"Philosophers have only interpreted the world, the point however is to change" - Karl Marx

This blog is my interpretation, I will do everything I can to change the world along those line

Sunday, 7 February 2010

An intro on why Socialists shouldn't call for a Labour Vote

A recent article by Workers' Liberty has caught my attention so much so that I thought it worth commenting on. I find it extremely difficult to grasp the reality in which they are living. I find it is extremely difficult how a Marxist organisation can at the present time can advocate a vote for the Labour Party. The do add stipulations though, The slogan is 'Vote Labour, Prepare to Fight'.

What does this actually mean though? To say 'Vote Labour', however you say it is to say 'Vote Labour'. Throughout the article it is many clear how bad the Tories are and of course this is all true, in reality the article completely misses the point. Born in 1985 I have spent the whole of my life under tory policies because there is no real difference between Labour and tories these days, in fact in many sectors Labour have gone even further than the Tories dared. The article goes out of the way to point of some of the progressive reforms of Labour such as Tax credits but fails to mention that what Labour has given with one hand has been taken away with the other and the gap between rich and poor is greater than before 1997! Without much democratic structures left in Labour there is not a route to 'reclaim it' so this is simply leading towards a dead end.

The AWL make a point of the trade union link with Labour and the importance of it. Whilst this is a valid point the trade union link can not be ignored. But one only has to look at the TU's which are not affiliated to Labour and those that are. Even amongst those that are it is easy to see a huge mood for braking that link amongst the rank and file and the bureaucracy is hanging on. So really with this as the background the position of 'Vote Labour, Prepare to Fight' plays the role off holding back the the most militant Trade Unionists and giving the bureaucracy left cover. I do not see how the trade union link can be seen as a reason for voting for labour. Whilst there was no official affiliation between TU's and the Liberal Party, but it clear that the Liberals were not a workers party. In the United States the TU's give huge some of money to the Democrats but they again are not seen as a workers party. In Germany we have seen the rise of Die Linke which is supported by socialists internationally yet most of the TU's remain affiliated to the SPD. In consequence the TU affiliation to Labour is nothing more than a historical hangover but not a reflection of Labour's aims. It is what Labour has done which counts.

The actions of the Labour Party of the last 13 years has resulted in pushing away the working class on mass. Membership has more than halved, the only youth to join are Blairites, often even constituency meetings can't get quoracy. At the Welsh Labour Party hustings there was only MP's, AM's, councillors and a handful of others present. The Labour Party is a shell of its former self and the working class generally no longer see it as their party any more. I certainly don't and never have, my first political activities began campaigning against the Labour Party and have done so now for over 7 years. A whole generation of working class youth have only ever known a right-wing Labour party. This is why the tories are likely to win the election despite the working class hatred that exists for them,this is why the BNP is able to gain ground in ex-labour heartlands, because there are countless voters, amongst the older voters who have always voted labour but say they will never vote Labour again because of the betrayals.

So with huge anger of working class people towards the Labour Party, where even the LRC go as far as to say that people are looking for a new party. To say vote Labour in this situation is to say that working class people can not build there own alternative they can only resist the cuts when they come. More importantly though it is a way to drive a wedge between yourselves and anyone you try to convince to vote Labour. Instead socialists should support TUSC or other left candidates where they are standing and where there are none, with a possible few exceptions, Socialists should call for spoilt ballots as a protest and link that to the need to build a real alternative.  


  1. The Vote Labour and fight/organise etc reflects not any hang over of support for Labour amongst the leading sections of the working class, but rather the unwillingness of petit bourgeois socialist groupings to detach themselves from the groups they view as the leaders in the fight for socialism-the trade unionised working class (in reality the better off half on the trade unions who are consistently pro-Labour due to having done very well out of Labour) and the scab trade union leaderships.

