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Crunch time:

Is this the end of capitalism?


The following letter was sent into the Guardian newspaper in response to the feature 'Crunch time'.

Letters to the Editor

The Guardian

Wednesday, 17 September 2008



Dear Editor



The events of the last week are not 'the end of capitalism', but they have severely weakened its ideological foundations. This will undoubtedly create an opportunity to win mass support for socialist ideas.


For the last twenty years we have been told by the representatives of capitalism that the collapse of Stalinism (which we believe was not genuine socialism but a gross distortion of it) had left the market as the only effective vehicle for delivering goods and services to the peoples of the world. The future was to be one of endless rises in living standards.


We argued that the inherent contradictions within capitalism a system based on production for profit and not need remained, particularly the economic cycle of 'boom and bust'. These contradictions, however, were masked for an historical period by the unprecedented 'financialisation' of the system through the massive extension of credit.


But like an elastic band stretched to breaking point, it was bound to snap at some stage. That stage has now come.


The solution is not just the 'de facto' capitalist nationalisation of Bear Stearns or the more explicit example of the US government's takeover of Fannie and Freddie and now AIG.


These failing institutions should not only have been nationalised, but put under workers' control and management, with compensation based on proven need through the protection of small depositors.


Moreover, such public ownership should be just the first step to them joining a socialist and democratic plan of production for the economy as a whole.


Great events either confirm or falsify ideas. Capitalism has failed in a period most favourable to this system. Socialist ideas, far from being outdated, will prove to be the way forward.


The first step must be to create an independent political vehicle for working people that actually believes in, and champions, Socialism.


Cllr Dave Nellist


Dave Nellist is a Coventry councillor, ex-Labour MP, member of the Socialist Party and national chair of the Campaign for a New Workers' Party



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