only solidarity can stop their attacks

editorial of The Commune

The General Election did not provide the ruling class with a mandate to slash public services. In the Prime Ministerial TV debates the party leaders shied away from outlining plans for cuts, knowing that doing so would risk electoral disaster. The result of the election was itself inconclusive.

Yet the new coalition government is confident in its offensive against the working class. As David  Cameron arrived in Number 10 on 11th May, he announced that Tory-Lib Dem Britain would be one where “we do not just ask ‘what are my entitlements?’, but ‘what are my responsibilities?'”. This masks an ideological war against our living standards. Continue reading “only solidarity can stop their attacks”

the general election: the view from scotland

by Allan Armstrong

The General Election results on 6th May came as somewhat of a surprise. This did not lie in the failure of the Tories to win an overall majority; the Lib-Dems inability to make their much-heralded breakthrough; the collapse of the SNP surge; nor even in New Labour making a limited recovery, especially in their London, Scottish and northern English heartlands. What was surprising to most was the increased level of voter participation, especially after the mounting anger and public disgust over Westminster sleaze.

Can the increase in electoral participation be put down to the wider interest created by televised debates between the three main party leaders? Quite clearly, despite all the media hype, especially around the ‘Clegg phenomenon’, the final division of votes, between the mainstream parties, bore little relationship to the initial opinion polls. Continue reading “the general election: the view from scotland”

anti-fascism and the BNP in barking and dagenham

by Glyn Harries

At the May 2010 Barking and Dagenham council elections, the BNP lost all their 12 Councillors, all previously elected in 2006. And their national party leader Nick Griffin, who it was suggested would take the Parliamentary seat, only came 3rd, and petulantly walked away declaring Barking and London ‘finished’.

But away from the headlines the actual results in Barking and Dagenham show the BNP nearly doubled their vote from 2006 to 2010, though where they had stood previously their vote did decline slightly. I have used their highest votes in each ward. While it is good news to see the Councillor parasites of the BNP wiped out, the Hope not Hate victory claims are as ever deeply flawed. Continue reading “anti-fascism and the BNP in barking and dagenham”

no choice on may 6th

by Danny Ryan-Smith

With an election with less choice than ever shambling across the horizon, most of our time not spent working seems to be dominated by the question of elections, or specifically- who should we vote for?

With even capitalist media and the introduction of presidential style debates unable to drum up excitement among the general public for a contest that most of us see as largely a race between three identical parties, the time has come that we face the reality that nobody can be a substitute to represent our own needs and interests but ourselves. Continue reading “no choice on may 6th”

flying the flag for socialism in scotland

Ewan Robertson, Scottish Socialist Party candidate in Aberdeen North, contributes to our ongoing debate on participation in elections

I am a postgraduate student at Aberdeen University (MLitt Latin American Studies), and I am a member of the Scottish Socialist Party and Republican Communist Network, and an active supporter of the Tripping up Trump campaign.

In this short piece I’d like to explain firstly, what the approach of the SSP is to the 2010 General Election and how we have a fundamentally different approach to the election than the other parties, and secondly, why in my view it is useful to stand in elections in general. Continue reading “flying the flag for socialism in scotland”

3rd may london forum: should we vote?

Our next London public forum will see a debate on whether we should support candidates for Parliament. The meeting takes place three days before the general election, from 7pm on Monday 3rd May at the Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, near Old Street.

Many on the revolutionary left and labour movement are advocating the re-election of the Labour government. So should we tag along with Gordon Brown, vote for ‘socialist’ candidates, or have nothing to do with electoral politics? Join the debate. The discussion will be led off by Danny Ryan-Smith (The Commune) and Andrew Fisher (LRC). Continue reading “3rd may london forum: should we vote?”

‘we are fighting for now and for our future’

editorial of issue 13 of The Commune

As The Commune went to press the news media was dominated by coverage of the 6th May General Election. Both in mainstream politics and among the left there is much discussion of the policies of Labour, the Tories and Lib Dems.

Yet in reality there is little choice in the election. Parliament does influence our lives, and yet barely half of registered voters will vote. There is widespread disillusionment but no alternative in the election.

We believe that workers’ self-organisation is a far more important means of changing society. PCS, RMT and Unite members are all organising to stop the cuts planned by all three major parties. Continue reading “‘we are fighting for now and for our future’”

a real alternative? the nick clegg phenomenon

by Sebastian Wright

Nick Clegg’s rise from shrinking violet of the political landscape to the ‘new Barack Obama’ (according to a Telegraph headline) can be attributed almost entirely to his performance in the the first British televised general election debate. With a foppish ‘I’m just a regular guy like you’ schtick that we have all been acquainted with since the early Blair,  Clegg’s only distinguishing rhetorical stance (we will get to substance in a minute) was his ‘I’m not like the other two’ line.

