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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/30/12

Europe Sees Unprecedented Social Polarisation

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Britain's Observer newspaper editorialised, "We need to avert this polarisation of Britain".

"This polarisation, and the hollowing out of the already struggling middle Britain, is damaging for individual citizens, the body politic and social cohesion and for the future health, wealth and well-being of UK plc. It must not be allowed to occur," it warned.

Responding to the German labour ministry report, the Frankfurter Rundschauopined that the gap between the rich and poor was widening as the result of a "re-deploying" of assets from the "bottom to the top". Forecasting that without remedial action, the next report would show the wealth gap had become even greater, it asked: "How long can society tolerate the rich getting richer? Nobody knows the answer."

Beyond their complaints, however, neither newspaper had any remedies. TheFrankfurter Rundschau wrote, with an air of desperation, "Since we have no solutions we need to find them. We must try. Experiment."

The Observer suggested a "national debate on"a new social contract," but this consists of only vague and minimal proposals like "vocational education, childcare and a living wage."

Such calls are as meaningless as they are bankrupt. They are directed to the same ruling elite that has seized on the global economic crisis it has created in order to carry out a social counterrevolution across Europe.

This scorched-earth strategy is led by the German and British bourgeoisie and, as the recent reports make clear, applies to workers at home as much as to those in southern Europe.

The Observer and Frankfurter Rundschau are correct that this is a recipe for major class confrontations and social explosions. But their appeals for the ruling elite to see sense and introduce certain palliatives to ameliorate class tensions fall on deaf ears.

The ruling class and its political representatives have repudiated any notion of social reform. Whether conservative, liberal or social democrat, they are all oriented to the super-rich and committed to a policy of class war. The European "social model" is now one of impoverishment without limit, policed by the trade unions and backed by police violence and state repression.

It is not a question of how long "society" can "tolerate" this state of affairs, but what the working class can and must do to change it. The only genuine solution to the catastrophe being visited across Europe lies in its own independent class action and programme.

The stranglehold over economic and social life exercised by the financial oligarchy can be broken only by a conscious, revolutionary struggle by the working class for the overthrow of capitalism and the formation of workers' governments based on socialist policies in the fight for the United Socialist States of Europe.

Crossposted at &

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Julie Hyland is Assistant National Secretary for the  Socialist Equality Party & a frequent contributor to, the website for the Socialist Equity Party, & to
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Europe Sees Unprecedented Social Polarisation

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