A Morning Star pamphlet by Robert Griﬃths £2
THE BATTLE FOR THE LABOUR MOVEMENT
The Morning Star is Britain’s only socialist daily newspaper. It has a long and proud history. Originally called the Daily Worker, the paper was founded by the Communist Party and first published on 1 January 1930. The aim was, in Lenin’s words, to provide “an economic and political tool of the masses in their struggle”. Since 1945 the paper has been owned by a broad-based readers’ cooperative, the People's Press Printing Society (PPPS). The paper’s editorial line remains anchored in the political programme of the Communist Party but it oﬀers a broad left perspective on political, industrial and international issues. The Daily Worker/Morning Star has experienced many challenges since its foundation, experiencing a wholesaler boycott within weeks of its establishment; ongoing police surveillance and harassment; prosecution and imprisonment of its journalists; an outright ban during part of World War Two; an ongoing boycott by commercial advertisers; and a constant battle to cover production, distribution and staﬀ costs. But through all this it has continued to chronicle the struggles of the British working class and champion progressive movements around the world. At its peak it had a weekend circulation of over 100,000. Management of the paper rests with the shareholders via their Annual General Meeting (which is held at diﬀerent locations around Britain to ensure maximum participation) and election of the PPPS Management Committee. The Management Committee appoints the Editor and Company Secretary. Shares in the PPPS cost £1.
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2 | The battle for the Labour movement
A Morning Star pamphlet by Robert Griﬃths £2
THE BATTLE FOR THE LABOUR MOVEMENT
by Robert Griﬃths
The battle for the Labour movement | i
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ii | The battle for the Labour movement
Foreword This pamphlet comprises a rticles by Communist Party general secretary Robert Griﬃths published in the Morning Star. They are reprinted here in their original form, before sub-editing, but with the titles under which they appeared.
Contents Timeline of events 1 1 3 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22
2015: a year of struggle January 2 Despite its flaws Labour remains the best choice for the working class March 11 Socialism is the only antidote to exploitation May 1 After the election, what priorities for the left? May 23 The Tories are fighting on a wide front – so must we June 20 Bail-out sell out July 14 The illusory recovery August 8 Big spending – the spark our economy needs August 10 Corbyn's victory stands to chart a new course for Britain September 14 An unabashed socialist is at the helm again October 3 Privatise the profits – the only game in Tory town November 27 2016: A year for decisive advance November 28 March, demonstrate, lobby & strike against Tory government policies January 2, 2016
The battle for the Labour movement | iii
TIMELINE 2015 January 26 Syriza (‘Coalition of the Radical Left’) lead new government in Greece after winning elections on anti-austerity manifesto. March 1 Launch event for 'People's March for the NHS' from Tredegar to Manchester. March 7 Labour leader Ed Miliband calls for law to make televised party leadership debates compulsory at General Election time. March 9 Prime Minister David Cameron pledges 500 more 'free schools' should the Tories win the forthcoming General Election. May 1 International Workers' Day. May 7 Tories win the General Election despite slight increase in Labour vote in England. SNP win 56 of 59 seats in Scotland. May 8 Ed Miliband resigns as Labour Party leader. May 9 Local People's Assembly rallies and demonstrations aganst election of Tory government. May 16 Jim Murphy announces intention to stand down as Scottish Labour Party leader. May 27 Queen's Speech confirms Tory plans for new anti-trade union law, sell-oﬀ of housing association homes, more welfare cuts, more academy schools, 'English votes for English laws', etc. June 17 Hustings begin for election of new Labour Party leader. June 20 People's Assembly 'End Austerity Now' national demonstrations in London and Glasgow. July 5 Greek people vote in referendum to reject 'Troika' austerity terms for debt bail-out. July 8 Chancellor Osborne unveils 'Emergency Budget' of further departmental and welfare spending cuts, extended public sector pay freeze, a 'Nati!nal Living Wage', cuts in business corporation tax, etc. July 13 Greek government accepts EU Third Memorandum at Eurosummit, agreeing new austerity and privatisation measures in exchange for extra 'bail-out' loans. July 20 Jeremy Corbyn and 47 other MPs defy the Labour whip and vote against the Tory government's Welfare Bill cuts instead of abstaining. July 27 Leak reveals Scottish government forced by EU to rely on private sector fund-raising for capital investment in major infrastructure programme. July 28 Osborne welcomes GDP second quarter growth (which was revised downwards by the ONS on December 23 from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent). August 15 Kezia Dugdale elected leader of Labour Party in Scotland. September 12 Jeremy Corbyn elected Labour Party leader with 59.5 per cent of votes cast. October 4 TUC and People's Assembly 'No to Austerity' demonstration against Tory Party conference in Manchester. November 10 Prime Minister Cameron sets out four objectives for EU membership 'renegotiation'. November 25 Chancellor Osborne announces Autumn Statement and Spending Review, scrapping planned cuts to tax credits but proceeding with welfare cuts, NHS 'eﬃciency savings' and devolution of financial burden to local government. December 2 House of Commons votes to bomb Syria, but majority of Labour MPs and Shadow Cabinet oppose.
iv | The battle for the Labour movement
2015: a year of struggle January 2, 2015 Britain is a society disfigured by poverty, foodbanks, mass unemployment, enormous social injustice and chronic corruption. Our top priority must be to help sweep away the unelected Tory-LibDem regime at the general election on May 7. The only realistic alternative is a Labour government . But we also realise that Labour’s manifesto will not provide the radical alternative needed to challenge state-monopoly capitalism in Britain. That’s why we must redouble our eﬀorts to strengthen the trade unions and trades councils and build the People’s Assembly and the National Assembly of Women as broad popular movements against austerity, privatisation and inequality . After putting a Labour government in oﬃce, the workers and peoples of Britain will have to put the maximum pressure on it to put the interests of the millions before those of the millionaires. Before, during and after May 7, renationalisation and public ownership must be pushed towards the top of the political agenda. This perspective would provide the best conditions in which to resolve the crisis of political representation in the labour movement. Communists also have to win urgent support for our policy of progressive federalism, placing real powers and resources in the Scottish and Welsh parliaments and in English regional assemblies to implement left and progressive policies . Attempts by UKIP, the Tory right and other reactionary forces to divide people along national, racial or religious lines must be met by the case for unity against big business and imperialism. In particular, the advance of UKIP can be rebuﬀed by pointing to its pro-austerity, pro-privatisation and pro-City agenda, However, reactionary opposition to the EU will not be defeated by reactionary pro-EU arguments, but by opposing the EU from the left and winning more people to that position .
The next government will also decide whether the Trident nuclear weapons system is renewed or replaced – we must strengthen determination in the peace, labour and other progressive movements to scrap Britain’s weapons of mass destruction altogether. On the international front, too, intensifying momentum behind the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign and for recognition of Palestinian statehood should be a top priority . In all this work, a stronger Communist Party and bigger readerships for the Morning Star and Britain’s Road to Socialism can play a key role . We must therefore turn decisively outwards, projecting the party at every level, taking our own initiatives alongside even greater engagement in broad campaigning movements, drawing new members into public activity, political education and cadre development. Building Britain’s party of working-class and people’s power is the single biggest contribution we can make to the struggle for social justice, peace and socialism in 2015.
Despite its flaws Labour remains the best choice for the working class March 11, 2015 Who on Earth is advising Ed Miliband on electoral strategy – presuming they are from this planet at all? Most people don’t give two hoots about whether politicians should be compelled by law to take part in televised leaders’ debates. What many electors would like to hear instead from Labour, in particular, is what a Miliband government would do to clamp down on the tax-dodgers and City fraudsters, to build more houses and to end the privatisation rip-oﬀ on the railways and in the gas, electricity and water industries . As recent opinion polls confirm, at present the prospect of Ed Miliband as prime minister The battle for the Labour movement | 1
doesn’t set the pulse racing. Indeed, the thought of Ed Balls as chancellor is enough to get the blood boiling. But not to see the diﬀerence between electing a Labour government and a Tory one on May 7 – even on the basis of Labour’s current feeble prospectus – is nothing less than what Aneurin Bevan would have called an 'emotional spasm'. It’s a selfindulgence best left to socialists who are not paying the price of the Bedroom Tax, who care nothing about the privatisation of the NHS and who happily contemplate a new round of antitrade union laws and 500 more schools run by millionaires, religious fanatics or business corporations . Which is not to say that anyone should write the Labour Party leadership a blank cheque or stop campaigning against Tory-LibDem policies in favour of the left and progressive alternatives. Still less does it mean voting Labour in every constituency across Britain . But Miliband has committed an incoming Labour government to abolish the Bedroom Tax that represents such a despicable attack on hundreds of thousands of the unemployed and their families. Would his government keep its word? I’m not the author of Old Moore’s Almanack and have no powers of prophecy. But I know that the only alternative to a Labour government is one led by the Tories, who would regard their victory as a mandate to intensify their pogrom against the poor, sick and disabled. That’s why the preferable and only realistic alternative is to step up the extraparliamentary campaigning against the Bedroom Tax, including winning more Labourrun councils to approaches which avoid evictions for non-payment. Maximum pressure will be needed to ensure that Labour repeals the Bedroom Tax in full – and then proceeds to reform the Council Tax system so that it much more closely reflects people’s ability to pay . In England in particular, privatisation of NHS services is accelerating as PFI payments pile up to £2 billion a year. Again, Andy Burnham and the Labour leadership have pledged to repeal 2 | The battle for the Labour movement
the 2012 Health and Social Care Act which undermines strategic planning and opens the door wider still to private medical service providers. Therefore, the People’s March for the NHS campaign could not come at a better time. Marches and rallies up to May 7 and beyond would press a Labour government not only to repeal the 2012 Act, but to begin reversing the whole PFI and privatisation rip-oﬀ of our NHS . Most of Britain’s trade unions will be putting their weight behind a Labour victory in the General Election. Their reasons should not be hard to fathom. In particular, they do not want another barrage of anti-union laws, notably the Tory proposal to further restrict the right to strike even after a secret ballot. Labour has no such plans, but its supporters could rightfully insist that a Labour government introduce a trade union freedom Bill to restore and extend workers’ rights across England, Scotland and Wales. As the Tories complain that too few workers vote in secret postal ballots, the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom could launch a drive for workplace voting instead . Of course, a Labour victory guarantees nothing for as long as spokespersons such as Douglas Alexander, Vernon Coaker, Chuka Umunna and Rachel Reeves worship at the shrines of the EU, NATO, big business and the poorhouse. We need Labour policies which inspire the millions, not appease the millionaires. In particular, the disproportionate impact of austerity on women as low-paid workers, unpaid carers and single parents should be recognised, with measures to enforce equal pay across both private and public sectors and inflation-busting rises in welfare benefits . While explaining the case for a Labour victory, Communist Party candidates will also be campaigning for steeply progressive taxation, the closure of all tax havens under British rule, public ownership of key sectors of the economy, a federal Britain and all-out opposition to membership of the EU and NATO . Nobody expects Labour to abandon a century of loyalty to British imperialism
between now and May 7. But dumping the leadership’s craven commitment to a new generation of nuclear weapons of mass destruction after Trident would be a votewinner – and might just prevent a wipe-out in Scotland at the hands of the SNP. Similarly, some criticism of the enthusiasm of the EUEuropean Central Bank-IMF ‘troika’ for punishing the poor and unemployed in Greece, Cyprus, Spain, Portugal and Ireland would be welcomed by many working-class electors . For their part, Communist Party candidates will campaign boldly for an independent foreign and defence policy for Britain. A big Communist vote would send a powerful message to a future Labour government without jeopardising its election. The same could be said for other left and progressive candidates, where they stand for similar policies without dismissing or endanger the prospects for a Labour victory . The best vote in some seats may well be Communist, socialist or Green. But in most, it has to be Labour.
