Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/967/26304

From The Socialist newspaper, 18 October 2017

The Socialist editorial issue 967

Tories torn - bin them now

Socialist Party and Young Socialists members and supporters demonstrating against Tory party conference, 1.10.17, photo by Paul Mattsson

Socialist Party and Young Socialists members and supporters demonstrating against Tory party conference, 1.10.17, photo by Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

May's EU malaise reflects crisis for capitalist class

Fight for a socialist Brexit to bring the whole lot down

This brutal, broken Tory government is limping. May's premiership hangs by a thread.

Her party is locked in what could be the deepest crisis in its history. As workers gather outside parliament to protest against the public sector pay cap, it's clear that the time for the trade union movement to act is now.

The uprising that took place on 8 June - when millions defied the solemn warnings and sneering dismissals of the capitalist establishment by voting for an alternative to austerity - has dealt a potentially mortal blow to May, as well as the whole Tory regime.

Weakened, the prime minister now faces what is, from the point of view of Britain's capitalist class, a nightmare task. She is attempting to negotiate a deal on Brexit while simultaneously holding her party together. Achieving both aims is likely to prove impossible.

But while this situation is a disaster for the Tories and their super-rich friends, for our class it presents an opportunity. Faced with mass mobilisations of workers and young people, this government can crumble and fall.

Leadership

This means the leadership of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) must immediately break with its current policy of 'wait and see and hope for the best', and instead seize the initiative. It should start by calling a huge national demonstration. This could be used to build up to widespread, nationally coordinated strike action to break the pay cap.

Among working class people there is clearly appetite for action. This was demonstrated over the summer in the many disputes that broke out on a local level - among the Birmingham bin workers, Barts Trust hospital staff, and BA cabin crew, for example. More recently, it has also been shown in the overwhelming vote to strike by postal workers - action currently being frustrated by an outrageous anti-union legal injunction.

If a lead was given, whether by the leadership of the trade union movement or by Jeremy Corbyn calling people to the streets, Britain could rapidly erupt in mass protest. A crisis for the Tories is a crisis for the class they represent - the super-rich 0.1%. But for working class people, it provides a fresh opportunity to build a movement to kick them out and to bring an end to the hated austerity agenda.

The malaise May's party faces is not really about the antics of Johnson or other Tory mega-egos. Its causes are far more fundamental. It is a result of the profound crisis facing the capitalist system on an international scale. But it is also a symptom of the specific crisis faced by British capitalism.

Four months ago, Theresa May stood on the steps of Downing Street to announce her intention to call a general election. In a speech brimming with hubris, she declared that through securing an (inevitably) increased majority, it would be possible to "remove the risk of uncertainty and instability [posed by Brexit] and continue to give the country the strong and stable leadership it demands."

In saying this, she unwittingly hinted at reality. May called the election because she was in an already weakened position. This was not a personal weakness as such. It was a weakened position for her party and the capitalist class who it exists to represent.

Because the revolt of 8 June 2017 was in fact the second of two major electoral revolts that took place within a short space of time. The first came just under a year earlier in the form of the vote to leave the European Union.

The Leave vote was not an endorsement of Johnson, Gove or Farage, or of their divisive and racist campaign. First and foremost it was an expression of raw class anger. It was, at bottom, a protest aimed at the austerity agenda, at the capitalist establishment and at the EU as an institution which fundamentally works in the interests of the small, rich few.

May has emerged from 'unscheduled' talks with president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker on the Brexit deal looking more vulnerable than ever. There is a reason why, when asked how she would vote in an EU referendum were it held again today, she dodges the question. It is in the interests of British capitalism - of bankers, big business and the rich - that Britain remains within the EU, particularly within the single market and the customs union.

Yet May is being forced to face both ways. Every attempt she makes at a conciliatory approach to the EU can be seized upon by the so-called 'hard-brexiteers' in the Tory party. Meanwhile, the heads of capitalist governments around Europe, who make up the European Council and who appoint the European Commission, are anxious to ensure that there is no 'easy exit' for Britain - fearful of the potential for the project's unravelling.

Workers' concerns

Understandably, many working class people in Britain feel worried about the economic instability that could result from what's termed a 'hard Brexit' - not to mention the continued uncertainty over the future status of EU citizens living in the UK. But the reality is that Johnson, Gove, Juncker and May have no genuine concern for the lives and wellbeing of working class people, either in Britain or elsewhere.

The true face of the European Union has been shown in the last month, by their backing of Spain's right-wing government in its attempts to brutally suppress the right of the Catalan people to self-determination. It was shown in 2015 when, as working class people in Greece voted overwhelmingly for an end to punishing austerity, the EU used all its strength to impose a crushing defeat on the Syriza government, whose leadership outrageously capitulated to their demands.

What kind of Brexit?

That's why the real debate must not be about a hard versus a soft Brexit, but a workers' versus a bosses' Brexit. During the election campaign, Corbyn correctly hinted at this, and gained a wide echo from working class people. But any attempt by the Labour leadership to correctly use the Tory divisions to hasten the end of the government must not miss the central point, that any 'deal' done by May (or any other representative of the capitalist class) will fundamentally be about protecting the interests of big business, at the expense of working class people.

The ruling class are increasingly looking to the Blairites - the representatives of the 1% within the Labour Party -

to exert pressure on the Labour leadership to soften their position on various issues, particularly those surrounding the Brexit negotiations. This is a symptom of the concern among the ruling class about their lack of reliable political representation, as well as their fear of a Corbyn-led government that could further awaken the appetites of working class people for radical change.

Rather than retreating under this pressure, Corbyn must instead stand up to the right, and outline the case for a socialist Brexit. This would be based on protecting the interests of working class people in Britain, whichever country they were born in, and on international solidarity with working class people fighting back across Europe and the rest of the world.

