A prominent meme in right wing/main stream media all over the world is that the people are the cause of the deficits. In the US, poor people took out mortgages on houses they couldn't afford, thus causing global economic chaos. Public sector workers, like teachers, have demanded job security, rights to bargain collectively, decent wages, benefits, and pensions. These demands are too high and must be cut back. In the UK, working class students demand rights to an education, rights that mean more than a right to take out horrific student loans. In Greece, workers refused to work themselves to death, retired too early, and led their country to the brink of disaster. Given the greediness and laziness of the people, the only rational solution is austerity. The people can't have it all.
What is the truth of these stories, these stories that rely on the erasure of the dictatorship of the financial class?
One truth involves the primary of the people, the people as a political cause. The welfare states of Europe and the remnants of Keynesianism in the US and UK were the products of political struggle. They were achievements, achievements by the people. Workers struggled for wages, benefits, pensions, some kind of control over their conditions of employment. The people demanded these rights and for about 40 years, capital had to pay. It had to restrain itself. The people disciplined capital.
The rhetoric of "can't afford", of deficts and cuts, of austerity and unbearable debt and all the rest is just the way that capital says it won't pay anymore. Defaulting on loans is a problem for the lenders more than the borrowers. Capital wants more and so it is demanding more--accumulation by dispossession. So the second way that the meme of blame the people is right is that the people are still the obstacle in the way of capital getting its more. It blames the people--if people didn't insist on wages, benefits, health care, and education, then there would be more for finance capital. (Finance capital focuses on its own short term interests; it doesn't worry that it will 'eat its stores' or destroy the people it feeds off of--that's for someone else to worry about.)
There's a third reason to blame the people, though, once we recognize that the people are a political cause. It's not that we've demanded too much. It's the opposite, we've demanded too little. We haven't been demanding enough. We've followed up on our demands, demanding more. We haven't taken control back. We haven't smashed the banks. We've told them enough is enough.
Fortunately, this third reason is the point of overlap with the story that relies on the erasure of the dictatorship of finance capital. The solution to our problem also relies on erasing, abolishing, the dictatorship of finance capital. We have to realize in practice the same abolition that the mainstream story tells.