The Labour Party: Division Two Tories
Keir Starmer should have been on the Tories Leadership contest. His recent speech in Liverpool could have come from Sunak or Truss. He set out his economic vision as “growth, growth, growth”. He could have been a bit more precise as a capitalist politician by arguing for “profit, profit, profit” or better still “Accumulate, Accumulate! That is Moses and the prophets” (Marx).
After his turgid speech Starmer was berated in a local cafe by a Labour supporting pensioner. She told him, he was a disgrace for writing an article in the SUN newspaper due to the Paper’s callous and negative coverage of the Hillsborough disaster under its former editor Kelvin Mackenzie and a liar for not keeping his promises; ditching nationalisation policies and empting the Labour Party of activists. He was no socialist, she told him. He just sat there like a plank of wood (the confrontation can be seen on “Robespierre’s” You Tube channel, July 26 2022).
Starmer claims one of his heroes is Clement Atlee who was returned to power in 1945 with an overall majority. Wishful thinking! Atlee had a personal representative at the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. He also was also the architect of NATO which has waged war in Kosovo (1999), Afghanistan (2001), and Libya (2011). Starmer uncritically supports NATO and Ukraine in its war with Russia.
Unlike Labour nostalgists (see Ken Loach’s documentary film “THE SPIRIT OF ‘45” which was shot through rose tinted glasses), Atlee’s 1945 government was not a socialist one. Atlee’s government retained war-time legislation banning strikes; it sent troops into the docks to break strikes; it put gas workers and Dockers on trial; it imposed wage restraint and then a wage freeze; it introduced peace-time conscription for the first time; it began the development of the British atomic bomb; it sent troops to help United States imperialism in Korea and it did not solve the housing problem facing the working class – a problem still confronting workers today.
Given the historical failure of the Labour Party to do anything about the social and economic problems facing the working class why is the pensioner, who verbally attacked Keir Starmer in the You Tube clip, still a member of a capitalist party? And why does she believe that nationalisation would solve the economic problems of the working class when it failed miserably the first time round? Nationalisation is state capitalism and does not change the labour-capital relationship. Workers are still exploited in the nationalised industries, forced to defend themselves in trade unions and struggle for more pay and better working conditions. Nationalisation has nothing to do with socialism and the free and direct access to goods and services which people need to live worthwhile lives.
Starmer’s speech on the key-note theme of economics and Labour’s economic strategy given in Liverpool showed he did not understand economics at all. Apparently he has to be tutored in economics by the likes of Ed Miliband and Lord Falconer (“i” July 27 2022); the blind leading the blind. All three do not accept that social wealth comes out of the exploitation of the working class. They have no idea of the cause of the trade cycle, the class struggle, inflation, and unemployment. The ideas of Karl Marx are a closed book to them. Starmer cannot dissect or explain why capitalism is not working for the working class majority and why, if he was in power, he could nothing about their class position of poverty and insecurity.
Journalists criticise Starmer for being vague. Every new agenda-setting speech Starmer makes, they opine, ends up with him making it less clear what Labour stands for. There is nothing in the Tory policy menu he would be uncomfortable with. He is also against strikes and his Shadow Ministers standing in support on picket lines. So much so he sacked his shadow transport minister who backed the rail strikes and who joined striking rail workers on a picket line. What really upset Starmer was that his Shadow Minster went against Labour Policy of telling the working class that in periods of high inflation “you should have a real-terms pay cuts” for the benefit of the capitalist economy. Starmer writes articles on VE day in the TELEGRAPH, on Memorial Sunday in the MAIL and chases the ethno-nationalist vote in the SUN. Starmer wants to be more patriotic than the Tories and is keen to wrap himself up in the Union Jack.
Unfortunately for Starmer, Tories do Tory policy better than second division Tories. We do not like to predict the future but it is very likely that Liz Truss, someone who once wrote that workers were about the laziest and unproductive in the world (BRINTANNIA UNCHAINED 2012), will probably defeat Starmer at the next general election because a non-socialist working class will vote for the real Tory model not its pale imitator.
However for socialists it is very clear what the Labour Party stands for. Like the Tories and other capitalist parties Labour stands for the interest of the capitalist class. It stands for British capitalism. And it stands for the private ownership of the means of production and distribution to the exclusion of the majority of society. If you are a member of the working class and want socialism then you should not be in the Labour party. The Labour Party has never been, never is, and never will be a socialist party.
Why do people like the pensioner who saw through Starmer stay in the Labour Party? Why do they waste their lives in a Party where they are unable to influence its political and economic direction? They are told what to do and what to think by leaders who set policy despite what the membership might think. It is a form of political masochism.
Socialists might be thin on the ground. Yet we adhere to a set of socialist principles and a socialist object which, given a socialist majority taking democratic and political action, will replace capitalism and the profit system with the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production by all of society. Workers should be with us thinking and acting for themselves, not wasting their time in the labour Party.
Object and Declaration of Principles
The establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community.
Declaration of Principles
THE SOCIALIST PARTY OF GREAT BRITAIN HOLDS:
1. That society as at present constituted is based upon the ownership of the means of living (ie land, factories, railways, etc.) by the capitalist or master class, and the consequent enslavement of the working class, by whose labour alone wealth is produced.
2. That in society, therefore, there is an antagonism of interests, manifesting itself as a class struggle, between those who possess but do not produce and those who produce but do not possess.
3.That this antagonism can be abolished only by the emancipation of the working class from the domination of the master class, by the conversion into common property of society of the means of production and distribution, and their democratic control by the whole people.
4. That as in the order of social evolution the working class is the last class to achieve its freedom, the emancipation of the working class will involve the emancipation of all mankind without distinction of race or sex.
5. That this emancipation must be the work of the working class itself.
6. That as the machinery of government, including the armed forces of the nation, exists only to conserve the monopoly by the capitalist class of the wealth taken from the workers, the working class must organise consciously and politically for the conquest of the powers of government, national and local, in order that this machinery, including these forces, may be converted from an instrument of oppression into the agent of emancipation and the overthrow of privilege, aristocratic and plutocratic.
7. That as all political parties are but the expression of class interests, and as the interest of the working class is diametrically opposed to the interests of all sections of the master class, the party seeking working class emancipation must be hostile to every other party.
8. The Socialist Party of Great Britain, therefore, enters the field of political action determined to wage war against all other political parties, whether alleged labour or avowedly capitalist, and calls upon the members of the working class of this country to muster under its banner to the end that a speedy termination may be wrought to the system which deprives them of the fruits of their labour, and that poverty may give place to comfort, privilege to equality, and slavery to freedom.