No 1568 17th December 2019
Stitched-up dirty-dealing defeat for Corbynism underlines the permanent elective dictatorship which is the reality of the fraudulent capitalist “parliamentary democracy” racket – imposed with as much vile skulduggery and twisted lying as necessary to stop even the tamest of fake-”left” challenges like this. But the Tory triumph will be short lived - with hopes in renewed reformism dashed, the left surge which forced this last throw of the Labour racket will have to start thinking more deeply about the need for revolutionary understanding and leadership, for the only possible way out of oncoming slump collapse, cutthroat trade competition and the international warmongering it is plunging towards ie overturn of this stinking Slump system. Working class scepticism about Corbyn will find no answers in the Brexit chauvinism which has been whipped up, and which partly filled the vacuum in leadership - just the opposite, it plays into the hands of the antagonism and aggression the ruling class wants for its warmongering “solution” - solvable only by building Leninist theory and leadership
The big lesson of the election is that until ordinary working people grasp the nettle of revolutionary politics and overcome deep seated anti-communist prejudice, they will always be driven into the floor by capitalist rule.
Attempts to go back, to “old Labourism” or to class collaboration with “Britishness” in Brexit, are doomed.
Permanent improvements to capitalism are impossible by reining in and “regulating” capital as the Corbynites pretended.
The working class was right to distrust this out-of-time attempt to revive old Labourism.
And they will be right to distrust all the fake-“left” which joined in or even merged into Labour – Trots and revisionists alike.
A dozen past experiences of Labour governments have taught the working class that Labour will only ever run capitalism anyway – and there is certainly no space now in crisis times for even the limited, (and reversible) “gains” of the past to be made.
But neither will it get anywhere through the national chauvinist illusions of Brexit, used to scupper Corbynism.
That has simply given the Tories a temporary boost, further confusing everyone with the pretence of a “democratic mandate” for the Slump impositions to come.
Such deep seated “Little Englander” backwardness, fostered by the traditional Labour movement and TUC leadership, and bolstered by other sections of the fake-“left” (CPB, SWP, CPGB-ML Lalkar/Proletarian, mavericks like George Galloway) will mean the working class going through even more painful lessons than it faces anyway.
Ironically, despite the topsy-turvy Tory vote it has led to, this chauvinism expresses an even more nostalgically reformist view of the world than Corbynism.
It is rooted in the class collaborating opportunism of the imperial past when the capitalist ruling class traded limited improvements (welfare, local resources like libraries, housing, pensions etc), and better wages for some upper layers of the working class, against a suspension of all-out class war to end the capitalist system (the natural instinct and need of the working class).
The “gains” were paid for by the super-profits ripped out of the tyrannically exploited and viciously driven colonial masses in the Empire, or later the British share of the just-as-brutal US-led post-war neo-colonialist domination of the Third World (kept down by hundreds of massacres, coups, deathsquads, and all-out horrific wars like Vietnam and Korea).
Despite “left” talk, and much genuine and massive sacrifice by workers themselves in strikes, demonstrations and other labour battles, the “labour aristocracy” this produced (better off skilled and brain workers particularly) and the petty bourgeoisie it merged with, understood viscerally that its interests lay on the same side as the ruling class in maintaining imperialist rule; that was the overseas source of enough wealth to allow such collective “bargaining” (a giveaway terminology of class compromise in itself) for the few domestically to get a share.
Hence its “British” loyalism and willingness, through the Labour Party political wing of trade unionism, to run the British imperialist state, using as much anti-communist viciousness and colonialist tyranny as the ruling class itself, with even the great postwar “left” Attlee government founding NATO, running the barbaric Greek civil war, butchering the Malaysian communists, setting up the Zionist landtheft colony occupying Palestine (and serving imperialist interests to suppress the Middle East) etc etc.
Labourism has “loyally” served the capitalists ever since.
Postwar defeats for British imperialism by anti-imperialist struggles, including the heroic and victorious Irish national-liberation fight in the Orange colonialist north (making further gains in this election) have usefully shaken some past chauvinist attitudes among British workers.
But the influence of such class collaboration still runs deep into the middle class and many layers of the working class, misled by a century and a half of opportunist and social-chauvinist leadership.
As the election results showed, it persists particularly among more inflexible older workers, with a clear spectrum of Brexit voting support rising with age.
They have greater trouble grasping the irreversible transformation underway as capitalism runs into its greatest ever unsolvable Catastrophe, heading for worldwide disaster.
Devastating lessons will not be long coming for all workers.
There can be no end to austerity by traditional Labour “spending and investment” but no more will Brexit solve anything.
The only future available in capitalism is one of the working class being driven further into penury and poverty than ever before as the great world crisis unravels.
Beyond that, shortly, the great economic Catastrophe signalled in 2008’s world banking credit failure, will lurch back into far worse Depression than even the 1930s as Marxist science has always explained is unavoidable in this contradiction ridden profiteering system (From the Communist Manifesto and Karl Marx’s and Friederich Engels giant works in Capital, onwards).
