This Thursday, a number of key elections in the UK are being held. Across England, some council positions are up for election, along with the election for the new Mayor of London. In Wales, there are elections for the National Assembly. In these elections, we stand with the millions of working class people and Trade Unionists who support Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party against Tory austerity, and so advocate an unconditional vote for the Labour candidate where available.
However, we do so without any illusions that Labour councillors, Sadiq Khan as London mayor and even a Corbyn Labour government will be able to bring about the fundamental changes that are needed to address the social and economic crisis in this country. The Labour Party is a bourgeois-workers party, a contradictory formation with a liberal pro-capitalist parliamentary core but a mass working class and Trade Union support base. The landslide victory of Jeremy Corbyn to Labour leadership last year shows that the Left within Labour has not disappeared, and in fact has begun to regenerate amongst a new layer of young people looking towards socialist ideas. At the same time, there is no credible revolutionary party with the social weight to build on electoral work and advocate a vote for. Within the Labour Party we call for the deselection of right-wing Labour candidates and their replacement with pro-working class candidates. We believe this strategy is more effective, at this stage, than standing against Labour and receiving derisory votes and potentially letting the Tories in, neither of which helps to give Marxists credibility. Therefore we remain broadly supportive but highly critical of the Labour Party, and will continue to outline the genuine socialist alternative based on Marxist theory and analysis.
In Scotland, Parliamentary elections are also taking place. Unfortunately, the Scottish Labour Party has consistently failed to support Scottish Independence, despite being a key question amongst the Scottish working class. Scottish Labour’s failure to set out a programme for socialist independence has opened the doors for the Scottish National Party (SNP) to pose as a left-wing, pro-independence alternative. Neither has the “Corbyn revolution” had the same effect compared to England and Wales, and so the Scottish Labour Party is still viewed as ‘Red Tories’ by the Scottish working class. For these reasons, we cannot advocate a Labour vote in Scotland. Instead, we would ask voters to consider voting for other working class anti-austerity candidates and organisations where possible, such as the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), whilst recognising that their lack of any real social weight makes it extremely unlikely that such a vote would make much difference.
Either way, we recognise that engaging in elections is only one tactic of many that Marxists may choose to use at particular times. We believe the key task at the present time is the propagation and discussion of Marxist ideas and propaganda in order to lay the basis for a more cohesive pre-party formation in the near future. We will continue to host contemporary discussions on a number of topics within our journal and website, and encourage those who wish to contribute to contact us.