1. The current crisis is typical of the crises that regularly appear in the capitalist economy. “Overproduction”, speculation and subsequent collapse are inherent to the system. (As Alexander Berkman and others have pointed out, what capitalist economists call overproduction is actually underconsumption: capitalism prevents large numbers of people from fulfilling their needs, and so undermines its own markets.)
2. Any solution to the crisis prepared by capitalists and governments will remain a solution within capitalism. It will not be a solution for the popular classes. Indeed, as in every crisis, the workers and the poor are paying – while financial capital is being bailed out with huge sums. This is likely to continue. No change within capitalism can resolve the problems of the popular classes; still less can such a solution be expected from individual politicians, such as Barack Obama. The most such politicians can do is play a part in offering the capitalists a way out, and perhaps in throwing the working class some crumbs.
3. The bank bailouts show not only whose interests the state serves, but the hollowness of capitalist commitment to free markets. Throughout history, capitalists have stood for markets when it suits them, and state regulation and subsidies when they need it. Capitalism could never have existed without state support.
4. In the US, the UK and elsewhere, the bailouts have taken the form of nationalisation of troubled financial institutions – with the full support of capital. This shows that capitalists have no fundamental problem with state ownership, and that nationalisation has nothing to do with socialism. It can also be a method of screwing the working class. We ourselves, not the state, need to take control of the economy.
5. Owing to the globalisation of capital under neo-liberalism, the ruling class recognises that the solution must be global. The G20 is meeting from 15 November to discuss the crisis. This is significant. The rulers of the US, Europe and Japan are coming to realise that they cannot handle the crisis on their own; that they need, not only one another, but other powers, notably China (which is emerging as a top industrial producer, and is on its way to becoming the world’s third-biggest economy). India, Brazil and other “emerging” economies will have seats at the table. This may mark a recognition – under discussion for some years – that the G8 alone are no longer the world’s economic decision makers. It is likely to signal a shift in the running of the global economic system.
6. We place no hopes in the inclusion of new capitalist powers. China’s rulers may claim to be socialist; others, such as Lula of Brazil and Motlanthe of South Africa, may present themselves at times as champions of the poor. But in fact, all are defenders of capitalism, exploiters and oppressors of the people of their own countries, and, increasingly, imperialist or sub-imperialist exploiters of the people of other countries.
7. If the crisis is to lead to anything other than complete defeat for the global popular classes, poverty, exploitation and war, the popular classes must mobilise. We must demand bailouts, not for the capitalists, but for us. We anarchist communists will fight for those who got homes on subprime mortgages to be bailed out and keep their homes. We will continue to engage in and support struggles for jobs with better wages and shorter hours, housing, services, health services, welfare and education, protection of the environment. We fight for an end to imperialist wars and to repression of our class and its struggles.
8. We present these demands in response to the G20 meeting, and will continue to present them in the future. Through such demands, and through direct action to bring them about, we will work towards building a global movement of the popular classes that can put an end to capitalism, the state and the crises they create.
Alternative Libertaire (France)
Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici (Italy)
Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group (Australia)
Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (South Africa)
Federação Anarquista do Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
Common Cause (Ontario, Canada)
Unión Socialista Libertaria (Peru)
Union Communiste Libertaire (Quebec, Canada)
Liberty & Solidarity (United Kingdom)
Asociación Obrera de Canarias/Eššer Amahlan n Tekanaren (Canary Islands, Africa)
Anarchistische Föderation Berlin (Germany)