The question of the attitude that communists should adopt towards the Labour Party has been, and continues to be, of crucial importance for the development of a truly revolutionary proletarian movement in Britain. While important all the time, this question assumes particular importance in the run-up to, and during, elections. The general election held on 6 May 2010 was no exception. In this article, we wish to deal with, and expose, some of those who advocate support for the Labour Party as the party of the British working class.
On the question of which party deserved the electoral support of the British working class without fail, and not unexpectedly, the Troto-revisionist gentry came down in favour of supporting Labour. The Trotskyite and revisionist justification for supporting Labour has been that Labour has organic links with the working class; that a labour victory would give confidence to the working class in its own fighting capacity; that a Labour government under pressure from the working class could be forced into enacting progressive measures; and that a Conservative victory would be interpreted by the latter as a mandate for attacking the working class with added ferocity. With the passage of time, and the experience of several post-war Labour administrations, these arguments have become so threadbare and patently false that even the counter-revolutionary Trotskyites are less inclined to employ them these days. Instead their new strategy is to support Labour in the name of keeping the openly racist British National Party out.
Whereas the Trotskyites have moved somewhat away from the above rationale, their revisionist cousins continue to cling to it with zeal worthy of a better cause. Here are a few specimens of the type of ‘argument’ put forward by the revisionists to justify their position as the tail end of social democracy in the working-class movement.
Stance of the Communist Party of Britain
Writing in the Morning Star, the organ of the Communist Party of Britain (CPB), and with an eye to the then forthcoming general election, a certain Solomon Hughes wrote an article entitled ‘A storm is coming’. In this article he reproduced the following dialogue between himself and his children:
“‘A Tory government will rule for the rich and try to force us to pay for the crisis. Working people get pay cuts to pay for bankers’ bonuses’, I say.
“They reply: ‘No Dad, tell us what a Conservative government looks like – we know all about Labour” (Morning Star, 11 December 2009).
All the same, flying in the face of reality, ignoring the nearly one-century-long betrayal of the working class by social democracy, and treating his young children’s precocity with condescension, our sage goes on to say that it is still worth supporting Labour because a Tory victory, especially a decisive one, will make the Nasty Party more confident about slashing and burning wages and conditions.
Knowing full well that one cannot put a cigarette paper between the policies and programmes of Labour and Conservatives, acknowledging that Labour too will cut public expenditure as much as the Tories, Mr Hughes meanders thus:
“Labour politicians might be ready to carry out similar cuts, but they know the vote for them means the electorate does not agree with those plans.
“How trade unionists and campaigners resist these cuts makes a huge difference but the election sets the scene.” (ibid.)
Sheer stupidity, ignorance, self deception and utter renegacy lie behind the above words of Mr Hughes. Since it would be difficult to find many voters who actually vote for cuts, it is mindless to say that Labour leaders are aware that the electorate does not agree with their cutting plans. This equally applies to the Conservative leadership – it too knows that those workers who voted for the Tory party did not vote for the cuts. To the extent that the leadership of any bourgeois political party is only too ready to interpret a vote for it as a mandate for its policies, this applies just as much to Labour as it does to the Conservatives.
True, it is the resistance to the cuts which stands any chance of preventing their implementation, but how, in God’s name, does a Labour electoral victory make such resistance more effective? On the contrary, would it not be truer to say that the leadership of the trade unions, with its close connections with the Labour party, is only too likely not to resist a Labour government so as not to rock the boat and embarrass its ‘own’ government? Whichever way, and from whichever angle, we look at it, Mr Hughes’ argument is meaningless.
Moving on to the hoary revisionist argument that “Labour still has a biological relationship with the trade unions”, Mr Hughes comes up with the following drivel, which for its coarseness and banality must surely take the palm:
“Labour has been embarrassingly keen to show off its new corporate chums, like a middle-aged bore with a trophy wife.
“The unions have been treated like an embarrassing uncle with ‘funny’ habits or a grandparent with a touch of flatulence – they get invited around for the Xmas meal, but they are stuck on the edge of the table and hustled out of the house somewhere between the Queen’s speech and the big blockbuster movie.
“But they were invited.
“And this has left some marks on the government, such as the minimum wage and increased social spending.
“The Tories do not have these links and this changes how they rule.
“A strong Tory government elected by millions of workers is going to be more aggressive than a weak Labour government that was forced, to some extent, to articulate the feelings of the working people (ibid).
Any self-respecting uncle, grandparent or worker would be disgusted at even the thought of receiving the kind of invitation that our wise Mr Hughes is asking them to accept. Yes, Labour has been a partner in killing over a million Iraqis and is waging a genocidal war against the Afghan people; admitted it has been “embarrassingly keen to show off its new corporate chums”, but don’t forget it has thrown in our direction a few crumbs, such as the minimum wage and increased social spending, which incidentally it harbours every intention of taking away. In view of these crumbs it deserves our vote. At least we have been invited! What banality! What monumental renegacy! The working class must keep its gaze firmly on these crumbs, on getting invited. It must never go for the prize of its own social emancipation through the exposure of the malign and treacherous role of social democracy and the overthrow of capitalism.
The position of the New Communist Party
Just as the reader, after acquainting himself with the absurd and reactionary assertions (for that is what they are) of the CPB’s Solomon Hughes in defence of his and the CPB’s support for Labour, is beginning to think of the near-impossibility of an even more stupid and ludicrous set of assertions in support of the same stance as that taken by Mr Hughes, step forward the dolts of the twitching corpse that passes for the New Communist Party (NCP) of Britain.
In the NCP schema, working class parties can be divided into reformists and revolutionaries. The former fight for reforms, the latter for revolution. The former participate in parliamentary politics, the latter must on no account indulge in the arena of parliamentary struggle. The fight for reforms must be left solely to the reformist parties, as must participation in parliament. And until the day of the revolution, the working class must unfailingly support the reformist party, must vote for it during elections, must on no account stand candidates against this party – for to do so would be to break the unity of the working class, quite apart from the fact that putting up candidates in parliamentary elections is a compromise with capitalism and fosters illusions amongst the working class as to the possibility of reforming capitalism. By following this absurd, this patently reactionary, rigmarole, the NCP hope (don’t laugh for it is not a joke!), all of a sudden, to lead the proletariat in the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism.
