From the pages of The Socialist
In 2015, Greece experienced the historic election victory of the left radical Syriza. This was followed by the massive rejection of austerity in the July referendum with 61% voting ‘No’, only to be followed by Greek Prime Minister Tsipras’ craven capitulation to the ‘Troika’ (the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Union) representing the selfish possessing classes of Europe.
These stormy events were compressed into just one year!
This is a measure of the sudden changes which have become a feature of current politics, not just in Greece but also in the rest of the Europe and the world.
Similar movements, although not yet on the scale of Greece, have taken place in Spain. In the recent general election there the main two capitalist parties lost 5 million votes between them. Meanwhile, the anti-austerity party Podemos won 20% of the vote.
The roots of this rapid change in events are to be found in the complete failure of capitalism, through its politicians, parties and governments, to overcome the economic failure of its system.
This also explains the organic political and social instability throughout the capitalist world, summed up by the intractable crisis of Syria and the Middle East.
There, only independent, united movements of the working class offer a lasting solution.
This in turn has shaken Europe through the refugee crisis.
But, say the capitalist ‘experts’, there is an economic ‘recovery’ taking place, which in time will put the system back on its feet.
This ‘recovery’ is illusionary and mostly in the pockets of the bosses. The working class as a whole has not experienced a real recovery in its devastated living standards.
True, there seems to be an impressive improvement in employment in the US. This is to be welcomed in the sense that it boosts workers’ confidence because the numbers in the workplaces are greater.
This in turn creates the possibility of a fightback to regain what was lost in the recession/depression since 2007-08.
But millions of working people have not yet escaped from the plunge in their conditions which followed.
When Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, visited Britain in December, she incredibly gave a clean bill of health to the British economy, George Osborne and the Tory government, and to the future overall prospects of capitalism!
Yet the very next day, the headline in the rich people’s paper, the Financial Times, commenting on the richest country in the world, read:
“[A] Fifth of US adults live in or near to poverty… Almost 5.7 million [have] joined the country’s lowest income ranks since the global financial crisis…
“The old American dream was to own a home and two cars. The new American dream is to have a job.”
Like ink on blotting paper, poverty has inexorably spread to more and more US workers and also to big sections of the middle class.
Support in US for socialist ideas
It is not an accident that support in the US for Socialist Alternative, political co-thinkers of the Socialist Party in England and Wales, now has a growing basis in Texas and throughout the US.
This has laid the basis for the spectacular emergence of the Bernie Sanders campaign in the US Democratic Party primary elections.
His call for a “political revolution” against Wall Street has found a big resonance among workers and the middle class, with tens of thousands flocking to his rallies.
However, not just a political but an economic and social revolution is necessary if the lives of the working and middle classes are to be really transformed.
Socialist Alternative helped to lay the basis for the emergence of the Sanders campaign through the second great victory, in November 2015, of Kshama Sawant as a city councillor in Seattle.
Socialist Alternative has given critical support to Sanders’ campaign during the primaries but has also called upon him to break from the capitalist Democratic Party, which is firmly in the grip of Wall Street and corporate America, which Sanders himself has so roundly condemned.
The time is not just ripe, it is rotten ripe in 2016 for the launching of an independent mass radical left party to provide a real alternative to the discredited capitalist US two-party system.