Social and Economic Policy

Lib Dems: turbo-charged neoliberalism

Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 19:37

Quite a few of the Lib Dems’ manifesto pledges read as quite leftish. Their opposition to Brexit is clear, though revoking Article 50 without a new referendum is misguided. On migrants’ rights and free movement, they stand in many respects to the left of Labour.

Even on public services, they are promising something like £50 billion above the Tories’ spending plans, and in a few areas have outflanked Labour – for instance childcare, where they are pledging more free hours from earlier and specifying it will be almost all year round.

In general, though, what marks out the Lib Dems’ plans is not

High finance: take back control

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 09:03

The banks and high finance should be converted into a public banking, mortgage, and pension service, under public ownership and democratic and workers’ control.

Public ownership and democratic control will also provide the means to stop a reforming government being sabotaged by a “strike” or “flight” of capital, as France’s reforming government was in the early 1980s.

Britain’s big four banks made about £22 billion profits in 2018-9. That is more than the total of £19 billion per year required, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies in October 2018, to end the cuts in welfare, schools,

Why public ownership?

Published on: Wed, 06/11/2019 - 08:57

Labour has pledged to bring energy, rail, water, and mail into public ownership and to “put democratic management at the heart of how those industries are run”.

These are some reasons for doing this:

• Those industries are central to economic life. To make a real socialist Green New Deal, to reshape economic life to cut carbon emissions adequately, requires public control of those industries rather than just nudging and coaxing their private owners.
• They are, to one degree, or another, monopolies or semi-monopolies. Private-profit companies running such industries acquire big chances to make

Hold Labour to socialist Green New Deal policies!

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 11:22
Author

Misha Zubrowski

Labour Party conference passed unprecedentedly bold environmental policy this year. It will amount to nothing if we do not fight for it.

The policy as passed was contradictory, or at least in tension, in parts, but included:

• a target of zero carbon emissions by 2030
• “a worker-led ‘just transition’... public ownership of energy, creating an integrated, democratic system; large-scale investment in renewables”
• “rapidly phasing out fossil fuels”
• “repeal all anti-union laws, facilitating worker-led activism over social and political issues, including climate change”
• “take transport into

How Labour should end austerity

Published on: Wed, 11/09/2019 - 07:31
Author

Chris Reynolds

Since 2010 austerity has ground down working-class living standards for the benefit of the ultra-rich. Life has been made meaner and more insecure.

Boris Johnson now says he will end austerity. But that is all a matter of previously-budgeted money being “recycled” and called expansion, and random promises to try to win a general election after which he will be free to do his right-wing worst for five years.

The NHS and social care have been squeezed so that waiting lists expand and A&E wait times explode. Hospitals routinely run at the upper limit of capacity, so that an epidemic, or an

Hipster reformism and the technological fix

Published on: Wed, 17/07/2019 - 09:25

Bruce Robinson reviews Aaron Bastani's 'Fully Automated Luxury Communism'

Back in 2013-14 there was a lot of excitement on the left about “left accelerationism” and the prospect of a transition to a “post-capitalism” fuelled by technological advances based on information.

Aaron Bastani coined the meme of “Fully Automated Luxury Communism” (FALC), and it led a fitful life on the Internet. It has now returned in the form of a book which sets out to be a manifesto. Since 2015 Bastani has moved from a politics rooted in “post-workerist” thinkers to become a born-again supporter of Jeremy Corbyn.

T

Land and the oligarchy

Published on: Wed, 17/07/2019 - 07:08
Author

John Cunningham

The appearance of two books on landownership in Britain, within the space of a year or
so, is yet another “flagging up” of the growing importance of the “land question” and a “wake-
up call” for the Left.

We have to take the question of the land on which we live – who owns it, how it is exploited,
how the overwhelming majority of us are excluded from it – much more seriously than we
have in the past.

Guy Shrubsole’s Who Owns England? (William Collins, 2019) gives us a long term overview of
how the land in England has been progressively exploited and expropriated by an obscenely
wealthy elite

Why we marched against Trump

Published on: Wed, 05/06/2019 - 12:40

On 3 and 4 June, Workers’ Liberty and Solidarity people joined thousands in London protesting against Donald Trump’s state visit. On 4 June we were part of an “against Trump, against Brexit” contingent, with Labour for a Socialist Europe and Another Europe is Possible.

Trump has stridently backed Brexit and boosted pro-Brexit right-wingers like Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson. Trump represents Brexit-type politics in the USA; Brexit represents Trump-type politics in Britain. It’s the same broad trend also represented (with important variations) by Modi in India, Erdoğan in Turkey, Salvini in

A new humanist politics?

Published on: Wed, 05/06/2019 - 11:02
Author

Matt Kinsella

Paul Mason’s latest book, Clear Bright Future, is written as a defence of humanism and human-centred politics, against the resurgent threat of the far-right, from Trump to Bolsonaro, Le Pen to Salvini. The title is a reference to Leon Trotsky’s testament. Mason entreats us to fight “all evil, oppression, and violence”, and shares Trotsky’s optimism for the future.

Mason draws a convincing link from the financial crash in 2007-08 to Trump’s election. Mason emphasises how the monopolisation of information (think Google and Facebook) has led to systems outside our control, for example, of online

Strikes, unions and climate change

Published on: Wed, 29/05/2019 - 11:22
Author

Abel Harvie-Clark

The Green New Deal calls for an economic revolution to put people and planet before profit. In contrast many unions are still supporting environmentally destructive industries. Now is the time for worker-youth solidarity to demand climate and social justice.

Our school strike is more than just showing we care about the environment. We are striking for political change. We are striking to demand climate justice. A key part of that is the Green New Deal, to revolutionise our economics and put people before profit, because we recognise that social and climate justice go hand in hand.

Our

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