What kind of university is this that closes its doors at a time when there is a big world crisis and we all want to know what to do about it? We live at a historic moment when the world is cursed by the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, the treatment of the Palestinians by the Israelis, the threat to Iran and the whole economic system that we have been told is the answer to the problem has broken down. We are faced by mass unemployment, homelessness and this goes across the world.
Now the Prime Minister says this is a global crisis and that it needs a global solution. And I see what he means. But the question is what will the global solution be and who will run it? Do they believe that by putting money into the banks they can recreate the system that has failed us, do they really believe that? Because I don’t think anyone else does. Secondly, if there is a global system, who runs it? Is it run by the people? Or is it run by the bankers, the multi-national corporations, the mass media and all the people who run the present system?
So what I am really saying is this is a moment of choice, a moment to think, a moment to discuss alternatives and above all it is a moment to reassure people that there is an alternative.
You see, the media are now trying to control us by frightening us. It used to be the Kaiser then it was Stalin, then Hitler now it is the Muslims. Keeping us frightened. They want to keep us divided, men and women, black and white, Muslim, Christian, Jew. Because divided people are easier to control. To keep us demoralised by saying none of us is clever enough to run anything, therefore we’ve got to leave it to the guys in charge. They want to make us cynical, to believe that everyone is a crook and therefore you can’t trust anyone.
If we are not very careful, what happened in Germany in the 1930s could happen again. That is what the BNP are waiting for. They say all our problems are due to the immigrants. Build up one group to hate another group and you get power. Hitler said to the 6 million unemployed, vote for me and I’ll give you jobs and you know what he did? He put half the unemployed in the arms factories, the other half in the army and we had a bloody war. 105 million people were killed in two European wars in 34 years. We mustn’t let that happen. Therefore we have to make our voices clear and loud.
What we want is very simple. People are entitled to work, because there are homeless people and unemployed building workers. There are starving people and others who could meet their needs. But it cannot be done under the market system. People need homes for god’s sake! People need health and education and peace, justice and human rights. And if we’re going to have a global world system it’s got to be a system that meets those needs.
The one thing about democracy, which I have always thought is the most revolutionary idea in the world, is that it transfers power from the market place to the polling station, from the wallet to the ballot. This means that people who haven’t got money have some power over their lives. The message we are giving to our leaders is that we want them to listen to us. If they don’t we’re in for a bloody struggle. And who in gods name wants that?