Millions of good people are feeling gutted this morning at the unexpected size of the Tory victory, & the sharpness of the blow to the electoral hopes of socialists.
We are right to keen and grieve. The immediate effect of the victory will see an increased assault by the Tories on the living and working conditions of many in the UK; a rise in virulent racism & far-right sentiment; a renewed confidence for financiers, arms manufacturers, vulture landlords, corporate environmental despoilers, with all the consequences of that for people & planet.
In all likelihood there will not now be an election to the UK parliament for five years. This means all serious struggle to defend people and planet will take place outside parliament. UK socialists inside and outside the labour party will have to be more, not less active to stop an avalanche of oppression & exploitation.
On the other hand the problems of Boris & the Tories are only beginning. It now looks likely that the union will break up with Scotland vying in for independence over the next couple of years, and the combination of a nationalist majority and a hard border in the north making a united Ireland more likely than ever before.
Besides this, Boris will have to inflict poverty & misery on millions of people who voted for him and whom he promised a new Jerusalem in the aftermath of Brexit. It won’t be long before the Tories are deeply and widely unpopular. The situation in the UK is going to be permanently volatile from now on and huge opportunities to lead large-scale extra-parliamentary fightbacks may well arrive sooner rather than later.
Remember too that Corybyn was not only defeated by the Tories, but by a movement of the International ruling class – incl both the liberal & the murdoch press, foreign govt operatives, & the right of his own party. That such a broad coalition of the rich, employing every dirty trick available, came together to oppose a modicum of relief for working people from austerity shows how much the rich fear us and how they are prepared to stop at nothing to stay on top. Despite the defeat, this lesson will not be lost on the millions of young who voted for labour. They are the future of socialism in the UK – but they need to be told that elections are only a minor part of the struggle.
Personally, I feel UK socialists need a new party of workers and the oppressed, and that this Corybyn experiment proves once and for all that you cannot achieve socialism by parliamentary road from within a social democratic organisation which is, to say the least, ambiguous about the role of capitalism and the capitalist state in maintaining the rule of the 1%￼. But I’m going to let the Brits look after themselves. I’m sure there will be plenty with good analysis and proposals doing the rounds over the next couple of days.￼
Here in Ireland we have to take stock. We will face to same problem of a hostile mass media, and so we must up our own countermedia game to a new level to get our message out to as many people as possible as often as possible.
At least a section of FG & FF will be adopting racist rhetoric in the run up to the next election, & the far-right here may also be boosted by Boris. Broad & ceaselessly active anti-racist coalitions will be crucial to defending the interests of the Irish working class in the next while.
We have an incipient grassroots revolt on housing within which the left is a strong and organised pole of attraction and we must continue to build that & to throw ourselves into supporting community and workers campaigns more generally.
We must put the argument and help lead the fight for a socialist United Ireland.
We must try and unite all those who want to want to fight for socialist change from below into a single effectibe organisation.
But first things first – cure your blues and cheat your despair by joining tmros RALLY FOR PEACE AT LEINSTER HOUSE at 1pm. See you there to continue the discussion!