Don't Vote - Prepare the Resistance

Don't Vote - Prepare the Resistance

For years the world capitalist system has been in economic crisis. No matter what policies various governments have tried (from increased spending, to privatisation and letting the banks speculate on anything and everything) this crisis has not gone away. It got worse in 2007-8 when the speculative bubble fuelled by the banks burst. We have been paying the consequences ever since. Despite talk of a recent recovery, real incomes of the majority have continued to fall.

Political and Economic Crisis

You don’t know what you’re doing” is a familiar England football chant. The same refrain could be directed at the British (and global) ruling class.

For years the world capitalist system has been in economic crisis. No matter what policies various governments have tried (from increased spending, to privatisation and letting the banks speculate on anything and everything) this crisis has not gone away. It got worse in 2007-8 when the speculative bubble fuelled by the banks burst. We have been paying the consequences ever since. Despite talk of a recent recovery, real incomes of the majority have continued to fall.

The decision to hold a referendum over membership of the EU showed that the failure to solve the economic crisis has led to political desperation. A (successful) short term fix to hold the Tory Party together has produced a long term decision likely to be disastrous for British capitalism as a whole.

Short termism is a sign of a ruling class that is losing its grip. This is even more apparent since the Brexit vote. Since they didn’t expect to win, the Brexiteers had no plan to enact. On the morning after they began stabbing each other in the back. By saying nothing the opportunist Theresa May (a quiet Remainer) ended up becoming leader of the Tory Party without a vote being cast. May has now broken her promise not to have an election before 2020. She has also torn up the Tory Law that was supposed to ensure that every parliament would last exactly five years. Why?

The Perils of Brexit

The current Government can see that leaving the EU risks an even bigger economic mess than we are now in. With the final split from Europe scheduled for 2019, the crisis would probably be at its deepest by 2020. More attacks on the working class would then be needed. For the Tory Government holding an election now, with a Labour Party in total disarray, with Ukip having lost its purpose, they are likely to get a huge majority. This will be their excuse to impose more misery on the population. They will also get a couple of years more breathing space before the next election would be due in 2022.

For workers none of this makes much difference. Brexit or no Brexit, as we said at the time, the costs of the crisis will be paid for in more cuts in benefits, more wage freezes and greater insecurity of employment (see accompanying article in this issue).

In the run up to the election the Tories, backed by the tabloid press and most of the media, will replay the nationalist theme of Britain “taking control” against the Brussels bureaucrats. The racist message that immigration will have to be reduced if not halted will re-surface, as it did in the referendum.

But Why Not Vote Labour?

In this situation it is not surprising many young people think that Labour remains an alternative. Under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn they claim that Labour has re-found its “socialist roots”. This is a myth. Promising to defend the National Health Service, pensions and benefits or to re-nationalise the railways are not in themselves socialist. These are state capitalist measures designed to hold the system together and damp down social tensions. They can’t do away with exploitation but at best merely soften some of its worst aspects so that capitalism can go on … and on. Labour has supported capitalism in all its wars and against all attempts by the working class to break free of the system.

By participating in the electoral charade we only legitimise their right to misrule and exploit us. Political democracy without economic democracy is impossible. The minority who own most of the property and the means of producing the things we need to live also monopolise the media. It makes the notion of a fair and free election a non-starter.

Socialism cannot come about just by putting a cross on a piece of paper in a ballot box. Socialism is more than equality. It is an entirely different way of doing things. It can only come about when millions of workers take their lives into their own hands and actively fight for it. This is not on the immediate agenda but it needs to be.

A New Perspective

Abstention alone is not enough. We need more active resistance to what the system is trying to do to us. This begins in the everyday resistance to increased exploitation, to worsening living conditions. It develops via the solidarity of workers in one struggle with workers in other struggles, and it culminates in the setting up of workers’ councils.

This was the form of direct democracy founded 100 years ago by workers in Russia. Not ‘representative’ democracy where someone is elected for 5 years and then can say and do whatever they like. Direct democracy mandates delegates to local, regional and other councils, where they vote and act according to the course of action looked-for by those who elected them. Delegates are subject to recall at any time. Through it everyone is drawn into the running of society. Politics is not something left to a small elite. Or rather, political activity gives way to decision-making by the whole community. Although the workers councils lost their power in the early 1920s as the counter-revolution took hold in Russia they remain the historically-discovered form of working class democracy.

The fight to re-establish them, the struggle to end capitalist exploitation, imperialist wars and the destruction of the environment will not be won anytime soon. Resistance will have to be built up and the ideas of a new society based on an end to exploitation and all discrimination will have to be fought for within the working class. This is the goal and the task we have set ourselves in order to create a political movement, a party of the working class, which is both international and internationalist. If you like our message, get in touch. Your class needs you!

Comments

wojtek
Jun 2 2017 19:36
Quote:
These are state capitalist measures designed to hold the system together and damp down social tensions.

These tensions are virtually frictionless atm, there isn't much class struggle to dampen...

Quote:
By participating in the electoral charade we only legitimise their right to misrule and exploit us.

Can't you say the same about going to work for an employer and reproducing the same society everyday? I thought communists didn't do moralism?

zugzwang
Jun 3 2017 01:40

Maybe I trust Chomsky too much about the whole voting thing. (I think he said Corbyn was a nice guy and that he would vote for him.) It's still hard for me believe it makes absolutely no difference who's elected, but I'll concede I could be wrong and that whoever's elected is either going to be forced to turn back on their promises (as Sanders, or Corbyn, if elected), (or simply lie as Trump did about 'draining the swamp' before filling his staff with Wall St. bankers, oil executives and other millionaires - I digress) or still do 'evil' things despite being the lesser evil (on the other hand Obama commuted sentences of political prisoners and whistleblowers, etc.) I'm still on the fence.

sarda
Jun 3 2017 03:41

Socialism under Corbyn's name is just another setback for socialist waiting to happen, if he win and don't deliver in which the opposition will make sure of that, it will be another black mark for the Left and that will take again a very very long time to recover where up to now is still struggling to make the name( socialism) be recognize. The Capitalist aim is "kill the name and bury it".

Stevein7
Jun 3 2017 14:16

There is always going to be a choice between bad and worse as long as capitalism stands.
While we are deliberating which way to vote and get the most out of the system, we are not organising against the system which only ever raises the rate of exploitation.
ICT are right. We need to abandon the hope in Prince Charming rescuing us from on high and start making practical moves to organise against the shit sandwich on offer under capitalism of all stripes.

Cleishbotham
Jun 4 2017 11:34

Wojtek is right that there is little resistance from the class currently but that is partially a function of the measures that we are talking about (like the welfare state). This was introduced when the bourgeoisie were scared of class resistance. If the neo-liberals had really won hands down in the 1980s as so many argued a while back then they would have ended welfare altogether and taken us back to the nineteenth century but the bourgeois consensus has held and we have only seen a slow deterioration in the welfare state since they can no longer finance it due to the crisis. And that weakens class responses - which is why we take the long term view on "building resistance".