Men fight and lose the battle, and the thing that they fought for comes about in spite of their defeat, and when it comes turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what they meant under another name. (William Morris - A Dream of John Ball)

Monday, May 29, 2017

The most important thing you can do

Recent posts on this niche blog might lead readers to conclude that I was currently mostly concerned with what was going on within UNISON.

Not at all.

Much as I love my trade union and its members I do not make the mistake of exaggerating the significance of our affairs or (in particular) of our leadership.

I have just spent a week off work in order to work for the Labour Party, under its best Leader in my lifetime, campaigning for a manifesto in which any socialist can believe.

Knocking on doors around Brighton, or standing at a street stall at the Clock Tower, I can feel the force of the hope which our Party, with our current Leader and policies, can inspire in the people for – and by – whom our Party was made.

Thanks to the hundreds of thousands who have rallied to support a socialist Leader for the Labour Party, politics in this country offers people a real choice for the first time in a generation.

Labour’s manifesto is no more than a modest social democratic programme, but it offers a real improvement to the lives of our people as we have not for decades.

The arrogance of the Tories offers the prospect of an outcome rather different from the one for which they were hoping. I know many comrades are watching the movement in the opinion polls with hope.

However, this is not a time to be a spectator. Philosophers interpret the world. The point is to change it. The question is always “what is to be done”?

If, like me, you are a socialist in Britain then the next few days are some of the most important in your life. Now is the time to say, without equivocation, to everyone you know that they should vote Labour (whoever the candidate).

More than that, now is the time to take any time you can off work, to volunteer your effort to your local Labour Party (whoever the candidate) in order to leaflet, knock on doors and stand on street stalls.

If you cannot take time off work then use all the free time you can to push out the message of the Labour Party under a socialist Leader – a message which we know will not be communicated honestly through the mainstream media.

Where you can you should focus your activity on marginal seats where the outcome will make a difference to who governs us a fortnight from now – however it is also true that every Labour vote will be a vote for our socialist manifesto and Leader.

Neither the Chartists nor the Suffragettes were wrong to think that it mattered that we should have the right to vote.

Every vote matters and, whatever the outcome of this election in terms of a Parliamentary majority, each vote cast for Labour under our socialist Leader, fighting on this manifesto, strengthens our forces for the struggles ahead.

Please comrades also join the Labour Party so that you are in the right place to engage in those struggles. Power concedes nothing without a fight, and that is as true within our movement as it is in the wider society. To win a fight you have to be in it.

The Tories offer us a future as a declining, xenophobic “Little England” selling off our few remaining assets in order to be a low-wage tax haven off the coast of Europe – against this Labour, under the leadership of a socialist internationalist, offers a defence of social welfare and workers’ rights and interests.

Within our movement (including our unions), the residual crust of careerists who led us during our long decline (and continue to hope that what they call “Corbynism” is just a “destructive fad”) believe that socialism will prove unpopular and that they will resume their control of our movement in the near future (though to what end I do not know for they have neither a credible figurehead nor a credible programme).

Both the Tories and the right-wing within our own movement are (like crime in multi-storey car parks) wrong on so many different levels.

Thanks to the many thousands who have fought for Jeremy Corbyn to be and remain our Leader (not for a personality cult but for the policies he supports) the Labour Party has now found a purpose we had lost. Labour today offers a real alternative in the interests of the working class.

There is nothing you can do in the next week and a half that is more important than maximising the Labour vote. 

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