The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 21st November, 2008

Brighton peace event


by Daphne Liddle

THE CONFEDERATION of British Industry last week revealed its latest estimate for the growing recession, claiming that around three million will be out of work by 2010.

 This will no doubt warm their hearts through the coming festive season – high unemployment always dampens wage claims, especially when the unions still have their hands tied behind their backs. In the 1980s business leaders argued in favour of maintaining a steady high level of unemployment, while at the same time berating the unemployed for being work-shy.

 The CBI has also changed its estimate, made in September, that the British economy was likely to grow by 0.3 per cent in 2009 and now says the economy will shrink by 1.7 per cent – further evidence that the leaders of capitalism have little idea of how their own system works.

 A report from the Local Government Association predicts a total of 370,000 jobs will be lost in London by December 2012 (7.9 per cent); 170,000 in Yorkshire and Humberside (6.8 per cent), 230,000 in the North West (6.7 per cent), 180,000 in the West Midlands (6.6 per cent), 280,000 in the South East (6.3 per cent), 130,000 in the East Midlands (6.0 per cent), 170,000 in the East (6.0 per cent), 70,000 in the North East (5.7 per cent)  and 130,000 in the South West (5.1 per cent).
 The report said the construction and manufacturing industries will be hardest hit by the economic slump and already thousands of construction jobs have been cut: 2,300 at the plumbing and building materials firm Wolseley, 1,000 at Taylor Wimpey, 1,200 at various brick companies, 398 at JCB and many more. Hanson is cutting 1,200 jobs, stockpiling 500 million bricks, closing two plants and mothballing another two.

 Communications and IT companies are also suffering badly, with 10,000 jobs to go at BT, 2,200 at Virgin, 1,300 at Yell and 220 at Psion.

the media

ITV is cutting 1,000 jobs, Channel Four 150, the Independent 90, the Financial Times 60, Midland News Association 120, Trinity Mirror 104, and most other newspapers and broadcasting companies are reducing staff levels.

 The banking sector, where the crash began, is leading the field in job cuts. Citigroup is cutting 50,000 globally, of which 2,400 will be in London; 50,000 estate agents throughout the country are expected to face job cuts.

 Manufacturing will be hit with Leyland losing 250 and Babcock Marine losing 300. These are just the cuts announced so far. Factory orders continued to fall sharply in November, according to CBI figures and manufacturers are their most gloomy about future output in nearly 30 years, a survey showed on Wednesday.

The public sector is also affected, with 400 jobs to go at Aberdeen City Council and other local authorities likely to follow.

 The retail sector is suffering shock waves with Marks & Spencer cutting prices by 20 per cent and Woolworths trying to negotiate a deal to sell its 815 stores to turnaround specialists Hilco for just £1. Last August it rejected a £50 million offer from Malcolm Walker, who founded the Iceland frozen food chain.

 Business Secretary Lord Mandelson is backing Gordon Brown’s current Keynesian plans to increase Government borrowing and cut taxes at the same time in order to boost the economy.
every action

He said: “We have to take every action we can as a government,” and claimed the recession was “not made by the Government” but that it was the Government’s job to make it as “short and painless as possible”.

 Mandelson claimed there was “no alternative” to borrowing.

 The giant union Unite has drawn up a 10-point plan to stimulate the economy which includes increased public spending, a halt to home repossessions and the building of a million new affordable homes.

 This would help to resolve the growing crisis of homelessness and revive the construction industry, which has been one of the worst hit so far.

 Unite joint general secretary Derek Simpson called for “a new economic order” – still unable to pronounce the word socialism.

 But this is not the time to be shy about promoting socialism – a better, more stable and more peaceful way to run the economy – and infinitely more just, with those who create the wealth in factories, farms, mines and mills getting full returns for their labour and democratic control over the system.

 But first we have to get rid of the current mad capitalist system run by a small wealthy elite who now admit they totally failed to predict this all too predictable crash but who will hang on to their wealth and power as long as we let them.



Spend, spend, spend!

THERE must be considerable confusion amongst the public these days. For years we’ve been told to save for our pensions or mortgage our lives to become part of the “property-owning democracy” that Britain is supposedly about. Now we’re to spend every penny we don’t have to rescue the economy and prevent the complete collapse of the financial system.

The sycophants who surround Gordon Brown never cease telling us about his financial genius, which allegedly steered Britain through the straight and narrow when he was Chancellor during the Blair era and now will chart the way to recovery following the biggest global crash since 1929. But what has Brown done to deserve such acclaim?

When Brown was Chancellor he loyally followed Treasury advice which was essentially to pursue the neo-liberal Thatcherite policies of deregulation and privatisation that got us into this mess in the first place. Now he, along with the rest of the bourgeois world, is returning to social Keynesianism to bail out the big corporations and banks hit by the global slump.

The Prime Minister’s spin merchants have already primed the media to expect a bumper £15 billion “bonanza” to boost the economy but what will it mean for the millions out of work and those soon to join them? Very little by all accounts apart from an increase in tax credits and winter fuel payments. While there is talk of massive investment in education and the health service this is almost certainly aimed at helping the commercial predators that leech off the system rather than creating work and improving services for the people.

Now if the Government really wants people to spend it could start by slashing VAT, which would bring prices down at a drop and also help the small traders and businesses that New Labour claims it wants to help. Then the Brown government could renationalise the transport services and pump public money to revitalise our trains and buses in time for the Olympics and follow it up by ending the restrictions on borrowing on councils to allow them to resume building affordable housing. This would not only end the scandal of homelessness but provide work for tens of thousands in the building industry. That finally would lay the basis for the restoration of the state and public sector that operated until 1979.

not an impossible dream

Restoring the public sector and state welfare to the levels that existed in 1979 isn’t rocket science. Taxing the rich to pay for it isn’t beyond the realms of the imagination. You only have to look at the speed at which these parasites have forgone their millions in bonuses this year to keep their directorships to see how easily it could be to tax them to the hilt – as it was to pay for health, housing, education and welfare for all in the past. But that will only come if the labour movement as a whole mobilises to force the Labour Party, which is almost entirely financed by the unions, to return to the principles in which it was established and carry out the wishes of the millions of workers in the trade union movement.

Keynesianism is, of course, not a cure but only a palliative and its aim is not just to bail out capitalism today by mortgaging its future but to stave off social unrest by providing work and benefits for those worst hit by recession. Its purpose is to preserve and safeguard the profits of the industrialists, landowners and speculators who live off our labour and rule this country and most of the world.

While arguing and campaigning for social reforms we must also make the case for the socialist alternative and the communist ideal because the only way to end the crisis of capitalism is to end capitalism itself.

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