In a has-been country like Britain, one of the weakest links in the imperialist order, the monopoly capitalist ruling class’s only hope of survival is to impose draconian slump conditions on workers (as the bourgeoisies are doing in all capitalist countries in fact, but even more severe).
Cutting costs and upping exploitation is vital for the survival of the rich if they are to fight the ever more cutthroat international trade war that the “free market” inexorably creates by its very nature of overproduction anarchy (see EPSR box).
That will quickly transition into world war devastation, already well warmed up and with more war excuses being readied (Gibraltar, Middle East, more “war on terror”, Hong Kong CIA “freedom” provocations etc - see last issue) once the current mega-inflationary credit dollar printing (QE) interregnum implodes again, as it must.
But the chauvinism and defence of “national interest” being whipped up is the exact opposite of the class war revolutionary perspective needed to stop the slide to war, dragging the working class once more behind the ruling class as it readies for the world war which is coming (like World Wars I & II but potentially on an even more horrific scale).
Only ending their system by out and out revolutionary overthrow of the “property owners” - turning the guns on their own ruling class as the Bolsheviks said in the First World War - can the working class establish its own rule, to build the socialism that alone can take mankind into a planned, peaceful and rational future.
It will never happen through the great hoodwinking, controlled and manipulated racket of bourgeois “democracy” - and if it came near to doing so, then voting would be abolished, as has just been demonstrated in essence.
“Democracy” under capitalist rule has always been a fraudulent front for the actual dictatorship of the bourgeoise, which remains totally in charge of its system.
So the tame Corbynite anti-austerity policies were never going to be allowed a victory (and would have failed anyway).
Even if this “left” posturing fakerey had managed to swing the result by some gross ruling class electoral miscalculation, as it nearly did in 2017, it would not have been allowed to go anywhere.
Either the (many) capitulations and compromises already made by Corbynism in the past four years would have hobbled and hamstrung its actions once “in power” – with the “blown off course by the markets” excuse ever ready as always with reformist social democracy – or in the unlikely circumstance of this pale revival of “old” Labourism actually insisting on putting through its fanciful “spending, investment and tax” measures (see last issue), it would have been deposed more forcefully.
That means with as much violence as necessary to halt it and drive home enough intimidation to stop any further attempts, as countless examples around the world have shown, particularly the torture and massacre overturn of Salvador Allende’s “elected” socialism by General Augusto Pinochet in Chile in 1973, and similar moves currently wiping out the Latin American “democratic Bolivarian revolution” with judicial coups, legal depositions and the outright violence, toppling Evo Morales in Bolivia (see issues 1566 and 1567 of EPSR and many before), in the deathsquad fascist ascendancy in Brazil and never-ending attempts to bring down and sabotage Venezuela, Nicaragua – with the final target the isolation of the brilliant Cuban communist workers state, trying to strangle it.
The notion that this “could not happen here” is complacent nonsense, part of the deluded chauvinism of “Britain being different and superior” which has just been tapped by the ruling class to scupper the “left”.
Not only have there been clear and sharply stated warnings on television and radio from gold-braided generals about the need for direct military action if necessary to “guarantee our national defence” (over dismantling the nuclear Trident force etc), there is a long history of background preparations and intelligence agency skulduggery going back decades, surfacing notably in the fraught 1970s period of near British bankruptcy, massive inflation and IMF “rescue packages” when “secret armies” and MI6 plots to depose Labour PM Harold Wilson were rampant.
The Great Miners Strike of 1984-5 was equally confronted with a near militarised police force and state repression measures that came close to open dictatorship (county border checks on travelling miners eg) while, simultaneously, monstrous torture, blanket censorship, concentration camp detention, drumhead courts and secret death squads were operated in “Northern Ireland” to maintain its colonial status, imposed by brute bayonet in 1921 when the ludicrous artificial statelet was ripped out of the newly independent Ireland.
Only the implacable determination of the nationalist republican armed struggle ended that, by imposing a defeat on the British occupation and the orange colonist fascism, finally recognised and ratified in the Good Friday Agreement (and still reverberating now in the double-dealing of the Tories with their supposed DUP allies, knowing that all the chauvinist Brexit talk cannot be sustained when it comes to “keeping northern Ireland inside the UK borders”).
On Corbynism, as it turns out, the ruling class has recovered its ground.
Far from letting things go as far as a “left” government, it has been able to head off the (pretend) “threat” to its interests by manipulating, twisting and distorting the voting, (as it does every election) with outrageous media bias from the billionaire controlled press and the state-owned BBC; the pumping out of grotesque lies and character assassination against the Corbyn leadership (eagerly helped by the majority Blairite careerist treachery in the Parliamentary Labour Party whose denunciations and vicious sabotage of Labour’s campaign have been unparalleled for their petty bourgeois hatred and viciousness); and by mobilising the demented Zionist Goebbels-style black-is-white big lie campaign to paint the Corbynites as “racist anti-Semites”.
