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Reject the Tories and the bankers’ assaults

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Ordinary people have to be actors in making history, not spectators of a process they are told is beyond their control
Issue 2824
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng with a Union Jack flag behind him is looking at his watch as he contemplates the bankers' moves

The bankers have said it’s time up for Kwarteng’s polices (Picture: HM Treasury on Flickr)

You know the Tories are in trouble when bankers, traders and bosses hit them with the sort of punishment usually reserved for left wing governments.

Almost every news report and commentary treats the chaos resulting from Tory chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini budget last week as if it’s something beyond human control.

They look fearfully at the reactions of the markets and the pound as if these were angry gods whose wishes must be met to avoid ruin.

But behind the rises and falls, there are calculated human decisions. The crisis isn’t some external force of nature—it’s the outcome of a chaotic and unplanned system where every choice is made for profit.

 The value of the pound has fallen because the people who buy and sell huge amounts of cash every day decided to sell off their stocks of sterling at a reduced price.

The value of British bond yields—which affects how much money a government can raise on the markets—went up because the people who trade in government debts demand higher interest payments.

It’s a method of political influence. They did it because they think Kwarteng has made Britain a riskier place to make a profit.

They like the tax cuts, but they don’t like borrowing. And they hope that—by pulling out their money—they can force the government to do what they want.

 The Labour Party knows this. Under previous left wing leader Jeremy Corbyn, bosses and the financial press constantly warned of a run on the pound if there was ever a Labour government.

That’s why its current leader Keir Starmer has been desperate to prove—as he told Labour conference on Tuesday—that Labour is “the party of the centre ground.”

He promised that Labour would now be the party of “sound money”. In other words, it’s a party that will do what the bankers, traders and corporations want.

Almost as a side effect, he claims that the profits this brings them will also benefit ordinary people. The trouble is that they all agree that—to protect those profits—ordinary people have to pay for it.

That’s why the Bank of England’s answer to seemingly everything is to keep raising interest rates. This will make it more expensive for banks to borrow money from it. They in turn, in another calculated decision, will pass this rise on to the bosses that borrow from them.

And the bosses that can’t pay their debts will react with pay cuts and sackings.

So the best reaction isn’t to cower and pander to the demands of the bosses—as Labour is doing. It’s to respond with our own economic strength—by striking, marching, and fighting together—refusing to pay for their crisis.

Who will gain from the turmoil? It’s not necessarily the left

 Political, economic and ecological turmoil sets up the chance to put forward far-reaching solutions to a series of crises.

But it’s not always the left that benefits. Racists and fascist forces will prey on the suffering of ordinary people. And they falsely claim to oppose the traditional elites.

Italy is poised to install Giorgia Meloni, a fascist, as prime minister after Sunday’s elections.

In France the fascist Marine Le Pen took 42 percent of the vote at the last presidential election. And in parliament her party is central to what is passed.

In Sweden the far right party made major advances at the recent elections. And in Spain the far right Vox party is established as the country’s third party, on around 15 percent in many polls.

In all of these cases ordinary people face a brutal attacks on their living standards. They don’t trust the traditional forces to defend them or offer a decent future for them and their children.

And also in every case the mainstream left has failed to offer a way forward based on fighting class unity. In these circumstances the vile lies of the racists and fascists can gain support.

We are not currently facing the same kind of fascist threat in Britain. But with the Tories in chaos, and Labour stampeding rightwards, racism and fascism can grow.

That is another reason to build the strikes and left wing demonstrations—and to strengthen socialist organisation.

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