While telling the working class that a “clear victory for Brown’s Labour – with all its faults – is the best hope for the working class in Britain”, in a desperate attempt to hoodwink the gullible, the NCP asserts:
“Our only real option is to keep educating, agitating and organising among the workers [and telling them to vote Labour so as not undermine unity with it?] until we have a movement strong and united enough [how is that movement to be built without an exposure of opportunism and the treacherous role of Labour?] to throw over this sham parliamentary ‘democracy’ and establish a working class democracy.” (Daphne Liddle, ‘Style over substance’, New Worker,23 April 2010).
Having uttered these blood-curdling and brave words, Ms Liddle takes fright and reveals the real opportunist politics of NCP, its continued desertion to the camp of opportunism and betrayal of the working class by concluding thus: “That [i.e., the overthrow of capitalism] will take time. In the meantime voting Labour is the least we can do to support our class”.
In other words, we’ll think about such trivia as the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism on the day of its overthrow. Meanwhile we must continue to support Labour, vote for it, not stand candidates against it, and not do anything to undermine unity with this bloodthirsty imperialist party.
Elsewhere, in a similar vein, and pursuing a line of thought that defies all logic, the New Worker denounces any attempt to put up candidates during elections in opposition to the Labour Party as “trying to compete with social-democracy on their own terms”! Let the New Worker speak:
“… Socialism can only be achieved through a revolutionary party and a working class that understands the need for revolutionary change. But that party and that understanding can never be built by trying to compete with social-democracy on their own terms.
“The lesson of the revisionist ‘British Road to Socialism’ and its countless variations embraced by countless miniscule left parties in Britain is that you cannot build a revolutionary party along these lines and that working people are not prepared even to vote in any significant numbers for these idealist and utopian platforms” (‘A stark choice’, 9 October 2009).
There is a bush in our garden and my uncle is in Kiev – so runs a Russian proverb. The NCP’s above assertions are a perfect personification of this proverb.
To paraphrase, and adapt, Engels, the reader can read anything into the above-quoted assertions of the New Worker, but he is on safest ground to read nothing into them. Notwithstanding its outcries against the revisionist British Road to Socialism (BRS), the NCP’s political line is even more reactionary than that of the BRS, for at least the latter considers it legitimate for communists to stand against Labour in a few constituencies, something which is an anathema to the NCP. How opposing Labour candidates at elections serves as a hindrance to the building of a revolutionary party, the NCP and God alone know.
True, working people in Britain are as yet not prepared to vote in large enough numbers for these left platforms, but even where they are, as for instance in Germany, where the left formation Die Linke secured 12% of the vote and 76 seats in the German parliament, the NCP, as we shall later on see, still denounces them for having weakened the German social-democratic party.
Nothing arouses greater fury on the part of the NCP than any attempt by any organisation of the left, in Britain or abroad, to oppose and undermine counter-revolutionary social democracy – all under the hoax of achieving socialism through the building of a revolutionary party!
Vile slander against Marxism-Leninism
Here are a few more gems from another NCP luminary:
“Since its formation in 1977”, wrote Neil Harrison of the NCP, “the New Communist Party has always refused to stand in bourgeois elections, not as a tactical boycott but as a matter of principle”.
And the reason for this queer principle? Here is the NCP’s answer:
“At one level, standing in bourgeois elections is a compromise with capitalism we are not prepared to make. At another, it fosters illusions amongst the working class that winning seats in Parliament brings the possibility of reforming capitalism, when in fact only governments acceptable to the bourgeoisie are able to win ‘power’. As ever the choice is between reform and revolution, social democracy and communism.” (‘Communists in today’s world, New Worker, 26 March 2010).
For anyone in the least literate, in the least educated in the history of the international proletariat, as well as the theoretical postulates of Marxism-Leninism, the implication of the above-quoted words of this NCP doctrinaire, Neil Harris, is that Marx, Engels and Lenin, through their advocacy of proletarian participation in bourgeois parliaments as a tactical measure, “compromised with capitalism”, which compromise the NCP defenders of ‘revolutionary’ principle are not, and will never be, prepared to make. Further, the implication is that, whereas the founders of scientific socialism and the inspirer of the Great October Socialist Revolution “fostered illusions that winning seats in Parliament brings the possibility of reforming capitalism”, our heroic ‘defenders of principle’ – the morons of the NCP – would never stoop so low.
It never occurs to this feeble-minded gentry that there could be another purpose – a revolutionary purpose – to the proletariat’s participation in bourgeois parliament, namely, to expose and discredit bourgeois parliamentarism with the sole aim of doing away with it altogether.
“For Marx, however,” writes Lenin in his brilliant work The state and revolution, “revolutionary dialectics are never the empty phrase, the toy rattle, which Plekhanov, Kautsky and others have made of it. Marx knew how to break with anarchism ruthlessly for its inability to make use of the ‘pig-sty’ of bourgeois parliamentarism, especially when the situation is obviously not revolutionary; but at the same time he knew how to subject parliamentarism to genuine revolutionary-proletarian criticism” (FLP Peking 1965, p. 54).
In his controversy with German ‘Left’ communists in the spring of 1920, reverting to the question of participation in parliaments, Lenin makes the profound observation that “…participation in parliamentary elections and in the struggle on the parliamentary rostrum is obligatory for the party of the revolutionary proletariat precisely for the purpose of educating the backward strata of its own class, precisely for the purpose of awakening and enlightening the undeveloped, downtrodden, ignorant … masses”.
Referring to the experience of the Russian Bolsheviks’ participation in the elections to the Russian bourgeois parliament, the Constituent Assembly, in September-November 1917, Lenin argues with remorseless logic that “…participation in a bourgeois-democratic parliament even a few weeks before the victory of a Soviet republic, and even after such a victory, not only does not harm the revolutionary proletariat, but actually helps it to prove to the backward masses why such parliaments deserve to be dispersed; it helps their successful dispersal, and helps to make bourgeois parliamentarism ‘politically obsolete’”. (‘Left-wing’ communism, an infantile disorder, FLP Peking 1965, p.54)
Thus it can be seen that on the question of proletarian participation in the bourgeois parliament, a deep chasm lies between the profound teachings of Marxism-Leninism, on the one hand, and the empty doctrinaire assertions of the NCP, on the other hand.
Labour – a bourgeois party
Having slandered, albeit implicitly, the Marxist-Leninist teaching on participation in bourgeois parliaments, and having asserted loudly the NCP’s ‘revolutionary principles’, Neil Harris makes a dash for his, and his party’s, opportunist support for Labour. “We call on the working class to vote Labour”, he writes, “not because we have any illusions that it is anything other than a social democratic party or that its leaders can be won to revolutionary politics”. Oh no, God forbid! He continues:
“We support Labour in elections because it still has a mass membership of working class trade unionists, affiliated through their unions. This mass membership and the votes the party receives as a result are what make it a class-based party in spite of its opportunist, petty-bourgeois leadership”.
