United Kingdom: Liz Truss fell and the crisis continues

By Julio Santana ISL UK

With the resignation of the Prime Minister, who took office little more than a month ago, the political, economic and social crisis is worsening. The Conservative Party and the Labour Party rehearse answers to save the regime, in the context of the bipartisan alternation. It is necessary that the street mobilization breaks in and that the unions call for a general strike so that the crisis does not fall upon the backs of the working people. The conformation of a new political alternative of the left is an immediate task, for a government of the workers and socialism.

Liz Truss took office as the Prime Minister when Boris Johnson fell to try to overcome the political and economic crisis of the United Kingdom. At that time, she proposed a neoliberal plan of the far-conservative kind that was broadly condemned and was discarded.

The dizzy road towards the abyss

The superstructure fell back into the abyss, to such an extent that political analysts had been pointing out that it was not Truss who was making the decisions but Jeremy Hunt, the Finance Minister.  The fall was precipitated when Truss was forced to resign because she lost the support of her party and the confidence of the markets. However, what was fundamental was the popular rejection of her measures, which was expressed in the polls and in the ongoing agenda of struggles. Her 44 days in office constitute the shortest mandate in history, which is why she was renamed “the Brief”, in allusion to the Bourbon King Louis I, who remained on the Spanish throne for 229 days, which earned him the nickname “the Brief”.

The fuses did not work

After the failure of Truss’ plan, Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng was fired, followed by Interior Minister Suella Braverman. Although Truss managed to survive the parliamentary control session on Wednesday 19, he was already in intensive care with reserved diagnosis. On the morning of Thursday, the 20th, he called a meeting in Downing Street and at 1.30 p.m. announced his resignation. It is evident that the accession of Charles III as a replacement for his mother Elizabeth II did not bring stability either. The conservative and royal fuses did not work because the United Kingdom is going through a deep and vertiginous crisis, in synchrony with the systemic crisis of capitalism at the global level.

Who will replace Truss?

Truss’ political corpse will remain in office for a week, until a replacement is chosen. There are several names for the horror casting: Rishi Sunak, Jeremy Hunt, Ben Wallace, Penny Mordaunt and even Boris Johnson himself. The Tory Party decided to repeat the selection mechanism of Liz Truss: to choose the new Prime Minister within the four walls of the Conservative Party headquarters without any democratic consultation of the people.

The Labor Party comes out to save the regime

The leader of the Labor Party, Sir Keir Starmer, raised the need to call early elections to take advantage of the electoral sympathy they acquired during the crisis. It does not even cross his mind to call for the outbreak of street mobilization. As one of the two legs of the bipartisanship, they pretend to channel the crisis within the margins of the regime and the capitalist system. The events configure two crises that combine and feed back on each other.

The government, the regime and the system in the turmoil

One of the developing crises is that of the government and the regime. The conservatives stopped supporting the person they had chosen in September. And, in the height of delirium and disrespect for the people, they raise the return of Boris Johnson as a possibility. The fact that the return of such a character is being considered after his failure shows the prevailing decomposition. The other crisis is systemic. As we already stated in a previous article, the economic crisis is so deep that it has caused the fall of the pound to historic levels, plus price increases in staple foods, energy, rents and mortgages. The crisis is not superficial, nor sporadic, but deep and sustained, as an expression of the ongoing global capitalist crisis.

A general strike is needed

Unfortunately, the union leaders are also failing to rise to the occasion. They are leaving the battles against the government to be fought union by union and are not encouraging the working class to be the protagonist in the face of the political crisis. They have mentioned the need to coordinate the strikes, but they do not make it concrete, so far it has only been a posture towards the press. Why is the TUC (Trades Union Congress) not calling for a general strike? Why are the leaders of the unions in struggle not calling for a general strike? The answer is simple: they are acting as a transmission belt for Labor’s policy to contain the labor movement. At a time when the government is experiencing absolute weakness, they are putting ice on the swelling caused by the appearance of the labor movement in the foreground of the scene. All to pave the way for the Labor Party, which is already warning about its limitations by stating that it will depend on “the inheritance received”. It would not be a surprise if in the future these leaders were the ones in charge of asking for patience to stop the struggles and facilitate a Labor government.

A program to make the capitalists pay for the crisis

It is time for the workers’ mobilization to impose its own agenda of struggle and demands, with transitional proposals. How can progress be made in overcoming the serious social problems of the working people without reaching into the coffers of the capitalists, who continue to amass immense (and obscene) profits? How can the increase in energy bills be reversed without nationalizing the companies and putting them under the control of their workers and users? How can decent pensions be achieved without nationalizing the whole system? How can inflation not empty the pockets of the workers without clauses for the automatic readjustment of wages in accordance with price increases? An emergency economic plan is needed so that the capitalists pay for the crisis. Neither a Conservative nor a Labour Prime Minister will go in this direction, on the contrary, they will favor the interests of the powerful, the rich and privileged of the United Kingdom. What is needed is a government of the workers and the people with a socialist system.

It is necessary to form a new left-wing political alternative

For some time now, there have been sectors within Labour that have raised the possibility of forming a new political movement around the figure of Jeremy Corbyn. The truth is that when Corbyn was leader of the opposition he faded into the margins of reformism. The best thing would be to build a new movement, of the left, with workers’ candidates in the front line. The great mobilizations and strikes in France mark the road to follow and at the same time reaffirm the enormous limitations of reformism which must be overcome. The formation of a new tool of the anti-capitalist left is a present and indispensable task, to confront the bipartisan alternation in power with immediate and strategic proposals.