Are Workers Destined to Pay the Bill of the Crisis?

Does the crisis of capitalist system flow from lack of products? Of course not! The true reason for the recurring economic crises in capitalism is overproduction. Under capitalism production is not a planned one to satisfy human needs. Every boss makes workers produce more just to sell more and make more profit.

The global crisis of capitalism is still in progress and workers are paying for it. Despite the crisis, bosses keep leading a life of wealth and extravagance. Capitalism, the bosses’ system of profit, is to blame for the crisis and it is bosses, not workers, who have to pay for it!   

Under capitalism, “overproduction” does not mean to produce more than the needs of society. It means to produce more than people can afford. While the production is carried out for selling more and gaining more profit, on the other hand, workers who are supposed to consume the products are not paid adequately.

This clearly shows that capitalism is an irrational system full of contradictions.  The thing is that capitalism does not care the needs of society. For instance, as machines develop, it takes less time to produce, the cost of production is reduced and the value of commodities in market falls. But the main purpose of bosses is not to produce more by developed machines and sell cheaper. What they are most concerned is to sell the commodities produced and transform them into profit.

It is workers and toilers who suffer from the contradictions and irrationalities of capitalist system. Many workplaces are being closed and workers are driven into joblessness and in many workplaces workers cannot get their salaries. Workers are on the verge of joblessness. It means that the number of the unemployed, now 2.5 million, will increase more in coming days.         

In what ways bosses make workers pay for the bill of crises? First, workers are laid off, get less pay, get less fringe-benefits. Second, tempo of work is sped up, the work load is tripled and workers are exploited down to the core. Third, working day is lengthened in practice or through legal ways and workers are forced to work longer hours with less pay. Fourth, flexible work, subcontracting and precarious work become more common. Workers who are forced to work in a very irregular way, employed on short term contracts, are dismissed without any benefits when the contract is over. Fifth, retirement age is increased and eligibility for social security becomes more difficult. Sixth, through various incentives governments make Unemployment Insurance Fund available to bosses for them to plunder it. Seventh, imposing more taxes on workers and less on bosses governments force workers to cover the resulting budget deficit by cutting public expenditures such as health, education and transport. 

The present reality throughout the world is: While unemployment is growing by leaps and bounds, the living conditions of workers are getting worse. This is more relevant for Turkey. The burden of the crisis in 2008-2009 was loaded on the back of workers. In one year almost one million workers were dismissed and the rate of unemployment climbed to 16%. What is more important, presenting the crisis as a pretext and using the scourge of unemployment the bosses easily extended the system of subcontracting, grabbed the bonuses, did not increase salaries, made less workers do more job by stepping up the work tempo, lengthened the working day to 12 hours under cover of overtime. Workplace accidents soared under heavy working conditions where precautionary measures were overlooked. In 2011alone, 1700 workers lost their lives in workplace accidents. While workers were forced to pay the bill in the form of suffering from exhaustion and giving their lives, the economy has grown and bosses made huge profits.

But the crisis is knocking the door again. The crisis of capitalism is so deep that it is not possible for Turkey to remain immune. Already the rate of economic growth has begun to fall and once again bosses attempt to make the workers to pay the bill. Bosses seek to turn the crisis into an opportunity. The AKP government, a zealous bourgeois government, keeps working on new regulations such as transferring the severance payment into a fund and eliminating it in time, generalizing the system of subcontracting across all industries, establishing private employment offices (“slavery offices”) allowing bosses to hire workers without obligations. If workers do not stand against it, bosses will put these plans into practice by using the pretext of economic crisis and the scourge of unemployment.

We have lots of work to improve the current situation from the standpoint of the working class. First, every worker should ask the following questions to themselves: Do we have to pay the bill of the crisis created by capitalism and make the bosses live a dolce vita? Are we to submit in desperation before bosses, or unite and fight? That is the point. The course to be taken is obvious: we should get united to stand against dismissals and grabbing of our rights. We should act as organized and conscious workers against bosses. The unity of workers must be something concrete and not empty words. So every worker has to ask and answer the following question: What am I doing in order not to pay the bill of the crisis, not to be an unemployed and not to lose my rights?

16 March 2013