Socialism is the only antidote to exploitation May 1, 2015 In 1848, when Marx and Engels proclaimed ‘Workers of all lands, unite!’ in the Manifesto of the Communist Party, they were reaﬃrming the common interests of working people everywhere in the struggle to overthrow capitalism . Later, as the guiding mind of the International Working Men’s Association, Marx enthusiastically participated in its many acts of international solidarity, supporting workers who were fighting to improve their pay, working conditions and democratic rights. Yet as Marx and the manifesto also made clear, such vital internationalism did not negate the importance of striving for state power in each country – winning the battle of democracy nationally and
making the working class the ruling class. Moreover, the Communist Manifesto outlined a programme of measures that a workers’ government should enact in order to make deep inroads into the wealth and power of the capitalist class, as the first steps towards reconstituting society on a socialist basis . In 1920, Lenin and the communists extended the Marxist exhortation to read: ‘Workers and oppressed peoples of all lands, unite!’ Thus they recognised the growing importance of supporting the fight of peoples for colonial freedom, against capitalism in its imperialist epoch of crisis, war and socialist revolution. Since then, that epoch has survived revolutions in Europe, Asia and Latin America. International Workers’ Day should therefore remind us not only that capitalism still needs to be overthrown. It should also reinvigorate us with the knowledge that in many countries the forces of trade unionism, anti-imperialism, socialism and communism are recovering from the massive counter-attack launched against them in the 1970s . The case for socialism – the only real antidote to capitalist exploitation, war and environmental disaster – is stronger than ever. That’s why capitalism’s more perceptive business, political and intellectual leaders know full well that the ideas of socialism can regain lost ground. That’s why, too, anti-communism remains a central part of ruling-class propaganda in the West, as the mass media here gloss over the resurgence of state and fascist anti-communism in many parts of the former Soviet Union and eastern Europe today. Because anti-communism is invariably the prelude to anti-socialism and anti-collectivism across the board, it is in the interests of everyone on the left to oppose it . This does not mean abandoning criticism of the communist tradition and its parties. But it does mean defending the rights of communists and socialists to organise and campaign free from state persecution and fascist violence. The battle for the Labour movement | 3
After the election, what priorities for the left? May 23, 2015 The re-election of a Tory government means that the ruling class oﬀensive will now be stepped up on every front, to concentrate yet more wealth and power in the hands of monopoly capital centred on the City of London. The Tories will continue attacking the welfare benefits of the working poor, the unemployed, the sick and the disabled. Public services will be further slashed or privatised as many more ‘free schools’ destroy whole swathes of local authority and comprehensive education across England. Local government funding will be sliced to the bone, except where councils take the Osborne shilling and hand over their collective decision making powers to an all-powerful mayor whose election can be more easily influenced by the right-wing gutter press. An all-round attack on democratic rights is intended to make ‘Britain plc’ a wholly owned and controlled subsidiary of City of London banks, hedge funds and private equity capitalists. While the Communist Party sees nothing progressive in religious fundamentalism of any kind, we don’t trust the Tories not to turn sweeping new ‘anti-subversion’ and ‘antiterrorism’ powers against those who, like us, fight for the overthrow of capitalism by the mass of the people. The British state has all the powers necessary to deal with those who pursue their religious or political objectives through the mass murder of innocent civilians. Indeed, all too often it is the people who need protection against the arbitrary and oppressive use of state power. That’s why the Human Rights Act should be defended against Tory plans to replace it with a Bill of Rights which will contain anti-progressive provisions reflecting the political balance of forces in Tory Britain today, rather than when the Council of Europe 4 | The battle for the Labour movement
drew up its framework, the European Convention on Human Rights, following the defeat of Nazi Germany. Another anti-democratic policy of this Tory government will be to restrict employment rights still further, making it easier for employers to sack workers and to break strikes with agency labour. Additional anti-trade union laws will impose extra shackles on the right to strike, introducing thresholds that could make industrial action supported by a clear majority of workers in, say, a 70 per cent turnout, illegal. Eleven members of the new Cabinet failed to win the support of at least 40 per cent of the electorate, including Business Secretary Sajid Javid, who proclaimed his anti-worker agenda on the very morning that Prime Minister Cameron claimed that the Conservatives were ‘the real party of working people’. That, of course, was a bit rich coming from the leader of the party of the bankers, spivs, speculators, tax dodgers, landowners and landlords. Which raises the question: how could such a party win a General Election, especially after five years of anti-working class austerity and privatisation? In England and in Britain as a whole, Labour’s share of the vote increased by twice as much as the Tory share. Yes, Labour’s share of the poll actually went up from 2010! But Cameron & Co. gained enough seats to form an overall majority because, firstly, Labour mostly did best in English and Welsh seats that it already controlled; secondly, UKIP and Green Party advances occurred in key marginal seats that Labour needed to win – but where working class electors have turned away from a Labour Party that does not clearly represent their fundamental interests; third, the Tories enjoyed most of the swing in English seats previously held by the LibDems; and fourth, the SNP trounced Labour in Scotland. No system of proportional representation would definitely* have prevented the return of a right-wing government on May 7, much
though the Communist Party would like to see a Single Transferable Vote in multi-member constituencies, which combines fair representation with local accountability (especially if electors have the right to recall their MP). A more significant factor in Labour’s defeat was that 43 per cent of adults in Britain chose either not to vote or not to register at all – most of them working class, young, unemployed, immigrants and/or in rented accommodation. Certainly, there is no evidence that Labour’s policies to tax the rich and the banks, freeze energy prices, lift the minimum wage and abolish zero-hour contracts repulsed large numbers of electors. Although antiimmigration sentiment was a factor in Labour losing votes to UKIP and the Tories, this was less important to voters than health, the economy and education. On health and education, Labour’s attack was blunted by the fact that previous Labour governments had championed marketisation, foundation hospitals, PFI and city academies. On the economy, Labour’s failure over years to campaign against the banks, tax havens, ‘quantitative easing’ and austerity in favour of public services, selective public ownership and a rebalanced modern economy allowed the Tories and mass media to pin the unwarranted label of business-hating incompetence on Miliband and Balls. In Scotland, the decision by the majority of Labour parliamentarians and party members to elect Trident-lovin’, cuts-lovin’, devo-hatin’ Jim Murphy as their leader proved a gift to the SNP. Subsequently, the prospect of a minority Labour government depending on nationalist MPs was used to stampede English voters into Tory arms. Labour’s only hope of a revival in Scotland – as in England and Wales – is a decisive turn to popular left and progressive policies on major economic, social, environmental and international questions. This must include coming out clearly in favour of a federal
Britain, based on equal status between its constituent nations; powerful, directly elected regional assemblies in England where demand exists; and policies to redistribute wealth from the monopoly capitalist class to all the regions and nations of Britain. The Communist Party rejects the notion that five years of rhetorical opposition to Tory policies, combined with a superficial makeover in presentation or a turn to the right, will deliver a Labour victory in 2020. It will not – especially after the Tories preside over a change in electoral boundaries that could cost Labour at least 20 seats. Instead of such parliamentary fatalism, the objective should be to drive this government out of oﬃce and so spare millions of people a full five years of misery. This is not an impossible prospect: Britain’s economic recovery is fragile, based on debt and inflated values, dogged by low investment, low productivity and high imports. Tory divisions over the European Union will come to the fore as a referendum approaches. However, Labour will only be able to take full advantage of these divisions if it has switched to supporting popular sovereignty and so doesn’t side with the Tory government, the City and big business in backing Britain’s membership of the anti-democratic, monopoly capitalist and militarist EU. In the meantime, the General Election has clarified the strategic perspectives and tasks facing the labour and progressive movements across Britain. First and foremost, working class organisation needs to be rebuilt in workplaces and local communities and among the unemployed and housing tenants. Workers and the trades unions must be won to a united campaign against anti-trade union laws, being prepared when necessary to take unoﬃcial action in order to expose and frustrate ruling class and Tory strategy. The People’s Assembly should be developed at every level and in every part of The battle for the Labour movement | 5
Britain as a broad-based militant mass movement against austerity and privatisation, for the left and progressive alternative set out in the People’s Manifesto, with the trade union movement playing a central and leading role in its organisation and activities. Based on its extensive trade union support, the National Assembly of Women should be built at local, regional and national levels to draw many more women into the fight against welfare cuts, privatisation and nuclear weapons; and in support of decent benefits, public services, the NHS and peace. CND should be reinvigorated as a vital part of the campaign to halt the renewal of Britain’s nuclear weapons system. A relaunched British Peace Assembly will help infuse the peace movement with an essential anti-imperialist outlook. Socialists, Communists and trade unionists and their organisations must urgently begin constructing a coalition to project the democratic, working class and internationalist case against the EU, and for British withdrawal, in preparation for the referendum. As never before, the labour movement must fight to reclaim the Labour Party so that its policies represent the interests of the working class and people generally. Failing progress by next year’s Labour conference, unions should consider how to re-establish a genuine mass party of labour. The formation of a distinct trade union party, aﬃliated to Labour at least initially, could help achieve either of these aims. Last but not least, we need more support for the Morning Star in the trade unions, on the left and in the People’s Assembly, helping the paper in its heroic eﬀorts to inform, inspire and mobilise people for the battles ahead. [* The word ‘definitely’ was added too late for publication.]
