Hundreds of thousands on strike, but which way do we go?

The decision of the TUC back in March to invite Labour leader Ed Miliband to speak on the platform was a slap in the face for the working class and should be condemned by all who are serious about building a real anti-cuts resistance movement. Even today when hundreds of thousands have gone on strike to oppose the cuts there are lackey’s within the labour movement who defend Miliband and the imperialist Labour Party! The same Miliband and the same Labour Party who have come out against the workers and bemoaned strike action!

Even before the well-deserved collapse of Labour at the last elections the labour aristocrats were busy painting Labour in pretty colours. Labour‘s cuts, they sighed, whilst regrettable, were largely unavoidable, and in any case preferable to Tory cuts. Ditto Labour’s union bashing, Labour’s privatisation rampage and Labour’s genocidal wars.

With Labour out of office, the leadership election was the next burning question of the day for the TUC, eclipsing the ‘minor’ question of mobilising against the austerity juggernaut rumbling over the horizon. Despite pressure from several unions calling for the TUC to coordinate resistance efforts, the accession of ‘Red Ed’ on a phony ‘left’ platform was greeted with a sigh of relief from the opportunists.

At last they could revert to the old formula: a few ritual protests against the ConDems to let off steam until such time as Labour crawls back. Meanwhile, keep pouring members’ subs into Labour party coffers and keep the seat warm for social democracy.

How the TUC ‘leads’ workers – by the nose

The TUC  and many on the ‘left’ invite us to march for the ‘alternative’, but by this is meant not socialism, but a better regulated and managed capitalism. They invite us to fight against “unfair“, “unnecessary” cuts – giving a free hand to today’s Labour councillors and any future Labour government to implement cuts that can be dressed up as ‘fair’ and ‘necessary’.

We are told that the “ConDem” cuts are ideologically driven and not warranted by the actual depth of the crisis. Yet when Keynesian solutions all fail, as sooner or later they must, then it is indeed the crisis itself that dictates the cuts. The Tories may lean slightly harder on the accelerator than Labour would in their place, but they are all heading off the same cliff.

What the TUC can never admit is that behind the debt crisis lies a deep-seated overproduction crisis. More commodities are being produced than can be sold at a profit on the market. The problem is aggravated when capitalists, desperate to beat the competition, intensify the exploitation of workers, thereby further reducing their spending power.

There are two possible capitalist responses to this dilemma. Efforts can be made to revive demand by various methods, all of which are founded on increasing debt, storing up worse problems down the line.

The other capitalist response, in the end a necessary evil if the capitalist system is to survive, is to free the market of glut by closing down enterprises, laying off workers and slashing wages and welfare, initially through cut-throat competition between rival blocs of monopoly capital and ultimately through war.

The TUC wants us to believe that the only real problem is the over-privileged public schoolboys who are currently in charge. Get Labour back in minus the Blairites, it says, and we can all unite, swallow whatever cuts Labour deems ‘fair’ and ‘necessary’, and get on with ‘growing our way out of the recession’.

Just look how much we borrowed from America after the second world war, and we took ages to pay that back! Why, the current debt blip is really nothing to panic about. And in so far as there’s a problem, we can extricate ourselves from it with some moderate belt-tightening, the creation of some ‘green’ jobs and some mild restraints on bankers’ bonuses.

This whistling in the dark ignores the real character of the crisis and the real historical context. After World War Two capitalism was recovering from overproduction crisis. Right now, having already used every possible stratagem to evade the consequences of market glut, imperialism is entering the most acute phase of the crisis. The parallel is 1929, not 1945.

Massive surplus capacity stifles all markets, the US is too busy trying to rescue itself to throw anyone else a credit line, and on past performance only war, revolution or both will shift the logjam. Capitalism is in a hole and cannot stop digging.

Break the link with Labour

The only cure for the crisis ripping through Britain is socialism. Those who pretend it is possible to duck the consequences of a crisis more than 30 years in the making by tinkering with the existing capitalist system are practising a cruel deceit upon workers, blowing smoke in their eyes as capitalism prepares an all-out class war assault in defence of its profits.

Union militants have increasingly sought alternative ways of mobilising, notably within the National Shop Stewards Network. When the cuts announcement in October 2010 drew nothing more from the TUC than talk of a demo the following March, the NSSN mobilised its own protests, where Bob Crow and others denounced Labour’s record of treachery.

In January the NSSN announced its intention to put organised labour at the heart of the anti-cuts movement, on the basis of opposition to all cuts. This line, if consistently followed, will set the anti-cuts movement on a healthy and instructive collision course with Labour, hundreds of whose local councillors are currently implementing the so-called “ConDem cuts“.

There is no more divisive force in our movement than the Labour party. Every step towards breaking the link with Labour is a step closer to uniting workers in resistance to capitalism. This week, having listened to Miliband attack working class action the workers carried out strike action regardless! Today we began the fight against the cuts without the lead of the Labour Party traitors!


2 thoughts on “Hundreds of thousands on strike, but which way do we go?

  1. “Every step towards breaking the link with Labour is a step closer to uniting workers in resistance to capitalism”. Well said! Labour is just the other side of a “Conservative” coin. It is a pity that a majority-left-thinking country like UK still tolerates the Labour. That said what other option we have, come next election?

    What are we waiting for? For the “right” time? How more do we have to wait to allow capitalism to “mature”? Believe me, a day spend on waiting for right time is a day wasted of our lives. Instead of fighting against each other on age-old topics of “anti-revisionism”, “anti-revolution”, “Trotskyism vs Stalinism vs Leninism” (I am not saying these are not relevant, but this is just not the time), it is high time the Communists, Trade Unions and Socialists join hands together to form a respectable, attention-grabbing coalition. If Tories and LibDems could do that, the wider left should have done that long before…

    1. To try and divert attention from the fact that these ills result from the system of capitalism and the need for big finance capital to bleed the working class particularly in times of crisis all the bourgeois parties peddle racism. We are urged by the left-wing of social democracy, including the Trotskyites and revisionists, to ‘vote Labour to keep out the BNP’. In fact this is nothing other than an exhortation to vote for the Labour Party’s brand of racism, which it unashamedly wields in order to divide and rule on behalf of monopoly capitalism. It hypes up racist hysteria, and currently blatantly encourages Islamophobia, as a cover for building concentration camps and passing ‘anti-terror’ laws that give the police powers to arrest anyone, detain them indefinitely without charge or evidence of any crime, soon protest of any kind may be made a criminal act. Labour is actually putting into practice fascistic policies of which the BNP may indeed be envious. In order to defend the profits of the multinationals, Labour in government (supported by the ‘oppositions’) has waged unprovoked and illegal wars against Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq. Lies about ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ have been exposed by the reality of indiscriminate cluster bombing, use of depleted uranium, brutal occupation at gunpoint, torture, collective punishment, internment, criminalisation of POWs and bloody massacres of civilians – over a million Iraqis have been killed since 2003. And all this is done in the interests of imperialism’s greed for oil, other resources and hegemony.

      The CPGB-ML does not have the resources to stand and campaign in a meaningful way in elections. The present dire situation, however, shows that the British working class desperately needs its own party to represent its interests both in and out of parliament.

      The task that faces us is the overthrow of capitalism and the building of socialism. That is a hard and arduous task and requires clear-sighted leadership. We therefore appeal to all those who desire to work for a bright future for humanity to give support in building our party and give us every assistance in our work.

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