Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/806/18450

From The Socialist newspaper, 9 April 2014

Break with pro-cuts Labour now

A Labour defeat, said Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, was likely if it went into the 2015 general election promising "a pale shade of austerity".

In reality, in Labour-run councils around the country it is austerity red in tooth and claw that Labour is administering at this very moment, leaving millions of working class people devastated and without a choice at the 22 May local elections.

But much heat was generated following Len's remarks to a Commons Press Gallery lunch. There was talk of Unite forming a new workers' party, maybe with the GMB and the RMT unions.

The RMT is part of TUSC, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition which already has over 440 no-cuts candidates in place for May's poll.

The reality of what Unite is doing is, so far, a little different. Len's remarks suggested he could see the union donating money to other parties, or form a party of its own, which would need changes to be passed at next year's Rules Revision Conference, if Labour was to lose the general election.

Nevertheless, Len has since defended the union's political strategy at a United Left (UL) meeting in London.

Unite would continue to attempt to get better representation for workers and trade unionists in Labour despite the events in Falkirk and the subsequent defeat there, which Len does not consider a defeat.

Falkirk

But Falkirk was the jewel in Unite's 'reclaim Labour' crown. A significant number of the 700 Unite members recruited to the Labour Party as part of its campaign were in the Falkirk constituency.

The result, however, was the disgraceful spectacle of Miliband calling in the police to investigate.

The big majority of unions, including Unite, then voted for the constitutional reforms put forward at Labour's recent special conference following the Collins Review, which will finally end the remnants of the affiliated trade unions' collective political voice within Labour.

Len's views were taken up by Socialist Party members in the UL meeting. There is no enthusiasm among Unite members to join a party making cuts.

Of 1,900 members in the Greenwich council branch of Unite, only two are Labour members.

Len outlined his "Ten-point plan to help Labour save Britain from Tories" in the Daily Mirror on 5 April.

It includes policies such as building 200,000 homes a year to employ half a million construction workers (although Len admitted that five million people are in "housing crisis"), the removal of the private sector from the NHS, the renationalisation of the railways, raising the minimum wage by 1.50 an hour, and removing the anti-trade union laws.

These are all policies which the Socialist Party and TUSC supporters would agree could form the beginnings of a programme to benefit workers and their families.

Of course, the Socialist Party would argue that to permanently help the vast majority of people would mean proposing a socialist plan of production through nationalisation of the big firms in the economy and ending capitalism. But Labour's manifesto won't even go near Len's policies.

Much was made of the Labour Party's decision to support Royal Mail re-nationalisation last year. Yet its party conference has more of the trappings of a rally than a policy making body.

And within minutes Chuka Umunna, shadow business minister, and other New Labour apparatchiks were ruling out any such commitment in Labour's election manifesto.

There will be a few sops to the unions but the overall manifesto will not be radical at all.

The truth is that Len and others, have put forward radical programmes which have no hope of being adopted by New Labour.

Some in Unite say now is not the time to form a new party a year before the election. But for them, there is always an excuse.

Ukip threat

It wasn't 'right' when Tony Blair was prime minister (because Gordon Brown was waiting in the wings for his chance), after Labour's defeat in 2010 (wait for a new leader and elect Ed Miliband) or when Unite proposed its political strategy to transform Labour (recruit 5,000 Unite members to Labour but which has yielded only hundreds and ended in the Falkirk events).

The truth is that pleading with the pro-big business leadership is having no effect whatsoever.

And the danger of waiting until after the general election to draw this conclusion is that millions of workers will not have a party to vote for in 2015 or in May or worse, will fall into the hands of the Thatcherite Ukip.

Support in the polls for right-wing populist Ukip reflects the disgust among voters at the political system and how Ukip is presented by the BBC and other media outlets as the best weapon to beat the establishment parties.

A new mass workers' party would be able to cut across the growth of Ukip by offering genuinely pro-working class policies, instead of the Tory policies with a fig-leaf of pro-working class rhetoric provided by Ukip.

