Capitalist Crisis and Political Power
30 September to 5 October 2012
Ritz Hotel, SeaPoint, Cape Town
Tel 021 447 6375 • www.ilrig.org
September sees the hosting of our 2012 annual globalisation school. ILRIG has been hosting its globalisation school since 2002. Activists from a wide range of organisations, including social movements and trade unions throughout Africa are invited to apply.
Globally the crisis of capitalism has deepened in 2012 – with Europe at the centre of a debt crisis prompted both by the bailouts of the 2009-2010 phase and the terms of the setting up of the EU as a unity of countries having very different levels of capitalist development.
While the core countries such a Germany have been able to suppress real wage levels and generate large current account surpluses by becoming the world’s biggest export economy; countries in the South were reliant on EU grants and selling bonds to offset being net importers. These countries on the European periphery – Greece, Portugal, Italy, Spain – are today the focus of attacks to retrieve the pound of flesh desired by big bond holder banks in Germany and France. There is no solution to this debt crisis but it is clear that Germany is also using the crisis to restructure the EU more explicitly under tight EU (read German) control – taking over political decision-making of the countries in debt.
The Greek elections were in this regard a seminal moment in that for the first time an avowedly Left party – one with definite roots in the waves of mass struggles in Greece over the past 5 years – stood on the threshold of electoral power and briefly threatened bourgeoise Europe. Whilst SYRIZA didn’t win (and, some would say, that, in the absence of real organs of working class selfrule, maybe being in effective opposition is better in allowing for a build up of a movement, rather than facing either capitulation in parliament or a military coups) for the first time in Europe there is some link between the protests by the indignados and an explicitly political formation (as opposed to having a movement in the streets and the squares but the only political formations are those of the old discredited Social Democracy)…
Meanwhile the Arab Spring which continues to promote so much optimism for a new upsurge is clearly being confronted with a counter-revolution – from the imperialist adventures in Libya, Yemen and Bahrain to the tyranny of the army in Egypt…and the attempts to promote the Muslim Brotherhood as the pinnacle of the Egyptian Revolution.
The ongoing occupations of Tahrir Square and the levels of strike action in Egypt – the key to any kind of regional transformation – show that the Arab Spring is not defeated and that the situation remains ripe with possibilities. But slowly, but painfully, the lesson of the centrality of political power to effect true social change may have to be learnt despite activists for so many years imbibing the sense that political power is only about capitulation and corruption