Thursday, April 26, 2018

The power of our vote

Mocking politicians is alright to a certain extent but it can give rise to the mistaken idea that it is because of corrupt and self-seeking politicians that we suffer from the social problems we do. It's not. It's the fault of capitalism. Even if all politicians were saints they still couldn't make capitalism work in our interest. Nor is it true that all elections are a joke and a waste of time. While what the professional politicians who currently dominate politics get up to at Westminster and the antics they engage in to get votes do deserve to be mocked, especially as the media give them so much publicity, there is a serious side to elections.

Universal suffrage came into being partly as a result of pressure from below. From the 1760s the elections were associated with radical politics: demands for reform of the political system and protests against the economic hardships and lack of liberty for the labouring classes began to appear in the speeches. But what was reform of the political system if not the extension of the suffrage and its use to gain access to political power to try to improve the situation of the labouring class, such as the Chartists later campaigned for? And what did the Suffragettes want if not to extend the suffrage? Was this wrong? We say no, the extension of the vote to workers is a gain and is a crucial difference between today and the situation in the 1700s. Certainly, at present the vote is not used wisely -- in fact, it is used very unwisely -- but that doesn't mean that it can't be used when once workers have woken up to the fact that capitalism can never be made to work in their interests. To try to speed up this awareness is another reason why we contest elections.

Any suggestion to try to disrupt the elections is completely irresponsible is probably just anarchist bombast. If anybody really tried it, they should remember the song "I fought the Law...And the Law Won".

Political parties invariably try to give us confidence that this time promises will be kept, regulations will be tightened and adhered to, unemployment will be tackled and reduced (figures can be manipulated). A minor change here, a cosmetic tweak there, but the status quo will endure regardless. When reading or listening to the election promises and then thinking back rationally to other, similar pledges by previous candidates and recalling the reality of U-turns, excuses, and failure to deliver over the years, how could anyone doubt the absolute imperative of addressing the question of what’s gone wrong with politics with the utmost seriousness? If we simply moan and complain from our armchairs what will change? A compliant, too passive electorate is repeatedly defrauded.

If you think you've been cheated over the years, you're right; capitalism is nothing but a racket. The proof of the failure of the world capitalist system to meet the needs and aspirations of the majority of the population of every country of the world is there for all to see, clear and manifest if only they will open their eyes wide and acknowledge the overwhelming evidence.  Politics, the activities associated with how a country or an area is run, is something which should engage the interest and activity of every citizen worldwide as it bears directly on all aspects of life. The reason for contempt or indifference towards politics comes from a history of being excluded, the expectation of being excluded and the acceptance of being excluded. To be heard, to be considered, to be represented honestly we need to be involved in the decision-making processes, not to be told what is in our best interest by self-serving professional politicians. We need a system that works for us all, of which we're all an integral part, a system we're prepared to work to attain. What we need is socialism.

The Socialist Party and its three candidates are alone in speaking for the working class and fighting for its interests in the London May local elections. The working class cannot defend its independent class interests except through a complete political break with all the parties and organisations that defend the profit system—above all from the Labour Party. Workers must reject all forms of racism, nationalism and xenophobia, including the demonising of migrant workers and political refugees. The aim of our campaign is to develop a working class, imbued with socialist consciousness, and armed with the understanding that nothing less than the abolition of the capitalist profit system and the establishment of world socialism can provide a future for humanity as a whole; free of war, poverty and oppression.


Bill Martin

Adam Buick

Kevin Parkin

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