On this question, too, a deep chasm lies between the teachings of Leninism and the renegade propositions of the NCP. At the Second Congress of the Comintern in August 1920, Lenin had the following to say on precisely this question apropos the British Labour Party:
“Of course, for the most part the Labour Party consists of workers, but it does not logically follow from this that every workers’ party which consists of workers is at the same time a ‘political workers’ party’; that depends on who heads it, upon the content of its activities and its political tactics. Only the latter determines whether it is really a political proletarian party. From this point of view, which is the only correct point of view, the Labour Party is not a political workers’ party but a thoroughly bourgeois party, although it consists of workers, it is led by reactionaries, and the worst reactionaries at that …”
In another one of his writings, Lenin says:
“One of the most common sophism of Kautsky is his reference to the ‘masses’; we do not want to break away from the masses and mass organisations! But think how Engels approached this question. In the nineteenth century, the ‘mass organisations’ of the English trade unions were on the side of the bourgeois labour party. Engels and Marx did not conciliate with it on this ground, but exposed it …” He went on to say: “…it is not so much a question of how many members there are in an organisation, as what is the real objective meaning of its policy: does this policy represent the masses? Does it serve the masses, i.e., the liberation of the masses from capitalism, or does it represent the interests of the minority, its conciliation with capitalism?… (‘Imperialism and the split in socialism’).
From the above, Lenin concludes that it is imperative for the socialists to expose the opportunists, who betray and sell out the interests of the masses, who are in fact agents of the bourgeoisie in the working-class movement. Emphasising the necessity of breaking with opportunism, Lenin concludes:
“To explain to the masses the inevitability and necessity of breaking with opportunism, to educate them for revolution by a merciless struggle against opportunism … is the only Marxian line to be followed in the world labour movement” (ibid.).
Let it be said in passing that the NCP has very little faith in the leadership of the unions – the very unions whose affiliation to the Labour Party is the sole basis of its stance in support of Labour. In its editorial of 4 July 2008, by which time Gordon Brown had just completed his first year as prime minister, the New Worker noted that, in view of the dramatic rise of the Conservative Party in the opinion polls, “…all New Labour’s wealthy business friends [were] abandoning the sinking ship leaving the party significantly short of millionaire donors”, and “…once again dependent on its founders”, the trade unions, for funding. Labour’s dwindling fortunes and its precarious finances, argued the New Worker, gave the unions “some real power over the Labour leadership” and to demand policy changes, such as restoration of trade-union rights. Instead of using their strength to demand those rights “which could be in their grasp, like rabbits they have dropped the demands”, whinged the New Worker.
With an eye on the crisis of overproduction engulfing the capitalist world, the attempts of the bourgeoisie to pass its burdens on to the backs of the working class, and the total lack of any attempt by the leadership of the unions to lead the workers’ resistance to the capitalist onslaught, the New Worker concludes thus:
“So at a time like this the workers need the strongest, most assertive and demanding unions – not a bunch of compromisers and class collaborators who cannot use an advantage when it falls in their lap” (‘What Labour could do…’)
These words are nothing short of a self-certificate of the bankruptcy of the NCP’s political line. Verily, this political line is based on the insane assumption that a bunch of proven “compromisers and class collaborators” in the leadership of the unions will, somehow, push the imperialist Labour Party to the left and reclaim it for the working class.
Fostering illusions in Labour
Far from learning from the above pronouncements of Leninism, the NCP, which claims to be “in the mould of Leninism”, is, on the contrary, doing its best (worst would be more correct) to do all in its power (which admittedly is not a lot) to foster illusions in the Labour Party, “to reconcile the proletariat with the ‘bourgeois labour party’, to preserve the unity of the proletariat with that party and thereby to uphold its prestige…”.
In August 2009, a whole 9 months before the election, and expecting a crushing defeat for Labour, in a rambling editorial entitled ‘Labour and the coming election’, the NCP says that the “sickening thing” [nothing sickens the NCP more than the prospect of defeat for the imperialist Labour Party] is that the Labour Party could easily “completely turn the situation around”, that Gordon Brown could “easily win the next election”, if he “…were to launch a massive council house building programme to house the homeless and those about to become homeless because of the recession; if he were to scrap Trident; if he were to pull out of the Afghan War; if he were to reverse privatisation; if he were to stand up to the banks and if he were to get Britain out of the EU”.
This is a breathtaking attempt by the NCP at sowing illusions that a bourgeois Labour government could “stand up to the banks” – when the chief function of such a government is to safeguard at all costs the interests of British finance capital – and that such a government could look after the interests of the homeless and the destitute at the expense of the robber barons of finance capital! If only pigs could fly!
Instead of exposing the fraud of bailing out the bankrupt banks, at great cost to the taxpayers, the NCP whinges that although Gordon Brown had “nationalised a couple of banks” [i.e., nationalised the banks’ astronomical debts], “…he still had no more control over the bankers” – as if the purpose of the bail-out was to control the banks rather than to prevent a catastrophic meltdown of the British imperialist financial system.
The New Worker asserts in another of its leading articles that there is no realistic option, other than to vote Labour “until we have a revolutionary situation”, that voting for “fringe left parties will help Cameron, especially in marginal seats” and that even when they get the odd person elected, as for instance Respect’s George Galloway, “there is very little he can do, isolated in the House of Commons…” It adds that “…even if we could fill every seat in the House with genuine Left MPs, we would still be in a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Such a government would still be forced to bail out the banks”, that such a government would not be able to “impose conditions on the banks in return for the bail out”, for “the banks would ignore them”, and that the “banks will rule until they are overthrown by a rising of the workers”. “In the meantime”, that is, until the overthrow of capitalism, “it is a choice between Cameron backed by Murdoch or Brown, still backed by most of the unions” (‘Vote against Murdoch’, 19 March 2010).
The above meaningless meandering amounts to this self-contradictory and self-annihilatory gibberish: on the one hand, voting for fringe parties is pointless because MPs belonging to them will be so few in numbers that they will be isolated in parliament; on the other hand, even if all the MPs in parliament were genuine left MPs, it would still not do to vote for them as we “would still be in a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie”. That being the case, best to vote for the candidates of the imperialist Labour Party, fold our arms uselessly and wait for the day of revolution.
