REJECTING THE LABOUR PARTY


Just a few days ago Bob Crow, the General Secretary of the UK's National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers said: "The whole programme of Labour now is to try and sneak into Government by default on the basis of a manifesto that could trade under the title 'Carry on Cutting'. Our job is not to prop up the political class behind this racket, our job is to sweep it away.'

Here in New Zealand though  the acolytes of Labour want to install another right wing Labour government in 2014.  It is a like watching a car crash in slow motion - but it'll be ordinary folk who will be the victims.

Life has never been so good in this country. For the wealthy.

For the rest of us, we dine off the crumbs of those who have received large tax cuts and have the largesse  to invest in  partially privatised power companies. We have been forced to carry the burden of an economic crisis that we were not responsible for and our 'reward' is a Minister of Finance telling us to stop complaining about the new welfare 'reforms' which, apparently, are not punitive.

I could rehearse all the facts and figures here again  but the chances are you have read  them many times elsewhere.

At what point do we stop describing the crisis and start the work of offering a real political solution?

Unfortunately the solution we are being offered right now is no solution at all. The comfortably complacent want us to vote for a Labour - Green - Mana government, ignoring the stark reality that such a government would do little, if anything, to upset the neoliberal status quo. Labour's deputy leader has already made that quite clear.

But yet the usual suspects want us to support such a ludicrous proposition.

It is an entirely different story in Britain.

In the United Kingdom much of the left has come to the conclusion that a vote for Labour is a vote for the status quo.

Two days ago Bob Crow, the General Secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers,  launched a blistering  attack on the Labour Party  of Ed Miliband. He called on   the trade union movement to support the creation of a 'new party of Labour' to challenge the 'pro-business, anti-worker agenda' of the Tories, Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

He said: "If others want to stick around and be insulted by those whose only interest is our money and not our ideas then that’s a matter for them, for the rest, there is a whole world of opportunity outside the constraints of the Labour Party and RMT would urge them to embrace it and join us in this new political project.

"The whole programme of Labour now is to try and sneak into Government by default on the basis of a manifesto that could trade under the title 'Carry on Cutting'.

"Our job is not to prop up the political class behind this racket, our job is to sweep it away."

He went on to say that the time had come to begin building an alternative political party that spoke for "the working people and the working class communities that find themselves under the most brutal attack from cuts and austerity in a generation."

Perhaps Labour Party supporters here might also want to reflect on these pertinent comments from Crow: '  Clinging to the wreckage of the  Labour Party is a complete waste of time. The time for the alternative party of labour is now."

Bob Crow's call for an alternative to the politically bankrupt  Labour Party is but one of a number of encouraging new developments on the British left with the formation of the  Anti Capitalist Initiative, Left Unity and   film director Ken Loach's call for a new left party in Britain.

Another important development has been the formation of the  International Socialist Network which is largely the result of the hundreds of revolutionary socialists who have resigned from the Socialist Workers Party. It is now in discussion with the Anti Capitalist Initiative, Left Unity and Socialist Resistance  on forming a united and plural tendency on the British  left.

There is a common recognition that supporting Labour is a political dead end and will only lead to further disastrous defeats for the British working class.

As Alan Thornett of Socialist Resistance has  written: 'It is clear that as Labour moves to the right and panders to anti-immigrant racism and the coalition pushes through the cuts there is a groundswell of people looking for an alternative in the form of a new party which is anti-austerity, broad, pluralist, left of Labour and not dominated undemocratically by a far-left organisation.'

Here in New Zealand though  there is little, if any, similar vision on display. The entire 'strategy' is to elect a Labour government in 2014, with the Green's and Mana tacked on to it. Indeed it looks like Mana will be used as the  ideological 'progressive cover'  in any Labour-led government.

It is an absolute betrayal of working class interests being promoted by people who won't have to suffer the consequences of that betrayal.

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