Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Your quick guide to the UK snap general election 2017

A 'snap' general election was called yesterday in the UK to be held on 08/06/17. No one saw it coming and nothing about it was leaked beforehand.

Why?
  • The Conservatives only have a slim majority and a bunch of them were about to get done for electoral fraud from last time round.
  • Labour were churning out some decent policies recently and no one had tried to oust Corbyn for a few weeks. The Conservatives are clearly terrified of him and this is a last ditch attempt to get rid of him forever (i.e. everyone assumes that if Labour lose this election he'll have to step down). 
  • The Conservatives were having their own internal crisis over Brexit. A load of them are taking this as an opportunity to quit. Including George Osborne. 
In short, you don't just call a general election for a laugh. Far from being some cool power play to ensure 5 years more of Tory domination this is a desperate move from a party that was in far more internal turmoil than we had realised. There may yet be some deeper scandal yet to be revealed behind all this too. 

Are we happy?

Yes. It's a qualified yes, but it's still a yes. 

Jeremy Corbyn being elected twice as leader of the Labour party was a big deal. For American socialists reading this it's a bigger deal than if Bernie Sanders had got the Democratic Party nomination for example. Unlike Sanders, Corbyn and his closest ally, shadow Treasurer John McDonnell, are genuine democratic socialists (John McDonnell even more so, he's known to have read Marx and has described himself as a Marxist in the recent past). They've got a long history of taking a principled stance on a number of big issues, not that I agree with them on everything but they've got more principles than the vast majority of their fellow MPs (examples here: 24 Things that Jeremy Corbyn Believes). 

If you need any further confirmation of this look at what happened since he became labour leader; he's faced coup attempts, been forced to face a second leadership vote and he's had the entire press against him. 

Most people had begun to believe that he wouldn't be able to survive the ride till the next general election (which would have been as late as 2020). Now a snap one has been called, so Corbyn gets a chance to be tested in an election after all.  

Obviously a Corbyn led Labour party in power is not in any way equivalent to an anarchist revolution. Even if Labour do get in, it may have to be as an alliance with the the SNP, the Greens and possibly even the Lib Dems plus he'll have a divided Labour party full of horrible little right wingers trying to make things difficult at every step. But putting all that aside, the lessons from what happened in Greece when Syriza got into power in 2015 are instructive. A whole party of 'Corbyns' got in and have achieved absolutely nothing.

So, we are happy because if he gets in it will be unprecedented and it will be interesting to see what happens, it will be treated as a poll to prove that the UK population is moving towards the left rather than towards the populist right and it might give us a chance to strengthen our grassroots movements. Contrary to popular opinion I don't think that having a left wing government will cause apathy. It's more likely to bring confidence and get people back to refusing to be treated like shit. Considering we've got millions now having to rely on charitable food aid in the UK and hundreds of thousands of people homeless and yet very little mass resistance is being shown that could be very important. 

What should we do?

This is not a normal election. The 2015 general election in the UK was a normal election. We had the standard non-choice of Conservative or conservative-lite. This is an unusual event that hasn't come along for many years and won't come again for many years. I'm sorry to have to put it so bluntly but this time round anyone going about saying that this is just same old same old is lying and probably just trying to draw attention to themselves. 

I am advocating that everyone vote for Corbyn's Labour Party, even anarchists. This is on the following grounds:
  • It's not about Corbyn himself. It's not about whether he's a good leader and it's certainly not about whether he's a dynamic personality. It's not even really about what he'll be able to achieve.
  • It will take half an hour to go and tick a box. 
  • It will be registered by the elite as a protest vote. It will be clear that the public are pissed off if Labour win, everyone will get into a massive meltdown again like after Brexit. They're better when they're scared. 
  • The majority of the politically engaged working class in the UK will vote for Labour. You don't need to have any illusions about it to show some solidarity with the rest of your class. Even if you hope to drag them into much more radical waters ASAP. You may think you're some kind of super-radical, way beyond all those lumpen proles, and maybe you're right but with such small numbers there has been a very tight limit on what the far left has been able to achieve.
  • It will help build confidence in the left. People will start holding their heads up a bit higher and standing for shit a bit less than they have been doing. Direct action gets the goods but only a mass movement will make a revolution and that isn't happening in any way shape or form right now. We need a change. 
If you are planning to vote but for a different party, don't. This is a one off. Go back to voting for your time wasters after this if Corbyn fails but you can't live through this and not take the opportunity.

If you insist on not voting fair enough, at least direct most of your public outrage towards the Theresa May and the Conservatives. 

If you aren't in the UK then just do memes to help.