However, in another leading article, six weeks prior to the one cited immediately above, the New Worker stated, for the thousandth time, the NCP’s commitment to the “election of a Labour government and to ensure the maximum socialist representation within it”. It urged its “supporters” (a rare and dying – if not dead – breed) to “help in the Labour campaign effort across the board and assist in the campaigns of those candidates who are members of the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs and those who supported John McDonnell’s leadership bid in 2007” (‘Countdown to election’, 29 January 2010).
Thus it can be seen, that whereas in one leading article our oracle informs us that it makes not the slightest difference even if every seat in the House of Commons was to be occupied by genuine Left MPs, but in another the NCP supporters are urged to help the Labour campaign, especially of those who belong to the SCG and who supported John McDonnell so as to have maximum socialist representation within the House. The clear implication is that the presence of SCG MPs and McDonnell supporters would be helpful to the labour movement because of their alleged socialist convictions. If that is indeed the case, why should the presence of MPs from left fringe parties be any less helpful? Even more, why should a House of Commons, every one of whose benches is occupied by genuine left MPs, be less helpful to the proletarian movement than a House with a majority of Labour MPs, including a handful of those belonging to the SCG – all of whom would have been elected on a Labour platform?
The essence of the above drivel is this: the only party worth voting for while the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie lasts is the imperialist Labour Party, that the only left parliamentary candidates worth supporting are the ‘left’-wing of this imperialist party, and that the only socialist representation in the British parliament worth having is the one connected with the SCG. In other words, unquestioning and servile support for social democracy – this deadly enemy of the proletariat and an inveterate defender and a cringing flunkey of British imperialism.
There is not even a hint in the above renegades’ logic of the NCP even desiring to prepare the proletariat for revolution through the exposure of the bankruptcy of capitalism and the latter’s political parties, including the Labour Party. The ‘Leninists’ of the NCP are totally ‘forgetful’ of Lenin’s injunction that since the opportunist and social-chauvinist tendency, represented by the bourgeois labour parties, can “neither disappear nor ‘return’ to the revolutionary proletariat”, the only Marxian line in the proletarian movement is to wage a determined and merciless struggle against such parties. If the NCP, and other outfits following a similar line, are more comfortable inhabiting the social democratic dungheap, let them do so. We shall, for our part, continue to expose the Labour Party as the imperialist party it has been, is, and shall be. We shall continue, too, to expose the likes of the NCP as the tail end of social democracy.
NCP’s support for social-democracy abroad
Not only in the context of Britain and the Labour Party, but elsewhere also, the NCP is committed to the defence and preservation of counter-revolutionary social democracy, with any attempt to undermine it drawing its wrath. In an editorial dated 9 October 2009, the New Worker stated that the then-impending British general election was about electing either a Tory or Labour government – a simple choice that “some outside the Labour Party refuse to understand”; swathing themselves in “red slogans”, using “revolutionary rhetoric” and calling themselves Marxist or communist while actually such people “are essentially social-democrats”, for they are “talking about forming yet another socialist slate” and, crime of crimes, “they’re drooling over the ‘victory’ of Die Linke (the Left) in Germany”.
The New Worker, trying to be sarcastic, goes on to ask: “But what is Die Linke and what has it achieved?” It answers this question thus:
“The German Left Party is a merger of the revisionist east German Party of Democratic Socialism and left social-democrats who broke away from the mainstream Social Democrats. They stand on a left social-democratic platform which accepts the European Union. At the general election last month Die Linke took 12 per cent of the vote and won 76 seats in the German parliament, almost entirely at the expense of the Social Democrats who lost 76 seats and their place in the coalition government.
“German workers are worse off than they were before the election took place. All that Die Linke has achieved was to ensure the election of an even more right-wing coalition determined to ensure that German workers pay even more for the capitalist crisis…”
If this reactionary argument means anything, it means, first, that those who oppose the Labour Party or the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) are social democrats, while those who support them are revolutionaries. Second, it means that those who take their stand by a political programme far to the left of social democracy and, on the basis of such a programme, oppose social democracy during elections, are social democrats, while those who with unquestioning servility support social democracy, on the spurious excuse of maintaining the unity of the working class, are revolutionary. Third, it means that while it is the height of revolutionism to work for the strengthening of the ‘left’ within the Labour Party or the SPD, it is nothing short of reactionary sabotage to organise such a left outside and independent of official social democracy.
The New Worker attempts to belittle the electoral success of the German left, which secured 12% of the vote and won 76 seats in the German parliament, for no other reason than that this success was achieved at the cost of “mainstream Social Democrats”. Why should such an outcome be regarded as a misfortune for the German working class? Why should the reverses of the SPD, resulting in the replacement of the Social Democratic and Conservative coalition by a Conservative-Free Democrat coalition, hand-in-hand with the entry of 76 left members into the German parliament, be interpreted as making the German workers “worse off” than prior to the election? Surely the 76 lefts in parliament would, at the very least raise their voices in support of the German working class and against their government’s genocidal war against the Afghan people, as well as on a host of other issues, far more vigorously than those belonging to the SPD.
Labour – an engine for oppressing the working class
The rest of this editorial, in a style characteristic of the NCP, is full of reactionary nonsense, incomprehensible rigmarole, in which each sentence contradicts the preceding sentence and each argument annihilates the one preceding it. “Social democracy cannot resolve the problems of capitalism”, it says; it is “at best…simply a machine to mobilise organised labour to procure reforms from the ruling class”, adding that “…these reforms can defend and strengthen the working class”.
Even the NCP, which lives in a fantasy world of its own imagining, must know that social democracy has stopped mobilising the working class even for the limited purpose of procuring reforms from the ruling class. Over the past 30 years, especially since the demise of the Soviet Union and the eastern European socialist states, it has opposed every single strike, every major struggle of the working class. The aristocracy of labour, which dominates the trade-union movement, over which the NCP wax so lyrical, has increasingly moved away from collective representation of the working class to the provision of personal services which can only be utilised by the sections of the labour force with higher-than-average incomes. The trade union leadership and its political wing, the Labour Party, fear like the plague any action that crosses the limits set by the draconian anti-working class legislation put on the statute book by the Tories and left untouched by the Labour government during its 13 years in office. Most important industrial struggles have been defeated by police violence, or drowned under the weight of legal cretinism, or been simply betrayed by the TUC-Labour leadership.
