By the Montreal Committee of the Parti Communiste Révolutionnaire – Revolutionary Communist Party.
It is Right to Rebel Against Austerity
The people’s demands are just and legitimate! In facing the general attacks by the bourgeoisie on the living, working, and learning conditions of the masses, the needs of the people must be promulgated and defended without concession. Currently, opposition against policies of austerity continues to grow. Broader sections of the population, coming from the proletariat and from the progressive ranks of the student movement, join together in opposing austerity. An important confrontation is in the making and that is where we are placing our hopes and our energy.
A Struggle Threatened by Reformism
The advancement of these mobilizations is however jeopardized by a significant weakness, paving the path to a bitter future. A reformist discourse dominates the movement, most notably articulated by the trade union, student, and community apparatuses. This discourse instrumentally mobilizes the just demands of the people with its misleading diagnosis of the current social and political situation as one of simple mismanagement of the state by the current regime under the influence of greed and neoliberal ideology. Good ideas, good values—such as justice, solidarity, etc.—and simply placing good people in charge of the capitalist economy would be enough to leave austerity behind and ensure that everyone will get their share. The struggle to satisfy the people’s needs is routed onto the dead end and illusory path of reorganizing the management of public finances and taxation.
Austerity, The Hideous Face of Capitalist Crisis
The above strategy is doomed to fail. To correctly diagnose the problem is to admit that austerity is primarily the inevitable consequence of the deep crisis of capitalism. The 2008 financial crash and the following worldwide recession were a brutal reminder of this historical reality: the bourgeoisie, collapsing under the over-accumulation of capital, is finding it more difficult to extract the profits from production. Its only options are on the one hand, to throw itself into financial speculation—until the outbreak of the next bubble and the evaporation of its fictitious wealth—and in other hand, to wage a ruthless struggle against the proletariat by increasing exploitation to extract more value. The policies of austerity are a necessary condition for this second objective. They now represent the ultimate horizon of capitalism.
An Appropriate Strategy for the Times
Are we saying that the struggle is futile, lost in advance? Most certainly not! A lucid diagnosis of austerity should include these two general findings. Firstly, each attack from the ruling class will be harsher than in previous times. The ruling class will strike with an opposition far more inflexible than before at the behest of bosses and their ideologues, and the state will respond with a repression that will be more fierce than before. In Québec, the student and popular struggle of 2012 is a good example, among others. Each battle will need to be fought with more determination and more imagination than ever before. Secondly, to free ourselves from these renewed attacks on our conditions of life (we named it neoliberalism yesterday, austerity today, and perhaps something else tomorrow), the only way forward is a clean break that only revolution and socialism can provide. Only socialism can meet our needs and free our society from the stifling constraints of the laws of capitalist accumulation. Only a political and social revolution—the overthrow of the bourgeois state—will establish real people’s power necessary for socialist policies.
This is why we engage in the movement against austerity and all struggles for people’s demands by working toward two objectives of solidarity: 1) to defend the interests and the immediate needs of the masses (better wages, better working conditions, better pensions, more services that are better adapted and more accessible, etc.) and 2) to grow the ranks and consolidate the revolutionary movements from the particular struggles to breathe life into people’s power, which will deliver fatal blows to the bourgeois state.
Solidarity with all proletarian sectors in struggle! Participate en-mass in struggles against austerity and work there to grow the anti-capitalist and revolutionary forces!