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Take charge, take control

20 March 2024. Members of the trade unions RMT, TUC and Nautilus gather outside the Parliament on the second anniversary of P&O Ferries firing nearly 800 workers, calling for a new deal for workers and an end to Fire and Rehire. Photo Vuk Valcic/Alamy Live News.

These are critical times for the working class and for Britain. Eight years ago we voted to leave the EU. The Covid-19 pandemic failed to weaken the class, and significant sections have since fought for pay and their industries. Workers will not wander the world as itinerants for hire wherever capitalism sends us. Our fight is here, and no election changes that.

At home capitalism wages war against us, against work, against skill and knowledge and pay. Mass immigration, promoted by successive governments, running at unprecedented levels, is a weapon against British workers, to drive down wages and create a new reserve army of strike-breakers.

When Britain said no to the EU and its “free” movement of labour as a commodity, it was a great step forward. But the enemy opens new fronts as soon as it can. We now have record immigration from non-EU countries and the latest figures show long-term net migration running at 685,000 for 2023.

Capitalism jeopardises food and energy security, our ability to feed ourselves and keep ourselves warm, and fills our rivers and seas with sewage. From potholes to the sabotage of rail projects like HS2, capitalism shows itself bankrupt of any solutions to the problems that face us in day-to-day life.

Our universities, which should be central to finding those solutions, are turned from centres of scholarship and research into factories of orthodoxy and division.

Devolution and separatism are used to attack the working class, and their extension proposed, not just for Scotland and Wales but for regions and even sub-regions. We need unity not division.

Imperialism plans for and promotes war in an ever-expanding list of theatres of conflict, in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. Calls for increased military spending are common to all parliamentary parties. Some call for the reintroduction of conscription of young workers.

'Freedom for the capitalist means its opposite for the people. We must claim Britain to make progress...'

A Labour government enthusiastically joined NATO, in part the brainchild of its foreign secretary Ernest Bevin, in 1949. Every party in Westminster is committed to British membership and party leaders vie with one another to increase the proportion of gross domestic product spent on defence.

We reject attempts to bring wars abroad to British streets and set worker against worker. We say, “Britain out of NATO, no to war!”

Freedom for the capitalist means its opposite for the people. We must claim Britain to make progress. The eighth anniversary of the Brexit vote is behind us – it’s high time to start building real independence.

Whatever people voted in June 2016, now is the time to take charge and take control. Workers in every industry and every city, town and locality must come together to think through what that means for them, whether a renewed fight for pay here, on conditions of employment there, above all a plan for a future for their industry, for jobs and skill.

Workers recognise the importance of energy security for the nation. Politicians of all colours pay lip service to this. But according to government figures in 2023, Britain paid record amounts to European countries for the import of electricity. Our energy supply is not secure. We must tackle this.

Similarly, workers recognise that food security is of critical importance. The “No Farmers, No Food” campaign has gained widespread support but the country continues to import more than one quarter of the foods we consume that can be grown here.

Only workers can save themselves and save Britain. Social democracy is an ideology of decline. Marxism is the only ideology that can analyse the increasingly destructive role of financial capital. So unite in production and action, to build a new Britain.

These ideas were part of the discussions at the recent 20th Congress of the CPBML. The congress political statement will be published in full in due course, but our statement concluded:

Get organised, join your union, build and defend the new Britain, take charge. Join the CPBML, the party of the working class.