Reforms are not enough

LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn has been performing at his best recently in the wake of the Panama Papers revelations, demanding the resignation of David Cameron and his miserable money-grabbing crew in a way that Miliband, Brown or Blair would never have done. They could not; they were tarred with the same mammon-worship themselves.

And Corbyn has been quick to get to the nub of the issue — the real scandal is not that they have benefited so much personally from not paying their own taxes but that Cameron and his cronies have made it legal to cheat in this way — that they have fostered the offshore tax havens, which are mostly British-controlled territories, that have made tax avoidance possible and even admirable for the filthy rich around the globe.

They have made the City of London — which was built on slavery, greed, duplicity and the sale of monopolies by the Crown — into a modern tax haven. It has become an investment centre in itself, with ever rising property values where the extremist fundamental mammonists can salt away their ill-gotten gains in buying up fabulous homes that may never be lived in but which are guaranteed to multiply their sale value continually.

This has led to London homes becoming far too expensive for Londoners to live in and they are being forced from the capital in their thousands. London services and industries are just beginning to wake up to the rapid disappearance of most of their workers. But never mind, there are plenty of naïve, desperate migrants willing to work for a pittance whilst sleeping in cramped slum nooks and crannies.

The British government has, for generations, through these tax havens, made tax-paying an optional indulgence for the rich around the whole planet and thus undermined the economies of many other countries.

Diane Abbott MP picked up on this before the Panama Papers scandal broke, in her attack on George Osborne’s budget proposals last month over a change in tax laws that multinationals could use to spirit untaxed profits out of the country more easily.

She said: “While rich nations like the UK lose between 0.5 per cent and three per cent of revenue to tax avoidance, developing countries are hit considerably harder, losing six-13 per cent, up to 26 times more. The IMF calculates that every year around $200 billion of untaxed income is taken out of poor countries by the international corporations operating on their territory. That is around 50 per cent more than the total amount they receive in aid from rich counties.”

The Panama Papers have confirmed the truth that we communists have always known — that there is no honesty, justice or even-handedness in the British state. It has been rotten to its core from the very beginning. We are ruled by a bunch of thieves and rogues who can no longer hide their true nature.

We welcome Corbyn’s and Abbott’s attack on them but we must ask, how would, or how could, an honest Labour leadership really make any fundamental changes whilst operating within this system?

Make no mistake, if there is to be a general election soon — and that is now a real possibility given the Tories’ division over the European Union — we would wholeheartedly call for everyone to vote Labour, even though we do not agree with their position on Europe.

Once such a government was in power we would back its positive, pro-working class measures. But we would be aware that it will be beset by a thousand-and-one economic problems and difficult dilemmas as the wealthy of the world unite to defend their tax havens and other financial privileges.

It will not be easy to carry out the reforms Corbyn is promising, and there will be enormous pressure to compromise and betray. Keynesian economic reforms will bring some much-needed short-term relief for many but they will not resolve the fundamental contradictions of the capitalist system.

And it is our job to be there explaining why and demanding something much more serious than an election — a complete change of the whole system to create a workers’ state, powerful enough to defend itself from the mammonist extremists.