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Building An Alternative To Blair And Capitalism
A YEAR ago, on 20 March, millions demonstrated around the world against Bush and Blair's bloody imperialist attack on Iraq. In Britain, protesters included tens of thousands of school students who went on strike against a war that would slaughter thousands of ordinary Iraqi people - all in the name of oil, profits and prestige.
Bush and Blair told us that Iraq and the world would be a safer place once the vicious dictator Saddam Hussein was removed. The terrible bombings and bloodshed in Spain and Iraq over the last two weeks have tragically exposed the warmongers' lies and deceit.
No more lies
THIS YEAR, to mark the day that war began, tens of thousands will be marching to say "No more lies". As each day passes, Blair becomes more entangled in the web of deceit that he and his toadies have spun to justify the brutality of war and occupation.
But Blair's dishonesty is not confined to Iraq. What about the pledge not to introduce top-up fees? Or the promise to improve public services? Fear of accumulating a life-time of debt will deprive thousands of students of a university education.
Private companies, like vultures, are encouraged by New Labour to feed off our NHS, education and other public services. Now Gordon Brown is preparing for a massive squeeze on most of what's left of the public sector when he announces the new public spending round in July.
Blair must go
MANY PEOPLE demonstrating this Saturday will be saying that, like Aznar in Spain, it's time for Blair to go. But there is no mass political alternative to Blair and the big-business policies which New Labour and the two main opposition parties champion. The Liberal Democrats opportunistically posed as the 'anti-war' party and then backed the war once the bombing started. They advocate privatisation and implement vicious cuts in jobs and services in local councils where they have an influence.
A change of leadership at the top of New Labour would not fundamentally change anything either. Just like Blair, Brown is pro-war and pro-big business.
We need to build a new mass party that can give a political voice to all those who oppose the war and occupation of Iraq; to trade unionists fighting job losses, privatisation and attacks on working conditions; to young people fighting for a better future and to all those who want to see an alternative to a capitalist profit system which breeds poverty, war, terror and environmental destruction.
What kind of party?
WE DON'T just want a party that stands in elections, although it's important to offer an electoral alternative to working class and young people who feel alienated from and disillusioned with the mainstream capitalist parties.
The Socialist Party, for example, has five elected councillors in England (and our sister party has a TD (MP) in the Dail (Parliament) in Southern Ireland) showing that it is possible to win support for socialist ideas when a real alternative is provided.
Any new party should also be one that people can actively join and participate in on a mass scale; a campaigning, fighting, anti-capitalist party, organised on an inclusive and democratic basis and respecting the different political views of everyone involved.
In particular, a new party needs to be rooted in the trade unions and workplaces where the collective strength of working-class people lies. Had the trade unions, for example, called for strike action after the 2 million strong February 15 demonstration, then it could have marked the end of Blair and his support for Bush's war.
Unfortunately, new parties and organisations have been 'declared' but, because of their undemocratic and arrogant approach to other forces, have failed to attract workers and young people and squandered the opportunity to develop a real mass party.
Building a new party
THE SOCIALIST Party is committed to working with genuine, democratic forces to help build a new mass workers' party. Such a party will emerge out of the struggles of ordinary working people. The turmoil inside the trade unions could potentially provide such an opportunity.
Workers, especially those in the public sector, are sickened that their unions continue to affiliate and donate hundreds of thousands thousands of pounds to New Labour, who then turn round and kick them in the teeth through job cuts, privatisation etc.
The rail workers' union RMT has been disaffiliated from New Labour for voting to support and donate money to parties, other than New Labour, who support the union's policies such as nationalisation of the railways. Many firefighters will also be pushing for resolutions calling on their union FBU to break the link with New Labour at their annual conference this year.
Socialist Party members in these and other unions are campaigning for the trade unions to disaffiliate from New Labour and begin the process of creating a new workers' party. This would include standing their own candidates in elections.
The Socialist Party is also calling on the RMT and other unions to organise a conference, inviting workers from across the unions, to discuss how a new mass party could be built, linking up with anti-war protesters, community campaigners, socialists etc.
Such a party, with the trade unions at its core, could begin to provide a widespread anti-capitalist challenge to the pro-market policies of the three mainstream big-business parties.
What's socialism got to do with it?
WAR, POVERTY, privatisation, assaults on the pay, jobs and conditions of working-class people - all have their roots in the capitalist profit system. This is a system which exploits and oppresses the majority in society in the interests of a small but rich minority in whose hands economic power is concentrated.
Take the USA as an example: the richest 1% (2.7 million) own as much wealth as the poorest 40% (100 million). Worldwide 200 big corporations have combined sales greater than the total wealth of all but ten nations.
In the last century, 200 million people have died in wars for profits, the domination of world markets and the prestige of the big imperialist powers.
The only real alternative to this capitalist nightmare is socialism - a revolutionary change in the way that society is organised, based on public ownership of the big corporations and democratic planning of society on the basis of need not profit.
THE SOCIALIST Party is affiliated to the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) which is fighting for socialism in 36 countries around the globe.
If, like us, you want to see an alternative to Blairism and the free market; if you want to see a world free from war, poverty and terror, then join the Socialist Party and fight with us for a better future.
In The Socialist 20 March 2004:
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