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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Which way forward for Labour?

MANY HOPED for a Corbyn victory in December, or at least a hung parliament in which Labour would play the leading role, and that probably would have been the outcome had Labour had stuck to its pledge to honour the 2016 Brexit referendum. The Tories did and they won. Labour didn’t and they lost.

Labour’s defeat has now led to a degree of dismay and confusion amongst the younger generation who rallied around Jeremy Corbyn’s banner in recent years. Some say that there’s no point in remaining with Labour because whoever takes his place will not follow in his footsteps. Others are making the usual forlorn calls to set up another socialist party that follow a defeat for the labour movement.

But the struggle goes on, and communists have a crucial role in the fight-back in the unions and on the street against austerity and war. Although the election was a disaster for Labour, we must remember that most class battles are won in the field of struggle and not in parliamentary debate. The struggle outside parliament, which is a bourgeois institution, will be far more decisive than the struggle inside the House of Commons.

We have always maintained that peace is the central issue in all our campaigns. We are communists and in order to stop war effectively the peace movement has be an anti-imperialist struggle, not just a pacifist movement. It must become a movement for concrete action to defend peace and oppose imperialist aggression.

The labour and peace movement must step up the fight to bring about the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all British troops from northern Ireland and every other part of the world, scrap all British nuclear weapons and close down all US bases on our soil. We must ensure that they are never used to attack the legitimate governments of Syria, Iraq and Iran. At the same time, we must mobilise to stop the Government from spending billions on maintaining the needless and useless Trident nuclear weapons system.

The New Communist Party rejects the ‘parliamentary road’ and the electoral politics of the platforms of left social-democratic factions that have tried to challenge Labour in the polls whilst posing as ‘revolutionaries’ on the street. They believe that the only way to defeat social democracy is in fact to imitate it. But the paltry results of all these parties reflect the futility of trying to compete with the Labour Party in bourgeois elections.

We don’t confuse the Labour Party with a revolutionary party nor do we imagine that people’s democracy can be achieved through parliamentary elections. But Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership over the last few years showed that Labour is still a potentially strong weapon for our class and has vindicated our long-held electoral position.

Day-to-day demands for reform, progressive taxation, state welfare and a public sector dedicated to meet the people’s needs are winnable under capitalism, particularly in a rich country such as Britain today. We support these demands and back the demands of those within the Labour Party and the trade union movement who are campaigning for greater social justice. We support those in the Labour Party fighting for left policies. It is part of our struggle for a democratic Labour Party.

We believe that Labour, with its links with the trade unions and the co-operative movement, offers the best option for the working class in the era of bourgeois parliamentary democracy. Our strategy is for working class unity, and our campaigns are focused on defeating the right-wing within the movement and strengthening the left and progressive forces within the Labour Party and the unions.