1 June 2015

Socialists looking forward after May 2015

Following the Conservative election victory on 7 May 2015, the Left should be guided by the following points:

1. We all lament the new Tory majority government, and the electoral system that gave this party a parliamentary majority with 37 percent of the votes.

2. Socialism, meaning the ending of capitalism, is no longer on the political agenda in Britain, at least in the short and medium term. Nevertheless, we should campaign for a meaningful shift of income and wealth in favour of ordinary working people and struggle for the advancement and protection of civic freedoms and human rights. One only has to look across the Channel to some of Britain’s neighbours to see that such things are possible, even within the framework of capitalism.

3. When contrasted with the Tories, Labour is to be preferred - and there remain a small number of Labour MPs who are personally committed to Left causes. Yet the main logic of operation of the Labour Party is to reinforce the existing political system and to maintain and promote capitalist power. In the absence of any electoral pact with Labour (an unlikely possibility) we rightly challenge Labour in elections.

4. Left Unity or any other leftist party is unlikely to become a major electoral force, particularly within the framework of the FPTP electoral system. Progressive voters, even if they are willing to abandon Labour (and after all Labour is a serious contender to the Tories in many seats), have two left-of-Labour options ourselves and the much larger Greens. Exclusive electoralism cannot be an option: Left Unity must be as much a campaigning organisation as it is an electoral one, if it is to serve any purpose.

5. Although the Green Party is not a socialist party, we need to work with and within the Greens and strive for as much synchronisation of policy as possible. In some cases it makes sense for socialists to join the Greens as individuals and to work to build that party. In others building a separate Left Party is the best option. Dialogue between the Left and Greens is always desirable.

6. We must support the progressive demand for an independent Scottish state to be established for the benefit of all the people who live in that territory irrespective of their nationality or ethnicity.

7. We support the continued membership of the EU by all the component units of the British Isles (the UK, the Republic of Ireland and a future independent Scotland). Withdrawal could only benefit nationalist reactionary and ultra-free-market forces in the UK, particularly in England. The Left seeks to realises its objectives not just in the UK but in association with others across the EU member states.

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