The working class will "overcome some day" - the sooner, the better

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
8 May 2024

On the morning after the local elections, which saw the Tories lose 479 council seats, PM Rishi Sunak tried to put a brave face on it and said that the result of the coming General Election “is not a foregone conclusion... it is closer than many people are predicting...”.

    He may have a point. The Labour Party was only 9 points ahead on the basis of the votes cast... As for the Blackpool South by-election, with its “record” 26% swing to Labour, “the third-largest Labour-to-Conservative swing since 1945", over which Starmer was so cock-a-hoop, this is hardly a great achievement.

    After all, Blackpool South was a Labour seat from 1997 to 2019, when it was lost to the Tories in Boris Johnson's "Get Brexit done" election - along with 47 other Labour Red Wall seats.

    Since then, nothing has changed in the Red Wall for the jobless and ageing working class of this decimated former industrial region - no “levelling up” as promised by Michael Gove. Why would voters turn out for the Tories today?

A vote against Labour...

However, if Labour got back some of its traditional voters it was by default... Between 1 in 3 and 1 in 4 people voted, in other words almost 3/4 of the electorate didn't even bother. That's how enthusiastic everyone was!

    It’s not just cynicism or “voter apathy”. All three of the mainstream parties have lost support because of their policy on Gaza. In the West Midlands Mayoral election Labour’s much-celebrated win was by just 1,508 votes, because “independent”, Akhmed Yakoob, standing against Starmer’s support for Netanyahu’s Gaza slaughter, took 69,621 votes, coming in 3rd.

    Jamie Driscoll came second in the contest for North East Mayor, taking an even bigger chunk out of Labour’s vote. He was the former Labour mayor, who Starmer threw out of the party for consorting with pro-Palestinian film director Ken Loach (who was thrown out for consorting with pro-Palestinian Jeremy Corbyn, who was thrown out for “anti-Semitism”, of which he wasn’t guilty!). As many as 126,652 people still voted for Driscoll.

    Starmer boasts that he has "changed" Labour by travelling up the Tory road. But he's mistaken if he thinks working class voters will follow. Anyway, in government Labour will serve the needs of the British capitalist class and implement imperialist policy, as dictated by the US, as it always has.

...and for the Palestinians

It's this imperialist policy which is tearing apart the Middle Eastern working class, and deceiving the people of Gaza. On the night of 6 May, they were cheering in the rubble-strewn streets, having heard that Hamas had accepted an Egyptian-Qatari mediated ceasefire.

    But it wasn’t true. Netanyahu said that no way would he turn back from his invasion of Rafah, unless Hamas capitulated completely. So the exchange of prisoners - the 100 Israelis, hopefully still alive somewhere in Rafah - was left hanging on a knife edge. And one should remember that there are also 9,500 Palestinian “hostages” in Israeli jails also hoping for an exchange.

    Netanyahu, who knows his political days are numbered, intends to cause as much carnage as possible before he goes. That carnage now includes suppressing press freedom; he has closed down Al Jazeera's East Jerusalem offices.

    Inevitably this horrific war will come to an end. It has left the political system which props up the likes of Netanyahu discredited and its leaders soaked with blood. They will not live this down. The bell tolls for them. Its first sounds are the protests of youth around the world, which started at Columbia University, in the imperialist heartland. They’re singing “we shall overcome”...