Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials - 20 February 2019

20 February 2019

Two seemingly unlinked events this week illustrate the social crisis in Britain.  First, the break-away of a gang of Labour MPs, now joined by others, including 3 Tories (at the time of writing...) to form an "Independent Group".  Some Labour quitters may have given no better reason than their personal hatred of their "leader".  But for these MPs - all Remainers - being against Brexit is the issue which binds them together, although they are also united in their anti-working class ideas.
    The other event was the announcement of the forthcoming closure of Swindon's Honda factory in 2021 - with its boss asserting that this is "not about Brexit" - apparently.
    Of course Brexit has precipitated a "political" crisis.  It impacts society, the economy and companies' decisions.  So let us firstly take the "Independent Group" of MPs:  it's said that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce.  This is farce.  Unlike the Gang of Four, mostly former serving government minsters who struck out against the Labour Party to launch the SDP in 1981, but still failed to form a party, this disparate group is unlikely to transform into anything.  No wonder they do not wish to call by-elections.  Nevertheless, they claim they are going to fix the "broken politics" which they claim is the main problem in this society!
Who broke politics?
For sure, these phoney politics "doctors" aren't alone in talking about broken politics.  Media commentators have been saying this for some time; books have been written about it - not simply as a British phenomenon, but one manifesting itself with Trump in the US, Macron in France, Salvini in Italy, and Bolsonaro in Brazil, etc...
    If there are "broken" politics, these hypocrites, who created such politics in the first place, are not going to fix the problem, that is certain.  Because the real problem is the broken social and economic system, upon which their politics are based - in other words, the capitalist system.  And hasn't it been broken for a very long time?
    In fact, capitalism has been trying to find ways to "fix" itself for over 100 years, but always at a cost humanity can ill afford: it waged two world wars, several wars for oil and wars to overthrow anyone who wouldn't play ball with the richest of the rich.  And now the capitalists' profits-first system threatens the very planet itself.  As school students' placards said last Friday "we need system change, not climate change!".  Indeed, we now have a broken planet - yet scientists already warned of global warming in 1959!  It's a matter of urgency that the broken system is changed - it is already late in the day.
The real problem is capitalism
So what about the Honda factory?  The boss said his decision wasn't to do with Brexit.  But it’s definitely to do with this crisis-ridden capitalist system and its shrinking markets.  Company bosses are constantly looking for ways to keep their profits flowing and growing.  Not only by continuously trying to increase the exploitation of workers - making fewer produce more, for less - but also competing with each other and getting handouts from "their" governments under any pretext whatsoever.
    Brexit, however, has brought its own special problems to manufacturing industry.  Ford says Brexit already cost them an extra £614m this year.  Along with Airbus, RollsRoyce, and JLR, it has threatened withdrawal of future investment in the event of a "hard" Brexit.
    And many companies, using the really wonderful-for-the-bosses Brexit excuse, are already increasing exploitation of workers:  Ford wants to cheapen labour further this year, by introducing a 3-tier workforce.  BMW says it won't make any of its huge army of temps permanent this year, "because of Brexit".  And JLR, having already cut over 1,000 jobs "due to Brexit" is threatening to close 3 plants for the same reason.
    As for Japanese companies, like Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Sony and Panasonic, which located to Britain because it was a gateway to the EU - they can find something much better now, thanks to the just-signed Japan-EU “no-tariffs” trade deal.  So bad luck to the workers who will lose their jobs?  But what kind of "system" throws the very hands and bodies that fed it, onto the rubbish heap?  The answer is: a worn out and "broken" system!
    It is true that there is no alternative in the political mainstream which offers the possibility of changing this system.  Simply because it cannot be changed through "parliamentary democracy", which was developed precisely to uphold it.  Labour, whether hard left, soft left, with or without Corbyn, certainly doesn’t offer this.  It will be the task of the working class through its actions - organised on its own basis, in its very own party, to make this change, by overthrowing capitalism.  Which is the only way anything will ever be fixed.