Year 2000 No.23, February 9, 2000

Exposing the Significance of Tony Blair’s One-Nation Politics

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Exposing the Significance of Tony Blair’s One-Nation Politics

Globalisation Threatens Ford Dagenham Workers

Threat to Rover at Longbridge Intensifies

CILRECO Calls for 5th World Solidarity Congress for Korean Reunification

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Exposing the Significance of Tony Blair’s One-Nation Politics

Speaking at Labour’s Local Government conference in Blackpool on February 6, Tony Blair said he believe in "the politics of unity" and rejected what he called the "politics of division". He said that the "politics of division has damaged the country too much for too long. The politics of unity is what our country needs now."

There is an air of desperation in the tone of this speech because since the election of the Labour government on May 1, 1997, the objective processes at work in society have refused to conform to the Tony Blair and the Labour Party’s blueprint of one nation politics and the stakeholder economy based on social partnership. The status of the north of England as a virtual colony of the south, the rising demand that the right of self-determination for Scotland and Wales be recognised, the spontaneous working out of the class struggle – these have militated against Tony Blair’s programme that everything should be subordinated to Team Britain, in other words competing in the global marketplace.

So in his speech, Tony Blair was emphatic about stressing, "I am the Prime Minister of the whole of the United Kingdom. I am a one-nation Prime Minister, leading a one-nation government." He was particularly venomous against the national aspirations of the Scottish and Welsh people, saying, "The politics of nationalists who peddle the fake illusion that if only Scotland and Wales could get rid of England, all their problems would be over. It is dangerous. And it is a lie."

The point here is that while Tony Blair and the Labour Party are forced to acknowledge that English nationalism has had its day, in their highlighting of "one-nation" politics, they are in fact giving a call to the bourgeoisie to reconstitute itself as the nation. However, if the nation of England and the state of Britain are to survive under modern conditions it is the working class that must constitute itself as the nation. Rather than coming to terms with the objective developments which demand that the working class come forward as the leading class of the nation at this time, according to Tony Blair the bourgeoisie must be the leader and the working class fully subordinate itself to the bourgeoisie.

But this leadership of the bourgeoisie is to put all the assets of the nation up for grabs, to facilitate the draining of these resources by the various sections of the financial oligarchy. In particular, his appeals for unity and one-nation politics are a deluded attempt to put Britain back in its position of a number one imperialist power, where the whole world is up for grabs to serve the interests of the English bourgeoisie. It is a project of pushing Thatcherism – privatisation and the neo-liberal agenda – to its logical conclusion, where individuals are not so much part of society, existing as definite social classes, but are reduced to cogs in the stakeholder economy, "working together to make our country the best it can be". It is a project which requires the working class to remain passive, on the margins of society, refraining from opposing everything that is being done against its interests.

In this, Tony Blair and the Labour Party are misreading what the objective conditions are pointing towards. The unprecedented rise of competition between the monopolies is leading to the ruination of the economy at home. It has also given rise to the globalisation of the capitalist market, a trend which is accelerating and can only develop at the expense of the national economy. As far as Scotland, Wales and the north of England are concerned, Tony Blair is forgetting that the state of Britain was created out of the expropriation, plunder and rape of the north of England Scotland, Wales, Ireland and the rest of the world, and the rapid development of capitalism was built on the exploitation of the working class and peoples of "Britain" together with the inhumanity of the slave trade and the growth of colonialism.

The programme of the working class is to reverse this "one-nation" project of Tony Blair which aims to fashion the British economy to achieve global supremacy, but which can only lead to a total dislocation and disruption of the economy and a tragedy for the working class. It is to end the globalisation of the economy, and to compel the financial oligarchy to serve the British economy, not vice versa. What the objective conditions are pointing towards is the creation of a socialist, independent and self-reliant economy with the revolutionisation of the relations of production, socialist planning and international trade based on equality and mutual benefit. While the programme of the working class is to call for modern sovereign states of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, it also points out that a free and equal union between them would be the condition for the prosperity and mutual security of these nations.

The programme of Tony Blair of "modernisation", "building a better Britain step by step", "making the 21st century our century" is taking Britain down the road to disaster. The working class must see to it that this programme is halted in its tracks.

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Globalisation Threatens Ford Dagenham Workers

Only on Friday last week, it was reported that Ford workers could have breathed a sigh of relief after reports of "radical cost-cutting plans" failed to materialise. Instead, Ford offered to put personal computers and internet access in the homes of its 350,000 workforce world-wide, 26,000 of whom are in Britain. Workers would have to pay a nominal amount per month.

However, this sigh of relief may be short-lived. The head of Ford Europe stated yesterday that the entire future of the Paint, Trim and Assembly plant at Ford Dagenham could be in jeopardy. Ford Dagenham had been pinning their hopes on the production of the new Fiesta. However, now it appears that it has not been ruled out that this could be manufactured at Ford’s Cologne plant, where the company has been investing in recent years. In making the statement, the Ford Europe chief said that with the development of globalisation, Europe is considered to be one whole region and production can be shifted in the interests of competitiveness.

