The shockwave of Ukip’s success has put the mainstream parties in a panic. The Liberal Democrats are in meltdown and Nick Clegg’s leadership is on the line.
Labour’s big hitters in the shadow cabinet are rowing about how to respond. David Cameron’s position appears the most secure. The Tories lost the most votes to the racist Ukip. But Ukip’s success has meant the right in British politics has more confidence.
The Tories bleat about the threat of Ukip. But Ukip is not an outsider—it is part of their establishment. It is the Tories who have been whipping up racism and attacking working class people relentlessly since they got in.
So socialists face a big challenge. The mainstream parties are part of the problem and they look set to accelerate their shift to the right in the chase for votes. Their strategy is always based on pessimism about ordinary people.
Instead we have to get out and say we have an alternative to the racist consensus. The Stand up to Ukip campaign showed the importance of protesting against Nigel Farage and his cronies before the election.
It made sure the racists didn’t have a free run. We need to build this campaign alongside everyone who is horrified at the election result and wants to stop the rot.
This is a campaign that everyone can raise at their work or college. It is a chance to bring together anti-racists, trade unionists, migrant and faith groups to challenge the Ukip threat.
But we will also have to do something else. We have to build collective working class resistance to the Tory attacks that can offer a real alternative. This is how to fight against the racism and scapegoating that Ukip and the mainstream parties feed off and fuel.
There is no time to waste. There are plenty of opportunities to organise in the next weeks. Trade unionists and activists from lots of different anti-austerity campaigns will march on the People’s Assembly demonstration against austerity.
There is the potential of up to a million public sector workers striking on 10 July. Activists in the unions involved need to go all out to build the biggest Yes votes for action to make sure any strike pulls many more workers into activity.
That way the argument that unions need to escalate will be an easier one to win. We need this for when we go into an autumn that could see half a million NHS workers strike as well as tens of thousands of people march on the 18 October TUC demonstration.
Socialists can make a difference in all these struggles. If you are sick of racism dominating the agenda and want to see a working class fightback then join the Socialist Workers Party and be part of building an alternative.