WHEN elections take place in people’s democracies they are dismissed as a sham by the bourgeois media because no opposition parties are allowed to stand. If anti-imperialist platforms win in multi-party polls in Iran or Zimbabwe, the bourgeoisie wail that the polls are rigged when their own chosen sons are defeated. But when elections are called in Israel, which treats its own Arab citizens like dirt, we’re told that this is the only “democracy” in the Middle East. And if a vote is organised by imperialist puppets in the shadow of the guns of America’s legions, with slates vetted and approved by the occupying power while other parties are banned, it’s called “an important milestone in Iraqi history”.
The March 2010 Iraqi elections were, of course, a predictable farce that convinced no one in the Arab world that the puppet authorities have any legitimacy beyond that devolved by the occupying power. Saddam Hussein’s Arab Socialist Renaissance Party (Baath) was banned and many other Iraqi nationalists barred from standing in polls designed to produce sectarian blocs that the imperialists believe can be easily manipulated to serve their interests.
Barack Obama glibly tells the world that the United States supports the right of the Iraqi people to choose their own leaders. What he doesn’t say is that the choice was clearly limited to those willing to serve the interests of US imperialism.
. Meanwhile back in Britain Labour is closing the gap in the opinion polls with the Tories, amid predictions from some of the media gurus of a “hung” parliament after the next election. What they actually mean is a Labour and Liberal Democrat coalition which is precisely what the pro-EU elements within the British ruling class want, because that is the only way that they will be able to take Britain into the euro within the foreseeable future.
While it’s still early days there are at least two certainties for the next election. The first is that if the Tories win a Cameron government will unleash a ferocious attack on the unions and the living standards of working people far graver than the one we are enduring under Brown. The second is that the derisory votes for “socialist” protest candidates will not make one iota’s worth of difference to the outcome of the poll, apart from further confusing and dividing the left as a whole.
The worst possible outcome would be a Conservative victory. They represent the most venal and aggressive sections of the ruling class who are determined to make workers pay for the capitalist crisis. Nor would a Labour coalition with the Lib/Dems offer much to working people. The Lib-Dems are as opposed to organised labour as the Tories, while full integration into the European Union can only bring more hardship to the working class.
Communists must fight for an outright Labour victory and mobilise for the biggest possible Labour vote to get it. At the same time the campaign must be used to kick off the struggle to build a militant union movement and a democratic Labour Party around the Labour Representation Committee that reflects the demands of the trade unions that keep it going.