Such crude and ludicrously vicious propaganda lies (all set up over the last three years) have gone to extraordinary depths, using the dirtiest tricks of unverified rumour mongering and slander on new social media outlets, as Corbynite shadow minister Andy McDonald complained post election:
A leading shadow minister has blamed broadcasters such as the BBC for allowing Jeremy Corbyn to be “demonised and vilified” during the election campaign, as the party struggled to come to terms with the scale of its defeat.
Andy McDonald, the shadow transport secretary, who was one of the most interviewed Labour frontbenchers in the media during the campaign, said the unfairness of the BBC and other broadcasters should make people “worry about our democratic processes”.
The argument over how central Corbyn was to the election loss is set to play a crucial role in the race to become the next Labour leader, a process the party has already begun with a new incumbent set to be elected by the end of March.
In a sometimes angry interview on BBC Radio 5, McDonald said that in Corbyn’s treatment by the media he had “never in my lifetime known any single individual so demonised and vilified, so grotesquely and so unfairly”.
Saying the Labour leader had been “vilified as an antisemite” and compared to Stalin, McDonald said the scale of the attacks had been broader than normal. “We know we’ve got the forces of the establishment, the elite, against us.
“We’ve always had the print media, which is page after page after page of press barons absolutely destroying and vilifying Labour leaders from time immemorial. What’s changed in this election is the way the broadcast media have joined in with that battle.
“And you know that we have a catalogue of complaints against our public service broadcaster, our precious BBC, which I’m afraid has been brought into the fray.”
Insisting the Labour manifesto and position on Brexit had gone down well with voters when he had been able to explain them in person, McDonald said he had “never, ever seen such a stacked deck in British politics”.
He said: “I think it causes us to worry about our democratic processes. We know how powerful the Tory elite is, and they have flexed their muscles to great effect during this election.”
To which the only response should be “why are you surprised”? And why did you not expose all this before? Why were, and are, you still pretending there are “democratic methods” workers can use to change things instead of exposing the real bourgeois dictatorship nature of capitalism and the only possible way to end it - by revolutionary overthrow to establish the dictatorship of the working class?
It is clearer than ever, because the ruling class has been partly forced into the open with its dirty below-the-belt methods.
In fact it did miscalculate initially when it allowed the usual “left” poseurs in the Labour Party to stand for leadership election.
The job of “lefts” like Corbyn, Dennis Skinner, Diane Abbott, John McDonnell has only ever been to give a cosmetic “left” cover to Labourism but without making any real challenges to class rule.
The crisis and Iraqi defeats had so discredited the gross opportunism of the Blairites that more was needed to keep the “parliament” pretence going, (though only a notional sop while slipping another safe “moderate” into place).
But such is the growing hostility to the crisis, it took off with an enormous surge of real left support to Labourite dismay and surprise all round (none more than Corbyn’s).
Far from being “unpopular” as the deliberate media lies said all through the election, (tapping the sour Blairite hatred and poisonous Jewish Labour lobby led by likes of Margaret Hodge) - he was elevated overnight to celebrity status on a giant surge of left enthusiasm (albeit still reformist).
The entire ruling class has been working overtime to destroy him ever since, showing its manipulative hand in the process (which is why eg, it is pretending to attack the BBC for alleged “left” bias now, an old Tory propaganda trick to neutralise real complaint).
Essentially it has pulled off an electoral coup, using every dirty trick in the book and a few more it has written in recently, successfully disguising the whole thing behind the outrageous pretence of “upholding democracy” (!!!!) by “following the will of the people”.
But Corbynism would have been on a hiding to nothing anyway.
Two elements came together effectively to scupper the Labourites.
One was the rightful distrust and disillusionment of the working class with Labourism, and with parliamentary “democracy” in general and the steadily deepening distrust over decades (not just since 2016) of all politicians and what is referred to as “politics”, (meaning bourgeois electoral shenanigans, self-seeking careerism, pocket-lining “expenses”, trips, “consultancies”, directorships and lucrative follow on careers, and often outright corruption).
It was visible once more in the turnout, still no more than 70% and producing an overall “support” for the winning party of only 40% of that ie less than 30% and that without counting in the huge numbers who did not register or are not allowed to (including millions of long-term European workers).
This combines with the increasing weakness and vulnerability of the arrogant and disdainful British bourgeoisie, which has become ossified and incapable despite its once dominant world status, (or in fact because of it, resting on its laurels) while more vibrant and competitive bourgeoisie have pushed forwards, notably the Germans, the Americans and then the Japanese, as well as various newcomers like Brazil and India, and smaller contenders.
