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

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

 

 

Reject ‘dependency’ politics

Our call for people to withhold their votes on May 5 and instead join our campaign to renew and extend democracy beyond the existing parliamentary system, is founded on the dramatic economic, social and political changes that have taken place since the 1970s. These changes have produced a global market economy dominated by a handful of corporations and a financial system beyond the reach of nation-state governments.

A World to Win describes how the parliamentary state that evolved alongside capitalism as its political expression, has been transformed by this process into what is sometimes called a “market state”. This state has one primary function: to ensure that the market economy runs as smoothly as possible within its borders and to extend this approach to bodies like the European Union.

What our book has also tried to show is that the system of parliamentary democracy that was ushered in by the Reform Act of 1832 is incompatible with the new form that the capitalist state has assumed. The state has neither the power nor the will to challenge the might of the corporations and an economy that in its operations transcends borders and governments. As a result, it is not possible – and hasn’t been since the 1970s - to elect a reform-minded government that is able to make significant improvements to people’s lives.

As a consequence, Labour became New Labour and the champion of capitalist market economics. Where the Tories privatised, New Labour has transferred billions to the corporations by way of the “private finance initiative” and other devices. All the other major parties have since adopted more or less the same outlook. In place of old-style parliamentary politics we now have a House of Commons that has no authority or power independent of the government and does what it is told. New Labour has commanded the state in an increasingly authoritarian fashion, lying its way to war against Iraq and abolishing democratic rights.

This necessarily potted history of the last 30 years goes a long way to explaining the turn away from traditional politics that accelerated under New Labour to total more than 40% of the electorate in 2001 (and 60% of young people). This is the stark reality and the question then arises: should we waste our efforts trying to revive what in any event has been the most restricted form of democracy? Should we not seek to de-legitimise this charade of democratic rule? And shouldn’t we instead develop a politics that is not dependent for its functioning on the existing, undemocratic state institutions?

There are those who believe we should use our votes on May 5 not to change anything – that is clearly impossible – but to “send a message” to New Labour that lots of us are unhappy with what has happened under the Blair regime. The latest convert to this ridiculous campaign is the noted anti-capitalist campaigner George Monbiot. A couple of years ago he wrote The Capitive State which showed how big business dominates the machinery of government and New Labour. A later book called for a system of world government to overturn the rule of the corporations. All that is now forgotten, however.

In his column in The Guardian on April 19, Monbiot called on voters to support minority parties like Plaid Cymru and the Greens, writing: “A big vote for Plaid and an average of 7% or 8% for the other left-wing parties in the constituencies they contest would not tip Labour out of office. But it would send a clear signal to the party that it cannot afford to forget its manifesto promises on aid and the environment, that the war has not been forgotten and that it had better start shaking itself out on issues such as privatisation, taxation and corporate power. Though you would not be electing a new parliamentary opposition, you would still be pulling Labour to the left.”

So that’s it. Where once the vote was used in an attempt to make changes through government action, now we are reduced to sending “a clear signal” to a government that rules hand-in-glove with corporate interests. Who is Monbiot kidding! Does he really think New Labour is waiting for a message from voters and that it will respond once it sees that a lot of people have voted for alternative parties? In February 2003 it had a significant message delivered in the form of the two-million strong march against the impending attack on Iraq. That fell on deaf ears, as history revealed shortly afterwards. They are heading for another three-figure majority and will be just as impervious to pressure as they ever have been. As for “pulling Labour to the left” – pigs will fly before that happens!

The pressure to get people to vote in this election dovetails with the political establishment’s fear of being de-legitimised by an even bigger no-vote than in the last election. It is also a way of burying one’s head in the sand and pretending that not that much has changed. The fact is that millions of people have already and will continue to disengage from parliamentary politics. Most people are aware that real power lies elsewhere.

A World to Win, therefore, firmly rejects these kinds of illusions, which leave us just as dependent as ever on a parliamentary system that is a parody of democracy. That is why we urge people to withhold their vote on the basis that the political process is undemocratic and is synonymous with corporate power. At the same time, you should move beyond mere abstention and join our campaign for an alternative, truly democratic way forward as put forward in A World to Win. We will take this forward at a launch event on June 4. We invite you to participate.

20 April 2005