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Communist Party in Denmark
International meeting, Beirut, Lebanon Nov. 2012
“Strengthen the struggles against escalating imperialist aggressiveness, for satisfying peoples’ socio-economic-democratic rights and aspirations, for socialism.”
Since the crisis broke out with the 2008 collapse of finance capital, we have used our yearly meetings to analyse the economic and political situation as well as the strategy and policy which the capitalist system was expected to employ to maintain its power. Our analyses have been accurate, and developments have confirmed them.
Even if those in power can no longer justify calling the crisis a ”financial crisis” which is how it was initially described, that exact term is still widely used in politics and by the media. States have spread a hideously costly safety net under finance capital, and big banks are buying up lesser and smaller banks. The words ”crisis” and ”finance crisis” are currently being used deliberately by capital, its politicians and its media as a tool in the class struggle, partly with the intention of propagating the illusion that the crisis is a temporary one that will pass, whereupon all will be well again, at least in the developed part of the world.
The forces of capitalism try to delude people that to ”pass through and emerge from” the crisis it is necessary to temporarily cut back the whole public sector, to bolster up the economy of the banks, and to strengthen the competitiveness of business enterprises through lowering wages and production costs. In Denmark, we have traditionally levied relatively high and direct tax on wage earnings – approximately 50 per cent, rising progressively with wage income, but recently both a tax freeze and large income tax reductions have been implemented. In this way the workers are bluffed into refraining from demanding wage rises because they get more money to spend in the short term.
This of course has raised profits, but at the same time real wages have declined because of big price rises particularly on foodstuffs, bank fees and public services. That tax reductions instead of wage rises will give people more cash in hand is an illusion. The particular so-called ”Nordic society model” entails that all public expenditure is financed through taxation: income tax and a consumption tax (VAT) on all goods and services. When this taxation is lowered there is less money to spend on the tasks of society; the situation is further aggravated by increasing expenditure on subvention of banks and employers, rising contributions to the EU, NATO and war costs, while consumption declines as a consequence of the constantly rising unemployment and falling real wages.
People are led to believe that the rise in unemployment is of a temporary nature, an effect of the crisis, and will be overcome. Thus our Social Democrat-led government tells us that ”we must invest to get past the crisis” by launching large-scale public construction projects or subsidizing business, while the bourgeois opposition calls for a further ”lightening of the burdens and taxes on business”. Just as little as new jobs will be created through the improved ”competitiveness” which capital in all countries demands and is being given, just as few jobs will come into being for unemployed Danes by State investments in public construction projects and business subsidies, due to the EU rules. EU judgments ensure that capital may bring its own labour force, on its own conditions, and at a wage level that is no match for the price level and cost of living in Denmark.
The problematic dumping with regard to wages and working conditions pitches workers against each other. The Danish trade-union movement is working hard to prevent that the fight for work doesn’t become a fight of workers against workers. Both on the European and the international level a heavy responsibility rests upon us communists for securing solidarity between all workers and for demanding equal and decent wage and working conditions.
The crisis has deepened the class struggle very considerably. Capital and employers exploit the situation maximally to their own advantage, and unemployment is crassly used as a tool to put the working class on the defensive. With those who have a job, fear of unemployment is latently ever-present, and with good reason. But frightened workers are not the most able fighters, and this fact is being exploited. Unlike the political parties, capital and employers use quite plain language when carrying out mass firings. ”We don’t make enough money, so we must sack employees”. When large banks or corporations carry out mass firings, share prices go up. It has never been more clear-cut than now.
The Danish government has just completed the 2013 State budget talks. The framework and political tendency in the budget was dictated and approved in advance by the EU, in compliance with the fiscal pact which Denmark voluntarily joined. The finance bill includes an enormous contribution to the EU and lots of money for NATO, the army and imperialist warfare. The bill includes tax relief for the richest, a tax raise for the poorest, and a continued billion-sized economic guarantee to finance capital. The United Left, support party for the government, has reached a compromise with the government and votes in favour of the bill. The ”premium” for doing so is a small compensation in 6 month more to the thousands who stand to lose their unemployment benefit after January 1st, as a consequence of cutbacks in this safety net. But there is none help for the new thousands who will find themselves in the same situation from February and for many years onward who will be left with no income whatsoever; this is a tragedy for the affected families, and there will be severe social and economic consequences for society, not least with respect to the housing market when so many will go bankrupt and have to leave their homes. This whole human and economic catastrophe has the attention of all Denmark and all media, and it is the view of our party that it should be used to mobilize, to put forward strong demands, and to bring into focus the inhuman system which is the cause of the catastrophe.
Our party campaigns for the demand that companies who dismiss employees, be it because they can’t generate enough profit for the shareholders, because they move their production to a cheaper country, or because they want to employ workers from other countries at lower wages, – these companies must themselves pay the bill they present to society in the form of unemployment. The rising unemployment must be met with demands for shorter working hours; the opposite is the case now, because employers abuse people’s fear of losing their job. In our fight we must be on the offensive. Experience tells us that when we take our demands out on the streets, people support them and tell us that they hadn’t even thought of putting forward demands. They have been manipulated to think defensively.
After ten years under a bourgeois government we have for the last year had a three-party government led by the Social Democrats and supported by the United Left. The Danish working class is bitterly disappointed and disillusioned. None of the government or support parties call the capitalist system to account for its atrocities, and neither do they point to alternatives. They submit to monopoly capital’s EU and its dictates. In his statements, our Minister for Foreign Affairs (who belongs to the leftist Socialist People’s Party) can hardly wait for the EU and NATO to go to war in Syria on the insurgents’ side, and by the same token all the parties mentioned, including the United Left, voted in favour of the war against Libya.
For these reasons we need to pass on our analyses of imperialism, and our members and followers need to study and understand the nature of imperialism. For these reasons our communist parties need to gather broadly around socialism as the alternative.