Transitional demand for Ed Miliband?

Ed Miliband’s One Nation Tory speech has gone down well. Let me rephrase that. It has gone down well with those who are relieved that Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition embraces the priorities of a British and global capitalism drowning in an ocean of debt. The capitalists can heave a huge sigh of relief. Since SKY, the BBC, C4NEWS cannot save David Cameron’s discredited, corrupt, omnishambles of a government, the likeliest alternative merely offers more of the same. Ed Miliband won’t threaten the establishment with the possibility of entering 10 Downing Street having risen to office on a tidal wave of support from the voters of the need to put people before profit. That would be a calamity for the bosses and all their toadies at the BBC, SKY News, Channel Four News etc. That would put them on the back foot. That would give rise to the kinds of extra-parliamentary struggles that would make their lives difficult, if not impossible.

Those who suck surplus value from their employees every day of the week can relax, thanks to Ed Miliband and all Labour Party members patting him on the back for delivering a one hour speech without notes, falling over or vomiting all over himself. So, it’s a huge sigh all round then? No, not quite.

It is true that the Labour left have been worryingly silent over Ed Miliband’s nauseating speech: “Don’t rock the boat, for fuck’s sake!” That, alas, is the mantra of the overwhelming majority of the Labour left, and many in the trade union leadership who ought to know better. There have been one or two exception, but the reception to their kite-flying has exposed just how isolated they are. It is a little disspiriting to realise how little an appetite there is within the Labour Party to do anything more than opt for voluntary self-censorship. Socialists do exist in the Labour Party, but they’re keeping their heads down. They’re paralysed by anxiety that Ed Miliband getting good press from those he so desperately wants on board his One Nation Tory project places them in an impossible position. If all Owen Jones can muster is a handful of dissidents, their isolation would lead to humiliation, marginalisation and potentially expulsion. If they managed to prove less isolated than they fear, they might win a rather pyrrhic victory. What would they achieve other than to be blamed for provoking an electorally damaging civil war inside the Labour Party? And, let’s face facts, such a civil war couldn’t succeed without detaching the leader of Labour’s One Nation Tory policies: Ed Miliband himself. And what chance would they have of success even in their own terms? Absolute zero. These socialists find themselves in a bit of a pickle, don’t they? Aww, poor socialists.

But Owen Jones and his band of merry men are not the only socialists around these days. Other brands do exist. We are organising ourselves in the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition. While Owen has to S.T.F.U., that is not true of TUSC. We are gagged, that’s true. But we are gagged by the BBC, SKY News, and Channel Four News. We don’t imprison ourselves in Mr Ed’s Trojan Pantomime Horse, alongside war criminals like Tony Blair. We are free to do what Owen Jones cannot. We can offer the voters the choice that Owen’s Labour Party cannot.

TUSC does not believe in One Nation Toryism. We do not believe that the cuts are necessary. Not those embraced by Ed Miliband as much as by David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, although shifting resources from warfare to welfare would be rather nice.

Karl Marx’s economic theories are correct. They explain where profits come from. Surplus value is the source of capitalism’s profits. Capitalism rests upon the exploitation of wage slaves, those who have nothing to sell but their labour power. The wage slaves’ resistance to profit is inevitable. Marxism legitimises class struggle in the same way as Albert Einstein’s general relativity legitimises gravity as the curvature of spacetime. We only tell it like it is, comrades. The employers have their class warriors: Ed Miliband’s One Nation Toryism exposes the Labour Party’s leader as just one more class warrior for the class of exploiters. The exploited, the wage slaves, the employees (public and private sector alike) need our own class warriors. We need spokespersons on Question Time, Any Questions, Daily Politics, Channel Four News, Skypapers, etc. We need orators and debators who can defend each and every act of resistance to exploitation, those who volunteer to be tribunes for all the oppressed, those who challenge every attempt by reactionaries to stir up any group of the exploited and oppressed against any other. United we stand, divided we fall. We are many, they are few.

Comrades, we are on our knees because our labour movement is infiltrated by traitors whose careers rest upon organisations of the working class, but who promote the ideas of scapegoating, including by embracing xenophobia: my country, right or wrong. TUSC will extend our solidarity to the masses of the exploited and oppressed in Greece, not the bankers who are plundering their economy. We will stand by all our brothers and sisters all across the world. We will not jump into bed with British bankers or any other section of the British ruling class against those who fight for basic human rights. Ed Miliband can take his One Nation Toryism and shove it up his arse.

While TUSC will argue for the uniting of all socialists into a single organisation that recognises our enemy is capitalism not each other, that our goal is a society for working people, run by working people not private profit, we will continue to work with all socialists who continue to imprison themselves inside the Labour Party, calling for comradely debate with them on how to further the interests of our class.

TUSC is also not shoving its socialist politics down the throats of any voter who doesn’t accept every dotted I or crossed T. We are not sectarians who are ideological in our politics. We support democracy. We realise socialism cannot be imposed on the working class and its allies without the support of the masses themselves. But the class struggle goes on regardless of what we or anyone else want. And capitalism is exposing itself ever more as an untenable economic system. The legitimacy of private profit in the railways and banks doesn’t fit reality as far as most people are concerned. And the idea that profits are sacrosanct as Ed Miliband’s entire Shadow Cabinet thinks is no longer credible as far as most of their voters are concerned. This opens up an avenue for TUSC to draw Labour’s core vote into our orbit. This can be done by the strategic use of transitional demands.

If capitalism cannot afford wages and jobs, pensions for the elderly, education for our kids and young adults, and NHS for all of us, decent housing for everyone, health and safety for society, and civil liberties for all… If capitalism wants to ‘fess up to its bankruptcy in these respects, that suits TUSC just fine. It would in such circumstances be accepting that capitalism has outlived its usefulness. If these are the choices offered by capitalism to working people and their families, then working people and their families can no longer afford capitalism. Keep all this in mind during the coming by-elections, comrades.

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