On the stance of the Left in the upcoming elections

The general election in the UK comes in a time where the political debate is heated, thus its results will show division on actual facts and policies. The conservative party manages to maintain a high percentage of total votes, which is still critical, since an increasing number of remain voters, mainly represented by the LibDems, are prepared to vote tactically, in order to prevent a Tory government.

The Labour party comes second in the polls and their supporters have been campaigning feverishly during the pre-election period across the country. Comparing to the previous elections where Corbyn was the LP leader, in this one, there is a vast list of policies that seem to be in the radical side of the typical agenda even for a social democrat. Speaking of free movement, the green new deal, support of the NHS and the struggles in education sound all like a melody to a working class that lives the Tory realism for far too long. And rightfully poor constituencies prefer Corbyn, young voters and neighbourhoods where national minorities are highly present support strongly the LP.

It is more than clear that the Labour party’s goal is merely a system reform. But no answers will be given to the real problems of the working class through the parliamentary way. Capitalism will still be exploiting people’s labour, discrimination against women, migrants and other minorities will still exist and the bourgeois class will continue to reproduce itself. Not to mention the absence of any analysis and critique to the EU’s role on immigration policies and the country’s participation in the NATO alliance. Change in our views comes with organising from below, in the workplace, the union, the university and the community to challenge bourgeois power in its different forms. It is the working class and its oppressed allies that can deliver change, when given command of their own lives.

British politics suffer by another element that is fundamentally the same as the above; Internationalism. It is not McCluskey’s racist comments on immigration that typically run through the whole of society and it comes from a deep conservatism that is primarily fault of the LP. It is the total lack of communication with the rest of European politics that leads to this faith in social democracy with a certain delay.  With a disturbed belief in national sovereignty that supposedly other countries don’t have, British left wingers think that the LP will not be a farce as it was all over Europe in its latest version just because in their country the will of the people is taken more seriously.

Sadly, it is the market that guides politics and not the other way around, and it is the same in the UK as everywhere else. The financial crisis caused a coordinated reaction in the European population. The neoliberal parties that took the initiative to recapitalise the banks lost support and the population gradually turned to alternative parties of the new Social Democracy. This has happened in France, Spain, Portugal and Greece. In fact, the Greek example was enough for the population of the Spanish state and France to lose trust in their similar parties, Podemos and France Insoumise respectively.

The financial crisis has affected British politics, as well. Corbyn himself is not a personality that radicalises the generalised mistrust to the ruling class. He is merely giving a parliamentary battle, soaked in pragmatism. He is often depictured as the closest you can have to a politician that is also a union leader, yet this is the role of the unions that the social democracy wants; a stand-by role that fights for small demands, while the real politicians ‘’take care’’ of politics. Even more, the radical left organisations that are so keen on defending the LP policies and reforms are nowhere near to have say on them. They are silently taking the role of the observer of the LP and use their activism only as alibi for not doing so, since they cannot describe any hope outside of the LP. But, being an observer in such a struggle leads to being an observer of anything that goes on around you.

Most anticapitalist organisations in the UK left drop the typical argument about the LP and tend to push the discussion to an argument about Corbyn as a person. This tactic shows, apart from a total retreat on the issue of the LP, the lack of any kind of plan for the next day in the political spectrum. There is no intention of a political front of radical left organisations and individuals. Of course, something like that demands that these organisations work first together in movement and through that build relations, but someone would expect some frontal policy even as an empty word. Under this lack of plan the vast majority of the organisations of the Left fall in the plan of someone else, and in this case, of parliamentary, reformist, old-school social democracy.

To be clear, voting and supporting a party that pursues to have parliamentary representation, is a different thing to a party that claims to gain power and implement policies. Even more when talking about one of the strongest states in the world, which leads its own commonwealth and is the right hand of the American imperialism, with such an important place in the Middle Eastern crisis. After all, it is worth to mention that during the recent political debate, Brexit is presented as a certain framework and not a policy by itself, letting some space for discussion on individual issues like public healthcare and education.

To rephrase Dante, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Intentions do not suffice; we need to fix the problem and capitalism can’t be fixed.

After a false hope comes a real depression; it is crucial for the forces that align themselves with the working class and the oppressed in this struggle to see the dynamic in their hands and look for political solutions that allow them to participate evenly and open the road ahead for future victories.

Kleanthis Antoniou

Marilena Papadaki


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