As Marxist-Leninist science has been analysing for decades this decline means there is no room for the tweedledee-tweededum alternation of governments that prevailed in the twentieth century between direct bourgeois rule and the “soft-cop” alternative of Labourism, still a thoroughly bourgeois party but able to dish out a few reformist sops and benefits.
A critical turning point clearly arrived in 1992 when the Labourites were unable to upend the degenerate Tories after Thatcherism, signalling an end to the petty bourgeois/workers aristocracy pretence that an alternative to outright monopoly domination and exploitation was available through parliament.
The EPSR (the ILWP) even then could analyse that the entire parliamentary game was worked out and possibly no more than one more Labour government would be possible (see archive - below).
In essence that is exactly what happened – confirming the power of Marxist science and analysis, albeit with the richness of concrete real world development filling out and helping develop the inevitably lagging theoretical picture (as is always the case in the human struggle to understand the complex balance of class forces, as Lenin made clear in his many works).
The three Blair governments do not negate the picture in the slightest.
Such was the sleazy incompetence of the John Major government, hammered by world events including its by now obvious defeat by the Irish national-liberation struggle in the northern occupied zone of the six counties, that the ruling class was virtually unable to rule directly - with “New” Labourism coming to the rescue.
But this alternation was not the old Labourism at all.
Instead Blairism was now just a modified version of Toryism concealed behind slick soundbites and empty PR phraseology, abandoning even the aim of socialism (always a hollow pretence anyway, but a critical part of the racket), with its draconian disciplining measures for working class welfare, education etc and near-fascist moralising, privatisations, cosying up to and servicing of fatcat billionaires and philistine celebrity-pop culture, and a prime minister who lauded Margaret Thatcher and carried on the warmongering she had re-started with the Malvinas (Falklands) conflict against Argentina.
Backing the foul NATO blitzing of the Serbian nationalist remnant of Yugoslavia, maintaining the deadly siege against Iraq (killing hundreds of thousands of children) sending mercenaries to Sierra Leone to rescue its diamond mines for the West, helping blitz and torture Afghanistan and then setting up Saddam Hussein’s bourgeois nationalist Iraq for devastating blitzkrieg occupation by the US “coalition”, all underlined that the old Labour was gone, never to return however many “clause four” campaigns were mounted.
With the onset of the great Catastrophe in the 2008 global bank meltdown, and the hammer blows for the West of its disastrously expensive and demoralising quagmire wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Blairite racket too was fatally discredited.
The slimy Labourite mountebanks gave up even attempting to “take power” understanding that their role is now to carry on a hollow pretence of opposition permanently, just to stretch out the parliamentary fraud a little bit longer.
So their opportunist careerism deliberately evaded “power” in 2010, despite the failure of the crisis-reeling ruling class to properly stitch up a clear election result - handing power over by refusing to form a potential coalition with the Liberals (who also burned their boats by propping up the Tories).
These post-Blairite mountebanks prefer the comfortable “opposition” role rather than being in charge, knowing that the breaking of the crisis would mean either bailing out the fatcats and bludgeoning the working class with “austerity” (Slump) measures - exposing their treachery forever, or seriously taking on the ruling class, which their bourgeois souls will never do.
So they remain passively propping up the “democracy” and “rule of law” game, the greatest trick the bourgeoisie has come up with to fool everyone just about all of the time, covering up the actual dictatorship rule of capital with the deluding pretence of the masses “getting a say” and therefore being able to steadily achieve social advances through “left gains”, “left pressure” and “the desire for peace”.
Its total gobshyte is also propped up by the cretinous fake-“left” of all shades, wriggling and squirming away from Lenin’s understanding that only complete class war to impose the rule of the working class by proletarian dictatorship can ever change anything.
But bourgeois “democracy” has been refined over centuries and is not a weapon the ruling class wants to throw away until absolutely necessary - even as the crisis pushed the world into the great upheavals and turmoils breaking out everywhere.
In the great 1930s Depression it even used it as the mechanism to impose direct fascist dictatorship as the legally elected Hitler did.
That is the pattern unfolding all over again – this time with the greatest power of all taking the lead in the US where Trump is using populist “democracy” pretences about the “will of the people” and “breaking with the old politics” to trample across democracy (ignoring glaring impeachment crimes), imposing bourgeois dictatorship more openly as the world heads for inter-imperialist war.
Contrary to the “Trump is withdrawing from war” peace idiocies of the revisionist Stalinists, he reflects the buildup of the greatest world conflict ever signalled by the massively escalated arms buildup he has carried through, and the America First trade war hostility against the whole world, particularly against rival imperialist Europe, as signalled by the acrimonious splits and turmoil in the London NATO meeting and the steady rearming of all the major powers.
