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Year 2001 No. 56, March 26, 2001 Archive Search Home Page

6th National Consultative Conference of RCPB(ML):

The Work to Intervene in the Political Life of the Country

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6th National Consultative Conference of RCPB(ML):
The Work to Intervene in the Political Life of the Country

On the March/April 2001 National Consultative Conference of RCPB(ML)

Motion on the Elections and Foot-and-Mouth Disease

IMF Dictate Opposed in Argentina: Whose "Political Will" will Prevail?

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6th National Consultative Conference of RCPB(ML):

The Work to Intervene in the Political Life of the Country

The Central Committee of RCPB(ML) is organising the important 6th National Consultative Conference of the Party this coming weekend, March 31-April 1. It is to take place in Birmingham.

The theme of the Conference, as resolved at the Party's National Consultative Conference 2000, is "The Work to Intervene in the Political Life of the Country". The Conference will set the line and policy of the Party in this important sphere of the work of RCPB(ML). The Central Committee will present to the NCC the outcome of its investigations into this sphere of work, and the delegates to the Conference, representing the whole Party and its circles, will consider and further discuss this work. Other presentations will also be given to facilitate this discussion.

This work of the Party in intervening in the political life of the country is pro-active work along the line of march that the Party set at its 3rd Congress two years ago. Along with the pro-active work of building the Mass Party Press, it constitutes the Party's overall task for this period up to the 4th Congress of consolidating the Party on the new historical basis. It is consistent with the Party's analysis that this period is one of preparation, that is, it is work to prepare the subjective conditions, for putting the Party and its cadres in place, for the coming revolutionary storms and taking up the work to build the new arrangements of the Party within the communist and workers' movement, and within the movement of the working class and people against the anti-social offensive and for a pro-social programme, which is also work of preparing these subjective conditions.

This work also assumes great importance at this time as, within the context of the above, taking up reactive work to the all-round reactionary programme of the "Third Way", particularly in waging the class struggle on the ideological front against this programme. The bourgeoisie is set to take this reactionary "Third Way" programme to a new level through a forthcoming general election, re-electing New Labour by means of a further confidence trick against the working class and people, and through these means to claim a mandate for the "Third Way" programme for which it has been laying the foundations in its first term of office, and lay the responsibility on the electorate to continue to make the "tough choices" to which it claims there is no alternative, and merge its "political will" with that of the Labour government. This puts a great responsibility on RCPB(ML) and the progressive forces to call upon the working class to take up its own independent programme and organise the workers on this basis. The same is true with the youth, women and other sections of society. It puts a great responsibility on the Party and the progressive forces to take concrete steps towards ending the conciliation with New Labour and the "Third Way" programme in the communist and workers' movement.

The issue facing the 6th National Consultative Conference on the question of intervening in the political life of the country is how this work of intervention, particularly in an imminent general election campaign, is to be carried out, what is its theoretical and ideological basis, and on what political considerations is it to be based. As such, the central issue is not one of deciding on some practical details of intervention, nor of presenting the theory of political institutions and political processes, divorced from the work necessary to provide the guide to action, the action of intervening in the country's political life in its all-round national and international context. The work which will be at the centre of the deliberations and discussion of the National Consultative Conference is extremely important and exciting work. In taking up this issue for discussion, the delegates will bear in mind that the "how" of intervening will be to serve and advance the work that the Party has already been and is taking up of rousing the workers and other sections of the people to be political, take centre stage and further the struggle in defence of their rights and interests. At the same time, the delegates will also bear in mind that resolving this question of "how" will also be an advance, it will be opening up a new front in the direction of the overall line of march of the Party and the class towards a new society and a socialist Britain. As such, it presents a fresh challenge to the Party, its cadres and all its circles, to rise to the occasion. It is not that "intervening in the political life of the country" is new to the Party, which has been from its inception a Party of action, a Party of revolution, the vanguard of the working class with no other interest but to advance the proletarian movement for emancipation. But within the context of this period of retreat of revolution, it is work which is being taken up afresh and is being taken up consciously on the new historical basis. Its political objectives and its tactical slogans must be re-crystallised in this present period, in which the struggle presents itself as being between the New and the Old.

For further details about the 6th National Consultative Conference of RCPB(ML) and to apply for credentials to attend, please e-mail office@rcpbml.org.uk, or contact the National Office at 170 Wandsworth Road, London SW8 2LA, Tel: 020 7627 0599. All those who are involved in or wish to make their contribution to this important sphere of work are encouraged to attend.

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On the March/April 2001 National Consultative Conference of RCPB(ML)

by the West Midlands Region Forum

In our view, the bourgeoisie have created a vacuum on the left with the concept of New Labour. They are looking for ways to fill this vacuum of the left prop of the system and maintain the status quo vis-a-vis the outdated bourgeois political system. We must find ways of opposing this move to put a further bloc on the movement and open up the way for modernisation and renewal of the political process with the working class and its programme at the head.

The Party's position is that in order to prepare for the coming revolutionary storms and build the Mass Communist Party, the work to build and strengthen the Mass Party Press must be taken up, but so must the issue of intervening in the political life of the country.

As our Party has said:

"Candidates should be chosen, for example, in the workplaces, colleges and universities, The choosing of candidates should not be the prerogative of the political parties. Those that elect them should mandate the candidates, and such a system would enable the people to initiate legislation and dictate the business of the parliament and recall candidates that did not carry out their mandate. A modern definition of a political party includes the conceptions that it should politicise the members of the polity, assist citizens to participate in governing society and encourage citizens to become the decision makers and exercise control over their own affairs and the affairs of the polity."

