Tuesday 22 November 2011

Capitalism in crisis - defending education across the globe

In the post-war boom, governments agreed that well-funded comprehensive education was a price worth paying to create an educated workforce. Now, across the globe, they want to turn the clock back and steal away all the gains won by the trade union movement. 

In Britain, tuition fees and EMA cuts are robbing working-class children of the chance of further and higher education. The same policy of cutbacks is seen the world over - but so is the angry response from workers and youth.

“Students have been demonstrating now for five months, demanding free education for all” (Celso - CWI in Chile)

While the heroic struggle of the Greek workers continues, the EU financiers are determined to force through yet more cuts. Public sector salaries have already been cut in half. 30% of hospital beds have been axed. Similar attacks are also being carried out in Italy, Spain, Ireland and elsewhere. The same future awaits us in Britain if we allow the Con-Dems to defeat us. 

“Children approach their teachers to complain they are hungry, some even faint in class” (Andros - CWI in Athens) 

These vicious cuts create misery - but bring nothing but more cuts. The Greek economy has been pushed into even deeper recession as people are pushed further into poverty and joblessness.

“ The dictatorship of the markets has become a practical reality in Italy and Greece with the imposition of technocrats as Prime Minister in each country. I argue that this should be met with a European-wide general strike” (Paul Murphy MEP - CWI in Ireland)

The neo-liberal attacks on education such as the Free Schools in Sweden  and Charter Schools in the US have been shown to widen segregation and depress educational outcomes overall. But, instead of blaming themselves, capitalist politicians seek to scapegoat teachers and their trade unions instead.

“Swedish schools have become more segregated, with free schools having more unqualified teachers. The working conditions of all teachers have deteriorated” (Sigbritt - CWI in Sweden) 

The PCS civil service union has already proposed an immediate alternative to Osborne’s £81 billion worth of cuts over four years. It demands the collection of the massive £120 billion unpaid tax of big business which, if implemented, would render the cuts completely unnecessary. The Socialist Party and the whole movement support this demand.

“The education deformers want to make teachers scapegoats for the problems in society” (Tom - CWI in USA)

However, the laudable attempts to close and eliminate the ‘wealth gap’ are likely to be stillborn under capitalism.           We support a ‘Robin Hood tax’ on the transactions of big business. But history shows that the capitalists always find a million and one ways to circumvent any law which seeks to claw back some of the wealth and eats into their profits.

The only way to prevent this is through the nationalisation of the banks and finance houses. Similarly, the ‘dictatorship of the market’, which is holding the whole of Europe to ransom, should be met with the cancellation of the debt to the bond parasites. This in turn could only succeed if nationalisation was carried through not just in one country but on an international basis.

Brutal capitalism is demonstrating daily the blind alley which this system is in and is preparing the ground for millions to search for an alternative. It is incapable of satisfying human requirements in today’s world. Socialism is the idea which will dominate the 21st-century.

The CWI is the 'Committee for a Workers’ International', the international body to which the Socilaist Party is affiliated and of which I am proud to be a member. The CWI is organised in 45 countries. To read reports from struggles across the globe, visit:

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