There is a common thread between the upcoming strikes in defence of public sector pensions in
The state in both countries is the national voice of a global capitalist system in profound crisis. In
Deepening the problem is the fact that during the globalisation period, tax take from the corporations has declined as a share of national income (GDP). In 1985, tax on corporate incomes in the
The burden of funding state spending has therefore increasingly fallen on wage earners and consumers. As real wages have fallen in
The secret talks between
But what should be the aim of the resistance, which has driven teachers, lecturers and civil servants to a one-day strike on June 30? The state can’t compromise because there is no room for a deal. In the market capitalist state that
It would take the creation of an entirely different set of social, economic and political conditions to reverse the attacks on pensions, services and jobs. Relying on corporations to pay more tax is unrealistic under globalisation and asking workers and consumers to share more of the burden – as the government is doing – is reactionary.
However, if the economy were socialised, owned and run not in the interests of shareholders and lenders but those determined by society as a whole, then a different basis for public spending could be established. Instead of taxation as a source of state revenue, we could use the surplus created by economic activity for social purposes.
Under capitalism, this surplus is used to fund massive bonuses and executive salaries, pay off lenders and keep dividends flowing. Tax avoidance is, of course, de rigueur. In a not-for-profit economy, the “dividend” would end up in the hands of a democratic state dedicated to providing for social need.
We should not accept, as some trade union leaders have already done, that they “understand” the pensions’ deficit and that action is required to deal with it. The fight is for a more developed society that enables people to retire young enough to enjoy their lives and fulfil personal development. As capitalism can’t and won’t do that, the battle for the alternative is on – both in