THERESA May’s virtual declaration of war against Russia last Wednesday received its most enthusiastic support from right-wing Labour MPs who rushed forward to declare their complete unity with the Tories and offered themselves up as willing partners in a unity government to wage the war.
The Tories have deliberately whipped up a hysterical war campaign to split the Labour Party and pave the way for a reactionary coalition government to carry out a war on two fronts, against the enemy abroad and crucially the enemy at home, the working class. With Labour’s right-wing enthusiastically joining with May, they immediately set about knifing the ‘left’ Jeremy Corbyn and launching a campaign to remove him as party leader. Corbyn’s crime had been to not endorse May’s declaration of war against Russia wholeheartedly enough.
His mild intervention on Wednesday, where he simply asked May if she would give Russia samples of the nerve agent she claimed as proof, caused the right-wing Labourites to explode in anger. How dare he refuse to endorse wholeheartedly the Tories, they screamed, while May looked on approvingly noting that backbenchers from all parties were behind her and only Corbyn was refusing to join the ‘consensus’.
She received the blessings of not just Labour backbenchers but from the frontbenchers including the shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornbury and Nia Griffiths, the shadow defence secretary. We can expect resignations to follow, with demands that Corbyn is ousted as even his feeble questioning of May cannot be tolerated as they drive for unity with the Tories.
What has emerged since Wednesday is that splitting the Labour Party and going on to a national government is part of the deliberate preparations of the Tories for a war, not just against a foreign enemy, but a war against the working class at home. In this war, the support of the reformist Labour Party is essential; the Tories are too weak and divided and are forced to rely on the treachery of the reformist Labour leadership.
That they are preparing for a real war was underlined in a speech yesterday by the Tory defence minister, Gavin Williamson. Williamson announced that the UK will immediately spend £48 million on defence while stressing that it was ‘time for the whole country to unite’ behind the Tory government, saying: ‘You see it in the House of Commons and you listen to members of Parliament from all parties on the backbenches. That is what they are wanting to see: Britain standing together against this great threat.’ He called for millions to be spent on building up the offensive capabilities of the British armed forces to confront the Russian enemy.
Where will the money come from? It will come from seizing the health budget and that of every other public service. With the working class already rising up against austerity cuts imposed and the complete destruction of the NHS through privatisation, this cannot be achieved peacefully and the Tories know it.
They know that they are so hated that the only chance for the survival of capitalism today relies upon the Labour reformists, the ‘labour lieutenants of capitalism’ as Lenin so accurately described them, joining a government of national salvation in order to divide the working class.
The working class know that there can be no common front with a Tory government that is daily destroying their lives for the benefit of the bosses and bankers. They know that Russia is not their enemy: the enemy is the ruling class at home. Capitalism has reached the end of the road; it can only survive through wars abroad and civil war against the working class at home.
The only way forward for the working class is to break with Labour reformism and build the WRP to give the revolutionary leadership in the struggle for a general strike to kick out the Tories and bring in a workers government and socialism, putting an end to capitalism for good. The urgent task today is building the WRP into a mass revolutionary party to organise the British socialist revolution.