by David Peel
For many millions of us in Britain and across Europe, austerity is not an economic response to a capitalist crisis. It is a full blown transformation of our way of living where the vast majority share – albeit in a limited way – in the benefits of the wealth we created. It is a shift to a way of living that makes us all poorer, not just financially, but culturally, politically and socially, where much more of the wealth we create is handed to the very few richest and most powerful.
We all know capitalism is crisis. Adam Smith knew it. Ricardo knew it. Marx knew it. Ups and downs. Booms and slumps. The rich cannot make their millions out of economic stability. For them to rise to riches, millions of us must fall to poverty.
Of course, the deal is not poverty. Outside our European enclave, children die for want of a sip of water so that we can drink wine. Others starve so we can gorge on fast foods. We keep the world poor and enslaved so our rich can stay rich, and we can eat their crumbs.
But when the banks crashed in 2007, capitalism suffered a depth of crisis it had never experienced before. An organic crisis. It was shaken to its foundations. It will recover, as long as we are prepared to pay for it. Austerity is our payment. The rich and powerful will never pay, not even to save their own wretched system. If their capitalism were ever seriously threatened, they would rather play the fascist card, than pay.
They did it the last time capitalism almost went under – in the 1920s and 1930s in Germany, Spain and Italy, and they are doing it again today in Greece, the Ukraine, France and even tentatively here. The response of us – the people – to this crisis and austerity – has been however, extraordinary, though it may not feel like that here. Across Europe, millions are choosing radical, revolutionary anti austerity groups in Greece, Portugal, Italy and Spain.
Here a similar movement is on the rise.
The People’s Assembly Against Austerity started out as a letter to a national newspaper a year ago. Today, 100 assemblies across the country are active against austerity.
On June 21, in their tens of thousands from across Britain including Norfolk, they will march in London from Portland Place to Parliament square. We will be demanding an alternative to austerity, and we have set out what that alternative is. Not since students rocked the establishment with their march on Millbank in London will the capital have seen such a demonstration of such variety and determination focussed on one common enemy – the Coalition led austerity government.
This is a non-Party political grass roots movement of protest with unstoppable momentum, and bases in every part of Britain. Regardless of the elections in 2015, any government embracing cuts will face this movement. It is allied to the trade unions that have forged an unbreakable bond with it. It will win because austerity means failure is no longer an option.
Join us and be on the coaches leaving from the Theatre Royal Norwich, on Saturday June 21.
[David Peel is the National Press Officer for the People’s Assembly. To book transport for the No More Austerity, Demand the Alternative on June 21st, please contact the Norfolk People’s Assembly]