Saturday, 6 June 2015

Time for the Labour and trade union movement to break from the past

The re-election of a majority Conservative government has begun to open the old divides with both the Labour Party and inside and between the trade unions.

The Labour "left" and their fellow travellers have begun to swing behind Jeremy Corbyn one of the old style anti imperialist brigade. One of the unofficial Labour Party Face Book Forums has seen a lot of favourable comments in his support as some still want a "hard left" alternative. Others think his candidature will open a necessary debate. On the latter I hope they are right, because the "old left" in all it's forms has failed in every measure you can apply.

Labour Party(and trade union) members have to decide whether they want to achieve some reforms or none. The continuing adherence of many to a hard line ideological approach is no longer viable. It's one thing to be "anti-austerity", it's another to extrapolate out of that a need for one of these outdated "socialist" programmes.

The current "left" has failed.

The basis of the lefts failure is their age old "vanguardism" obvious in some of the more openly hard line groups like the Socialist Workers Party or the remains of Militant in the Socialist Party, but less so amongst the broader Labour left. Their ideas are all "top down" influenced by Marxism/Leninism whether they themselves are conscious of the fact.

The "left" claims to have the answers if only the "workers" would listen. Except there's a problem. Most people do not want full bloodied socialism. History has shown us time and time again that this just doesn't work. From the experience of the Soviet Union, through China to the state of North Korea today that experience has literally been bloody.

What people want is fair treatment. A fair days pay for a fair day's work. Access to a working NHS, a welfare system that provides a real safety net for those in need not a life style for the indolent, a proper democratic say in the way our country and society is run and freedom.

The old "left" has developed away from the notions of free speech. Jeremy Corbyn's appearance at an anti Charlie Hebdo rally does not impress nor do the actions of some Stop the war leaders who seem stood by Cage when Jihadi John was exposes. he was not a "nice man". He is a mass murderer. What was John Res thinking when he appeared at their press conference?

Our rights are under attack both to access to the NHS and our right to free speech. Yet large sections of the left wish to pull the UK out of the European Union, the only body that has legislation that we will be able to turn to as the Tories push back our rights in the workplace even further.

A withdrawal from the EU will lead to a further bonfire of our rights. Do the left deliberately seek a strategy they think will make life even worse to push unwilling workers towards the so-called revolution they desire?

I despair of the left that exists today.

What we need for the future is a modernised Labour Party built up from the grass roots that recognises both  economic and political reality. Trade unions that speak for it's members rather than the views of political activists who parasitically substitute themselves for the "rank & file".

There is of course no easy answer and it will take time for change to happen, but change it must. Otherwise the Labour & trade union movement will remain stuck in the past and only those they claim to wish to help will continue to suffer.

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