National Sections of the L5I:

Britain: Labour must turn Left to spike May’s plans

Printer-friendly versionPDF version

Labour can stop a big Tory win if it fights with a bold left-wing message, pledging to tax the wealthy to rebuild our public services and communities.

We need a campaign that radically breaks with routine - mass activity on the streets, open air rallies, stalls, public and workplace meetings, demonstrations against the Tories’ attacks on the key issues. Draw in the mass union membership not just their cash.

Labour can channel the anti-Brexit anger of more than half the voters - particularly young people – and win leavers, too, if it gets off the fence and exposes what Brexit will mean.

No time for kinder, gentler politics – blame the rich for the crisis of their system, expose the lies and hypocrisy of the billionaire press barons.

Win or lose on 8 June, a bold leftwing campaign on socialist policies will put us in a stronger position to take forward the fight after the election

Theresa May's power grab
Theresa May’s call for a snap General Election is a cynical manoeuvre, intended to grab a Commons majority for Tory Brexit by taking advantage of Labour’s disarray and weak poll position.

The Tories know Brexit will make them unpopular. Instead of facing the electorate in 2020 once its real consequences become clear, they are trying to con voters into giving them a blank cheque until 2022 - preventing any say on the final deal.

Labour needs to warn what the Tories are up to – a massive majority would give the Tories a mandate to impose the rest of their programme: privatisation of the NHS, demolition of the welfare state, turning Britain into a low-wage tax-haven for the super rich.

Instead of denying that the election is about Brexit, Labour needs to accept reality and offer a clear proposal for what a Labour government would do. In our view, it should at least commit to membership of the single market, preserving freedom of movement and ending the opt-outs and loopholes which allow bosses to exploit British and migrant workers.

Turn left
This election gives Labour a platform to make millions aware that there is an alternative. If we push for a radical, left wing, anti-Tory and anti-establishment agenda, Theresa May’s planned landslide victory is far from inevitable.

The danger is that Labour will adopt a reheated Ed Miliband manifesto. Corbyn and John McDonnell’s compromises with the right will likely mean a fudge on Brexit, compromises on immigration, “costed” spending plans that don’t meet our real needs.

But we live in an age of political upsets. Left and right wing populists have capitalised on people’s anger, fear and hatred of those they hold responsible. The worst place to be is in the middle, trying to please everyone. The best place to be is attacking the ruling class, blaming the millionaire elite, resisting the tide of racism and refusing to blame European workers for low wages, cuts in services or the housing crisis.

Instead we should be putting the blame where it really lies, with the capitalist class, the rich, the tax dodgers, the landlords and property speculators. We need to say Labour will make them pay back what they have plundered to fund an economic plan aimed at abolishing inequality and providing well-paid jobs, education, health and homes for all.

That means in addition to Corbyn’s ten pledges, Labour needs to adopt a radical socialist programme that will force the media to report them, shake up the election, and show millions that they are dealing with a strong Labour leadership that will confront the establishment and transform Britain.

Stop fudging Brexit – defend free movement, defend the single market, fight together with the international labour movement for a democratic and socialist Europe.

Oppose the militarism of Nato, its allies, Russia and China. No more wars – Britain out of Nato, close all foreign bases.

Launch a National Education Service to complement a publicly-owned and funded NHS. Impose rent controls and regulation of private housing and launch a council house building programme, raising annual targets until waiting lists are abolished.

Repeal all Thatcher and Cameron’s anti-union laws and replace them with a bill of rights that guarantees the rights of workers, including the right to strike.

Restore local democracy by giving councils real power and commit Labour to opposing cuts to local services, NHS STPs, schools and housing sell-offs.

Pass an Equal Rights Act which embodies extensions of existing British and European law affecting women, ethnic minorities, LGBT people, and guarantees all the nationalities of the UK the right to determine their own future.

Tax the rich, nationalise the big banks and corporations under the control of the majority not the millionaires, and break with the whole system of the rich capitalists, putting the wealth and power in the hands of the working class.

This would electrify the people, inspiring huge numbers of new voters and snatch the initiative out of the hands of the Tories.

A socialist campaign
We need to see this campaign as the starting point for a serious struggle against the Tory government. If Labour win, we will need to continue to push for radical measures against the rich and prepare to overcome their resistance.

If Labour can’t form a government then we need to ensure that the campaign has intensified the struggle to democratise the party, promote socialist policy and strengthen the ability of the labour movement to wage a serious struggle to oust the Tories with strikes, direct action and a mass movement in the streets.

All Labour Party meetings will be suspended for the duration of the election, but that’s no reason for Momentum to follow suit, even if the order comes down from its national office.

We need meetings, debates and rallies in every community, linking up with trade unions, refugee and migrant solidarity campaigns, antiwar movements and local housing groups. Mass demonstrations should be organised across the country to highlight our demands. This way we can get the radical Labour message across and draw new people into the fight.

Socialists need to take the lead on the doorstep to ensure voters hear Labour’s new policies from members who support them, not from reluctant right wingers who would rather see Labour lose than win under a left wing leader.

The right wing hope Corbyn will lose badly in the May and June elections so they can get rid of him. The left should take note of blatant disloyalty and sabotage and hold those responsible to account.

A reckoning is coming – a combative campaign is the best way to make sure we’re prepared to settle accounts. That’s why it’s vital that the leftwing majority of the grassroots coordinates to inject the radicalism we need to wage a fighting campaign.

This way, we can ensure that the election campaign speeds up the process of creating the one thing we need most: a consistent, anti-austerity, socialist and internationalist party of the working class, one that can fight for an alternative not just to Theresa May’s Tory nightmare, but to the system that underpins it.