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BAYAN USA statement on the “Wall Street” bailout and global financial crisis

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Contact: Berna Ellorin
Secretary-General, BAYAN USA

While the pundits and their corporate media force-feed us with the lie that government can salvage the Wall Street “meltdown” just by allocating $700 billion of the US taxpayers’ money to bail-out sinking bankers, BAYAN USA and the vast majority of working people around the world know that you can’t save what is fundamentally a flawed economic system. The crisis of overproduction, that has already pushed countries like the Philippines into the so-called “Third World”, is finally proving its own flawed character through the actions of the ruling elite and its lackeys in US government.  The middle and working class in the United States, who will be forced to pay and suffer for the disastrous financial handlings of the ruling elite, must sharply organize their ranks to fight massive budgets cuts in unemployment, education, healthcare, and affordable housing that will be used to pay for the bailout, while at the same time fight the rise in foreclosures, evictions, lay-offs, prices of basic commodities, etc. As capitalism unfolds inside the US into the monster it has always been to poor people around the world, the democratic struggles of the people in the United States must intensify to stave off the political and economic repression that will accompany the unfolding financial crisis at the heart of monopoly capitalism’s epicenter, and to push for a better alternative.

For common working people in the US, the financial meltdown will surely have a trickle-down effect including the reported 159,000 US jobs lost in September alone, the ninth straight month in US job losses that has seen over 760,000 jobs disappear in 2008. While the unsteady economy continues to shed jobs left and right, unemployment insurance claims are spiking while unemployment insurance funds are drying up quick to pay for the corporate bailout. Other sources of revenue for the corporate bailout include workers’ pension plans, health insurance benefits, and 401k plans. Social welfare spending will also be tapped to bailout banks. Taxation will be raised and the burden will be passed to the middle and working class in the US, under the lame rhetoric that infusing liquidity to the banks will jumpstart the economy back upwards.

The neo-colonies of the world, such as the Philippines, have long proven that the global system of “free market trade” is fundamentally flawed. One need only take a close examination of the Philippines, the first US overseas colony taken over by the first US war of aggression in 1899, to see why the “spreading of democracy” as touted by the US government to justify its war campaign for territorial expansion, was a complete failure.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who insists she is the elected president of the Philippines, is even more laughable when she insists she is an expert economist. Arroyo claims neither the Philippines nor overseas Filipino workers (OFW’s) will be affected by the financial crisis. She must be dreaming. Not only is she an avid supporter of Washington’s $700 billion bail-out bill, her subservience to the dictates of the neo-liberal trade agenda and the consequential chronic poverty and joblessness in the Philippines today, proves the inherent flaw in the current system. The drafting of multi-lateral free trade agreements such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperative (APEC) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the mid-1990’s, already set the stage for the imminent global economic downturn by spreading the neo-liberalism’s pillars—liberalization of investments and trade, privatization of state functions and assets, and deregulation and denationalization of economies– on a worldwide scale with the US economy at the center.

“Neo-liberal” globalization, as termed by the ruling elite in the 1980’s, was adopted by capitalist states to resolve the chronic trend of economic stagflation (stagnation + inflation), while deceptively propping the phrase “free market” to describe the free reign and non-intervention for the world’s monopoly bourgeoisie and multi-national corporations to reap endless profits without restrictions. But the objective of “economic stimulation” and “development” touted by the neo-liberals cannot be achieved without the systemic attack on the rights of workers, women, indigenous peoples, youth, students, children, and the plunder and destruction of the environment. So yes, while the mortgage meltdown, high-risk sub-prime lending, and finance speculation have contributed to the current meltdown, we must always remember that US government offensives in neo-liberal globalization are still at the root cause of what is only the latest, well-foreseen, and utterly predictable chapter in the cyclical rise and fall motion of capitalism, now at it’s highest stage.

While genuine national sovereignty in the form of economic and political self-sufficiency proves itself the only viable alternative to undo the disastrous effects of neo-liberal globalization in the Philippines and other neo-colonies, the climate of social unrest growing due to anti-people measures such as the Wall Street bail-out bill continues to widen the gap between the few financial oligarchs and the broad majority of US taxpayers, as well as the peoples of the world. The time is ripe for meaningful linkages between the oppressed in the United States and all over the world, as a common foe to the people exposes itself now at an accelerated rate.

We must also learn from how the few financial oligarchs have attempted to rescue themselves in the past—including waging World Wars I and II in search of new territories abroad to occupy and plunder, as well as serve as dumping grounds for surplus goods and sources of cheap, docile labor—and resist any attempt to wage another wide-scale US war campaign to get out of the current financial slump.

Resistance to neo-liberal trade policies is key and we must up the ante in our mass movements globally against anti-people policies neo-liberal states will impose on the majority on behalf of the interests of the few. We must also support the national liberation struggles of the world’s neo-colonies as their victories also deliver significant blows to neo-liberal globalization. Any attempt by Congress to save the sinking ship without fundamental economic reform cannot undo the crisis. The people remain the decisive force ushering fundamental change.