Socialist Worker

Global elite united in making us pay

Issue No. 2263

The agreement to push through trillions of dollars in cuts in the US saw a shocking level of vitriol—if not downright pleasure—from right wing politicians.

The prospect of the poor being made to pay for the crisis is common sense to the global elite. But it isn’t simply a response to the crisis.

They want to restructure society in favour of the rich.

There is nothing new about cuts to welfare spending—nor the ideological justifications for them.

Usually they are couched in rhetoric about everyone “sharing the pain”. But right wing Tea Party sympathisers in the US have let the cat out of the bag by saying they have wanted to impose these cuts for years.

The Tories share this agenda. That’s why Steve Hilton, the prime minister’s policy guru, proposed abolishing maternity leave.

Hilton also suggested that consumer rights legislation should be abolished to help the economy. He even wants Britain to scrap labour rights.

This does more than expose the plain nastiness of the public school boys’ view of the poor.

Chancellor George Osborne talks endless nonsense about saving future generations from paying back the country’s debt.

But the Tories want to use the economic crisis as an excuse to dismantle the welfare state.

And some, like former New Labour minister James Purnell, disgracefully want to join in the attacks.

Thousands of people across Britain spend sleepless nights worrying about their jobs, their homes and how to feed their families. And it’s the lowest paid and the unemployed who are hit hardest.

Unsurprisingly, the global elite still believes in capitalism.

They agree that the cost of the crisis should be shouldered not by themselves, but by the people they rule over.

But the depth of the crisis means they display a sense of panic and incoherence.

There are political splits and fractures over how hard to attack. These splits aren’t about concern for the poor—but about fear of resistance.

The crisis has undermined the system’s legitimacy. People who might have been persuaded to accept a deterioration in living conditions for the “greater good” are less and less likely to be fooled.

The repeated attacks on us, while the bosses and bankers retain their wealth and power, lay the basis not just for anger, but for resistance.

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What We Think
Tue 2 Aug 2011, 17:38 BST
Issue No. 2263
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