The case for socialism (2013 version)
No to Austerity
The case for socialism (2013 version)
No to austerity - for a party for the majority, not a tiny elite
The great recession was not caused by a bloated public sector but by the worst crisis of capitalism in 70 years.
Yet we are being told that we have to accept cuts in public spending as the only way out of the crisis.
In reality, as we have warned, cutting public spending has not improved the economic crisis, but exacerbated it.
The government has no mandate for the vicious austerity it is implementing. The Tories couldn't even win a majority in the 2010 general election.
Instead they had to cobble together a coalition with the Lib-Dems, who had increased their vote only by claiming to be to the left of Labour.
Since then the brutal reality of the government's policies - continued economic crisis, pay freezes and cuts, tuition fee hikes, growing unemployment and benefit cuts - has led to the governing parties plummeting in the polls.
Austerity is unpopular but there is no voice in parliament which opposes it. At every step the Labour Party has accepted the cuts agenda.
Labour leader Ed Miliband and his sidekick Ed Balls disgracefully promised to bring "iron discipline" to controls on spending by sticking with Tory spending plans at the start of a future Labour government, capping spending on the sick and disabled and not restoring universal child benefit, among many other attacks.
Labour may well still win the next general election, but they are doing their best to throw their chances away by offering their own version of austerity gruel.
At the same time, at local level Labour councils are implementing the coalition government's cuts.
No wonder that workers' most common response to elections is to sit on their hands and abstain. Some have tried to kick the government by voting for UKIP - which poses as the voice of opposition, though in reality stands for even more brutal austerity than the Tories.
The stockbrokers and millionaires who lead UKIP have won votes by posing as being 'against the big three parties'.
They are tapping into the deep-rooted suspicion of 'parties' and 'politics' in society - an inevitable consequence of having all the major parties stand for the 1% rather than the 99%.
It shows great sense to be cynical about political parties when faced with the pro-rich, pro-banker, sleazy and corrupt parties of Westminster, which really are 'all the same'.
We understand why people draw the conclusion that it is better to ignore politics and declare a plague on all their houses.
The problem with this, however, is that it lets the various brands of self-serving careerists continue to run the show, abusing the rest of us.
There are many examples of this. In Spain in 2010 a mass movement - the 'indiginados' - burst onto the scene, struggling against
austerity. But, because the movement in the main stood aside from the electoral field, it allowed the PP (equivalent of the Tory Party) to come to power.
Egypt has been shaken repeatedly by mass revolutionary uprisings. However, the lack of a mass party of the working class and poor means that the forces that are making the revolution have so far not been able to take the power.
The Socialist Party is fighting for a party of a completely different type. We need a party that stands for the interests of the overwhelming majority: the working class.
Such a mass party would not exist only to stand in elections, but to unite the different sections of the working class - young and old, working and unemployed, black and white - in a common struggle for its collective interests. Nonetheless, standing in elections is one important aspect of that struggle.
In England and Wales the Socialist Party helped to found the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) which provides a banner under which different workers, anti-cuts, anti-bedroom tax, 'save our services' campaigns and youth organisations can stand in elections on a clear socialist platform.
TUSC also involves the RMT (the rail and transport workers' union) led by Bob Crow, and leading trade unionists from the civil servants' union (PCS), the teachers' union (NUT), and others. We see this as a step towards building a mass party of the working class.