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



Where we go from here

In the wake of the TUC and New Labour conferences, and the September 27 anti-war demonstration, many people are left wondering where we go from here. Because it is clear, or at least it should be, that one-off protests and pressure on the Blair government will not produce the results we want.

The trade union leaders known as the ‘awkward squad’ are clearly intent on propping up the Blair regime by refusing to mount a serious challenge to it. That is why they avoided putting down a resolution on Iraq at Labour’s conference in Bournemouth. Blair told them in no uncertain Thatcherite terms that he was not for turning, knowing he was dealing with people whose bark is worse than their bite.

Kevin Curran, the new general secretary of the GMB union, made it clear after the conference that all the efforts would be placed on “developing a manifesto that will help re-elect this government for a radical third term” (Independent, October 5). In other words, the ‘awkward squad’ is devoting its energy not to fighting this reactionary, capitalist government but to improving it in time for the next election. The only thing awkward about this group is their inability to grasp principles.

The stage-managed New Labour conference resembled a populist rally. Delegates cheered a prime minister who had co-led the imperialist invasion of Iraq and in his speech attacked asylum seekers, defended ‘foundation’ (privatisation) hospitals and tuition fees for students. What the conference also demonstrated is that at constituency level, the party is dominated by Blairite supporters. New Labour is a totally different organisation to the former party, which it has overthrown. It cannot be “reclaimed”, as the union leaders wistfully hope. It is tied hand and foot to the state and to the global corporations that call the shots.

Meanwhile, the Stop the War Coalition organised a demonstration on the eve of Labour’s conference. The official demands of the march were restricted to a call for an inquiry into the invasion of Iraq. Organisers of the 40,000-strong march couldn’t even bring themselves to call for Blair’s resignation. Now the coalition is asking people to write to Blair,  politely asking him to tell Bush that his planned state visit next month is off! This takes pressure politics to a new low.

There are reports that George Monbiot, the noted anti-capitalist globalisation campaigner and writer, is joining forces with others to launch a new coalition. This is intended to challenge New Labour at next year’s European and local elections. The new coalition is intended to include peace groups, Muslim faith organisations, socialists and others.

Once more, it seems, we are being asked to divert our energies into an electoral campaign where the turnout is certain to be extremely low as a result of massive indifference and disinterest in traditional politics. This is the result of the transformation of parties like Labour into managers of the market economy and the fact that increasingly people have to make to their own pension, health, education, transport and housing arrangements.

This disenchantment is something we should welcome and build on. Surely, we need to concentrate our energies on building a movement that argues for and elaborates a comprehensive alternative to the world of globalised capitalism and what passes for politics today. Under capitalist globalisation, particularly in Britain and the USA, democratic life is whittled down and rendered meaningless. The power and influence of the corporations knows few bounds. We have to make the right to vote mean something by extending democracy rather than accepting the status quo of meaningless local and European elections.

That is why the Movement for a Socialist Future is supporting the call made by the Network for Economic and Political Democracy for a conference next year to take forward a strategy for fundamental and progressive change. The provisional agenda rightly includes plans to discuss and decide on proposals for developing a democratic system beyond Parliament through local People’s Assemblies with real power. We need to reshape the state, getting rid of privilege, ending the power of the secret intelligence agencies and reorganising the police and justice system.

In place of private corporate power, the conference proposes a strategy for democratic, social ownership and control of economic and financial resources. There is a plan to discuss solutions to the environmental crisis and use science and technology for the common good. We support the intention of linking with movements in other countries and putting forward alternatives to the European Union of big business. The task or organising a movement to achieve these aims in practice is obviously central to such a conference.

In promoting his new book, The Age of Consent, Monbiot argues: "Our task is not to overthrow globalisation, but to capture it, and to use it as a vehicle for humanity's first global democratic revolution. All over our planet, the rich get richer while the poor are overtaken by debt and disaster. The world is run not by its people but by a handful of unelected or underelected executives who make the decisions on which everyone else depends: concerning war, peace, debt, development and the balance of trade. Without democracy at the global level, the rest of us are left with no means of influencing these men but to shout abuse and hurl ourselves at the lines of police defending their gatherings and decisions. Does it have to be this way?"

You can’t disagree with his analysis. The central ssue is do we offer a fundamental challenge to globalised capitalist economic and political power, or do we fritter our energies away in building futile, electoral pressure groups? All the evidence is that protest and pressure won’t change New Labour from a capitalist government or the way the corporations do business. Their first duty is and will always remain to their shareholders and the markets.

The massive anti-war movement revealed a illingness to challenge the status quo. Our way forward is to build on this with the objective of mobilising the mass of people to shape their own future by taking history into their own hands. It’s not the easy option but it is the only practical way to transform society.

Movement for a Socialist Future
15 October 2003