This only serves to illustrate the escalating destructive effect of the increased competition between the monopolies and the globalisation of the world economy which it is giving rise to. It further emphasises the need for the workers to get organised to reverse this trend and strike out along the line of march which will result in establishing a socialist Britain.

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Threat to Rover at Longbridge Intensifies

Following the formal announcement at the beginning of the year that the European Commission is investigating the £152 million aid which the government plans to hand over the German BMW car monopoly, conditional on it investing £1.7 billion in Rover, the German sports car group Porsche has now stepped in to try and block the Labour government’s package for Longbridge.

Lawyers acting for Porsche have filed submissions to the European Commission, arguing that the subsidy contravenes European Union rules. Richard Gaul, BMW’s head of corporate communications, said: "A delay lasting longer than the summer this year would force us to rethink on Longbridge." He went on to question Porsche’s claim that it never accepts subsidies, saying that Porsche relies heavily on components and platforms from subsidised plants in eastern Germany. Some 9,000 jobs at Longbridge and a further estimated 50,000 in the West Midland’s motor components sector are dependent on the project. Without the government hand-out, BMW has warned that it might switch production of the new Rover R30 to Hungary. The Amsterdam Treaty of the European Union states that any state aid "which distorts or threatens to distort competition" shall be "incompatible with the common market".

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CILRECO Calls for 5th World Solidarity Congress for Korean Reunification

Last Saturday, February 5, the enlarged meeting of the Presidency of CILRECO (International Liaison Committee for Reunification and Peace for Korea) took place in Paris. Delegates attended from Algeria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Switzerland and Tunisia. A delegation was present from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). From Britain, Ann Rogers represented New Communist Party (NCP) and Chris Coleman represented RCPB(ML) and the Korean Friendship and Solidarity Campaign (KFSC).

The meeting was opened by Amar Bentoumi, former Minister of Justice of Algeria. Guy Dupré, Secretary General of CILRECO, then presented his report. This report began by outlining developments in the Korean Peninsula in 1999. It made a detailed analysis of the events of the year, in particular: American policy; the situation in south Korea and the policies pursued by the south Korean authorities; and how the DPRK is on course to overcoming its difficulties and recommencing its socialist construction. Guy Dupré concluded his report by explaining why the year 2000 marks a turning point on the road to reunification. He put forward a Programme of Action for CILRECO for the year, the main feature of which would be the hosting in the second half of the year of the 5th World Solidarity Congress for Korean Reunification.

The proposed Programme also included : (1) To launch in March an extensive international campaign for withdrawal of all US troops from south Korea and for support for the 3-Point Charter for Reunification backed by an international petition. (2) To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the popular insurrection in Kwangjou and its fierce repression by the military dictatorship, making May a month of solidarity with the struggle of the south Korean people for democracy, sovereignty and reunification. (3) In October, to focus on a month of support for the reunification of Korea by the confederal system, based on the historic proposal put forward by President Kim Il Sung to create a Democratic Confederal Republic of Koryo.

An important address was given to the meeting by the head of the delegation of the DPRK. He presented a detailed account of the response of the DPRK to the current policies of the US and other world powers regarding Korea. He also spoke of the pride of the DPRK in overcoming the worst of its economic difficulties in order to make a new start. He thanked all friends of Korea for their trust and support.

After extensive discussion, the Programme of Action of CILRECO for the year 2000 was adopted. An Appeal of the Presidency of CILRECO to the governments, political and social forces and international institutions and the wording for an international petition were also agreed.

Contribution to the Meeting by Chris Coleman

Once again I am very honoured to attend the meeting of the presidency of CILRECO, and in particular to have the privilege of meeting the delegation of the DPRK as well as so many veteran campaigners in the cause of peace and reunification on the Korean peninsula. I am today representing both RCPB(ML) and the Korean Friendship and Solidarity Campaign, in the absence of its Chairman, Keith Bennett. I should like to express full support for the important Report presented by Guy Dupré. We fully share the view given by him that it is an affront to the conscience of humanity that Korea remains divided after more than half a century, and that the continued military and political provocations against the DPRK by the US and its allies constitute a grave threat not only to Korea but to the peace and security of the entire world. This underlines the importance of our work. We were also very happy to hear the important speech of the chief of the delegation of the DPRK, in particular to hear not only of the unbending stand of the DPRK in defence of its sovereignty but of the great efforts which have meant that the worst of the economic difficulties have been overcome. This is a tribute to the people of the DPRK, and to their Party and its leadership. In Britain, our Party carries out its independent work in support of the Korean people and their reunification, mainly through the pages of our weekly paper and daily internet edition. We also work with NCP and other political forces in the KFSC, whose programme centres around its quarterly bulletin. And we support all other efforts in support of the Korea people and their reunification. Finally, I am in full agreement with the proposals for the Programme of Action. I wish all of the participants success in their work in their own countries.

Thank you.

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