mercredi 23 juillet 2008

What is to be done?

Petras makes the point that

"The revolts of the mass of vulnerable consumers are directed at retailers, wholesalers and the government, which are held responsible for the higher prices. Governments are charged with deregulating the economy, subsidizing the profiteers, promoting profiteering, complicity with monopolies, imposing wages and salary constraints without commensurate control over prices and basic necessities. Where some subsidies or price controls are decreed they are not consistently implemented or enforced. Worse still, widespread evasion, hoarding and black-marketeering is rife because of official complicity and corruption. According to regime bureaucrats it is ‘easier’ to control wages than prices – hence the uneven and unjust enforcement. Moreover capitalist producers frequently dis-invest or withhold products especially necessities from the market as an effective weapon against price controls, forcing scarcity and inducing popular discontent with the incumbent regime. Reformist policies and regimes then are forced to choose between ‘lifting controls’ to increase profits and prices or maintaining controls and facing the wrath of masses confronting empty shelves. Few if any contemporary regimes are willing to make credible threats to intervene in economic sectors or even enterprises, withholding goods or investments. Even less likely are regimes willing to actually mobilize workers, farmers and consumers to take over strategic economic sectors vital to popular consumption. " [my emphasis].

Like the story below, the 'renationalised' Northern Rock has only been natioalised in name and money. The elites still rule it, the same free market rules will be applied, the little people will be fleeced. Instead of nationalisation, then, the term should be a 'People's Take Over'. Petras is right to say that reformist regimes are doomed. Reform and socialism are two entirely different entities - you are one or the other, there is, evidently, no third way. The masses will take over or perish.