The Housing Crisis Could Place Corbyn in Power

The Housing Crisis Could Place Corbyn in Power

(Photo of London in the 1970s, taken from Andy Worthington (http://www.andyworthington.co.uk), appeared on his website). By Joshua Tartakovsky, 10 August 2017 London is facing a housing crisis which the late tragic fire in the Grenfell Tower only served to highlight. For many English, owning one’s house has been a feasible and attainable dream, a part and parcel of a bourgeoisie life-existence. A must. But with the high cost of homes only rising, with foreign investors buying homes as a safe investment, and with salaries frozen while the pound is losing its value as the future of the UK post-Brexit remains enshrouded in mist, the dream of owning a home in a city as London is becoming less and less attainable. Young people, unless they started off with wealth, must now either rent for the rest of their lives, or pay for the mortgage in the many years to come. Hackney, which once used to be a haven for crime and London’s Hell Kitchen, is now out of reach for most but due to prices, not physical danger. The ratio of house price to median earning is now at 7.7, the highest ever.  This means, in plain English, that the price of housing is far higher than what people earn, and the gap is growing bigger and bigger. The Economist reports that in the past four decades house prices grew more in the UK than anywhere else in the G7 (Canada, Japan, US, Italy, Germany and France). This may mean that the housing crisis in the UK will eventually spread to other cities in Europe in the coming decade. One may...
Brexit remains inevitable, and the right’s hold on power is secure (for now)

Brexit remains inevitable, and the right’s hold on power is secure (for now)

[Photo by GETTY published on the Daily Express, Oct. 4, 2017). By Joshua Tartakovsky, 6 August 2017 Theresa May erred twice in the Brexit-related unraveling. First, she opposed Brexit, only to support it later after her opinion was defeated by the public in the booths. Secondly, she did not have the nerve to actually carry out negotiations representing the slim majority and bearing responsibility for the results. Rather than leading, and lacking a vision on what Brexit actually means, she went to early elections in her search for confidence and legitimacy. The public punished her for her cowardice. The Conservatives lost 12 seats. May’s arrogant gamble resulted in her loss of majority in parliament and in her forming a coalition agreement with DUP, a Northern Irish party of 10 seats. A genuine opportunist, but a clever survivor, Prime Minister May promised that she will deliver on Brexit. While the Financial Times, the Economist, Tony Blair, Nick Clegg, and countless others, were all trying to convince themselves that Brexit can be reversed and that a hard Brexit is far from being inevitable, this is wishful thinking. May has nothing to lose, and must deliver. Corbyn is breathing down her neck. She may be an opportunist, but once in power, she has shown she has the stamina and craftiness needed to survive. The pound stands now at about 1.1 euro. Before the Brexit referendum it stood at 1.30 euro. As the Guardian puts it:                 Holidaymakers buying €1,000 can now expect to pay around £879 after sterling dropped as markets reacted to the result...
For Brexit to be a Success, UK and US Must Work Together to End German Hegemony

For Brexit to be a Success, UK and US Must Work Together to End German Hegemony

  (Photo by Calgacus) By Joshua Tartakovsky Calgacus 13 January 2016 Britain chose Brexit. Now Britain must find a way to leave while protecting its interests and finding an honorable compromise with its central trading partner. The problem is that forging a fair agreement with the EU, dominated by Germany, is impossible. In an election year where both French President Hollande and German Chancellor Merkel are facing increasingly potent eurosceptical challengers, and as Merkel’s refugee-friendly policy is revealing itself as lunacy in the streets of Berlin, it takes a high level of naiveté to assume that EU elite in Brussels would want to give Britain a fair deal. Anything less than ‘punishing’ Britain for daring to break free would embolden Front National, Alternative for Germany, and Wilders’ Party for Freedom in the Netherlands where elections will be held in March. Hollande and Merkel can hardly have the tranquility and good judgment needed for even a meagre compromise as they feel the ground shaking beneath their feet. Britain buys 7% of German exports. But Germany will not permit the EU to unravel for the sake of staying in good terms with Britain. If the EU breaks up, German industries would no longer dominate the EU, and Spanish, Italian or French products, now cheaper without the euro, could present a viable competition as they will be more attractive for buyers abroad. Similarly, Germany has already shown its inflexibility by the hardline it took towards Greece’s desperate pleas for a compromise on its debt. The Greek economy is on its death bed but Germany did not flinch. Germany’s financial interest is to...
Brexit: Let the fun begin

Brexit: Let the fun begin

  Photo by Karl Sharro By Joshua Tartakovsky, 3 July 2016 The people of UK voted for Brexit. What does it mean? First, it means that the so-called, imaginary or real, left is in disarray, a welcomed development in itself. The British left, besides the few courageous voices that supported a Lexit, preferred to engage in a cosmopolitan fantasy rather than confront its own demons at home. Rather than caring for its own impoverished blue-collar workers, it preferred to welcome unlimited migration from EU and the world at large despite the losses of jobs at home and lowered salaries. After all, how else would it present itself as progressive? Especially when supporting the EU does not require it to address social inequality at home. The English left preferred the illusion of an internationalist European Union, rather than reaffirming UK’s sovereignty. Who wants such a backward notion as autonomy and the right to make one’s own decisions?  Never mind that the people of Spain, Greece and Portugal are suffering from immense poverty and high unemployment due to the EU, an undemocratic body that cannot be reformed (as it has been said, the only way it can be reformed is if it is destroyed). Now it is in shock due to the fact that it supposedly discovered that the voters for Brexit are racists. Well, actually they are not. They simply want their sovereignty back. But who needs real socialism when one can entertain fantasies on how the EU is an internationalist project? Now Corbyn, a leader with no backbone who supported half-heartedly the EU neoliberal project is facing criticism from...
Greece: In the Eye of the Storm

Greece: In the Eye of the Storm

By Joshua Tartakovsky, 7 April 2016 Greece is once again in the eye of the storm. This is true for several reasons. It is the only EU country where transnational EU capitalism failed (remember that when people tell you about how communism failed, and while they are right, capitalism failed and is failing too). Now according to Wikileaks, the IMF is considering creating a“credit event” against the country. Greece also became a magnet for migrants and so-called refugees. The country is mired in such a deep recession that it can never possibly recover. Ever. (How about that for American optimism?) In fact, in order to continuously pay for the debt, more cuts will be needed, homes will be repossessed, pensions will be sliced. All this in a country where a third are under the poverty line, where a majority of youth are unemployed and where the entire family often lives off pensions of the elderly. The debt will be paid for an eternity but it will not be followed by economic growth. When “life as it is” is not bearable, what do more cuts mean? More suffering, deeper into the endless pit. No hope. No future. Welcome to 21st Century EU Capitalism. Recession, austerity, crisis. Of course, Greece was the first victim. Its naïve populace with its good intentions believed joining EU was a glamorous endeavor. The Euro seemed shiny and starry.  But now that industries are destroyed, people have no money, and businesses close every day, the EU does not seem like such a big fantasy anymore. Now it is too late. (However, if only the Greeks could...