In a single week, the Federal Reserve, the Swiss National Bank and other central banks have poured more than half a trillion of public funds into a new bailout of the billionaires and their bankrupt banks. At the same time, governments in the US, the UK, France, Iran and everywhere are attacking workers’ wages, pensions, educational and health systems, intent on robbing the money to pay the billionaires.
Since 2008, and especially since 2020, the governments controlled by the capitalists have stolen trillions of dollars in public funds and brazenly, publicly, given them to the banks and other financial institutions, and through them to the billionaires. These trillions have been the sole source of funds for the bankrupt financial system. Now a third round of theft is starting.
The world working class can stop and reverse this third trillion-dollar theft! We can unite in one mighty voice to say NO! Seize the banks, don’t bail them out! Take into public ownership the entire failed financial system. Take back all the trillions that the billionaires have stolen and use them to fund increased wages, good jobs for all, pensions, free education, free health care , a gigantic expansion of free housing, clean energy and a restored environment—the critical needs of humanity!
The unified voice of the Iranian revolutionary movement has raised just this demand to take back what has been stolen. In the Charter of Minimum demands adopted Feb. 16, 2023 by 20 popular organizations, the central economic demand, #9, is “Confiscation of the assets of the natural and legal persons and state, parastatal, and private institutions which have pillaged the shared assets and wealth of the people... The proceeds of these confiscations must immediately go towards the modernization and reconstruction of the educational system, pension funds, the environment.” The charter has called on workers everywhere to join with them “to carry the banner of these minimum demands to the summits of the fight for freedom, from the factory and university to the schools and neighborhoods and on the global stage.”
In France, where a general strike movement grows hourly against the government’s increase in the retirement age the adoption of the demand to seize the banks, take back what has been stolen for the needs of the workers, can become the central unifying call as the movement passes to the offensive. The debate and democratic adoption of this demand by general assemblies and committees of action is a first step in establishing the program for the emerging revolutionary movement and the institutions of working class power.
In the United Kingdom, the discussion and adoption of this demand can weld the already powerful strike movement into an unstoppable force.
Even in the United States, where no mass movement yet exists, there is enormous potential that the outrage from the emerging mass bailouts, in tandem with nationwide austerity attacks, can be focused by this demand into unified actions of mass protest and strikes.
Concretely, we can demand that the orderly seizure of the banks can be carried out by central banks simply selling en masse their trillions of holdings in corporate bonds. The very start of this process will instantly erase the solvency of all major financial institutions, which have been propped up only by the mass infusion of public funds. The insolvent institutions can then can be seized by the governments.
Of course, the seizure of the banks and other financial institutions will be only a first step in redirecting the real resources to real needs. For that process to happen fully, the workers’ movement will have to develop the new democratic organs that will control both the financial institutions, and the vast swaths of the rest of the economy that they now own. But such democratic institutions of economic control will emerge from the very struggle for these demands.
“In our hands is placed a power greater than their hoarded gold.” Let’s use that power now to take back what the billionaires have stolen. We demand: Seize the banks!
Statement Adopted, March 21, International Luxemburgist Network (ILN, http://luxemburgism.org/)
Individual signers (affiliations for identification only):
Jay Arena (College of Staten Island; member, ILN), Mike Howells (member, ILN), Steve Leigh (member, Seattle Revolutionary Socialists) , Eric Lerner (scientist, LPPFusion; member, ILN), Hoang Minh Uyen LY (researcher, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; member, ILN), Kazem Nik-khah (Worker-communist Party of Iran), Michael Powelson (California State University-Channel Islands), Peter Ranis, (Graduate Center, CUNY, emeritus), Avram Rips (Special Education Itinerant Teacher, NYC), Bahram Soroush (Worker-communist Party of Iran), Leah Weich, (Politics for Human Community)