One exception to this was the heroic coal strike of 1984-85, during which Britain’s miners, led by a courageous, militant and incorruptible leadership, carried the banner of struggle on behalf of the entire working class against unemployment and for better conditions and challenged the power of capital to treat workers as so much disposable garbage. In doing so, while reviving all that is noble, heroic and self-sacrificing – the spirit of collectivism – in the long history of the struggle of the British working class, they at the same time roused the frenzy of the bourgeoisie, the Furies of private interest. Further, they roused the wrath of the Labour and TUC leadership, who feared like death the miners’ victory – for by their example the miners threatened to infect other sections of the working class with a spirit of resistance and rebellion against the dictates of capital. So the Labour/TUC leadership joined forces with the Thatcher government, the National Coal Board, the police and intelligence services, the judiciary, the bourgeois media, and the blacklegs from the Nottinghamshire coalfields, in order to isolate and defeat the miners. In the end this ‘exotic’ range of forces arrayed against the miners proved too much and the miners, deserted by other sections of the working class thanks to the treachery of social democracy, were starved and beaten – literally beaten – back to work.
Thus it is clear that, far from “a machine to mobilise organised labour to procure reforms from the ruling class”, social democracy presently is an open and blatant engine of British monopoly capital for frustrating every working-class endeavour to improve its conditions of existence – an engine for the oppression and suppression of the working class. Only the stupid and blind renegades of the Troto-revisionist fraternity, the NCP included, can maintain otherwise and urge the working class to support this deadliest enemy within, to wit, social democracy.
A few facts about Labour
During its 13 years in office, Labour dropped more bombs on oppressed peoples than did the previous Conservative governments during their 18 years in office. It has waged criminal predatory wars against the people of Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan and has, along with US imperialism, the blood of over a million people on its hands.
In office it was “intensely relaxed about [some] people getting filthy rich” (Peter Mandelson’s words) and Gordon Brown schmoozed wealthy representatives of monopoly capitalism, such as Bill Gates of Microsoft and Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Group. It awarded knighthoods to the likes of Philip Green, a retailing tycoon whose wife is resident in the tax haven of Monaco for the purpose of reducing the family tax bills, and Stelios Haji-Ioannou, an aviation tycoon also resident in Monaco but active in the UK. In the run-up to the 1997 election, which was to bring Labour into office again after 18 years of exile, senior Labour politicians, including Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, wooed, and secured the support of, finance and big business, including Rupert Murdoch’s media empire and Sir Ronald Cohen, a venture capitalist.
After taking office it basically followed the economic policies of Thatcher and John Major. Labour’s commitment to the depredations of the market and private ownership was boundless, and its opposition to state intervention obsessive, while its magnanimity towards the rich was underpinned by cheap loans and soaring property prices.
The Labour government made Britain even more of a surveillance society than it had been hitherto. Decimation of civil liberties, especially those of ethnic minorities – with the Muslim community a particular target – was one of Labour’s shameful achievements.
In the heady days of soaring real estate prices, booming stock markets, and brisk business, Gordon Brown was foolish enough to claim that he had abolished the old boom and bust and ushered in an era of unending prosperity and rising incomes. It was during this period that government expenditure on health and education rose considerably, which the NCP never ceases to remind us of; but it was also during this period that huge funds were channelled into the hands of monopoly capital through the PFI (Private Finance Initiative) and other backdoor privatisation rackets.
After the party came the hangover. There followed, like the falling of a house about one’s ears, the deepest slump since the war. Gordon Brown’s government averted – only just – the meltdown of the banking system with an £850bn bail-out which has left Britain with a budget deficit amounting to over 11% of national income. Instead of the financial crisis being over, the “banking crisis has turned into a potential sovereign debt crisis”, to use the words of Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England. To restore public finances, all three major bourgeois parties agree, it is the working class that must bear the burden. Labour, had it won the election, would have taken the same sort of measures as those the present Conservative-LibDem coalition government is planning to put in place.
Yet in the NCP’s renegade reasoning, Labour still deserves the support of the working class. An editorial in the New Worker entitled ‘Tories in trouble’ dated 5 March 2010, presents the reader with a splendid display of contradictory eclecticism through which the NCP attempts to justify its support for the imperialist Labour Party.
“Admittedly Labour under Gordon Brown’s leadership has been far from friendly to the working class [was it ever friendly to the working class?] and we have no illusions that it would adopt what we would call socialist policies”. Having stated this, a few short paragraphs down the same column of the same editorial, the reader is informed: “We must get out campaigning [this is sheer hyperbole, for the NCP has neither the strength nor the inclination to do anything, let alone campaigning] to make sure the Tories do not get in and we must use the opportunity to push Brown towards genuinely working-class-friendly policies”.
The above two mutually exclusive statements amount, if they amount to anything at all, to this self-annihilatory incantation: on the one hand, we (the NCP) have no illusions that a Brown leadership would adopt socialist policies; on the other hand, we must campaign for the return of a Brown government to prevent the Tories getting in and “to push Brown towards genuinely working class-friendly policies”! Comrades of the NCP, make up your minds! Either ‘we’ have no illusions that a Brown government would adopt socialist policies, or ‘we’ think it can be pushed “towards genuine working class-friendly policies”. If the latter is not true, and it patently is not, by asserting that it is, the NCP is engaged in fostering illusions that a Labour government is capable of adopting socialist policies.
In the same editorial we are informed that the Tories blame Gordon Brown for Britain’s massive fiscal hole, which was acquired, as the editorial correctly says, “to bail out the banks last year”, for, had that not been done – as the Tories know only too well – it would have meant a complete meltdown of Britain’s banking system. This stance of the Tories, namely, blaming the Brown government for the gargantuan fiscal deficit is the reason, we are told, “…why so many capitalists are also alarmed at the prospect of a Tory election victory and why many of them are now working hard to ensure it does not happen”.
Obviously the NCP is not the insignificant corpse that evil-minded people in the movement believe it to be, for it has been joined by the serried ranks of “many capitalists … alarmed at the prospect of a Tory victory and … working hard” to prevent such a victory. Oh happy days! NCP, hand in hand with many capitalists, working tirelessly to prevent a Tory victory, which could prove so harmful to British capitalism. Whereas earlier we were told that a victorious Labour under Brown could be pushed into adopting “working class-friendly policies”, now we are told that the Tories, if returned to government, would damage the prospects of British finance capital – hence the alarm of many capitalists at the prospect of a Tory victory “and why many of them are now working hard to ensure it does not happen”. Hence, presumably, too, the opposition of the NCP to a Tory victory. It would thus appear that the NCP’s support for Labour rests on Labour’s well-proven ability to serve the interests of British imperialism, interests for which, it would equally appear, the NCP has such a tender heart!
