CAPITALIST SYSTEM IN WORST CRISIS SINCE THE 1930s GREAT DEPRESSION
WORKERS' SOLIDARITY ON THE RISE
We all yearn for the break of dawn after this dark economic crisis gripped our country and the entire world.
Canada celebrated Labour Day last September 7 as more than 500,000 Canadian workers lose their jobs last year in the worst global recession since 1930. More workers face the bleak prospect of losing their jobs next year according to the Toronto Star.
Ontario’s unemployment rate rose to 9.4 per cent last May according to Statistics Canada, a record high in 15 years. The province lost 60,000 jobs, most of these in manufacturing.
Globally, it is estimated that more than 50 million people will be jobless this year as companies continue to shut down or shed jobs.
In the early months of last year, experts warned about the collapse of the US economy. The US is Canada’s closest trading partner making it vulnerable to the financial crisis affecting the former.
Global Europe Anticipation Bulletin (GEAB) predicted in early 2008 that the cumulated impact of the various sequences of the crisis will “reach its maximum strength and affect decisively the very heart of the systems concerned, on the front line of which is the United States, the epicenter of the current crisis.“
The capitalist system is experiencing today the most serious crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Every day, thousands of people across North America and Europe walk away from their homes as housing bail-out plans fail. They simply but sadly mail their house keys to the banks.
To put it bluntly, the capitalist system is in a great crisis. The crisis is globally felt by every working class people in every country. The workers who produce the wealth of every nation bear the brunt of the failure of the capitalist system. They suffer from exploitation, repression, poverty and war.
Workers barely manage to survive with a minimum wage. Many are unable to pay credit card bills, health care for their families, education for their children and buy basic necessities. As the global recession worsens, employers and big corporations are taking unfair advantage of the economic crisis by forcing workers to accept further cuts in benefits and wages.
But the workers are not the cause of the problems they confront. Rather it is the crisis brought about by deep structural imbalances in the world economy; the rise of rival economies of Europe and Asia; corporate greed; the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few; market and stock speculation and manipulation, and mortgaged backed securities. Vast fortunes were built up thru this process which was inherently unstable and has come crashing down. The crisis is the outcome of an economic, social and political development which started in the mid 1960s.
Financial analysts see the multi-trillion bail-out plans adopted by governments around the world, led by US, as a subtle move to protect the very people and sectors responsible for the crisis: large banks and rich investors.
Canadian workers and unions had been pressing the Conservative government for Employment Insurance (EI) reforms, to raise EI benefits and loosen up eligibility criteria. Both the Conservative and Liberal governments have been criticized for spending the $57 billion EI surplus. In 1990, only two out of ten failed to meet EI eligibility criteria. Today, five out of ten fail to pass the criteria.
Twenty five percent of Canadians work more than one job to make ends meet.
Workers in Ontario and worldwide are fortunately mobilizing to defend their interests and advance their own solution to the crisis.
The recent Stewards Assembly in Ontario, the coming together of various labour unions and the steady growth of working class solidarity prove that the dawn of a new day is upon us.
Unions and labor movements around the world continue to advance the struggle for workers rights and welfare despite “State Terrorism”, repression, imprisonment, forcible abductions and brutal killings of labour leaders. It is not surprising to see mass demonstrations, factory “occupations”, strikes, mass mobilizations and other forms of working class struggles around the world. Many political analysts believe that without these kinds of struggles, the workers have no means to stop the unending attacks on their welfare and livelihoods.