One way of promoting the idea that workers should stand as candidates is to take this view to the movement itself. In our estimation the line we are putting forward is a very powerful one. Already workers are considering what we are saying.

We want to present an opportunity for the workers to break with the conception that a party should be elected to run the country on their behalf. Workers should participate in the election campaign to advance the workers' movement. Steps should be taken to renew the political process and involve all the people in politics and take the decisions in the society. Only the working class holds the solution to the problem of empowering the people so that they can take part in political decisions of the country. A new political system needs to be brought into being where there is no election without selection of candidates.

In the West Midlands, the issues at Longbridge have not gone away and the bourgeois media are reporting on one year on after the sell-off to the Phoenix consortium. One year on, there are still workers being made redundant at Longbridge and the supply sector. Our view and that of the workforce is that nothing has fundamentally changed and the struggle goes on. In these circumstances, the workers need to assert themselves in the movement much more and establish the leading role of the working class and come out of the margins to lead not only the politics of the region but also of the nation. To build our links and ties with those in struggle is one important task in this regard during the general election.

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An Early Day Motion was tabled on March 19 by MPs Dafydd Wigley and Kevin McNamara. The Motion, on "Foot and Mouth and Elections", draws attention to the concern of the electorate that to call for a general election while the foot-and-mouth disease crisis rages would be a dereliction of duty by the government. The credibility of the government over its handling of the crisis has already been seriously undermined.

An "amendment" (in the parliamentary sense of the term) to this motion was tabled by seven Labour MPs. The "amendment" negatives the original sense of the motion, implying that it is "party political opportunism", and asserts that despite the "difficulties" brought about by the disease, Britain should "demonstrate to the world" that it is "able to uphold the democratic processes inherent in British society". It could be said that the sense of the "amendment" precisely demonstrates that these "democratic processes" prevent the people being able to have any say or make decisions on matters which are of vital concern to them, and that this is what is "inherent in British society".

We reproduce the original Motion in full below.

FOOT AND MOUTH AND ELECTIONS

That this House recognises the grave situation caused by the foot and mouth epidemic; expresses immense concern at the devastating effects this crisis is having on tourism-related and agriculture-related businesses; believes that the whole undivided attention of government should be given to dealing with this crisis; asserts that it would be seen as an incomprehensible dereliction of duty for a General Election to be called in the middle of such a crisis; and calls on the Prime Minister to announce that no election will be called earlier than May 2002 unless and until at least four weeks after the last confirmed case of foot and mouth disease in the United Kingdom, and that the county elections in England shall be rescheduled to May 2002.

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IMF Dictate Opposed in Argentina: Whose "Political Will" will Prevail?

Argentinean workers, students and youth are waging a struggle to defeat the efforts of their government to impose an IMF-engineered plan aimed at ensuring that Argentina, now in its 32nd month of recession, pays its debt. The nation of 36 million people is weighed down by a $150 billion foreign debt, which represents about 20 per cent of the debt of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The government is formed by the FREPASO coalition, described by media reports as a "centre-left" alliance, under the leadership of the Radical Civil Union of President Fernando de la Rua. The coalition, formed on the basis of Rua's promises that he would restore funding to social programmes and job creation, is now crumbling under the combined weight of the people's resistance, opposition within the cabinet, and the dictate of the IMF that the debt must be paid no matter what the cost.

The protests escalated on March 16, when the Minister of the Economy, Ricardo Lopez Murphy, in the first week of his posting, announced $4.5 billion in cutbacks to government spending over the next two years. The cuts particularly target the education sector. On March 19, workers from the major sectors of the economy were joined by teachers, youth, students, pensioners and unemployed workers. They blocked roads and bridges in Buenos Aires province and occupied college and high school buildings. On March 20, thousands of Argentinean workers led by the country's largest trade unions marched on the capital city of Buenos Aires. Several columns of workers converged at the Plaza de Mayo, in front of the presidential palace, where they were joined by students, teachers and others. A 24-hour nation-wide strike was announced for March 24. On March 19, Murphy was forced to resign and on March 20 Domingo Cavallo, the architect of Argentina's neo-liberal market reforms of the early 1990s, was sworn in as Minister of the Economy - the third in two weeks.

The crisis escalated when it was reported that Argentina is expected to miss first-quarter deficit targets set by the IMF as part of a $40 billion "bailout" package last December. The Ministers of the Interior, Education, Infrastructure and Health all resigned in protest.

The 32-month recession has set unemployment at 15 per cent, according to official figures. The $150 billion in foreign debt is largely held by US financiers. Payment on this debt comes close to 50 per cent of Argentina's gross domestic product. IMF economists claim that Argentina has enough "cash and credit" to cover the $20 billion in short-term debt that they say it must repay in the coming months. They are concerned it may not be able to repay its medium and long-term debts.

According to the representatives of international finance capital, it is not the entire economic system which has put Argentina in this position which is to blame, but the lack of "political will". Jorge Marischal, from the Wall Street investment firm Goldman Sachs, said, "The government simply appears incapable of finding the political will to slash its budget deficit and restore growth." News sources report that the new Finance Minister Domingo Cavallo has been granted "special powers" to make swift reforms. He has promised to "revise the austerity package". "Getting this nation out of the recession...while meeting our international obligations is our number one mission," Cavallo said.

The political will of the government to pay the rich is now once again pitted against the political will of the entire people of Argentina to have an economy which provides for them in the first place.

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