Ordinary workers, with ordinary human reasoning, may be forgiven for reaching such a conclusion, which follows quite logically from the NCP’s argument cited immediately above. This is the reactionary mess into which the NCP’s attempts to justify, and persist in justifying, the unjustifiable have landed it.
Irrelevant references to Murdoch’s empire
But yet again, maybe the NCP did not mean what it said above, for in the very next sentence we are told that the “…Conservative Party is the natural party of the ruling class [a party, the prospect of whose victory alarms “so many capitalists” and to such an extent that they are “working hard” to prevent it], and its defeat “would also be a defeat for Murdoch and …Ashcroft”, which would be “enough reason to vote Labour” although the main reason for voting Labour, as ever, is that “this is the best way to build working class confidence, awareness and unity as the essential prerequisite to building a revolutionary movement and getting rid of the whole capitalist system.” (ibid.)
It is never explained by the capitulationist advocates of this line why a Labour victory would serve to bolster working class “confidence, awareness and unity” and how it would furnish the “pre-requisite” – no less – to building a revolutionary movement capable of overthrowing capitalism. Far from it: as long as the working class continues to entertain illusions (which are actively encouraged and propagated by the shameful revisionists and Trotskyites) in the imperialist Labour Party and support it, the chances of building a revolutionary movement capable of overthrowing capitalism are very poor indeed. One needs to go no further than to look at the 20th century history of Britain, where some of the most militant struggles of the working class, for instance the General Strike of 1926, as well as the Miners’ Strike of 1984-5, took place during Tory administrations. Labour’s main contribution, even from a position of opposition, was to sabotage, sadly successfully, these heroic struggles, From its very inception, Labour cast its lot in with British imperialism; it has never wavered from that position and will never do so in the future. It is time that people, who call themselves communists, who wish to be regarded as communists, gave up their support for this party of imperialism. Failing that, they will end up in the camp of imperialism in the pleasant company of their beloved Labour Party.
In its editorial of 29 January 2010 entitled ‘Countdown to election’, the New Worker says:
“State welfare and the NHS must be defended and expanded and the public sector must be restored. We need a massive council house building programme to end homelessness and cut unemployment. The anti-union laws must be repealed to allow a return to free collective bargaining. It can all be paid for by taxing the rich at the levels that existed under Labour in 1979.
“The Brown leadership is opposed to even these modest reforms but they are winnable and they could be implemented by a future Labour government if there is sufficient pressure and demand form organised Labour.”
The empty-headed editorial writers of the New Worker do not even raise, let alone answer, the obvious question: during the Labour governments of the past 13 years, why has the public sector not been restored, why has a massive council house building programme failed to materialise, why has unemployment, instead of being cut, reached 8% of the workforce, i.e., 2.5 million, why have anti-union laws not been repealed to allow a return to free collective bargaining, and why has there not been in evidence “sufficient pressure and demand from organised labour” so as to win and implement these “modest reforms”? What evidence is there that they would be winnable under yet another Labour government, or that the formation of a Labour government would act as a spur to the exertion of “sufficient pressure…from organised labour” for the implementation of these “modest reforms”, or that, given the existence of such working class pressure, a Tory government would be more capable of resisting the implementation of these reforms than a Labour government? One has only to raise these questions to reveal the utter bankruptcy of the assertions of the NCP and other similar renegade outfits.
In a number of articles and editorials in the New Worker, the NCP repeated the assertion that Gordon Brown had been “making some small, tentative steps in a leftward direction” since the September 2009 Labour Party Conference. Though small, these steps, says the NCP, were “…enough to lose him the support of the Murdoch press empire” (see ‘Labour’s sabotage’ by Daphne Liddle, New Worker, 8 January 2010).
In another piece, the same blessed Ms Liddle told us with an air of profundity verging on banality that “…Labour has broken the link with the Murdoch media empire that supported Blair…”, that in “many ways ‘New Labour’ died at last September’s annual party conference and Brown” had “taken a few steps back towards traditional Labour”. In view of all this, a “…clear victory for Brown’s Labour – with all its faults – is the best hope for the working class”. For good measure, Ms Liddle told us that we must educate the workers and build “…a movement strong and united enough to throw over this sham parliamentary ‘democracy’ and establish a working class democracy”. That, however, will take time. “In the meantime voting Labour is the least we can do to support our class” (‘Style over substance’, New Worker, 23 March 2010).
The above assertions of Ms Liddle are empty, false, hypocritical and dishonest. It is not Gordon Brown’s Labour that broke the links with the Murdoch media empire, it is the latter which parted company with Labour, for Labour had become discredited and many monopoly capitalists, including Murdoch, who had supported Labour for over a decade, switched back to the Conservatives, not because of any policy differences between the two major parties of British monopoly capitalism, but because, they believed, a new government, with fresh faces and not directly tainted by the horrible actions of the Labour government, would be better able to serve their interests. This is the racket that capitalism long ago put into place, whereby an unpopular bourgeois government is replaced by another momentarily less unpopular government which in turn, having become just as unpopular, makes way for its predecessor. And so it goes on as long as capitalism lasts.
Second, the link between Labour and Murdoch’s media empire, or any other corporate entity, is totally irrelevant to the argument, since it is the proud, and shameful, boast of the NCP that ever since its birth it has called for a Labour vote, that to do otherwise would be to undermine “the unity of our class”. Since the NCP still called for a Labour vote when Labour had a warm relationship with Murdoch, it is beside the point that Murdoch no longer – at least for the time being – finds it useful to lend his support to the Labour Party.
In the period leading up to 1997, which was to bring Labour into office after a break of 18 years, the NCP was calling for the election of a Labour government, “even a right-wing one”, headed by Tony Blair, who was, even according to the NCP, the “employers’ choice” – not just Murdoch’s – for the election of such a government, we were told, “…will raise the morale” and “expectations” of the working class.
Thus it can be seen that there is not the slightest difference, not even in the wording and the formulations, between the policy of the NCP back then in the mid-1990s and its policy now. It can equally be seen that the NCP’s references to Labour’s break with Murdoch are a meaningless irrelevance designed merely to hoodwink the unwary and an attempt at diverting attention from its continued capitulation to the imperialist Labour Party – its continued desertion of the camp of the proletariat to that of the bourgeoisie.
This is the essence of the New Worker’s editorial of 19 March 2010 entitled ‘Vote against Murdoch’ – an essence which is best summed up in the NCP’s own words: “Voting Labour is the least we can do to support our class” (‘Style over substance’, Daphne Liddle, New Worker, 23 April 2010).