As this bourgeois piece worries, this is a pattern of universal antagonism and armsrace intensification:
For three years now, the European Union, created to promote peace and understanding, has been undergoing a profound pivot to militarisation and hard power. Europeans are served up a relentless narrative about their continent’s duty to stand up to external challenges: Russian assertiveness, the US retreat from Nato and traditional Euro-Atlantic structures and China’s rise as a geopolitical force. But this narrative has served to legitimise a militarising agenda that, away from the spotlight, is being set and pushed by defence industry interests and their political cheerleaders.
Countries in Scandinavia and central and eastern Europe, including the Baltic states, Poland, Romania, Finland and Sweden, have all increased military expenditure as part of this creep towards arming and organising for potential use of lethal force. Major western European countries have kept the annual military spending-to-GDP ratio stable, but at least four are consistently among the biggest military spenders in the world. Last year, France spent €57.2bn (£48bn), Germany €44.4bn, Italy €25bn and Spain €16bn. In the UK, defence spending topped €50bn. As a comparison, Russia, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute database, spent €55bn. The vast sums being devoted to maintain and build up the military capacity of individual EU countries come at a time when, with Brexit and the rise of nationalism in former iron curtain countries, the EU itself has never appeared so weak.
Indeed, it was in answer to this perceived weakness that the outgoing European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, in November 2016 presented his European defence action plan, the centrepiece of which was the reinvigoration of the EU’s defence industry. As a result of this process, which has in effect been hijacked by defence industry lobbyists, a European defence fund (EDF) and a financial mechanism called the European peace facility were established. The first is intended to finance research and development, the second EU defence operations. The net cost to the EU budget comes close to €25bn, while the EDF could be complemented with tens of billions more from member governments.
The militarisation dynamic has spilled over into other policy sectors, including development aid and border control. An integrated border management fund and an internal security fund will make more billions available for national police and border guards, forces that look increasingly militarised. Frontex, the EU’s border and coastguard agency, which contributes to policing the Mediterranean for unwanted migrants, is turning into a €10bn super-agency. It is developing a 10,000-person standing corps and investing billions in infrastructure and hardware produced by military and hi-tech corporations, including drones and surveillance technology. The era of a Europe that led by example is coming to an end, replaced by hard power.
The EU deserves criticism for not making enough of this process transparent and accountable. The names of the experts advising the commission on which projects the EDF should finance should be public and the European parliament should not have voted away its right of oversight. Still, it would be a mistake to make Brussels the scapegoat. It is the competing national priorities of EU governments that are pushing the EU towards this militarisation.
France, which has the most aggressive arms export policy in Europe, has been at the forefront of promoting a European defence union. Not only has President Macron pushed this goal fervently since he came to power, he has also fought hard to keep a French hold over the commission’s internal market portfolio, which includes defence investments. Appointing Thierry Breton to the incoming five-year commission when European countries are increasing defence spending to match the 2% Nato target, Donald Trump’s favourite attack line against Europeans, was a coup for France. But Breton is a former CEO of Atos – a multinational with interests in the aerospace industry, among other sectors – whose appointment potentially creates a conflict of interest.
Last summer, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Germany’s defence minister and chair of the ruling CDU party, proposed that Germany meet its Nato spending pledge by 2024. Germany spends 1.2% of GDP on defence and such an increase would contribute an extra €30bn. There are indications, too, that Spain, Italy and the UK will also sign up to the coming intra-European arms race.
At Nato’s 70th anniversary celebrations last week, its secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, boasted that Europe and Canada had increased military spending by $130bn over the past five years; by 2024 the estimate is it will reach $400bn.
This arms race mentality is now being imbibed by some of most powerful people in Europe. In the Bundestag Angela Merkel recently urged parliamentarians to rethink Germany’s restrictive arms export policy to the Sahel. “We cannot train people who have to fight terrorists only to say it’s up to them to see where they get their weapons,” she argued, warning that Russia, China and Saudi Arabia would fill the gap. The bigger picture is that she cannot know where arms sold by the European defence industry will end up.
What is so worrying is that, even as spending is loosened and politicians who understand how the defence industry’s needs can be aligned with EU policy reach positions of power, few safeguards are being put in place. Scant or no public discussion has taken place and there is no oversight built into the new structures.
EU member states have enthusiastically supported this militarisation policy but refused any discussion of arms export policy. This is the elephant in the room; half of the world’s leading exporters of arms are EU states. They contribute to political destabilisation in regions such as the Middle East, north Africa and the Sahel, as well as the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. This is where Europe’s conversation needs to start. If the EU’s defence policy is being used to advance the needs of big producer countries and their industries it needs to tighten its regulations on the licensing and monitoring of arms exports and their enforcement.
While all this is being done ostensibly to “fulfil NATO targets” it far from indicates universal agreement by the “monopoly bosses of the EU and the US” as the idiot revisionist “left” Brexit supporters paint things, their minds addled by decades of “peace struggle” Stalinist revisionism.
Just the opposite, as the piece struggles to say, it expresses the “cats in a sack” breakdown of European harmony and the even greater antagonisms between the Euro-monopoly bloc and the US (with Japanese imperialism and others also building up their arms).
