Workers of the World Unite

The “Moneymen” are Coming

Be afraid; be very afraid; the “moneymen” are coming. Casino-type raw capitalism is bad for your health, bad for your old age, bad for the education of your children. The power of capital is global, financiers, bankers, private equity funds, the IMF, the World Bank, in short the “moneymen”, are not constrained by borders or the sovereignty of a state. They are traversing the globe dictating what governments must do to gain their approval. Ordinary people worldwide are at their mercy.

They demand policies and actions from governments that lead to millions of mainly young people joining the unemployed; the figures for youth unemployment (16 to 24-year-olds) currently are: US 20%, United Kingdom 20%, Greece 36%, Spain 44%, Ireland 29%, Portugal 28%, Italy 29%. They demand governments cut their spending. The hardships and the misery of such cuts are mainly visited upon the disabled, the vulnerable, the poor and the unemployed. Liberalize your economies; let us run everything, your care homes, your hospitals… everything. Cut the “red tape”, we must be allowed to run things our way. It is in your national interest, they cry, as if the national interest were some abstract concept. If the so-called national interest results in degrading the lives of millions, how can it be “national interest”? And, anyway, aren’t we in this mess because we allowed you to run things your way? Ah, they say, if you do not do what we say, we will show you what real austerity is.

The people of Europe and the US are just beginning to comprehend the enormity of the destruction and the sacrifices they are being asked to make for the greed and actions of the “moneymen”. To add insult to injury, the “moneymen” demand that their obscene salaries and bonuses be protected and continue to rise, or else!

People are rejecting these policies and ultimatums with demonstrations involving hundreds of thousands of people in Britain, Greece, Spain…etc., and the US. This collective action, in some cases, is organized by trade unions as in Britain. In other countries, the demonstrations are jointly organized by trade unions, students and the young, such as the Wisconsin protests in the US, Greece, Spain and other European countries. Its modus operandi echoes that of the Arab spring. These actions, at present, lack focused leadership and coordination. They have the common aim of fighting the tyranny of this barbaric global form of capitalism. The resistance to it, therefore, must also be organized globally.

The only movements that have the organizational skills, the knowledge and the resources are Trade Unions. Trade Unions in Britain have a history that goes back to 1871 when they were legalized. They have a proud record of improving the working conditions and wages of workers. They are also instrumental in the creation of the Labour party, with its progressive left of centre politics that has improved the lives of ordinary people in Britain. Tony Blair halted that noble record with his enthusiastic support for the Iraq war and his slavish sycophancy to the banks and the “moneymen”. Trade Unions in the UK have been under attack since Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979, and their influence and power were weakened considerably.

Their numbers have declined from 13 million in 1979 to 7.3 million in 2000. The Business Secretary Vince Cable warned delegates at the GMB union’s conference on 6-June-2011 that coordinated strike action may lead to tougher union laws that are already some of the toughest in Europe. Paul Kenny,  its general secretary (membership 600,000) responded: “Government ministers come onto the TV and the media, saying it’s ok to have protests and strikes in Egypt, but when it comes to workers’ protests in this country we think we should legislate them out of business.”

The protest march organized by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) that brought about 400,000 people to the streets of London on 26-March-2011 shows that they are still a force to be reckoned with. People are now ready to respond to a leadership able to articulate their pain and their anxiety about the future. This is the time to start a campaign to get the young to join trade unions; I believe people will be receptive to such a recruitment drive.

Leading trade unionists across Europe, the US and the developing world, need to strengthen the links that already exist between them. A campaign of peaceful collective resistance needs to be coordinated to counter this nasty, unregulated form of capitalism that is blighting the lives of millions across the globe, with governments unwilling, or unable to resist its advance. Without international solidarity and coordination, the “moneymen” can play one country against another and win.

If you are one of the 90% of humanity struggling to survive the harsh economic plight resulting from this unregulated casino-type capitalism, then this applies to you; join a union and resist the unjust and unfair polices demanded by the “moneymen”.

Adnan Al-Daini (PhD, Birmingham University, UK) is a retired University Engineering lecturer. He is a British citizen born in Iraq. He writes regularly on issues of social justice and the Middle East. Read other articles by Adnan.