Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Cheese and chalk

Went to the May Day Rally yesterday of the Workers Power candidate at the YMCA in Stockwell Road. Apart from the candidate himself there were speakers from some protest movements, the most interesting of which was Alberto Durango, a victimised trade union activist amongst cleaners in the City of London (good luck to you, brother). Photojournalist Guy Smallman was also interesting on his experiences in Afghanistan. All the contributions from the floor were prepared speeches by Workers Power members. There were about 30 people present, overwhelmingly members of this Trotskyist group, in fact they could well have been nearly the whole British section of the League for the Fifth International.

The South London Press has written of there being a head-to-head in Vauxhall between two "leftie" candidates, but the contrast between us and them could not be greater (not that we are "lefties" of course). I remember a socialist speaker once making the point that in the end there were only two approaches towards trying to tackle social problems: those who want to redistribute money and those who want to abolish it.

Workers Power are in the first group, and how! I forked out 30p to pay for their Anticapitalist Manifesto for Vauxhall. Basically they want to tax the rich to improve the conditions of the poor. Here's a few examples:
The money and wealth stolen by the capitalists could be used to pay for hospitals, schools, colleges, nurseries and childcare. The rich would be forced to pay very high taxes to fund massive improvements in housing, education and healthcare. We could create three millions new jobs, build a million council homes and guarantee decent pensions for all in old age.
Here's some more of their promises of what they think can be done with money raised by taxing the rich:
£9 an hour minimum wage for all.
Six weeks paid holiday as a minimum for all workers.
Scrap council tax -- for a local wealth tax.
Jobs for all, funded by taxing the rich and taking over the banks
Benefits to be at level of mimimum wage.
Stop fare rises -- slash bus and tube prices -- make it free by taxing the rich.
For pensions tied to average male earnings.
Automatic and total payment [for pensioners] of all utility bills - gas, electricity, telephone and internet connection.
If they ever got to be interviewed by Jeremy Paxman, he'd be sure to ask "Has all this been costed?". To which the other Jeremy will no doubt reply: "It will be paid for out of the £1 trillion the government gave to the banks which we will take back". Next question: what happens when this £1 trillion has been used up as it would be fairly quickly to pay for the measures just listed? And you can't keep taxing the rich unless you allow them to go on exploiting workers for profits to be taxed. But, surely, if most of their profits are going to be taxed away, they won't bother re-investing their capital?

They call us utopians but this is just fantasy politics. Of course they don't believe a word of it (and if they did that would only make them fools rather than knaves). It's all part of a cunning plan devised by Baldrick Trotsky to get workers to Follow the Vanguard. But workers aren't stupid. They may not be socialists, but they know what's possible under capitalism and what isn't and, if they want reforms, they're not going to follow the Vanguard but will vote instead for some reformist party that they judge will have a better chance of getting them a few crumbs (or, these days, of taking away less of the crumbs they've got).

We, on the other hand, unlike all the other parties don't think that the solution lies is trying to redistribute money amongst the population. As we say in our manifesto for the local elections:
Most politicians blame our problems on lack of money, but this is not true. Money doesn't build hospitals, schools decent housing and a healthy environment. The things that make a good community can only be created by the work of the people. We have an abundance of skills and energy. If we were free from having to work for the profits of employers we would be able to work for the needs of everyone.

The profit system is oppressive; it dominates our lives. It plagues us with bills. The rent and mortgage payments, the food bills, the rates, gas, electricity, water and telephone bills. Money is used to screw us for the profits of business. If we don't pay, we don't get the goods. Without the capitalist system, a socialist community would easily provide for all of its members..


Anonymous said...

Glad you came along and enjoyed some of the speakers. Pity you refused to talk to anyone and lacked the courage to stand up and give a speech. What good will you be faced with counter-revolutionary thugs – or even Jeremy Paxman – if you don't have the guts to speak to other socialists?

Darren said...

". . . lacked the courage . . ."

That's pretty risible coming from someone who signs themselves as 'anonymous'.

Knowing the writer of the post, it's also laughable to make such an accusation against him. I've attended many meetings where the poster has spoken in opposition to the platform, whether it be Labour, Tory, Vanguardist, Anarchist etc etc.


Maybe next election, Workers Power will have the guts to stand under their own banner rather than hiding behind their latest front and its attendant shopping list of half-baked reformist demands.

Anonymous said...

I spoke to the SPGB member for about half an hour and he didn't at any point identify himself or disagree with anything I said. Why not give the "left reformists" the benefit of his insight in person rather than fromt he safety of a computer screen where you can safely look up declarations from 1914 and verify the party line in good time?

On the other point you'll find every single election material said WORKERS POWER on it.