Thursday, 11 May 2017

Nationalisation in the Labour Party Manifesto - an anarchist perspective

The leaked Labour Party manifesto contains plans for the nationalisation of certain Key industries. I've called for a vote for Labour and yet I still call myself anti-state. How does that work?

Let's hear from Engels about nationalisation first:

"...the transformation — either into joint-stock companies and trusts, or into State-ownership — does not do away with the capitalistic nature of the productive forces. In the joint-stock companies and trusts, this is obvious. And the modern State, again, is only the organization that bourgeois society takes on in order to support the external conditions of the capitalist mode of production against the encroachments as well of the workers as of individual capitalists. The modern state, no matter what its form, is essentially a capitalist machine — the state of the capitalists, the ideal personification of the total national capital. The more it proceeds to the taking over of productive forces, the more does it actually become the national capitalist, the more citizens does it exploit. The workers remain wage-workers — proletarians. The capitalist relation is not done away with. It is, rather, brought to a head. But, brought to a head, it topples over. State-ownership of the productive forces is not the solution of the conflict, but concealed within it are the technical conditions that form the elements of that solution". (Socialism, Utopian and Scientific).

That speaks for itself but there is a bit more from me.
These industries, which were previously nationalised and then sold off into private hands by the Conservatives were never really de-nationalised. They still operated with contracts to run from the state and they were still largelly funded by taxation. The only difference was that capitalists have been allowed to use them to make a profit since they were "sold off". "Re-nationalising" them puts them back into some level of democratic control by the people who funded and built them and prevents any parasites from getting rich off them. It's clearly a step in the right direction, however small.

The anarchists' job is not to try to stall steps like this but to never be satisfied by these small ventures towards socialism and to demand the maximum personal autonomy for the working class at every stage. A vote for Labour is still perfectly good and fit for the purpose of accelerating the revolutionary process (as described in the previous post here Positive Accelerationism).