Sunday, May 07, 2017

No More Empty Promises

In this June's General Election the various politicians will put forward their views as to how they intend to make our lives a lot better if we elect them. At every opportunity they will have quoted facts and figures, belittled their opponents and made the usual mundane promises. All we will do is ask you to think, and perhaps encourage you to begin using the most subversive word in the English language -"Why?"

Millions of workers will vote Labour on June the 8th in the next election but the tradition of blind allegiance to the Labour Party is on the decline. The Labour Party politicians are worried by the mass exodus of voters from their ranks. Having in the past gained working class allegiance by the most sickening opportunism, the Labour Party is now viewed as no more capable than any others of eradicating the inherent ills of capitalism. There are still those who believe that Labour is, or could be, a socialist party. Indeed, Labour's enthusiastic activists are workers, often young and energetic, who are fired by the illusion that a Labour government will one day do something about establishing socialism.  The transformation of the Labour Party into a genuine socialist party is always just about to happen.  In many respects, the hatred of the iniquities of the present social order and the sincere pursuit of "something different" is to be admired; it is also proof of the socialist contention that capitalism is doing the job of creating class conscious workers for us. But the militancy of Labour's Leftist activists is misdirected; their conception of socialism is vague at best. Support for the Labour Party in the misguided belief that this is support for socialism leads inevitably to disillusion; the ranks of political apathetic are filled by more than a few workers who wasted their energies "fighting for socialism".  Labour supporters like to forget; a qualification for allegiance to the Labour Party is a short memory. But under Jeremy Corbyn, we are told, all will be different.  The Left sees in it reason to anticipate "socialist" policies from a Corbyn-led government. To elect another reforming Labour government promising to make a better society for the workers while jumping to every demand of the profit system would be a tragedy for those who desire a peaceful, united, free society.  There can be no socialism without conscious socialists; it is time to give up hope in the sterile fantasies of Jeremy Corby reformists — it is time to take socialism seriously. The Socialist Party has a conception of socialism which is fundamentally different from any form of capitalism.  The Socialist Party is serious about changing society. Unlike the Labour Party, we understand what capitalism is and how it works. 

Workers generally have nothing to gain from supporting Labour. Nevertheless, they, of course, still need to take political action to solve their problems. The question is: what sort of political action? To suggest setting up another party along the lines of Labour is ludricous. For the Labour Party, by its very nature, was doomed to failure from the start.  The Labour Party’s view of society at its foundation was not an economic analysis of capitalism. The capitalist system was bad because it was run by hard-faced politicians who were indifferent to social evils, and not because of its economic laws which placed the pursuit of profit above all else. Therefore, the solution to the problems of society lay in removing these men from; office and replacing them with a more decent set who would, by reforms, abolish the poor, feed the hungry, etc. This was a denial of reality. No party, however well-intentioned, could hope to spirit away the essential basis of capitalism, whilst at the same time acting as custodian of that very system. The only option was to change society in a revolutionary way and this was rejected out of hand by the Labour Party. The Labour Party from the beginning shied away from the fact that the working class’s interests were diametrically opposed to those of the capitalists. The emphasis placed upon working within the capitalist system, meant that the Labour Party was open to all sorts of social engineers and cranks, well-to-do philanthropists, and out-and-out careerists who saw in the Labour Party a meal-ticket. A direct result of the influx of the intellectuals and managerial types ousted working people from the representative positions in the party.  In the origins of the Labour Party we can see the seeds of future failures.  It sought to win votes on the basis of social reform and not social revolution. Any socialists who might exist in the Labour ranks are swamped by non-socialists, who dictate the party’s course along essentially reformist and capitalist lines. Any notion that once into office the Labour Party could take the capitalist dog for a walk has been subsequently shown to be false. The dog has taken them for a long walk down the road of power politics and social evils.

It has failed to protect the interests of the working class—and has in fact done just the opposite—not through any lack of sincerity but because any party that takes on the task of governing under capitalism must face the fact that capitalism is a class system and that it runs on profits. Governments must protect this system so that inevitably they are brought into conflict with the working class. This was the whole  fallacy of Labourism. It held that a party of workers could run capitalism differently from a party of businessmen or landowners. But, as experience has shown, they cannot. Labour MP's are not elected on a Socialist (many are now too scared even to use the word in their vote-catching campaigns) but on a reform programme. Returned to power all they can do is to govern, to keep capitalism going. In the process even mild reform plans and links with workers' organisation go by the board.

What is needed is not another Labour Party, Corbyn-led or otherwise, but a proper socialist party: a party that is opposed to capitalism: a party that takes its stand on the interests of workers elsewhere; a party that struggles for socialism and nothing less. Such a party already exists - the Socialist Party.

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