That would mean exiting all EU treaties that act against the interests of working class people. It would include, for example, abolishing all those rules which outlaw nationalisation and which allow for the super-exploitation of workers through agreements like the posted-workers directive.

It would mean being prepared to meet the blackmail of the capitalist class, whose threats of economic Armageddon are creating fear and confusion, with socialist measures. Being prepared to nationalise not just a few selected industries but the banks and the major monopolies that dominate the British economy.

This would pave the way for working class people to democratically plan production to meet the needs of everyone. It would provide the opportunity to use the vast wealth, currently concentrated in the hands of the tiny few, to provide healthcare, education, jobs and housing to all who need them. It would provide the opportunity to build a socialist society for the many, not the few. Such an approach would be popular not just in Britain, but across Europe, and could be a first step towards a socialist confederation of the continent as a whole.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 18 October 2017:


What we think

Tories torn - bin them now


Socialist Party news and analysis

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

Young people being strangled by debts

Tories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!

Obesity epidemic: end food market anarchy

What we saw


Socialist Party workplace news

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

PCS ballots members on the pay cap

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

Unite local government sector plans strike ballot

Salford Unison condemns pay cuts


October revolution 1917

Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

October 1917 reviews: 'More bright than any heaven'

October 1917 centenary pull-out and poster


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

Uprising to save the NHS!

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea


International socialist news and analysis

Campaign against political repression in Hong Kong


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Powerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future


 

Home   |   The Socialist 18 October 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Brexit:

triangleCabinet chaos as shambolic reshuffle underlines Theresa May's impotence

triangle2018: more upheavals loom

triangleBrexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

triangleCorbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangleLiverpool Socialist Party: For a socialist, internationalist Brexit

Tories:

triangleSustained mass movement needed to stop Tories wrecking our NHS

triangleThousands live in tents and sheds - seize empty homes

triangleUni market 'failure', two-year degrees - end cuts, scrap fees!

triangleSave our NHS

Socialist:

triangleTheatre: 'Young Marx' shows growth in great platform for his ideas

triangleSocialist Party women's meeting brings together members to share experiences

triangleSouthampton Socialist Party: Is there a global nuclear threat?

The Socialist:

triangleSalford Socialist Party: Building the Socialist Party

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Building the Socialist Party

EU:

triangleA world in crisis, ripe for revolution

Capitalist:

triangleSocialist sales highest in years as mistrust in capitalist media hits record levels

Working class:

triangleWidening wealth gap, increase in poverty...make the fat cats pay

Workers:

triangleCarillion and the construction industry

Britain:

triangleSalford Socialist Party: Britain in 2018

Government:

triangleTunisia: explosion of protests against government austerity

European:

triangleSouthampton Socialist Party: The new left parties in Europe

Austerity:

triangleCorbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

Rich:

triangleThem & Us

Trade union:

triangleStrike wins biggest pay rise in ten years

Labour:

triangleWe must fight all council cuts!

Europe:

triangleSweden: School strike against deportations

Labour leadership:

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

European Union:

triangleGlobal finance: Are those storm clouds ahead?

Super-rich:

triangleThem & us

Big business:

triangleThe Tories must be driven out

Capitalism:

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Women - fighting sexism, violence and capitalism

TUC:

triangleNSSN pre-TUC rally

Theresa May:

triangleTories on the brink - kick them out!

Tory party:

triangleThe end of the Tories?

Economy:

triangleAmber warning lights flash on British economy

Syriza:

triangleHow the Single Market blocks socialist policies

Labour Party:

triangleTotnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

Bankers:

triangleDefuse the consumer debt time bomb: nationalise the banks!

British economy:

triangleRight wing attempts to use single market against Corbyn

General election:

triangleLabour 'purge' furore really just democracy

Nationalisation:

triangleRetail sector crunch: nationalise to save jobs

Jeremy Corbyn:

triangleSalford Socialist Party: Left parties, Greek tragedy and Jeremy Corbyn

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

17/1/18

Labour

Corbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

17/1/18

Trump

Victory! Trump's UK visit cancelled by fear of protests

17/1/18

NHS

NHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

15/1/18

Carillion

Carillion crisis: demand action to save jobs and services

10/1/18

Tories

Cabinet chaos as shambolic reshuffle underlines Theresa May's impotence

10/1/18

NHS

Sustained mass movement needed to stop Tories wrecking our NHS

10/1/18

Education

Bigot Toby Young quits - now scrap the new uni regulator driving privatisation

10/1/18

Them & Us

Them & Us

10/1/18

Teachers

Teacher recruitment falls by a third - cut workload, not funding

3/1/18

Fire service

Fire service victory

3/1/18

Fares

Rail: fares up, bosses' pay up - delays and cancellations up

3/1/18

Higher Education

Mobilise against rip-off executive pay

3/1/18

Virgin

NHS in winter crisis as Branson creams off 1bn

3/1/18

Homes

Thousands live in tents and sheds - seize empty homes

3/1/18

Fat cats

Widening wealth gap, increase in poverty...make the fat cats pay

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle17 Jan Corbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

triangle17 Jan NHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

triangle17 Jan We must fight all council cuts!

triangle16 Jan Home care workers to strike

triangle15 Jan Carillion crisis: Demand action to save jobs and services

triangle12 Jan Outrage against 'monster block' plan

triangle12 Jan Mini-strike wave continues and intensifies

More ...

triangle23 Jan Bristol North Socialist Party: 'You can't have capitalism without racism' - was Malcolm X correct?

triangle23 Jan Cardiff West Socialist Party: How the Poll Tax was beaten

triangle24 Jan Caerphilly Socialist Party: The Carillion scandal

triangle24 Jan Cardiff Central Socialist Party: Carillion collapse - Watershed moment for public services

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2