Our Say

After G8 and the London bombings - the way forward

London terror attacks condemned

After Live 8:
from pressure to action

The G8 summit and political power

Make the G8 leaders history

A sham election

10 good reasons to boycott May 5

Don't be blackmailed into voting

Reject ‘dependency’ politics

No votes for New Labour!

Parliament seals its own fate

A secret policeman's government

Vote for "none of the above"

How to remember the victims of the tsunami

A state of crisis

New Labour and the big lie

Yasser Arafat - a revolutionary life

After the US election

Blood on New Labour's hands

Butler and weapons of mass deception

With 'leaders' like these, who needs enemies?

How to meet the threat from the right

Barbarians at the gate

Torture, values and lies

The silence of the lambs

War crimes in Iraq

The slaughter in Madrid

The unfinished business of the miners’ strike 1984-85

L’état – c’est New Labour

The death of liberal democracy foretold

Hutton washes the state whiter than white

Top-up fees and the market economy

Our challenge for 2004

New Labour's march to a police state

Bush & Blair - partners in crime

London Region revolts against FBU leaders

Postal workers in the front line

No turning back

Where we go from here

Stop the War Coalition leaders and political fabrication

Regime change begins at home

Blood on New Labour's hands

There's more involved than just Blair

New Labour, lies and spies

Firefighters should reject deal and disown leaders

BECTU vote on New Labour link a step forward

Time runs out for FBU leaders

New Labour's one-party state

The blind alley of crude anti-Americanism

Occupation of Iraq - time to move beyond protest

War is a test for principles

Iraqi defiance shocks and awes

FBU leaders who backed capitulation should resign now

Down with New Labour's war - for regime change in Britain

FBU at war with New Labour

New Labour, not just Blair, is the target

50 years since the death of Stalin - an assessment

FBU finds itself in Precott's trap

War is Peace - Blair's fictitious 'push for peace'

15/2: Global marches put power on the agenda

Crisis of globalisation behind attack on Iraq

Tell it how it is

An injury to one is an injury to all

War plans expose fraudulent 'democracy'

A 'regime change' in Britain is the answer to war on Iraq

FBU needs a new strategy

Challenging New Labour

A moment of truth in the fight against New Labour

Gilchrist says it how it is

Time to defy the anti-union laws in support of the FBU

FBU must ask for solidarity strikes

FBU leaders must ask for support now

New Labour provokes confrontation

Italian police attack No-Global movement

New Labour declares war on FBU

Don't let the FBU fight alone

UN writes a blank cheque for war

Blood on Putin's hands

Unions must support firefighters with action not words

Support the firefighters - defeat New Labour

Bush-Blair war agenda revealed

Seeing through New Labour's weapons of mass deception

The US media and the new garrison state

The BEGINNING of Politics

How technology could
free humanity

'Terminator' engineering: A threat to humanity

The future is socialist

Asylum legislation fuels racist attacks

Road map to the future

E-mail to hear about site changes, placing 'update' in body of message



New Labour's one-party state

The suspension of anti-war MP George Galloway by New Labour is further proof of the authoritarian nature of the one-party state that now rules Britain. For saying what millions of others expressed in demonstrations and meetings, Galloway is pilloried and convicted before getting a chance to defend himself.

What, in essence, is the difference between the treatment meted out to Galloway and the way New Labour demonises asylum seekers or strips opponents of their nationality? This same reactionary government has "suspected terrorists" locked up indefinitely without trial and permits the police to tap into emails without warrants.

It is allowing the police to retain DNA samples of everyone questioned and arrested, whether or not they are tried and convicted. Home Secretary Blunkett is restricting jury trials, allowing people to be tried more than once for the same offence and plans to impose life-time sentences for some offences. This is nothing less than the destruction of democratic rights and the foundations of dictatorship. 

As Galloway himself says: "It makes a bit of a mockery of the idea that we went to war in Iraq for free speech and democracy. I stand by every word I said. I believed the war would be immoral and illegal, and be massively counter-productive. Millions of people in Britain believe that and every day that passes since the so-called triumph has vindicated that position." He rightly defended his attack on Bush and Blair arguing he had said "two of the world's richest and powerful leaders had fallen like wolves upon one of the most wretched countries on earth".

While Galloway spoke out, many other "left" MPs sat on their hands during the attack and subsequent occupation of Iraq. No doubt, and with reason, they fear suspension or other measures by the New Labour machine. By avoiding conflict they hope to remain inside the party as part of their "strategy" of "recapturing" it from the Blairites. But the result of their timidity is that Galloway is hung out to dry. Meanwhile, the Blairite party managers know they have nothing to fear from the "left" in parliament. When push comes to shove most will do what's necessary to save their political skins and careers.

The same is true of the trade union leadership. Everyday their members are battered by New Labour policies on privatisation, employment rights, trade union rights and low pay in the public sector. They voice a few criticisms and even get a motion passed at the New Labour conference opposing the private finance "initiative". Union leaders too insist that their organisations have to remain affiliated to New Labour to give them "influence".

Pull the other one! The day after Galloway was suspended, New Labour brought forward the legislation for so-called foundation hospitals. These will undermine the very basis of the National Health Service, destroy pay arrangements and open up hospitals for privatisation. What do Unison and other NHS unions propose to do about this? Don't hold your breath waiting for official strike action against the government.

The overwhelming majority of union leaders have betrayed their members by allowing New Labour to continue its capitalist rampage through the public sector. In fact, large sums of money are handed over to keep New Labour afloat. Anything for these leaders is preferable to facing the reality that New Labour is a business government and that their members ought to at least consider alternative political representation.

This kind of opportunism produces nothing in return. Just ask the firefighters about that. For more than eight months they have pursued their legitimate claim for a decent national pay deal. New Labour's agenda is, by contrast, to "modernise" the service through management-imposed local pay and conditions.

How have the firefighters' union leaders faced up to the fact that New Labour wants to undermine the service? They have spent so much time looking for non-existent deals and calling off strikes that the membership could be forgiven for feeling confused about where the dispute has reached. Currently, firefighters are considering proposals passed on by their union which the employers themselves have already rejected as a basis for a settlement!

Under conditions where New Labour operates as a management function of corporate interests and is indifferent to those who voted them into office, political disillusionment grows. While union leaders wring their hands - and then write more cheques for New Labour - fascists win council seats and even the Tories return from the dead.

A political challenge to New Labour is, therefore, of some urgency. The idea of breathing new life into New Labour is a myth and an excuse for doing nothing.  Equally unhelpful is the repetition of the undeniable fact that there is no immediate, viable alternative. This easily becomes a reason for maintaining the status quo.

Over a century ago, the trade unions had to form an alternative where none existed. Eventually it became the Labour Party. Today, history repeats itself but with a different significance. The idea of reforming capitalism, which was at the heart of Labour is now defunct, undermined by capitalist-led globalisation of production and finance. Also subverted are the institutions of parliamentary democracy that accompanied the building of capitalist nation states.

Union leaders are incapable of repeating what their forebears did because the issue is not a reform of capitalism but a transfer of economic and political power to the majority. Our challenge today is to put forward new forms of democratic ownership and control that offer an alternative to New Labour and globalised capitalism. That is why the Movement for a Socialist Future is one of the supporters of the Network for Economic and Political Democracy which is organising a debate on how we go beyond New Labour.

Such a movement will not emerge out of the sky but needs patient work and argument. Millions in Britain and throughout the world oppose the policies of capitalist globalisation imposed by governments like New Labour. The great anti-war movement took protest to historic new heights. Our duty is to build on that momentum in a decisive, transforming way.

Movement for a Socialist Future
7 May 2003