Last Saturday, thousands of protesters took to the streets of London to voice their outrage at Boris Johnson's plan to shut down parliament.
The protest was organised by an assortment of anti-Brexit groups, such as Another Europe is Possible, the Green Party, and Momentum. There were over 70 supporting protests being held across the UK on the same day, with the central demands to ‘stop the coup’ and ‘defend democracy’.
The fact that this ‘coup’ is perfectly lawful under the current ‘democratic’ system has shone a spotlight on the farce of the British constitution and the existing parliamentary setup. The organisers of the protest hinted at this when they declared on Facebook that "we can't just rely on the courts or parliamentary process to save the day".
Rotten status quo
The democratic rights won through working-class struggle clearly must be defended. But the fight cannot be to merely maintain the rotten parliamentary status quo.
Instead, we need a socialist Labour government that will genuinely represent the interests of working people, and which will abolish the feudal relics of the Monarchy and the House of Lords that the ruling class will use to block any future political decisions that don't serve their interests.
While the organisers of these protests have recognised the need for action on the streets, outside of the cobwebbed walls of Westminster, their blinkered focus on remaining in the EU meant that the protests came across less about stopping Boris, and more about stopping Brexit.
As a result, these demos have attracted a sizeable section of attendees who oppose both the Tory government and the prospect of a Corbyn-led government.
Socialist Appeal supporters have attended the protests in London and elsewhere, and have attempted to cut through this confusion. What workers and youth across Britain need is not the Single Market and the protection of Brussels but a Labour government that will enact a bold socialist programme and break the shackles of austerity.
Banging the drum about the EU is a distraction from the massive social crises facing working class communities. Child poverty is at a record high. Food banks have become an everyday necessity for families across the country. And the NHS has been pushed to breaking point by Tory cuts.
Whatever the Brexit outcome, without a socialist Labour government, these crises are sure to be exacerbated by the continuation of Tory rule. Even inside the EU, there will be a continuation of the austerity programme that big business demands. A Boris-led Brexit, meanwhile, would mean a wave of further attacks on workers and the poor in order to make British capitalism competitive.
General election now!
What is needed, therefore, is mass working class action on the streets, with the clear demand for a general election to kick out the Tories.
The planned proroguing of Parliament has once again brought to the surface the anger that exists amongst workers and youth towards this unelected government of “swivel-eyed loons”.
Another protest has been called for this evening in Parliament Square, organised by the People's Assembly Against Austerity. This demonstration has correctly focussed attention on the demand for a general election to stop Boris and give the Tories the boot.
Jeremy Corbyn has thrown his support behind today’s protest. Corbyn and the leadership of the labour movement now need to take the next step and put themselves at the head of the movement to bring down Boris’ government. Instead of relying on parliamentary alliances and manoeuvres, Labour needs to organise a national campaign to force a general election and fight for a clear socialist alternative to this Tory chaos.
This CLP notes that:
- Britain is in the grip of a crisis – political, social, and constitutional – the likes of which we have never experienced in peacetime.
- Boris Johnson, the unelected Tory prime minister, together with rabid right-wing cabinet, has launched a constitutional 'coup' to push through a no-deal Brexit.
- Johnson’s right-wing agenda poses a dire threat to the working class. As a result, millions of people are looking for a lead.
This CLP believes that:
- On this 200th anniversary of the Peterloo massacre, the Labour and trade union movement must not permit the rights and interests of working people to be trampled underfoot by Johnson and his cronies.
- We cannot stand on the side-lines in such perilous times. On the contrary, we must seize the initiative now.
- The only way forward is to force a general election, to get rid of Johnson, and to replace him with a Corbyn Labour government.
This CLP therefore calls upon the Labour Party - in conjunction with the TUC - to organise a joint national campaign to bring down this Tory government. Such a mass campaign must mobilise the forces of the entire Labour and trade union movement, with rallies in every town and city.
The Labour Party should organise as soon as possible a mass TUC-Labour Party national march and rally in London, under the slogans:
- Down with this Tory government!
- For a general election now!
- For a Corbyn Labour government!