Britain

This is the final part of the British Perspectives document. The issues which it covers are the trade unions and the Labour party, and the Marxists' orientation towards the mass organisations. Also covered is the importance of the youth, emphasing the importance of theory and the training of Marxist cadres for the enormous events that impend in Britain and elsewhere.

In this section we deal with the question of the Blair government, the increasing abstentions of the working class, and the growing discontent affecting all sections. It also deals with the Conservative party, the natural party of the ruling class, which has shifted to the “centre” ground and won back a layer that voted Liberal Democrat.

Ten years ago in Britain, at the time of the sudden death of Diana, we witnessed an outburst of popular feeling without precedent in recent British history. It was an entirely new phenomenon, reflecting an entirely new situation in Britain. Here we republish Alan Woods’ article written in 1997 which looked at the serious crisis the monarchy and the British establishment were facing at the time.

On Thursday 18th July comrades of the British Socialist Appeal showed their solidarity with the Peoples Youth Block (BJP) by protesting outside the embassy of El Savador against the repressive measures employed by the government. A letter of protest was received, signed by leading trade unionists from the NUJ, PCS, CWU, ASLEF, UNISON and the TGWU.

Brown has replaced Blair as leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister, but has anything fundamental changed? Absolutely not! And yet behind this seemingly uneventful change lies the manoeuvre to stop John McDonnell to stand for the leadership. All the indications were that John would have made a good showing. Something is stirring in the British labour movement.

As the Middle East descends deeper into a vicious cycle of death and destruction, the Reverend Blair has stepped once again onto the world stage as international “envoy for the Middle East”. Blair has the strong backing of the US President George W. Bush. In other words, Blair will bend the knee as always to US imperialism and its interests.

This year marks the 300th anniversary of The Act of Union between Scotland and England. This was accompanied by the merger of the parliaments into one Westminster Parliament. In January 1707, the Scottish parliament voted 110-67 to ratify The Treaty of Union, which became law four months later.

While GDP in Britain is supposed to be the fifth largest in the world, the division of this wealth is extremely unequal. What growth has taken place has mainly been by increased exploitation of workers. The market principle of profit comes before education and health. Yet British capitalism's share of world exports has continually decreased.

This document constitutes an analysis of the deepening social, political and economic crisis of British capitalism. This perspective applies the method of Marxism to these developments, seeking to uncover the trends and processes within, and serves as a guide to action for all those workers and youth who want to struggle for a socialist transformation of society.

Written before Gordon Brown emerged as the sole candidate to replace Blair, this article shows where Brown really stands on key issues facing the workers of Britain. His latest budget actually shifted the burden of taxation in such a way that the poor actually pay more.

Thanks to the sabotage of some 300-odd members of the Parliamentary Labour Party, ordinary Labour Party members and affiliates, who were expecting a leadership election, ended up with no election and a “one member, no vote” imposed candidate. The task now is to strengthen the left in preparation for future battles.

Throughout the history of the labour movement we have witnessed the development of sectarianism within a section of the left. It reflects the inability to understand that the mass of the working class moves through its traditional mass organisations. The sectarian ignores this and believes that all you have to do is declare the "new party" and then the masses will come flocking.

We are reproducing here a letter sent by John McDonnell to all his supporters in which he stresses the need to now build the Left of the Labour Party. The campaigning work of the recent period is not wasted. It can be the basis for strengthening the left.

The ranks of the Labour Party and trade unions have been denied the right to vote on who they think the next leader of the party should be. This has been achieved by convincing a handful of Labour MPs not to nominate John McDonnell. But this is not the end of the story. Now is the time to redouble efforts to build up the left of the Labour Party in the coming period.