Under Siege! Global Capitalism and the socialist alternative
Chapter 1 - The gathering storm
The struggle against global capitalism will shape and decide the future. Globalisation, according to its apologists, was supposed to bring prosperity and security to all. In reality, the opposite has taken place. The new Millennium was, according to UNICEF (an arm of the United Nations), preceded by a "decade of undeclared war on women, adolescents and children as poverty, conflict, chronic social instability and preventable diseases such as HIV/AIDS threaten human rights and sabotage their development". The attacks on workers’ rights and the poor, following in the wake of globalisation, have created a world more divided and unjust than ever before. But workers and particularly young people are saying: "Enough is enough!"
The demonstrations against global capitalism that began in Seattle in December 1999, the revolts by workers and the poor in Ecuador and Serbia in 2000 and the mass demonstration against the European Union (EU) summit in Nice in December 2000, and the bringing down of the president in the Philippines in January 2001 - they all foreshadow the beginning of a global protest movement against corruption, injustice, and social and economic hardship.
More than one-fifth of the world’s population, 70 per cent of them women lives in absolute poverty, on one US dollar a day or less. Chronic mass unemployment is stalking the world. Nearly one-third of the world’s workforce is either unemployed or underemployed. An environmental meltdown is looming. The last 25 years has been the most destructive in the history of the natural world. The planet Earth is not dying; big business and politicians acting on behalf of capitalism are slowly killing it. The vicious circle of violence, poverty and environmental destruction that is integral to globalisation is the ultimate threat to future of humanity.
It is time to step up the fight against global capitalism and to raise the banner of struggle, solidarity and socialism. That is why the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) urges young people and workers to get active and get organised.
The CWI is a Marxist organisation. Marxism or revolutionary socialism is not a dogma but a guide to action. As Karl Marx wrote more than 150 years ago: "The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways, the point however is to change it".
The CWI brings together socialist activists throughout the world. We have parties, organisations and members in Africa, Asia, Australia, CIS (former USSR), Eastern and Western Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and North America.
Join the CWI! – "A true threat [arising] from globalisation", according to the Australian Herald Sun (28 August 2000).
The dominant sectors of the economy - industry, finance, transport and services - need to be taken into public ownership under the democratic control and management of working people. On the basis of public ownership and genuine democracy a plan can be worked out that would serve the needs of society. A planned economy would make it possible to distribute wealth and resources on a national plane as well as globally. On these new social and economic foundations we will secure the development of production and technology in harmony with nature and the environment - a shift to an environmentally sustainable economy.
Genuine socialism has nothing to do with the totalitarian one-party dictatorships and distortions of a planned economy that existed in the former USSR or Eastern Europe. In fact, the existence of these undemocratic and bureaucratic regimes (Stalinism) prevented a development towards socialism - a society that would lift humankind out of the realm of necessity and into the realm of freedom.
The gathering storm
Modern capitalism has been able to develop the productive forces (science, technology, machinery, the way production is organised, the skill of the workforce, etc.) - to an unprecedented level. Yet in the era of information technology (IT) and when plans are being made to conquer the planet Mars half of the people in the so-called ‘developing countries’ have never used a telephone.
The gap between the ‘haves and the have-nots’ has become wider and wider across the world. Forget the ‘trickle down theory’. The truth is that hardly anything filters down to the poorest sections of society. Indeed a large section of the population is left behind or is living on the margins.
There is a greater gap in income between the rich and the majority of the US population than at any time since such data has been collected. The wealth of the top 1 per cent of the US population (the 2.7 million richest) now, for the first time ever, exceeds that of the bottom 90 per cent. The top 1 per cent constitute a class of billionaires and millionaires who have done nothing to earn their wealth other than to sit on booming assets. This is at the same time as the income ratio between a factory worker and company bosses, already 1 to 42 in 1980, now stands at 1 to 425! And the US magazine Business Week is asking: "Why are so many people so angry about globalisation?"!
Cuts in welfare and benefits mean that today’s generation of workers and young people are less protected than the generation before. Furthermore, hardly any job is regarded as secure. Women and young workers are often the first victim of what is called ‘atypical’ forms of working (part-time, short term contracts, sub-contracting).
Job insecurity and stress related illness affects not only the working class but also the middle classes. This is one reason why the ‘feel-good factor’ has been replaced by widespread alienation, anxiety and uncertainty.
