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Vol. 81/No. 16      April 24 2017


‘Problem isn’t ‘bad’ government, it’s the capitalist system itself’

MANCHESTER, England — When Peter Clifford knocked on his door in the Gorton neighborhood here April 1 to introduce his party, the Communist League, Dave Evans said he would like to elect a government that “can make some reforms.”

“The problem workers face around the world is not ‘bad’ governments that resist changes, but that we face the rule of the capitalist class and the effects of the crisis of their social and economic system,” Clifford told him.

“As the bosses and their politicians sharpen their attacks on working people, we need a discussion to chart a course forward in the direction of a struggle by millions to take power,” Clifford said, “and put in power a government of working people.”

Clifford, a 61-year-old meat worker, is the Communist League candidate in two May 4 elections, for mayor of Greater Manchester and for Member of Parliament for the Manchester Gorton constituency.

Val Evans, Dave’s wife, said she joined the Labour Party, believing Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership would lead to change, but had become disillusioned and left. Clifford showed them Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? by Jack Barnes, national secretary of the Socialist Workers Party, the Communist League’s sister party in the U.S. She said that when she worked as a caregiver, her manager had asked, “Why don’t you become a supervisor, you’re intelligent,” implying that the other carers were stupid, and that she could rise above them, like her.

The couple decided to get Are They Rich Because They’re Smart, as well as The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record and Is Socialist Revolution in the US Possible? They’re interested in joining Communist League members in an extended weekend of campaigning over the Easter holiday.

‘Brexit is a mess’
One of the biggest political questions being discussed and debated is what “Brexit” will mean for working people. The country’s rulers are negotiating the break with European Union leaders with a deadline of April 2019.

“Brexit is a mess,” Watson Muzamh told Clifford. “You wouldn’t buy a house if you hadn’t seen it,” he said, quoting former Labour Party leader Anthony Blair, an opponent of the U.K. breaking from the EU. “But both the U.K. house and the EU house are coming apart,” Clifford said, “and workers across Europe are paying the price.”

Muzamh told Clifford about the conditions he faces as a “self-employed” contract worker at Fedex. He pays a financial penalty if he’s sick and the bosses have to find a replacement worker. “We need a union,” he said.

This is a big issue for working people. The number of self-employed workers has risen sharply. In October 2016 there were 4.75 million out of a total U.K. workforce of some 32 million. This unorganized section of the working class is saddled with lower pay and loss of hard-won protections.

“Labour is not my party any more,” Ann Driscoll told CL campaigners Dag Tirsén and Hugo Wils. “All the parties are interested in Brexit, but they’re not interested in what the people were after when they voted for it.”

She said she voted for the rupture because EU membership meant “letting immigrants in and giving them preferential treatment for housing over British people.”

“All workers have to stand together, immigrants and British, women and men,” Tirsén responded. “That can unite the working class. It’s the road to build strong trade unions that fight not only for their own members but for all the oppressed and exploited.”

After talking it out, Driscoll agreed. “Yes we have to unite all of us,” she said.

Philippe Delcloque, a French citizen married to a Kenyan, was concerned they could both be deported post-Brexit. He’s a Labour Party supporter. Clifford explained that the Brexit vote, like the election of Donald Trump in the U.S., was the result of workers looking for a way to protest against the conditions they face, the attacks of the bosses and their governments, and looking for a sharp change.

“Those workers won’t support deportations of fellow workers,” he said. Delcloque took out a subscription to the Militant after hearing about how the paper covers and supports the Cuban Revolution.

The Communist League calls for workers to fight for a government-funded public works program to address joblessness and build homes, hospitals and schools, as well as tackling crumbling infrastructure. This can help to overcome divisions imposed on the working class between employed and unemployed, and between British-born — and long-time British resident immigrants — and foreign-born workers.

Naila Fahad was interested in this when Clifford knocked on her door. “What can we do?” she said. “Isn’t Labour for the workers?”

“It will take a struggle to implement a public works program,” Clifford told her. “The idea isn’t to make capitalism ‘fairer,’ but to strengthen the working class on the road to replacing it. Labour claims it can make dog-eat-dog capitalism better, but that’s impossible.”

“The Communist League presents a working-class perspective in contrast to all the other parties — from Labour to the Conservatives. They all seek to prop up capitalist rule over a declining Britain and the little left of its empire,” Clifford said. “The Communist League wants to organize the working class to fight to take political power.”  
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