6 | The battle for the Labour movement
The Tories are fighting on a wide front – so must we June 20, 2015 The Tory General Election victory means that the ruling class attack on people’s living standards, public services, the Welfare State, the trade unions and democratic rights will be stepped up. The Bedroom Tax will continue and the privatisation of education and the NHS – especially in England – will accelerate. But as the demonstrations in London and Glasgow today confirm, there is also massive opposition to Tory policies. We should take heart from the fact that the Tories won little more than one-third of the poll (37 per cent) on May 7. In fact, only one adult in five in Britain (19 per cent) voted for them, after taking into account all those who either don’t register or didn’t vote. So there is plenty of potential to build a mass movement to pile the pressure onto Prime Minister Cameron and his cronies – and force their wafer-thin majority government into crisis as soon as possible. Of course, this begs the question of what could replace it. The Labour leadership contest should provide some indication of whether that party can be won back to left and progressive policies, which is all the more reason to back the candidature of principled left MP Jeremy Corbyn. In the meantime, Chancellor Osborne’s ‘emergency budget’ on July 8 will provide the next big opportunity to rally people against his vile attack on the unemployed and disabled – and to project our progressive alternative in the People’s Manifesto which proposes among other things: higher taxes on the rich, City speculators and corporate profits; increased pensions, benefits and wages to combat inequality and boost economic demand; investment in council house building, public services, manufacturing and green energy; public ownership of energy, transport, postal
services and the banks; repeal of racist, antitrade union and other anti-democratic laws; and a foreign policy based on the need for solidarity and peace. The People’s Assembly needs to be broadened and taken into every local community across Britain. Everyone who opposes austerity, cuts and privatisation should be made welcome – except for racists and fascists. Potential supporters should not be driven away by childish slogans, or by an ideological ‘blood and urine’ test which admits only socialists. Within the People’s Assembly at local, regional and national levels, we need the trade unions to play a major role, helping to build a mass movement with their organisation and resources. We should all do what we can to help strengthen trades union organisation – including local trades councils – not least to resist a fresh round of anti-union laws. The teachers’ unions and the AntiAcademies Alliance should be supported in their campaign against a new rash of ‘free’ schools across England (subsidised with lots of ‘free’ public money for the business and religious interests who take them over). Like a renewed anti-Bedroom Tax movement, this campaign can help strengthen and draw solidarity from the People’s Assembly. Women will continue to be hit hard as single parents, carers and low-paid workers by Tory attacks on social benefits, tax credits and public services. They can join and build the National Assembly of Women, a long established and now resurgent campaigning body for progressive change, and a founding aﬃliate of the People’s Assembly. Tory plans to renew Britain’s costly, unusable and immoral Trident nuclear weapons system have the support of most LibDem and Labour MPs. Only a militant mass peace movement, with CND playing a leading role, can stop them. Then there’s the possibility of defeating Cameron and his crew in the EU referendum to
be held before the end of 2017. The EU is a fundamentally anti-democratic, pro-austerity, pro-big business club increasingly linked to NATO’s aggressive military expansion. It is run by the unelected EU Commission, the unaccountable European Central Bank and the anti-trade union European Court of Justice. That’s why the Tory Cabinet, most of big business and the City of London will be campaigning for a ‘Yes’ vote to keep Britain in the EU. They will be joined by the LibDems, Greens, SNP, Plaid Cymru and – unless Jeremy Corbyn is elected – by the Labour Party leadership. While the Tory Right and UKIP campaign against the EU for all the wrong reasons, the Communist Party will be joining with Labour left, far left and progressive Green forces to put the left-wing, democratic and internationalist case against the EU. In doing so, we will be campaigning in solidarity with workers and their families in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Cyprus, Ukraine and elsewhere who are resisting EU policies. And we will be opposing the pro-big business Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being negotiated in secret by the EU Commission with the USA. There is no reason why we should wait until the Tory regime’s five-year term of oﬃce comes to an end. Such ‘parliamentary fatalism’ is as unnecessary as it is defeatist. Once a government loses two consecutive votes of confidence in the House of Commons, it has to resign and – if no replacement is backed by a majority of MPs – a new election has to be held. We should work to challenge and remove the Tories from today. To adapt an old slogan: ‘Workers and peoples of all lands unite – we have nothing to lose except the chains of a Tory government and the EU’!
The battle for the Labour movement | 7
Bail-out sell out July 14, 2015 The Grand Old Duke of York may have marched his ‘ten thousand men’ up the hill pointlessly, but at least he then marched them down again in reasonable order. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has marched his movement and people up the hill and then abandoned them to the vengeance of the Eurogroup of EU finance ministers, the EU Commission and the European Central Bank. After all the bluﬀ and bluster, his Syriza government has surrendered their country’s sovereignty to the European Union and, behind that, to the banks and multinational corporations. Now, as the Eurosummit Brussels agreement makes clear, the EU bankers and bureaucrats have every intention of punishing Tsipras, his supporters and Greek electors for voting with a 61 per cent majority against austerity. They are being made the ‘whipping boy’ to discourage any further displays of disobedience. As well as a battery of measures to raise VAT and pension and other social insurance contributions, ‘modernise’ labour relations law and slash pension entitlements and other social programmes, the EU has been demanding a wide raft of privatisations. At the Eurogroup talks in Brussels this week, it was agreed that up to €50bn (£36bn) will be raised from the sale of Greek state assets over three years, which could then be used to fund government spending including bank recapitalisation and loan repayments. Greek government negotiators had argued that no more than €17bn (£12bn) could or should be raised in this way. But the supposedly ‘hard’ or ‘far’ left Syriza government in Athens had already conceded the principle of sweeping privatisation even before the July 5 referendum. On June 22, almost a week before the original negotiations with the EU-ECB-IMF ‘troika’ broke down, Tsipras had written to EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker responding 8 | The battle for the Labour movement
formally to the troika’s final demands. There, Tsipras proposed a milder austerity programme than that tabled by the troika – and now agreed in Brussels – but capitulated almost completely on the privatisation front. According to the oﬃcial English language text of his letter: ‘The Greek authorities are committed to approving and proceeding with an ambitious privatisation program’. This would entail ‘immediate and irreversible steps’ to sell oﬀ the regional airports, the Ellinikon international airport, the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki, the TrainOSE railway operating company and other state property and land, bringing in €6.3bn (£4.5bn) over the next three years. Pledges to reform and liberalise the gas and electricity markets, however, fell short of the wholesale privatisation of electricity transmission demanded by the troika and now being imposed by the new agreement. Nor was any explicit mention made of ferry services, another item on the troika ‘summer sale’ list and which will now undergo marketisation. As a result of the Brussels surrender, all of these industries and facilities are likely to end up in the hands of German, French, Belgian, Dutch and other European multinational corporations, with little if any of the public stake envisaged in the Tsipras letter. Whether the state-owned Russian Railways RZD will be allowed to proceed with its purchase of TrainOSE and associated operations remains to be seen. Nonetheless, one way or another, one of the chief objectives of austerity in every country will have been achieved in Greece, namely, the transfer of all remaining and potentially profitable industries and services from the public sector to the private sector. For the Greek people, that will mean higher prices, fresh mass redundancies and the further delay of economic recovery. That is why opposition to austerity should also explicitly include opposition to privatisation in the same breath – the one is
intended to open the way to the other, however concealed that intention may be. In the case of Greece, not only will state assets be sold oﬀ to mostly foreign big business and some of the sales revenue handed to EU member states, the ECB and IMF in loan repayments; the future income stream from Greek ports, railways, airports and electricity will pour into the coﬀers of multinational corporations. Even more humiliating, all Greek government fiscal and legslative measures to implement the new Brussels agreement must be approved at the drafting stage by the EU Commission, the ECB or other relevant EU bodies. Likewise, the country’s public administration will be reformed ‘under the auspices’ of the unelected commission, while the process and proceeds of privatisation will be administered by a Greek fund independent of the government but supervised by EU institutions. Some Tsipras supporters are claiming that the Eurosummit settlement has successfully averted an attempted EU coup against the Syriza government. One may have been threatened, but has since proved unnecessary as far as the aims of German imperialism and its allies are concerned. Internally, an already divided Syriza must now seek support for its surrender from New Democracy and PASOK MPs in the Athens parliament. As these are the very corrupt, proausterity and pro-privatisation forces which precipitated the country’s bankruptcy in the first place, they will save Syriza’s skin – and then dump Tsipras and his comrades at the earliest opportunity. Many Greek people will wonder, rightly, why they were marched up the referendum hill. Perhaps it was merely to strengthen the government’s bargaining hand to boost the bail-out bounty to €86bn (£61bn) or, in vain, to achieve a restructuring of the debt or – even more naively – to secure debt relief and an end to austerity. Yet it should have been clear that
no Greek government could hope to escape further austerity and privatisation without rejecting the eurozone and, in all likelihood, EU membership altogether. It would have to have the option – and the threat – of debt default, currency devaluation, controls on the export of capital and nationalisation of the banking system. Any such strategy would unavoidably have led directly to a struggle for state power against the Greek ruling class and its external NATO allies, requiring the continuous mass mobilisation of the working class and the people generally. But instead of preparing any of this ground, Syriza engaged in bombastic talk and grand gestures, which turned into wishful thinking and a whining whimper. Its uncritical cheerleaders in Britain have helped perpetuate the widespread confusion on the left and in the labour movement here about the class character of the EU. Some cling to the delusion that the EU can be reformed to create a ‘social Europe’, or transformed through an international revolutionary process into a United Socialist States of Europe. They see Syriza, Podemos in Spain, the Left Bloc in Portugal and similar formations as advance contingents in such a movement which can be replicated in Britain. But their ambivalent and even positive attitude to the EU, together with their lack of any coherent political programme for socialist revolution, renders them incapable of representing working class interests and popular sovereignty. As Greece demonstrates, they are no substitute for a strong Communist Party based on the working class and with a Marxist understanding of the monopoly capitalist character of national state power and the EU.