Greater social and political exclusion is bound to trigger off a revolt from below.
The case for socialism
The CWI stands for the complete socialist transformation of society.
No one can seriously argue that capitalism is a successful system, or that the real problem is lack of resources or that there are too many people to feed. Yet food production has more than kept apace with global population growth. "The world already produces sufficient food to feed its population – with an available food supply equivalent to 2,700 calories per person per day", according to report issued by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN in October 2000.
People go to bed hungry and wake up hungry not because there is a shortage of food but because food and the means to produce it are in the hands of the multinationals and the super rich. The hungry do not have enough money to buy the food produced and sold by the multinationals.
And yet, material prosperity has increased by more in the past 100 years than in all of the rest of human history. The world economy has increased by 17 times during the 20th century and the world’s population has increased four times. Income per person has climbed from US $1,500 to US $6,600, with most of this rise concentrated in the second half of the 20th century (1950-2000). This development alone should have been enough to ensure that every man, women and child on Earth had a chance to enjoy life to the fullest. There is no lack of resources, there is no lack of wealth, knowledge or technology. Ninety per cent of all scientists who have ever lived are alive today. The technological advances and, in there wake, the economic growth of the 20th century, have been spectacular and unprecedented. Nevertheless, only a minority of the world’s population has received a piece of the expanding cake. The top 20% of the richest in the world consumed 86% of all goods and services produced - sixteen times more than the bottom fifth!
The money is there to transform the basic living standards of everyone. The assets of the 200 richest people are more than the combined income of the poorest 2.4 billion people in the world! According to the United Nations: "It is estimated that the additional cost of achieving and maintaining universal access to basic education for all, basic health care for all, reproductive health care for all women, adequate food for all and safe water and sanitation for all is roughly US $40 billion a year...This is less than 4 per cent of the combined wealth of the 225 richest people." (UN Human Development Report, 1997).
A modest 0.5% on every international currency transaction (the Tobin Tax) would raise the staggering sum of US $720 billion dollars annually, which could be spent on social needs. This example shows that there are already the necessary resources and money available which could be used to wipe out poverty. But the proceeds of such a tax, which would strike at the heart of today’s vampire-like capitalism, could only be collected as part of a struggle to take control of the multinationals and the financial institutions on a global plane.
There has never been a greater need for international socialism. Without a socialist transformation of society the future of humankind is in danger. Capitalism is decaying and only offers further poverty, oppression and environmental disaster. Recent months have seen an upsurge in working class struggle. Uniting struggles like these and developing them into a broader movement with socialist ideas is a precondition for a revolutionary transformation of society. This will be determined by how conscious the working class is of its enormous potential strength and of what steps are necessary to end capitalist rule internationally.
The word ‘revolution’ has become somewhat fashionable nowadays. Even capitalist firms are using the term for marketing purposes. In their hands the word loses all real meaning. A revolutionary process, however, is first and foremost characterised by the direct participation of ordinary people in historic events. In ordinary times it looks like politicians, experts and other representatives of the elite make history. But as the capitalist order crumbles, ordinary people - workers, youth and the poor - enter the political scene to struggle for lasting changes to their living conditions and for a new society.
During the 20th century there were many heroic attempts by the working class and the poor to change society. Yet these movements did not succeed in bringing about socialism. The fundamental reason for this is that there was no organised mass socialist force, apart from Russia in October 1917, strong enough to provide a programme, strategy and leadership for the revolutionary struggle. A fighting party, truly democratic and based on active members, is needed to prepare and organise the struggle in order to guarantee a complete transformation of society. If it is to break the inevitable opposition put up by the capitalist class, the movement for socialism will have to gain strength through the active participation and support given by the majority of the population.
History is full of examples which illustrate that the capitalist class is prepared to use violence and dictatorial means in order to defend its profit, incomes and power. Nothing less than a determined and conscious movement of the oppressed, under the banner of socialism, can divide and neutralise the armed forces of the capitalist state and secure a peaceful transformation of society. A socialist breakthrough, the formation of a workers’ government will, of course, begin in one country. But the struggle of the oppressed, particularly in today’s ‘global village’, knows no borders. A socialist victory in one particular country will act as a beacon to the rest of the world. A workers’ government bringing into public ownership the dominant sectors of the economy, including multinationals operating in that country, taking control over finances and introducing state monopoly of trade, will immediately come into conflict with big business. The multinationals will try to organise ‘a global strike of capital’ aiming to overthrow a workers’ government. The only protection against attempts by global capitalism to sabotage and undermine every measure taken by a workers’ government is to try to spread the socialist revolution across the world. The way to ensure solidarity and international support will be to issue appeals to other workers to follow suit and step up the struggle for international socialism: aiming to form a voluntary and equal confederation of socialist states.
