British capitalism’s crisis of rule


THE inability of the Tories to pull ahead in the opinion polls, proves that 13 years of Labour rule has not been enough to erase the memories of the union busting Thatcher government and its atrocities against the working class, ranging from the provoked miners strike, to the attempt to introduce the Poll Tax, and then the housing catastrophe for the middle class after the Major government was forced out of the ERM.

The varied and ever more hysterical attacks on that faithful servant of the banks, Gordon Brown, have not led to a huge Tory lead in the polls, but to real worries about just what the Tories will try to do to the working class and the middle class to secure the bankrupt bosses and bankers and to maintain the capitalist system.

In fact, the revolutionary nature of the situation can be easily grasped. Just at the time when a strong government with a massive majority is needed to wage war on the working class and to hammer it into the ground, so as to dent the mountain of debt, it is possible that the Tories may not have an overall majority at all, or might not even be elected!

The last thing that the capitalists want is to have Brown seeking to hang on in parliament with fewer seats than the Tories and seeking to make a bloc with the Liberal Democrats, while the pound falls over the cliff.

There is a recent precedent for a hung parliament after the February 1974 election.

In February 1974, Prime Minister Edward Heath, in the middle of a miners’ strike, with power cuts taking place around the clock, and after the imposition of a three day week in industry after oil prices tripled and when the Israelis were driven out of the Sinai Peninsula, decided to call a general election, calling on the electorate to establish that it was the government who ran the country not the trade unions.

He lost the election with three seats less than Labour but refused to quit 10 Downing Street, hesitating for three days while he sought an alliance with the Liberals.

At a time when General Kitson commanded in the north of Ireland, Heath’s refusal to budge led to fears that he would be assisted to stay by a number of political generals.

The WRP at that time led a demonstration to Downing Street demanding that Heath must quit Downing Street and allow Wilson to take over.

After some delay this is what happened, and there was a second election in October 1974.

The 1974 crisis was just a warning-shock of the 100 times graver crisis that has emerged today for British capitalism, when in the middle of a worldwide banking crash, and worldwide slump, Sterling is hanging by a thread, after the industrial base of the country has been liquidated.

If Labour wins the next election by three votes, sterling will collapse – and an emergency national government will have to be formed, under the banner of saving the nation.

If the Tories cannot win an overall majority, and the British capitalist ship UK Titanic proceeds to sink, then a strong hand at the tiller will have to be forthcoming, and a new page in the unwritten British constitution be composed.

This will take the form of either the Privy Council or some other body taking control, and a state of emergency being declared, to push through a raft of austerity measures.

The Tories dreamt of a 100 plus majority, when they could invite a selection of leaders from all parties to join the cabinet and launch the campaign to make the working class pay for the crisis.

This perspective looks now far less than likely.

Whatever the outcome the working class must now prepare to defend its interests.

It must build up the revolutionary leadership of the WRP and organise for a general strike against whatever counter-revolutionary combination emerges.

This general strike must prepare the way for the working class to put an end to the crisis of capitalism by taking power through a socialist revolution and establishing socialism.