Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 46 Number 24, December 10, 2016 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE


The End of the Old Arrangements

Recent events in Britain, the US and elsewhere, which represent a growing political crisis for the powers-that-be, have been interpreted and commented on in such a way as to create the maximum confusion, to add to the racist, anti-people and anti-working class atmosphere that allegedly so concerns the interpreters and commentators. There are some commentators who are more concerned with what they consider to be the demise of "liberalism" and others who are more concerned with what they consider to be a rightwards political shift. Some even go so far as to discern the threat of fascism, whether in the large-scale support for Brexit, or the election of Trump in the United States. Others present things in terms of a surge of "populism" and the rise of the "radical right" and "radical left". It is this latter approach which has been presented by Tony Blair as an excuse for his re-intervention into domestic political life as a champion of the "muscular centre". Blair claims that his aim is "to create the space for a political debate about where modern Western democracies go and where the progressive forces particularly find their place."

Such commentaries and interpretation are two sides of the same coin, in that what they often have in common is the tendency to blame the working class, and especially what is referred to as the "white working class", for problems that are the consequence of an outmoded political system, designed to keep the majority disempowered, and a capital-centred economy which denies the producers of wealth the fruit of their labour. Such confusion-mongering in the British context is the continuation of the campaign of disinformation that was unleashed by the Leave and Remain campaigns during the period of the EU referendum.

The EU referendum was characterised by campaigns led by the most reactionary sections of the Westminster consensus. They were blatantly misleading, not to mention openly xenophobic and racist, and the right of the electorate to make an informed choice was completely denied. However, it must be added that for many years the major political parties have created the conditions for this climate of disinformation, fear and hysteria, whether in regard to the EU, migrants, Muslims or others. In this climate, all the conditions are prepared for the activities of the organised fascists, as well as those associated with backward and deranged individuals. Such were the circumstances which led to the murder of the MP Jo Cox, a crime which should be viewed as the responsibility not of one individual but of the entire political system.

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The vote for withdrawal from the reactionary EU, the organisation of the big European monopolies, was a stand against austerity and against the trampling over sovereignty. Indeed, it has since highlighted the question as to where sovereignty should lie: not with the EU, nor with parliament, but with the people. It could be viewed as part of a wider struggle between the old and the new in Britain. Nevertheless, in the wake of the result, which was both a demand for the alternative and a rejection of the status quo, the numerous incidents of racism and xenophobia which had accompanied and been produced by the reactionary Leave and Remain campaigns were highlighted and blamed on the electorate, the workers and especially the "white workers", who it is claimed were simply anti-migrant and worse.

In the US election, one of two reactionary candidates has been elected. The result was also a product of a massive campaign of disinformation and confusion-mongering organised by the party machines and the monopoly-controlled media. Nevertheless, many British-based commentators have echoed the view expressed by those in the US to the effect that the election of Trump is, rather like the Brexit vote, the fault of the workers and especially the "white working class" which, like Trump, is racist, sexist, xenophobic and backward. Everything is done to hide the fact that it is the US state which is anti-worker, sexist and racist and anti-immigrant as well as profoundly anti-communist, which is why the election result is blamed on the working class. As in Britain, in the US too the conditions are created to encourage the activities of the organised fascists as well as violent actions by backward and deranged individuals. This too is a product of the entire election campaign as well as the activities of the state that preceded it, such as the numerous racist murders carried out by the police.

What cannot be denied is that in the US the struggles of the working class, women, youth, African Americans and others are on the upsurge both in opposition to the election result and for their rights and an alternative to the status quo. So too in Britain the struggle for the alternative, against austerity, in defence of the rights of all continues and must be raised to a higher level. The struggles of the workers and other democratic people against the diktat of the EU must also be stepped up as it is evident that attempts are being made to thwart the popular will which demands that sovereignty is vested in the people. At the same time, it is evident that a new situation is developing in which it is even more necessary for the working class to have its own analysis, its own thinking and its own independent programme. In this context, it is vital to counter all the disinformation, smears and anti-worker propaganda and unite all sections of the people around the historic mission of the working class to constitute itself the nation in a socialist Britain.


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