New Year’s statement by the News Line Editorial Board
THE News Line Editorial Board sends its warmest revolutionary greetings for the New Year of 2017 to all our readers, to the working class, young people and the poor of the world who have risen up and delivered powerful blows against the capitalist ruling class across the world in 2016.
2017 is the 100th anniversary year of the Russian Revolution, the world’s first socialist revolution led by Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolshevik Party. In 1917 capitalism broke in Russia, its ‘weakest link’. One hundred years later the entire world capitalist system, including the most advanced western nations of Europe and the US, is today one whole chain of weak links ready to break in the coming year under the hammer blows of its economic crisis.
Since the world crisis of capitalism first emerged into the open in 2007 with the collapse of the US Lehman Brothers bank the capitalist class have used every weapon in their economic arsenal to try to stave off this crisis. Central banks in the US, Europe, the UK and Japan have printed trillions of pounds, dollars, euros and yen to pour into the world financial system to keep it afloat.
Allied to printing money through the Quantitative Easing programmes adopted by these central bankers has been the policy of zero interest rates. Instead of solving the crisis all that these measures achieved was to exacerbate it by creating an even more mountainous debt.
Since 2008, the Bank for International Settlements, created to act as a watchdog and early warning organisation for central banks, has estimated that total global debt has gone up by $57 trillion, driving the total world debt to $200 trillion. In their 2016 report the BIS puzzles over the fact that all this debt, created under the name of credit, has not been accompanied by any economic growth.
The BIS puts the blame on all this paper money being ‘misallocated’ and warned that the world was facing a ‘gathering storm’ of debt, as it went straight into the pockets of the bankers and financial speculators. This storm will break in 2017 in the form of a world banking crash that will provide an enormous impetus to the revolutionary movement amongst workers and youth who in the past year have already demonstrated their hatred of capitalism and their determination to break from the old bourgeois parties who serve it.
This determination was forcibly expressed in the historic vote by British workers to leave the capitalist EU. In the referendum they were subjected to the most extreme pressure to vote to remain, not just from the Cameron government, but from their own leaders.
The Labour Party, under the ‘left’ leadership of Corbyn joined hands with the Tories to whip the working class into line. The trade unions, with only three honourable exceptions, joined with the bosses in issuing threats of mass redundancies and an end to trade union rights should they vote to leave.
None of these threats and attempts to blackmail workers worked, as the working class decisively proved in action that it was prepared and willing to break with its old reformist leadership that has gone along with every austerity cut imposed by the Tories in order to pay off the huge national debt run up bailing the banks out.
With Cameron unceremoniously dumped and Theresa May installed as prime minister the Tories are now in complete disarray, torn apart by in-fighting, a symptom of the breakup of the old established political parties of capitalism. This weak Tory government is only sustained in power and able to carry on with its privatisation programme for the NHS, and the destruction of the entire welfare state by the refusal of the TUC leaders to bring them down.
The working class will not stand by and see all its gains destroyed to keep the bankers in luxury. The demand of workers in 2017 must be for the organisation of a general strike to bring down the Tories and go forward to a workers government that will expropriate the bankers and bosses, that will nationalise the banks and industry and place them under the control and working for the benefit of the working class.
This is the demand that will be taken up across the capitalist world as the revolutionary situation develops at speed in the coming year. The Brexit vote in Britain clearly inspired the Italian working class when they voted overwhelmingly to reject changes to the Italian constitution that would give the Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, sweeping powers to bring in even more austerity cuts.
These are the austerity cuts that the EU central banks were demanding to bail-out the collapsing Italian banking system. Renzi, like Cameron, was forced to resign in the face of the vote and the campaign led by the anti-austerity 5 Star movement. With Renzi gone, so too have his plans to rescue the banks using state money. Instead, the ECB is now demanding that the bail-in rules apply which means that the savings and deposits of ordinary Italians will be seized to pay off the bank debts.
This will lead to a revolutionary confrontation between the capitalist class and workers in the coming months. The News Line sends its revolutionary greetings to the Italian workers and youth who have dealt such a blow to the plans of the bourgeoisie and stood up and defied the diktats of the bankers.
They stand alongside the working class of the whole European continent who are in open revolt against austerity and have created an enormous political crisis for the ruling class. In France, the hated president Francois Hollande has been forced to take the unprecedented step of standing down from a second term.
French workers and youth have fought Hollande’s austerity measures throughout the year with demonstrations and strikes and defied all attempts to smash their resistance, even when faced with the brutal attacks of the riot police. Our revolutionary greetings go out to all those workers in Greece, Portugal and throughout Europe who have defied their reformist leaderships and refused to accept poverty and starvation as the price to keep bankrupt capitalism afloat.
