United Kingdom: recurrent crisis

The mobilizations of the workers for salaries and better working conditions and of the entire people for Palestine, shake the country upside down. The Conservative and Labour Parties fight each other for votes and to be the better administrator of the government, the regime and the capitalist system. We must face the ploys of the two-party system, the reformists and the right wing by getting the ball rolling in the construction of an anti-capitalist and leftist alternative.

By Julio Santana – ISL United Kingdom

The mobilization for Palestine at the center of the scene

The United Kingdom is shaken by important developments, two of which stood out in recent weeks. The first was Rishi Sunak’s statement on the “danger to democracy of mob rule”. Although the press took care to dilute this statement, the Prime Minister was referring to the impact of the massive mobilizations in solidarity with Palestine. The second event occurred when the speaker presiding over the parliamentary sessions allowed, against all tradition in that place, the inclusion at the last minute of a Labour Party motion calling for a cease-fire in Gaza. This permission helped Labourists to avoid another split, as it was estimated that more than 100 MPs would support the Scottish Nationalist Party’s motion on Gaza, the organization that was due to submit motions that day.

Palestine solidarity march.

The local imprint of the world capitalist crisis

The crisis of the capitalist economy has its own local expression, which has been provoked by the government of the Conservative Party during the last fourteen years. At the end of 2023 the economy went into recession and the new budget presented by the Minister of Economy, which timidly tries to lower some taxes to reactivate finances, does not solve the problem of crisis faced by millions of workers in the country, expressed, for example, in the salary struggles which are repeated with big strikes in transportation and public health. On the other hand, the government is trying by all means at its disposal to prevent the crisis from acquiring more serious manifestations due to the fact that it is a year away from the elections. The conservatives and the monarchical regime are also responsible for major political scandals and the worst measures against immigrants.

Protest over food insecurity

They are fighting for votes, but maintain the status quo

The Government is not alone in the attempt to avoid a complete collapse; it is counting on the Labour Party, which also intends to channel the mobilization process through the electoral route, insisting that it has the solutions that are needed. The polls estimate that, if the elections were held today, Labourists would win by a 20% difference with respect to the Conservatives. At the same time and in this perspective, the Labour Party has been backing away from many of its positions trying to avoid setbacks that would diminish its votes. Likewise, it is not going down a path of roses; it has just lost an election in the County to George Galloway, a former Labour Party militant but also a friend of the Conservatives, Trump admirer and who made his campaign focusing on the solidarity with Gaza, which implies a very hard blow for the Labour Party.

Violence comes from power

Returning to the subject of “mob rule”, when the Prime Minister says that democracy is in danger because of ” extreme attitudes” against certain representatives, he is referring mainly to the massive demonstrations, among the largest in the world, in solidarity with Palestine. Demonstrating despite threats from the authorities is an elementary right that has nothing to do with the false accusations of “terrorism”. What is really attacking coexistence in the country is that there are people who cannot pay their rent; that there are children who go hungry, or parents who go hungry so that their little ones can eat. We would be deceiving ourselves if we think that this situation is only the product of fourteen years of conservative government. It is the crisis of the capitalist system itself that is hitting the institutional regime. The Labour Party offers and proposes itself as the best administrator for the system in order to win votes and to cushion the blows to the system.

The old bipartisan trap

The Labour Party, which banned its leaders and activists from supporting the transport and health workers’ strike picket lines, is 30,000 Palestinians dead late in calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. It is the one that is going back on many of its earlier promises with the excuse that “they cannot be kept”. It is the same party that, after the election, will tell the people: “The country is in a very bad state, painful measures have to be taken”, because in reality the Labour Party winning the election against the Conservative Party will not mean the resolution of the problems affecting the working class and the great popular majorities, there will only be a change of administration in the British capitalist system. The only way out is to confront and defeat the two-party system that has been in force in Britain for years.

For a leftist and anti-capitalist alternative

We are optimistic; there is human material to build an alternative. It is made up of the thousands and thousands of workers who, both last and this year, went and are going on strike for their wages and better working conditions, both in the transport, health and education unions, as well as those hundreds of thousands of people who are putting their bodies in support of Palestine, with women and young people in the front line. We believe that all those who have confronted the policies of the government, who criticise or have left the Labour Party, must consider the possibility and the necessity of building an anti-capitalist alternative to the left of the Labour Party, in order to put forward a fundamental change to the mass movement.

To confront the right and the far-right

The advance of the far right is fundamentally due to the brutal crisis that the capitalist economy is going through worldwide and also because it has the invaluable collaboration of the reformist sectors that apply austerity policies, do not fulfil their promises and convince broad social sectors of the falsehood that within the limits of capitalism there can be “good” or “lesser evil” solutions. What is needed is a real “government of the masses” that takes charge of the country’s economy in response to the necessities of the workers and the people, not of the rich and the bosses. It must nip in the bud the evils of the capitalist system, which will continue to worsen, and propose the strategic solution of socialism.