General Election 2015: the choice is simple
All the experts agree the 2015 general election is the most unpredictable for decades. New parties, like Ukip on the right and resurgent parties like the Scottish Nationalists and Greens on the left, could hold the two big parties to ransom as coalition partners.
Sections of the left have welcomed the rise of the the Greens and even the SNP as alternatives to a Labour Party that promises to keep to Osborne’s cuts agenda for two years and implement the rest of it – only more slowly and humanely. It is true that this has allowed the SNP and Greens to steal Labour’s old reformist clothes.
They can afford to; neither is about to form a Westminster government. The SNP claim that they have acted as a buffer to austerity in Holyrood. On some issues they have but they have signally failed to use their powers to vary income tax by 3p in the pound to fund services and raise benefits. The more “devo max” they are given, the more they have to raise taxes on Scottish business to fund expenditure, so the more they will turn to austerity themselves.
The SNP have passed on cuts where they are in power at local government level. Dundee and Glasgow SNP and Brighton Green controlled councils have all passed cuts budgets and attacked their own workforces, mirroring local Labour cuts. They all resort to the “dented shield” argument – that ‘we are fending of the worst blows’: in reality they are a sword in the hands of the Tories making cuts for them.
Nowhere do they try to oppose cuts by mobilising working class people to strike, demonstrate and occupy. Like Labour all they can do is pose their own election, their own management of capitalism as the solution.
As parties of reform, they are no better than Labour – just further back down the road of power that leads to inevitable sell-out. More importantly, they have no organised roots in the trade unions, no historic links to the struggle for independent working class politics. Electing them will do nothing to overcome the main obstacle to a struggle against the crisis of the capitalist system – the leaders of the trade unions and Labour who will continue to lead the working class to defeat after defeat until the working class creates a new party of its own, based on a programme for the abolition of class society and capitalism.
Simply replacing Labour with the SNP or Greens would be step backward, towards middle class “radicalism”. Even the idea of cross-breeding Scottish nationalism with left reformist socialism as much of the Scottish far left is trying to do – whilst openly rejoicing at the prospect of the SNP smashing up Scottish Labour – is preparing a major defeat for the Scots workers.
Certainly we need to break the unions from Labour but not from independent working class representation. We need to win the mass workers’ organisations to militant, class i.e socialist politics. That is why Workers Power is campaigning for a vote for Left Unity and Trade Union and Socialist Coalition candidates, to gather greater forces to the project of a new fighting party of the working class.
But wherever there are no TUSC or Left Unity candidates, we call for a vote for Labour, to kick out the Tories and the Lib-Dems and keep out all the other openly capitalist parties from Ukip to the SNP. At the same time we demand of Labour candidates that they break with all forms of austerity and support the fightback against it, here and now and if they get into government.