The intervention of the working class to smash up the carefully laid plans of the bourgeoisie was not confined to Europe. In America workers and youth dealt a huge blow when they decisively rejected Hillary Clinton in the presidential elections. The campaign for the Democratic nomination by the avowed ‘democratic socialist’ Bernie Sanders won the mass support of millions of workers and young people and it required all the duplicity and dirty tricks by the Democratic leadership to ensure that despite winning the popular vote, Clinton, the bankers favourite, was nominated as their candidate.
Sanders campaign which gave expression to the needs of the vast majority of the US working class drew its massive support from those workers and youth whose lives had been devastated by the banking crisis of 2008. They had been driven into the gutter by the decisions of the Obama presidency to sacrifice them and their jobs in factories and mines in order to save the banks from their own crisis.
The result of dumping the working class was to open the door for Trump whose support from the oppressed in America grew by default, especially after Sanders made his peace with Clinton. When Trump assumes the presidency on January 20 it will herald a new stage in the class war as he attempts to enact his promise of making American capitalism ‘great’ at the expense of the working class and with an all-out war on immigrants.
Having posed as anti-Wall Street and an enemy of corporate capitalism, Trump has stuffed his administration with billionaire businessmen and has committed to destroying any existing public health and education systems while at the same time introducing huge tax cuts for the wealthy and increasing military spending.
The only way forward for the American working class is to demand that their trade unions, who they forced to support Sanders, now break decisively with the Democrats and form a Labour Party to fight for socialist policies. The most conscious section of workers and youth must form a US section of the International Committee of the Fourth International to lead the American socialist revolution, a revolution that must be carried forward in 2017 against the attacks that Trump is preparing.
With the working class in the advanced capitalist countries emerging as the decisive revolutionary force and inflicting heavy defeats on their own ruling class, imperialism has suffered a massive defeat at the hands of the Syrian people and their allies in Hezbollah and Iran and with the aid of Russia.
News Line sends its warmest greetings and support to the Syrian government, its people and its army for their resounding victory over the imperialist-backed jihadist ‘rebels’. Their victory has put paid to the plot by the imperialist powers to effect regime change in Syria.
The aim of the imperialists was to smash up the remaining secular state in the Middle East as they did in Iraq and Libya; devastating these countries and killing millions of men, women and children in order to open them up for imperialist exploitation of their oil wealth.
After five years of savage war the Syrian people have emerged victorious dealing a massive defeat for all the plans by the imperialists to shore up the Zionist state of Israel and pave the way for the expansionist plans to take over the whole of Palestine. The defeat of imperialism in Syria was a victory for the Palestinians who have fought so courageously and with enormous tenacity against Israeli occupation.
In 2017 the call must be to go forward from this victory to the establishment of the Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital. The Palestinian people have won the support of the overwhelming majority of workers throughout the world, who now clearly recognise that they face a common enemy – a capitalist class that makes war on the people of the world and makes war on its own working class at home.
The British working class in particular must avenge the Balfour Declaration (which also has its hundredth anniversary in 2017), where British imperialism promised to hand over Palestine to the Zionist movement regardless of the Palestinians. Theresa May publicly gave her support to this criminal act of imperialist piracy. Kicking out the Tories and going forward to a workers government that will recognise a Palestinian state and render it every assistance must be the answer to this historic crime.
Above all the Syrian victory opens the door for the overthrow of imperialism’s Gulf allies and the establishment of a Middle Eastern Federation of Socialist states. The tide of revolution that is sweeping the advanced metropolitan countries of Britain, Europe and America along with the defeats inflicted on imperialism in the Middle East can be seen in every continent.
We send out warmest greetings to the South African working class who have been waging a continuous and bloody battle against the ANC government and its supporters in the trade union COSATU federation and the South African Communist Party. With the great mass of South African workers and youth breaking with the ANC and COSATU and demanding an end to capitalism in South Africa the struggle for power will erupt in 2017.
This revolution will quickly spread to Zimbabwe and throughout the continent. To the workers and youth of South Africa we send our warmest revolutionary greetings. In this coming year when we celebrate the victory of the Russian Revolution it is crucial that we learn the historic lessons of it, namely that its success was determined by the leadership of the Bolshevik Party under the direction of Lenin and Trotsky guided by the theory of scientific Marxism.
Only the Bolshevik Party in 1917 fought for the working class to take the power and overthrow capitalism in Russia. Every other party of the ‘left’ capitulated and ran from revolution. This is the great lesson from history.
The crisis of capitalism has created the conditions in abundance for the victory of the socialist revolution in every capitalist country while in Russia and China it has created the conditions for the political revolution to overthrow the Stalinist bureaucracy and restore soviet power.
But this victory can only be assured by building in every country the revolutionary party that is trained and prepared to lead the socialist revolution. In 2017 we must celebrate the anniversary of the Russian Revolution by building sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International in every country to lead the world socialist revolution to its victory.
Build the WRP and Young Socialists in Britain!
Build the Fourth International in every country!
Complete the historic task of the Russian Revolution with the victory of the World Socialist Revolution in 2017!
Forward to the World October!