Tory austerity, Labour indecision or SNP nationalism? Class politics is the answer

Johnnie Hunter, YCL General Secretary & Challenge Editor

Young people in Britain live in grim and uncertain times. Even before the COVID-19 Pandemic, we were denied the chance of a dignified life and an optimistic future.

The pandemic, as well as inflicting tens of thousands of tragedies and tearing families apart, has exposed the inhumanity of the capitalist system and its inability to protect the lives of working people. But this is no time to despair.

Britain’s political establishment and capitalism generally relies on political apathy and disengagement. The elite of this country are more than happy for working people not to vote and to take no interest in politics.

The politics of despair

The ruling class and their political parties seek to tightly control and manipulate what little political freedom has been won by working people under the capitalist system. Their work is made all the more easy when the working class is gripped by defeatism and is politically disengaged.

Boris Johnson’s Tory Party are continuing the same neoliberal, anti-working class, austerity politics which we have suffered under for over a decade now. They have been criminally negligent in failing to protect Britain’s workers during this pandemic, choosing to prioritise profit over people’s lives. The latest media circus surrounding Dominic Cummings only serves to highlight their contempt for working people.

This shambolic Tory Party and their open ruling class offensive should be an easy target. Instead the Labour Party under recently elected Keir Starmer has chosen the route of so-called ‘responsible opposition’. This appears to consist of meek criticism while tens of thousands of workers needlessly die. A Labour Party which remains ambivalently wedded to the European Union and which abandons a radical programme will be condemned to further defeats at the ballot box.

In Scotland, the SNP’s ‘civic nationalism’ has also been a disaster for working people. They have been just as incompetent as Boris Johnson’s Tory Party in the face of this crisis. Before the Pandemic, the SNP were happy to implement Thatcherite economic policy, passing on Tory cuts while implementing swinging cuts of their own – all while presiding over massive underspending, £450 million last year. This at a time when 1 in 4 Scottish children grow up in poverty.

Class politics

What is the solution for working people in this context? How do we end this pandemic in a position to fight back against this Tory government and win the fundamental changes for working people?

While we still live under a capitalist system based on ruthless exploitation and while young people are prepared to resist – there is always hope in the struggles of the working class.

Britain’s communists call for a broad, democratic, mass movement based in our trade unions, the People’s Assembly Against Austerity and other progressive campaigning groups. We need a ‘Popular Front’ against Tory policies that put the interests of monopoly capital above those of working people. This alliance can be the basis for winning a radical left-wing programme for public ownership, democratic economic planning and progressive taxation.

Just as this crisis has shown the inhumane nature of capitalism, we have also seen in our frontline heroes the values that could govern a socialist society – courage, selflessness and solidarity. Working people, not the ruling class, are saving each other.

Join the Communists

Britain’s Communist Party and the YCL make no apology for always supporting and fighting for the interests of working people. That is why the powerful and wealthy minority who own and run Britain oppose us and what we stand for.

The YCL and the Communist Party are growing and recruiting up and down the country. Increasing numbers of young workers and students are joining the YCL to fight to defend working people during this pandemic, for a bold left-wing programme and for revolutionary change.

If you reject Tory austerity, Labour indecision and SNP nationalism; if you reject apathy and despair; if you’re serious about socialism – join the YCL and the Communist Party today.


Johnnie Hunter
General Secretary
Young Communist League

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