England, Wales and Scotland section of International Socialist Alternative

Kick out the Tories and their system: We need a new party!

Statement by Socialist Alternative Political Committee

So it’s official. Rishi Sunak, drenched in rain outside Number 10 has announced the General Election for July 4. Everyone – Sunak included – knows he is finished. 

Recent polls have placed Labour on a poll lead of up to 25%. It is quite likely that, knowing his ratings could sink even further, Sunak has simply decided to get his defeat out the way sooner rather than later. 

Of course, none of this comes as a surprise. People have had enough after 14 years of misery under Tory rule. We have had enough of the growing food bank queues, the energy companies squeezing us dry, school buildings close to collapse, declining real wages – the list could go on. 14 years of brutal austerity has left its mark, and working class people are desperate for a change, as the mass strikes of 2022-23 demonstrated. 

Starmer is no alternative

Socialist Alternative will celebrate with millions of people when the Tories are booted out of office. But we also need to be clear: Labour provides no real alternative. Things have become as bad as they are, not just because of the Tories, but also because of the system they defend – capitalism. And Starmer is just as wedded to that same bankrupt system. Most of his policies, designed to appeal to the billionaires, are Tory policies, with the blue tie swapped for red. 

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves has endlessly committed to ‘honouring the fiscal rules’ – in other words, continuing with pro-big business, anti-worker policies. Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting has spoken at length of how Labour will further privatise the NHS. 

To show how safe he is to govern the system, Starmer has lined up with the rest of the ruling class in defence of the genocidal mass slaughter of the Palestinian people by the Israeli state. His promise to increase arms spending shows how comfortable he will be to lead a pro-war, pro-imperialist government. 

Echoing the rotten, right-wing bigotry of the Tories and Reform, Starmer has also increasingly adopted anti-trans policies, for instance in supporting the Cass Review which will undermine trans health, potentially for a generation. He has also pledged to ‘stop the boats’ more effectively than the Tories. A promise to manage capitalism and continue culture war policies more competently than the Tories is not real change! 

In Scotland, the crisis of the SNP is also playing out to the benefit of Labour. This does not represent any deep-seated revival of the Labour base in Scotland, or a death knell for the pro-independence movement. Rather it represents the inevitable exhaustion of the SNP’s failed strategy of parliamentary maneouvres, and failure to lead a mass working class movement to win democratic rights and an alternative to capitalism.

From the very beginning, the labour movement and all social movements must be prepared to organise mass struggle for our interests under a Starmer government. The trade unions in particular cannot afford to pause or wind down our struggles for even a second. The resistance needs to be built from now – no blank cheques to Starmer!

Build the resistance

There are already some signs of left, anti-war and pro-worker candidates lined up to stand in this election. Socialist Alternative welcomes and supports the announcement by Jeremy Corbyn of his intention to stand as an independent against Labour in Islington North. 

Corbyn and other left challengers will face a mountain of opposition from the pro-capitalist Labour leadership. We must answer this with a mass mobilisation of workers and youth into Islington. Mass canvassing sessions, rallies and doorknocks should be used as a launching pad for discussions on where to take a Corbyn challenge next. 

A mass conference to build the resistance should be organised for the summer to discuss where to take the next steps towards a new left party of struggle, drawing together trade unionists, students standing in solidarity with Palestinians, activists fighting to defend Corbyn’s seat and all those desiring a mass left alternative to Starmer’s red Tories, and to fight for the socialist alternative urgently needed. 

We say: 

  • Kick out the Tories and their system! 
  • Build a new left, anti-war party with socialist policies! No support to a capitalist Starmer government
  • End the genocidal war on Gaza! Mass struggle to stop production and shipment of arms headed for the Israeli state’s war machine
  • Scrap all anti-trade union laws – build workers’ resistance to a Starmer government!
  • No to the racist Rwanda bill. No deportations, solidarity with all those fleeing capitalism’s war and poverty
  • We need socialist feminist, anti-racist and internationalist resistance to the right-wing ‘culture wars’. Fight for trans liberation, reject the Cass Report
  • Capitalism breeds poverty, climate destruction and war. For a socialist alternative based on democratic planning and workers’ control

 

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