Labour Party After Miliband Is Forced To The Left: LRC organise for a complete break with austerity and for internationalist solidarity against imperialism
13/10/2013 by socialistfight
Labour Party After Miliband is forced to the left: LRC organise for a complete break with austerity and for internationalist solidarity against imperialism
Graham Durham, Brent and Harrow LRC
After three years of virtual silence by Labour leader Ed Miliband ,2013 has seen extraordinary developments in the Labour Party.For the first time since Harold Wilson was unable to commit British troops to the Vietnam War in 1965, the Labour leadership has voted against a US imperialist intervention in the vote against bombing Syria.The British Parliamentary majority of odds and sods against the intervention was a severe blow to imperialism ,leaving the US ,France and Israel temporarily isolated.
Of course Miliband and other Labour leaders have sought to retreat from this position since ,promising a revote if UN inspectors can show the Assad regime launched a chemical attack.As events have moved on the defeat for imperialism gives socialists in the party the opportunity to explain why anti-imperialists must resist the offensive against Syria and discuss the reasons why US imperialism must always be opposed in its bloodthirsty campaigns.
The row over Ralph Miliband has also shown his son taking on ,in his limited way,the Tory media .I had the pleasure of being an undergraduate when Ralph Miliband taught politics at Leeds University in the 1970’s – Ralph tried to build a workers ‘Marxist’ education centre across Yorkshire.Whilst Ralph was a generous and inspiring teacher ,neither then or now is it accurate to describe Ralph as a Marxist .He had no understanding of the need to build an alternative working-class state power and was mainly critical of Labour Parliamentary socialists for failing to be radical enough.As if measures of nationalisation and workers control would be allowed to be implemented through a Parliamentary vote.I remember vividly that even the brutal massacre of trade unionists and socialists in Chile in 1973 failed to damage Ralph Milibands belief in parliamentary means .
Ed Miliband has used the ‘hate Britain‘ charge by the Daily Mail to prepare voters for the millions of words which will be deployed by the Tory press against his election campaign.But without explaining why many aspects of British history are disgusting episodes supporting slavery and colonial exploitation he concedes the key Daily Hate position that Britain is an essentially ‘civilising’ nation.The left in the Labour Party has a duty to explain why there is a need to debate what is wrong with Britain ,both domestically and internationally,which needs to be changed.
The hysterical reaction of the Tory media to Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze energy bills for 18 months and abolish the Bedroom Tax is a sample of how any proposal ,however weak,will lead to capitalist media attacks.Only a determination to confront the power of international capital in the interests of the working-class will suffice to counter these attacks.Thus a Labour leadership could advise anyone seeking to purchase privatised Royal Mail shares that these will be declared null and void if a Labour Government is elected.Similar pledges on the railways and other public services would be both popular and demonstrate that Labour is on the side not of One Nation Britain but of the overwhelming mass of the working-class.
Instead Milband and his sidekick Balls have pledged that the next Labour Government is committed to the spending plans of the current class-hating Tory/Lib Dem coalition.So whilst the Bedroom Tax will be abolished ,the welfare cuts will continue.Rip off companies running major services,from GS4 to Virgin Health,will continue to implement zero hours contracts and extract profit for wealthy shareholders from public provision.
Although Miliband was forced to placate his trade union critics by driving some radical sounding policies ,the backdrop to the Labour Conference was the determination of Miliband to break the trade union link.Replacing the collective voice of trade unions with an individual levy is a policy aimed at determining that the organised working-class movement can never again determine any aspect of Labour policy.Miliband aims to deliver a further capitalist friendly Blair/Mandelson type Labour government which opposes workers right s and does not disturb the interests of corporate capitalism.Sadly rumours abound that ,despite fine words,trade union leaders such as Len McCluskie,are determined to swallow the diminution of the trade union collective voice in the Labour Party.
These contradictions offer a great opportunity to the left of the Labour Party .Particularly the Labour Representation Committee as it meets for its’ annual conference in November.Fresh from a successful rally at the Brighton conference and boasting some new branches the LRC must renew its activity and fight for Labour nationally to adopt a socialist programme of workers control of industry and a social programme of defence and investment in the NHS and vital public services.
The LRC needs to continue to develop an analysis of US and world imperialism which allows it a sure touch in siding against imperialist interventions and in defence of regimes attacked by imperialism.The LRC needs to avoid hysterical support for tentative steps of Labour lefts such as Diane Abbott to mount limited opposition to specific interventions. A more measured approach seeking to win Labour to an alternative anti-imperialist foreign policy is an opportunity for the LRC to establish new supporters to an alternative world view.
In relation to trade unions the LRC has correctly launched a vigorous support for defending the historic link with the trade unions but the LRC itself,through Labour Briefing,organised a disgraceful campaign to support Len McCluskie in his battle with militant left-winger ,Jerry Hicks,for leadership of UNITE.In the trade unions the LRC needs to demonstrate that it represents the most advanced workers who are challenging trade union bureaucrats like McCluskey who are preparing to sell the trade union power in the Labour Party.
Finally the LRC is currently held back as a credible force on the left by the disastrous support it shows to one Labour austerity council in the small London borough of Islington.Providing a smokescreen for one council sacking workers and smashing services is not acceptable.The Labour Councicllors Against the Cuts,though small,is an important initiative linking small numbers of Labour councillors who have defied Labour cuts orthodoxy.LRC Conference needs to abandon the ‘sooner or later against cuts’ position and challenge all Labour councillors to fight cuts now.