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The national is also international


MAY DAY has been International Workers Day for over a century. But the background to this year’s celebrations around the world is new. The triumph of capitalism supposed to result from the destruction of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of a host of socialist countries – though not Cuba – has become a wake.

Never have capitalist governments been so clueless. Their beloved system has let them down, and they have nowhere to turn to except to drive down living standards and raid the assets of the working class. If the G20 meeting amounted to anything, it was just that.

At home, our government clings on to finance capitalism like the drowning man it is. Its morality is the morality of the banker: greed is good. Every day brings fresh exposures of corruption and malpractice.

Meanwhile, Labour presses on with everything that the British people hate: privatisation, wars, the hounding of the unemployed, the militarisation of the police, the contempt for industry. Those who think of voting Labour as the “lesser of two evils” should reflect on the nature of that evil. No root, no morals, no ideas.

Never, too, have the people of Britain been so cynical about the ability of politicians to make things better. But cynicism is a dangerous condition, leading as it does to inaction. It’s all the more worrying as the solutions are plain to see and easily within our grasp. We must rebuild our industry and our infrastructure, basing ourselves on need not profit. That means taking control, and cynicism and taking control don’t live well together.

The workers of all countries face the same crisis, to varying degrees: finance capital is seeking to destroy national independence in order to allow it to sack the wealth of all nations. That’s the globalisation agenda, and that’s where the World Trade Organization fits in.

The only way to deal with the globalisation offensive is nationally: defeat it where we are strong, and widen liberated areas. We can do this through asserting the importance of nation and of independence. The only way we can help other workers is by defeating capitalism here, just as the only true help they can give us is by taking up their own fights. That’s true international solidarity– and it’s the only one that works.