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Editorial: Defeat the Tories, build mass struggle

ON THURSDAY voters get a chance to choose a government. The Morning Star is clear that the priority is the removal of the Conservatives from office.

That choice is mandated by the disaster that the last 14 years have represented for working people across Britain. It is summed up in the phrases austerity, cost-of-living crisis, privatisation, broken promises and corruption.

The Tories have ruled in the interests of the rich, combining class war with frequent incompetence and during the national crisis of Covid, grotesque venality and profiteering. If they get the electoral pulverising the polls predict, it will be richly merited.

The only alternative is Labour. In 2017 and 2019 this paper could recommend a Labour vote without major reservation. Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, it offered a real alternative of social justice and peace.

The enthusiasm of those days has been ruthlessly eliminated by the Starmer leadership, which has waged war on the left and any hint of socialist policy and has placed itself unequivocally in the service of the Establishment.

It offers no serious alternative on economic and social policy, having imprisoned itself in the straitjacket of Treasury rules and foresworn any serious programme of state intervention.

Still worse, it has fully backed Israel’s genocidal war on the Palestinians as part of its commitment to imperialism.

The election of a Labour government on its own will change nothing. However, it creates the possibility of a deepening and strengthening of the mass movement for international solidarity and social justice.

That development is not inevitable. It is in the hands of the mass movements themselves if new possibilities are to be exploited. But renewed Tory rule would make fresh measures of repression directed against trade unions and mass campaigns certain.

Union pressure has protected some positives within Labour’s offer, including strengthened employment rights, though the original New Deal for Workers has been heavily diluted and implementation of what remains will be contested by big business. Its plans for rail renationalisation don’t entirely remove parasitical private operators either, but still represent an improvement on the status quo.

That does not mean a blanket vote for Labour candidates, especially those who have opposed a ceasefire in Gaza and continue to stand behind Israeli aggression.

There are left Labour MPs who fully merit re-election. We can only hope that as a collective they will prove a more vociferous presence in the next parliament. The mass movement needs vocal and courageous supporters in the Commons.

The values of the Corbyn years and the mass movement for Gaza have been carried forward by the Communist Party standing in 14 seats and by independent and left candidates in many other constituencies. Through the campaign, the Morning Star has aimed to give a platform to a wide range of these, raising issues the official party campaigns have preferred to ignore.

The Communist Party contests the elections on the basis that only a powerful Marxist party playing a leading role throughout mass struggles alongside the labour and progressive movements can place socialism on the agenda.

It has also recommended a decapitation strategy to challenge the shadow cabinet drivers of Starmer’s right-wing project, backing socialist alternatives to the Labour leadership where possible.

In all seats, progressive voters will have to determine how best to vote to give effect to the development of the mass struggle which is the only guarantee of advance, while ensuring the defeat of the Tories.

It is a cliché to say the real fight starts now. But it has never been more true. The threat of war, continuing social immiseration and climate catastrophe overshadow an election which has ducked all of these issues.

Only socialism provides an answer, and only working people in mass struggle can create it.

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