“Business always appears almost excessively sound right on the eve of a crash,” wrote Karl Marx in the 1860s. “Business is always thoroughly sound and the campaign in full swing, until suddenly the debacle takes place.”
The economic crisis of 2008 across the globe was a crisis of capitalism — an economic and social system which by its very nature generates crises. Capitalism has a self-expanding drive to produce more and more for ever greater profits, regardless of the consequences, be they human, ecological — or economic. Eventually it will always overshoot itself, producing more of some commodities than the market can absorb. It generates ‘bubbles’ whose bursting means the destruction of vast swathes of human wealth — until the conditions for a new economic upturn are established.
This pamphlet explains that crisis from an independent working-class — socialist — viewpoint. It puts forward an action plan for the working class to defend itself against the bosses’ attempts to make us pay for their crisis, and to go on the offensive to replace capitalism with working-class power and socialism. As COVID-19 puts us on the brink of another crisis this pamphlet remains as relevant and useful as when it was written.