Birmingham congress closes

Whilst the Tory Conference met in central Birmingham, just a mile away a very different congress was taking place. The congress of the CPGB-ML, held over three days has elected a new leadership, adopted a new rule book, and passed a number of resolutions which will inform the future direction of the party in the immediate future.

Our new Chair, Ella Rule is joined by two Vice Chairs Joti Brar & Zane Carpenter. A new central committee will now carry out the important work which confronts us.

British workers demand Brexit!

BW Brexit

This weekend saw the UKIP conference in Birmingham. For every Neil Hamilton on the platform there were dozens of saner Brexiteers from amongst the various strata of  British society in the audience. Most are members of UKIP for one very simple reason; its continued opposition to membership of the EU. The ‘left’ in Birmingham like other towns, is made up of self-righteous, unthinking puppets. Rather than talk to delegates the Birmingham ‘left’ made a small demonstration outside the conference and claimed it was all part of fighting racism. The usual individuals turned up – that is the very same people who are rabidly hostile to Russia, invite known Mi5 operatives onto anti-war platforms in the town, and back the imperialist Labour party the hilt. The trotskyite delusion is a permanent revulsion. Needless to say, CPGB-ML had nothing to do with the ludicrous protest. We spent time during the conference talking to delegates, trying to gauge their attitudes on a range of subjects, sold lots of socialist literature to them and attempted to put some of our opinions on Brexit to them. Except for a tiny minority, we found that  most were willing to listen to our point of view whilst the only attempt at intimidation came from the local police.

British workers must not allow the referendum result to be overturned. Theresa May’s strategy and favoured proposals differ according to which day of the week it is, and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party has never held a clear and consistent position. The furore that continues amongst the ruling class is never-ending and the liberal media continue to propagandise for the overturning of Brexit.

Attacks on the Brexiteers & attempts to overturn the referendum

Divisions among the ruling class over Brexit continue to be clear for all to see: the liberal bourgeoisie continues to pursue its anti-people, anti-Brexit agenda and remains committed to overturning the referendum result. This has been particularly evident in newspapers such as the Guardian and Observer, which have been desperately pursuing every possible avenue for overturning the vote.

A recent line of attack has been to jump on what is essentially a student petition: “Predicting a young people’s revolt over the coming months, student unions – representing 980,000 students at 60 of the country’s leading universities and colleges – are writing to MPs… calling on them to back a ‘people’s vote’ before a final Brexit deal can be implemented.”

If a second vote on the referendum takes place and Britain does vote on the final deal, it is worth remembering that university students are not the only young people who were too young to vote in the referendum. For every student there are many more disenfranchised working-class teenagers. If these young people could be mobilised to defend their class interests, the pro-Brexit vote would only grow.

Government and opposition chaos

The divisions within the Conservative Party (and, therefore, the government) are mirrored by those in Labour. Both parties continue to tear themselves apart over Brexit, and this chaos of the bourgeoisie can only be welcomed by class-conscious workers.

The government finds itself at a roadblock. The sheer impossibility of the situation should long ago have led to the downfall of the government. The problem is that most bourgeois opinion is terrified of a Corbyn-led Labour government, as there is no guarantee that it can be dissuaded from implementing at least some measures inimical to imperialist interests, even though it is a better bet than the Tories for finding a means of escaping the Brexit vote.

The chaos looks set to continue, and will only be made worse by the deepening economic crisis, which is bound to take a further lurch downwards before long.

Foreigners are constantly blamed for the lack of jobs, low wages and poor social provision that are caused by capitalism, and workers are urged by bourgeois politicians and media alike to swallow the lie that if it wasn’t for ‘all the immigrants’ there would be jobs available at high wages for all native-born Britons, along with readily available housing at affordable rents and a decent level of social provision.

Free market economics is bad for Britain

The truth, however, is that capitalism, in its desperate drive to push down production costs, must inevitably try to push down wages and social provision, too – not only to maximise profits, but also to survive the competition from its rivals and to win the struggle over markets.

If immigration were stopped tomorrow and average wages rose, it would not be long before enterprises presently relying on cheap labour closed down altogether, with their capitalist owners either being driven out of business and/or deciding that their money was better invested abroad and/or investing in new machinery that would lessen the need to hire workers.

That is why, despite the constant increase in productivity (which ought to lead to a shorter working day and higher living standards for all of us), living standards for workers continue to be pushed relentlessly downwards all over the world.

According to Oxfam: “In 2015, just 62 individuals had the same wealth as 3.6 billion people – the bottom half of humanity. The figure is down from 388 individuals as recently as 2010. Since the turn of the century, the poorest half of the world’s population has received just 1 percent of the total increase in global wealth, while half of that increase has gone to the top 1 percent.”

Foreign and native-born workers alike suffer as a result of this downward pressure on wages and benefits, whatever country’s labour force they happen to belong to. Our only possible defence is our ability to fight back – an ability that is lost if the working class is divided against itself, whether on xenophobic lines or any other basis.

Far from exciting hatred, working-class immigrants to this country should be treated with sympathy, since it is clear that the overwhelming majority who leave their countries of origin only do so because they feel they must in order to escape poverty, starvation, persecution or war.

Just like us, they love their families and are simply doing whatever they can to take care of them and secure their futures.

So long as capitalism exists, so long will workers have to fight every inch of the way to maintain reasonable living standards for themselves and their families – and will periodically suffer real deprivation as a result of battles being lost.

So long as capitalism exists, there will always be a reserve army of unemployed – both of local people and of people abroad – who are desperate for work. Competition among workers for jobs is built into the capitalist system, and so the proletariat must not allow itself to be tricked into believing that it is other workers who are the enemy.

The sole and only cause of this desperate situation is the continued survival of the capitalist system, which stands convicted of an utter inability to cater to the even the most basic needs of the overwhelming majority of humanity.

If capitalism was overthrown and replaced by a planned, socialist economy, in which all society’s resources were used to provide for the needs of the working people and their families, there would be no such thing as unemployment and no such thing as competition for jobs.

Every person would be found something essential to do, and all labour would enrich the whole of society. Under socialism we shall apply the fair, basic economic law of socialism: he who does not work, neither shall he eat.

 

Photos from Birmingham Home Care workers rally

Addressing Home Care strikers on Saturday, Unison West Midlands Regional Secretary Ravi Subramanian told workers that he has had a meeting with Labour council leader Ian Ward, who assures Ravi the dispute will be resolved in line with “Labour values”. If those are the same values which shafted the same workers earlier this year (after Labour secured a majority on the council once more after the local election), which introduced an extra 50 working days a year for bin men last year, then Unison strikers need to be wary. The Labour party in the trade unions is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.