Just quick post to AVPS readers from myself and Brother S to convey our May Day greetings to friends and comrades.
May Day this year stands at the threshold of significant changes to British and world politics. The aftermath of the election in five days time could drive the final nail into the shoddy, crumbling coffin of our political system. If polls hold up and the LibDems extract proportional representation as the price for governing in coalition with one of the other two, we can wave goodbye to the undemocratic farce of first past the post elections. Whatever form of PR is installed in its place (I've made no secret of being a single transferable vote fan boy) there will be new opportunities for socialist politics outside and inside the Labour party. The era of two-party politics is done.
But constitutional tinkering isn't the real reason why change is coming. As everyone knows, all three main parties are promising an agenda of cuts and "pain". It says it all that one of the main planks of Labour's campaign is it promises to be less vociferous and savage than the other two - a clear appeal to lesser evilism if there ever was one. Whoever gets in, whether a majority government or a coalition of some description, they will face large scale industrial unrest. Unfortunately, comrades who look forward to an automatic mass radicalisation off the back of it are liable to be disappointed. There might be anecdotal evidence of a slow revival, but the labour movement remains weak and basic trade union consciousness is stuck at an historic low. This means unions - especially public sector trade unions - will bear the brunt of the cuts offensive, and undoubtedly some form of radicalisation among a number of workers will be forged, but the problem is where it goes from there. It could feed into the wider labour movement and revitalise the sclerotic giant that is the organised working class. It might be mopped up by the Labour party (if out of power) or move into the 'major' minor parties. It's doubtful the revolutionary left will be swamped by tens of thousands of new adherents, but it cannot be ruled out completely. Or, to look at things pessimistically, because our movement is weak new radicalisation could dissipate in a thousand different directions. Change is in the air, but it definitely won't work for you.
Lastly our thoughts are with the millions that have taken to the streets of Greece in recent months. The confidence the Greek working class have shown in defying a truly savage programme of cuts is not only an inspiration for the working class everywhere, but is potentially a real global game changer. Greece might not fit the ideal-typical revolutionary situation beloved of the British left (Wot? No Leninist-Trotskyist party at the masses' head?), but for all intents and purposes a revolutionary situation it remains. Who can say what's going to happen next? But I would like to think on this May Day, it's just possible the tide of neoliberalism has finally been turned on the shores of the Aegean and that the rising of the Greek working class signals the gathering of a tidal wave of resistance is gathering. May it swamp the fetid waters of global capital and wash it all away.