you can’t say that! ken livingstone as a barrier to working class organisation

Ollie Sutherland was not impressed by the common call on the left for us to vote labour.

What always strikes me as bizarre about elections is the importance the left places on them. Every few years working people get the chance to choose which part of the ruling class they wish oppress them; as it’s always the ruling class in power after the elections, why do most of the left encourage participation in them? Elections are an ideological cornerstone of capitalist ‘democracy’: that people have control over who governs the country and makes key decisions about society. Therein lies the problem: they give people the illusion of control, when people’s lives and society are actually controlled by their workplace and the economic system – not parliament or City Hall. Continue reading “you can’t say that! ken livingstone as a barrier to working class organisation”

Advertisements

what can we tell from the scottish local election?

By Allan Armstrong

The Scottish local council elections, held on May 5th, have attracted much wider interest than would normally normally be the case for such an event. The primary reason for this is the mounting speculation arising from the SNP Holyrood government’s promised Scottish independence referendum in 2014. The media has become more aware that the current UK constitutional arrangements face a real challenge. Therefore, whenever any Scottish election occurs, the runes are carefully being read to see if support for independence is growing or falling away.

The usual presumption is that votes for the SNP can be directly interpreted as support for Scottish independence. There are a number of problems with this. A vote for the SNP represents different things in different contexts. This can be seen by examining the very different voting patterns in the Westminster, Holyrood and local elections; and also by comparing these to polls showing the levels of support for Scottish independence (however this is understood). Continue reading “what can we tell from the scottish local election?”

french and greek voters seek a way out of austerity

Adam Ford on the recent elections in Europe.

Hollande has spoken of his admiration for Greek destroyer-in-chief Papandreou

The financial markets went into a petulant sulk today, in response to the election results in France – where incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy was defeated by his ‘centre-left’ challenger – and in Greece, where two thirds of the electorate voted against avowedly anti-austerity candidates. It seems likely that we will now see some attempt at rebranding austerity – ‘neoliberalism with a human face’ – but this will be nothing more than ‘lipstick on a pig’. The international financial gamblers will allow no let-up in the transfer of wealth from the overwhelming majority to their own decadent and diseased milieu. Continue reading “french and greek voters seek a way out of austerity”

councils of despair

Sheila Cohen writes on the situation after last month’s elections

The May elections have left a smirk on Cameron’s face – or perhaps we should say deepened the one that was already there. But for the left the result was, once again, a mixture of predictability and despair. While the Tories got trounced in the Northern cities – and the LibDems , of course, everywhere –  any illusion of a return to sanity was flattened by the Tories’ overall performance.

ed miliband is fishing for conservative working-class support

The staunch battalions of the North, it seems, have never forgotten Thatcher and the wounds she inflicted – but in the supposedly affluent South-East, the dynasties that once fell to New Labour have once again reverted to at least the appearance of support for what our rulers love to refer to as “aspirational” policies.     Continue reading “councils of despair”

manchester class struggle forum, wednesday 24th

The first Manchester Class Struggle Forum will host a discussion on the Labour Party and the upcoming General Election.

We will discuss the 2010 general election and the position that communists should take towards bourgeois elections. Continue reading “manchester class struggle forum, wednesday 24th”

electoralism and crisis in the nouveau parti anticapitaliste

Ramate Keita reports from Paris on the cracks in the NPA’s electoral left unity strategy

Next March will see regional elections in France. These will elect the “regional assemblies” which control the budgets for transport, education and welfare. In the 2004 regional elections the [neo-liberal social democrat] Parti Socialiste won Paris and the majority of regions. At that time there was a Trotskyist alliance of the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire  and Lutte Ouvrière which in spite of calls for a “pragmatic vote” secured one million votes. It was a pole for independent working-class politics.

In February we commented on the creation of the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste. The LCR called for the formation of this party, and we said “that the stamp the leadership is making on the NPA is a dangerous ambiguity, marked by uncertainty and political and programmatic confusion, and more an electoralist project (with one eye fixed, in the immediate, on the coming European elections) than a tool for revolutionary class struggle”. Continue reading “electoralism and crisis in the nouveau parti anticapitaliste”

building from below: left unity and the case of northampton sos

by Dave Spencer

See here and here for leaflets from the campaign

The SWP’s call for Left Unity for the 2010 General Election should come with a “serious health warning” attached to it.  On February 5th 2005 the SWP used its majority to close down the Socialist Alliance, which involved a number of different Left groups and individuals.  They closed it down to establish their own, more loyal front organisation, Respect.  And we all know what happened to Respect!

At the same time the SWP helped to organise the demoralising split in the SSP (Scottish Socialist Party).  They had “a platform” inside the SSP and encouraged Tommy Sheridan to break the broad and brave alliance of the SSP.  Why? Because the SWP cannot stand rival organisations. Continue reading “building from below: left unity and the case of northampton sos”