Elections may come and go, but the class struggle will carry on!

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31 May 2017

It will not make much difference for the working class, whoever gets into Downing Street after June 8th.  If only because the two main parties have pledged to carry on with the Brexit process whatever happens, thereby aggravating the economic chaos it has already started to create.
    And whether the Commons' majority is Tory blue or Labour red - or whether it is a rainbow coalition involving other parties like the SNP - we, workers, will still be confronted with the same problem:  how do we stop the bosses from using Brexit as a pretext to turn the screw of exploitation, whether directly, by cutting our jobs, wages and conditions, or indirectly, by getting their politicians to cut welfare provisions, pensions and public services?
    Ultimately, solving this problem will be far more decisive for our future than choosing which box to cross on the ballot paper on June 8th.

May displays her social arrogance

The election campaign has, however, given us a taste of what to expect from May.
    She kicked it off by posturing as the "nation's leader", standing above party and class.  She told us to vote for "her team", to strengthen her hand in her Brexit horse-trading.  She said June 8th was meant to be a massive display of "national unity" against the EU - primarily behind her, of course!  As if we could possibly have the same interests as British business, just because we happen to have a British passport!
    In fact, the primary aim of May's game is to protect the vested interests of her own party and get an extra 2 years in office.  Because otherwise, Tory MPs would have had to pay a heavy price for the damage caused by Brexit, come 2020!
    At the same time, May expects us to give her a blank cheque in a Brexit process which was only supported by a minority of the electorate.  On the strength of the huge Tory vote predicted by opinion polls, she would have been able to defend British capital's interests against its EU rivals, and then to present us with a predictably hefty bill to pay.
    In all but name, this was a presidential campaign by an arrogant, power-hungry politician.  She thought she could get away with claiming to speak in our name.  But her posturing as someone who represents workers' interests couldn't wash - it only exposed how much politicians of the capitalist class like her are out of touch with our real working lives.
    Eventually, all this presidential business came to an abrupt end with May's plan to get everyone except the richest to pay for the collapse of social care.  In doing so, she antagonised a large section of her party's core electorate.  Having shot herself in the foot she was forced to back-pedal!  And her cynical attempt to make political capital out of the Manchester massacre, by pretending to be a bulwark against terrorism, has not saved her.
                                                                       
Taking matters into our own hands

So, now, May's "strong and stable leadership" has been swept under the carpet and replaced with her worn out "good deal" for British bosses!
    Not only is a vote for May bound to be used against us in the Brexit process, but it will be used to justify more of the same anti-working class austerity policies.  And giving such a blank cheque to our enemies cannot possibly be in our interests!
    But will voting for Labour put us in a better position?  When questioned by Jeremy Paxman on whether the Labour manifesto entirely reflected his positions, Jeremy Corbyn replied, "I am not a dictator", explaining that the manifesto was the result of a consensus in the party.  The truth is that, ultimately, it is the Labour party machinery which dictates Corbyn's policy, not the reverse.
    Having failed to sideline Corbyn, the Labour machinery is using him to save the party's image from the discredit of the Blair years.  This is why Corbyn is able to make radical-sounding promises, on the one hand, while, on the other, having to swallow his own lifelong opposition to Trident.  
    This is also why the manifesto stops short of pledging a wholesale reversal of the past austerity, especially on welfare.  But it does insist on "keeping corporation tax among the lowest of the major developed economies" and commits the party to "put the national interest first" in the Brexit negotiations.  Despite Corbyn's promises, Labour will also put the interests of British capital first, inevitably, at a cost to the working class!  Voting for Labour can't, therefore, allow us to say that we won't foot the bosses' bill in the Brexit process.
    But then the ballot paper has never been a decisive weapon for workers.  What really matters is what comes afterwards and our determination to use our collective strength to stop the bosses and their politicians from wreaking havoc on our backs - by taking our fate into our own hands.  No-one else will do it for us!