The struggle continues

THE GENERAL Election result has been a disappointment to us all and the labour movement is now engaged in flurry of post mortem and analysis at all levels. But there is no excuse for despair. We know we live in a bourgeois state that is designed to prevent the working class ever gaining any real power and we know the capitalist system is in crisis and is not going to give us an inch of comfort or even an illusion of fair play.

We need to keep our main aim in clear sight and that is not a Labour majority in a bourgeois parliament. Our aim is a socialist revolution to overthrow this cruel and unstable system and replace it with a workers’ state. A Labour government might have given workers in Britain a marginally better living standard — and some confidence towards fighting for the better world we want to build.

But elections are only one part of the struggle. Whoever gets elected can only try to manage capitalism but has no power to control it. That power lies in the giant global financial institutions: the banks, the International Monetary Fund and so on.

Our urgent task is to build the confidence of the working class in our own potential power. We create all the wealth by our labour. The rich one per cent need us to keep on working. We do not need them. We are many and they are few. What we need is unity and organisation to deploy the strength of our numbers effectively.

Working class consciousness is at a low ebb. Millions of working class people — described by the media as “middle England” — have suffered a significant drop in their living standards from the austerity measures enacted in the last five years. Yet millions of them voted Tory — for even more cuts, believing the Tory mass media propaganda that this is necessary.

But in the towns and cities, especially London, there is a rising level of class consciousness. The immigrant Asian and African communities of places like Bethnal Green and Brixton have a strong sense of community and mutual support. Tory propaganda has no impact where the people every day experience poverty, discrimination and threats of losing their homes and utter destitution. Neighbourhoods look after each other — and that cuts right across race and ethnic differences. They have also experienced the result of rioting in the past that has seen more resources come to the area. In the strength of their communities they have more confidence to challenge the system — like the people who lived in the same areas a century ago — Jewish and Irish immigrants.

We need a left programme to go forward against the new onslaught of cuts and we need it ready before agents of capitalism try to push the Labour Party and the unions further to the right to woo “middle England”. And that programme must focus on two main issues: peace and wages.

Peace is a revolutionary demand. The capitalist cycle of boom and bust needs war to consume and destroy existing goods and infrastructure to create a market — and thereby profits. Imperialists now are gearing up towards a Third World War against Russia and possibly China as well that would threaten the existence of the human race. They must be thwarted.

And wages are the crux of the battle between workers and capitalists. Their enormous wealth is created by our labour and they grow richer by curtailing our wages. But if we stop working for them they have nothing. We must demand economic justice. We don’t want union leaders who will back a would-be prime minister who promises only to manage capitalism a bit better. We want socialism and we want socialist union leaders who are ready to fight, not just in elections and on line but in the streets, in the estates and most importantly in the workplaces for justice and freedom for our class.