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Vote to kick out the Tories

The importance of the 2015 general election is not just that it will be close-run and that new or previously fringe parties are gaining ground. In fact the fracturing of support for all three main capitalist parties reflects something far more fundamental.

Britain is at a crossroads. We can either travel further down the road we have been on for the past five years or more – more privatisation, poverty wages and crumbling services – or the working class can stand up and say, enough is enough!

Decently paid jobs have been destroyed and replaced by zero-hours contracts and part-time, minimum wage jobs. Real wages, after inflation is taken into account, have fallen for seven years in a row, and are now at 6.9 per cent below their 2007 value, the longest squeeze on wages since 1855.

National Health Service waiting lists have grown longer, Accident & Emergency departments are overflowing thanks to cuts elsewhere, and private profiteers have gobbled up over £7 billion of the NHS budget. Two-thirds of our hospitals are in deficit, and therefore targets for closure.

Over 3,000 of our state schools are effectively in private hands, via the academies and free schools programmes, local colleges are in crisis and tuition fees for university students are £9,000 per year. Young people face the biggest cuts to benefits, the worst and most insecure jobs and the highest unemployment rate: a lost generation.

Racism is on the rise, with anti-immigrant party Ukip gaining a high profile as the voice of scapegoating foreigners for the low wages, job cuts and housing shortages caused by the economic crisis. Employers, the police and even our schools continue to discriminate against black and Asian people.

Yet neither immigrants nor ethnic minorities have caused any of our problems; the capitalist system has. We need to unite the whole working class in a fight against the real enemy and for the real solution: socialism.

And now Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Prime Minister David Cameron are beating the war drums again, this time against Russia. The Middle East is in flames again, a continuing result of the UK and USA’s wars of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nato, egged on by Cameron, is provocatively tooling up the countries bordering Russia for a new Cold War that could turn hot with disastrous consequences for us all.

None of this has achieved the Coalition’s stated aim: to cut the debt, eliminate the deficit and achieve a stable recovery. On the contrary, the national debt has nearly doubled from £760 billion to £1.56 trillion, and the budget deficit remains high at £90 billion, due to low tax revenues. The “recovery” is stalled with high levels of personal debt, low productivity due to a lack of new investment and serious problems in global markets.
Austerity hasn’t worked. Yet all three main parties, including Labour, pledge to continue down that road. What’s the alternative?

The best result for the working class in this election would be a majority Labour government, with a strong showing for socialist candidates from Left Unity and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

Put Labour to the test

Yes, Ed Miliband and Ed Balls are threatening a programme of austerity-lite. But Labour remains the party of the trade unions, and most workers still see it as “their” party, whereas the Tories, as can be seen by their endorsement by 103 major business leaders in the Daily Telegraph, are capitalist through and through. It would be a victory for the working class to eject the bosses’ preferred party from government.

Because of Labour’s trade union links and its base in working class communities, it is possible for us to push Labour further to the left than their leaders would like to go. But that requires a strong movement of resistance to the cuts, whoever gets into office after the polls close. In the process, we will have to revolutionise the labour movement from top to bottom.

But we can do it. Previous generations certainly did – in the 1880s, the 1940s and the 1970s. We can and must follow their footsteps.

• Stop and reverse all the cuts!

• End privatisation and invest in public services for all!

Tax the rich and nationalise the banks and big business, placing them under working class control!

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