Back to Front - Surprised? Really?
WORKERS, JUNE 2009 ISSUE
We shouldn't be surprised at the behaviour of politicians or bankers, of the Speaker or the Prime Minster. This is capitalism and capitalist democracy in absolute decline, exposed in all its gory details and in beautiful Technicolor.
Workers have no control over this “democracy”. We have no say and are simply permitted to put a cross on a ballot paper every five years. The timing of the media frenzy is also no coincidence, taking the light off the economic crisis that deepens whilst bankers carry on as if nothing has happened.
Meanwhile, the main political parties refuse to address the issue of migration and refuse us a referendum on the EU Constitutional Treaty. At a recent Unison “Return to Learn” course for union members held in the North East, participants were split into a number of groups and asked to identify their priorities for a political manifesto. The two priorities common to every group were control of immigration and the EU. Yet this is not, and will not be, reflected in Unison’s policies.
The so-called “left” have contributed to this by successfully equating criticism of mass migration with racism, in the same way that Zionists have succeeded in equating criticism of Israel with anti semitism. These are the rotten politics of rotting capitalism, only surpassed in corruption by the EU parliamentary system and the EU itself.
While some pundits and politicians hopelessly try to breathe life into this dying system, we have to ask, where is the working class at a time when, with one mighty heave, it may be possible to bring it all crashing to the ground?
Alas, from our unions, not a murmur. The Unite union’s national march for jobs in Birmingham on 16 May, drew only 7,000 supporters despite a three-line whip on all officials, nationally, to be there. Very, very few workers from Birmingham, the centre of manufacturing, took part.
If we are not to go down with the sinking ship, we, the working class must take control. In our workplaces and in our trade unions, we must raise the same spirit as the workers at Lindsey Oil Refinery, and those that supported them around Britain.
One small simple way we can begin to take control is by withdrawing legitimacy for this collapsing capitalist “democracy” by not voting in any of their elections, unless it is a referendum on the EU Constitutional Treaty. What would happen if nobody voted for any of them? You can already see their fears of mass abstention. Call it a boycott, voters’ strike or “none of the above”.
As long as its members permit it, Unite will doubtless continue to press support for the Prime Minister who, still in love with the City, persists in encouraging risks with our money, echoed by the current CBI. And in the clearest expression yet of support for an economy based on financial services, not industry, the Chancellor insists: “If we do not fix the banks we will not fix the economy.” Not a word about changing the system to one more suited to working class needs. Changing the system is what the union should be campaigning for – not expecting the old one to have a change of heart.
We all know what this situation means for the young when it comes to their jobs and pay, their housing, their education and their pensions. This is a struggle for a future. We have to ask ourselves whether we are we up for it, or are we going down with capitalism?