Democrat Editorial May-June 2011 (Number 123)
Finance Capital versus Workers
Finance Capital versus Workers
In the current era a grim and decisive contest is taking place involving two distinct sides: Finance capital and workers in each nation-state.
Finance capital consists of a grouping of fiercely competitive banks and corporations out to grab powers to control everything in sight which is in their exclusive interests. In Britain and other countries this objective is currently being further consolidated by governments, EU institutions, the IMF, G8, WTO and G20 acting on behalf of this bunch of profit mongers who have turned money into a god. This consolidation includes the cuts and austerity policies of the ConDem government in Britain and in other nation-states such as Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain.
Finance capital in practice uses banks to invest monies across the world and transnational corporations move capital and work-places to where it is most profitable. Their objective is to sweep away the hindrances of nation-states and national governments. Currently only these national institutions have the power and are able to control the movement of capital, goods, services and labour across national borders.
The unfortunate and widely used term ‘globalisation’ infers there is some kind of unity and overarching authority guiding matters. There is no such authority or unity amongst banks and corporations; they devour each other given the chance and do so every day. This is the very nature of capitalism based on rent, interest and profit expressed in the phrase ‘free movement of capital, goods, services and labour’. Capitalism is being let rip where the most avaricious become top monopoly without a second’s regard for the dire social consequences.
Labour is now a commodity and shifted around like money to make even more money. This includes importing cheap labour like livestock into whichever nation-state they can fix legislation and overcome trade union resistance in order to force down wages and conditions without social security. Hard won legislation to protect wages, conditions, right to collective bargaining and right to strike are under a massive broadside offensive inside courts and outside in workplaces. This is the objective of legislation at EU and national level put in place by EU Institutions, European Commission and European Court of Justice and then rubber stamped by national governments and parliaments to pass into national legislation.
As in other nation-states the labour market in Britain is being forced wide open for the introduction of labour from across the globe to drive down wages and conditions in a ‘race to the bottom’. The race is between the corporations conducted on the backs of workers. The employer says: “go faster, accept wage cuts and worse conditions, compete with other workers or you will be out of a job”. Competitors levered into the race include those deliberately imported who accept lower conditions because back home they are far worse. For them, the lowered wages in Britain would be a huge bonus to take or send back home.
Faced with mass immigration the labour market in Britain would be overwhelmed and racism would become an ugly divisive factor.
Controls and powers exercised by national governments on behalf of their nation-state must be used to protect the interests of the peoples within that nation-state. These powers must not be overridden by EU legislation or polices agreed by the WTO, IMF, G20 or G8 in favour of finance capital.
The dumping, transfer or temporary use of the unemployed or social dumping from one country into another is not the solution and certainly is not ‘internationalism’.
‘Internationalism’ does not mean agreeing to a multitude of workers coming to Britain. It would solve very little. ‘Proletarian internationalism’ means acting in solidarity with other workers in dispute or trouble in other countries. Dockers in the past were a prime example of acting in solidarity with other workforces taking action in other countries by preventing the movement of particular goods or material. This is the true meaning of internationalism which must not be displaced by altruism.
One key task in order to achieve real internationalism is to end imperialism which is simply the exploitation of resources, materials or labour in any country by another country. Such exploitation is the root cause of most problems in the world today.
EU, WTO, G8, G20, IMF legislation and policies which are in the interests of finance capital and against workers interests have to be faced, exposed and opposed. That means re-asserting the right of nation-states to self-determination, national independence and democracy to put in place appropriate legislation and policies to curb finance capital. Trade unions must play their part in this or be wiped out.