Are we ‘old fashioned’ to talk about mass action, and the role of the working class in the era of computers and the Internet? Do we still need to refer to the socialist organisation of society when we have ‘cyber democracy’ and we are just a ‘click’ away from being linked up with the entire planet?
Computers and the Internet are important means of communication, and for collecting and storing information. But society will not be changed by clicking a mouse or pressing a button. Virtual power can neither replace the active participation of workers and poor in struggle nor can a computer network act as a substitute for fighting democratic, socialist organisations. Modern technology, which is only available to a small portion of the world anyhow, can be used as an aid to mass struggle, not to supplant it. During mass movements in the Philippines at the beginning of 2001, protesters ingeniously utilised mobile phone text messages to help organise demonstrations. In other words, the new technology was used as an auxiliary to mass action.
The CWI fights for a socialist policy for full employment and social welfare.
We fight for:
A living minimum wage.
A shorter working week without loss of pay and on conditions set by workers.
No to the bosses’ flexibility and annualisation of working hours.
A massive public spending increase for health, education, childcare and housing.
Stop privatisations and de-regulations. Renationalise the public utilities that have been privatised, compensation should only be given to the small shareholders on the basis of proven need.
No discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, religion and sexuality. Equal pay for equal work.
Free education at all levels and a free health service.
Non-payment of the national debt. No more hand outs to the speculators and parasitic moneylenders. Compensation to be paid on the basis of proven need.
Take into public ownership the dominant sectors of the economy under the democratic control and management of working class people.
A fighting alternative to global capitalism
What measures, what programme can prepare and mobilise the working class for the taking of power and establishing socialism?
The CWI puts forward a fighting programme that links together the day to day struggle for better conditions with socialism. As socialists we fight for every demand or change that could improve the living conditions of workers and youth. But our aim is not to ‘reform’ capitalism and its institutions, but to bring fundamental changes and end the rule of capitalism. Those who talk about ‘globalisation with a human face’ are trading in illusions.
Even a defensive struggle to save jobs and social welfare tends to develop into a struggle which questions and challenges the dominance of global capitalism. The struggle for better living and working conditions is bound up with the need to change society. This means that today’s struggle has to be linked with the overall task of fighting for socialism.
If we restrict the struggle to what the bosses are prepared to accept or what is ‘realistic’ under capitalism we will end up with nothing or very little. What can be achieved or not will be decided by the capacity of workers and young people to struggle. The outcome of the struggle depends on many factors, not only the mood or the ‘fighting spirit’. If that was solely what was needed then capitalism would have been overthrown a long time ago. What in the end decides the outcome of the class struggle is to what extent a revolutionary socialist party has been able to gain firm support from working people, the quality of its leadership and what kind of programme, tactics and strategy it adopts.
The socialist programme is not just a list of demands; it is a generalisation of the historical lessons of the working class movement. It starts from what is needed in order to guarantee everybody a decent life, and then provides demands which form a bridge from workers’ present conditions and level of understanding to the conception of the socialist revolution.
The false dawn of the market
Since the mid-1970s world capitalism has moved into a period of organic (structural) crisis and stagnation. Capitalism in the last 25 years, despite cyclical fluctuations, is characterised by historical decline, social inequality, mass unemployment, slow growth, and financial and political fragility. By more ruthless exploitation and further integration (neo-liberalism and globalisation) the capitalist class thought that they had found a way out of this stagnation. But globalisation has aggravated all the contradictions inherent in capitalism, i.e. the collision between the forces of production and the relations of production (private ownership of the means of production, the nation state, the social, legal and political framework within which the system operates). It is this basic collision that leads to crisis, wars and revolutions.
Global capitalism can be described as a world casino economy. Speculation not production, is now the most profitable economic activity. Transactions in foreign exchange markets have now reached the astonishing sum of at least US $1.5 trillion a day - over 50 times the level of world trade in service and goods. That expresses the parasitic and destructive nature of modern capitalism.
