Tag Archives: History

Capitalist Vampires

 

I love this! Walter Crane from the 19th Century. There is a fantastic online library of this stuff from all over the world on the website of the International Institute Of Social History based in Amsterdam.

 

Wage labor? Wage slavery?

“The slave was precious to his master because of the money he had cost him… They were worth at least as much as they could be sold for in the market… It is the impossibility of living by any other means that compels our farm labourers to till the soil whose fruits they will not eat and our masons to construct buildings in which they will not live… It is want that compels them to go down on their knees to the rich man in order to get from him permission to enrich him… what effective gain [has] the suppression of slavery brought [him ?] He is free, you say. Ah! That is his misfortune… These men… [have] the most terrible, the most imperious of masters, that is, need. … They must therefore find someone to hire them, or die of hunger. Is that to be free?”

Simon Linguet 1763

Oh, why, oh, why, do they hate us so much?

English: John Pilger NS head shot

…..So rang the cries of many Americans on 11th September 2001. Well, this clip from John Pilger‘s, The War You Don’t See, illustrates what the problem was and how U.S. foreign policy since that terrible day has not improved the reputation of the U.S.A. throughout the world one jot….

It has ever been thus!

This Labour Party poster from 1930 illustrates that we are in exactly the same situation today as we were after the Wall Street crash of 1929. Then as now, the collapse in the capitalist system led to an era of  ‘austerity’ justified on the basis of “we’re all in this together” style “equality of sacrifice”. Then as now, the rapid withdrawal of government spending led to recession, which in turn led to depression and ultimately to World War II. The great Keynsian economic revelation that emerged from this sequence of tragedies was that in a crisis of capitalism a managed economy with extensive and targeted public spending is the only to way back to growth.

Indeed, it is possible to argue that the Western world did not recover from the Wall Street crash until the outbreak of WWII impelled governments to take absolute control of the economy and directly manage industrial production and distribution.

In any event the history of the 1930’s demonstrate that expecting the “private sector” to be the saviour of the Western economic system (as Cameron’s Conservatives currently do) is ideological and economic nonsense. To use the near fatal crisis in freemarket corporate capitalism to justify pursuing the ideological aims of freemarket corporate capitalism,  such as dismantling the Welfare State, is historically blind, economically inept,  morally bankrupt and most of all mind-numbingly STUPID!

Of course this fabulous poster comes from a time when the Labour Party actually had Socialist aspirations rather than simply being the slightly left of centre wing of a centre-right, corporate-capitalist political class.