Election 2024: Prepare to resist, prepare to fight

It is almost certain now that after July 4th that there will be a Labour government in place. It might either be a landslide for Labour or a victory gained with the Lib Dems in coalition.

This government, headed up by Keir Starmer, will take an actively anti-working class position. It will attempt to dampen down any future workplace struggles in partnership with the union leaderships. In fact, this Starmer administration will be worse than the Blair government of 1997 precisely because of the worsening economic situation.

The British ruling class has been disturbed by the recent wave of strikes and looks to a Labour administration to smother any further outbreaks of industrial unrest. This government, especially if a deal is reached with the Lib Dems, would have the appearance of a national government as with the days of Ramsay MacDonald in 1931. It would follow the economic agenda of the boss class. As Starmer has said “We have worked up our plans in partnership with business. Labour will build a genuine partnership with business and civil society—sleeves rolled up, working for the national interest.” The appearance of  leading bosses like Sebastian James, director of Boots, and member of the notorious Bullingdon Club alongside Boris Johnson and David Cameron at recent Labour events, is a clear indication of the direction in which a future Labour government will go.

Starmer’s little shopping list of  where he will steer Labour include delivering “economic stability with tough spending rules.” In other words, this means a continuation of austerity measures carried out under previous Tory and Labour governments and complicity with the ruling class. He promises more police and “tough new penalties for offenders.” This is in line with his track record on law and order. As Director of Public Prosecutions, he failed to prosecute any police officers over the killing of the innocent Jean Charles de Menezes in 2005. He also blocked the prosecution of a brutal cop over the killing of Ian Tomlinson in 2009. He refused to act over the dodgy trial of environmental activists after it was revealed that spycop Mark Kennedy had acted as a provocateur. Perhaps most important of all, during the student protests of 2010, as DPP he implemented measures against demonstrators, and in 2011 with the riots that erupted in London and around the country, he implemented 24 hour fast tracking of trials that included one person with no previous criminal record sent down for 6 months for possession of a stolen case of bottled water valued at £3.50.  He was knighted by a grateful establishment for these services to the British state. Let us be quite clear, Starmer and his cabinet will not be afraid to unleash the most repressive measures against strikers, environmental activists and those taking action against the murderous campaign of the Israeli state. As it quickly reveals its nature and encounters opposition, it will look for scapegoats, for enemies within.

Labour has also clearly signalled that it will follow previous Tory administrations in a tough stance on refugees with a “new Border Security Command with hundreds of new specialist investigators”  and the use of “ counter-terror powers.”

Even the apparently progressive promise of Labour to set up a publicly owned clean power company is a weak alternative to giving the privatised electricity and gas companies the boot; as is the promise to recruit 6,500 new teachers which would only increase the number of teachers by 1per cent, and the promise to cut NHS waiting times with 40,000 more appointments every week, which fails to clarify which appointments and who will deliver them, the NHS or private health companies.

Labour has already made a U-turn on its previous promise to fund green projects. It promises nothing on action on the environment. It will not repeal any laws restricting industrial action. It has not promised any action on social housing. Even its vaunted list of workers’ rights are completely fudged. Workers would be allowed to stay on zero hours contracts “if they preferred,” which fails to recognise the pressure companies would exercise to make them agree to this. Even changes on fire and rehire have the get-out clause of “important businesses can restructure to remain viable … when there is genuinely no alternative.”

The various Leninist outfits are now embarrassed to call for an outright vote for Labour even “without illusions” or “critically.” Instead, they encourage a vote for various left social-democratic electoral formations, like the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, Transform, the Social Justice Party, various left independents, for those excluded from Labour like Corbyn and Abbott, for the Green Party, and for those remaining pitiful few ‘left’ Labour MPs. Small numbers will be mobilised around such electoral strategies. Besides such electoralism is a diversion from the need to promote and grow autonomous working class organisation in the workplaces and neighbourhoods, to fight the oncoming onslaught from the Starmer regime.