The battle for the Labour movement | 9
The illusory recovery August 8, 2015 Chancellor Osborne has welcomed the 0.7 per cent rise in GDP in the second quarter of 2015 as proof that Britain is ‘motoring ahead, with our economy producing as much per person as ever before’. And it’s true that GDP per head is almost back to where it was on the eve of the 2008 financial crash. Yet it’s a strange boast that, seven years on, we are only just reaching that point. Between them, chancellors Darling and Osborne imposed public spending cuts which suppressed Britain’s economic recovery below the levels achieved in France, Germany, the US and even Japan in the two years after the end of the recession in 2009. Indeed, their plans almost derailed the recovery altogether over the following period, as EU-imposed austerity programmes did in Spain and Italy. Initial cuts in public sector investment and then far deeper ones to government spending on wages, pensions and benefits, together with the private sector attack on wages and pensions, slashed demand in the British economy at the very time when sustained consumption and investment were required. The TUC analysis published this week confirms that this has been the slowest and shallowest recovery of the eight biggest recessions in almost two centuries of British capitalism. In the five years since the depth of the most recent one, the British economy has grown by just 6.1 per cent – less than half the level (15.5 per cent) achieved after the recession of the early 1980s, barely half that (11.4 per cent) in the mid 1970s and less than one-third of post-Depression growth (21 per cent) in the 1930s. No wonder Professor Simon Wren-Lewis, who sits on the Oﬃce for Budget Responsibility’s panel of economic experts, has been widely quoted as saying, ‘Anyone who continues to describe what is happening in the UK as a “strong recovery” either has not 10 | The battle for the Labour movement
bothered to look at the data, or is being deliberately deceptive’. Nonetheless, however unevenly between diﬀerent sectors, regions and sections of the population, the British economy now appears to be growing more firmly than in some other major capitalist countries. What are the prospects for this recovery to continue and its prosperity to trickle down and spread more evenly? The recent surge in corporate profits should oﬀer some protection against involuntary cutbacks in production, investment and jobs. Yet, as Centrica is determined to demonstrate, the drive to maximise shareholder profit trumps all – especially when monopoly power has an entire population at its mercy. Six thousand redundancies may lower service quality and security of supply, but the Big Six energy utilities which produce and distribute our gas and electricity can collude to charge whatever they like. They know that regulators and the government are on their side – and that, eﬀectively, consumers have nowhere else to go. The ongoing tumble in world commodity prices over the past two years could make British exports more competitive and free up corporate funds for investment. Certainly, Britain’s trading position with the rest of the world has been improving this year. Manufacturing investment has also risen, if sluggishly, although a slowdown is forecast by Lombard in its latest report for the EEF employers’ body. But there can be little confidence that falling commodity prices will counteract severe structural imbalances and weaknesses in the British economy. The City gamblers will still speculate the final prices to British industry upwards, while the big monopoly firms and financiers continue to direct much of their capital into property, services (including privatisation), bond and currency markets and overseas, rather than into domestic productive industry. The priority given to City of London interests maintains the pound
sterling at a high exchange rate, to the disadvantage of export prices. There is no sign of this rate weakening against the euro, in Britain’s main export market, although it may not quite keep up with the dollar after a rise in US interest rates later this year. Further down the line, an increase in the Bank of England base rate will make it more expensive for industrial companies to borrow for investment. Quality based on more R&D and new technology is as important as price when it comes to exports – unless British capitalism intends to compete against Third World labour costs. It is also vital when it comes to productivity, the balance of payments, employment and rising living standards at home. Yet British levels of business and scientific investment remain poor in relation to most other G7 and BRICS economies, even after a prolonged period of low interest rates. A new Oﬃce for National Statistics survey confirms that Britain spends far less on investment (only 15 per cent of total annual spending) than any other G7 or leading BRICS country, including Japan (21), France (20), the US (19), Germany (17), Russia (26), India (36) and China (49). For at least the past four decades, fixed capital investment in Britain has languished at between two-thirds and threequarters of the level in France, Germany, Japan and more recently the US. According to Eurostat, British industry consistently devotes less (around 18 per cent) of the new value it creates to investment than most other EU member states. Hampered by continuing low investment, labour productivity here has yet to return to its pre-recession level as, in particular, the US and France surge ahead. British ruling class strategy to sustain investment and competitiveness is to rely on relatively low wages, kept down by unemployment and anti-union laws, together with inward investment and – funded from privatisation sales – slightly increased government infrastructure spending. The CBI
targets workplace pensions as a drag on internal company funds that could go to investment instead. Public spending cuts, privatisation and lower corporation tax on company profits are also essential elements in a strategy which has its central goal the expansion of capital’s profit base – and the restoration of the rate of profit itself. This being capitalism, there are contradictions. Austerity for the working class will reduce purchasing power, but the intention is for this to be counteracted by extra household and corporate (as well as government) borrowing – even though this is almost certain to create another financial crisis. One basic problem for capitalism is that, in the drive to maximise profit, companies seek competitive advantage by reducing labour costs and increasing production and market share. Purchasing power is restricted at the same time as output expands until, at the peak of a boom, not everything produced can be sold a profit. Credit cannot postpone such a recession infinitely. Capital accumulates which has nowhere profitable to go, so its value has to be slashed as investment, production and employment spiral downwards. Just such a cyclical crisis of over-production was already gathering in the major advanced economies on the eve of the 2008 financial crash, manifested in a glut and then fall in steel production. Moreover, in the perpetual drive to reduce costs by introducing labour-saving machinery and new technology, the proportion of new value being created by labour power falls as a share of output. Yet this surplus value, for which the capitalists are competing in any given sector and the economy generally, is the basis of capitalist profit as whole. Marxist economist Michael Roberts has recalculated oﬃcial figures recently to show how this tendency for the rate of profit to fall has occurred in the G20 countries collectively, since 1950. Post-war expansion ended in an The battle for the Labour movement | 11
international recession and a collapse in profit rates from 1974. The long decline since then has only been interrupted twice – by ‘New Right’ policies during the 1980s and, until 2002, the post-Soviet neoliberal globalisation oﬀensive. Since then, the main capitalist classes have had to intensify their eﬀorts to try to increase both the rate and mass of profit. This is the context in which to understand the renewed drive to maintain austerity, cut business taxes, restrict trade union rights, impose even greater labour flexibility, increase the state retirement age, cut pension rights, expand privatisation and increase the power of transnational corporations through international trade and investment agreements such as TTIP. This is the strategy of British state-monopoly capitalism, the EU Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF. Will it remain the preferred strategy of Britan’s Labour Party leadership? And what is the alternative?