The capitalists invest their money in order to make profits. As Sir Brian Moffat, the Chairman of Corus (a European steel company) said after axing 6,000 jobs at the beginning of 2001: "Corus does not make steel, it makes money". In other words capitalism is a system based upon production for profit. But profit is unpaid labour. The working class receives only a portion of the value that they create, in the form of wages, and cannot buy back all the goods it produces. This basic contradiction could only temporarily be overcome, by ploughing back the surplus produced by the workers into new technology, machinery, buildings and research (often fuelled by credit). But soon the rising cost of investments will start to eat into their profits as the huge imbalance between supply and demand keeps growing. This is accompanied with a large build-up of debt and the capitalists cannot find enough buyers to buy all the goods. The result of this process is the creation of overcapacity and overproduction, or ‘a glut’ as the capitalists call it. Globalisation is breeding a classic crisis of capitalism which, of course, the capitalists themselves are not going to pay for.
The insane contradiction of the market means that ‘too much’ of everything seems to be produced at the same time as capitalism cannot even feed everyone, let alone provide a decent life for the majority.
‘Overproduction and overcapacity’ in relation to profit, not need, is an absurd phenomenon, which only occurs under capitalism. We have the grotesque spectacle of foodstuffs and goods being stockpiled sky-high, while millions face near starvation and lack the most basic of necessities.
Instead of a ‘New Economy’ global capitalism is once again moving into an ‘old’, classical crisis of recessions and slumps. The hi-tech economy has gone from dot.com to dot.bomb. The present slowdown in the US points towards a worldwide recession with an explosive political and social fall out. US capitalism acted as the locomotive of world capitalism in the 1990s but it is now paying the ultimate price: a stock market bubble has started to burst, a record trade deficit and the economy is hardly growing. At the same time, the mountain of debt (corporate and households debt) points towards more bankruptcies, job losses and shrinking consumption. And when US capitalism goes down the rest of the world will follow. Moreover, it is quite possible that the US could become the new Japan of this decade, falling into a spiral of economic stagnation and political crisis.
The monopolies are in the driving seat
World capitalism is led by a few hundred giant multinationals, which are often wealthier than nations. Many sectors of the global economy are controlled by only a handful of multinational companies. Or, as Arnold Weinstock, chairman of what was then the manufacturing company GEC in Britain admitted in 1989: "There is no such thing as the free market".
More than 50 of the world’s 100 leading economic entities are multinational companies. The multinational companies account for four-fifths of world industrial output and more than two-thirds of world trade. The combined sales of the top 200 corporations exceed the total income of all the countries in the world apart from the nine largest economies.
The multinationals have also become bigger and more powerful after the recent wave of cross-border mergers and acquisitions, i.e. one company absorbing another. This has meant that concentration of wealth and capital has reached an unprecedented level. The US car maker Ford, ranked as the fourth biggest company in the world, is still in the hands of one single family!
One main aspect of globalisation is the deepening of the process of international economic integration. Today’s production is split up into a number of different stages and take place in different countries. This in turn has underlined the fact that the struggle to change society has to be armed with an international perspective, that workers and youth in struggle in any country have to try to win support from their brothers and sisters abroad.
The struggle needs to be globalised. Globalisation has emphasised that the struggle for socialism is international or nothing. A socialist breakthrough in one country has to be followed by the overthrow of capitalism and landlordism worldwide. No country, left on its own, can for any length of time hold out against the brutal and destructive forces of global capitalism.
Turning the screw
International capitalist institutions like the EU, World Bank and the IMF have been instrumental in implementing the neo-liberal agenda in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and, in recent years, Eastern Europe and former Soviet Union. These organisations are nothing more than mercenaries of the main capitalist powers, especially US and European imperialism. Take the example of Ecuador. This country became bankrupt in 2000 mainly as a result of the policies dictated by the IMF. This meant further impoverishment for the mass of the population. It helped provoke an uprising in January 2000, which saw workers and youth overthrow the right-wing government. In the absence of a farsighted socialist leadership, the old forces of reaction were able to climb back to power. Yet the corrupt ruling class and imperialism can offer no way out. In November 2000, the IMF once again seized Ecuador by the throat and ordered the government to raise the price of cooking gas by 80 per cent, eliminate 26,000 jobs and halve real wages for the remaining workforce. Moreover, the government was also compelled to transfer ownership of its biggest water system to foreign operators and grant the oil giant BP Arco the right to build and own its pipeline over the Andes mountains.
