Wednesday, February 29, 2012

All aboard for Ken?

The "Communist" Party of Britain (the successor party to the late, unlamented "Communist" Party) has come out in favour not just of voting for Ken Livingstone for Mayor but of voting Labour everywhere. They say:
"The Communist Party urges the left to unite in support of Ken Livingstone for Mayor of London at the Greater London Authority elections on May 3 2012 (...)
"The Communist Party considers the political priority in the May elections to be the defeat of the Right. This must be achieved through:
The election of Ken Livingstone as Mayor of London.
The election of a Labour majority in the Greater London Assembly."
This puts them at odds with Bob Crow, leader of the RMT (and one of their former members), and the Trotskyists of Militant and the SWP, who have come together to put up a London-wide list composed of leftwing trade unionists -- TUSC (Trade Unionist and "Socialist" Coalition) -- to oppose the Labour Party list. However, this doesn't mean that they won't be voting for Livingstone for Mayor or for Labour candidates in the constituencies. They're not saying anything on this, but this is probably what they will be doing. There's an intriguing paragraph in the report in Socialist Worker on a TUSC conference held earlier this month:
"The meeting discussed the fact that TUSC had decided not to put up a candidate for mayor against Ken Livingstone, after some parts of the coalition including the FBU felt it would not be the best strategy".
They reckon they have a good chance of getting somebody elected and have calculated they will need to get 150,000 votes to do this. If past experience of militant trade unionists standing for political office is anything to go by, they won't get even half that number.

Anyway, here's their reformist programme:
So, capitalism is still going to exist, except that instead of profits coming before people, people's needs are somehow going to be made to come before profits: the banks and big business are going to continue to exist and to make profits but these are going to be taxed to pay for public services, cheap transport and affordable homes. This is classic, failed and impossible reformism.

Meanwhile our candidates will be pointing out that capitalism can never be reformed so as to work in the interests of those who depend on having to work for a wage or a salary to live. We will advocating socialism as a society where there will be no banks and big business, and no profits, but where all productive resources will be commonly owned and democratically controlled by the whole community in the interests of all.This is the only basis on which to provide decent public services, transport, housing and education as it means there can be production geared to satisfying people's needs instead of for profit. People Not Profits, that's the real socialist slogan.

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