Thursday, 29 April 2010
I am filled with optimism after spending much of the day campaigning for Labour. It seems that the vast majority of people do not care about Brown's biggot comment and many are intending to vote Labour.
If labour manages to pull off a victory, it would go down as a fitting end to a bizzare election. With the Lib Dem's refusal to support Labour if they come thrid in the popular vote, there is a huge need to get the Labour vote out.
I cannot imagine what damage a Tory government/Tory-led coaltion would do to the country. It would be back to the depression of the 1980s for Northern towns like Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and all inner cities in England. Both Scotland and Wales would be subjected to the same policies they were forced to endure during the 1980s, with the same resentment that a tiny minority of their respective populations actually voted Tory.
It is clear that a Labour victory would avoid the brutality of the Tories immediate, savage cuts. Labour proposes to pospone cuts and protect essential services. Labour has forced (or been forced by being abandoned by British capital) a division between it and the Tories. With the likes of Geoff Hoon...etc completely discredited, the right face severe internal opposition what ever the outcome of the election.
Progressives of all shades need to rally around the flag, and help Labour win a fourth term.However, we cannot make apologies for certain policies of the New Labour government. The BNP thrive of the abandonment of the working class by New Labour, we cannot defend the destruction of the manufacturing sector, the inadequate funding of council housing, not to mention the wars in Afganistan and Iraq. That is why the hard right of the Labour party need to be opposed, both politically and electorally. This means supporting candidates from outside the Labour party.
Let's examine the options;
First, the Communist Party.The Communist Party is running one of the highest profile campaigns that it has run in years. You only need to look at the masses of materials on the website and articles concerning hustings, press attention and local campaigning. Let's look at the candidates;
Marc Livingstone is standing for Glasgow North West. He is a member of UNISON and was until recently the Scottish organiser of the Young Communist League and is active in SCND and Cuba Solidarity Campaign, having visited Cuba as part of a work brigade a few years ago, and witnessed the achievements of the revolution. He also plays a key role in public work for the party, selling the Morning Star on the streets of Glasgow. In his spare time, he performs as part of a Hip Hop group called the Stupid Idiots. He also has an honours degree in History from the University of Glasgow. Further information can be found on both the Communist Party's national website and the website of the Scottish committee.
Martin Levy is standing for Newcastle East. Martin is Mr Levy works at Northumbria University as a Chemistry Lecturer and is president of Newcastle TUC. His campaign has been taking off and was the subject of a recent article in the Economist. You can find out more about the campaign, including video clips and contact details at the website of the Northern district of the Communist party.
Steve Andrew is standing for Sheffield South East. It is the first electoral battle the Communist party has fought in the city for over 30 years. Steve is a Librarian and his campaign has been covered by an article on the BBC's news website.
Ben Stevenson is former General Secretary of the Young Communist League and is standing for Croydon North. Ben is a Croydon TUC executive member and is the Youth & Student Organiser and National Secretary of the Communist Party.
Robert Griffiths, General Secretary of the Communist Party, is standing in Cardiff South & Penarth. Rob's campaign has taken off with several lively hustings meetings, organised by the Communist Party locally, and even a spot on the BBC's Daily Politics show. More information on and ways you can get involved in the campaign can be found at the website of the Welsh Committee of the Communist Party.
Finally, in what on the surface appears to be a strange constituency for the Communist party to be standing in, Gerry Sables is seeking election for North Devon. Gerry is a local author and designer and has been throwing himself into a campaign that covers a wide rural area. Check out the Communist party website for more information and for Gerry's explanation of the issues that made him stand for North Devon, chiefly rural poverty, lack of transport, housing and decent education.
As well as a whole host of local candidates, including Monty Goldman for Mayor of Hackney, who Bob Crow has recently pleadged to spend election day campaigning for, the Communist Party is also standing in alliance with members of overseas communist parties who are domiciled in Britain in Unity for Peace and Socialism (UFPS). Avtar Sadiq is standing for Leicester East. UFPS has previously polled hundreds of votes in several local election contests. You can read more about the campaign in Avtar's recent article for the Morning Star;
Communist Party member and former Councilllor and Mayor, John Medclafe is standing for Carlisle as the Carlisle Socialist and Trade Union candidate. John is an ASLEF workplace rep can has been creating a storm up in Cumbria. You can find out more about his campaign at http://carlislesocialist.org/
Other candidates worthy of support include the unstoppable Salma Yaqoob in Birmingham.
