Watching the charade unfold was sickening. Parliamentarians agreed to state murder and then congratulated themselves on the ‘high level’ of their debate. Blair won his vote by relying on the support of the Tories, and by arm-twisting spineless and unprincipled labour backbenchers. The antics of Clare Short alone showed how low New labour has sunk
Revolutionaries have repeatedly argued how limited the ‘democracy’ which capitalist society offers is. This was a textbook example of those limits described by Alex Callinicos (March SR). Though poll after poll has shown that the overwhelming majority of the population of this country did not want war, parliament took us down that road.
Marxists are often portrayed as ‘antidemocratic’. The truth is we want more democracy. We want a state where every decision–economic and social as well as political–is made by the masses, where we have representatives that carry out the wishes of those they represent on the pain of instant dismissal. It is a level of democracy that capitalism can neither grant nor tolerate.
The Russian revolutionary leader Lenin argued, ‘Bourgeois democracy, although a great historical advance in comparison with medievalism, always remains, and under capitalism is bound to remain, restricted, truncated, false and hypocritical, a paradise for the rich and a snare and deception for the exploited, for the poor.’
Many people are disgusted with the way Blair has thrown us into war. Blair will pay the political price for this. But the argument must go beyond Blair and his cronies. It is the system itself which is corrupt and corrupts. Parliament is a machine made to serve capitalism. It purports to control the state and nation but in reality it is a small part of a capitalist machine, the vast part of which ordinary people have no control over.
Outside parliament the seeds of a different society were present in the anti-war demonstrations. Capitalist democracy is almost a contradiction in terms. It’s time to build a world where we have real control over our lives and our society.
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