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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 February 2018

Carlisle debate - socialism or social democracy?

Fight for Socialism placard

Fight for Socialism placard   (Click to enlarge)

Robert Charlesworth, Carlisle Socialist Party

At a well-attended public debate speakers from the Socialist Party and Labour discussed: 'The way forward: socialism or social democracy?' Members of the Socialist Party, Momentum, the Green Party and others were present on 7 February.

Robert Rynn, political education officer of Carlisle Labour Party (personal capacity), claimed that bringing about socialism would require "violent revolution", and that the best system is a "mixed economy" with the state controlling basic services such as energy and the railways, while private industry was left to "innovate" in other areas.

Brent Kennedy, Carlisle Socialist Party, recalled the Mitterrand government in France in 1981 which lasted only 100 days before being forced to retreat by big business sabotaging the economy.

It subsequently abandoned significant reforms for the working class, and Brent argued that only a programme of nationalising the banks and top monopolies would allow a Corbyn-led Labour government to carry through improvements for the working class.

Retreat

The only other option would be to retreat under capitalist pressure, which would result in the party going the same way as the French Socialist Party, the German Social Democratic Party, Syriza in Greece, and all the other centre-left parties whose vote has fallen or collapsed in recent years.

We explained why Labour's James Callaghan and Denis Healey declared in 1976 that "Keynesianism is dead", and that the post-war boom period to which so many people fondly look back - with almost full employment, high levels of investment and higher wages - was something that can't be repeated.

Since then capitalism has abandoned industrial growth, productivity and wages for financial speculation and plundering the state through privatisation.

We answered criticisms of the centrally planned economies of the Soviet Union and other Stalinist countries by explaining what could be achieved in the production of consumer goods with workers' control and management instead of bureaucratic dictatorship.

We challenged members of the Labour Party to put these ideas to the test under the next Labour government by demanding workers' control in nationalised sectors of the economy.

Our ideas were well received, and we contributed substantially to the political education of all those present. The debate closed with an appeal to Labour Party members to support our calls to readmit all socialists expelled during 1980s and 1990s.

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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.
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In The Socialist 14 February 2018:


Socialist Party news and analysis

We can win the fight for the NHS

Stop press: victory - campaign saves NHS rehab ward

McDonnell says Labour would put services 'irreversibly' in workers' hands

Tamil youth march for justice

Rent doubles in a decade: cap rents, build council homes!

What we saw: Tory-Blairite EU love-in


Oxfam scandal

Oxfam scandal: we need democratic aid and working class solidarity


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

How should TUSC approach the local elections and Brexit negotiations?


Socialist history

Czechoslovakia 1968: 'Prague Spring' challenges Stalinism


International socialist news and analysis

Cape Town drought

Brazil: Lula conviction confirmed

Big political strike against Finnish government's attack on unemployed

France: rallies in support of oppressed Kurdish people


Workplace news and analysis

UCU uni strike: coordinate public sector fightback

Sadiq Khan's bus drivers' London licence doesn't go far enough

Newham teachers strike again as anti-academy pressure mounts

Woolwich Crossrail walkouts to demand promised bonuses

Threat of action defeats pay cut at Surrey council


Socialist Party campaigns

Haringey protests HDV - but Labour fails to kill it off completely

Staines fire services saved

Carlisle debate - socialism or social democracy?

Enjoyable and successful Cardiff Refugee Rights gig


Opinion

I'm now a 'manager' and I can barely manage!

In Windsor none of us want to see homeless people on the street


 

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