Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 54 Number 9, April 27, 2024 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

May Day standing with Palestine

Preparing for May 1st - International Day of Working Class Unity and Struggle

GE Aviation protest, Cheltenham

This May Day comes amid the developing movement to oppose the genocide in Gaza, which is backed by the British state and its cartel party system. With the growing chaos internationally and the outbreak of increasingly dangerous open warfare, there is a burning need for a government that stands against war, about a government not founded on civil war. An anti-war government is not simply a matter of policy objectives, but the expression of the modern democratic personality, a form of government founded on the harmonisation of the interests of individuals, collectives and society as a whole.

Workers for a Free Palestine, Cheltenham

The prevailing and deepening chaos in the world is characterised by global turmoil, aggression, militarism and open wars of destruction; a crisis in the provision of social programmes, and disruption in production, distribution, and exchange including markets and prices. It is affecting all aspects of the social and natural environment, including the psychology of the people, manifested as a generalised anxiety. Social programmes, such as the NHS and schools, face issues of retention, pay, funding, and falling morale. Long-running disputes, such as the longest strikes in NHS history, reveal that the solutions lie with the workers themselves.

In the world today, oligopolies manipulate markets while conflicts are closing markets, restricting trade, and stifling supply chains. All of this is leading to a cost of living crisis and food production crisis. The deterioration of the natural and social environment is a direct result of the division of society and wars in the age of oligarchy, and points to the urgent need for the humanisation of the natural and social environments.

The working class movement in Britain, as a contingent of the movement world-wide, is focusing on defending their rights and interests and upholding the dignity of labour; their determination to make their claims is expressed in the rallying call that Enough is Enough! Their struggle is in harmony with fighting for the rights of all, and demanding a change in the direction of the economy. They are defending themselves and the future of their essential services and social programmes, and are resisting attacks on their livelihoods. They are also resisting the anti-social offensive and restructuring of the state around the most powerful oligarchic interests. In this fight the working class movement is putting on the agenda the issue of workers speaking in their own name. They are fighting for their rights and interests as one with fighting for the rights of all, and for a society where the guarantee of these rights is the norm.

The coronation of King Charles III was used to attempt to perpetuate the Covenant-based model of power with its conception of a necessary indivisible power to prevent civil war, placed in a fictitious person of state - in Britain embodied in the King - to give the ruling elite legitimacy. However, this system is itself subject to the prevailing chaos and is in crisis as oligopolies hold sway over all forms of public authority at every level and have restructured the state to this end.

Politics has descended into factional infighting, while the mode of rule has become openly one of police powers. The government has enacted new anti-strike legislation to impose Minimum Service Levels on workers in various sectors to prevent them acting in their self-defence. Imposition, such as that in the recent doctors' strikes, with the government declaring its offer "final", has forced the issue of who decides and has blown away the last vestiges of accommodating the voice of labour.

The state, its cartel parties, and the media are aimed at wrecking public opinion through disinformation so as to block people forming an independent outlook. All of this, and the dysfunctionality of parliament, as highlighted by the recent Commons fiasco surrounding the SNP motion calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, has led to a loss of credibility and trust in the old form of "representative democracy".

Manchester May Day march

The issue today is a new conception of power, replacing absolutism with a human power at the foundation of society. This requires new mass democratic forms and mechanisms of decision-making, ensuring equal rights and duties for all members. The movements against war and genocide condemning these atrocities as "Not in Our Name", and the workers smashing the silence on living and working conditions, are asserting the need to speak in their own name. This gives rise to the requirement of participating directly in decision-making, to bringing the new democratic personality into being.

The fight workers are taking up is as much to do with ending their marginalisation as it is immediately about their claims and conditions. Fighting in the court of public opinion, they are refusing to be ignored and are building their resistance and defence organisations in a manner that is in step with the times and not bound by old forms.

The struggle on all fronts is between the New and the Old, with the New having fidelity to the ensemble of human relations, and what these relations are revealing, particularly the need for political power. The burning need of the present is for an Anti-War Government, the expression of a modern democratic personality opposed to police powers and executive rule, and the use of force to settle conflicts.

It is the working class that will lead society out of the crisis by becoming worker-politicians themselves, aiming for a new situation where decision-making involves all workers, communities, and people as a whole, speaking and acting in their own name and as one, without the mechanisms of disempowerment blocking their direct decisions from being realised.

Workers and Oppressed Peoples of the World, Unite!

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