Vote Labour and fight to transform the labour movement!

May 6, 2015 at 5:25 pm (elections, labour party, posted by JD, reformism, socialism)

Vote Labour Tomorrow!

SOCIALIST CAMPAIGN FOR A LABOUR VICTORY: WHERE WE STAND

Another Tory government – ruling by themselves, with the Lib Dems or, worst of all, in coalition with UKIP – would be a disaster for the working class. As socialists, we want a Labour victory, not because we support Labour’s current position – a softer version of austerity and anti-migrant politics – but to throw out the Coalition, and because Labour is linked to workers’ basic organisations, trade unions. If the unions choose to fight, they can change Labour’s direction.

We don’t want to “hold our noses” and vote Labour as a lesser evil. We want to combine campaigning for a Labour government with making clear working-class demands, to boost working-class confidence, and strengthen and transform our labour movement so it is fit to fight.

We must challenge the idea that the working class should pay for the capitalist crisis through increased inequality, lower pay, job insecurity, workplace stress, draconian ‘performance management’ and cuts to services. The labour movement should be championing every working-class fightback against the bosses’ drive to squeeze more and more profit out of our work and our lives.

In place of the dog-eat-dog, exploiting society of capitalism, we socialists are fighting for a world of collective ownership, equality and sustainable planning for people’s needs, not profit. We want to spread these ideas in the working class and among young people.

A socialist transformation of society is not immediately on the cards. Socialism is only possible when a majority of workers are convinced and organised to make it happen. But if we work to strengthen the left and working-class struggles, and reinject socialist ideas into political debate, we can push Labour to shift course and deliver at least some positive changes for the working class.

Whether on the Living Wage or the NHS, free education or zero hours contracts, rail renationalisation or fracking, we need to up the pressure on Labour. We need to advocate radical policies like reversing all cuts, taxing the rich and taking the banks into democratic public ownership. The labour movement should aim for a government that serves the working class as the Coalition serves the rich.

We are fighting for democracy in the Labour Party so that working-class voices, muffled by the New Labour machine and union bureaucracy, can be heard.

We need a labour movement responsive and accessible to the working class in all its diversity, fighting bigotry and oppression. We oppose Labour’s shameful accommodation to anti-migrant agitation by UKIP and other right-wingers. British and migrant workers have the same interests. We support freedom of movement and equal rights for all. We want working-class solidarity across Europe and the world.

In the run up to the election, we are building a network of socialists to carry out this fight. Help us, get involved!

Demands:

As part of fighting for a socialist alternative to capitalism, we are fighting for the labour movement to campaign around a “workers’ plan” of demands in the interests of the working-class, such as:

1. Stop and reverse the cuts. Make the rich pay to rebuild public services. Tax the rich! Expropriate the banks!

2. A decent income for everyone: attack inequality and precariousness. Tax the rich, curb high pay. Nationalise companies that axe jobs; create decent, secure jobs in the public sector. Wage rises that at least match inflation for all workers. Raise the National Minimum Wage to the Living Wage. Full, equal rights for part-time and agency workers; ban zero hours contracts. Stop the war on the poor, unemployed and disabled: decent benefits. Good pensions for all, public or private, at no older than 60.

3. Rebuild the NHS. A comprehensive public health service providing high quality care for all, not a logo above a marketplace of profit-making companies. End outsourcing, marketisation and PFI. A free, public social care system.

4. End privatisation and outsourcing. Expand public ownership, starting with the railways, Royal Mail, the energy companies and other utilities, under democratic and workers’ control.

5. Stop scapegoating migrants. Freedom of movement and equal rights for all. End deportations and detention.

6. Promote workers’ rights. Scrap the anti-union laws. Introduce strong rights to strike, picket and take solidarity action, and for union recognition and collective bargaining, in individual units and sectorally.

7. End the housing crisis. Build millions of council houses. Repopulate empty homes and estates; take over property left empty; tax second homes; end the sell-off of public land. Control rents.

8. Free education. A good local, comprehensive school for every child. Abolish “free schools”, academies, grammar schools, public funding for religious schools. Reverse cuts in FE. Scrap tuition fees, a living grant for every student. Reverse cuts to Sure Start, invest in early years education.

9. Strong action for equality. Crack down on police and state racism. Ensure and make real civil rights for LGBT, black, disabled people and women, and expanded social provision and redistribution to fight inequality. Universal, free public childcare and nursery provision so no parent is forced to choose between work and care. Ensure equal pay and a Living Wage for all. Free abortion on demand.

10. Slash military spending: scrap Trident. Aid for working-class and democratic movements around the world, not support for dictatorships and imperialism.

11. Drive down carbon emissions. Public investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Stop fracking. A public, integrated transport system with radically reduced fares. Workers’ plans for a just transition to a sustainable economy.

12. Expand democracy. A federal republic of Britain: abolish the monarchy and House of Lords. Votes at 16. Re-empower local government. Extend civil liberties and rights to organise and protest. Disband MI5 and special police squads, disarm the police. MPs should only be paid a worker’s wage.

