Capturing the Momentum in 2016
Activists and friends of RCPB(ML) got together in London on January 3 for a New Year meeting and social event with the aim of giving impetus right at the beginning of the year to the work ahead in 2016.
Looking back on 2015, the participants reviewed the momentum that had been built up from the people’s struggles. At the same time, the dangers inherent in a situation where political and economic power is concentrated in the hands of the financial oligarchy and the monopolies are very evident.
The situation clearly cries out for change. The people’s yearnings and aspirations are not simply for a re-ordering of the old world, not simply for some reforms, but for some fundamental change, for a different kind of world in which the people are at the centre.
In Britain, the reactionary, pro-monopoly and anti-people nature of the anti-social offensive can be grasped simply by reviewing the legislation introduced by the Conservative government. The legislation is bankrupt in the sense that it does not embody the rule of law but is motivated by a vengeful desire to ensure the compliance of the people to the ruling elite and deprive the people of their rights. Whether one takes the counter-terrorism legislation, the hated Trade Union Bill, the attack on the vulnerable and the unemployed through the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, the privatisation of education through the Education and Adoption Bill, the attempt to renew the subjugation of Scotland through the Scotland Bill, or the Hitlerite drafting of the Immigration Bill, this is the case.
Thus arrangements have to be brought into being which favour the people and the exercise of their rights, not the dictate of the financial oligarchy. This is the essence of the aim of the people’s movements which matured during 2015. They show how the people are fighting for their interests, but also to provide society with a new direction, indeed for a modern society run to fulfil the claims of all its members and to release the full potential of the human power which a socialised society is capable of. Thus there is the right to be involved in decision-making at every level of society. The anti-war movement and the movement against intervention and aggression abroad seeks to fulfil its aim to bring into being an anti-war government. The fight against privatisation and to safeguard the future of public services, of health and education, has the aim of guaranteeing the right to health care, education and the public good. The struggle against the decimation of the manufacturing base and for a change in the direction of the economy has the aim of achieving a sovereign economy where the potential of a socialised economy for the ever-increasing needs of the people is fulfilled.
The Old is trying to stop the New from coming into being, bringing about the destruction of the productive forces in the process. The issue of human rights, of democracy, of the direction of the economy are all fierce battlegrounds. The ruling elite defends the rights of private property. It imposes a neo-liberal austerity agenda on society. And it refuses to contemplate the renewal of the political process and institutions. At present what unites in action the progressive forces is the rejection and fight against the fraudulent austerity programme of the ruling elite and the fight for a future without war. The pro-austerity Westminster consensus has been challenged, but it is clear that what is going to be decisive in providing a resolution to the deep-seated problems existing in society is the conscious participation of the people. The initiative has to lie with the working class and people, and the developments in the people’s resistance to the status quo and the frank injustice of the anti-social onslaught is a cause of much optimism for the future. The readiness of all sections of the people to fight, to endure sacrifice, get organised, investigate how the world is and glimpse the future of society is indeed a cause for optimism.
The people are resisting, and their sentiment and struggle is to put an end to austerity. Their forward-looking perspective is sharpening the vision of what a new society can be. Socialism inBritain cannot just be a phrase, is not just an aspiration some time in the future and in the meantime we engage in the day-to-day struggles. In that respect, the quality of getting together to discuss what is the way forward was what the Party’s New Year event provided. The question was raised about an alternative strategy. The alternative strategy is working for the new, it is how step by step to get to where we want to be, how the working class and its allies must build on their own strength, develop their own organisational forms, their own theory and practical politics. The discussion about what constitutes a balanced economy, what constitutes a society where everyone finds their place and cultures flourish, is an essential component in unblocking the forward march of society, in opening the path to progress.
It was stressed a number of times during the discussion that the initiative must lie with the people. Holding the government to account does not mean putting pressure on them to solve the problems of society themselves. They are not going to change and operate in a pro-social fashion. This is one of the strengths of the anti-war movement, when the slogan is put forward for an anti-war government. It is not saying: Westminster, you should be an anti-war government. If they are held to account they should be tried for their war crimes, like Blair should be tried for his war crimes. That is what holding the government to account means.
One of the crucial questions to consider in bringing about change is the question of What Kind of Party? It is something we think is open for discussion, something which everyone should be discussing. These things are not cut-and-dried, that there are old types of parties and new types of parties. Yes, we are a Party of a new type. But what does that mean? The meeting encouraged everyone to join that discussion, as part of getting organised, as part of implementing the independent programme of the working class, of basing ourselves on a modern definition of rights.
The participants in the New Year event concluded that 2016 is going to be a very exciting year. The Party said that 2015 was going to be a year of change and the people’s movement has proved itself. Now we must organise so that the torrent of the people’s movement must gather strength to break these blocks, to turn the tide of history. This is the challenge that is facing us all, and this is what we call on everyone, the whole people to take up.
The New Year event continued with a lively and militant social, with great spirit. It included an inspiring cultural programme, in which as well as music of taking stock, new music written for ongoing struggles was performed. The whole gathering joined in songs taking up aspects of the people’s struggles and of what is best in the people’s culture.
The whole event was assessed as one which captured the momentum built up during 2015 and over many years, and one which inspired the participants to take up the challenges of 2016, to go all out to defeat the austerity agenda, work to bring into being an anti-war government and organise the working class and people for change.