A Wild Beast is Stalking Europe

The Financial Manoeuvres of the Bourgeoisie

A wild beast is stalking Europe. It is looking for lives to sink its teeth into, human relations to tear apart, and intelligent thought to stamp out. It has already devastated Greece but now there is no region of the old continent which is spared its fury.

This monster has a name, “the market”, which demands from the proletariat and the lowest social strata, more and more sacrifices because this gigantic speculative-predatory enterprise can only function in this way, whatever the cost. And let’s not forget it won’t be the speculators who will be paying.

A New Chapter in the Crisis

We have thus arrived at a new but predictable chapter in the crisis - at times denied, but more often understated - which though having its roots in the real economy exploded in the world of high finance, shaking the foundations of the economy and state finances. In just a short while the magic recipe for development, i.e. growth based on debt and tricky financial games has shown itself to be what it has always been - an attempt to avoid the unhealthy contradictions of capitalism which sooner or later had to reach the end of the road. And so “the markets” - i.e. the big financial institutions (banks, insurance companies, investment funds, etc.) and the big bosses - have not only lived the high life on their share holdings, on the opaque accountancy measures of governments, but have sought - by asking to their accomplice-servants, the political functionaries - to carry out financial manoeuvres which will fall heavily on the living standards of millions and millions of proletarians.

From Rome to Berlin, from Madrid to London, whoever is in government plays the same tune. “We will not dip our hands in the pockets of the citizens, we will not put up taxes”, Berlusconi, Merkel, Zapatero, Sarkozy and Cameron howl in unison, but their sinister song can be translated another way. “We will not raise the taxes of the rich, we won’t touch their pockets whilst we will lay our hands on you proletarians, on you workers in the private sector and, in particular at this juncture, on you public sector workers who, idle loafers that you are, have had a free lunch at state expense thus causing the budget crisis”. Workers who have spent their entire existence in a factory, the casual workers who lead a life learning about anxiety and insecurity, public servants - all people who have never avoided a cent in taxes nor have ever carried out dangerous manoeuvres on the Stock Exchange - are now socially attacked because of the effects of financial actions which have further derailed the already unsteady course of capitalism. So now governments are launching “additional financial adjustments” (in Italy about 24 million euros) which above all, as various bourgeois economists fear, run the extreme risk of suffocating at birth the much heralded (at least by them) phantom of economic revival seeing that it is obvious that the incomes of millions of people will diminish. You don’t have to have a PhD from Cambridge to understand that 5000 euros less a year of an income of 100,000 euros (and the “threat” which this poses to high earners) will have practically no effect whilst the 800 euros from the wage of a janitor make a big difference to what he or she can spend.

Education Cuts

Regarding education the Italian state’s manoeuvres hit it the hardest. Not only will there be no renewal of contracts (i.e. a wage freeze – CWO) for three years – as in the rest of the public sector – but for the same period all service increments will be cancelled with the obvious reduction in the value of pensions. All are the consequence of the cuts of the so-called Gelmini (1) reforms, meaning more grief for those already in pain. Just to give an example it has been calculated that assuming a “moderate” level of inflation public workers will lose on average (without taking into account the effect on their pensions) between 5 and 10% of their salary but for school workers this could be as much as 15%.

What has already been indicated for pensions is that the “window” to take the pension will be reduced to one, meaning that a worker will be nailed to the workplace for up to a year. The final touch is that the pension threshold for state workers which will be raised to 65 years will be brought forward to 2012.And as everyone knows the present (early June) obscene ballet is interpreted by those few distinguished gentlemen of the government as “a step forward in equal rights between men and women”. True enough, but on the basis of the worst for everyone; without mentioning their joke of “that’s what Europe demands” in order to cowardly shift their responsibility. Though remaining within the scope of bourgeois rights the Carfagnas, and the Sacconis, Brunettas and Tremontis, (2) if they really had wanted to safeguard equal rights would have had to concede to women the right to retire earlier from work because, and we getting into hot water here, women have a workload which is objectively greater than that of men, or rather animals, so they should have their pensionable age lowered.

The Arrogance of the Bourgeoisie

But it does not end here in the murderously sloppy anti-crisis measures there is also a block on recruitment in the civil service, the laying off of half of the part-time workers, the shutting down of, often high level, research bodies and cultural institutions, as well as cuts in funding to local bodies (we are talking of 13 billion euros) with the unacknowledged consequence that social services, with health leading the way, will be significantly reduced in quantity and quality.

Is there anything more? Yes. We cannot miss out the handout to tax evaders by a government who finds its most enthusiastic support amongst these types. Hit with a feather, they paid a modest sum on more than a million “phantom” houses, i.e. houses not on the local council list, and thus not previously known to the tax authority. All in the name of being “honest citizens” and helping the country!

The arrogance of these bourgeois gangsters is such that they make no attempt to disguise the social war they have declared on the proletariat which they view with such derision and contempt. For example in Germany the state offers an incentive which (used to) be about 67% of wages to parents who take time off to look after young children. This has been reduced from 14 months even for the unemployed. From last year, along with other unemployment benefits, the subsidy was reduced for the employed and cut completely for the unemployed, with the excuse that the latter had no need of incentives to stay at home, given that they have plenty of free time.

This mockery is an expression of the hatred - conscious or unconscious, it does not matter - that the bourgeoisie demonstrates towards us but perhaps it also hides the fear that, sooner or later, just as the illusion of infinite growth based on speculation has broken, the cloak of fear, resignation and hopelessness which until now has weighed on the proletariat will also be lifted.

From Battaglia Comunista 7, July 2010

(1) Gelmini is currently Minister for Education. Her reforms will lead to the loss of almost 90,000 teaching jobs which it is claimed will “reform” and improve education. It is the same lie in throughout the austerity-speak world that “less means more”.

(2) Carfagna, Sacconi, Brunetta and Tremonti are all ministers in the Berlusconi Government.

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