Thursday, 24 February 2011

From Economic to Political Crisis

The Economic Battle

There has been much discussion on the left about developing the anti-cuts campaigning beyond “simply” protesting about spending cuts.

One of the most frequent, and often difficult, questions we are asked is “if you aren’t going to cut spending, how would you reduce the deficit”. This point then leads to the favoured criticism from the right, that anyone who questions spending cuts is a “deficit denier”.

This question demands an answer. If we want people to accept that the cuts are an ideological assault on ordinary working people, we need to show the majority of the population that another path is possible.

Firstly we must not deny that the deficit is a problem. Reducing the amount of interest the government pays on its debt is a good thing! A country cannot run a deficit forever. However we must continue to make the argument, which is often done very well, that the deficit has been exaggerated, that the total national debt is both historically and internationally manageable (and even small), and that cutting spending is not the best way to reduce a deficit.

Monday, 21 February 2011

South West Communists take “Tremendous step forward”

Communists from across the South West region, from Gloucestershire to Cornwall and from Minehead to Bournemouth, met in Exeter on Saturday (19th Feb) to establish a new District of the party. The new District, to be called the South-West of England and Cornwall, matches the territory of the South West Regional TUC.

In a hall decked with the banners of the various branches there was a very positive mood and Ken Keable, who had played the interim and semi-official role of Branch Co-ordinator for the region since 2007, said “not only is the wind of change blowing through North Africa and the Middle East, but there is a breeze of change blowing through the South West as well. People who “don’t do politics” are finding that politics does them.”

All the CPB branches have grown in size and strength over the past year. In this region, an electoral stronghold of the Tories and Lib-Dems, the Coalition is in trouble and this will become more evident in the local elections on 5th May. The Somerset Branch, where the Tories are in control, reported how the Lib-Dems were opposing cuts locally that they were imposing nationally. Other members reported similar tensions elsewhere.

Friday, 11 February 2011

EDL and all that

Last week we saw a lot of news coverage of the EDL. Whether it was Paxman’s rather weak interview with their “leader” (who’d have known owning a tanning salon could turn you orange AND crazy) or the march in Luton, the profile of the organization seems to be rising. As does their membership.

Now I’m not about to call them racists, or Nazis, or fascists, or any other nasty names. (Although I did just call them crazy, sorry) That really doesn’t help, and it probably isn’t true. From what I have learned the membership seems to be made up of a lot of working class people who have nowhere else to turn. Judging from the chants (and tattoos) the membership seems to be based upon, and to have grown out of, more militant arms of football hooliganism. Now whether this is cause or effect, or just coincidence, we will probably never know. However the bigger questions we need to ask are:

Why have they come about? And, why are they growing?