Analysis

On the fateful evening of September 18, when Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Bank Chair Ben Bernanke pulled together a closed-door meeting to discuss the rapidly unfolding crisis plaguing the financial system, congressional leaders feigned shock and horror at its severity.
In even the most exploitative African sites of repression and capital accumulation, sometimes corporations take a hit, and victims sometimes unite on continental lines instead of being divided and conquered. Turns in the class struggle might have surprised Walter Rodney, the political economist whose 1972 classic How Europe Underdeveloped Africa provided detailed critiques of corporate looting.
Whether or not US Treasury secretary Henry Paulson’s rescue scheme works, one thing is already crystal clear: The capitalist system has failed spectacularly. The following editorial was published by the US Socialist Worker on September 25.
In the room are a chemical engineer from a large mining/energy corporation, a solar energy engineer, a psychiatrist, a veterinarian, an artist and a construction worker. Also present are an ex-Labor Party activist, a Greens candidate in the 2007 election and a socialist student. Where do you find all these people, and more besides, in one room working for the one cause? At a meeting of Melbourne’s Climate Emergency Network (CEN).
On September 15, in his last full day as federal opposition leader, Brendan Nelson confronted the Labor government with a tin of baked beans and a jar of jam. “That is the reality for Australian pensioners: baked beans and jam sandwiches”, Nelson said, moving a censure motion against the government for its failure to agree to increase the Age Pension by $30 a week.
The Socialist Alliance will stand two candidates for the City of Maribyrnong in the November council elections, on a platform of “community and environment before developers’ profits”.
“Will my superannuation fund be next?” “Are my savings safe?” As working people in the developed economies watch the assets of one financial institution after another vaporise into nothingness, tens of millions are asking these dreadful questions.
As I write this column the newspapers report that United States, Canadian, European and Japanese banks have combined to inject an extra US$180 billion (A$225 billion) into global financial markets. It is the latest desperate measure to try to stem the year-old global financial crisis commonly — and misleadingly — labelled the US subprime mortgage crisis.
The Macquarie Dictionary defines plutocracy as “the rule or power of wealth or of the wealthy”. With the accession of Malcolm Turnbull, the richest person in parliament, to the leadership of the Liberal Party, this definition would seem to provide a pretty good description of Australian “democracy” also.
The Fairfax Media workers’ strike on August 28-31 signalled growing troubles in the Australian media industry.

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