How does Capitalist Crisis affect Socialist Countries?

Keith Bennett gives an interesting presentation on the impact of the world capitalist economic crisis of overproduction upon the economic and social life of socialist countries, at a CPGB-ML seminar held as economic meltdown hit in 2009.

The classic case of a socialist country immune to crisis is provided, he says, by the Soviet Union in the 1930s, whose economic output increased 5-fold while the capitalist world’s declined, mired as it was in the great depression that followed the Wall Street Crash, and dragged on until it fuelled events leading to a second World War.

The Soviet Union, after temporary concessions to capitalism following the destruction of world war one, the civil war, and the war of intervention, put aside Lenin’s ‘New Economic Policy’ and embarked upon full scale collectivisation in the countryside, enabling increased agricultural production and rural prosperity. This in turn allowed the towns to grow, to be fed, and increase their industrial output. It was the economic, cultural and technical development consequent upon its socialist economy that enabled the Soviet Union to defeat German Nazi Imperialism in the Great Patriotic War (WW2) between 1941-45.

Keith goes on to discuss modern China, the inroads of capitalist economics into her social life, the extent to which she always had a dual economy, and the fact that China’s economy, while continuing to expand, has been adversely affected by the declining capacity of the capitalist world to absorb her exports.

Referring to the history of the world economy, Keith points out that Capitalism cannot offer a sustainable source of economic growth, peaceful or stable development, and remains inherently prone to crisis, dislocation, instability and war.

Capitalism, if allowed to flourish in the economic sphere, will inevitably seek political power, and to change the nature of the state to suit its interests, he concludes.

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Unemployment and the fight back

Unemployment in Britain is now over 2.5 million, with young people being especially hit; people under 25 account for about 40 percent of the unemployed and according to latest figures youth unemployment stands in excess of 1 million. Any day you visit the jobcentre it is literally bursting with people competing for jobs and the chances of finding work are getting less and less. In our region so many factories, pits and traditional heavy industries have closed down that the only places to look for work appear to be Tesco, Asda and McDonald’s. This entire experience is depressing and degrading, how many times must you apply for a job and never even receive a response?!

Wales

Unemployment in Wales has been a serious problem for some years, but recent reports by the Office for National Statistics and subsequent work by University researchers show that the scale of the problem is huge. Two Welsh Council’s Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr Tydfil now rank in the top ten of Britain’s worst hit areas with a study by Sheffield Hallam University claiming unemployment rates of 17% and 14.9%. The report claims that Wales is hit much harder by unemployment than official statistics for those claiming jobseekers allowance suggest. With thousands of school leavers entering the jobs market and thousands more being thrown off Incapacity Benefit by bonus hungry health ‘professionals’ at private company Atos; it leads any sensible and thinking person to ask, how are people in Wales supposed to find work?

How to fight back

In days gone by when the British working class had a strong militant communist party, mass marches, riots and street fighting with the police and state forces forced from local poor committee’s money and food to keep people from starving. All we remember of these days is the Jarrow March. But the reality of the fight for jobs back in the 1920’s and 30’s is much different from the toned down sanitised history we’ve been fed. A starting point for young workers must be to read Wal Hannington’s book Unemployed Struggles. Hannington was a leading member of the Communist Party of the time and led the National Unemployed Workers Movement. Radio 4 recently broadcast a biased history of these struggles, but the first hand accounts contained in the programme are well worth listening to and learning from. Listen to the unemployed struggles of the 20’s and 30’s.

Read Red Youth – Who stole our Future?
Watch Red Youth – Remember October!