ELECTIONS, AUSTERITY, AND CAPITALISM
A Statement from Solidarity Halifax
The McNeil Liberal government have pursued balanced budgets and ‘fiscal responsibility’ at the expense of the majority of us. Using the false claim that there is not enough wealth to go around, the McNeil Liberals have cut funding to nursing homes, cut funding to community organizations and non-profits, gutted the Film Tax Credit, and refused to negotiate a single contract with any public sector union.
This form of governance has failed to improve the quality of life for most people in Nova Scotia. It has seen rising poverty rates, huge jumps in tuition fees, a lack of economic opportunity for anyone except the wealthy and well-connected, and the deterioration of our environment.
It is clear that a dramatic change is necessary to build a society that is more equal, fair, and just for all of us. While defeating the McNeil Liberals in the next election is an important step, the change we need cannot come through elections alone.
We believe that deep, meaningful change in our society can only come from below, through the collective action of masses of people. Change cannot come from above by any premier, MLA, or bureaucrat.
The kind of change we need, the elimination of capitalism, will never come as a result of an election to the provincial legislature. It can only happen when the working classes, the 99%, take back power and control of our lives, our workplaces, and our communities from the ruling class, the 1%.
But, elections are important. Although Solidarity Halifax does not endorse any provincial political party or candidate, we would not say that all parties are essentially the same.
There are significant differences between a party with social democratic roots like the NDP and parties of the ruling class, like the Liberals and Conservatives. These differences do matter in our lives and the lives of thousands of our friends, families, co-workers and neighbours.
AUSTERITY AND CAPITALISM
The McNeil Liberals have worked themselves up trying to convince us that the province is broke and that drastic cuts are necessary. But this is non-sense meant to continue the enrichment of the rich and impoverishment of the poor.
As renowned economist and former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis says, austerity is used as a cover-story for class war against the poor. And Nova Scotia is no different. Rather than point a finger at the real culprits – corporate Nova Scotia – the McNeil Liberals want to blame you and me. They especially want to blame public service workers and those who, through unions, are fighting back – like nurses, teachers and health technologists.
The McNeil Liberal’s rich cronies at the Royal Bank are slated to receive $22 million in government largesse. But rather than target these expenses, they want to turn people in Nova Scotia against one another. We are told to resent other regular people because they have pensions or decent jobs, when we should be going after the big fish.
As journalist Tim Bousquet jokes, the government wants us to believe “If only everyone were paid less, we’d all be rich.” But, of course, it doesn’t work that way. Every dollar we cut from somebody’s wage package, every penny we wrest from someone’s pension plan, every child care spot we eliminate, every civil service job scrapped, every union contract ransacked, will find its way onto the conveyor belt to the pockets of the rich.
There are alternatives. Life doesn’t have to be like this. An alternative budget could stimulate the economy by increasing workers’ incomes and boosting household spending. Strengthening the public sector, especially in the provision of public services, would leave us less vulnerable to the huge costs imposed by private companies – especially in our energy bills.
In Solidarity Halifax, we believe that we need more than just an alternative to austerity, but an alternative to capitalism. Through a mix of public ownership, worker cooperatives, and non-profit enterprise, we can build a sustainable economy and keep more of our wealth here in Nova Scotia, instead of sending it to corporate shareholders in Toronto and New York.
Again, this kind of change will not come from above. The only way to build a sustainable and democratic economy is by taking power in our schools, our workplaces, and our communities. We need a government that is not hostile to the social movements that are working to do that. If you are interested in exploring what that means, contact us.
Solidarity Halifax is an anti-capitalist, membership-based organization based in the Halifax Regional Municipality committed to:
• Building alternatives to capitalism
• Democratic, non-sectarian and pluralist politics.
• Actively opposing all threats to the sustainability and health of our natural environment.
• Creating a culture of solidarity.
To read more about our campaigns and see upcoming events and actions, visit SolidarityHalifax.ca
To contact Solidarity Halifax, email us at Info@SolidarityHalifax.ca
To become a member of Solidarity Halifax, contact the Membership Committee at Membership@SolidarityHalifax.ca