The outcome of this election will decide what kind of society we will live in for years to come. While a Labour victory would shrink the scale of devestation the country will suffer, it still would ensure unacceptable cuts in public spending. Which ever government is elected, these cuts will need to be fought. That will mean providing soliarity accross the entire labour movement for striking workers and building up the biggest possible campaign around the People's Charter. The Fat Cats must pay for their crisis. There is a viable alternative to public sector cuts, we can and must tax the greed of the capitalists and abandon our cold-war era, 'independent', Nuclear weapons programme.
We have much work to do.
Saturday, 24 April 2010
I know it is a day late, but I was busy celebrating St George's day yesterday.
There are some on the left who like to engage with the crazy posture politics of not supporting England in the World Cup and rejecting anything to do with the country.
I have no time for such childishness. Billy Bragg outlined in 'Progressive Patriot' that we can be socialist and love our country. In fact, one of the reasons that some are turning to fascism is due to the fact that left-wingers are seen to hate our country.
We love our country not for the Queen or the empire, but for it's people and it's countryside, it's history and it's culture. I leave you the lyrics of what should be England's national anthem, 'Jerusalem' by William Blake;
" And did those feet in ancient time.
Walk upon Englands mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!
And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?
Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!
I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In Englands green & pleasant Land"
For England and Saint George!
Vote now for Jerusalem to be our song at the Commonwealth games at https://survey.yougov.com/vTFYGZJhkV3q6Z
It would be another step towards adopting it as our national anthem.
Tuesday, 6 April 2010
As it if wasn't bad enough that the courts are being used to take away British worker's right to strike, the story I just read on socialist unity is out of this world(http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=5540). The story reads that the judge who imposed a court injunction against the RMT that prevented strike action at Network Rail is closely related to a big gun at Goldman Sachs that raise a huge amount of money for Network Rail.
Mrs Justice Sharp's brother, Richard Sharp very recently ran Goldman Sachs’ European private equity fund. Goldman Sachs is a principle dealer for Network Rail’s 34 billion Debt Issuance Programme. She is also a massive Tory and associate of Boris Johnson.
So RMT make a few mistakes with the details of thousands of individuals who move around/get sacked/get promoted/leave for another job and they were overruled by one woman who is very clearly bias against the strike action.
This together with allegations that Mrs Justice Cox, the judge who outlawed the overwhelmingly popular decision of BA workers to strike last year, was to fly with BA leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Whether these allegations are true or not, this provides us with a very good insight into freedom under capitalism. As Lenin wrote in State and Revolution;
"In capitalist society, providing it develops under the most favourable conditions, we have a more or less complete democracy in the democratic republic. But this democracy is always hemmed in by the narrow limits set by capitalist exploitation, and consequently always remains, in effect, a democracy for the minority, only for the propertied classes, only for the rich. Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in the ancient Greek republics: freedom for the slave-owners. Owing to the conditions of capitalist exploitation, the modern wage slaves are so crushed by want and poverty that "they cannot be bothered with democracy", "cannot be bothered with politics"; in the ordinary, peaceful course of events, the majority of the population is debarred from participation in public and political life. . . ."
The feeling that everything is fixed breeds apathy, especially when we are presented with allegations as terrible as this. But we cannot allow this apathy to set in. It is just what the capitalists want, it is exactly the conditions that allow fascists to recieve support for their filth.
Only mass campaigning can reverse this crazed set of affairs. Now is the time to step up activity in your trades council and union branches. Come along to the Defending The Welfare State and Public Services demonstration (http://www.10410demo.co.uk/)this saturday.
All Communist party members and supporters are urged to get along to this demonstration and help us get our voices heard, help us sell the Morning Star and give a message to Tories, Liberals and New Labour that we are not prepared to face their onslaught sitting down.
The People United Will Never Be Defeated!