Things turn into their opposite - European NATO participation becomes anti-Americanism.
And this overall antagonism is exactly what the working class needs to understand as the real danger in the chauvinism being whipped up by Brexit, which is setting the mood for the conflicts to come.
As many times pointed out by Marxist understanding, the populist electoral “will of the people” (especially manipulated in plebiscites) is not necessarily anything to do with the great majority’s best interests and certainly not those of the working class – they cheered and volunteered for the slaughter and horrors of the 1914 Great War everywhere (including in Tsarist Russia) and many petty bourgeois and some backward workers then voted in and supported Mussolini and Hitler just a decade later.
For the moment that “will” has been manipulated into the second prong of the attack on Corbynism.
The working class has partly gone along with it (though far less than the twisted election reporting would imply - a significant Labour vote did hold up with the first past the post system magnifying the loss).
It plays into the hands of the ruling class.
As the EPSR has many times explained, that does not mean that the working class is “reactionary” or “racist”, even where it has gone for Brexit.
With illusions in old Labour rightfully shattered there is little perspective on offer until a revolutionary party and leadership is built.
Brexit fills the vacuum.
Fears and worries about the overwhelming use of migrant labour by the parasitic British finance economy, has been a major factor.
In the absence of better understanding it is inevitable that the undercutting of wages, breakdown of old union organisation and competition for scarce resources in housing, health and social services, has produced hostility and clannishness, with communities retreating into localism at various levels from nationalist protectiveness (and the disastrous call for “import controls” coming from the likes of Arthur Scargill’s SLP) down to street level hostilities (see EPSR 1102 04-09-01 eg).
The great danger is that that become vulnerable to fascist and chauvinist “explanations”, blaming the migrants themselves rather than capitalism.
And it will not be headed off by pious notions of “welcoming all immigrants” or “fighting racism” as the fake-“left” demand.
They simply worsen things, alienate the working class by moralisingly blaming them, and head attention away from the real cause of the problems - capitalism.
As the EPSR said in 2001 (No 1085 17-04-01):
There are arguments to believe that such politically-correct-tinged striving might be counter-productive, even. If it is only the National Front that is ever prepared to argue out loud that waves of economic-opportunist migrants coming into the country and taking up scarce welfare resources, housing, good jobs and good education opportunities, etc, is not necessarily to the immediate practical advantage of already-resident proletarians struggling to get the same scarce things for themselves, and that the unfair ‘foreign monopolist’ system was to blame for all this enforced (and condoned) migratory nonsense, – then would not such ludicrous diversions be as likely to attract proletarian support as the PC anti-racist ‘left reformists’ with their “end all immigration controls” and “welcome to all asylum-seekers, the more the better” slogans, which take politically-correct subjective-idealist philosophy to new heights of absurdity???
Hammer people too ridiculously and too relentlessly for being ‘politically incorrect’ and it is as likely to create a nationalist backlash as anything else.
Even the letter writers to the Guardian can occasionally do better than the fakes:
Gideon Ben-Tovim (Letters, 16 November) describes as a “false notion that free movement across Europe has ushered in a regime of cheap labour and the undercutting of wages”. I wonder how many low-paid workers this university academic knows personally. My late husband was a construction worker who wore himself out and ruined his health doing hard, and often dangerous, work for many years. I know that wages went down after the influx of cheap labour from eastern Europe. But, far from this making him anti-immigrant, my husband never blamed immigrants for this, but greedy employers who have recruited workers en masse from eastern Europe. The villains here are the employers, not the immigrants who, like British workers, are just people trying to make a living.
Of course, free movement is great in many ways, but it is dishonest to refuse to acknowledge that there is a downside – and this is easily remedied: pay all workers a decent living wage, restore collective bargaining, and stop chasing the cheapest labour for the maximum profit in a race to the bottom.
In a TV discussion on immigration, a restaurant owner made the following revealing comment: “Immigrants have a good work ethic that British workers don’t have. Do you know, some of my workers have three or four other jobs too.” So having to do several jobs to make a living is seen as desirable instead of the exploitation it is. What next? Children sweeping chimneys?
There is a return to a really nasty class snobbery such as we haven’t seen for decades, all the worse for being wrapped in fake virtuous “pro-immigrant” rhetoric which simply masks a smug selfishness by those who benefit from this cheap labour.
The sentiment is fine but needs the only possible solution there can be - revolutionary struggle to overturn the whole system.
Only that can counter the disastrous illusions which the Tory elective dictatorship will use to impose far more austerity, censorship and repression than yet seen.
