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WHAT forces shape today’s world and why? How can they be harnessed and directed in the interests of the people and our planet?
In 2017, the majority of the world’s 150 biggest economic entities were giant capitalist corporations. The largest 25 were countries, headed by those — the US, Germany, Britain, France and Japan — that provide the home base for more than half of the largest 100 companies whose operations straddle planet Earth.
In those countries, the power of the state is used to protect and promote the interests of their own ruling class whose companies together monopolise the economy at home and abroad.
Indeed, the political power of the state and the economic power of the monopolies has fused to the extent that, since the early 20th century at least, we can describe that fusion as a system of “state-monopoly capitalism.”
In a draft updated edition, published today, the Communist Party’s programme, Britain’s Road to Socialism (BRS), not only explains this process but updates it to the present.
The current edition was first issued in 2011. Since then, the main imperialist powers have further expanded their military arsenals, facilities and actions across the strategic “greater Middle East” and Asia-Pacific regions.
Russia, China and any other independent-minded states are regarded as obstacles and rivals, although China’s second-largest economy in the world is also a potentially lucrative market. The US has striven with local elites to roll back the left-wing and anti-imperialist movements in Latin America.
Imperialist intervention in Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan has created the conditions in which waves of desperate migrants seek a new life in the relatively prosperous societies of western Europe.
Since 2011, the longer-term impact of the 2007-8 financial crash and international recession has become clearer. The neoliberal agenda still predominates, although the opposition to austerity and privatisation has grown.
At the same time, many voters in Europe are falling for nationalist, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric of the radical right.
Squeezed between resurgences of the radical left and the far right, the traditional social democratic parties have collapsed across much of western Europe.
The Labour Party stands almost alone as an exception to this trend. As this draft updated BRS explains, the anti-war movement, public-sector strikes and anti-austerity campaigning led by the People’s Assembly laid the basis for Jeremy Corbyn’s election as party leader.
Guided by the strategy of the BRS, the Communist Party and the Morning Star not only played a significant role in building that mass extra-parliamentary struggle.
In a period when far left and sectarian voices were urging trade unionists and socialists to leave the Labour Party, the Communists and the Labour left urged them to fight to reclaim that party for the labour movement.
In Scotland, the SNP has forced and lost an independence referendum. A whole new section of the updated BRS counterposes to the nationalist mirage a progressive federalism and the redistribution of wealth to the working class in every nation and region of Britain.
What are the prospects for winning labour movement unity and a left-led Labour government? Which policies should it prioritise in a left-wing programme, including in such areas as automation, drug abuse and anti-social behaviour? What threats and opportunities would it face and how should it respond? How can we build a popular, democratic, anti-monopoly alliance of forces that can successfully resist obstruction and sabotage and put Britain on the road to socialism?
Since 2011, Britain’s voters have rejected ruling class pressure and opted to leave the pro-big business and anti-democratic European Union. The election of US President Donald Trump has highlighted the grave dangers of remaining in Nato.
An independent foreign and defence policy is essential to minimise the threat of international intervention against any advance to socialism.
The BRS explains why left-led governments in Britain, Scotland and Wales must be free to control market forces and pursue left and progressive policies.
The Communist Party now offers this draft updated edition to the labour and progressive movements for debate. We urge Morning Star readers to buy it, discuss it and send in your views.
Robert Griffiths is general secretary of the Communist Party of Britain.
The draft updated edition of Britain's Road to Socialism can be ordered from CPB, Ruskin House, 23 Coombe Rd, Croydon CR0 1BD, email@example.com or tel. 020 8686 1659 at £3 per copy (incl. p&p).
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