Unite's strategy of trying to push Labour to the left from inside the party has failed. If the trade union movement was to launch a new workers' party that would be far more effective in exerting pressure on Labour and all the capitalist parties, just as Ukip has acted to put rightward pressure on the Tories.

Rather than giving even 1.5 million a year to Labour, halved from last year's affiliations, think what could be done if Unite's money was put into building a new party putting forward trade union and socialist policies, which could gain the support of millions of workers.

This should be the urgent task of Unite and other unions currently propping up Labour.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 9 April 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

House of Thieves

Housing emergency

Break with pro-cuts Labour now

System change to save the environment

Hillsborough tragedy - the final chapter?

OECD report: A system in crisis

Them & Us


Socialist Party workplace news

Care UK strike: national union support needed

Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) elections

Build on the fighting militant traditions of the RMT

Probation workers unite to fight off no-justice vultures

Visteon: Ford makes offer

Sparks fight on!

Homes and Communities Agency strike


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Swansea: National Front thwarted!

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition progress update

Doncaster: March commemorates miners' strike

Save Leicester Race Equality Centre

Obituary: Pat James 1930 - 2014

Help with the Socialist sales campaign

Support the Socialist with a May Day greeting


Reviews and readers' comments

Book review: Silent Accomplice

Reviews and comments


 

Home   |   The Socialist 9 April 2014   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Labour:

triangleHull Trades Council debates workers' political representation

triangleCrisis in council services: Labour must fight or stand aside

triangleTrades council debates workers' political representation

triangleStarmer in full retreat over C-19 rents crisis

triangleSocial partnership is an attempt to shackle trade unions and prevent industrial action

Cuts:

triangleStrong union response needed against job cuts

triangleSafe protests against Tory corona chaos continue

triangleJohnson's plan terrifies me - readers react to lifting lockdown

triangleSafe social-distancing car-cavalcade protests

Unite:

triangleNo return to unsafe construction sites

triangleRolls Royce threatens 8,000 job losses

triangleWoolwich ferry - workers secure 100% furlough agreement

UKIP:

triangleMay ends in June! Boot out the Tories!

triangleTories facing electoral meltdown

Socialist:

triangleSE Birmingham Socialist Party: Role of the community and voluntary sector

Falkirk:

triangleHow can Unite lead fight against cuts?

Unions:

triangleCovid crisis boosts union membership but TUC leaders want to cosy up to the bosses!

TUSC:

triangleThe Socialist inbox

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition:

triangleNew twist in Derby TUSC election agent case

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

27/5/20

TUC

Covid crisis boosts union membership but TUC leaders want to cosy up to the bosses!

27/5/20

Coronavirus

Reckless, lying cheats

26/5/20

Coronavirus

Coronavirus pandemic news in brief

26/5/20

Coronavirus

More blunders and profiteering in Tory track-and-trace scheme

26/5/20

Coronavirus

United action can defeat Tories' dangerous school plan

25/5/20

Coronavirus

Care home workers suffer PPE shortage and job loss fears

22/5/20

Coronavirus

Black and Asian Covid-19 deaths: an indictment of capitalist inequality

20/5/20

Coronavirus

Johnson's reckless 'back to school' plans threaten everyone's safety

20/5/20

Coronavirus

Confidence plummets in Tory strategy for Covid-19

20/5/20

Benefits

Universal Basic Income: not a solution to insecurity and poverty under capitalism

20/5/20

Covid

Furlough cut-off could force millions back to unsafe workplaces

20/5/20

Council

Crisis in council services: Labour must fight or stand aside

20/5/20

Rich

Rich get handouts - workers get pay cuts

19/5/20

Coronavirus

Transport workers and passengers mustn't pay the price

13/5/20

Coronavirus

Pandemic shortages caused by capitalist market - socialist planning is the alternative

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999