The deep seated class-collaborating chauvinism described above around the Brexit issue, split the Labourites and left them floundering, not least because all of them are saturated with the same opportunism – all of them run the bourgeois system and protest their “loyalty” under pressure – ultimately even Corbyn’s crew being forced to do so, undermining their “left” façades carefully honed over decades of making speeches at protest and “solidarity” meetings (all run by further onion layers of anti-communist fake-“leftism” (Trots, revisionists, Eurocoms, Stalin worshippers etc) whose pseudo-revolutionism props up “left” Labourism from even further “left” - part of a complex ecosystem of “left” fraudulence which has evolved alongside).
They tried to cover all the bases when what was required on the Brexit issue is to challenge it head on as a giant diversion and a distraction which will solve nothing for workers inside or outside Europe,
Either way with Brexit they remain exploited by the giant monopoly capitalist power of imperialism; either way workers are dragged behind one monopoly bloc (German led) or the other (America First).
Either way they lose, with the added cost of being caught up in the deep seated chauvinism and Little Englander sentiment that the ruling class needs to stir up for the forthcoming international conflicts and antagonism.
Working out the real interests of the mass of people and how to get them is a question of science and ever deepening understanding - and like all science it needs deep study combined with a constant (polemical) struggle to advance and improve what has already been established in the light of new developments.
The working class obviously learns from and makes experiences from historical events and developments.
And a major part of that education will be in seeing what various leaderships have said about events, and how they turn out in practice.
But it will also be constantly fooled if it does not find a way to correctly articulate and make use of such experiences - namely by developing revolutionary theory, building on the 100 volumes of brilliant understanding by titans like Karl Marx and Lenin’s Bolsheviks, as well as subsequent developments by others like Mao, Fidel Castro and others, tempered by a grasp of the mistakes and errors they made.
As Lenin understood, and as the EPSR has fought to re-establish, that means building a party dedicated to the task of leadership - in constant dialectical interchange with the working class.
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How the EPSR analysed the disastrous 1992 Kinnock Labour defeat as the signal that the old reformist game was up and permanent bourgeois elective dictatorship the new rule – demanding revolutionary overturn
But Britain is now one of the weakest and most decrepit links in the imperialist chain with scant leeway for periodic free-spending parliaments to sugar for the proletariat the pill of class-collaboration with a fundamentally unjust system.
Thatcherism was a necessary ruling-class offensive to try to start dismantling the welfare state, and to wipe out notions of public ownership of the economy and wealth, and replace them with the primitive ideas of every man for himself once again.
And having eliminated the modern Tory tradition of ‘one nation’ Butskellism, the serious crisis facing British imperialism also obviously makes it necessary to paralyse the ‘reformist alternatives’ to monopoly-capitalism too.
There can be no argument about how degenerate the ruling class in Britain has become with endless City corruption being exposed, crass mismanagement of economic affairs openly admitted by the Tories, and the far more serious underlying weakening of Britain’s industrial base accepted by all.
Add in the bungled moves of the Poll Tax debacle, and Thatcher’s messy removal to be replaced by a dalek, and ‘logic’ would point to one of the most catastrophic Conservative defeats ever.
In trying to unravel layer upon layer of fascinating complexities as to why it did not happen, the first basic reality to grasp is the point the Bulletin made last week for the election, - namely that the dire economic crisis of British and world imperialism means that the people of Britain are in for a terrible clobbering whoever the polls recorded as the least unpopular (i.e. the ‘winning’) party.
It is very revealing about the class conflict in Britain to try to explain why the Tory government survived, but it must always be done to the accompaniment of the understanding that in the long run, it would have made very little difference to the fate awaiting British capitalism if Labour had got in.
These attacks on working class living standards will happen anyway because the new relative weakness of British monopoly capitalism will henceforth coincide with the greatest slump-crisis the imperialist world has ever known.....
...when the crash and all-out trade war do finally arrive, they will have results even more alarming than those the capitalist media itself is now describing, - namely, inter-imperialist war, or World War III to give it its proper historical perspective.
The other is that the weaker economies in the imperialist trade-war system, e.g. Britain, will early on begin to suffer permanently all of the very worst consequences of worldwide depression such as crippling budget and balance-of-payments deficits, debilitating mass unemployment, appalling civil disorder of various kinds, and chronic political paralysis.
Fleet Street itself has already admitted much of this pending reality, as the Bulletin has recorded, - even though there is obviously a continuing wilful philistinism to make sure that not a word is mentioned about Marxist-Leninist theory having precisely predicted exactly these circumstances for the climax of the imperialist system’s incurable crises.
However, it is an inescapable necessity for the struggle to emerge for a complete scientific understanding of the entire pattern of imperialist world breakdown. Part of that process will be a widespread startled debate throughout all sections of workers, - beginning with the whole petty-bourgeoisie and labour aristocracy, - about such phenomena as the apparent permanent Tory elective dictatorship now facing the people of Britain.
The shattered delusions of the ‘reformist’ and ‘liberal’ intelligentsia over failing to oust the hated Tories could become a powerful stimulus towards such an upheaval of discussion.
