Resistance has to begin by recognizing the depth of the hole we are in. We are the victims of a failed economic system, handicapped by the political collapse of working class institutions. As we write, the majority of workers in France and Greece have voted against the austerity. Growing opposition will cause disquiet and instability among the European elite, but will not lead them to abandon austerity.
In France Francois Hollande has won mass support, but has not put forward a programme of opposition to austerity. Rather he promises what our politicians routinely promise - renegotiation - with investment proposals that will remain marginal when tied to an agreement of permanent austerity.
Hollande is echoing many socialists when he proclaims that austerity isn't working, but this is to misstate the case. At one level austerity has worked very well. All the bondholders have been paid, the stock exchanges have recovered to pre-crash levels and the total assets of the rich have significantly increased.
Of course austerity does not work for the working class. Young people flee Ireland. In the North charities distribute 1/3 million in food parcels. In Spain 50% of youth are unemployed. In Greece parents, unable to feed their children, abandon them in food kitchens. This does not represent a problem to capital. Its normal operation involves a significant proportion of the world's population living with permanent hunger. Part of the current recovery involves global speculation in food reserves, pushing the poor closer to starvation.
Where austerity isn't working is in providing a return to stability. The level of debt weighs down economies. They slip in and out of recession and the danger of all-out revolt by workers becomes greater. The current strategy is to press ahead with austerity, to create a new reality where the price of labour is driven downwards so that if capitalism does recover, a new boom will be driven by low wage economies, with public services stripped away and privatised. This will not feel very different from austerity to the working class. The capitalists hope to convince workers that it is impossible to fight back by removing democratic controls on the economy through the Financial Stability Pact.
The alternative strategy offered by Hollande is to manoeuvre to retain the support of workers by adding a small element of investment. One example of this kind of strategy was Obama saving the US car market while slashing jobs and wages far car workers. Even the minor proposals by Hollande have led to panic in the markets. They fear that rising hopes in workers that cannot be realized will simply increase the threat of revolt.
That revolt has to be changed from potentiality to actuality. We need to build new workers movements across Europe with policies that resolve the crisis in the interests of the workers, not those of capital.