Big spending – the spark our economy needs August 10, 2015 Austerity has never been a strategy intended primarily to reduce the government’s annual spending deficit or the National Debt. If it was, the bond and currency markets would have punished Chancellor Osborne every time he missed a deficit reduction target as the debt has grown. Rather, austerity has been about enlarging the private sector at the expense of the public one, cutting the level of real wages, reducing the levels of Corporation Tax on big business profits and increasing both the mass and rate of corporate profit. Slashing the number of central and local government employees by 581,000 since the Tory-led coalition took oﬃce in May 2010 has flooded the labour market, boosting what Marx 12 | The battle for the Labour movement
called the ‘industrial reserve army’ of the unemployed, undermining employment standards and wage levels. This has played a major role in widening economic inequality between the regions and nations of Britain, as the GDP share in London, the South East and the Midlands has gone up, while falling everywhere else. Austerity has also been the cloak behind which whole swathes of the public sector have been prepared for privatisation, as wage bills are reduced, workloads increased and wage and pension costs cut in potentially profitable public services. Overall, the impact of public sector spending cuts and job losses has been to reduce purchasing power, slowing Britain’s economic recovery until the private sector finds it more profitable to employ, produce and invest. It follows, therefore, that the first priority of any strategy for sustained growth across Britain must be to halt the austerity programme. Government current and capital spending should be increased, not cut further. Higher state pensions and benefits, greater funding for public services (not least in the NHS and local government) and real investment in infrastructure – especially in council and social housing, transport and R&D – would boost economic demand and prepare the ground for economic modernisation. How would this be financed? A short term rise in state borrowing to replace PFI and other ‘private-public’ finance schemes, would quickly lead to lower costs for building and managing public sector projects. Governments can invariably borrow at lower interest rates than private contractors, or simply print the money (whether or not disguised as ‘quantitative easing’). But no socialist or communist should be happy at the prospect of increasing government debt to bankers and speculators. That’s why most extra government spending should come from progressive taxation and the proceeds of economic growth itself. For example, up to £20bn a year could be raised by
a ‘Robin Hood’ tax on City of London financial transaction tax – ten times more than the Chancellor’s paltry bank levy. Cuts in corporation tax should be reversed, at least for large and very profitable enterprises. ‘Windfall’ taxes on super-profits, levied by Thatcher on the banks and Gordon Brown on the energy utilities, could be extended to the retail and some other monopolies. While a return to top rates of income tax at 50 or even 60 and 70 per cent would raise some extra revenue, a Wealth Tax on assets would be much more lucrative. In Britain today, the richest one tenth of the population own 44 per cent of all personal wealth, valued at £4,215bn, excluding hidden and collectively owned corporate assets. A modest 1 per cent tax would raise £42bn year – more than half the government’s spending deficit alone. Even a wealth tax restricted to property and financial assets, exempting private pension pots and vehicles etc., would bring in some £22bn. Such taxes are levied around this level in numerous countries, from the Swiss cantons and provinces of Spain (where some reach almost 4 per cent) to France (up to 1.5 per cent) and Norway (where almost three quarters goes to local government). Given the huge disparity in wealth distribution across Britain’s regions and nations, although this is based ultimately on class, a robust mechanism for geographical redistribution would be essential. Of course, there would need to be a clamp down on wealth concealment in order to reap the full proceeds of a wealth tax, not least in the 28 or so tax havens around the world which are under British legal jurisdiction. Regional and national inequalities within Britain could also be addressed by establishing powerful and properly funded local training and development agencies, preferably under the control of directly elected English regional assemblies and the Scottish and Welsh parliaments. This should be complemented by a revived regional policy to spread economic
growth and its benefits. Instead of allowing the capitalist monopolies and their ‘market forces’ to largely dictate what kind of economic development takes place, and where, public sector planning and the direction of capital investment should predominate. In the 1950s and 1960s, industrial development certificates and oﬃce development permits played a significant role in securing new industries and jobs for Scotland, Wales and the north and south west of England. Development grants and other incentives funded from the public purse were also widely available. The problem was that much of this new development turned out to be low skilled, low paid and transitory, with companies grabbing the money and soon disappearing with the next economic downturn. Next time around, companies must be made to sign and abide by planning agreements concluded with the appropriate national and regional agencies, specifying commitments in terms of jobs to be created (at least a minimum), pay levels, pensions, training, trade union representation and the like, perhaps with extra incentives related to the inclusion of new or expanded R&D facilities. A National Investment Bank, funded from private as well as public sources, could set minimum standards and arrangements in many of these matters, coordinating targets and plans and managing or supervising public enterprises and shareholdings as the former National Enterprise Board was supposed to have done. It could ensure that some of the huge cash surpluses currently held by non-financial companies in Britain (and equivalent to 1.5 per cent of GDP according to the Bank of England) is channelled into productive industry. One diﬀerence from the past, however, would have to be that public sector managers and directors carry out their functions in the public interest, in accordance with social as well as economic objectives, rather than seeing themselves as donors and cheerleaders for big business. Priority for assistance should be given The battle for the Labour movement | 13
to nurturing local private, cooperative and municipal enterprise, rather than bribing transnational corporations. At the national macro-economic level, central government policies should begin restructuring the British economy away from property and financial services and towards manufacturing, construction, new technology and high quality public services. Control of interest rates should be repatriated from the Bank of England to ensure that interest rates are kept low in order to favour exports and investment borrowing. Vital sectors of the economy such as energy, public transport and finance will have to be taken into public ownership in order to ensure that investment and environmental targets are established and met. For instance, the tidal lagoons proposed along the Severn estuary in south Wales should be developed under public ownership – not exploited by corporate ventures that would take public money, cut corners ecologically and then charge the public exorbitant prices for the resulting abundant supply of electricity. Only public money has been prepared to fund research into nuclear fusion so far in Britain - so why should private enterprise profit from this cleaner, prodigious source of energy when it becomes financially viable, as appears to be on the verge of doing so in the US? All the above policies constitute the major elements of a Left Wing Programme for sustainable economic development and social justice. Some policies could be implemented by a progressive government, but others would require a government of the left, propelled into oﬃce by a mass movement based on the organised working class. The programme as a whole would come up against enormous forces of political reaction should a left government seek to implement it. Undoubtedly, the basic treaties and institutions of the EU would be used to try to block it at every significant turn. Seeking to promote and sustain growth permanently would also come up against the 14 | The battle for the Labour movement
fundamental contradictions of capitalism relating to value, the accumulation of capital and cyclical crises of over-production. An alternative economic and political strategy would be required which embraces the struggle for state power and the revolutionary transition to socialism as new, higher and more productive society.
Corbyn's victory stands to chart a new course for Britain September 14, 2015 Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in the Labour Party leadership ballot should be a cause for celebration for all workers, socialists and progressives. Trade union support was vital to his success, especially the courageous stance adopted by some of the biggest Labour aﬃliated unions, notably Unite, Unison and the CWU. A gauntlet has been thrown down by the left and the labour movement to Britain’s wealthy and powerful ruling class centred in the City of London. Without doubt, the banking and boardroom tycoons will pick the gauntlet up. They have to. Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto challenges their fundamental interests. His rejection of austerity for the poor in favour of progressive taxation for the rich and big business threatens to derail their gravy train. His proposals to take the railways and energy utilities back into public ownership, so they can be planned for the public good rather than for private profit, would smash the spell cast by neoliberal voodoo economics with its privatisation mantra. His plans for a National Investment Bank funded by ‘people’s Quantitative Easing’ would help rebalance Britain’s economy away from the City casino, towards manufacturing, R&D and new technology. Scrapping Trident and investing instead in civilian production will contribute to this same end. But it could also mark a decisive turn away
from Britain’s dangerous and – for millions of people in the Third World – ruinous alignment with the US drive for what its strategists call ‘full spectrum dominance’ of land, sea and space by military force. Rejecting nuclear weapons would enable Britain to challenge the other atomic powers to do likewise in a multilateral process that could also help the United Nations recover from the damage done to it by US, British and NATO military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. At last, Britain could press the UN to take action to impose international law on the rogue state of Israel, bringing peace with justice to the Palestinian people. UN agencies might at last be properly supported in their eﬀorts – a vital element in Germany’s refugee resettlement policy – to promote peace, development and social justice in the Third World. Britain would stop poodling along behind the US in their cynical attempts to deceive, misuse and undermine the United Nations and bodies such as UNESCO. The logic of an independent foreign policy based on solidarity and human rights is that Britain disengages from both the EU and NATO. Corbyn’s domestic programme would also put the next Labour government on a collision course with EU treaties and directives, which undermine the purposes of public ownership and would outlaw QE for the people. As EU competition commissioner and vice-president Joaquin Almunia informed the EU Parliament on November 24, 2011: ‘the public authority making the nationalisation should behave like a private investor in a market economy, both in regard to the purchase price and the management of the business’. Any policy resembling 'Quantitative Easing for the people' rather the bankers is outlawed by Article 123 of the EU Fundamental Treaty. There should be no illusion that the EU Commission, European Central Bank and – with its anti-trade union judgments – the EU Court of Justice will not do everything within their considerable powers to obstruct the alternative
economic and political programme that Labour under Corbyn’s leadership must now pursue. The forthcoming EU referendum will provide a huge opportunity for the labour movement to inflict a massive defeat on the Tory government, its City paymasters and the EU by campaigning against continued membership. If the left doesn’t stand up for popular sovereignty, for the rights of all workers against capital and the EU, UKIP and the Tory right will continue to posture unchallenged as the champions of democracy and the people. Without an independent left campaign against the EU, based on the trade union movement, then one section or other of the right will win whatever the result. As for NATO, set up before the Warsaw Pact and bigger and more aggressive than ever now that the Pact has disappeared, it stokes tension and terrorism from the Ukraine and the Baltic States to Georgia, the Caspian basin and across the Middle East and Asian sub-continent to China. Its nuclear ‘umbrella’ would be Britain’s shroud should the NATO warmongers ever succeed in provoking Russia or China into war. Corbyn’s campaign has enthused many thousands of people, young and old, to see new hope in the Labour Party. An alliance of internal and external forces is already forming in order to dash those hopes and prevent a Labour victory at the next General Election. The trade unions now have a vital role to play in ensuring that his victory helps chart a new course for Britain. Their organisation, resources and democratic discipline will be needed inside and beyond the Labour Party, coordinated as never before. Right-wing Labour MPs and pressure groups funded by big business cannot be allowed to sabotage the democratically expressed wishes of the party’s members and supporters. Mass campaigning movements such as the People’s Assembly, CND and Stop the War must step up pressure on the Tories and help create the conditions in which the progressive Labour alternative can win further popular approval. Any attempts by other bodies to try to divert The battle for the Labour movement | 15
the enthusiasm generated by Corbyn’s campaign into anarchist, adventurist and ultraleft stunts and slogans must be resisted. Alongside a firm commitment to his manifesto must go a sustained drive to win friends and allies among the self-employed, small business people, managers, soldiers and their families and rank and file police and prison oﬃcers. Socialists and progressives in the Green Party, Plaid Cymru and the SNP will have to review their parties’ electoral and campaigning policies. A Labour Party reclaimed by the labour movement could form a government that would pursue policies for peace, environmental security, sustainable economic development and social justice in a federal Britain. How can we unite to make this prospect a reality? Through all the challenges, battle and debates to come, the Morning Star can be relied upon to continue serving the interests of the working class and the labour and progressive movements. Equally indispensible will be a stronger Communist Party, organised on every front of struggle, applying a Marxist analysis to concrete situations and projecting Britain’s Road to Socialism.
