Labor’s death agonies
Opinion polls come and go.
But the latest one, just 3 weeks before the election, should scare the hell out of what passes for the Labor Party brains trust. With 52 percent of the vote on a two party preferred basis, the Conservative coalition would easily win the election.
There are two trends discernible. One is the short term one – the possible defeat of the Labor Government at this election.
The other is the long term move of the ALP from ‘the left’ (broadly defined) to the right.
This long term trend finds expression in the similarity between the two major parties on most policies.
Where are the real differences between them on Afghanistan, refugees, climate change, the ABCC, the gender pay gap, the Northern Territory invasion, the transfer of wealth from workers to capital, the lengthening of the working day, the slow privatisation of public services etc etc…
I see little difference at all.
The structural changes within society and the increasing role of the managerial class of capitalism have reflected themselves in the ALP and its takeover by that sub-class both personnel wise and intellectually. Labor has become little more than the second eleven of capital.
This is played out through the agency of Julia Gillard.
Higher pensions. Can we afford it asks Gillard? Paid parental leave. Can we afford it asks Gillard? A $14 billion gift to the big miners in the form of a backdown on the Resource Super Profits Tax to shut them up. No questions from Gillard at all about the costs of that. We know clearly where her priorities and those of the party that brought her to power lie.
The long term left wing shift to the Greens is not an aberration but a consequence of the ALP’s abandonment of the pretence of leftism.
The decline of the Labor Party coincides with the long term stagnation of global profit rates and the capitulation of almost all of the trade union bureaucracy to the ideas and practice of class collaboration.
The ideas of struggle, let alone their practice, have been lost. No matter who wins government we will have to re-learn them.
The global economy is weak and could tip into another recession. There has not been a destruction of capital sufficient to restore profit rates, in part because of the too important to fail syndrome. The stimulus packages, bailouts and quasi nationalisations have perhaps won the battle only to lose the war.
The shift in the share of national product going to capital at the expense of labour has not addressed this stagnation either.
The forces of resistance to the inevitable onslaught on workers’ living standards after the election are small and weak. The trade union bureaucracy will not lead a fight back. Its sorry history has been one of capitulation not struggle.
As capitalism burns itself out (literally and economically) the liberationist project becomes not only more important but a necessity for our survival as a species.
Workers will have to re-learn the lessons of history and the ideas of struggle to win the ultimate prize – the end of the exploitative system and the defence of humanity through a world of democracy and plenty for all.
The Labor Party and its milksop lackeys in the trade union movement have shown themselves not to be worthy leaders of the working class during the next crisis. Their every action exposes them for the shamans they are.
History belongs to the working class. Its task is to remake society.
Our role at the moment is to prepare ourselves intellectually and organisationally and as best we can by building the fight backs of today to ready ourselves for the next upsurge in working class and movement struggles.
It will come. Are we ready?