Elections come and go, but the need for our class struggle remains

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13 November 2019

Fancy promises traditionally feature in any election campaign - only to be forgotten as soon as the ballot is over.  And why would it be otherwise, since this so-called "democratic" system is primarily designed to shield elected politicians - and, above all, their capitalist masters - from being called to account by angry working class voters?
    This time round, though, Johnson is just limping towards election day, leaving behind him a long trail of outright lies, incompetent gaffes and arrogant blunders.
    Take, for instance, his contemptuous response to the North East England floods.  Didn't he dismiss out of hand the idea that this might be a "national emergency", boasting instead about the "billions" that his party was supposed to have spent on flood defences?
    Of course, this wasn't likely to go down too well with the thousands who'd lost their homes in some of the northern constituencies where Johnson's campaign managers were hoping to capture some Labour Leave votes.
    So, in a spectacular U-turn, Johnson summoned an emergency Cobra meeting and announced that 100 soldiers would be deployed to the flooded areas.  Except that this came just after... severe weather warnings for the region were downgraded!  Another blunder on Johnson's record!

The ground we have to reclaim

Not that Johnson hasn't got fancy promises.  But who - at least among working class voters - will take him seriously, given the Tories' record in office over the past decade?
    So, for instance, since the 2008 crisis, the salaries of British company chairmen have increased by 30%, to an average of £400,000/yr.  What's more, two-thirds of these poor guys have a second job - on another company board, of course, and with the fat salary that comes with it!
    Meanwhile, on average, workers' wages are still 2% below their 2008 level.  And if a growing number of workers have a second job or even a third one, it's only due to low pay!
    Of course, we keep being told that we now live in an "era of full employment".  In fact, even the government's own massaged statistics are beginning to tell another story:  job cuts in retail and Brexit-hit industries are taking their toll, with a rise in registered jobless and a sharp decrease in job vacancies.  But in addition, there is what official statistics are deliberately hiding: on the one hand, the fact that the "employed" figure hides a large number of workers whose pay is neither regular nor sufficient to survive; and, on the other, the fact that the official jobless rate of 4.6% (1.3 million) conceals a much larger number of "hidden jobless", which brings the real rate to 13.2% (4.5 million)!
    It is no wonder, therefore, that the number of meals provided by food banks - many of which go to working poor - has risen by almost a quarter over the past year!  Poverty has risen fast under Johnson's friends in office.  This is the price we pay for a decade of policies which were devoted to bailing the capitalists out of the crisis, on the back of the working class.

The class struggle never stops

So, this is the ground that we, workers, have to reclaim!  Ever since the Brexit saga started, our class interests have been pushed onto the sidelines.  Not only has this been a deliberate policy on the part of the Brexit politicians, but we have had no voice of our own on the political scene.
    This is not going to change in the coming election.  All the main parties will offer their loyal services to the bosses, by proposing their own "fast-track solution" to Brexit and promoting the fact that it is the "best solution for Britain" - i.e., for British capital.  But no party will stand in this election to represent the interests of the working class against its exploiters.
    No party will assert unambiguously that there is only one working class and that any attack against migrant workers, any restriction on the free movement of workers, wherever they may be coming from, is an attack against all workers.
    And no party will use the platform of this election campaign to expose the damage caused by the capitalists' private ownership of the means of production to the economy itself, but also to society as a whole.
    So, once again, the working class will have no voice in this election.  But the ballot box is not our weapon of choice.  Voting is not the best way for us to build on the fact that, without our labour, no wealth is produced and nothing works in this society.  For this, we have much more effective weapons - those of the class struggle: mass action in the streets and industrial action at work.  And, Brexit or not, the working class will need to mobilise - and organise - all its forces, beyond all divisions, industrial or national, in order to make the most of its collective strength, so as to reclaim the ground lost to the Johnsons of this world and their capitalist masters.