Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Harry Powell

Outbreak of Election Fever

Issued: April 2010
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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April 9, 2010

With the announcement that on 6th May there is to be a parliamentary election in Britain, the Trotskyites and revisionists have been rushing to try to herd people into the polling booths. Turnout in British general elections has been falling and at the last general election in 2005 it was little more than sixty percent. Taking into account the fact that many people are not registered to vote, this means that little more than half of the adult population of Britain thought it worthwhile participating in the election fraud. This time it is likely that disillusionment with the bourgeois parliamentary system – especially as a result of the bailing out of failed banks and the scandal of excessive expense claims by Members of Parliament – will result in an even lower turnout. More and more people in Britain are coming to realize that capitalist “democracy” does not give them real power over their lives but serves to legitimize the rule of the capitalist ruling class.

As in recent general elections, the Trotskyites have lashed together an instantly created platform of candidates standing on a reformist, social democratic programme; the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. The main participants are the Socialist Workers Party and the Socialist Party. The revisionist Communist Party of Britain is putting up some candidates while the Communist Party of Great Britain is offering support to “left” candidates as is the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist). At a time when the ideological hegemony of the British capitalist ruling class has been considerably weakened all that these fake “revolutionaries” can do is try to get people to support Old Labour, social democratic reformism. Although most of them are too embarrassed to say so, they will be urging people to vote Labour in places where no “left” candidate is standing. None of them is willing to come out and tell people that the present political system is no good and must be abolished. The people of Britain are fleeing from the polling booths but the revisionists and Trotskyites are trying to drag them back in.

The lack of seriousness of these assorted reformists in their electoral antics is evident from the fact that they hardly ever stand in local government elections. In Britain people who vote will only support candidates from parties which have shown some serious commitment to taking up political office by standing in local elections and getting elected to and serving on local councils. The Trots and revisionists can’t be bothered to do this in any serious way and thus are seen as non-starters when it comes to elections to the national parliament. By way of contrast the racist and fascist British National Party do understand this aspect of the political process in Britain and in recent years have won scores of seats on local councils. This led on to it winning two seats in the European Parliament. In the current general election they are fielding over three hundred candidates in the hope that they will secure seats in the national parliament, the House of Commons. The rise in support for this fascist party provides the Trots and revisionists with an appealing reason for persuading people to vote; to keep the fascists out.

During street campaigning urging people to boycott the election, some comrades encountered people who think that the election system is a fraud but are considering voting because they are concerned about the possibility of fascist BNP candidates getting elected. This concern is reasonable because although the fascists are just as committed to support capitalism as are the other bourgeois parties they would do so, if they ever got the chance, by even more oppressive measures than those applied at present. In particular they are quite open about their desire to oppress and expel ethnic and national minorities from Britain. Thus there could be case for tactical voting to prevent fascist candidates getting elected to Parliament.

In deciding whether or not there is a case for such tactical voting in Britain at this general election we need to assess the likelihood of BNP candidates getting elected. Looking at the opinion polls and their modest performance in local government elections it is clear that in most of the constituencies where the BNP are standing they have no realistic chance of being elected. There is only one constituency, Barking and Dagenham near London, where the BNP might gain control of the local council. The leader of the BNP is standing for Parliament here but is not likely to get elected. In this one constituency there may be a case for tactical voting to keep the BNP out but this is not very likely to be the case in other constituencies. Thus, in general, people should not be conned by into voting by means of various reformists preying on fears of fascists getting elected.

More than ever before in Britain, it is essential that revolutionaries go out among the people and encourage their thinking and action in the direction that already it is going; that capitalist parliamentary democracy is no real democracy and should be abolished. If you don’t kick it, it won’t fall!