Monday, May 4, 2015

Seamus Milne on Austerity at the Glasgow Mayday Celebrations

The above speaker is Seamus Milne speaking at the Glasgow Mayday celebrations. It's on the Scottish TUC You Tube channel (Trade Union Congress) and the trade unions in Britain are supporting the Labor Party. in the election.  Having been in the US for 42 years I am not so familiar with British politics but I am aware that Miliband and the Labor Party also has an austerity program but perhaps not as severe. The Scottish Nationalists (SNP) is also a capitalist party and will also not shy away from savaging Scottish workers. There is also much discussion among socialists and leftists, particularly Scots, over support for the SNP.  We see the gradual shift to the right of Syriza in Greece under pressure from European and global capital.  The only response to this is a European wide workers' movement and whether or not those within Syriza that support this strategy will win that battle remains to be seen. There is an article on Syriza published today on Truthout.

In Britain, there is also an ongoing debate between many leftists and socialists over whether or not the Labor Party is completely finished and that a vote for Labor is not much different than a vote for the Conservatives.  The famous Clause 4 of the Labor Party program that a group I was once a member of and since expelled defended so resiliently when it was in the Labor Part, was removed from the party program during the Blair years as the party weakened the union presence, changed the emblem from the red flag of the worker to the rose and became a sort of Democrats lite.  Although, the union bloc vote in the Labor Party has not been completely eliminated. Clause 4 was the clause for public ownership of the dominant sectors of industry and means of production. Even as it is, my guess is the Labor Party cannot be compared to the Democrats here that is a bought and paid for Wall Street organ.

Left and socialist parties of various stripes are running candidates independent of Labor and there are some attempts at coalition building between progressive forces. We have written on this blog of the scourge of sectarianism and ultra leftism still harming the interests of the working  class both in Britain and throughout the world including the US.

Listening to Seamus Milne who is a writer for the Guardian newspaper, I was reminded of Bernie Sanders' here in the US, the so-called socialist who is running for president as a Democrat. Sanders is fond of making grand statements about what is wrong, something most of us are well aware of, but offers no alternative and now offers his candidacy as a Democrat, the party that millions of workers have given up on and correctly so.  Were Sanders to openly condemn the Democratic Party for its role, explain that a party owned by Wall Street can never serve our interests and call for and campaign around an alternative based on the unions, community organizations, and other working class formations as well as representatives of small community based businesses,  his candidacy might mean something more substantial, especially if a program offering demands that speak to the needs of working people is the alternative.

As I said, I am not qualified to say whether or not a vote for the Labor party is a wasted vote.  We are sharing this video for our reader's interest. 

Richard Mellor

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