NEW YEAR STATEMENT BY THE NEWS LINE EDITORIAL BOARD
THE News Line Editorial Board sends revolutionary greetings for 2019 to all our readers, to the working class, youth and poor of the world. We especially congratulate the people of Syria for their victory against the hordes of Islamists, backed by the US, France and the UK, that have tried in vain to smash Syria.
We congratulate the Hezbollah fighters who fought so bravely alongside the Syrian army to defeat the imperialist assault on Syria. We also congratulate the Palestinian people for their ripping up of Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ that would have seen the whole of Palestine handed over to Israel. We are sure that the Palestinian people will achieve their independent state of Palestine, with Jerusalem as its capital, in the coming year!
As the workers of the world enter the New Year a decisive stage in the crisis of world capitalism is unfolding on a daily basis. This spells out that 2019 is going to be the great year for the world socialist revolution. In the dying days of 2018 the world’s stock markets plunged over the cliff with just under £4.8 trillion wiped off the value of world stocks, an economic crash exceeding the size of the 1929 Wall Street crash that ushered in the Great Depression.
Driving this financial Armageddon is the phenomenal increase in global debt in both the public and private sector. Global debt has rocketed by 60% since the onset of capitalism’s latest and most deadly crisis ten years ago in 2008 – it now stands at an all-time high of £139 trillion.
The scale of world debt today stands at 217% of global GDP – in other words the debt of governments, companies, banks and financial institutions stands at well over twice the amount of the wealth being produced in the world. A complete collapse in 2008 was only postponed by the central banks adopting the desperate measure of pumping trillions of dollars, pounds and euros into the financial system through Quantitative Easing (QE) programmes.
This mountain of worthless electronically-produced money was backed up by policies of zero interest rates, meaning that nations and companies could feast on cheap loans with miniscule interest repayments. QE and zero interest rates were the only measures left in the economic arsenal to stave off the historic collapse of capitalism.
But by pumping trillions of worthless ‘money’ into the banks all that has been achieved is to create this massive and unsustainable debt mountain. A debt mountain only kept going for ten years on the basis of all the central banks adopting zero interest rates.
In order to attempt to deflate this bubble the US Federal Reserve has embarked on a policy of gradually increasing interest rates, causing panic amongst the bankers and corporations who have grown fat on free money and face the prospect of being unable to repay any increase in interest on their debts.
Giant corporations, that on paper used to command massive share prices, are faced with the reality that they in fact produce virtually nothing in real profit and exist entirely thanks to debt. In Britain we experienced a small taste of what is to come when in January 2018 the multi-billion construction and outsourcing company Carillion went bankrupt and was forced into compulsory liquidation.
After years of existing solely through accumulating millions of pounds of debt, and even looting the pension fund of their workers, it transpired that they had absolutely no money. Carillion crashed leaving the working class to pick up the bill for their collapse. Carillion was just a foretaste of what is to come on a massive international scale, a crash that will bring down not just huge conglomerates but entire countries that have run up vast national debts.
Already the years of propping up the banks has meant a war against the working class by capitalism as it has tried to dump its economic crisis squarely on the backs of the working class through the most vicious austerity cuts.
This has produced a revolutionary uprising throughout the working class internationally.
In Britain workers demonstrated their hatred of capitalist austerity and the rule of the bankers when they defied their own leadership in the TUC and Labour Party and voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU.
This intervention by the working class destroyed the carefully laid plans of the ruling class to keep Britain forever tied to the bosses and bankers of Europe. With no Empire and relying for their wealth almost entirely on the banking and financial system, weak British capitalism was forced to cling on to an increasingly sinking EU.
A further blow was inflicted when the working class smashed the Tory majority in 2017, precipitating a political crisis for the ruling class which is being played out in parliament today.
The fact remains that the only thing keeping this weak divided Tory Party in power is the refusal of the Labour leadership to seriously fight to bring it down. Right-wing Labour MPs are as desperate to overturn the Referendum result and stay within the EU as the Tory Remainers.
Westminster has been a veritable hot-bed of plots by these right-wingers to force a second referendum or stop the UK from leaving the EU on March 29th. They are preparing to oust Jeremy Corbyn, if necessary, and split the Labour Party to go on to form some type of reactionary ‘Unity’ government with the Tory Remainers, in effect, carrying out a parliamentary coup to put an end to Brexit and destroy any prospect of a future Labour government.
This would be an anti-Brexit coalition that would carry on the austerity war against the working class, to smash up and privatise the NHS and destroy all the gains of the welfare state to pay off the debts of the bankers. In the immediate weeks ahead, the working class in Britain must get ready for this parliamentary coup attempt. They must get ready to march on parliament and rout these right-wingers and their Tory allies.
The defence of Brexit, and its implementation, will be the beginning of a British socialist revolution, that will spread throughout Europe. The political crisis of the bourgeoisie that has paralysed the ‘normal’ parliamentary rule, has opened the way for the development of the revolutionary leadership of the WRP.
