Workers of the world celebrate this year's First of May with a new peril looming over their heads—The Global Financial Crisis. Yet, every capitalist crisis is a crisis for the bosses and politicians and an opportunity for the workers! Interests of world's working masses are always sharply opposed to the interests of our rulers! We must always recognize this simple and profound fact and use it to promote our liberation.
What started as house price crash—caused by almost a decade long real estate bubble, originating mainly in the US but quickly spreading to other parts of the developed world—in late summer of 2008 became the worst global financial market crisis since The Great Depression of 1930's, affecting every region of the world, developed or undeveloped.
Most politicians and “responsible” capitalists, in an effort to ideologically preserve this perverted system of the rule of man over man, are bombarding us with metaphysical theories as to how this could have happened in this “finely polished” free-market system. They claim that the true cause behind the crisis is not the nature of capitalism itself but the greed of a few rotten apples on Wall Street. Some claim that the cause is, perhaps, not enough state regulation of the “free market” which enabled these greedy individuals to slightly spoil, but still not ruin completely, the happy ending of the capitalist fairytale. Some, on the other hand, claim the true cause is in fact too much state intervention: the bankers on Wall Street are good and honest people but the politicians, in their effort to woo the masses, made them behave “unethically”.
But we know that these theories are nonsense. We know that the nature of capitalism is, in essence, a perpetual crisis. A system of contradictions that constantly produces poverty and misery in order to preserve a small parasitic ruling class. In the 20th century alone there have been no less than eleven major financial crisis and stock market crashes. We know that the only way to “correct” the system is to abolish it all together—to destroy capitalism and state, and all authoritarian and hierarchical social relations that they produce. Workers of the world must recognize that they alone can and must do this, because they are the ones that produce all the wealth in the world and not the bosses and politicians who can only produce misery.
The consequences of the current crisis for the working people of the world will be grave. From 2007 to 2008 some 10 million people lost their jobs worldwide. In 2009 it is predicted that another 40 million will be laid off, and the global unemployed population will number 230 million people. Another 100 million people will find themselves below poverty line.
Is the system trying to give any help to these people? No, the priority is, of course given to “bailing-out” those who drove us into this crisis in the first place. Many trillions of dollars, the wealth that workers created, will be poured down the hungry throats of wealthy banks' executives and failed capitalistic mammoths. As many times before we will be forced to pay to remain in poverty so that our bosses can remain in wealth that we created.
It is important to notice a great danger that is arising form this: the re-emergence of state capitalism. We have seen this scenario all too well in the past. This is the mechanism that the bosses will use in time of crisis to try to preserve their rule when the workers revolts begin to endanger them. This all comes in the form of nationalization of big failed financial institutions around the world. Capitalist propagandists are trying to present this as a form of socialisation of capitalism, a back-door reintroduction of state socialism. Because the failed financial firms are “too big to fail”, they say, we all have to pay to save them. We agree that this is socialism—socialism for the bosses and plain old capitalism for the workers.
In that line of problems facing the workers in this situation is the use of the current crisis by authoritarian socialist and social-democrat regimes around the world to legitimize themselves. They, after all, were saying all along how free-market capitalism is a ruthless system and how they present a “realistic”, “humane” alternative. Indeed, this crisis is something that “Chavez and co.” could only dream of. But we must not be fooled by this propaganda. History has showed brutally well that dictatorships of state “socialists” are not roads to freedom.
Last, but certainly not the least, of the problems that workers around the world are confronted with is the usual last defenders of capitalism – fascist movements that are getting stronger every day. Fascist gangs, on the streets and in the parliaments and governments, are already placing their repressive and racist politics into practices. As capitalism’s crisis is deepening, we can expect that large segments of capitalist will turn to open support of the fascist movements, and in that sense antifascist struggle, run on direct-democratic principals with direct action as a method of struggle will become of even larger importance in following days.
We must recognize that the only true liberation can come from worker antiauthoritarian revolutionary struggle and in the establishment of a truly free society— that of libertarian communism: anarchy.
Hand in hand with capitalism and its perpetual crisis comes imperialism. Since last First of May we have seen imperialist clashes in Georgia, massacres in Gaza, but also clashes which didn’t go to the extant of full war, but had taken casualties, such as Russia – Ukrainian gas conflict, which left 18 European countries without gas during winter 2008/9. We have seen some of the failures of the ruling class strategy, such as failure of the Treaty of Lisbon, but on the other side, it should be noted that NATO, which has recently marked 60 years of it’s criminal existence, has incorporated new states in it’s military machine.
An example of our opportunities in times like this were massive protests and riots in Greece in December. After a ruthless murder of a fifteen year old boy, Alexandros Grigoropulos, by a policeman and a member of a Greek fascist organization “Golden Dawn”, violent protests of workers and students broke out in all of Greece and lasted for nearly a month. The revolutionary message of these protests was clear: banks, capitalist firms and state buildings were smashed and burned, labour union centrals, universities, schools and other institutions were occupied by people hungry for freedom. But the protests quieted down, and now we can see how the Greek state is using this as an excuse to tighten up its grip on society by increasing police authority through new laws.
We must learn an important lesson from this episode: while people of Greece understood that for a revolution it is necessary for the people to take control of the whole social infrastructure, what was lacking is a clear, organized, revolutionary, radical workers' perspective. It is essential to have a strong revolutionary workers' organizations, free from all authority and hierarchy, with a clear goal of destruction of state and capitalism. If we don't have that, small spaces of freedom, that are created by atomized resistance, will be easily overrun and taken over by either fascists or authoritarian socialists.
The authoritarian system that we live in is falling apart. The ruling classes, while seemingly in control of situation, are actually in a state of total confusion. The liberal capitalist, post-modern, de-ideologisation of economy which has been their propagandist agenda since the fall of the Soviet block up until now has taken a toll on them. In their efforts to make us believe that ideologies and politics are a thing of the past, and that idea-less “free-market” economy is “the best practical and possible system”, that it represents “the end of history”, many of them came to believe their own lie. In lack of any coherent ideas about what to do they are in panic and are trying to save them selves by making us, workers, even poorer and more miserable than before. They do not understand that they are digging their own grave.
Their lies are easy to see through, easier than ever before, and we must use this tremendous opportunity to build a free alternative to their system of exploitation. An alternative without authorities or hierarchies, a system where each individual and collective will truly be free to express their life potentials in their fullest. A system where creativity, imagination, true progress and uninhibited joy of life will triumph over passivity, boredom, “stagnation and recession” and their “managerial diseases”.
In order to accomplish this hard task of liberation we must work to strengthen our organizations. We must organize in our working place, in our communities—indeed in all spheres of our life if we are to finally see the freedom that humanity, through its history, has been seeking. Time that we live in is a tremendous opportunity to build a libertarian, revolutionary, anarcho-syndicalist movement that will be able to throw tyranny and oppression into its true place—the dustbin of history. We must not waste this opportunity—we owe it to all those that came before us, who selflessly fought and died for the ideals of true freedom like the brave workers of Chicago in whose memory we celebrate the First of May, and to all those that will come after us.
Belgrade, 30th April 2009