Socialist Worker

The Labour Party - to heal the system or to hasten its end?

Issue No. 2121

According to Gordon Brown, “The stability of our system is something that we are doing everything in our power to maintain.” In every crisis Labour governments have to choose between the interests of ordinary people and the interests of capitalism.

In a previous economic crisis in 1931 the German trade union leader Fritz Tarnow offered a classic statement of the dilemma, asking, “Are we sitting at the sick bed of capitalism, not only as doctors who want to cure their patient, but as prospective heirs who cannot wait for the end or would like to hasten the end by administering poison?

“We are condemned, I think, to be doctors who seriously wish a cure, and yet we have to retain the feeling that we are heirs who wish to receive the entire legacy of the capitalist system today rather than tomorrow. This double role, doctor and heir, is a damned difficult task.”

That dilemma of whether to save capitalism or get rid of it becomes sharper as a crisis deepens. New Labour is firmly on one side – healing a sick system. We should be on the other side building a movement to overthrow that system – hastening to put it out of its misery.

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What We Think
Tue 30 Sep 2008, 17:58 BST
Issue No. 2121
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