Oil and austerity

With a record low oil price, many oil producing nations are in a difficult situation. Their incomes from selling crude oil is dwindling and many choose to enforce brutal austerity on their working class. These social cuts do not affect the leaders or the rich. No, the workers are to pay for the low oil price, not the kings, princes and emirs. Oil rich nations like Saudi-Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait have cut subsidiaries which will hit workers very hard. But these austerity measures might result in political unrest as the absolute monarchies of the Arab world try to cope with lower profits. 

A barrel crude oil now costs around 46 dollars, compare this to the market price of late 2014 when you paid 100 dollars for one barrel of oil. These prices are however not a result of capitalism. No, the Arabs are keeping the oil price low in order to prevent any alternative energy being produced. Sooner or later, their oil will run dry. But for now the kings, princes and emirs of  the Arab world wish the world to remain dependent on their oil. It made the oil nations very rich and although the living standard has improved for Arabs living in their nations, the bulk of all oil profits did not go to the average workers. Most oil wealth in Saudi-Arabia ends up in the hands of the criminal Royal Saudi Family!

2.000 male members of this Arab dynasty control not just all political power, but own billions of dollars. With low oil prices these elitists now want workers to pay for the lose of profits. Other Arab monarchies like Oman have cut social spending by almost 64%, the news company Al Jazeera (based in Qatar) has fired over 100 workers. Subsidies on gas, food and social services are reduced in the name of economic efficient. The capitalist IMF and World Bank salute these austerity cuts as they call it ”unacceptable”, in their plutocratic world view the market is the rule supreme. Subsidies for basic human needs are to be scrapped and replaced by market prices!

Many workers are deeply angered about the cuts. They ask themselvels: ”Why must we pay more money while our kings and capitalists live in absolute luxury?” Since all Arab monarchies are dictatorial and not democratic, the ruling dynasties use the police, army and religious enforces to crush strikes and protests. Still over 13.000 workers dared to go on strike in Kuwait. Many young people in Saudi-Arabia responded very negative in a survey, which led to the dismissal of water and electricity minister Abdullah al-Hasin, who had come under a barrage of criticism for the extremely unpopular cuts in energy subsidies!

Saudi Arabia has a problem with youth unemployment. Over 30% of all youth in the nation do not have work and are dependent on subsidies. 70% of all people in the absolute monarchy are younger then 30 year of age. These youth do not live in luxury, the average income for a Saudi-Arabian worker is just 25.000 dollars a year. Many need government subsidies on gas, food, water and other basic stuff because the average income is not that high. True, billions of dollars are made each year. But these billions end up in the hands of the criminal Royal Saudi Family!

In order to combat youth unemployment, the government now starts with a program called ”Saudinization” meaning that capitalists are ask to employ ethnic Arabs only. It is very common for Saudi businesses to hire cheap Asian workers instead of Arab workers. In essence these foreign workers are slaves. They work very long hours, get paid very little money and are stripped of their passports. This system of exploiting Asian workers is done purely for profit and shows why the whole capitalist system, is deeply immoral in its core. But seeing the anger among the young population, the criminal Saudi Royal Family fears a possible revolt and now tries to put ethnic Arabs first in line. But unless the government uses force, the capitalists will not let go of their cheap Asian slaves that easy!

Many oil monarchies are build on slave labour. Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates all hired (and exploited) Asian workers to build their skyscrapers and luxury hotels. None of these workers will ever have the money to stay one night. For the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, an army of slave workers were set to build stadiums. These workers live and work under inhuman conditions not seen on television. But they are also a time bomb for the capitalist elite, because after a construction company fired over 50.000 foreign workers mass riots started. These people were told to leave Qatar with no money as their greedy bosses had not paid them in seven months!

Religion plays a key role in limiting change. The conservative rulers of the Arab monarchies claim that their religion does not allow any fundamental change. Radical Islam is used as excuse to exploit not only ethnic Arab workers, but also workers from Asia. The far-right Wahhabi clergy do not wish anything to change, they belong to the most orthodox part of Saudi-Arabian society and control the feared religious police. This is why workers from both ethnic groups must work together. Arabs and Asians must unite for any true changes to happen. Now they live separated from each other, many Arabs even look down on their fellow Asian workers. Ethnic nationalism among Arab workers is what the ruling class tries to build. Their goal is to create ethnic hated so that they can remain a power. Because a divided working class is never able to remove the capitalist class!

Democratic demands must be linked to a fundamental different economic system. Capitalism is not the way forward, although all governments of the world and their economic spin-doctors would claim otherwise. Revolutionary socialists therefore not only call for an end to the monarchies, the disbandment of the religious police, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of movement. We call for the complete nationalization of all major banks and enterprises. Also we demand the expropriation of all kings, queens, princes, princesses, emirs and all billionaires & millionaires!

Billions of dollars are stored in banks across the Arab world, billions which do not belong to corrupt kings, emirs and capitalists. This money is to be used to benefit those who work, not those who live of others. The monarchies and their capitalist allies in the western world, must be removed by a socialist revolution. Workers of all social and ethnic groups need to unite in a workers party for this to work. Since the reactionary governments would not capitulate win-out a fight, we must be prepared for a violent overthrow!

Revolutionary socialists are realistic about this. The criminal royal families will never let go of their power and wealth, this is why we need to take it from them by force. Workers need to understand that peaceful demonstrations might work in democratic societies, but as we have seen in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria, regimes will do anything to survive including killing woman and children. A revolution is the only way to end slavery, exploitation and capitalism in the absolute monarchies. We do not wish it to be violent and bloody, but knowing the brutality of the regimes we have no illusions in a peaceful ending of monarchism in the Gulf!

 

Many workers from Pakistan are paid very little money!

Many workers from Pakistan are paid very little money!

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