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If you think all the big political parties are the same - you're right! The bosses have got three parties - isn't it about time we had one of our own?
For the millions, not the millionaires!
The case for a new mass workers' party
Most young people today have never experienced the Labour Party as anything other than an out-and-out warmongering, privatising party.
Many older workers, however, remember the days when they considered Labour to be their party.
The early history of the Labour Party – which was founded at its base as a workers’ party, even though the leadership had a foot in the capitalist camp – has important lessons for us today.
Just over 100 years ago, 129 delegates came together to found the Labour Representation Committee, precursor to the Labour Party.
No longer willing to settle for voting for parties that sided with business against the trade unions and attacked the rights of workers, they set out to found a new political party.
A socialist newspaper at the time, the Clarion, described the Labour Representation Committee as, "a little cloud, no bigger than a man’s hand, which may grow into a united Labour Party".
From these small beginnings, thanks to the dedication of the working-class men and women who willingly gave their scant time and money, the Labour Party became a mass force which, however imperfectly, did provide a voice for the working class.
The capitalist class would have liked to strangle the Labour Party at birth and have never given up trying to do so.
Tony Blair has seen his role as making their dreams come true by destroying any vestiges of independent political representation for the working class.
He has declared that Labour should never have split from the Liberals and that he is, "absolutely determined to mend the schism that occurred in progressive forces in British politics at the start of the century". "I want a situation more like the Democrats and the Republicans in the US," he told the Financial Times in 1997. "People don’t question even for a single moment that the Democrats are a pro-business party. They should not be asking that question about New Labour."
Blair and his cohorts have succeeded in their mission. In the process he has transformed the Labour Party into an empty shell, with a membership half of what it was in 1997. Even some of those who have been loyal advocates of the New Labour project have begun to despair at the terrible reality they have helped bring into being.
Polly Toynbee, once of the rightwards split from the Labour Party, the Social Democratic Party, declared: "Labour is in danger of becoming a phantom party – a self-perpetuating oligarchy given absolute power by only 25% of the electorate through a perverted voting system that will, with a swing of the pendulum, deliver the same power to an equally unrepresentative Tory clique."
Driven by the demands of the multinationals, all three mainstream parties offer up the same unpopular diet of privatisation and cuts.
No surprise that their membership and support is haemorrhaging.
Never before in history has there been such a vast gulf between the mainstream political parties and the mass of the population.
This includes the Liberal Democrats. Even though, at least in the past, their general election propaganda has been slightly to the left of the big two, when they have been elected at local level they have carried through the same cuts in services as the Tories and New Labour.
Nationally they are now competing to outdo New Labour with their plans to privatise prisons, the royal mint, and several other services that New Labour hasn’t got round to yet!
In 2005 this government was elected with the lowest percentage of the popular vote, 36%, of any governing party in Britain’s history: the most unpopular party to form a government since the 1832 Reform Act.
For the first time, a majority government in Britain has been elected by fewer people than those who did not vote: 36% voted for New Labour, while 39% of the electorate did not make it to the polling station.
Many of those who did vote New Labour did so through gritted teeth because they wanted to prevent the Tories being re-elected.
It is the working class which has been effectively disenfranchised and, in protest, many sections have stopped voting at all. Blair and the ‘Blairistas’ of every mainstream party argue that class is a thing of the past, no longer relevant in modern Britain. New Labour claims to represent the ‘forces of progress’ from every class in society.
In reality, modern Britain is increasingly polarised between rich and poor – between a handful of billionaires at the top and the mass of the working class.