The Greek crisis is reaching a decisive turning point. In the run up to the recent elections many reassurances were made, but everyone knows that what is actually being prepared is a plan for an exit from the euro in an attempt to minimise the consequences and then to put the blame for this on the "irresponsible" Greeks.
The Muslim Brotherhood's candidate Mohammed Mursi has won Egypt's presidential election with 51.73% of the vote. Ahmed Shafiq, the candidate of the military, got 48.27%, according to the election commission. However these figures should be treated with caution.
The Egyptian revolution has taken a new turn in the last few days. The ruling Military Council (SCAF) has launched a number of very serious attacks on the revolution. The military police can now arrest civilians at will and parliament has been dissolved. The generals have also announced additions to the Constitutional Declaration of March 2011 which give them virtually unlimited powers. What was supposed to have been the first democratic presidential elections in the history of the country has ended in a farce and a power struggle between two rival factions of the Egyptian bourgeoisie: The Muslim Brotherhood and the Armed Forces.
A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of capitalist crisis. Events are moving at lightning speed. This slow-motion train wreck has suddenly speeded up. Each day we come closer to a Greek default and its exit from the euro. Squeezed by foreign bankers, demanding their pound of flesh, ordinary Greek people are being pushed to the limit. They are being reduced to a state of wretchedness and indignity.
Socialist Appeal calls upon the delegates of the Regional Labour Party conferences to push for a truly socialist programme:
The elections in France and Greece represent a fundamental change in the situation. The crisis of European capitalism has entered a new and turbulent stage. A mood of anger is sweeping across Europe. Of course, we understand that election results do not reflect the psychology of the masses with complete accuracy. They are like a snapshot of the mood at a given moment. But it is necessary to analyse election results carefully, since they do show certain trends in society.
The dramatic events that have been witnessed on the world stage; whether it be the marvellous beginnings of the Arab revolution, the upswing in the class struggle in Europe due to the euro crisis or the re-awakening of the class struggle in the United States have been seen by most New Zealanders, until recently, as being very distant affairs.
The New Zealand Bourgeoisie and their apologists have been painting a picture that New Zealand escaped lightly from 2008 economic recession. Throughout 2011 the National-led government has been promising spectacular growth and an export led recovery. As in previous years this has not materialised. One thing is absolutely clear on the basis of New Zealand capitalism this is not going to materialise!
"For a revolution to take place it is not enough for the exploited and oppressed masses to realise the impossibility of living in the old way, and demand changes; for a revolution to take place it is essential that the exploiters should not be able to live and rule in the old way. It is only when the ’lower classes’ do not want to live in the old way and the ’upper classes’ cannot carry on in the old way that the revolution can triumph” (Lenin, ‘Left-Wing’ Communism, an Infantile Disorder).
Another variation on the demand to “tax the rich” is the call for a tax on financial transactions, otherwise known as a “Financial Transactions Tax” (FTT), “Tobin Tax” (after the Nobel economics laureate, James Tobin, who first proposed the idea in 1972), or “Robin Hood Tax” (i.e. taking from the rich and giving to the poor).
The Ports of Auckland announced on March 7th, 2012, that it was making the 300 striking workers at the Ports of Auckland redundant and contracting out their jobs to scabs (contract workers). In justifying this decision the Ports Chairman Richard Pearson claimed this would lead to increased productivity improvements resisted by the Maritime Union. Mr Pearson claims the port will be fully operating in about ten weeks’ time when the contractors from Drake and AWF (formerly Allied Work Force) Group are brought up to standard.