    Lenin had a tactic of 'vote LP as rope to hang the reformists with'-that is, a small grp like the British Communist Party of the early 1920s, with the authority of the massively popular revolutionary Comintern and Russian Rev behind it, could rapidly become a leaders of disaffected sections of Labour supporters. This was predicated on being short term and Labour maintaining the allegiance of more than just the labour aristocracy. Conditions are nowt like this today. Marxists should let the dead bury the dead, not try and revive stinking corpses.

    btw, who could ever trust the Alliance of racist Wankers for Palestinian genocide for tactical advice?

  2. I understand fully what you are saying geezer but it is in my own humble opinion that although G. Brown did his bit to ensure that we ended up in the economic sewer that we now find ourselves, you would not have wanted to have seen the results of what the wretched G. Osbourne would have done following the crisis of the collection of Bankers. I also believe that you would not want to see what they will do if they get into power this year.

    I fully understand your frustration towards the Labour Party but unfortunately, they are the best we realistically have for this years upcoming donkeyfest of an election. Personally I can safely abstain from voting as per, but I am fortunate enough to live in an area where Pulp Fiction's "Gimp" once held an 18000 majority. As you reside in a swinger's constituency I fear you do not have this same opportunity to register your disgust.

    To recap. You Vote Labour and I'll go to the pub. Good luck.

  3. I agree the AWL are Zionists.

    Also i don't share your views on the TUSC,

    'virtually all the rest of the spineless British left will be calling for a Labour vote in one way, shape or form:

    •The recently-formed Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) recognises ‘that there will be Labour and non-Labour candidates who agree with our policies, who share our socialist aspirations and who will be supported by left and labour movement organisations participating in our coalition.’


  4. Rob, all the points you have raised here just stink of demoralisation in my opinon. It reeks of a demoralised tendency to think that the best option for the working class is the lesser-evilism of new labour, a tactic which can only serve to prolong the agony and act as a roadblock to the formation of something new, essentially a tactic which at its core will inadvertantly whole back the working class

  5. I agree, I may be demoralised but that's between me and my head-shrinker. But the sad fact is that the upcoming general election, like many before it, is a two horse race. Show me an alternatvie that has a realistic chance of winning and I'm with you but the truth is either Labour will win or The Tories. If you don't want one, you'd better vote for the other. Do you really want to see Cameron moving into no. 10? Do you?

  6. Meaningless who wins. Both parties have made a commitment to wipe 200 billion quid from the state debt in 4 yrs. They both seem very sincere in this pledge, based on the empirical reality of passed governments. Both are committed to mass murder in west Asia, which of course the LP has been up to for a decade or more. They are both committed to perpetrating yet more oppression on migrants and refugees. Resistance is what decides, not voting for a lesser evil which has shown it is in fact just as evil, just as biased, and just as committed to the bosses as the Tories.

  7. Right - but if a Labour defeat were inevitable, then a choice between two negative outcomes is our only option. Surely abstinence would only lessen the numbers and therefore verify a Tory victory? Why should the left be in denial over the election, when voting Labour would mean slightly fewer cuts? It's an affirmative action, if just barely, but it's still worth making the choice.

  8. We are not out for concessions we are out for radical change, the majority of the poor will not vote for any1, this is not negative,it means they see thru the facade of Bourgeois democracy,our job as socialists must surely be to give this disollusionmnt a revolutionary meanin,tht can only be done by buildin a mass movement(involvin every1 the unemployed/employed, organised/unorgaised,old en young etc) organised from a street level up i.e.involvin ourselves in local campaigns against the cuts en by being active on the streets, in other words going to wher the majority of the poor are,outside of parliamentary politics. Attemptin to drag poor people to the right ,back into parliamentary politics, tht is legitimisin this fraud of an election,is not revolutionary!The British Left are incapable of givin effective opposition 2 the cuts as they refuse 2 break from the labour party en parliamentary politics(at a time when it is essential to), therefore they refuse to represent the majority of the wk/c who won't vote, they represent a labour aristocracy such as teachers,public sector workers & are only intrested in defendin there privilidged position within the WK/C . prepare te fight these cuts! Labour,Tories all the same,TUSC legitimise their name. Dont vote Organise! www.revolutionarycommunist.org


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