The first stage in the revolutionary process in Britain will be signified by a substantial and sustained shift to the left in the labour movement, growing support for key policies of the LWP among the working class and the population more widely, and the development of an anti-monopoly alliance of forces across a range of battles and campaigns.
Belief in the right of the people to decide who governs them is deeply rooted in England, Scotland and Wales. The opening stage in Britain’s socialist revolution will therefore have to culminate in the election of a left-wing government at Westminster, based on a socialist, Labour, communist and progressive majority at the polls.
Moreover, it will be very important to win the election of left and progressive governments in Scotland and Wales in the same period, also backed by a popular democratic anti-monopoly alliance of forces but with the likely involvement of left and progressive elements in the Welsh and Scottish national movements.
Whether such governments are won with or without electoral alliances or pacts is less important than the need for socialists and communists to approach electoral strategy with a combination of political principle and tactical flexibility.
Different levels of left cooperation, coordination and unity are possible in election periods, although the Communist Party’s preference is to build strategic alliances based on mass campaigning in between elections rather than rely upon short-term, expedient tactical agreements.
Mass, active, popular and working class support will be essential to implement key policies of the LWP. The peoples of Britain are unlikely to give such support without also having the opportunity to express it in the electoral arena. Indeed, such democratic endorsement will be vital in order to mobilise the working class and its allies to overcome all forms of resistance and sabotage, as a left-wing government implements policies that challenge the interests of big business and the state apparatus.
It is likely that such developments will also produce new forms of working class and progressive organisation. The history of resistance and revolutionary movements in every country is that they give rise to new forms of self-organisation. In Britain, for example, working class and popular struggle has led to the formation of Working Men’s Associations, the National and Female Charter Associations, workers’ and consumers’ cooperatives, workers’ and soldiers’ councils, councils of action, the People’s Convention, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, the Liaison Committee for the Defence of Trade Unions, miners’ support groups and Women Against Pit Closures, anti-poll tax unions, the Stop the War Coalition and the People’s Charter for Change movement.
The forces drawn to the popular democratic anti-monopoly alliance will take new forms and create new structures. It will be important that these play a full role in the AEPS as it unfolds.
Communists also understand that the election of a left government guarantees nothing. Democracy is very limited, distorted and precarious in a capitalist society. It does not extend into people’s working lives, which comprise up to one-half of their waking hours. It can be countermanded by the enormous wealth and power of the capitalist class and its mass media. Furthermore, democracy can itself be eroded by the actions of the government and the state. Even the much-proclaimed ‘sovereignty of parliament’ is contradicted in reality by the power of the executive, the state apparatus, the mass media, the monopoly capitalists and their ‘market forces’, the EU and international agencies such as NATO, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Union Organisation.
Experience also indicates that the British ruling class and its allies are prepared to be utterly ruthless in defending their interests, not only through the use of state power at home but also abroad through the use of economic sabotage, military force, anti-democratic subversion, military dictatorship, state torture and death squads.
This underlines the need for a popular democratic anti-monopoly alliance to secure the maximum support for policies that challenge any aspect of state-monopoly capitalism. A left government in Britain will need to be rooted in mass extra-parliamentary campaigning and militancy if it is to survive and succeed.