The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Financial crisis:
After the U.S. comes Europe

Oct 6, 2008

The following is translated from the October 3 issue of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), published by the revolutionary workers' group of that name active in France.

As in the United States, the financial crisis has now taken a catastrophic turn in Europe. The national states and the European Central Bank (ECB) are intervening daily to save financial businesses from bankruptcy.

How could it be otherwise, when the international financial system forms a whole, when the great banks of the entire world every day buy, sell and lend to each other colossal amounts of securities, stocks, currency and "derivatives," all while partially owning one another. These institutions, collectively and in competition with each other, dominate the economy of the whole planet.

In just two days – September 29th and 30th – Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg nationalized Fortis Bank for 16 billion dollars; Germany decided to guarantee 50 billion dollars for the Hypo Real Estate Bank; Great Britain, Denmark and Iceland each nationalized a failing financial company; Spain supported the stock of its national savings bank; France poured four billion dollars into saving Dexia; and the European Central Bank injected 275 billion dollars into the financial market, lending this enormous sum to bankers "in difficulty."

It's impossible to know how much money the European Central Bank and the European states advanced over the past year trying to save bankers near collapse and attempting to avoid a general panic. But it is certain that hundreds of billions of dollars have already disappeared from their vaults and that bankers and governments will try to make the workers pay the price for it.

These banks devote all available resources, beginning with that of the working population, to save what can't be saved – the capitalist system.