Now that Boris Johnson has suspended parliament to help enable him to force through a rotten Tory Brexit for which he has no mandate, the rs21 Steering Group argues to build the movement to bring down the government.
In the closing weeks before the latest Brexit deadline, Boris Johnson and his Tory Party have suspended parliament in an attempt to enable them to force through a rotten Tory Brexit for which they have no mandate. Build the movement to bring down the government!
Rather than openly defend their plans the Tory Party are relying on bending Britain’s rotten constitution to breaking point. The Tories are in disarray. The vote to leave the EU does not give a mandate for the disaster capitalism Johnson plans. He is trying to rule without a shred of democratic legitimacy rather than seeking a mandate through a general election. Whether with no deal or a last minute revised deal Johnson aims to use the crisis to justify more privatisation, attacks on education, more racism, worse workers’ rights, lower safety and environmental standards, and putting lives and livelihoods at risk. The Tories protect their own jobs while failing workers from Honda to Harland & Wolff. Tory plans all mean one thing – more misery for us, more money for them.
The whole working class, white collar and manual, in cities, towns or rural areas, whatever our ethnicity, citizenship, religion or immigration status, cannot afford to watch while this happens. We need to be organising resistance in every workplace and community, pushing for large and militant protests, direct action and strikes. It is out of desperation that Johnson has upped the stakes. The divisions between our enemies are huge and intensifying. Even the Financial Times now prefers a Corbyn government to this. Whichever way we voted in the EU referendum we need to unite to bring down the government, stop a Tory Brexit, demand a general election, campaign to get Corbyn into number ten, demand open borders and an end to the hostile environment, and fight for real democracy – including an end to the monarchy and House of Lords and full rights to protest and strike. We cannot leave this to MPs – most of whom have never stood up for working class interests. We have to stand up for ourselves. When democracy is on the ropes, the time has come for action, so that when the question arises, ‘who is in control?’ the answer will be: we are in control, and we will prove it when we dismantle this racist, sexist, government of the toffs.
The decision to prorogue parliament has set a dark tone for the coming weeks and beyond unless we organise and win. The crisis in British democracy have been building up for years now with a Tory government that cannot lead, cannot legislate but won’t go away. The decision by Boris Johnson to suspend parliament at this critical time with a nod from the Queen is the last straw for many people. The use of royal power at this point in time shows it is part of the system with no effective checks on its use. We need democracy that responds to our needs, not a pantomime to be suspended when convenient for the elite.
People can argue whether the suspension of parliament for a short period before 31 October is legitimate according to the archaic unwritten constitution. But it is an affront to democracy that an unelected monarch is using it at the request of an unelected Prime Minister to force through policies that lack any mandate. We must drive out and replace the rotten MPs, not allow Johnson to bypass democracy entirely. We need representatives who genuinely act in our interests rather than their own.
Johnson is also threatening to pack the unelected House of Lords with his supporters to get his way. The monarchy, the unaccountable power of the House of Lords, and voter registration restrictions all show the weakness of a “democracy” where our views and our needs don’t count. We need to organise to build the power to meet our needs and desires ourselves – to guarantee the right to live here, housing, jobs, health, education, services and benefits for all who need them instead of communities being abandoned; to take urgent action on climate change; to give everyone the freedom to live well and the opportunity to develop and explore. The current political and economic system denies working class people our needs and is threatening ecological catastrophe. A Corbyn-led Labour government would help, but the rich and powerful won’t give in just because socialists win elections, we will have to fight for real change against employers, landlords, the British state, the EU and any other undemocratic body which seeks to rule over us and exploit us.
Parliament will reconvene at some point, but Tories’ contempt for democracy can only be stopped by action, not legal challenges. We should take inspiration from Sudan and Hong Kong. They must reopen parliament fearful of the consequences if they don’t rather than because a judge told them to. Fight for democracy and against a Tory Brexit:
- Join the demonstrations
- Hold workplace meetings to plan action: go as groups with banners to demonstrations, circulate petitions, stage protests, and strike if you can
- Demand all our trade unions mobilise their members, as some already are
- Support action by those most threatened by a Tory Brexit – from migrants to workers whose jobs are threatened
- Demand unions mobilise to shut down the Tory conference on 29 September, when the People’s Assembly already plan a demonstration
- Organise street petitioning
- Protest outside of MP’s offices, no matter their party
- Take direct action