An endless list of countries have experienced the same economic coup d état. Nations have been forced to remove trade barriers, sell off assets and slash social spending. The IMF is in fact running at least 75 of the poorest developing countries at the moment. And this is called ‘democracy’!
On the basis of harsh experience, the working class and even middle classes have come to revile the term ‘neo-liberal’. Privatisation, in the popular consciousness, is synonymous with a more costly and worse service than before. People see that private companies are looting the state and making billions. The consequences are devastating lives.
De-regulation and privatisation were supposed to provide a more efficient service. But when private companies went in and took control of California’s electricity supply the lights soon went out. During 2001, California was periodically without electricity, in this the richest and most populous state of the wealthiest nation in the world! Suddenly, the Governor of California was urging the state to step in and place the energy sector back under state control! No power plants have been built in California for ten years. The private companies are only interested in making profits and sending high bills to households.
A growing environmental disaster
Inevitably, the protests against global capitalism and its institutions involve many environmentalists. This takes place at the same time as the parties in Western Europe are becoming less green (including supposedly Green parties).
An ecological disaster looms as climate changes, air and water pollution, land degradation, forest destruction, extinction of species and overexploitation of fish stocks continue. Nature has no reset button. Capitalism is not capable of providing anything like an environmentally sustained society that meets people’s needs, given the fact that this system is based on ruthless exploitation and the insatiable destruction of human and natural resources. No global task could be more pressing than to transform the current wasteful, polluting and chaotic methods of production into ecologically responsible, sustainable production.
Deforestation, which leads to the spreading of deserts and climate changes, has led to an increased frequency and severity of natural disasters. Furthermore, poverty and the state of the environment are inextricably linked. An estimated 1.4 billion people live without clean drinking water and a further 2.3 billion lack adequate sanitation. More than 8 million people die each year because of polluted water and dirty air.
The wellbeing of the natural world declines as profits for big business go up. Yet there is no possibility that the institutions of capitalism will be able to save the situation. Whenever there has been a clash between Green and trade issues, capitalist institutions like the WTO have never decided in favour of the environment.
The last 25 years, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), has been the most destructive in the history of the natural world since the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Record setting temperatures in the 1990s were part of a 20th century warming trend and temperature rises in this new century are projected to rise even faster. This global warming is already melting glaciers from the Peruvian Andes to the Swiss Alps. Reports published in 2000 warned that various islands, countries such as Bangladesh and Egypt, and large coastal areas could all disappear beneath the waves as the polar ice caps melt.
Despite many conferences and warnings issued by scientists, little has been done to reduce the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases causing global warming. An influential section of the US ruling class, backed by the automobile and oil industries, dismisses global warming as a ‘myth’. In George W. Bush they got their man for US president. The first thing he did after being sworn into office was to open the wilds of Alaska to the big oil interests. The second thing was to declare that the US administration couldn’t care less about even the token promises made to slow down global warming at the World Environmental Summit in Kyoto in 1997 (the US is the biggest carbon dioxide polluter in the world).
Fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal) are immensely polluting. They create acid rain and they are the principal cause of global warming. Yet, most research goes on fossil fuels and nuclear power, largely ignoring renewable energy and efficiency. Fossil fuel and nuclear power with its lethal waste cause irreversible damage to the environment.
Capitalist politicians and big business spend enormous amounts of money on motorways and privatising the public transport system. This is despite the fact that road traffic is one of the largest producers of atmospheric pollution (as well as a mass killer).
The CWI campaigns for:
A socialist alternative plan for production of energy, worked out by representatives from workers in the energy sector, scientists, community and environmental organisations, replacing fossil fuels and nuclear power with massive investment into renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal heat (extracting heat from hot rocks). An integrated energy programme, with a democratic socialist plan of production, would guarantee cheap and safe energy for all the most harmonious development in the long and short term, of the different energy sources, for the benefit of society as a whole.
A planned transport policy that meets the needs of society and is environmentally sound. Privatised transport must be returned to public ownership and democratically controlled with the aim of creating an integrated, cheap public transport system assessible to all.
The pharmaceutical companies charge stratospheric prices (monopoly prices) for their products and there is absolutely no link between the cost of a medicine and the cost of producing them (including the cost of research and development - R&D). The pharmaceutical giants, however, spend more on marketing than research.
