The June 8 General Election is aimed at giving the Tories an absolute grip on power as they struggle with the dramatic economic, political and constitutional consequences of last year’s vote to leave the European Union.
As the old politics breaks up, ruling elites everywhere are moving towards autocracy and even dictatorship. May is following in the footsteps of Erdogan, Putin and Trump in brooking no opposition to her plans, including inside a divided Tory Party.
The general election is both a pre-emptive strike against a Labour Party weakened by the right wing’s sabotage of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and a bid to give the ruling elites carte blanche to do what they want.
Until Brexit, the UK state shared sovereignty with Brussels and the would-be EU state. Now the ruling elites have to remake the UK state and its relations with other economies by March 2019. This is a virtually impossible task and May knows it. In addition, Brexit has led to renewed demands for Scotland’s self-determination and a crisis in Northern Ireland. The UK constitution is clearly unsustainable.
The Tories, naturally, are not planning to give the people any meaningful control in spite of the promises made by the Leave camp. What power, if any, is repatriated from Brussels will go directly to the UK state and prioritise the interests of the corporations and financial sector.
As we suggest in Democracy Unchained: “A transition to real democracy is incompatible with a narrowly-based state that is predisposed towards capitalism. … The impossibility of separating the present state from economic power is a powerful enough reason on its own for making a transition to new forms of democracy.”
A campaign platform
How can the opportunity of the general election be used to campaign for real democracy and support for the Real Democracy Movement? How can the transfer of power from Brussels directly to the people be made a live issue? Supporters of the RDM are proposing that assemblies, meetings and online gatherings could come together to:
> Address the political and constitutional crisis that threatens Parliamentary democracy, however limited that system is
> Discuss how power can be transferred from the present state and its institutions to the majority
> Examine the case for citizens-led conventions on the constitution throughout the UK to work on a new democratic system
> Develop democratic solutions to the crisis in the NHS and public services through, for example, scrapping the burden of PFI payments and bringing the pharmaceuticals into co-ownership
> Propose how the right to self-determination for Scotland and other nations in the UK can be fulfilled
> Put forward alternative economic solutions and models based on co-operative forms of ownership and control
> Build support for an approach to Brexit that rejects neo-liberal trade deals and agreements that put the corporations in control.
There are many other issues and challenges that could be discussed including, for example, how to provide adequate resources to local communities so that migrant workers and new generations can access housing, health and other services. How to combat Islamophobia, anti-migrant propaganda and racism of all kinds is critical in order to unite communities.
Gatherings could also put forward ways to reduce housing costs and provide affordable homes as well as how society can provide free care for older people at home or in a communal setting. A sound way to create more resources is through demilitarising the UK, scrapping nuclear and other offensive weapons and ending involvement in foreign and civil wars. Put it on the agenda!
The climate crisis is hardly likely to figure in the general election, so why not start to create an emergency plan which might include:
> A ban on fracking, the phasing out of all fossil fuel extraction and the expansion of renewable energy
> A switch to sustainable production through 100% recycling of materials used in manufacturing
> Incentives to use public transport through cheaper fares to cut congestion and air pollution
> Eco-friendly farming and food production.
Other people might want to talk about how we can stop libraries and local museums from closing and creating affordable access to cultural activities that have largely become the preserve of the well-off.
What do you think? What else should we be talking about? What are we going to do with the results of these gatherings?
How to vote on June 8
Giving critical support to Corbyn’s Labour to thwart the Tories’ plan for a one-party state is the right thing to do.
The right wing in and outside of the Parliamentary Labour Party is undermining his election campaign, aiming to block radical policies like the scrapping of Trident. Privately, many would undoubtedly prefer a Tory victory if it meant they could oust Corbyn as a result.
Win or lose, Corbyn and his allies should prepare to break decisively with the right wing. The hundreds of thousands who joined Labour to offer support to Corbyn did so on the basis that he represented something different, and that he was leading a social movement that could produce a real change. This movement needs to find an expression free from the manoeuvres of those who have sought to undermine Corbyn despite his two overwhelming victories in leadership contests.
The movement should also acknowledge that traditional social democratic thinking and policies have hit the buffers throughout Europe, undermined by corporate-led globalisation and a growing rejection of traditional political parties.
Corbyn has pointed out, correctly, that the establishment has rigged the system in its favour. A programme of economic and constitutional transformation – a vision of a democratic revolution – would offer a real alternative and open the way to defeating the establishment once and for all.
RDM supporters offer up this platform for debate and discussion before and after the general election and invite you to join them in the struggle for real democracy.