An interesting article by Rob Griffiths, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Britian, recently appeared in the Morning Star discussing how the left should respond to the crisis. Of particular interest are his thoughts on the forthcoming general election and the Labour Party.
The British ruling class is preparing a massive, wide-scale and co-ordinated offensive against public services, democratic rights and working-class living standards for the period after the general election, as British capitalism steadies and reorientates itself after the recession.
Indeed, the offensive has already begun on some fronts, albeit quietly and haltingly in places.
How should the labour movement and the left respond?
There have always been two main trends in the British labour movement.
The first derives from the history of craft unionism among the better-paid and more stably employed sections of the working class. With some exceptions, usually in the most dangerous industries, it is a trend which prefers using its bargaining power with employers rather than fighting them.
This trend believes firmly in the benefits of class collaboration or – expressed in today’s terms – “social partnership.”
At root, it believes that workers share predominant and fundamental interests with the bosses.
At the same time, it also seeks the best deal for workers within the confines of collaboration, while recognising that such collaboration can break down in abnormal circumstances, resulting in industrial action.
Politically, this trend is reflected in the approach and policies of social democracy, expressed primarily through the Labour Party with its gradualist policies of improvements and reforms.
Lenin referred to the comparatively privileged upper layers of the working class as the “labour aristocracy.”
He reserved special scorn for its leaders who are flattered and bribed by the ruling class, whom he described as the “real agents of the bourgeoisie in the working-class movement.”
These “labour lieutenants of the capitalist class” preached social peace, practised surrender and reinforced backward and divisive ideas among workers.
New Labour abandoned any notion of consciously representing the working class, seeking a better deal for workers and their families within capitalism…
To read the rest of the article on this blog click here
For a digest of statements on an electoral challenge by left (by Bob Crow, Salma Yaqoob, Southwark Respect, SWP, SP and CPB) click here
Thsi article appeared in the Morning Star