In that sense, the election outcome was the best result possible. Capitalist slump nastiness would have continued anyway, whoever had got in. And this way, with the Tories ‘winning’ again, the ridiculous illusion about ‘reforming’ capitalism (instead of overthrowing it) might be instantly far further down the road of final discrediting.
‘Reformism’ never did work, - even when there was still some elasticity in the international position of British imperialism to allow an impression to be created from time to time that the capitalist state could be persuaded to ‘give’ a little when the masses were really up against it.
Thus the two (bourgeois) party electoral system was obliged to let Labour in on the act progressively from the 1920s onwards, replacing the discredited ‘Liberals’.
But those early Labour minority governments of 1924 and 1929 could nevertheless not possibly buck the trend of the bigger pattern developing beyond them in the real world economy, - which necessitated that whatever government was in power in Britain from 1929-31 during the transition from the Great Crash to the Great Depression, unemployment benefit would have to be slashed regardless, wages curbed, and the riot act read against protesting workers.
The incoming British government of 1992 will be obliged to savage working-class living standards even more viciously than in the 1920s, - regardless of who had got in. But the fact that British imperialism in 1992 is in a far worse position than even 1929 suggests that there is no longer even the possibility of allowing ‘reformist’ postures around the capitalist state government, - the situation being far too serious.
This is not a question, of course, of the election being ‘fixed’ to guarantee that Labour did not win, although the overwhelming Tory (anti-socialist) domination of the bogus ‘free’ press and the even more bogus ‘impartial’ radio and television, might be said to virtually amount to the same thing.
But the real interest is in how the imperatives of the ruling-class state made themselves felt via the phony ‘two-party democracy’ electoral system.
Labour still might have won, of course, it must be said, - even while examining this (with hindsight) apparently irresistible pressure to guarantee that Kinnock (and Ashdown) didn’t win.
And Labour might yet win a majority government one more time in the twilight of the imperialist ‘democracy’ system (or possibly a few times if a period of rapidly collapsing emergency governments eventually breaks out).
But the real point is that the historical period is fast approaching when the old party game of ‘official Opposition’ democracy, - the two-party government system offering alleged ‘alternative’ rule, - will have broken down completely.
This latest ‘democracy’ farce re-emphasised some of the more obvious symptoms of this breakdown, - such as the Tories’ failing to win the support of two-thirds (66%) of the total electorate in their request for a vote of confidence, and even having 59% of those who did bother going to the polls vote against their government record and against their continued rule, but still being declared the ‘elected’ government. Major & Co clearly have not been ‘elected’ (chosen).They have been turned down by a huge 58 to 42 majority of votes cast, and by an even more massive 66 to 33 of the total electorate. But under capitalism’s well-crafted elective dictatorship, the Tories rule on.
However, the fake-’left’ argument for proportional representation (PR) remains a deluded irrelevance, of course. Under the racket of big bourgeois parties within a TV-dominated culture of ‘star’ personalities-worship, the bourgeoisie’s firm capitalist or establishment control of the mass media will always ensure that in such a shallow philistine political system as once-every-five-years ‘’popularity’ contests, despised minorities and outsiders can be kept in their place, whether there is PR or not.
The point to make is the Leninist one (see last week’s Bulletin) that all bourgeois elections are a fraud, - otherwise the bourgeoisie would not hold them. All that can be said against the first-past-the-post system is that it makes it harder to notice (than PR does) when the electorate has in effect voted against all the major parties, which to some extent is clearly what has just happened in Britain’s farcical proceedings.
The Tories were booted out in over 40 constituencies, or one in every 15 of the total, all over the country. But the appalling Labour opportunists inspired even less confidence, overall, than the Tories did. And the despicable Liberal carpet-baggers actually lost nearly a quarter of their support, despite vomiting forth the largest quantities of moralising hypocrisy of all about being the ‘clean’, ‘honest’, and ‘positive’ candidates, etc.
But the first-past-the-post swindle effectively conceals the best essence of all this, - namely that the electorate gave a collective raspberry to all of the major parties, and portrayed very sound judgement in doing so.
It is not necessarily the case that such an interpretation could only be really made if there had been mass abstentionism at the polls. Elections can be a notable phenomenon of life under capitalism; and while the Marxist strategy has been sometimes to call for a deliberate boycott of the vote in certain countries at certain times, and while there have been some spontaneous mass boycotts of elections, a more frequent revolutionary tactic has been to accept that the offer of a ‘vote’ might draw the masses, and to try to turn the election hustings into a tribune for revolutionary agitation instead.
Just based on common sentiment as well as the findings of one opinion poll, there was plenty of evidence to suggest during the election campaign that many workers were of a mind to deliberately go out and vote against some particularly nasty piece of brass-necked hypocrisy they had just seen on the news or a party political broadcast or something, - not especially minding who they voted for in the process just so that the despised humbug could get its comeuppance.
[ILWP Bulletin No644 14-04-92]
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