An unabashed socialist is at the helm again October 3, 2015 An historic and decisive battle of ideas has begun in the Labour Party, in the labour and progressive movements and among the population as a whole. It’s a battle in which everyone on the left must take part. It didn’t start with the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. But make no mistake; his victory demonstrates the potential for changing our society fundamentally and for the better. Do we want our economy and our political system to be dominated for evermore by the 16 | The battle for the Labour movement
interests of big business? Do we want ourselves and future generations always to be divided between those who have almost all the wealth and power, on one side, and on the other a large majority who have little or nothing? Do we want to leave the solution to periodic mass unemployment, debilitating poverty, poor housing, environmental degradation, inequalities of race and gender, insecure and unsafe energy supplies and episodic wars to the biggest owners of capital, their giant corporations and the state machines which serve their interests? Or should we planning to use human and natural resources in the interests of the people and the planet, developing sustainable technology in the interests of all, distributing wealth widely among those who create it and those who need it, putting real power in the hands of the mass of the people? In short, should our future be capitalist or socialist? Jeremy Corbyn is the first unambiguously socialist leader of the Labour Party since Keir Hardie in 1908. It could be argued that George Lansbury and Michael Foot were socialists of sorts, but they were little more than stop-gaps, with the latter unwilling to oppose British imperialism with any consistency. Corbyn has a long record of speaking, voting and protesting in favour of economic planning, public ownership of the commanding heights of the economy, the redistribution of wealth, safe and renewable energy and the extension of democratic freedoms. He has consistently attacked all forms of exploitation and oppression, unaccountable state power and imperialist militarism and war. But his triumph in the Labour leadership contest was not only a personal one, amply deserved, or one for his supporters. It was a victory for popular protest and mass mobilisation – the very things we are constantly told are ‘out of date’, marginal or futile. Many of the 251,000 people who elected Corbyn were first drawn into political activity through their
opposition to austerity, privatisation, the Bedroom Tax and the Iraq War. They comprise most of the 100, 000 and more new Labour Party members and registered supporters who voted for the candidate closely associated with the People’s Assembly, CND and the Stop the War Coalition. They responded with enthusiasm to his rebellion against the Labour whips to vote against the vicious Tory Welfare Bill. The past four years have also witnessed an upsurge of trade union strikes and demonstrations to defend jobs, pensions and public services against government spending cuts. Many of those workers were among the 41,000 aﬃliated supporters who also voted for Corbyn. Thus we have seen how extraparliamentary campaigning and industrial action can combine with parliamentary and inner-party struggle to change the whole political situation. This approach is central to the strategy outlined in the Communist Party’s programme, Britain’s Road to Socialism. As a result, we now have a Labour leader who provokes unprecedented levels of fear and loathing in ruling class circles. That is partly because of the policies he advocates: an end to austerity, ‘people’s Quantitative Easing’; a National Investment Bank; higher taxes on the rich and big business; public ownership of the railways, Royal Mail and energy utilities; more council housing; rent controls; breaking up the media monopolies; the abolition of Trident and withdrawal from NATO. But, crucially, Corbyn also believes that there must be a militant mass movement outside parliament to back the fight for such policies inside. This, too, is the perspective set out in Britain’s Road to Socialism. Now the fight is on to make Corbyn’s manifesto that of the Labour Party and its elected representatives across England, Scotland and Wales. But this cannot be done in isolation from two other strategic objectives. Firstly, mass and militant campaigning has to be stepped up and sustained over the coming
period, thereby creating the most favourable conditions in which to fight and win this battle of ideas. Secondly, the wider labour and progressive movements will have to be won to left and progressive policies if the Labour Party itself is to embrace socialism or even social democracy. On both fronts, the Communist Party will play its full part as the Marxist party of the labour movement. Communists helped initiate the Stop the War Coalition, the People’s Charter, the Charter for Women and the People’s Assembly. We play a leading role in rebuilding the National Assembly of Women and the anti-imperialist British Peace Assembly. Communists also help sustain the Morning Star and the Marx Memorial Library and Workers’ School as invaluable resources for political debate and education. Now all on the left must play our part in maintaining the momentum behind this week’s demonstrations against ruling class and Tory policies. The People’s Assembly should be assisted to expand its organisation and activities at local level, involving unions and trades councils as closely as possible. In addition, we need more active solidarity from trade unionists, socialists and anti-austerity campaigners for disability activists resisting Tory attacks, and for housing tenants fighting eviction and privatisation. Tory plans to renew Trident and divert up to £100bn away from socially useful programmes should spark the biggest revival of CND and the peace movement since the anti-Cruise struggle of the 1980s. Unions in the arms industry have a critical role to play in this, building on the work of Alan Mackinnon and others to show how their members’ skills and associated technology can produce valuable non-military goods instead of nuclear weapons. Nor should trade unionists be left alone to resist the new barrage of Tory anti-union legislation, which is designed not only to outlaw successful strike ballots, clamp down on picketing and cut funds to the Labour Party – The battle for the Labour movement | 17
but to reduce the rights to assembly, demonstration and free speech of all protestors. These and other battles over the next few years will raise all kinds of economic, environmental, social and political questions. The capitalist state and monopoly media will be waging ideological warfare every day, stooping to any depths necessary. The left must rise to the challenge, not only within committee rooms and conference halls but out in the streets, shopping centres and workplaces among the masses of people. But it will not be enough merely to counter the other side’s propaganda. The left and the labour movement must develop its own platform of policies that can become the new ‘common sense’ of working people and the general public. Already, large sections of the left-wing programme set out in Britain’s Road to Socialism are reflected in Corbyn’s manifesto as well as in the policies of many trade unions, the Charter for Women (now endorsed by 14 unions nationally) and the People’s Manifesto issued by the People’s Assembly before last May’s general election. However, across the left and the labour and progressive movements there needs to be deeper understanding of the huge obstacle that EU membership presents to political advance. Its fundamental treaties and institutions seek to impose monetarism and austerity, marketisation of public services, free movement of capital , labour ‘flexibility’ and the superexploitation of migrant workers on all EU member states; they outlaw ‘people’s Quantitative Easing’ and demand that public enterprises be run as though in private capitalist ownership. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnershp being negotiated in secret between the EU and the US intends to enforce most of these policies across the two continents. In Scotland, it will be important to win people for a federal Britain, the redistribution of wealth and unity against monopoly capitalism instead of ‘independence’ under the Bank of 18 | The battle for the Labour movement
England, the Crown, the EU and NATO. It is this combination of popular campaigning and mass politicisation that can consolidate this summer’s left turn. Both will be strengthened by the growth of a bigger, more influential Communist Party. As experience indicates, whether in the mid 1930s or the early 1970s, when the Communist Party advances so too does the whole labour movement including the left wing of the Labour Party. Those Labour MPs whose first loyalty is to big business, the EU or US foreign policy, NATO and nuclear weapons will have to make way for others who put the labour movement first. If we can mobilise enough people against ruling class policies and inflict a fatal referendum defeat on Prime Minister Cameron with an anti-EU campaign from the left, the Tory minority regime will fall before 2020. Then a militant, political mass movement based on the organised working class can help put a left government into oﬃce – and point Britain towards the road to socialism.
