People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 4

February 01, 2009



Bail Out Working People,  Not Billionaires’

THE Delhi state committee of the CPI(M) remembered its former state secretary, national leader, freedom fighter and revolutionary, Major Jaipal Singh, with a lecture in his memory on the Global Financial Crisis and the Working Class. CITU president M K Pandhe delivered the lecture to a well attended gathering on January 25, 2009 in New Delhi.

In a hard hitting speech about the global financial crisis, Dr Pandhe said, “History will record September 15 as the blackest day in the history of globalised capital when the world’s most powerful market economy collapsed like a pack of cards. The United States of America, the richest capitalist country in the world – which blatantly proclaims its hegemonic ambition of dominating the world – was itself engulfed in a severe crisis, more powerful than the Great Depression in 1929-30.”

The theory that the market would decide everything without any State intervention has finally come home to roost. Countries like US and UK are now advocating that the State should intervene to bail out financial capital,” he added.

This crisis has other implications too. The US imperialist ambition to dominate the world economy and establish a uni-polar world has received a serious jolt by the severe crisis haunting the US economy. The crisis reverberated in other parts of the capitalist world whose economies were linked with the US economy. Pandhe noted that the collapse of Enron gave a warning signal but many ignored it as an isolated phenomenon. Even the IMF in its recent report has stated that the global financial crisis was the most dangerous financial shock in financial markets since the 1930’s.

Referring to the inhuman administration of president Bush, Pandhe said that it never bothered to think about the impact of its bankrupt economic policies on the people of US. Today US public debt has reached a colossal $10.3 trillion. As for the Iraq war, it has already cost $3 trillion to the US budget. He said that the uni-polar trend of the USA has taken a beating and now they are once again talking of cooperation.

Pandhe also referred to the implications of sub-prime mortgages, wherein the capacity of the borrower to repay the loan is not verified. A credit card scam could well be exploding soon, he hinted. Many scams are coming to light and more will come to light he said. About India, he said, “Due to the strong opposition of the Left parties and the trade union movement, the union finance minister could not privatise Indian banks or hand them over to the foreign MNCs. The Banking Amendment Bill to give effective control over Indian banks to private owners could not be passed in parliament due to the stiff opposition mounted by the Left parties and frequent strike actions by the united movement of the bank employees. The Left also opposed the privatisation of the pensions systems and the move to put the workers’ provident fund money into share market. The Left parties did not allow the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill to be passed in parliament. After the withdrawal of support by the Left parties, the then finance minister P Chidambaram announced his intention to get these measures adopted soon. If it would have been done, the country would have faced serious crises after the US financial debacle.”

In India, more than 5 lakh workers have lost their jobs in the last three months as a fallout of the ongoing global economic crisis. Different bail out packages are being bandied about but the UPA government has ignored all suggestions given by the Left to raise resources. The government was protecting the corporate tycoons at the expense of the aam admi, he charged. Small wonder that among the top ten richest persons in the world, four are from India while only two figure from Japan, whose per capital income is 50 times that of India. The stimulus package offered by the government will mainly help the richer sections in the country.

The CITU leader pointed out the contrasting situation in China where there was an eight-fold increase in the purchasing power of the population since 1980. As for us in India, he called for unleashing more struggles, particularly united struggles, to prevent millionaires from being protected and bailed out and seeking bail out for the working class.

Finally, referring to the Human Development Report of the United Nations, he said that India’s ranking of 128 amongst 177 countries was self explanatory. The crisis in the US economy is affecting the entire world due to globalisation and we have to be on constant vigil to ensure that our government must bail out the workers and not the billionaires.

Earlier Delhi state secretary Pushpender Grewal recollected how Major Jaipal inspired generations of revolutionaries with his spirit of sacrifice, simplicity, unassuming nature, humour and determination. He further recalled how the Major was not only a leader but a comrade, father and friend for many in Delhi and outside.