At the same time, the pharmaceutical giants located in Europe and the US are trying to stop other countries from producing life-saving drugs at much lower prices. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is, of course, on the side of the monopolies’ global struggle to establish what is cynically called ‘intellectual property rights’. The big drug companies will take any measures to protect their profits and drug patents. The drug companies heavily depend on the support provided by the public sector (education, R&D and subsidies) and yet take home all the gains.
Millions are dying of AIDS and other diseases for the want of drugs that cost pennies to make. Every minute, on a world scale, 11 more people are infected with HIV. At the beginning of the year 2000, 34.3 million people were infected with HIV/AIDS, 24.5 million in Sub-Saharan Africa alone. Nineteen million people have died so far. This is a human disaster of monumental proportions, similar to the Black Death that wiped out huge sections of the population in Europe during the Middle Ages.
South Africa has been hit particularly hard. It is estimated that 4.7 million people are infected with HIV - the largest number of any country in the world. But while leading members of the ANC are receiving expensive, Western cocktails of anti-virus drugs, millions are left to die. The ANC elite is rich enough to use a private medical scheme, while others in need are cynically told by the ANC leader Mbeki that HIV is not the cause of AIDS!
The pharmaceutical giants’ decision to withdraw their law suits against South Africa importing cheaper generic Aids drugs was a victory. This would not have happened without the courageous campaign by grass-roots activists in South Africa and other countries who forced the drug giants to retreat or face an international outcry and action against them. It also shows that it is possible to fight and score at least partial victories against the multinationals.
The drug companies’ announcement that they would reduce the price in poorer countries of some of their anti-AIDS drugs is not because they have begun to feel sympathy for the poor and those who are HIV positive. It is motivated purely by a desire to defend their own interests and to block countries from following the path of, for example, Brazil. Brazil used a loophole in the WTO rules that gives permission to make a generic medicine "in a national emergency", a loophole the big drug companies are now trying to close. Brazil started to produce and distribute its own anti-AIDS drugs at a price 75 per cent less than that charged in the US and Europe. Thanks to this, the number of AIDS-related deaths plummeted by nearly 40 per cent between 1995 and 2000 in that country. This is an indication of what can be achieved if the necessary drugs are made more affordable, even on the basis of capitalism.
The campaign to combat HIV/AIDS must be linked to the struggle to wipe out poverty and inequality and for a hugely increased expenditure on healthcare and education.
The CWI campaigns for:
Free healthcare for all, including HIV-tests and treatment
Equal opportunities and no discrimination against people who are HIV positive
Comprehensive sex education and free condoms
These demands need to be linked to education about HIV/AIDS and for massive research to find a vaccine able to prevent infection. The wealth and the resources of the most industrialised countries could transform the situation in the poorest areas of the world. But in order to achieve that the working class and the poor across the globe needs to fight to break the grip of the pharmaceutical companies and Western imperialism.
Food for profit
Food is produced for profit not to ensure that people are well fed and healthy. Profit hungry companies and intensive farming are putting life at risk. The BSE (or ‘mad cow disease’) scandal, that started in Britain, shows the lunacy of the profit system and the fact that governments are more concerned about the well-being of the meat industry than people’s health. The dash for profit, combined with deregulation, caused BSE amongst cattle. Contaminated beef then entered the food chain and BSE was transmitted into humans, causing vCJD (new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease).
Until 1996, the British government and the food giants claimed: "There is no risk associated with eating British beef". This was despite several warnings by scientists and despite the fact that BSE was first discovered in 1985. But contaminated meat continued to enter the food chain in the 1990s and potentially BSE-infected feed was still exported. The official figure given in 2000 was that 80 people have died of vCJD in Britain. Yet no one has been held responsible.
Genetically modified (GM) food - ‘Frankenstein food’ - has not been put on sale in order to improve food quality or to feed the world, as claimed, but simply to boost profits. The transfer of genetic engineering from laboratories to nature, under the direction of the rapacious multinationals, could have a devastating effect on the ecosystem.
The CWI campaigns for:
Agribusiness, including the pharmaceutical companies, must be taken into public ownership. The food processing and retail industry should be brought under democratic workers’ control to ensure standards are set and controlled by consumers, farm workers and small farmers, not big business.