Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Activity report

It's not that we've not done anything since last Friday, only that we locked ourselves out of our office -- twice. Some might say that this is proof that the Socialist Party couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery or, as Ernie Reynolds, independent "abolishmoneynow" candidate in Swindon North, wrote to us in a letter received on Saturday: "I don't think you are anywhere near ready to govern and do not attract the calibre of people who could well do so provided they believed in the removal of all forms of money to the extent that we do". This may well be true, but we do not want to form a government that will (as Ernie seems to mistakenly envisage) introduce socialism for people. We want people to act for themselves, using the existing political machinery, to establish the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production, which would mean a society in which there would be no government as we know it today (government over people) but merely administration and participatory democracy. We want people to organise the piss-up themselves.
Anyway, back to activity.
On Monday we delivered 59,400 copies of our candidate's election communication to the Royal Mail centre at Nine Elms. These will be distributed free to each household in the Vauxhall constituency and is one of the advantages of contesting an election since £500 (the election deposit which you don't get back unless you get 5 percent of the votes cast) is cheap for distributing that many leaflets. While we were there we noticed those of the other parties, including a bundle of soaked ones from the WRP candidate in Streatham, the other Lambeth constituency, advocating "nationalise all failing businesses" --Keynesianism gone mad, just print money to keep the capitalist economy going. We've bad news for the WRP: it won't work, but would make things worse. There was also a pile from the UKIP candidate for Greenwich which screamed "STOP UNLIMITED IMMIGRATION". Apparently, under EU laws, the whole of the population of the Common Market could decide to come to settle in the UK. Maybe in theory, but then the whole of the population of the UK could -- in theory -- decide to go and settle in Spain, but neither is likely to happen because the labour market doesn't work that way. In any event, UKIP is more concerned with what Enoch Powell used to call "coloured immigration". They're a nasty little racist party on the same level as the BNP combined with the anti-working class attitide of the Freedom Association. But they could pick up a few votes from the Tories.
On Tuesday, the Socialist candidate went by public transport (he left his car at 52 Clapham High Street) to a "Sustainable Transport Election Question Time" organised by the London Cycling Campaign in a dingy room round the back of Vauxhall station. It turned out to be a complete flop. Advertised to commence at 7.30, by 8.00 there were only 4 people present and only one other candidate (the pompous ass from UKIP). After a discussion with the chairwoman, who made it clear that they were only interested in discussing cycle lanes and not socialism, our candidate returned to Clapham.
For the record, the short answer to the written questions they had previously put to us by email such as "are you in favour of a cycle helmet compulsion law", "do you support a 20 mph speed limit across London" (!) and "should the fuel tax escalator be re-introduced" is that we don't do reforms. The long answer is that a Socialist MP would take instructions from the members of the party in his/her constituency as to how to vote on specific measures proposed by others (for, against, abstain) in the light of how it was judged the action would further the cause of socialism and/or the interest of the working class.
Nothing about the election (certainly not about us) in Tuesday's South London Press while the previous Friday's only gave a list of the candidates standing in the 10 constituencies that make up the paper's market. At least readers now know that we're standing. There are also a number of other candidates claiming to be socialist (but actually advocates of state capitalism) standing in the area: the Scargill Labour Party in Dulwich & West Norwood and in Camberwell & Peckham; Militant (as the "Socialist Alternative Party", the electoral law does not allow them to usurp our name on the ballot paper as they would like to do) in Lewisham Deptford; the WRP in Streatham and in Camberwell & Peckham (voters here have 2 state-capitalist candidates to choose between). And, last and least, RESPECT is standing in Tooting but then they have had the decency not to call themselves socialist, even if this is only so as not to frighten off Muslim voters.

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