Communist Youth Organization

The Youth Branch of The Workers’ Communist Party of Iran

Chia Barsen: Anti-austerity protests and neoliberalism assault

Thousands protest against austerity in Montreal

The Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is staying earnest to the draconian neoliberal austerity economics of tax breaks for the rich and structural adjustment for the poor. With 75, 000 people in attendance, the people of Quebec consisting of mostly students and members of unions, held their fists at the vacuous promises of a secure future made by the Liberal bourgeois party in office.

The crux of the matter is the hegemonic neoliberal narrative being reinforced in the Canadian media, as well as major media networks the world over. This narrative is the genial story that by giving tax breaks to the rich (accumulated from the tax dollars of the working people and businesses) it will make a “business friendly” environment so that corporations will invest in the country and in turn generate employment. This theory, often labelled as “trickle-down economics”, which is a fascistic engineered method to raise people’s hope that their boat will rise with the tide of new business. However this theory, in praxis, is discordant with the ideas it has embroiled in the minds of the working people.

The cost of social reproduction of labour is at the heart of this issue. Before the rise of neoliberalism which began in Chile, US, Argentina, and Britain, spreading to a large portion of the world, Keynesian economics (demand control) ensured that the cost of social reproduction of labour (i.e. rent, food, healthcare, education, urbanization, etc…) was supported by the taxation of the rich bourgeois (up to 90% corporate tax in the US). However, over three decades of neoliberalism (since the 1980’s), corporate taxation has decreased to nearly a quarter of what it once was (26% in the UK) and wages have remained stagnant: putting a benign smile on the face of all the fat cats. Of course the working people, precluded from the bourgeois government decisions regarding their faith, were the most affected by these tax cuts: leaving the working people to increasingly pay for the cost of their social reproduction thus raising the government deficit. It is important to mention that other bourgeois led initiatives such as wars abroad also added to the general deficit.

Today neoliberalism is accumulating wealth through dispossessing the working people of their already cash starved basic social services: turning hospitals and schools into private enterprises, while continuing to attack the minds of the working people to think that what is good for business is also good for them. Protests in Quebec have now lasted two weeks with no clear end in sight. The students on the streets represent an inflexion point in the neoliberal class assault, attempting to bar further encroachments of capital. The remedial solution to a crisis prone capitalist economy is not through further “ameliorative” actions of the Liberal bourgeois government conducting a fire-sale of working class social services, but step by step out of an exchange-value system of capitalism towards a society tailored to the needs of its citizens. 

Chia Barsen

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