Cost of Living Crisis = Capitalist Crisis

Wage cuts, precarious jobs, collapsing health service, school buildings falling down, inflation, widespread poverty and deprivation experienced by large swathes of the country – that’s the state we are in. Of course, the government is not interested in solving these issues. Both parties have become too lazy or incompetent to even pretend to help, preferring instead to compete over idiotic culture-war issues while calamities pile up around them. The crooks who run our water companies are dumping sewage into our waterways while they line their pockets with public money, decades of neglect have left our schools at a literal risk of collapse, and now even basic goods are becoming unaffordable. There seems to be nowhere safe from this decay, but what is driving it? The answer is the capitalist system itself is in a state of collapse.

Working class people, those who rely on wages for their living expenses, are reliant on a capitalist class who will try to only pay them for the bare necessities they need to survive, and extract from the time they spend in the workplace as much newly created value as possible. From the difference between the wages we are paid and the value we create while we are at work, comes profit. The search for profits is therefore at all times a struggle by the bosses and their government to reduce the portion of wealth going to the working class as much as possible, whether this is in the form of wages or social amenities such as health services, benefits, education or essential infrastructure.

The basic living standards of the working class, a functioning NHS for instance, become seen as needless luxuries, while the stabilisation of industry means a fresh wave of assaults on our lives. Longer hours, lower wages, intensified labour and worsened working and living conditions happen with increasing intensity. The time we spend each day producing value which we take home shrinks against the time we spend at work making profits for the boss.

All industries are fair game to be abandoned if they dip below a certain rate of profit, with recent examples like Wilko being bought out, stripped for parts and their workforce sacked. Not only does capital expect us to settle for as little possible in our personal lives, it soon ransacks the state's coffers for huge sums of money, taking funds away from schools, hospitals and housing. Everywhere you look public spaces are increasingly commercialised, formerly sacrosanct state institutions are on the brink of ruin.

Each decline in living conditions and real wages is not an isolated instance of incompetence or greed but a further theft of the goods we produce, only made possible in the first place by the theft of our ability to control our own labour. Capital needs labour, it lives and grows through working class exploitation, but labour does not need capital. If the global working class were to take control of industry and produce for need instead of profit we would be free of the pointless, brutal labour that devours our lives. Rather than making fossil fuel infrastructure or plastic tat destined to be dumped in the ocean, we could finally use our enormous productive capacities, wasted by capital, to fix the problems capital won’t fix. Lack of medicine, food or housing could be things of the past. But as long as we work for the enrichment of our bosses they’ll always be luxuries increasingly many can’t afford. The hardships mounting all over the world are not new and they certainly will get worse. If we don’t want to see our lives bled dry by capital, we must make our own demands and lead our own struggles, as workers, against this rotting system.

The above article is taken from the current edition (No. 65) of Aurora, bulletin of the Communist Workers’ Organisation.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Aurora (en)

Aurora is the broadsheet of the ICT for the interventions amongst the working class. It is published and distributed in several countries and languages. So far it has been distributed in UK, France, Italy, Canada, USA, Colombia.