2019 will be the year for building the WRP in the struggle for the organisation of a general strike to kick out the Tories and advance to a workers’ government, that will break with the EU and that will expropriate the bankers and bosses, nationalising the banks and industries under the management of the working class, to bring in socialism.
UK workers will have the overwhelming support of the working class throughout Europe, who are also rising up against the dictatorship of the EU bankers and bosses, against the austerity dictatorship imposed on them by EU diktat. The News Line salutes the heroic struggle of French workers and youth who have taken the struggle onto the streets and inflicted massive blows against the French ruling class, and the EU bosses and bankers.
What started as a protest by the mass movement, the ‘Yellow Vests’, against increases in fuel prices has quickly become transformed into a mass movement against President Macron and the entire French ruling class.
At the start of the protests, Macron, with all the arrogance of an ex-banker, declared he would ‘crush these upstarts’ with the full might of the brutal CRS riot police. When, despite all the attacks on demonstrators by the state forces the working class and youth not only refused to give up but actually increased their action Macron was forced to try and split the ‘Yellow Vests’ by making a humiliating public apology for ‘not listening’ to the public and cancelling the fuel price increases.
This failed to quell the workers and youth. The ‘Yellow Vests’ movement has qualitatively gone beyond the issue of fuel taxes and has rapidly been transformed into a mass movement to bring down Macron and for the expropriation of the French bourgeoisie.
Increasingly, demands are being raised on the demonstrations in Paris and throughout the country for France to break with the EU with banners appearing calling for a ‘Frexit’.
French workers have studied what is happening in Britain and are more and more reaching the same conclusion – that the only future is to break with the capitalist EU and advance to socialism.
This was graphically expressed by one French worker who said: ‘We are like the Brits who voted for Brexit. We are the people that the political leaders have never had to listen to before. However, they are having to listen now. If not it’s revolution!’
The spirit of revolution epitomised by the Yellow Vest movement has spread throughout Europe with workers and youth in the Netherlands and Belgium donning the same jackets and taking to the streets demanding an end to all economic attacks on workers and for the removal of their governments.
All the austerity attacks on the working class of Europe have today coalesced into a powerful mass movement of workers and youth that hates capitalism and is moving rapidly down the road of socialist revolution.
Nowhere has this emerged more clearly than in Italy, which is on a collision course with the EU following the European Commission’s ultimatum to the new coalition government to scrap its budget and dump its pledge to reverse austerity cuts imposed on the previous government by the EU.
The Italian working class have signalled they will no longer submit to EU austerity measures and will fight back against the demands of Brussels for savage cuts to wages and conditions. The working class throughout Europe are rising up and 2019 will be the year of the downfall of the capitalist EU and the advance of workers to the United Socialist States of Europe.
It will be the year for building revolutionary sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International throughout the continent to lead the struggle to its victory.
While Europe is on the brink of socialist revolution, in the coming year the effects of the world crisis of capitalism is being felt in the most powerful capitalist economy in the world – the US.
Trump was elected as president on the back of his pledge to ‘make America great again’ and in so doing protect the jobs and wages of American workers.
Sections of the US ruling class turned to Trump as the man to head off the revolutionary impulse of workers who had seen their lives and jobs destroyed after the crash of 2008.
Trump promised that making America great again by launching a trade war to bankrupt its rivals was the way forward for US workers and bosses. This policy has rebounded on US capitalism with a vengeance.
Trump’s trade war has vastly exacerbated the world economic crisis, while his policy of keeping the flow of worthless credit and ramping up debt while handing out billions in tax cuts to the rich, has greatly contributed to the crash in the stock markets.
As for saving jobs and protecting wages US workers are facing, at best, stagnant wages that are increasingly being eroded through sharp rises in the cost of living, while factories across America, including huge car plants, are being closed down.
Millions of US workers are forced to live a hand to mouth existence, going from one pay day to another and surviving by going into a record amount of personal debt, estimated to have reached $13.5 trillion by the end of 2018.
The US working class are not standing for this and the strikes already taking place in defence of jobs and wages, will only increase as American capitalism crashes in 2019. The demand must be for the powerful US unions to break with the Democrats and form a Labour Party that will mobilise the great mass of workers, young people and the poor, to expropriate the bosses and bankers and advance to a Socialist United States of America.
This revolutionary situation in America has created the conditions for building a US section of the International Committee in 2019 to lead the American socialist revolution. With the working class in the advanced capitalist countries rising up in a revolutionary movement that is tearing up the old political order of the ruling class, imperialism has suffered continued defeats in its drive to re-conquer the world for capitalist exploitation.
2019 will be the year when the world crisis of capitalism erupts and the working class emerges, as Marx said, as its ‘gravedigger’. This will be the year for the building of revolutionary parties of the International Committee of the Fourth International in every country to lead the world socialist revolution to victory.
Revolutions will sweep through the capitalist world and create the conditions for Russian and Chinese workers to rise up in political revolutions to overthrow the Stalinist bureaucracies and thus complete the work of the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 through the victory of the World Socialist Revolution.