So, as I’ve mentioned in my previous post, there’s an insane amount of exciting stuff going on at the moment, both at home and internationally. This being the case, it’d seem a bit perverse to briefly summarise a lot of inspiring events and then write a lengthy reply to a blog post by some shitty Labourite with no real power over anything, but that’s exactly what I’m about to do. I’m sure this displays a completely wrong-headed sense of priorities, but as ever, this blog isn’t, and makes no pretence to being, a guide to all the most important things happening in the world, it’s just one individual anarchist musing, when I find the time, on things that happen to catch my attention.
Anyway, one of the fundamental guiding truths of the anarchist tradition is that pretty much every individual and group who’s set out to capture political power “in the name of the working class” (or any other ideology, come to think of it) has ended up by prioritising the defence of that power over the interests of the working class. Those who claim to represent us are not our friends. However, some leaders are very good at hiding this, which is why we should be grateful that the NUS managed to end up with Aaron Porter as its head, so absolutely no-one in their right mind could have any confidence in the man who describes the current government’s policies as “relatively progressive”. Now that Porter’s announced he won’t be standing for re-election, I think it’s reasonable to start to worry about who’ll replace the piece of shit, since a transfer of energy away from the streets and occupations back towards the dead bureaucracy of the NUS would be a serious step backwards. So let’s be grateful for scum like Paul Cotterill, author of “Five reasons why the left should accept Labour council cuts”, for his sterling work in reminding us why the Labour Party are part of the problem.
The excellent Phil Dickens has already given this piece of nauseating lefty tripe a well-deserved and through kicking, but I’d just like to go over it again. I was going to go through it point-by-point, but I can’t be arsed: there’s one pressingly obvious reason to oppose Labour cuts, which is that they’re cuts, they’ll hurt us and people we know and people like us. Asking us to accept it and to welcome Labour councillors into the movement is to ask people who’re losing their jobs and services to link arms with the people who are doing the cutting. It’s fucking obscene, and we should have no part in it. Paul Cotterill may claim that Labour cuts would be different from Tory cuts, but so did Alistair Darling, when he warned that if Labour got back in, they were planning to be worse than Thatcher. His article should be applauded for revealing the utter bankruptcy of the strategy it advocates. As Cotterill convincingly shows, Labour politicians have to act the same way as Tory ones, simply because the same pressures operate on both of them, so the way to stop cuts isn’t to ask for nicer politicians to make nicer cuts, it’s to change the situation by creating a different, and greater, set of pressures in the other direction. Well-meaning politicians can’t stop the unstoppable force of capital, so it’s up to us to make sure that our resistance becomes an immovable object. As Thames Valley SolFed put it, winning the argument is all well and good, but winning the fight is what matters. When even those who support engaging with the current political system admit that the logic of that system makes it impossible for politicians who oppose cuts to stick to their principles, the answer isn’t to hope for a slightly less brutal savaging from some politicians who’ll feel a bit bad about it afterwards, it’s to make it impossible for that system to function as usual. And this isn’t just empty idealistic rhetoric, it’s simply a statement of what’s already happening, in Wisconsin and in Lambeth people have already started to take mass direct action to disrupt the workings of the old world with a little glimpse of the new. If, as Cotterill readily admits, politicians can’t make decisions that’ll stop the cuts, then we shouldn’t allow them to make decisions at all.
And when dealing with the sort of wanker who still thinks that a Labour government is something worth fighting for, it’s worth taking a moment to remember what the last Labour government actually meant in practice. It’s funny that the same shitheads who bleat on about how unacceptable violence towards property or the police is are often keen to support Labour, since Blair and Brown’s rule was incredibly violent. This isn’t some vague theoretical point about the nature of state power, it’s a physical reality: the bullets pumped through the head of Jean Charles de Menezes and the vast numbers of Iraqis and British soldiers slaughtered by Blair’s devotion to the War on Terror are part of what the Labour Party stands for. And that’s not to mention Blair’s support of Hosni “force for good” Mubarak and his “positive and constructive” relationship with Gaddafi, and his role in arming the dictator.
But it’d be wrong to view Labour’s violence as something that was only played out on the other side of the world: they might have been most consistently vicious towards immigrants and ethnic minorities, as seen in the conditions that provoked several hunger strikes in Yarl’s Wood detention centre, but they also consistently attacked the British working class, from the introduction of fees to the cuts they made to the NHS and incapacity benefit, and they weren’t shy to unleash their thugs against anyone trying to challenge their rule. Anyone who can remember the G20 protests will know that kettling is hardly a tactic the tories invented, and they literally tried to starve out the Vestas workers trying to save their jobs. We should have no illusions about the fact that, if Labour do get in at any point in the near future, they’ll try to implement their cuts plans, the ones that they promised would go further than Thatcher’s. They will fuck with the lives of you and me and people you know, and if anyone resists in a way that seriously challenges their power, they will unleash the state’s violence, up to and including the kind that killed Ian Tomlinson. Yes, I know, many Labour supporters would hate to be associated with any of those things; they associate their support of Labour with all kinds of nice, do-goodery things, and some may even be confused enough to think that backing Labour has something to do with socialism. But then, a lot of the people who voted Lib Dem at the last election thought they were voting for a progressive alternative to the tories, and look where that got them. Good intentions are not enough.