From Socialist Voice, March 2011

Never miss an opportunity presented by a crisis

As the crisis of the European capitalist system is now centred around the euro, the meeting of EU heads of state and heads of government this month will attempt to bring in new rules for the euro zone and for dealing with the mounting debt crisis in Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and Greece.
     Leading elements are attempting to use the crisis to push forward the position that the problem lies in the economic competitiveness of the EU countries and the idea that if we remove “obstacles” to competitiveness this will kick-start economic growth. But what is clear is that their understanding, and the proposals regarding the “Competitiveness Pact,” is about exporting the model of no wage increases and in fact reductions in wages in all the members-states. The right to collective bargaining is also in the cross-hairs of the EU Commission and big business.
     This will further pit workers against each other under the guise of “competitiveness” in a downward spiral, being encouraged to undercut each other’s wages and working conditions. This follows at least a decade-long strategy of stagnant wages and increasingly precarious working conditions. Workers will be pitted against each other, while profits, bonuses and dividends soar.
     Monopoly capitalism is taking full advantage of the crisis to push back working people’s rights, to take back what they have been forced to concede over decades of struggle.

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