Welfare State

Zeynep Tufekcioglu zeynept at turk.net
Thu Apr 25 11:30:10 MDT 1996


Ken wrote:

>>    I don't think that the welfare state will disappear or be dismantled
>completely. THere is already a significant resistance and growth in civil
>strife over cutbacks.
>   As for capitalism not being able to afford full time jobs, I think that this
>is only partly true. The Japanese miracle was in part (but only in part) a
>result of providing workers more security than was or is common in most
>advanced capitalist countries.  If the firm
>doesn't give a shit about you why give a shit about the firm. THere is a limit
>to which capitalism can shed workers without reducing profits rather than
>raising them.This is particularly true of highly skilled workers. Even
>contracting out and privatization has limits. Contracting out involves problems
>of monitoring that may be extremely costly as doing things in house. In fact
>there have been cases where privatisation has been reversed by cities because
>of problems with monitoring and quality.
>   A certain measure of welfare will pay for itself in reduction in the costs
>of class war.

Ken's reply is not contradicting what I had posted, but I think it
highlights a couple of important points I did not emphasize in my post.

Reading over what I wrote, I realised that it seems the "capitalists" are
giving the workers "this or that concession" as they see fit. On the
contrary, one of the basic dynamics of the process is the working class
action, that won these rights. What I was trying to say, a bit poorly I
guess, was that through the boom years, the specific type of operation of
capitalism for that era was more suitable to paying off the workers, and now
it is less suitable.

Working people all over the world are resisting the attack against the cuts
in basic services. If anyone has more information, as Ken's examples from
Canada and New Zealand, you may try mailing them directly to me, not to fill
the list. I was aware of the events in France, and I gave seminars about
what was happening in France, which is very very relevant here. Turkey has
just joined  a Customs Union with EU, and the bourgeois propaganda was, that
now, we also would have a welfare state a la Europe. What we tell the
workers is that, even in Europe, capitalists are attacking the hard-won
rights of the working class, let alone being very enthusiastic about
extending it to developing countries. They see the developing countries as
alternative cheap labour pools. France seemed important to me because it was
the first stage of phase 2 of a restructuring of
Europe. (First wave with the Reagan-Thatcher era, second as spelt out in
Maastricht). If Maastrich goes down the drain because of working class
action, wonderful! I believe that we should fight tooth and nail against
every cut, and Marxists should be the last ones to argue that this is
"inevitable" because capitalism is in crises. I try to say, that capitalism
is making up for its crises by exploiting the workers even more, and their
loss of profits is because of their system. The main point is, now, the
enemy is more determined and squeezed and we have to, have to fight back
even more.

As for the comments about worker's productivity in an era of uncertainity,
what you state is very true. Again, capitalism is a contradictory system.
What it solves in one manner creates problems in another manner. It could
cut the wages in half if it could, and solve the profitability problem, and
it would have a revolution around the corner!

Summarise, capitalism has less "elbow room" when dealing with the demands of
the workers, then it had during the boom. We as revolutionaries, do not
apologise for the state of the events, but explain the situation to workers
on the basis of real economic trends and offer ways to fight back.

Zeynep Tufekcioglu




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