Privatise the profits – the only game in Tory town November 27, 2015 Chancellor Osborne’s spending plans will mean yet more austerity for the masses while the rich and big business continue to enjoy their tax cuts. Tory and ruling class strategy is to shrink the state’s role when it comes to socially useful functions, while expanding it in all those areas that promote the interests of big business at home and overseas. At the same time, the tax burden will be transferred as much as possible from the wealthy to the rest of the population. The overall impact will be to reduce state spending as a proportion of GDP from 39.7 per cent today to 36.4 per cent by 2020 – an objective shared by no other advanced capitalist country. This is why Osborne wants to slash funds for
social care, public health, youth services, public transport, libraries, community safety, leisure centres and many other local facilities. Grants for student nurses are to be abolished, while graduate loan repayments will rise . Yet the Chancellor can aﬀord to gift more than £10bn in income, corporation and inheritance tax reductions to the rich and big business. The biggest axe will fall on departmental programmes dealing with welfare, social security, public health, the environment, climate change and transport services (but with extra spending for the road construction companies). Much is being made of Osborne’s retreat from even harsher spending cuts. The Tories are banking on higher levels of economic growth and tax revenues than anticipated in the July budget, to bring in an extra £16bn over the next three years. Apparently, it took the Oﬃce for Budget responsibility five drafts before it came up with the required growth and revenue forecast . But the wishful thinking doesn’t stop there. The Chancellor and his OBR appointees also hope to save £17bn on debt interest in this parliament, while reaping a whopping £53bn between now and 2021 from the sale of the student loans book and state shareholdings in Lloyds, RBS and other failed private enterprises . Should the growth or the full proceeds of privatisation not materialise – as has so often been the case – the Tories will be back for the cuts they have foregone for now. That’s if we don’t get rid of this reactionary regime in the meantime. Although the £4.4bn U-turn on tax credit cuts is welcome, this has been forced on Osborne by the ‘popular front’ between the people and the House of Lords. Nevertheless, the changes to housing benefit and universal credit announced in July will go ahead, hitting more than three million people including the working poor, young people and the unemployed. Many in these last two categories are less likely to vote. The elderly,
on the other hand, are the most active section of the public electorally. That – rather than any sense of social justice – would help explain why the state retirement pension is being protected, at least for the time being. The extra £8.4bn for the NHS in England is nowhere near enough to oﬀset the extra burden created by PFI charges, cuts in care for the elderly and the £22bn being extracted from the NHS in ‘eﬃciency savings’. This Tory government still intends to spend less on health as a proportion of GDP in 2019 than it does today, which itself is lower than in France, Germany and other developed countries. Likewise, the £4bn pledged to build and help people buy 400,000 aﬀordable homes by 2020 falls far short of what is needed. The CBI estimates that 960,000 new houses are required over the same period, while some of Osborne’s ‘extra money’ merely restores previous cuts in capital spending. Many thousands of low paid or unemployed workers will still not be able to pay for a mortgage of any kind for one of Osborne’s glorified rabbit hutches that no millionaire Cabinet minister would be willing to occupy. Britain’s housing crisis will not be resolved without a massive programme of council house building to house people in genuine need. The injection of more public money into the private housing market only tends to feed its rampant corruption, profiteering and speculation. In announcing the devolution of powers over income tax to Wales and Corporation Tax to the Northern Ireland Assembly at one of the lowest rates (12.5 per cent) in the world, the Chancellor has fired the starting pistol for a race to the bottom. Devolving tax-raising powers in this way to the nations and regions of Britain, including to English mayors, is a trap. It is designed to erode central mechanisms for the redistribution of public money, devolving the revenue raising burden onto local people in low income areas. Likewise, almost halving the central grant to English local authorities by withdrawing £18bn, while allowing local The battle for the Labour movement | 19
authorities to raise Council Tax by 2 per cent to pay for social care, will reduce the central redistribution of funding from richer localities to poorer ones. It’s a perverse set of priorities which ring fences colossal spending on a new generation of nuclear weapons while cutting local services and social benefits. As Tory MP Crispin Blunt and Reuters News Agency have calculated, based on government estimates released on October 15, renewing the Trident nuclear weapons system will cost £167bn up to the year 2060. The Communist Party rejects this approach and puts forward a pro-working class, antiausterity alternative: l Increase the top rates of income tax for the rich. l Levy a wealth tax on the richest 10 per cent of the population. l Impose a ‘Robin Hood’ tax on all speculative financial and commodity transactions. l Increase corporation tax on big business profits to German and US levels of 30-35 per cent. l End the tax haven status of all British overseas territories and dependencies. l Abolish Trident and cut military spending to the average level for Western Europe. l Terminate PFI schemes and fund large public sector projects through bonds bought by the Bank of England. These measures would raise at least £100bn extra a year. That would be more than enough to reduce the deficit and slash interest payments on government borrowing. It would also enable a left and progressive government to fund the economic growth, environmental security and social justice which would improve Britain’s public finances still further, including policies to: l Invest much more in young people, housing, public services, R&D, new technology, sustainable non-nuclear energy and public transport. l Restore state pensions, benefits and tax credits to their full value. 20 | The battle for the Labour movement
l Reverse the cuts in funding to local
government, the Scottish Parliament and Welsh National Assembly. l Raise the national minimum wage in stages to the real living wage and end the discrimination against young workers. l Take the utilities, energy, banking, public transport, pharmaceuticals and armaments into public ownership. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell favours such a radical left-wing programme. So would many Labour Party members and supporters. Unfortunately, some of the fiercest opposition to most of these measures would come from inside the Parliamentary Labour Party itself.
2016: A year for decisive advance November 28, 2015 The political direction of Britain’s labour movement could be decided for many years to come in the course of 2016. As expected and intended, Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader of the Labour Party has ignited a battle of ideas and policies not only in the party and the labour movement. Despite the eﬀorts of the monopoly state and capitalist media to focus on personal and trivial matters, it is spreading into the population at large. The battle is taking place mainly on two major fronts at present, but is likely to break out on at least two more. Corbyn’s election campaign was based primarily on his call for Labour to end its support for austerity policies that make workers and their families pay for tax cuts for the rich and big business as public services are prepared for wholesale privatisation. He led from the front by defying the Labour whips to vote against the Tory government’s Welfare Bill. His prominent involvement in the People’s Assembly movement against austerity inspired thousands of campaigners and strikers to take part in the ballot to elect an unapologetic
socialist as Labour Party leader. Since then, Corbyn has used his new post to highlight the cruel injustice of tax credit cuts that would further impoverish millions of low income families. His appointed Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, another of the rare socialists in the Parliamentary Labour Party, has projected the left and progressive alternative to austerity and privatisation despite rabid hostility to him in the mass media as well inside the PLP itself. Their determined leadership, backed by a growing section of public opinion thanks to three years of extra-parliamentary campaigning, has united many Labour MPs and helped force Chancellor Osborne into a number of spectacular u-turns in his Autumn Statement. Yet the irreconcilables in the PLP continue to snipe and plot, displaying their utter contempt for the 251,417 party members and supporters (60 per cent) who elected him as their leader. On the second major front – that of military foreign policy – the New Labourites and their allies remain dominant. They prefer to side with US imperialism rather than pursue an independent foreign and defence policy for Britain based on social justice and solidarity between peoples. This may suit British oil, armaments and financial corporations and Middle East monarchical dictators, but it lands the peoples of Britain and overseas in a succession of ruinous, murderous wars that have strengthened the forces of reaction at home and abroad. Adherence to NATO lines us up with belligerent Islamists in Turkey and inveterate anti-socialists and anti-communists in eastern Europe and the Baltic states. When Labour’s Commons defence committee member, Madeleine Moon, justifies the £167bn renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system on the grounds that non-nuclear countries around the world treasure our wisdom and integrity in matters of military strategy, even a normally compliant BBC interviewer feels to compelled to splutter: ‘What, even after Iraq and Libya?’ A massive upsurge of the anti-war
movement, led by CND and the Stop the War Coalition, will be needed to stop this madness. On the basis that the jobs and skills of armaments workers will be turned to civilian and conventional military production, unions should help ensure that the 2016 Labour Party conference comes out against Trident renewal. A third front will open up more as the EU referendum draws nearer. Currently, Corbyn and McDonnell are captives of oﬃcial Labour policy, the Shadow Cabinet and the PLP. Yet they know that the EU is a fundamentally anti-working class, anti-democratic set up. Monetarism is enshrined in its fundamental treaties. The unelected but powerful EU Commission, and the unaccountable European Central Bank, enforce policies of austerity and privatisation wherever member state governments show the slightest reluctance. The EU bankers and bureaucrats have sacked elected governments in Italy and Greece, forcing the Syriza administration to privatise almost all state industries and services. Internationally, the EU seeks to extend the freedom of Europe’s capitalist monopolies to operate anywhere in the world regardless of trade union rights or national legislation. Hence the failed attempt to secure the Multilateral Investment Agreement at the World Trade Organisation and today’s secret negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Pact with the USA. While the European Council of heads of government has approved the reform and convergence programmes submitted to it by the British government, its decision of June 15, 2015, called for continuing austerity measures, swift introduction of a higher state retirement age, limited mortgage lending to low income home-buyers and lower business rates and taxes. Happily, Chancellor Osborne’s Autumn Statement and spending plans complied fully with EU strictures. But whereas workers across continental Europe demonstrate their growing awareness of the EU as the reactionary and unreformable The battle for the Labour movement | 21
creature of big business and the major capitalist states, sections of the trade union movement in Britain continue to harbour all kinds of illusions. They play up the minor supplementary rights introduced through EU legislation, but forget that 95 per cent and more of our employment, trade union, equal pay, minimum wage and health and safety rights were won by our own eﬀorts. One of the few reforms granted by the EU – the Posted Workers Directive – has been shredded by rulings from the EU Court of Justice in the Viking, Laval, Ruﬀert and Luxembourg cases. These outlaw strike action and uphold the right of foreign-based companies to use migrant labour to undermine pay and employment standards laid down in negotiated agreements and national legislation. A future left government in Britain must be free to plan the movement of capital, labour and commodities and put an end to exploitation and discrimination. It should be free to fund infrastructure projects with public sector bonds bought by the Bank of England (something expressly outlawed by EU treaty). And while the EU does not forbid public ownership of industries and services such as energy, public transport, banking, armaments, pharmaceuticals and steel, it demands that all nationalised enterprises operate along strictly commercial lines regardless of wider social or environmental concerns. If socialists in Britain are serious about building a mass movement, winning a left government and advancing towards socialism, they will have to face up to the massive obstacles presented by EU membership – and soon, otherwise even the anti-EU case will be dominated by right-wing arguments as are most of big business campaigns to stay in. The fourth front in the battle of ideas and policies in the labour movement will be that for inner-party democracy. Labour MPs who represent the interests of British big business, the EU Commission and the US Pentagon cannot expect to have seats for life as cuckoos in the Labour nest. If Labour policies come to 22 | The battle for the Labour movement
reflect more closely the interests of the working class and people generally, these MPs will either have been won over, or they should quit or, failing either, local Labour Party members should replace them with genuinely Labour candidates. In the battle on the every front, the Communist Party will lend its support and solidarity to those fighting for progress and socialism. We will do so openly, without entryism or other subterfuge. We will be consistent, unlike those who urged members and unions to abandon the Labour Party yesterday, but who now lecture them about what they should do inside that party today. Indeed, a much stronger and more influential Communist Party will empower the left across the labour and progressive movements, organised as it is for trade union, extraparliamentary and ideological struggle as a Marxist-Leninist party. Together, we can win historic advances in 2016, especially if we heed the words of John McDonnell recently. In calling for the capitalist media monopolies to be broken up, he also urged support for the labour movement’s own media. That must mean, above all, winning more readers for the Morning Star, the daily paper for peace and socialism.