That apparently was enough to blow open the entire race. Albeit true that in terms of actual seats even Clegg’s phenomenal performance has not been enough to push the Liberal Democrats hypothetically beyond the 100 mark (compared to Labour who would still take around 280) in itself this has not dispelled the sense that Clegg has ‘shaken up’ the race. But the question is, surely, what and why are the media–and so it seems, the general population–getting so excited about this man? Continue reading “a real alternative? the nick clegg phenomenon”

the deficit! the deficit! but what about unemployment?

by Oisín Mac Giollamóir

Listening to the debate in the media today you would conclude that there is consensus amongst economists that the key problem of the UK economy is the deficit. And the key question is how to cut it. And the key election issue therefore should be how to cut spending. This is not the case.

Working backwards, perhaps the most ridiculous issue here is the notion that the only way of cutting the deficit is by cutting spending. Fraser Nelson of The Spectator goes so far as to say, “Cameron should ban the word ‘deficit’ and simply say ‘overspend’ instead.” It would seem that some right-wing commentators can’t add. A deficit arises when revenue is less than expenditure. An equally good way of cutting the deficit is by increasing revenue, i.e., by raising taxes. Saying the deficit is an ‘overspend’ is as idiotic as calling the deficit an ‘undertax’. Continue reading “the deficit! the deficit! but what about unemployment?”

the commune issue 13

The April issue of our monthly paper The Commune is now available. Click the image below to see the PDF or see individual articles as they are posted online in the list below

To purchase a printed copy for £1 + 50p postage, use the ‘donate’ feature here. You can also subscribe (£12 a year UK/£16 EU/£20 international) or order 5 copies a month to sell (£4) online here. If you want to pay by cheque, contact

‘we are fighting for now and for our future’ – speeches by Jerry Hicks, Steve Kelly, Juan Carlos Piedra

striking against labour’s budget – by Steve Ryan

recession and solidarity in france – by Ramate Keita

anarcha-fems meet – by Bahar Mustafa

royal mail deal: a post mortem – by ‘Postman Pat’

BA strike: against the race to the bottom – by Gregor Gall

obamacare: the nuns strike back – by Ernie Haberkern

ESOL students and staff defend childcare – by Sally Haywill

20 years of namibian independence – by Jade McClune

terre’blanche, ‘black boers’ and the class war – by Adam Ford

gender, nation, class and the first intifada – by Aitemad Muhannah

the deficit! the deficit! but what about unemployment? – by Oisín Mac Giollamóir

‘blair plus’: a future fair for all? – by David Broder

flying the flag for socialism in scotland – by Ewan Robertson and Angela Gorrie

anna walentynowicz: an inspiring class fighter – by Chris Ford

questions of communist recomposition – by Ed Griffiths

for a league of communists – by Allan Armstrong

political platform of our communist network

upcoming events

a future fair for all: ‘blair plus’ for five more years

by David Broder

“Five more years”, the Brown loyalists chanted yesterday as the outgoing Prime Minister launched the Labour Party’s election manifesto. But what would Labour do if re-elected? A future fair for all is supposed to have the answers.

Asked whether the 78-page manifesto was ‘Blairite’, Peter Mandelson told the BBC that the document was in fact ‘Blair-plus’. So what in this document justifies the view common to much of the left that voting for this programme is a “class vote” against the Tories? Continue reading “a future fair for all: ‘blair plus’ for five more years”

the ‘spring of discontent’ and beyond

by Adam Ford

The UK general election is just five weeks away, and though all major parties are committed to massive cuts in spending to cover the bankers’ debts – the figure of 25% is being bandied about – it’s still not clear whether the reds, blues or even the yellows will hold the balance of power.

British Airways cabin crew and civil servants have recently taken strike action, and a rail stoppage had been planned for Easter. Meanwhile, right wing commentators such as Melanie Phillips – as well as the Conservative Party itself – are claiming that Labour’s reliance on the union’s political levy will stop them imposing the post-election cuts demanded by the ruling class. This is despite Gordon Brown labelling the BA strike “deplorable”. Continue reading “the ‘spring of discontent’ and beyond”

the capitalist state and the debate over cuts

by David Broder

The Labour Party’s pre-election budget has focussed attention on ‘the recovery’. In his speech to the House of Commons last Wednesday Chancellor Alistair Darling outlined a plan of government action to restore economic growth and reduce the British state’s borrowing.

The Tories and Liberal Democrats have somewhat different plans to Labour about the best means of achieving these objectives. However, what is rarely challenged, or even discussed, is the underlying consensus which structures the whole debate: the very idea of ‘the economy’ and a collective national interest. So how should communists relate to this debate? Continue reading “the capitalist state and the debate over cuts”

the cuts consensus and the general election

by Dave Spencer

The 2010 general election will be a watershed for the politics of the British left.  Business as usual will not be an option because of the scale of the attacks on the working class that are coming. No matter which party wins the election or even if there is a hung parliament, it is clear that the ruling class has decided to make the working class pay for the economic crisis and the bailing out of the banks.

The left groups have failed over 14 years to form a united alternative to New Labour. If they use the same methods and politics as in the past, they cannot possibly be up to the tasks ahead. Continue reading “the cuts consensus and the general election”