The communist answer

Manufacturing is probably the most valuable sector in the British economy because of its contribution to exports, and the dependence on it of other sectors of the economy such as transport, retail and financial services. Irrespective of its decline, manufacturing is still the most important sector in generating wealth.

The rundown of Britain’s manufacturing capability has continued during the slump. The mounting loss of highly skilled engineering jobs and closure of world-class engineering factories is resulting in a loss of skills that will be very hard to replace in the future. The shortfall in the manufacture of goods is made up by imports, with Britain increasingly importing more goods than it exports resulting in a trade deficit of £3.3 billion in August. Having once been the workshop of the world Britain exports less than China, the United States, Germany, Japan, France, Netherlands, south Korea, Italy and Russia.

The Tories are the mouthpiece of the capitalists and landowners who are content to make their money from the parasitical rentier economy they created in the Thatcher era. They have little or no interest in restoring Britain’s manufacturing base which can only be rebuilt through massive state investment and intervention.

In the short term the labour movement must fight to put the restoration of the welfare state and the public sector that existed until 1979 back on the Labour agenda. But ultimately only socialism can solve the crisis of capitalism.

What does socialism mean? First of all it means that the ownership of the means of production — the factories, mines, the transport industry, the land and the machinery to till it — are taken from the hands of the capitalists into state and collective ownership on behalf of the working class.

A dictatorship of the working class will be established that will suppress the capitalists economically and politically through the workers’ government, trade unions and councils and in the sphere of ideology and culture generally.

The energy, vitality and creative power of the working class will be unleashed, providing a freer and fuller life for everyone. The people will own the banks, insurance companies and finance houses. The age of classes and exploitation will be over. The greed, speculation and corruption of the bourgeoisie will end when the workers’ government is established and a new era will dawn.

This is what we fight for. This is what we want.