Class fighters!

On April 6 in Scotland SNP, Labour and Tory will be vying for working class votes in the ‘shadow’ council elections. But none of them are offering anything for workers in Scotland. There is an alternative - Vote Communist and join the fightback

THE NEXT two months will be important for all political parties. Following the elections in Scotland in April, local elections take place in England and Wales.

The Communist Party intends to take the elections by storm, fielding candidates wherever we can, but also taking the message to the whole country: only by organising together in our own Party can the working class beat back the attacks of the bosses’ parties - Labour, SNP and Tory - both nationally and locally.

But our vision extends much further than just defending our rights under capitalism. We need to get rid of the system itself, which is so deeply unpopular.

This may seem an impossible and even crazy task to many, and yet the mass of the working class accepts that the system itself is irrational and brutal.

Communists know - from knocking on doors in previous elections, from our campaigning for striking signal workers last year and from our work against hospital closures and against the Criminal Justice Act - that the market system - capitalism - is more unpopular than perhaps ever before.

There is a huge backlash in society against the capitalist triumphalism that followed the collapse of the bureaucratic regimes throughout Eastern Europe. The bourgeoisie claimed that this meant that communism was dead and that we must all tighten our belts and grit our teeth to make capitalism work better.

But as the reality of capitalism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union comes home, with unemployment, homelessness, disease and Mafia-type gang war running the economies, capitalist triumphalism can no longer be sustained.

At home Thatcherism may have weakened the working class but it quite evidently has not made Britain great again. It has however removed many of its own safety valves - breaking the social democratic consensus and making effective trade unionism illegal with a barrage of anti-trade union laws followed up by the Criminal Justice Act.

This latest act has turned a whole layer of youth - previously interested primarily in partying - into an organised voice which is vehemently anti-Tory and often anti-state. The attacks on trade union organisation mean that if there is an explosion of anger the trade union bureaucrats will not be able to control it.

The Tories have created the conditions for the development of unofficial organisation which bypasses the traditionally conservative leaders. Postal workers demonstrated the possibilities for this when they took unofficial action across London sorting offices last month. The channels for official action were closed to them but, although the union was fined, the united solidarity action of postal workers meant they won their demands.

The tragedy for the working class at the moment is that the depth of anti-capitalist sentiment is not organised in a force for change. In fact it comes in the absence of any vehicle even offering an alternative to the market - both ‘official communism’ and social democracy have collapsed.

Blair unambiguously promises to run capitalism. The Labour Party therefore cannot act as a mouthpiece for the discontent at the base of society. Rather it is successfully making itself acceptable to the establishment, as Financial Times owners, Pearsons, indicated with its donation last week.

In local government the SNP in Scotland has shown that it is quite as corrupt and ruthless as the Tories, despite the opportunist ‘socialist’, ‘nationalist’ or ‘conservative’ rhetoric it uses, depending on which audience it is addressing.

The failure of capitalism and its parties, the collapse of the regimes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union and of ‘official communism’ has produced a vacuum in society - an absence of a party that can offer hope for the future. We know that those voting for the Labour Party do not believe it will radically change their lives, but they just hope after 17 years of Tory rule that it cannot be worse.

In this situation the parties of the revolutionary left which call for a vote for Labour are doing the working class a great disservice. As social democracy collapses back into Liberalism, these groups are busy shoring it up - ‘defending’ clause four and urging the working class to vote Labour to kick the Tories out.

In Scotland on April 6 it devolves on the Communist Party to offer the vision of a different society that the working class so desperately needs. Given such a vision, the anger that exists can be forged very quickly into a material force capable of sweeping aside this barbaric capitalist system and building a society for the needs of humanity, not the profits of a few bosses.

Lee-Anne Bates