March, demonstrate, lobby and strike against Tory government policies January 2, 2016 Poor Oliver Letwin. Like Jim Carrey in the US comedy film ‘Liar, Liar’, he can’t help blurting out inconvenient and embarrassing truths . In the case of Carrey’s screen character, his son had cast a spell on him to halt the torrent of lies. In Letwin’s case, his wealthy Eton and Oxbridge background have given him such a colossal sense of superiority and entitlement that he imagines himself to be bullet-proof . His views of black people and the ‘lower
classes’ from above provide further insights into the mind of a ruling class politician who is currently a senior policy advisor to Prime Minister David Cameron. This, after all, is the Tory MP who was seen dumping piles of constituency correspondence into five diﬀerent bins in a public park near Downing Street, so little did their problems concern him. In the past, Letwin has voiced his willingness to beg rather than allow his oﬀspring to attend a state school like 93 per cent of other children. He once admitted that the NHS would not survive five years of Conservative government cuts, reorganisation and privatisation – a prediction now on course to be realised . Soon after Chancellor Osborne made the first of many doomed announcements that austerity policies would ensure a rosy future for the British economy, Letwin declared that it faced an ‘immediate national crisis’. That certainly turned out to be the case in 2012, when VAT increases and deeper public spending cuts choked oﬀ the economic recovery begun under the outgoing Labour government . Since then, the Tories have dumped their little LibDem helpers to step up the ruling class oﬀensive against public services and the welfare state, against the poor and disabled including children, and against trade union and democratic rights. Only fresh increases in property values and household borrowing have so far maintained economic demand, although recent growth figures have been revised downwards towards near-zero. Even after the cuts in social and welfare spending, tax relief for the rich and big business would be driving Britain’s public finances into the ditch were it not for record fire-sales of public sector assets. In 2015, Chancellor Osborne collected £20bn from flogging oﬀ cut-price bank, building society and Royal Mail shares to his party’s paymasters in the City. He’s counting on another £41bn between now and 2020. He and Cameron must be praying that Letwin doesn’t blurt out the truth about their ‘long-term economic plan’ and ‘Northern Power-
house’ i.e. that they don’t really exist. These are fictions to fool the people with the aid of the right-wing media. What is real, however, is a ruling class strategy to boost the corporate profit base through tax reductions, international tax dodging and extensive privatisation of the health, education and criminal justice systems. Organised labour is to be weakened by new laws in a deregulated market . Big business will want to keep Britain in the pro-austerity, anti-democratic European Union, while seeking to escape even the mildest regulation of the financial sector. British imperialism will continue to regard EU and NATO membership as vital to serving its economic and financial interests around the world, not least in the important greater Middle East region . As British capital continues to draw vast profit from its global operations, foreign state and private monopolies will be bribed to invest in Britain’s backward energy and transport infrastructure. The price will be paid, literally, by workers and consumers here for generations to come . This is the scenario facing the peoples of Britain and our labour and progressive movements today. We cannot allow this Tory government to wage class war on every front without responding with equal and greater force. Every socialist and communist should play whatever part they can in their local trade union, student, tenant, People’s Assembly, CND or Stop the War organisation and its activities. We must march, demonstrate, lobby and strike against Tory government policies on an even bigger scale than before. But we also need to do so around a popular left-wing alternative programme. This should include: l New powers to enforce equal pay and the national minimum wage. l An end to statutory pay discrimination against young workers. l A Wealth Tax on the super-rich and higher taxes on big business profits. l A ‘Robin Hood’ tax on financial speculation. The battle for the Labour movement | 23
l An end to all PFI and privatisation schemes.
Public ownership of gas, electricity, water, mail and the railways. l Massive public sector low-interest investment in energy and transport. l A huge council house building programme. l Reversal of all benefit cuts and the reintroduction of student maintenance grants. l Devolution of substantial economic and financial powers to local government. l Powerful Scottish and Welsh parliaments and elected English regional assemblies in a federal Britain. l No more nuclear weapons. In Jeremy Corbyn, we now have a Labour Party leader who is closer to these kinds of policies than anyone since Keir Hardie. But the left still has to win the battle of ideas inside the labour movement, especially in the Labour Party. This is particularly so in four areas . Firstly, the case must be clearly made for democratic British public ownership of our electricity, gas, water, nuclear and railway industries in place of French, German, Dutch, Belgian and Chinese public ownership. This would also end the grim farce of feeble regulators conducting frequent inquiries into rip-oﬀ practices . Secondly, the only consistently democratic alternative to reactionary nationalism and the Tory devolution ‘tax trap’ is a fully federal Britain. Scottish separation under current conditions would weaken the labour movement and strengthen the forces of reaction both sides of the border. Labour should come out clearly for Scottish and Welsh parliaments with wideranging economic, financial and legislative powers; for English regional assemblies where popular support exists; for replacing the House of Lords with an English or federal chamber; and for equal status between the nations of Britain. This should be accompanied if not preceded by a radical process of wealth redistribution across Britain, from the City and the south-east to workers and families in every region and nation. As new figures show the wealth gap 24 | The battle for the Labour movement
getting bigger again, a modest 2 per cent assets tax on the richest one-tenth of the population would wipe out Britain’s annual public spending deficit in a stroke. Thirdly, with Trident renewal set to cost at least £167bn over 40 years, the labour movement must wholeheartedly embrace the campaign to scrap Britain’s weapons of mass murder. The money saved could redeploy all armaments workers in socially useful research, development and production in such varied spheres as marine technology, civil defence and Third World development. Finally, the labour movement needs to end its infatuation with the European Union. It is absurd to imagine that as the world’s fifth biggest economy, Britain could not trade with the rest of Europe and the world to mutual advantage, while also safeguarding jobs by having the freedom to protect vital industries and enterprises. As workers and their organisations are coming to understand across Europe, the basic treaties and organisations of the EU have been designed in favour of big business and are intentionally unreformable. It will be hard enough winning a Labour government that will challenge monopoly and state power in Britain. Why wear additional shackles that bind us to the EU Commission, the European Central Bank, monetarism, a superexploited labour market and pro-big business trade deals such as TTIP? Already, EU laws and treaties ban large-scale borrowing for public sector investment – as the SNP government has discovered – and make it unlawful for states to legislate for equal treatment for guest workers (hence the Luxembourg ruling at the European Court of Justice). They eﬀectively outlaw the non-commercial use of public ownership for social or environmental purposes. Who should govern Britain? Monopoly corporations through the EU, the Bank of England, NATO and the Pentagon – or the people, through their mass movements and elected representatives?
Books from manifestopress manifestopress.org.uk
Proud Journey A Spanish Civil War memoir
The Empire and Ukraine the Ukraine crisis in its context
Global education ‘reform’ Building resistance and solidarity
Building an economy for the people An alternative economic and political strategy
by Bob Cooney
by Andrew Murray
Edited by Gawain Little
Edited by Jonathan White
Bob Cooney (1907-1984) was a prominent antifascist and communist in Aberdeen who joined the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War of 193639. Published for the first time, Proud Journey is his memoir of those turbulent times. Published in collaboration with Marx Memorial Library & Workers’ School with support from the International Brigade Memorial Trust and Unite the Union.
This book draws the lessons needed for the antiwar movement as great power conflict returns to Europe and threatens a new cold war or worse. From his decade long vantage point in the leadership of the anti-war movement Andrew Murray explores the essential links between the crises of contemporary capitalism and war. No political question is more important in contemporary Britain.
Global education ‘reform’ explores the neoliberal assault on education and the response of teacher trade unions. It brings together contributions by leading educationalists from all over the world at the international conference organised by the NUT and the Teacher Solidarity Research Collective. Published in collaboration with the NUT with a foreword by NUT General Secretary Christine Blower.
Based on the policy agenda of Britain's trade union and labour movement this book analyses what is wrong with the British economy and proposes radical new solutions that would underpin a new government. Contributions from: Mark Baimbridge; Brian Burkitt; Mary Davis; John Foster; Marjorie Mayo; Jonathan Michie; Seumas Milne; Andrew Murray; Roger Seifert; Prem Sikka; Jonathan White and Philip Whyman
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