The following is a letter submitted to the News and Star:
A recent reader's letter praised the Carlisle Socialist Party for
consistently fighting the bedroom tax and all the cuts to jobs and
public services, but said we should join the Labour Party. Yet it was
Labour which introduced the bedroom tax in the private rented sector and
which is now going to destroy another 600 jobs in Cumbria, cut living
standards further, take bus money from 16 year old students, effectively
isolate the poorest and in Carlisle even snatch away our bairns'
Whether governing alone or in bed with the Lib-Dems or even with the
Tories (!), apart from the rhetoric there is no longer any substantial
difference between Labour and the older parties of the rich. That's why
people are leaving Labour to join the Socialist Party.
And it will be no better under a Labour government than now. Balls and
Milliband have repeatedly made clear they will not reverse Osborne's
austerity attacks on working class people but have pledged to carry on
his policies. What part of that pledge do LP members not understand?
The LP is not a vehicle for the poorest to fight the unfair cuts, nor
for workers fighting to regain lost living standards nor for the lost
generation of young people facing a future of debt, low pay or
unemployment. Why would any public sector worker join a party committed
to cutting her pay, pension or job? Why would any young private sector
worker fighting against exploitation and inequality join a party which
is firmly on the side of big business by maintaining a low investment,
low wage, deregulated and globalised economy with the longest hours,
worst employment rights and worst anti-union laws in Europe?
Anyway, Miliband won't tolerate any democratic and effectively organised
opposition from socialists in the party. The few councillors who have
stood up for socialist values and refused to meekly carry out Osborne's
and Pickles' cuts are being expelled. And its impossible to go back to
the democratic rules which allowed working class people to influence
policy, since the Blair-Brown-Miliband corporate takeover. Even the
biggest workers' organisation in the country, Unite, was publicly
humiliated and bogusly reported to the police for the "crime" of
recruiting workers to the party to let them have a democratic say.
On March 1st this abusive relationship will be cemented when a stitched
up party conference lasting just 2 hours will formally destroy the
collective, class voice of the trade unions which built the party in the
first place. Democratic conferences have already been replaced by
American style fan club conventions and "Policy Forums" undemocratically
selected by a self-perpetuating careerist elite who have never worked
in a factory in their lives.
Trade unionists will be atomised and isolated under "one member one
vote", getting their information about party leadership candidates from
the millionaire media moguls, with MPs having an effective veto over the
shortlist to prevent any socialist or workers' champion getting a
voice. As from next week "Labour" will completely cease being a workers'
party in any sense, its relationship to trade unions being that of the
Democrats in America - they hand over their members' money over but have
zilch influence on policy.
We therefore need to build a new, mass workers' party based on unions,
anti-cuts campaigns and socialist parties to represent the majority of
society. As such the Carlisle Socialist Party will be supporting
candidates for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (led by the
railway workers' Bob Crow) in the coming local elections, and I urge
those who support the traditions of the real Labour Party to join us.