Posts Tagged ‘Bob Crow’
The Times reports (here) that Bob Crow, the RMT and a variety of groups are seriously discussing standing left candidates in the next General Election.
Mr Crow is planning a new challenge to the political elite. The unions, he says, are planning to set up an alliance to stand candidates at the next general election. The RMT has already had six meetings in the past three months with representatives from other unions, pensioners groups, student bodies and green campaigners. “If we don’t believe that any of the candidates are good, there may be an alliance that comes together. We would be putting up policies that we believe people want. What our members vote for is their democratic right, but certainly we can’t just sit back and say vote Labour.”
He cannot lead the alliance himself — “my rules restrict me from standing at a general election,” he says — but he can help with the manifesto and fundraising, while his preferred policies are clear. “I would like to see taxes go up massively for the rich, I’d abolish all private education and all private medical care. I would do away with the Royal Family — that’s not to say they’d be executed but why should those people have a privileged place in society?”
This is worth deep consideration. I will begin with the best Spartist reasons why.
- Gordon Brown, who is likely still to lead Labour in these elections, is nothing but a centre-right politician. His support for free-market globalisation (with a dose of Christian humbug) is far from even moderate social democracy. There has been no back-tracking on this, except a public safety-net for the banking system.
- The ‘market state’ Blair and Brown have inherited from the Conservatives, has been developed. On the one hand a variety of private contractors are now delivering public services. A large parasitical ‘para-state’ has grown up, taking in profit for themselves and offering disorganised and incompetent services in return. On the other hand the low-paid in the public sector have seen their real wages decline, and their working conditions worsened by outsourcing. Many manual and precarious workers in private companies have not seen their rights, conditions and pay significantly improve. Only a few groups with industrial muscle have made advances. The Cabinet has not introduced significant measures that would enable trade unions tip the balance the other way.
- The unemployed (a growing number of people, to say the least) and all those who rely on state benefits have been targeted for a compulsory moral reform campaign. Their incomes have been reduced, their eligibility for money constantly challenged, they have been harassed, and their lives made a misery by the market state.
- The Labour government has failed to combat racism and xenophobia. Its multiculturalist state strategy is unable to fight rising extreme-right support. Instead of uniting people around common interests it divides them, separating people by ethnicity and religion, and giving power and money to unelected ‘community leaders’. Secular anti-racism, the real alternative, has been vigorously opposed.
- The UK Government has engaged in murderous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq without a genuine democratic mandate. Or a clear exit strategy.
I could go on. A constituency inherently opposed to the politics of Brown’s Labour Party can be seen emerging here. Attempts by the wordy John Cruddas (who backed the very welfare reform that is causing so much pain for the poor) to offer a Social Democratic Alternative are not worth much. he ahs no worked-out programme that differs from Brown in the five bullet points listed, except vague principles, such as ‘regulation’ ‘social justice’ or more equality’ (while working for a few quid an hour to get the dole…).
We shall see what Bob Crow’s initiative has to offer. Its policies and its support. And how far it will be able to present candidates. There is an advertisment in the Morning Star (Saturday) about a Conference, open to all, which will discuss this.
In any case I am resolved not to vote for my local Labour candidate (Ipswich), Chris Mole. He has publicly backed Workfare. On these grounds alone Mole cannot be supported by any left-winger, or progressive.