demonstrated in Greece with the election of the left-wing Syriza government in January which pledged to end and reverse the austerity measures forced on Greek workers by the hated Troika. But Greece also demonstrated the complete and utter bankruptcy of reformism even in its most ‘left’ guise.
Syriza, which claimed it could negotiate concessions from the EU bankers, collapsed when faced with their intransigent refusal to make any concessions. Today, the Syriza government has become the vehicle for the imposition of even more savage cuts. The Greek working class, having learnt the bitter lesson of betrayal at the hands of left-reformism, are now confronting Syriza in a series of mass strikes. They are going beyond reformism and in 2016 will place the struggle for workers’ power on the immediate agenda.
This demands the rapid building of a section of the Fourth International to take this struggle forward to the victory of the Greek socialist revolution. An even greater threat to the Eurozone bankers emerged in December in Portugal where the right-wing coalition government, that had followed every austerity demand of the Troika, lost office to be replaced by a ‘left’ anti-austerity coalition.
This mass movement to the left in Greece and Portugal is set to be repeated across Europe as anti-austerity parties like Podemos in Spain are poised to sweep aside the old bourgeois parties. The immediate issue for the working class is that these left-reformist parties are politically incapable of leading the struggle for socialism – this requires the building of new revolutionary Trotskyist parties.
It is in Britain, the weakest of all the advanced capitalist countries, that the situation is most explosive. With the collapse of its manufacturing base and the near total reliance on banking and financial services (which make up 80% of the country’s GDP) British capitalism faces being wiped out by the world crisis.
The Tory government was elected with a tiny majority of just 12 pledged to cut all spending to the bone and shrink the state back to pre-war levels in order to pay off the massive debt of over £1.5 trillion, run up bailing out the banks from the previous crash of 2008. The response of the working class was immediate.
400,000 workers and youth flocked to register as Labour Party members or supporters in order to ensure Jeremy Corbyn won the leadership of the Labour Party on a left-wing programme that rejected austerity and promised a real fight against the Tory government. However, once again the bankruptcy of left-reformism, with its belief in the ability to make compromises with capitalism, was soon exposed.
Over the question of voting against Cameron’s plans to bomb Syria, Corbyn completely collapsed in the face of right-wing pressure and allowed the right-wing a free vote on the issue, ensuring that Cameron survived. Now these same right-wingers who voted for imperialist bombing campaigns to oust the legitimate government of Syria are openly talking of breaking from the Labour Party and establishing a new party that would co-operate fully with the Tories in some form of national government.
Such a reactionary government of Tories and Labour right-wingers would have the job to wage all-out war against the working class, with the strategic aim of the complete destruction of the welfare state and the NHS. However, history is not waiting for them! It is the NHS that has become the great battleground with junior doctors and student nurses in the forefront of the struggle. The junior doctors, with their determination to defend their contracts and the NHS, have shown the way.
Their refusal to back down and their determination to take strike action in January if the Tories don’t give way to them have won the support of the entire working class. Millions of workers and young people are rapidly learning that defence of the welfare state and the NHS today is a revolutionary question and that these struggles cannot be won by well-meaning ‘left-reformists’ but only through a ruthless fight against a ruthless ruling class.
With the Tory anti-union laws, which make strikes illegal and trade union pickets liable to criminal prosecution, being implemented in 2016, the scene is set for an early massive explosion in the class war. The confrontation between the working class and the capitalist state – which is more and more becoming transformed into a police state by the Tories – will see a junior doctors strike develop into a strike throughout the NHS and then into a general strike to bring down the Tories.
The New Year will immediately bring the struggle for workers power to the centre of the stage in the UK, and we must be ready for it! This struggle requires the building of the WRP and Young Socialists into mass organisations to lead the successful British socialist revolution!
The war being waged by US, UK and EU capitalism against their own working class is the basis for the war imperialism is waging against the people of the world to redraw the map of the Middle East and recolonise whole regions of the planet. Imperialism has waged a five-year-long war, aided by its allies of the Islamic State, to smash up the secular regime in Syria, just as it has done in Libya,
The immediate war aim is to divide Syria and Iraq amongst their Gulf allies and open the door for Israel to annex more of the West Bank and the Golan Heights.
However, the US and the UK have had a great shock with their war in Syria. Instead of an easy victory, the Syrian people and their army with the support of Russian military have not just fought them back to a standstill. The Syrian people are poised for victory. The Syrian people will not let anybody but themselves decide who is to govern Syria!
A victory for the Syrian people will greatly weaken imperialism, constitute the beginning of the end for the autocratic Gulf feudalists, as well as striking a big blow in the defence of Lebanon, Iran and for the establishment of the Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. To the Syrian people we send our warmest revolutionary greetings.
Your victory will be a victory for the working class of Britain, whom the ruling class expect to pay for its wars through massive austerity. We also extend our warmest revolutionary greetings to the Palestinian people who are in the midst of the third intifada as they fight the Zionist entity for the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Their heroic resistance to the genocidal attacks launched by the Zionists has won them the support of the working class throughout the world. The way forward to liberate Palestine from Israeli occupation lies through the victory of Syria leading to the overthrow of imperialism’s Gulf allies and through the establishment of a Middle Eastern Federation of Socialist states
While the imperialists wage war in the Middle East, the great prize for them is the dream of restoring capitalism to Russia with its vast spaces and huge mineral riches.
Its plans to drive its forces to the Russian border through the US/EU orchestrated coup in the Ukraine has run into the brick wall of resistance from the working class of eastern Ukraine, Donetsk and Lugansk, along with the people of Crimea who refused to be a part of the imperialist plan. We salute the heroic struggle of these workers who have taken up arms and fought the reactionary, fascist-supported regime in Kiev for two years and thwarted the imperialist plot.
The tide of revolution that is sweeping the entire world will see a massive development in the fight for the world socialist revolution in 2016. The crisis of capitalism has created the conditions for the victory of the socialist revolution, while in Russia and China it has created the conditions for the political revolution to overthrow the Stalinist bureaucracy and restore soviet power.
2016 is the year when sections of the Fourth International must be built in every country to lead the developing world socialist revolution to its victory.
Victory to Syria and Palestine!
Forward to the Socialist United States of Europe!
Forward to the victory of the World Socialist Revolution!