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World capitalism in crisis and turmoil – fighting for a socialist alternative

In the last years, the worst economic crisis since the 1930s has turned the world upside down. In every part of the world, there were dramatic collapses as the near 20 year boom of world capitalism turned to bust. The rabid right-wing neo-liberal policies pursued by governments around the world during that period have been thoroughly discredited, as the free market’s most ardent defenders desperately resorted to state regulation and intervention, with multi-billion dollar financial stimulus packages implemented around the world.

However, the trillions of dollars of taxpayers’ money thrown at the banks was not aimed at lessening the impact of the crisis on working people internationally, but was a desperate attempt to save crisis-ridden capitalism from total collapse. They way capitalist governments have responded to the crisis has enraged millions worldwide. But the actions of austerity of these governments, in attacking the living standards of the majority – with mass unemployment and savage attacks on public services – while bending over backwards for the bosses and bankers, has proved no surprise to socialists.

The CWI has a long and proud tradition of fighting for a socialist alternative to this crisis-ridden capitalist system.

Capitalism is based on the control of a super-rich elite – big businesses and corporations – over the wealth of society. Their reckless management of the economy, in the pursuit of maximum profit at any cost is the source of the major problems of mankind today, such as crisis, unemployment, poverty, hunger, war and environmental destruction.

On the basis of a socialist society, where the economy is planned democratically, with the resources of the planet under the control of the majority, we could begin to solve these fundamental problems.

We completely reject the grotesque distortion of “socialism” which existed in the Stalinist regimes in former USSR and Eastern Europe, where planned economies were presided over by privileged bureaucratic dictatorships.

Building the fightback

The CWI has parties, groups and individuals in over 45 countries around the world.

We stand shoulder to shoulder with workers and young people around the world in struggle against the attacks of the bosses and for a fairer, better society. Our members play a key role in the Trade Union movement, and have been instrumental in leading victorious struggles against sackings and attacks on Trade Union rights in the recent past. We are part and parcel of the fightback which is developing internationally as millions have taken to the streets saying “we won’t pay for their crisis!”.

Mass struggles and strikes, including general strikes in Greece, Spain and Portugal and the role of the working class in the initial overthrow of dictators like Ben Ali in Tunisia or Mubarak in Egypt have again shown in action the immense power of the working class.

The CWI argues for the transformation of the trade union movement internationally into a fighting movement that can offer a militant effective strategy to the working class movement in the fight against attacks and for improved conditions and living standards.

In all of the movements and struggles that have developed, a striking feature has been the absence of political representation for working people. The parties which workers looked to as “theirs”, such as the various labour and social democratic parties of Europe have now been completely transformed into capitalist parties.

The CWI fights for the formation of new mass parties that can give a political voice to workers and youth in struggle and galvanise the mass opposition to the bosses and their parties. Joe Higgins as a member of the Irish Parliament and Paul Murphy, member of the European Party, both elected for the Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), give an excellent example, how workers’ representatives can act. The sections of the CWI are working within broader alliances and left parties and seeking collaboration to win such positions for the working class and build new mass forces to develop the struggle. The CWI strives to arm such formations with a socialist programme to move beyond the framework of the dictatorship of the banks and corporations.

In the neo-colonial world, in countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nigeria, where the lives of the majority are dominated by poverty, hunger and communalist war and terror, the CWI plays a heroic role as the only force working to build a united movement of workers and the poor against the dead end of capitalism and imperialism.

Young members of the CWI are involved in campaigns for free and decent education, against precarious jobs and in the movements against the capitalist globalisation.

The sections of the CWI are involved in women’s struggles for equal pay, against attacks on abortion rights and for a society, free of sexist oppression. We fight for an end of any discrimination and oppression based on gender, nationality, race or any ethnic or communalist lines.

To be successful, the struggle against capitalism requires ideas, a political programme, and an organisation that is able to unite workers and oppressed people across the globe, a Marxist programme.

The CWI aims to build such an organisation. We think that organised workers and youth in their millions are stronger than the millionaires. That is why we need more people to join us in the struggle for socialism!

Committee for a workers' International publications

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