Britain’s ultra rich are already moving their money offshore, in anticipation of a Corbyn-led Labour government. They are anxious that some of their enormous wealth will be called upon to help fund the NHS, provide free education, and build council houses. Hence many are paying vast sums to accountants to help them find better uses for their money, such as hiding it in secret offshore accounts.
Since the Tories came to power in 2010, the burden of paying for the crisis of capitalism has fallen onto everyone but the capitalists themselves. But now the Tories are tearing themselves apart over Brexit and there is a real possibility of a general election to resolve a deadlocked Parliament. A Corbyn-led Labour government is becoming an increasingly likely near-term prospect.
And with the Labour leadership promising “an irreversible shift in the balance of power and wealth in favour of working people”, the multi-millionaires are running scared.
Let the ruling class tremble...
“Most [super rich] people are much more worried about Corbyn than Brexit — by a factor of 10,” declared Michael Maslinski of the wealth management consultancy Maslinski and Co. to the Financial Times.
Another “wealth manager” Ian Tait, a director at London and Capital, told the FT that “dozens” of his clients have already taken measures to “protect their assets from a potential Labour government”. These measures include setting up offshore investment accounts in the Channel Islands, Luxembourg, or Switzerland, in order to avoid being caught by capital controls.
Some accountants even reported that their clients are already making plans to emigrate or move all their assets abroad, in case Corbyn becomes Prime Minister.
What revolutionary intentions have caused the ruling class to tremble so? Labour’s 2017 election manifesto promised only modest reforms, such as raising the top rate of income tax to 50 percent for earnings above £123,000, in addition to “considering a wealth tax”.
It seems as if even the slightest encroachment on their vast wealth has these parasites running for the hills.
In reality, however, these ladies and gentlemen are not so much afraid of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, but of what stands behind them: an emboldened mass movement of the working class fed up with austerity and inequality.
The recent Labour Party conference sobered the minds of the wealthy like a bucket of cold water to the head. MPs such as Dawn Butler gave radical speeches praising the fighting spirit of the Liverpool Labour councillors of the 1980s, who fought the cuts on the basis that “it is better to break the law than the poor”.
Laura Smith (MP for Crewe and Nantwich) called for a general strike to topple the Tories, receiving a standing ovation in response. John McDonnell endorsed the original wording of the socialist Clause IV, which committed the Labour Party to the “common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange”.
These speeches were extremely well received by conference delegates, who were overwhelmingly to the left.
But such statements were not so well received by Britain’s super rich. As the head of wealth planning at a large London firm reported to the Financial Times:
“The conversation has heated up since last month’s Labour party conference in Liverpool. One client pushed the button on leaving the country this morning.”
The serious strategists of capital are worried that once Corbyn is in power, he will be under enormous pressure from below to carry through his promised reforms.
With the economy struggling due to the world crisis of capitalism, however, not to mention the future effects of Brexit or another world slump, Corbyn and McDonnell will find that the cupboard is bare in terms of offering serious reforms. Hence they will be forced to go much further than simply tweaking the tax system if they are to provide their programme in full to workers, the youth, and the poor.
What the rich are really worried about, therefore, is not the prospect of paying a bit extra in tax, but that their assets will be nationalised or their fortunes expropriated.
Prepare for battle
That these multi-millionaires are already preparing themselves for the upcoming struggle should serve as a wake-up call for the leadership of the labour movement.
Clearly the ruling class will not welcome a left-wing Labour government. They will do everything in their power to bring Corbyn to heel.
Hiding money abroad as part of a strike of capital is simply one weapon the capitalists will employ to bring a Labour government to its knees. The full weight of the establishment will be brought to bear on Corbyn, to ensure that the rule of the bankers and bosses remains undisturbed.
Labour members and grassroots activists must therefore seriously prepare to meet this onslaught head-on, from day one of a Corbyn government coming to power.
This is why the programme summarised by the original Clause IV, to place the “commanding heights of the economy” – including the banks and big monopolies – under common ownership has never been more relevant.
Without these measures, including the imposition of capital controls, the rich will continue their onslaught against the working class.
The rich have shown they are already taking this struggle seriously. It is vital that the labour movement does the same.
Big business threatens Labour with a strike of capital
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has recently warned against the ‘chilling effect’ Labour’s nationalisation plans are having across boardrooms in the UK. The CBI is Britain’s largest business lobby and is dutifully beginning their latest attack on Labour by threatening an implied strike of capital.
This will come as no surprise to anyone. It represents something that Marxists have repeatedly warned about. We know whose interests the likes of the CBI defend: and it is not those of working people.
The ruling class will never surrender anything without a fight, and Labour’s proposed plans represent what could be the beginnings of a fundamental social upheaval.
Corbyn and McDonnell mustn’t be swayed by these threats, which come from a whining layer of parasites only interested in bleeding workers dry. Instead, Labour must now go on the offensive and see through their promises on nationalisation and more.
The disaster of privatisation
Paul Drechsler, who stood down as chairman of the CBI last month, has demanded that Labour needs to ‘provide evidence’ that nationalisation works. This is laughably bold for Drechsler to argue, when the bankruptcy and failure of privatisation and outsourcing has never been clearer to all.
Has the collapse of Carillion slipped Drescher's mind? The loss of nearly 2,000 jobs and pensions means very little to a capitalist class who maintain their standard of living while the rest of us suffer.
The collapse of Carillion is set to cost UK taxpayers £148m, yet failing companies like Carillion being bailed out by the government is now part and parcel of the capitalist system.
Michael Roberts, the chief of Water UK (the industry trade body) chipped in to warn that “that renationalisation would put “investment, service improvements, environmental standards and low bills all under threat”.
This is rich, considering that England’s privatised water companies, despite being up to their necks in debt, have simply increased their prices and awarded billions in dividends to their shareholders. None of the profits were re-invested into the network and yet we are told that privatisation is a more ‘efficient’ system!
What “evidence” is cited to show that privatisation works? Perhaps a report by the “Social Market Foundation” (a think-tank closely linked to the Tories and the Blairites), commissioned by the water companies themselves, which – surprise surprise – concluded that nationalisation would likely be expensive and could lead to declining efficiency. It is akin to turkeys, seeing themselves on a Christmas dinner menu, producing a report concluding that fish does in fact taste the best!
The many vs the few
Whether construction, utilities or healthcare: no part of the economy can be protected under capitalism while these vultures seek profit above all else.
The capitalist class can no longer churn out the myth that privatisation provides better services when everyday the working class can see its real impact: the NHS crisis worsening as more contracts are outsourced; homelessness rising as more council homes are sold off; and train fares continuing to go through the roof whilst services deteriorate.
Whilst the millionaires complain about the “chilling effect” of nationalisation on their investment portfolios, privatisation has had a freezing effect on the living standards of millions.
Drechsler demands that Labour “be very clear about the scope of the policy, in terms of what you might choose to nationalise”.
We think Corbyn and McDonnell should reply with the following clear statement of intent: that they intend to nationalise the top 150 monopolies and place them under democratic workers’ control.
Nationalisation must take place immediately, without compensation to the billionaires, and go far beyond just the utility companies. All outsourcing should be ended and all privatised companies returned to public control.
With a democratic plan of production, we could ensure that our basic needs are met and everyone could enjoy life without the stress of constant exploitation. Is that clear enough, Mr Drechsler?