Thursday, 3 February 2011

Token gestures can't redeem Liverpool's Labour council

Joe Anderson, the leader of Liverpool City Council, has written to David Cameron withdrawing the city's involvement in the "Big Society." He has stated that the level of cuts the council faces makes the scheme unsupportable. But this doesn't change the fact that his council are still the ones making those cuts.

Just last week, they announced 1500 job cuts - one in six of the staff currently employed by the local authority. Anderson called the decision "difficult and heartbreaking," but didn't hesitate to make it. After all, as he told the BBC News, "we aren't deficit deniers." In other words, although he claims that job cuts aren't "what I'm about," he accepts the economic perspective of the government which demands cuts to jobs and services. As such, taking away peoples' livelihoods and the services they rely on is what he and his council are about.

That is why, on the anti-cuts march in Liverpool last Saturday, he faced chants and heckles, and several protesters confronted him about what he was doing. People are beginning to see through the lie that Labour are in any way a party of the "left" or of the working class.

This pathetic token gesture cannot change that. He has written to Cameron, yes, but this will not change the government's course or give them pause for thought. In fact, despite his gestures, Anderson and other Labour politicians on local councils are greasing the wheels so that the government's attacks filter smoothly down to a local level. But when both Ed Miliband and Ed Balls accept the need for public spending cuts, who would be foolish enough to think otherwise?

The fact is that party politics does not serve the interests of the working class, either in this fight or more broadly. This struggle does not hinge upon arguments but upon the balance of class power, and we will only see those in power yield when we begin to wreck the economy and make the country ungovernable.

To which end, those who claim to represent us are nothing but a dead weight. We must continue to call out and cast off parasites such as Anderson, in favour of militant working class self-organisation.