Old and new Labour
Third, one of the sophisms used by all the revisionist and Trotskyite capitulators to social democracy is to invent a fundamental difference between old and new Labour; to assert that old Labour stood for socialism and the emancipation of the proletariat; that only with the advent of Tony Blair and the new Labour, of which he and Gordon Brown were the two chief architects, did Labour change colour; that all the same it is perfectly feasible to revert to old Labour and reclaim in for the working class.
The truth, however, is that Labour never has been, is not now, and will never in the future be, a party of the British proletariat. The truth is that it was formed to defend the interests of the privileged upper stratum of the proletariat (the labour aristocracy) and that since the privileged position of this stratum depended on the loot from the Empire and the extraction of imperialist superprofits from abroad, Labour, right from its birth, was committed to the defence of the British Empire and British imperialism alike, for it could not defend the one (the privileges of the labour aristocracy) without defending the other (British imperialism). Therefore Labour has, throughout its existence, as its record over a century amply demonstrates, been an imperialist party, a “bourgeois labour party”, to use Engels’ remarkably profound expression. Labour has throughout defended the interests of British imperialism and of the labour aristocracy.
The composition of this labour aristocracy has changed remarkably over several decades, but the labour aristocracy as such remains. If in former times it was composed of skilled craft workers, presently it consists mainly of skilled white-collar workers, administrators, labour and trade-union functionaries and those in supervisory and managerial positions. But what this new labour aristocracy shares with the old labour aristocracy is its total contempt for the poor, the disadvantaged and downtrodden at home and abroad. And this is so because such destitution is a necessary condition for the maintenance of its privileged and parasitic existence – an existence which explains its philistinism, its vile subservience to, and its contemptible sycophancy in the service of, the imperialist bourgeoisie.
The Troto-revisionist fraternity find themselves in the reactionary mess because of their asinine refusal to accept the continuing validity of Lenin’s thesis concerning the profound connection between imperialism and opportunism in the labour movement. Imperialism engenders a split in the working class by singling out a tiny handful of exceptionally rich and powerful states who plunder the entire world and who are thus able to use a portion of the superprofits so extracted to bribe the labour leaders and the upper stratum of the working class, who act as “the principal social prop of the bourgeoisie” and who are “the real agents of the bourgeoisie in the working class movement, the labour lieutenants of the capitalist class, real channels of reformism and chauvinism” (Lenin, Preface to the French and German editions of Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism).
On the basis of its monopoly profits, and the bribing of its labour aristocracy, the bourgeoisie of each imperialist country long ago begot, nurtured and secured for itself a bourgeois labour party. Since monopoly developed much earlier in Britain than elsewhere, the British bourgeoisie was the first to secure such a party. The Labour Party was precisely such a party. It is, as it always has been, a party of opportunism and social chauvinism, which is totally alien to the revolutionary proletariat. And unless a determined ruthless struggle is waged against this party, it is pointless and hypocritical cant to talk about the struggle against imperialism, about the socialist labour movement, or about proletarian revolution, for, in the words of Lenin, “…the fight against imperialism is a sham and humbug unless it is inseparably bound up with the fight against opportunism”, (Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism).
The Troto-revisionist fraternity continues to deny the existence of the split in the working class, for the denial of this split is crucial to its support for the Labour Party as the party of the entire British working class, as the recognition of this split cannot fail to force on it the recognition that Labour represents the interests of British imperialism and of the privileged layers of the working class. In denying this split, this renegade gentry also deny, albeit implicitly, the imperialist character of British capitalism. (For a more detailed treatment of this subject, the reader is requested to look at Harpal Brar, Social-democracy – the enemy within).
For decades, the capitulators to social democracy, to wit, the revisionist renegades to the cause of the emancipation of the proletariat and their Trotskyite counter-revolutionary cousins have been supporting the imperialist Labour Party, urging the working class “to elect a Labour government committed to socialist policies” or “under pressure from the working class to carry out socialist policies”. Absolutely nothing beneficial to the working class has resulted from such support for Labour. They refuse to stop to ponder why, for several decades, life has passed by their beautiful daydreams. They avoid facts and references to concrete reality, to the philosophy and century-long practice of the Labour Party because unfortunately for them concrete facts and reality refutes their dogma, mercilessly refutes their pompous, not to say ponderous, catch phrases.
Their refusal to confront concrete reality has served, as it was bound to do, to make them irrelevant, and to bring their organisations to the verge of extinction. Many Trotskyite organisations are on the fast track to oblivion. The CPB and the NCP, with their social-democratic politics, have no basis for an independent existence. The revisionist NCP is, even in the words of someone who until very recently was the organiser of the New Worker supporters group in Manchester, “almost extinct” and a “shell of an organisation around a ramshackle office in London”, for “if it was a real communist organisation, it would be building its own organisation and not wasting valuable time and effort tailing the Labour Party”.
There is next to no chance of such sane advice being heeded by our capitulationists. By their persistence in carrying along the road of subservience to social democracy, they are making themselves irrelevant, thus clearing the way for the building of a real communist party capable of leading the British working class in the revolutionary overthrow of British imperialism.
Renewed attempts to create illusions in Labour
Now that Labour, having lost the general election, is out of office, all its apologists, from trade-union barons to various Trotskyite-revisionist cliques, are busy attempting to rescue the Labour Party by creating illusions among working people that it can be reclaimed for the working class. They are even voicing criticism of the Labour governments during the past 13 years for the sole purpose of hoodwinking the working class into believing that a successful effort can be made to capture this imperialist stinking corpse for the working class.
Thus, Tony Woodley, the co-leader of Unite, Britain’s largest trade union, criticised the outgoing Labour government for its failure to scrap anti-union laws. Speaking at his Union’s Conference, he said that it was a “scandal that at the end of 13 years of Labour government the right to strike is still hanging by a thread”, adding that Labour’s failure to remove these laws was “… a lasting mark of shame on 13 years of New Labour government, that the party founded to rescue unions from the hands of the judges should pass us on to the Con-Lib coalition hemmed in by the courts at every turn”.
Mr Woodley also said there was no road back for Labour until the party apologised for taking the UK into the “illegal and unjust” Iraq war and called for the troops to get out of Afghanistan (quoted in the Financial Times of 1 June 2010, ‘Labour attacked over anti-union laws’).