We need to transform our unions so we stop just adopting good policies on paper and start fighting effectively for the interests of the working class – in strikes and struggles, but also by putting forward a working-class political alternative, including demands on Labour. What we can win depends on to what extent we can convince, organise and mobilise people to fight, and in the process renew our movement and change it for the better.

We will prioritise support for Labour candidates who advocate these kinds of policies and represent a voice of working-class opposition within the party.

Support this campaign (see list of signatories).

16 Comments

  1. Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

    Open door immigration! So we build multi storie blocks from Lands End to John O’Groats. We do not spend on defense as the rest of the world will all become nice overnight. Yes we will be sharing equal misery. I do not fancy the smell. Even the Romans could not pipe out the shite. And drive down carbon emissions! Where the fuck would we get the energy from to supply a jam packed little island? This has to be a pre election wind up.

    • damon said,

      It’s socialism Jimmy.

      • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

        People would be falling aff the country into boats if this lot were in power. Jings Crivens Help Ma Boab. Seems since the shock of the collapse of the Great Soviet Union the faithfull have been given leave from the asylum.

      • Steven Johnston said,

        No it isn’t. It leaves capitalism intact. But it’s all academic now as the right won, well they always do as the markets rule.

  2. Mike Killingworth said,

    Jimmy has a point. Socialism in one country is impractical (just as the possession of a white skin and English as a native language are unmerited privileges no more and no less than being born of billionaire parents) because there is no moral ground for preferring worker born in one place rather than another.

    • Laban Tall said,

      “there is no moral ground for preferring worker born in one place rather than another”

      But that isn’t the way most of the world thinks (see Tower Hamlets for a local example). People tend to like other people who are like themselves.

      I think Yasmin Alibhai Brown was being very honest when, speaking of British Muslims, she said “these are my people, and I care about them”. I feel the same way about the Native Brits.

      • Mike Killingworth said,

        You make my point. Politics is not an expression of morality. I live in a neighbourhood where perhaps one in three is a Muslim. I have lived here for 25 years and during all that time not one of them has sought to convert me to Islam. In effect, both they and I see religious practice as a by-product of cultural identity.

  3. Jim Denham said,

    Surprisingly good article from a member of the Scottish Labour Party, here:

    http://www.labourhame.com/standing-up-for-scotland/

  4. SteveH said,

    I am not going to disagree with too much of the above because it is clear that a Labour victory would be the best outcome.

    However, I have noticed that ‘decents’ such as yourself, often try to sow illusions about the capitalist system and this is not the way to convince workers.

    Your capitalism needs an highly education workforce was an example of such an illusion. i know why you did it, it was a defensive move against Tory cuts but you did it on the basis of sowing illusions.

    Most of the demands above are built on illusions.

    • Steven Johnston said,

      But, but, if the tories are really the strongest supporters of capitalism why don’t they educate everyone to the highest standard and make sure everyone has a job!
      The simply answer is they can’t and neither can the labour party as unemployment is awful higher when labour leaves office than if was when they entered it.

  5. treborc said,

    But you spoke about the working class which of course is the correct way while labour talks about those in work, those on welfare are evil nasty and taking money out of tax, sad then that most of those are in work.

    Labour blew this by not talking to the country, if you listen to labour they are the party of working people, well being severely disabled even winning with ATOS this leaves me angry and annoyed.

    • Steven Johnston said,

      Yet the working people voted for the conservatives. Perhaps they saw through all the lies of the labour party.
      Of course any government sees the unemployed as nasty and evil as they are costing them money.
      As for the above programme, it might win student elections but no one wants it in the real world.

  6. Laban Tall said,

    This manifesto would certainly make a great party suicide note – although the Greens haven’t done too badly on a very similar platform.

    Let me put a few points to you :

    “Stop scapegoating migrants. Freedom of movement and equal rights for all.” – i.e. open the borders.

    Now I suggest you’ll have a job reconciling that with

    “A decent income for everyone” or “Promote workers’ rights” or “End the housing crisis” or “Free education”

    Because of something called supply and demand. With open borders wages would collapse – and so would the enforcement of the minimum wage. An economist chap you won’t have heard of made this point about 160-odd years ago :

    “The main purpose of the bourgeois in relation to the worker is, of course, to have the commodity labour as cheaply as possible, which is only possible when the supply of this commodity is as large as possible in relation to the demand for it”

    • Steven Johnston said,

      All academic now as it’s all in tatters. Get Labour elected and keep it left-wing and we’d create a paradise.

      This plan, was like a horse that fell at the first hurdle.

  7. Leon J Williams said,

    As an anti-tory I not that displeased that Labour have done so badly. To be honest I wouldn’t mind seeing the permanent end to the Labour party. Labour’s right should join the LibDems and Labour’s left should join the Greens.
    At least then people wont be confused about what (if anything) they stand for.

  8. Steven Johnston said,

    With friends like this lot, the Labour party does not need enemies.

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