New Year statement by the News Line Editorial Board
THE News Line Editorial Board sends revolutionary greetings for 2021 to all our readers, and to the working class, youth and the poor who across the world are rising up against a bankrupt capitalist system which is gripped by the greatest economic crisis in its history.
This world capitalist crisis is now driving forward the world socialist revolution in the most explosive way in every corner of the world.
2020 was the year that saw all the contradictions in world capitalism, driven at breakneck speed by the Covid-19 pandemic, reach the point of exploding, with the most powerful capitalist nations in the world drowning under a sea of debt and with no way out except to pile on even more debt.
All attempts by the capitalist class to unload the crisis onto the backs of the working class have been met with resistance. The crisis has revolutionised the masses of workers, the middle class and poor of the world.
It was the huge strength and determination of the UK working class that fought for four years since 2016 to carry out the Referendum decision to leave the EU that won through.
Workers stood firm against the wealth of Soros, the opposition of the anti-Brexit right-wing Labour leaders and the vicious EU Commissioners, and beat them hollow.
This has produced conditions where workers in other EU countries will be encouraged to follow suit and 2021 will see the growing splits and break-up of the European Union.
In the US, the mass movement of workers was clearly demonstrated in the huge ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement that spread throughout the US, the fight for $15 an hour for the poorest sections of workers ending up with a crisis over the presidential elections in November.
Trump, in spite of his ruthless imperialist policies, won nearly half the vote and had threatened that he would not resign his presidency.
Trade union organisations across the country declared that any coup attempt by Trump would be met with a general strike to kick him out.
For the first time in US labour history, unions pledged to mobilise their members to intervene decisively in defence of their rights.
With over 10 million jobs lost in the US in 2020 and unemployment benefit cut or removed completely from millions, the American working class in 2021 will insist that their union leaders organise to bring down the future Democratic administration of Joe Biden.
US workers will demand that their union leaders break with the bourgeois Democratic Party and go forward to building an independent Labour Party to fight for their interests.
A section of the International Committee of the Fourth International must be built in the US to lead the struggle to smash world capitalism in its main citadel.
News Line sends its warmest revolutionary greetings to the American working class as they stand on the eve of insurrection.
We send our New Year greetings to the workers and youth of Europe who stood firm against the drive by the European bosses and bankers who strove to keep workers at their jobs in the face of the Covid pandemic.
In France, workers and youth have risen up against the attempt by President Macron to bring in a military police dictatorship by passing laws making it illegal to photograph police officers carrying out attacks on protesters and immigrants.
This is part and parcel of Macron’s preparations to launch a savage attack on the rights of French workers and drive the threat of insurrection off the streets by force.
This attack was answered in November when 133,000 workers and youth took to the streets throughout France, fighting running battles with police as they tried to drive them back.
French workers and youth are not intimidated by the forces of the capitalist state and 2021 will be the year of social revolution in France and across Europe to smash the capitalist EU and replace it with the United Socialist States of Europe.
We send our revolutionary greetings to the Palestinian people who have stood absolutely defiant in the face of all the attacks launched on them by the Israeli state and its imperialist masters aided by the treachery of Arab states who have opened political and military relations with Israel.
Their struggle for the independent state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital will drive forward in 2021 on the bones of the collapsing Israeli government of Binyamin Netanyahu.
We urge the thousands of Israeli workers and young people, who have demonstrated every week for 6 months calling for Netanyahu’s coalition to be brought down, to recognise the Palestinian struggle for a socialist and secular state of Palestine where Arabs, Jews and Christians can live in peace, to break with Zionism and join with the Palestinians for a secular state of Palestine.
2021 will be the year to establish the independent state of Palestine and it will have the support of workers across the world.
We send our revolutionary greetings to the farmers and workers of India who have launched a massive nationwide general strike and blockade against new laws that destroy the livelihoods of millions of farmers to increase the profits of the giant agricultural companies.
The struggle of the farmers has won huge support from workers and trade unions placing socialist revolution in India firmly on the immediate agenda in 2021.
In South Africa, the working class and rural poor are rising up over cuts to services and wages by the ANC government.
In response to the slaughter of thousands of jobs, the trade union movement, the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), has called for a total economic shutdown of the country on 24th February.
News Line sends its greetings to all South African workers and poor who are rising up against the brutal exploitation by capitalism – this will be the year for socialist revolution in South Africa which will ignite revolution throughout the continent.
From the very outset of the pandemic, the demand throughout the capitalist world was for the factories, shops and schools to remain open in order to keep the profits rolling in regardless of the risk to the lives of workers and their families.
The centres of the virus are now the major capitalist states, where profits and capitalism come first and patient care a very poor second, and in some cases is non-existent.
When forced to introduce temporary lockdowns in the face of workers refusing to place their lives on the line for the bosses’ profits, these were swiftly lifted leading to the even deadlier ‘second wave’ that is engulfing Europe, Britain, the US and the world.
At the end of 2020, Europe recorded over 500,000 deaths from Covid-19 while in the US to date there have been 19 million cases resulting in 332,000 deaths.
In Britain the deaths from the virus have reached 70,400.
Workers will contrast this with the statistics from China, where in a population of 1.4 billion (more than four times that of the US) the deaths from Covid are only 4,634.
These deaths occurred at the very start of the pandemic at the beginning of the year – since April no deaths from the virus have been reported in China!
It is no accident that the contagion and death rates across the world are at their peak in the leading capitalist countries while the only countries that have managed to contain the virus and effectively defeat it are those like the deformed workers state of China where production is not primarily for profit.
