Declaration of DKP’s Executive Committee
The financial crisis has global effects. It has driven the world economy into a recession resulting in extreme stock price losses and increasing effects on the real economy, witness the German automobile industry. The consequences for the working class, the employed and unemployed, for pensioners and those dependent on any form of public assistance, for the poor all over the world, as well as for the middle class in the developed capitalist countries, are not yet fully foreseeable.
Reality has long since disproven that this crisis is exclusively one of the US financial capital; the reference to stable conditions in Europe also do not hold true. All gossip about economic growth and about a “jobs miracle” is passé in Germany too. Minister of Finance Steinbrück explained in the budget debate in early September that the financial crisis was US-made. At the end of September he proclaimed that “the world will never be the same as before the crisis.” On October 10th Chancellor Merkel informed the German parliament that “(never) before have we had such a serious situation.” Newspaper headlines shouting “Capitalism in crisis” or “Capitalist system in question” were to be read.
If taxpayers were not now being compelled to preserve the banks and insurance companies not only of the five large banks of the USA, but of various banks in Iceland, Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and other countries, the banks would have gone bankrupt. The governments of the economically strongest capitalist states have enacted programs to save the banks. Some of the financial institutions most heavily struck by the crisis are to be – temporarily – trusteed by the government. The goal is the “socialization” of their losses. Eventually, situation the “reconstructed institutions” will be returned to the control of finance capital.
The government of the Federal Republic of Germany is planning to grant more than 500 billion euros for subsidies and/or securities.
The German Communist Party rejects this waste of public funds. We demand the immediate installation of a commission of representatives of trade unions, other institutions independent of bank capital, and representatives of the public. Their task would be to inform the public about the extent of the crisis and to submit solutions which would to be decided upon in popular vote. As an immediate step we suggest the transfer of all major banks into public ownership; control should not remain any longer in the hands of bankrupters and speculators.
We still remember clearly:
• When six billion euros for kindergartens and day care centers, when seven billion euros necessary for an increase of 420 euros a month in unemployment benefits were demanded, it was unanimously called “too expensive” by the neoliberal parties (the Conservatives, the Liberals, the Social Democrats, and the Green Party). But, suddenly, there is enough money left – billions of euros – for the support of banks, insurance corporations and probably several large corporations.
• When a legal minimum wage level was discussed, or a jobs program was demanded, or when an increase of pensions was asked for, these expenditures were counted as prohibitive. Now, it’s about dozens of billions of euros. The representatives of the governing coalition decided it. Not even parliament was consulted. The people were not asked at all. The influence and power of finance capital on the dominant parties has never been seen as clearly as now.
• When the debate was about social, educational or humanitarian demands, increases in spending were rejected with the argument the main goal should be to reduce the national debt. Now we have to learn: capitalism must be saved – no matter what the price.
This crisis didn’t fall from the blue sky. The causes for this crisis lay not in the failure and errors of bankers, management committees or in the failure of state supervision of the banks. The former simply used the possibilities which the system gave them as speculation expanded more and more.
Capitalism has created this devastating crisis. The conclusions drawn in the German Communist Party Program are confirmed in a dramatic way. “Speculation was always a component of capitalist economy. But in the new phase of monopoly capitalism it has become a determining element and penetrates all spheres of economics and politics. This leads to the fact that financial speculation for big companies becomes a central instrument of capitalist accumulation. With large mergers in the bank and insurance sector, with enormous financial resources collected in investment funds, pension funds and the like, the power of the financial establishment has reached a new and higher stage. Capitalist circles around the world are in search of the highest profit rate. Their profit-hunger can be satisfied only by a reckless increase of share prices and the plundering of the budgets of states and municipalities. And local government is driven by increasing debt into deeper dependence on the financial establishment. The speculation has achieved a new scale. No longer does it involve only stocks and enterprises. National currencies became objects of speculation. The international financial markets dictate national economic policy.”
These financial markets – and with them the economy – have now slid into a deep crisis for which the majority of the people all over the world, first and foremost the poorest, are going to have to pay the price. On October 9th the newspaper “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung,” voice of the German bourgeoisie, felt called upon to quote the “Communist Manifesto” on its front page: “… Modern bourgeois society, with its relations of production, of exchange, and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world which he has summoned by his spells “
The fact that the USA as well as Britain, Belgium and other states have put the banks under state control demonstrates the crash of the so-called free market economy, of capitalism. Crises are part of the capitalist system, but obviously this crisis runs somewhat differently, because several crisis factors are affecting each other: the overproduction crisis, the ecology crisis, the hunger crisis, and the distinct possibility of the defeat of imperialism in Afghanistan and Iraq.
All of this can lead to consequences that could vitally endanger humanity and nature. Catastrophes due to warfare, to ecological and social disasters, as well as the worsening of conditions due to migration become more likely. In addition, the tendencies to reactionary, dictatorial forms of capitalist rule will continue to grow. The unconstitutional proposal made by the German Government to allow its armed forces to take action within the country’s borders is yet another omen.
We, members of the German Communist Party, see ourselves as a part of the extra-parliamentary movement which must now voice and implement the opinions of the majority of the working people against neo-liberal power. We now have to strengthen protest and resistance against the further destruction of social welfare systems, against the dismantling of education, against further privatization of public utilities, as well as against the change of the tax system in favor of capital.
Everywhere we work, study and live we have to organize resistance. Our demands and actions are in the interest of workers, the unemployed, students and pensioners.
Social alliances must be the result of the conflicts experiences in factories and offices, in neighborhoods and cities. These alliances now need to join forces and draft joint demands.
The DKP – the German Communist Party – has put forth following demands:
Not to “socialize” the losses, but to transfer banks and companies into public property and put them under democratic control!
It is time to implement the Constitution (Article 14 – property implemented – and Article 15 – socialization)
To stop further privatization, we demand the protection of the savings banks, municipal banks and the public community structures
Tax reform against the interest of finance capital
An immediate 1.5% taxation of the 800,000 multimillionaires. This alone could bring in revenue amounting to approximately 30 billion euros, for example, for a jobs program.
In all financial and insurance organizations there most be representatives elected from democratic bodies such as trade unions, democratic associations, federations and social organizations with the task of supervision and control of business practices.
In addition, we call for one immediate political measure: a ban on speculation and the abolition of hedge funds. Criminal offenses are to be uncovered and pursued; criminal offenders from the ranks of corporate management are to be punished.
We demand a change in politics – not only as the danger of reactionary trends grows. This will require public support by a large majority of the people for more social, more democratic, more ecological and anti-war policies. This process will have to focus on discussion of social alternatives and future perspectives. Solidarity in action and in debate are two sides of one coin. We need an open debate over what kind of a future we want.
In view of the recent crisis of capitalism we Communists renew our stance: Under the precondition of public ownership of the means of production and comprehensive social planning of production, it will be feasible – in the course of a long historical process – to develop a human social order “in which the free development of each individual is the condition for the free development of all.” (K.Marx and F. Engels: “The Communist Manifesto”)