Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 46 Number 22, October 1, 2016 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

The Conduct of Politics and the Fight for Empowerment

The way that politics is being conducted by those who cherish the cartel-style parties is nothing short of hooliganism. The disgrace is that it is being conducted in the name of democracy. It reflects the neo-liberal way of doing things, which is to issue ultimatums and resort to personal attacks, slanders and untruths when the blackmail does not work.

The resort to dictate has become so ingrained with the Westminster cartel parties for which the neo-liberal agenda is the last word in historical development that the slightest challenge to this dictate results in apoplexy. It can be seen, for example, in the way that the Health Secretary has refused to compromise over the universally despised Junior Doctors' contract. In challenging this dictate in court, Junior Doctors have elicited the incoherent and irrational response from the government's lawyers that statements made in Parliament by Jeremy Hunt should not be regarded as his position. At least the Junior Doctors can say that their "imposed" contract is not now being imposed. And the fight continues.

Jeremy Corbyn on the picket lines
during the 1984/5 miners' strike

The hooliganism has been seen within the Labour Party in the failed "remove Corbyn at all costs" behaviour. Those serious in this behaviour seem to have taken their lead from the millionaire warmonger Tony Blair, or at least his New Labour neo-liberal ideology and politics. These attacks on Corbyn, the principles he upholds, and the social movements which he represents, have been relentless. In reality it represents a sharp struggle between what is pro-social and what is anti-social.

However, this struggle is taking place in the context of the complete crisis of the political system and the old way of doing things. The ruling elites have been very happy to see the escalation of dog-fights in the people's and workers' movements. It accords with their method of electoral coups as a permanent feature of life. It makes individuals the issue and when a programme has popular support raises doubts about leadership qualities and tries to undermine stands of principle. This is what the working class and people despise. They reject the gutter politics which treats the people with contempt, pours scorn on building the social movements, and aims to keep the people in a state of disempowerment.

The "new politics" that Jeremy Corbyn affirms that upholds and encourages participation in political life is only just beginning to attempt to come into being. Its outlines are blurred and perhaps illusions exist about the possibilities of its development. But, for sure, what is needed among the people and progressive forces is a break with the old politics which still has influence in the workers' and people's movements. A change is needed not just in policies but in outlook and in the direction the ruling elite is taking society.

There are big concerns in these movements. The Labour Party's slogan under Jeremy Corbyn of "shaping the future" is not so wide of the mark in summing them up. How to shape the future? Those in the leadership of the social movements are striving to break through the blocks to the resistance struggles and change the direction of the economy, social programmes and society as a whole. They know that the conscious participation of the working class and people is crucial. It is also the case that as well as developing the pro-social programme of the working class, which is to increase investment in social programmes, as well as stopping syphoning wealth in the direction of the rich, and thereby developing a pro-social direction for the economy, the movements will come up against those that are intent on upholding monopoly right and implant the old way of thinking and old way of doing things within these movements.

The important thing is for the social movements not to be reconciled to this state of affairs, to keep challenging, and to keep affirming that there is something new, and summing up and learning from their experience. The guideline is for the working class and people to keep the initiative in their own hands, as far as possible, and to take a stand that it is defence of their rights and the rights of all which count. It is up to the people themselves to oppose the trend of depressing the level of political debate and action to the lowest. This will indeed be done by participating in shaping the future, preparing to take control of the future of society. It is a call of the times that the working class and people be engaged in working out the programme for the alternative, an alternative which includes democratic renewal so that the dictate and hooliganism of the cartel-party system is consigned to history.

Together Let Us Chart a New Path!
Let's Work for Empowerment and to Take Control of the Future!

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