Shameful and scandalous though the Labour government’s record during its 13 years in office was, the truth is that Mr Woodley’s 1.6 million strong union made a financial contribution of upwards of £11m to the Labour Party during the 4 years immediately preceding the recent election. It also sent 6 separate constituency-related individual letters to its members, in which Mr Woodley and Derek Simpson (the other co-leader of Unite) put the case for voting Labour. Obviously Mr Woodley was urging his members to vote for the return of a government with such a scandalous and shameful record on working-class questions – the same Labour that had stubbornly refused to remove the anti-trade union laws from the statute book. In short, he was asking the working class to support the very party that stood for its subjugation to British finance capital.
As to the question of the predatory imperialist wars waged by Labour, Mr Woodley would do best to maintain a discreet silence on the subject, for he was one of a group of top trade union leaders who, at the Labour Party Conference at the end of September 2004, rallied round the war criminal Tony Blair and helped defeat, by a majority of 6 to 1, a constituency motion calling for an “early date” for the withdrawal of British occupation forces from Iraq. The trade-union bosses, Mr Woodley included, even managed to stage a standing ovation for Blair.
More than that, this disgraceful bunch even invited to the Labour Party Conference Abdullah Mushin, an Iraqi quisling from the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU). Set up under the protection of imperialist guns in May 2003, IFTU supports the imperialist occupation of Iraq and condemns the Iraqi resistance. This traitor to the cause of Iraqi liberation canvassed the delegates and begged them not to vote against Blair, for the “multinational force [was] there to help our democracy” and its withdrawal would be “a terrible blow for free trade unionism, and would play into the hands of extremists and terrorists”.
Not only was Mr Woodley’s Unite a co-signatory to the letter inviting this despicable Iraqi flunkey of imperialism, it also contributed with its block vote to defeating the constituency resolution demanding an “early date” for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq.
It is a bit rich for Mr Woodley now to demand an apology from the Labour Party for taking Britain into the “illegal and unjust” Iraq war, when he and his Unite, among others, have contributed through their actions to the prolongation of that war and all the destruction and misery inflicted by that war on the Iraqi people. Before asking the criminals of the Labour Party to apologise, it is incumbent on him to himself make a similar apology for his disgraceful and shameful conduct in support of this predatory war. Mr Woodley must delude himself into thinking that other people don’t have long enough memories to remember the part that he and his ilk played in support of Labour’s predatory war in Iraq, not to mention the Afghan and Yugoslav wars.
The Trotskyites of the Socialist Party (formerly the Militant), who stood candidates at the last election as part of the Trade union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) slate, issued an election supplement on 15 May in which, inter alia, the question of shifting Labour to the left is dealt with.
“Since the election,” says the supplement, “some have argued that there is a possibility of shifting New Labour to the left now that it is out of power”, adding: “We do not think this is on the agenda”, for “New Labour, … unlike the Labour Party of the past, is a capitalist party”. The Socialist Party Trots obviously do not wish to lag behind the rest of the Troto-revisionist fraternity, all of whom, flying in the face of facts, maintain that it is only since the domination of the Blairites that the Labour Party has become a capitalist party. The Chinese wall that they have artificially erected between old and new Labour serves them as a convenient device for reconciling the British proletariat to counter-revolutionary social democracy.
In response to the declaration by Len McCluskey, general secretary candidate for Unite, that his union would initiate a major campaign to reclaim the Labour Party under his leadership, the supplement characterises it as a “mistaken strategy”, instead arguing for Unite “to stop funding New Labour and to begin to build a new party”. Having expressed their reservations about the McCluskey strategy, and having called it “mistaken”, the Socialist Party supplement goes on to say:
“Nonetheless, a serious campaign to reclaim New Labour by affiliated trade unions would be a huge step forward on the current policy of the majority of the union leaders of clinging to the coat-tails of the Brownites and the Blairites”.
But “to stand a chance of reclaiming capitalist New Labour for the working class [what a profundity – reclaiming capitalist New Labour for the working class!] it would take a mass influx into the party – of trade unionists and young people – determined to rebuild the democratic structures which have long been destroyed”, ‘forgetting’ to add that the democratic structures of which the Socialist Party Trots speak were destroyed long before Blair was even born by the 1918 constitution which, through the block vote, gave complete control to the Union bosses over the election of the National Executive Committee as well as conference policy. Thus, what our Troto-revisionist coterie of renegades characterises as labour’s historic links with the masses in fact amounted to the creation of a rotten borough which, while denying all say to the workers, handed control to an exclusive clique of union barons who always acted in the past, and will doubtless also always act in the future, in defence of the interests of British imperialism, a defence on which rests the defence of their own privileges and those of the upper stratum of the working class whom they represent.
The provisions of the 1918 constitution, including its infamous Clause IV, were part and parcel of Labour’s declaration of war on socialism and Bolshevism. Only the Troto-revisionist gentry, with their vision blinkered and thinking stultified through the practice of decades of opportunism, are unable to perceive this truth.
To continue with the supplement: “A serious campaign” to reclaim Labour “would have to demand that Labour adopts a socialist programme”. As to the contents of the ‘socialist’ programme, “key demands would include the repeal of all anti-trade union laws and opposition to all cuts in pubic services …” The Socialist Party’s socialist programme amounts to no more than a bourgeois democracy with the right to strike and moderate spending on public and social services. Gone are all references to the emancipation of the working class through the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism! And this from people who endlessly mumble about world revolution!
Further, such a campaign would have to demand the expulsion of the pro-capitalist and pro-war Blairites and Brownites from the Labour Party, accompanied by “…the rebuilding [!!] of democracy within the Labour Party”!
The authors of the supplement do not believe in the chances of success of such a campaign. If, however, it were to succeed “we would turn towards such a development”. But if the attempt fails, the affiliated trade unions must draw the conclusion that “New Labour could not be reclaimed and take the road of building a new mass party of the working class”.
The supplement concludes by arguing that in the Labour leadership election currently under way, “all affiliated unions, if they are serious about fighting to reclaim New Labour, should mandate their sponsored MPs to back” John McDonnell, for he is “almost certain to be the only candidate [he has dropped out of the contest since then] that stands in defence of workers’ interests”.
We have quoted at length the Socialist Party’s supplement, from which it emerges that, although kicked out of Labour, its heart really is in Labour; that it too, like most of the revisionist and Trotskyite outfits, is firmly of the view that only New Labour, “unlike the Labour Party of the past” is a capitalist party; that with a vigorous campaign there is the possibility of reclaiming Labour for the working class. Not much has changed. From the Militant, through the Socialist Party, back to the Militant and into the fold of the imperialist Labour Party. What a progress for these lost souls who, having wandered from place to place, are dying to return to their much-beloved shrine – the imperialist Labour Party.
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