Saturday, 31 October 2015

Manifest interjections

Tax credits, the living wage, and the minimum income guarantee
The angry reactions to Osborne's decision to cut tax credits show a recognition that labour is now so cheap to capital that it must sell itself below the cost of its reproduction, a simply intolerable situation to be in. You'd have to think that a situation like this is inherently unstable. After all, several million people who thought they'd done everything right are learning the hard way the class content of the austerity agenda: no one is safe from the predation of the 1% and their political lackeys- the system consumes everything in its path, itself included.

The mere existence of tax credits demonstrates that this reproduction problem pushes towards a solution breaking free of the wage-labour form itself, a solution whose final appearance depends on the degree to which money ceases to be the primary medium of the circulation of labour and its products, a degree which increases the greater the not-for-profit (NFP) sector in the economy. In the context of attacks on the living wage the extra-Labour left should leave arguments over tax credits and the living wage to the reformists, and should instead raise the minimum income guarantee as a concrete demand- a manifesto pledge for a socialist party standing candidates in bourgeois elections.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

The future of coalition

MSM chatter- another National Government?
A hung parliament has long since been seen as the most likely outcome in the most uncertain British general election in years. Questions are already being asked about possible coalitions with the ConUKIP option being seen as the nightmare scenario by many. On the other side people are wondering how Labour might deal with the various parties offering the prospect of an anti-Tory alliance. In this context, what are we to make of notion floated in the media, that the 2015 general election might result in a National Government, ie. a ConLab coalition?

The earliest reference I have to the idea is an FT thinkpiece from December 30th 2014. Arguing that a coalition with the Libdems won't secure any government, Johnathan Ford continues by asserting that "the price of doing business with the surging fringe parties, such as the Scottish National party and Ukip, will be too high for either Labour or the Conservatives to stomach", hence only a National Government will suffice.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Death to the Bolshevik meme!

Brothers, sisters, comrades! I come to bury Leninism, not to reanimate its dessicated corpse. I must make some things clear before I set out to try to live up to my vainglorious boast. First, I may be a communist (actually, I am) but I am not and never have been a member of the Communist Party, although I must confess that I did once attend a Communist Party meeting after I was summarily expelled from the Socialist Workers Party in the late 1980’s. Since then, I’ve hung around not doing very much at all on the fringes of the far left here in Glasgow.

Those of you who know your left-wing groups will already know two things about me:
  • My views on the questions here before us today are informed by the anti-Stalinist tradition of Trotskyism.
  • The intellectual tools I’ve used in developing my ideas are those of Marxism.
That potted political biography is by way of an introduction to the question I hope some of you are already asking: what’s the importance of long-dead Germans and Russians- however famous, whose contemporary followers’ record in the class struggle is only less ignominious than it has been harmless to capitalism.

Reflections on #indyref

Confessions of a reluctant Yes voter
My vote in the Scottish independence referendum went right down to the wire- after months and months following the debate in the MSM and online it was a 50/50 call I made in the polling booth itself. In the end my choice came down to loyalty to my own ideology or solidarity with the faint hopes of a good friend. So I put my ideology aside and voted for self-determination. Why ever not I thought, especially with the truly unsavoury mob in the reactionary Better Together camp on the other side.

I may have voted yes with a degree of optimism about the ballot's outcome because the tide really seemed to be turning, but I certainly didn't drink the Kool-Aid: I remain what I was when the debate started- a resolute internationalist to whom the merest whiff of nationalism is anathema. If this sounds like classic Bolshevik anti-imperialism that's because it is-  it was an orthodox Trotskyist- Sráid Marx | An Irish Marxist Blog to whom I would turn durnig the campaign for relief from the stultifying nationalism of the pro-indy camp.