Labour Party and Trade Unions are no loger the friends of the working class in Britain nor Trade Unions and Social-Democratic parties elsewhere
by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Jeremy Corbyn likes to make himself out to be a socialist but his actions have shown something entirely different. Six months or so after becoming leader of the Labour Party he told members of big business that the Labour Party is the natural – I repeat natural – ally of (big) business and, in the campaign for Britain to stay in the EU, he spoke of making Europe more social through the British Labour Party. That is the social-democracy tune and not socialism.
The Labour Party and its current leader would not know socialism if it bit them in the proverbial and when they talk about socialism they, like Bernie Sanders in the US, are talking about democratic socialism for which we better read social-democracy.
Social-democracy is not in the interest of the working class and will not liberate the workers from their existence as wage slaves. It is tinkering around the edges to some degree and in other instances it turns to state capitalism. In the latter instance the worker than becomes a slave to the state rather than to an employer and often that situation is worse that the other. Under state capitalism it is often for the worker a case of from the frying pan into the fire.
Socialism is not state capitalism nor is it social-democratic tinkering around the edges and the Labour Party, much like the Social Democratic parties in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, including Die Linke in Germany, and the Trade Unions, in Britain and elsewhere, do not have the interest of the workers at heart. In the case of the parties they work hand-in-glove with industry and (big) business to prevent a takeover by the workers and the Trade Unions have in themselves become an industry and do their utmost to defend their positions, rather than liberating the workers, as can be see by their stance with regards to worker-owned cooperatives. (See Trade Unions vs Workers' Cooperatives).
The Labour Party may have, at some time in the past, been inspired by some notion of socialism, though more a socialism light rather than true socialism, but that is long ago and what was called “New Labour” under Blair and his ilk, became more or less a slightly social-democracy leaning Tory party. Aside from the fact that in early 2016 those Blairites and Brownites are still very much in evidence in the Labour Party its new leader, from whom we expected a great deal more, has also decided to get into bed with big business and capitalism.
Nationalizing (key) industries, utilities, communication and public transportation, as we have had in the UK, and other countries, including and especially the so-called socialist countries in Eastern Europe (and some other places) does not make for socialism; what it creates is state capitalism, no more no less. Socialism and communism will only come about when the workers (are permitted or give themselves the permission to) own the means of production.
A state enterprise is not worker-owned, it is state-owned and thus state capitalism. State-owned enterprises do not make for means of production in the hands of the workers but make the workers into wage slaves of the state and often that means that they jump from the proverbial frying pan into the fire. The remain wage slaves and nothing more; they are not owners of the means of production, however much one wishes to claim that.
Karl Marx has often been misquoted and his material even be rewritten to change it from “the means of production in the hands of the workers” to “the means of production in the hands of the state” in an attempt to favor the state over the worker.
The attitude of the trade unions to this and to workers owning the means of production I have already discussed in the article Trade Unions vs Workers' Cooperatives and more does not have to be said on that level.
The only way the workers and the working class will ever become the owners of the means of production if the working class itself creates the right conditions for such a change. Parties such as the Labour Party and the trade unions are not going to do it for us.