Election or not, our future depends on our fights

30 October 2019

So, December 12th it will be:  MPs have finally agreed on a date for an early general election which, according to them, is supposed to return Westminster to some sort of working order.
    Not that this will make Parliament and the government work for us, the working class majority, of course!  That's not what parliaments are meant for, anyway.  Their only purpose is to manage the capitalists' affairs to the best of the capitalists’ interests - and, by the same token, to allow politicians to take care of their own careers!
    In fact, whoever gets elected, the working class won't be represented in this Parliament.  After all, aren't all parties insisting on how "business-friendly" their policies are?  Ultimately, however, no policy can be both "business-friendly" and "worker-friendly".  At one point or another, something has to give - and these parties have long decided that they will do whatever it takes to protect the capitalist class, its profits and its order, whatever the cost to the working class!

The persistent shadow of Brexit

Of course, the long shadow of Brexit will hang over this general election.  Johnson is desperate to prevent his twin rival, Nigel Farage, from raiding the Tory electorate’s vote.  And to do this, he is prepared to go to any lengths to out-Farage the Brexit Party by pandering to the prejudices out of which Farage has built his electoral gains.
    In fact, Johnson's overbidding against Farage started when he first announced that "law and order" would be the focus of his election campaign.  He promised more prisons and longer sentences, when Britain already has one of Europe's largest prison populations and when poverty, the breeding ground of criminality, is rising.  But what does Johnson care if his "law and order agenda" is pure nonsense, as long as it allows him to increase his support among Farage's potential voters?
    Likewise for Johnson's anti-migrant overbidding and his claim that Brexit will allow "us" to "regain control of our borders".  But haven't these archaic national borders long been turned into murderous weapons against the populations of this world, and used again and again as a pretext for war by the ruling classes?  Isn't it in "our" interest, as workers, to get rid of these borders once and for all?
    In fact, the bodies of the 39 Vietnamese workers who were found dead in a trailer, last week in Grays, are a shocking and terrible indictment of the cynical hypocrisy which lies behind the tighter border controls championed by the likes of Johnson and Farage.
    Johnson and Priti Patel may well blame "human traffickers" for these deaths.  But the main criminals in this case are elsewhere.  They are the British politicians, mostly Tory, who, over the past two decades, have closed every possible alley for workers like these Vietnamese men and women to seek a better life by coming to work legally in Britain!
The memory of Grenfell won’t go away

One reminder from the past that Johnson would certainly have preferred to avoid, comes in the form of the latest report on the Grenfell Tower fire.  Among other things, this report highlights how the lack of resources prevented the fire service from doing its job in the run-up to, and during the fire, and how local government neglect played a role in this.
    This is an indictment of Johnson's policies as mayor of London, when he presided over drastic cuts in the London Fire Brigade - and turned a blind eye to the criminal negligence of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea regarding the safety of its high-rise council estate tenants.
    But, of course, both for Johnson and for the Tory leader of this local council, the Grenfell Tower tenants were just anonymous poor among the poor - people who were far too low on the social ladder to be worth even a few seconds of these politicians' precious time.  As a result, 72 of these tenants died and as many were injured.  And the fact that Johnson had a direct role in this should be a cause for anger.
    In their own way, however, the Johnsons and the Farages of this world are true to their word: the future they have in store for us is the kind of low-wage, low-tax, low-regulation (“freeport”!) post-Brexit Britain that they have been hailing for so long.
    So us workers should know by now that the future Johnson promotes is tailored to the needs of the capitalists, whose interests he seeks to represent.  In a world which remains caught in the grip of a deep economic crisis, the capitalist class is looking for ways to protect its profits and this is what Johnson is offering, at workers’ further expense.
    The capitalists and their politicians know that our best defence is to attack, which is why they try so hard to divide our ranks along the lines of nationality.  In the run-up to the election, their anti-migrant and anti-foreign rhetoric is likely to get even louder.  They think this will paralyse a collective working class fight back.  What we have to do, is prove them wrong!