Dave Spencer sets out some points for discussion at our December 12th aggregate meeting. In the spirit of openness we want to publish as much material from our internal debates as possible.
1. No matter who wins the 2010 General Election, the working class will be under attack to pay for the economic crisis. There will be more unemployment and more cuts in public services – possibly on an unprecedented scale since World War 2.
2. Over 12 years of New Labour government, “the Left” and the Trade Unions have failed to organise an effective working class opposition. This has to be a failure of historic proportions and needs some analysing.3. Where attempts have been made over the 12 years to build broad alliances (e.g. SLP, SSP, Socialist Alliance, Respect) – they have been sabotaged by the bureaucratic and sectarian politics and organisational methods of the Left Groups. Remember in the 2001 General Election the Socialist Alliance fielded 98 candidates and the SSP fielded 72 candidates. Both the SA and the SSP were wrecked by the SP and SWP. The principle “If we can’t control it, we’ll destroy it” has ruled. Conclusion? These groups are a barrier to building any working class defence or any working class organisation.
4. There will be campaigns built to fight back against the attacks on the working class. We need to be involved in these, broadening them out, networking at local, regional and national level. It is highly likely that the Left Groups will form campaigns on single issues over which they will try to maintain control. We must resist this on the basis of support only for organisations with democratic control from below.
5. As an organisation it would be useful for us to have experts or to make ourselves experts on the various public services, as well as manufacturing sectors – for example the NHS, Education, Housing, Transport, Social Care, Waste Disposal – Energy, Computing, Cars, Steel etc etc.
6. We should not accept the argument from the government or from local Councils that there is no money. After all New Labour have spent £1.3 trillion of our money to bail out the banks. They are also conducting a war in Afghanistan and plan a new generation of Trident missiles. As part of a fight-back we can draw up a list of cuts in these activities as well as cuts in PFI projects etc.. We can also suggest stopping tax loopholes for the rich.
7. In the course of defending public services we should start debates within the campaigns on how these services should properly be run — with the workers concerned and with the public – raising the question of democratic workers’ control and self-management. After all some members of the public will argue that some public services are crap – which they are. How to improve them?
8. A difficult issue to handle is that of anti-social behaviour and crime — which is likely to increase with people getting more desperate and will be raised in campaigns and residents’ groups. We need a discussion on this issue and how to handle it.
9. In the General Election itself, we should not support the positions: ”Vote New Labour to keep the Tories out” nor “Vote anything but the BNP.” It is possible that there may be some individual candidates worth supporting. These may be New Labour, independents, or Greens. The basis on which we should support candidates is that there will be a broad organisation built from the election campaign to start campaigning after the election.