Communist Party of Britain General Secretary, Robert Griffiths, has released the following statement today (23 April ), following an extended meeting of the party’s Political Committee in London.
‘The working class and peoples of England, Scotland and Wales face a stark choice on June 8: whether to vote for more austerity, privatisation, growing inequality, militarism and war; or to elect a left-led Labour government with policies to enhance our public services, invest in industry and housing, combat poverty, safeguard the environment, liberate the trade unions, promote social justice and pursue an independent foreign policy based on peace and international solidarity.
Theresa May and the Tories want a bigger Commons majority in order to force through a raft of policies opposed by many millions of people in Britain, including:
- Five more years of austerity and privatisation of the NHS and other public services.
- The reintroduction of grammar and therefore, in effect, of secondary modern schools.
- A new round of anti-trade union laws, aimed at workers in public transport, education and other important services.
- Renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system under US control, at a cost of more than £150bn.
In particular, May and her closest allies want to negotiate an agreement with the EU that would keep Britain in the European Single Market in all but name, which would mean no return of democratic control over trade, capital movements, public investment (including state aid for industry), procurement policy, agriculture or over the super-exploitation of migrant labour. Almost certainly, too, Britain would have to pay an extortionate ‘exit fee’ and grant favourable access to EU citizens wishing to live or work here – concessions which would be opposed by at least some anti-EU Tory MPs.
The Tories also intend to delete any EU policies incorporated into British law that stand in the way of big business profits, especially in such areas as employment rights, health and safety, consumer protection and environmental standards. Many of these policies are feeble, but better than nothing.
On the other side, Labour’s policies in this election include more progressive taxation, state bank investment in public services, support for industry, an end to NHS privatisation, public ownership of the railways, community ownership of energy, an end to zero-hours contracts, the restoration of employment and trade union rights and building half a million new council houses.
The Communist Party is in no doubt that this second option is the only one which serves the interests of workers and their families. Therefore our members will be campaigning for a Labour victory as the essential first step towards the formation of a left-led government at Westminster.
In every General Election since the formation of the CP in 1920, we have stood our own candidates, not least in 2015 when we fielded nine. Now, on this occasion, we will not contest any seats, although this does not signal any withdrawal from the electoral arena in the future.
We call for a Labour vote in every constituency across Britain, despite the reactionary views of numerous Labour Party candidates. Communist Party organisations will approach local Labour Party bodies in their area with offers of practical campaigning assistance.
At the same time – and in the light of the EU referendum campaign – it is now clear that a vote for the LibDems, Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru will be a vote for EU free-market fundamentalism and the EU’s alignment with NATO. A vote for UKIP will be a vote for austerity, privatisation, tax cuts for the rich and big business and for a narrow, xenophobic nationalism that seeks to divide working people instead of uniting them.
In order to project our revolutionary strategy for socialism and a programme of clear, consistent policies for the labour movement, the Communist Party will also promote its own manifesto in this period of heightened political activity and consciousness.
In particular, we will continue to put the case for a progressive exit from the EU and its Single Market and for the policies that this then makes possible, including:
- State-backed investment in housing, public services and renationalised utilities.
- Direction of private capital into depressed areas.
- Regulation of trade to support exports and protect strategic industries.
- Control over public procurement policy in order to favour equal pay and trade union rights including collective bargaining.
- Drastic reductions in VAT alongside higher taxes on the rich and big business.
- Legislative and trade union action to enforce equal terms and conditions for imported workers.
- Replacement of the corrupt, high price and wasteful Common Agricultural Policy by a system of direct production and investment grants.
The Communist Party’s manifesto will also ensure that the case is made for progressive federalism, a radical redistribution of wealth to the working class in all the nations and regions of Britain, abolition of the Trident nuclear weapons system and for Britain’s withdrawal from NATO.
The maximum possible Labour vote is necessary not only to secure the election of a Labour government. We also recognise that this election marks a further intensification of the left-right struggle within the labour movement and the Labour Party. The higher the Labour vote and the number of Labour MPs elected, the more secure will be the position of Jeremy Corbyn and his left allies in the Parliamentary Labour Party.
Any reverses for Labour will be used as a pretext by the right-wing pro-EU, pro-NATO faction in the Parliamentary Labour Party and its trade union allies to launch yet another bid to remove Jeremy Corbyn and take the Labour Party back to the neoliberal and pro-war policies of the past.
Thus the Communist Party says:
- Eject the Tories – elect a Labour government!
- Reject austerity, privatisation and imperialist war!
- Leave the EU Single Market and NATO!
- No to any free trade treaty with the EU that denies workers’ rights and the role of the public sector!
- Fight for social justice, public ownership and progressive taxation!’