China, despite the bureaucratic deformity of the ruling Stalinist regime, had the strength of a socialised economy to immediately implement full-scale lockdown with effective test and trace systems that beat the virus, in stark contrast to capitalist countries where in Britain millions were handed to private companies to run systems that never worked.
The lesson for workers is plain – capitalism is incapable of fighting this pandemic or providing any future for humanity – it must be overthrown by socialist revolution and replaced by a planned socialist economy that produces for need not for the profit of a handful of capitalists.
This lesson will be hammered home in 2021 as the full effects of the world crisis bear down on workers.
When the world crisis erupted in the form of the international banking crash in 2008, capitalism resorted to electronically producing huge amounts of worthless currency to bail out the bankers under what is known as Quantitative Easing (QE).
The central banks in the US, UK and across Europe pumped out trillions to ‘save’ the banks while demanding austerity sacrifices from the working class to help pay for this debt.
QE was accompanied by near-zero levels of interest rates on debt meaning that borrowing became cheap for the giant corporations.
This combination of cheap loans and increasing levels of debt enabled the capitalist class to reap huge wealth for stockholders and bosses.
Companies that produced no profits were kept alive through debt which enabled massive payouts to shareholders, huge salaries for bosses and a world stock market that reached its highest levels ever during this period.
When QE was introduced 12 years ago, the world’s central bankers were quick to claim that it was purely a temporary emergency measure to offset a temporary crisis in the banking system that would quickly be resolved and that all the worthless money being handed out would be used to ‘stimulate’ capitalism into growth.
In the UK, the Bank of England launched £50 billion of QE, creating money out of thin air to prevent a banking collapse, boosting share prices and allowing the government to borrow on the cheap.
Far from any tapering off of QE as promised it has grown out of control.
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic hit Britain, the Bank of England had conjured up £425 billion of electronically produced money to pump into the economy to stop it collapsing.
Since the lockdowns were introduced in April 2020 British government has borrowed a massive £285 billion, taking the national debt to over £2.1 trillion, well over 100% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
With lockdowns predicted to last until Easter, government borrowing will rise to £400 billion during the 2020/21 financial year alone – four times the amount borrowed during the 2008 financial crisis.
Britain stands as the weakest capitalist nation at the centre of the unfolding economic crash.
Unemployment in the UK is set to shoot up by over four million when the Tories are forced to abandon all support for business and let the crisis rip through the economy in an effort to avoid being drowned by debt.
British capitalism, exacerbated by the determination of the working class to finally force through a break with the EU, will lead to an explosive confrontation between the classes as the Tories are forced to attempt to smash the unions and drive the working class back to the days of the 19th century with mass unemployment and starvation.
The main prop of this weak, divided Tory government has been the cowardly leadership of the Labour Party which has refused to oppose any of the attacks launched by the Johnson government.
The trade union leaders have similarly refused to fight against a single job or wage cut and have reduced themselves to begging the Tories for help while working flat out to hold back the anger of workers and at all costs avoid or limit any strikes that threaten the employers and government.
They act openly in the interests of the bosses against the interests of the working class – they must be thrown out and replaced with the revolutionary leadership of the WRP in the coming period.
While these reactionary reformists preach to workers that capitalism has a future, the reality is that capitalism has no way out of its crisis. All attempts to keep going through piling on debt have reached the end of the road and all that is left is to force the working class to pay.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has already warned of a ‘debt tsunami’ threatening to engulf capitalism and that the printing of worthless money cannot be sustained.
Recently the head of the US Federal Reserve Bank, Jerome Powell, weighed in warning: ‘The US federal budget is on an unsustainable path, has been for some time.’
In the US, total public debt is over 100% of GDP – the highest since 1946 – while nearly 20% of US corporations are ‘zombies’, unable to generate enough cash-flow to service even interest on their debt, only surviving through loans and bailouts.
This is true of the entire world capitalist system – it has been able to stagger on only through debt and it cannot continue.
Tory chancellor, Rishi Sunak, admitted in December that British capitalism could not survive indefinitely by printing billions of pounds of worthless paper money and that the point had been reached when the massive state debt will have to be repaid.
An article in the Tory-supporting Telegraph newspaper spelt it out clearly in an article headed ‘Lockdown money-printing sets us up for an even greater Covid collapse’.
The article stated: ‘The logical end point of what we’re doing is sky-high inflation, a run on the pound and broader financial turmoil – yet another systemic meltdown, the third in two decades, which could rock capitalism itself to the core. And, in the meantime, if we can “just print money”, and lockdown can be endlessly financed, the genuine trade-offs facing government will never come into focus, with lockdown lasting longer than it should.’
This concretely expresses their way out for capitalism across the world.
The way out of the crisis by printing money has reached the point where the debt mountain will destroy currencies; devastate economies through massive hyper-inflation and crash industry and corporations.
The answer of the capitalist class is to make the working class, who alone produce real value, pay through mass unemployment, wage cutting and the destruction of every public service.
A section of the ruling class believes that this money printing must be stopped and the crisis be allowed to let rip through capitalism, in the hope that the banks and large industries and companies will survive while the rest go to the wall along with millions of workers and the poor.
This will not be achieved in any peaceful way but only through an all-out class war against workers, young people and the great masses of the world.
The historic task confronting workers, young people and the poor throughout the US, Europe and the world in 2021 is the struggle to put an end to bankrupt capitalism with the victory of the world socialist revolution.
This requires the building of sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International in every country to lead this struggle to victory.
The overthrow of world capitalism will create the conditions for the working class of China and Russia to carry out the political revolution to remove the remnants of the ruling Stalinist bureaucracy and bring in rule by workers’ soviets.
2021 will be the year for building the parties of the Fourth International in every country to lead the struggle for world socialist revolution to victory.
New Year Manifesto 2021