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The Crisis of Capitalism and the tasks of the Marxists Part Two

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dcsmart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 04:41 PM
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The present world crisis of capitalism means we have entered a new period in which the workers will face a situation of permanent austerity, with cuts in welfare and attacks on working conditions. This is already having a radicalising affect on millions of workers and youth, particularly in Latin America and other underdeveloped parts of the world and it is spreading to the advanced countries also.

A whole period of austerity

Over a period of fifty years, thanks to the economic upswing, in the advanced capitalist countries (Europe, the United States, Japan, Australia, etc.), the working class and its organizations were able to conquer at least semi-civilized conditions of existence. They considered these conditions to be normal because they have never known anything else. But the last fifty years were not normal at all. This was an historical exception, not the normal state of affairs under capitalism.

Take the question for example of pensions. The first man to introduce pensions was Bismarck. This reactionary Bonapartist kindly introduced pensions for everybody over 70 years of age. At that time in Germany, the average life expectancy was 45. Bismarck was a really smart man! Nowadays workers in many countries consider it a right that when they finish working at 60 or 65 they have the right to some money from the state. They think it is normal, an automatic right. But it is not normal and its not an automatic right.

Now the bourgeois are saying this publicly: we cant afford this. We cant afford to maintain so many old and unproductive people. The problem is that people are living too long. They should do us a favour and die a bit earlier! Let me quote The Economist editorial of the 27th of June. Whether we like it or not, we are going back to the pre-Bismarckian world where work had no formal stopping point. In other words you work until you drop dead.


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