Sunday, March 08, 2015

Leaders get lost

So there might not be a head-to-head televised debate between David Cameron and Ed Miliband. So what? In fact, good. A debate between two empty chairs would be better.

Capitalist politics is about which team of professional politicians is to run the capitalist state and try to steer the capitalist economy. The “leadership" qualities of the person who will become the CEO of The Country PLC (in Britain, the Prime Minister; in other countries, the President) is considered important. But it isn’t. It is the workings of the capitalist economy at world level that determine what governments can and cannot do, so it is irrelevant which party is in office, let alone who is its leader. The competence, sincerity or personality of who is the Prime Minister makes no difference whatsoever to how capitalism operates. That Cameron is a Tory toff or whether or not Miliband is a weirdo is completely irrelevant.

This is not how it is presented by pro-capitalist apologists and the media. They promote the idea that it is politics not economics that is in control. Televised debates between rival leaders help maintain this illusion, which leads people to conclude that when things go wrong (as they always do) it is the government that is seen as being to blame not the economic system and that things can be rectified by a mere change of government rather than by a change of economic and social system.  In fact, changing governments changes nothing; changing leaders even less.

As far as we are concerned this is not what politics is about. It should be, in the first instance, a battle of ideas, not a sham fight between leaders over which of them and their team are best fitted to try to run capitalism. At a later stage of course, it will be a struggle between the wage and salary working class and the minority owning capitalist class for political control, but we are not there yet.

We are opposed to the whole concept of leadership. Leaders only exist because there are followers, and followers are people who have abdicated thinking and acting for themselves to someone who has promised to do something for them. That’s a mug’s game, especially as leaders have proved time and again that they cannot honour their promises as capitalism won’t let them. They always get lost.

If things are going to change – really change – people will have to act for themselves in their own interest, rejecting leaders (including self-appointed “revolutionary” vanguards) and self-organising themselves democratically, to take political power out of the hands of the pro-capitalist politicians who currently control it. Then use it to bring the means of production into the common ownership of the whole of society under democratic control.

That is why our candidates in this election are not presenting themselves as leaders who will do something for people. They are simply names on the ballot paper for people to indicate, should they want to, that they want socialism not capitalism. If elected, they would not be leaders, but simply the messenger boys and girls of those who voted for them.

So, if you like, insert a comma after the word “Leaders” in the title above.

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