Communist Party in Denmark
15. International Meeting, Lisbon, 2013
“The deepening crisis of capitalism, the role of the working class and the Communists' tasks in the struggle for workers' and peoples' rights. Imperialism's offensive, the realignment of forces on the international level, the national question, class emancipation and the struggle for socialism”.
Since the first beginnings of the present crisis, the widest and deepest in the history of capitalism, we have accurately analyzed how it would develop; predicting that Capital and its state-monopolistic governments would find ways to shift the costs unto the shoulders of the working class. Their tricks have cost the working class and the middle layers dear and will continue to do so. Using the crisis as an excuse, big business and employers exploit the situation to sharpen the class struggle by presenting the workers with ever new demands for wage cuts, longer working hours, and higher productivity.
The financial crisis as such has passed. Share prices and profits are again rising, and new speculative bubbles are sprouting. 87 per cent of the world’s accumulated capital is speculative capital and does not contribute to value creation. Economic policy is devoted to building up reserves that can save finance capital when the next collapse occurs. Again, the costs are borne by the working class and the middle layers. In Europe, state monopoly capitalism coupled with the European Union has been built up to a supra-state monopoly capitalism that without inhibitions of any kind robs the working class. Capitalism’s biggest political and economic problem is the classic one: the absence of consumption. In the first round, this has harmed the middle layers, small businesses and small shops. In the next round, the larger chain stores will be hit. The Danish conglomerate Maersk has already prepared for this and is now planning to sell its worldwide discount store chain called ”Netto”.
With stagnating and even to a large extent reduced wages, the Danish government decided to lower the tax on work, as per the agreed terms in the Fiscal Pact. This measure was called a ”Kick Start” to stimulate consumption which in its turn allegedly would create jobs. The ”kick”, however, never happened, and for an obvious reason. Lowering taxes means cutbacks and firings in the public sector and with increased unemployment and worsening conditions for the unemployed, people do not dare spend money.
What, then, are the consequences of unemployment, and how does it influence class consciousness? The demand for efficiency – that is, higher productivity – has led to an explosive rise in work-related injuries, mental disorders making up a considerable proportion, and the number of workplace accidents on building sites has also climbed. The latter fact is due not least to foreign companies and their imported workforce which do not follow safety regulations. Danish employers as well as employers in other countries speak about ”competitiveness” in order to keep wages low. But in fact the Danish wage level squarely matches the high Danish price level with regard to housing and food, and the prices require that every family needs two incomes. Wage dumping from low-cost countries is a major problem and forces wages in Denmark down. This goes for all areas – from agricultural production to the building industry and computer technology. In this way, unemployment hits all population layers with the exception of the very rich. The fear of being fired acts very destructively on the needed solidarity in workplaces and makes those that do have job work overtime to an unreasonable extent. A single ray of hope was recently provided by the slaughterhouse workers. The food monopoly ”Danish Crown” had threatened to move all of its production to Germany and Poland unless the workers agreed to a pay decrease. To compensate for the pay cut, the concern promised to invest the saved wage expenses in pork production, thereby ensuring that the workers would have jobs in the future. The shop stewards (!) supported the proposal, but a large majority of the workers, however, voted it down.
On November 19, Denmark holds local elections to city councils and regional councils. Allegedly in order to rouse the populace to cast their vote, a grand campaign has been launched in all institutions of education and in the media, aiming to teach the voters to prioritize. Both we, the candidates for the councils, and the voters must choose between such issues as for instance, ”Should the municipality spend money on creating jobs or on public transport? Should money be spent on casualty wards or cancer treatment?” This constitutes gross manipulation in one of the world’s richest countries, but it is yet another element in the ideological war waged by those in power: divide and rule. Like attempt to split among employed and unemployed, foreign law paid workers and Danish workers. We communists and the progressive unions do a huge work to ensure solidarity between people with jobs and the unemployed, between Danish and foreign workers in our workplaces, demanding equal conditions at the highest possible wage level.
For us, the communist workers’ parties, the main challenge is to put action behind the words, ”Workers of all countries, unite!” Let us stage joint campaigns against being played off against each other – campaigns for common demands and solidarity.