Forward to state capitalist Britain?

According to Socialist Worker (December 19), “It would have been much more logical to have kept BT under public ownership avoiding sackings all round, and to have relied on the initiative of BT’s workers to improve services”.

It is nice to think that the SWP could run capitalism better than the capitalists, but another point puzzles me. Why does state ownership in Britain give the workers greater control over their lives while, according to the SWP, in the ex-Soviet Union it had the opposite effect? After all state capitalist theory postulates that the more power that lies directly in the hands of the capitalist state the more ruthlessly it can exploit the working class.

What made the cosy class collaboration between the unions and the nation-state - which the article would have us believe was a feature of nationalisation - was the post-war boom, which lasted throughout the fifties and sixties. Since then, spurred by the falling rate of profit, capitalism has created a new, more international division of labour which concentrates its capital in ever larger regional blocs.

The duty of a revolutionary party is not to appease the workers with illusions that you can have workers’ control under capitalism or that their problems can be solved within the boundaries of the nation-state, but to arm them with a revolutionary programme based on understanding reality.

Arthur Lawrence