Labour’s choice

Posted: October 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

HOW FAR has the left grown since the Tories returned to office on the backs of the Liberal Democrats in 2010? Not a lot if this week’s Labour Party conference is anything to go by.

We’re in a global recession the likes of which have not been seen since the great slump of 1929. There’s panic in the Stock Exchange, rioting on the streets and millions out of work. The entire benefit system is under attack and public services cut or closed altogether.

While all this is going on Labour leaders bleat on about defending the interests of “wealth creators” small businesses and “hard working families” while saying nothing about the millions of working people in council estates or rented accommodation who want real change and whose living standards are going to sink even lower if the Cameron government has its way.

The Tories have no problem in finding the billions to wage war against Libya or in arguing that the best way to solve the economic crisis is actually to cut the taxes on the rich.

But Miliband & Co merely confine themselves to the modest neo-Keynesian programme of the last days of the old Brown government to cushion the worst effects of austerity. They use fine words to oppose the Tory-led coalition in Parliament but when it comes to action over pensions they tell the unions to continue meaningless “negotiations”, while working behind the scenes to reduce the influence of the unions within the Labour Party that is totally financed from contributions from affiliated unions.

At the TUC Conference this month key public service unions called for another massive day of action in November in defence of pension rights. This strike is set to be the biggest joint union action since 1926, involving several million workers. Civil servants, health and local government workers will be supported by the student movement and many more workers are expected to join the protests and lobbies on the day.

And as resistance grows pressure must be stepped up to mobilise support for the alternative programme of the Labour Representation Committee. Labour must take the lead of the LRC and challenge the creeping fascism of the Tories and their Liberal Democrat collaborators by demanding that the police be made more accountable to the communities they are supposed to serve and held to account when they shoot to kill.

Labour must raise the issues of unemployment, poverty and police violence that caused the riots and put the restoration of the state welfare and the public sector top of the agenda. And Labour must close ranks with the unions in the campaign against the anti-people austerity programme — arguing for job creation and investment instead of damaging cuts that are devastating communities.

Today the labour movement has two options as its economic standards decline and its political and democratic rights are eroded.

One option is to remain tied to reformist ideology and continue to give its support to the right-wing social democratic leadership that co-operates with and capitulates to the demands and interests of state monopoly capitalism.

These people have no commitment to socialism, no commitment to defend state welfare and the social wage and no commitment to renationalise the industries that have been privatised. They lead no effective fight to mobilise the people against the reactionary Coalition government. They betray and work for the defeat of workers in struggle. They refuse to countenance any action that infringes against reactionary capitalist laws.

They work to strengthen Nato and US imperialism’s military and political grip over Europe and defend the possession and development of vast nuclear arsenals.

The other option is to fight to defeat the right-wing class collaborators in the unions and the Labour Party while building the revolutionary party dedicated to the struggle that can unite and mobilise the working class behind the banner of socialism. Socialism is the only alternative that can achieve the emancipation of the working class and fulfil the people’s desire for world peace, nuclear disarmament and the elimination of the causes of war.

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