Communist Party/Y Blaid Gomiwnyddol

General Election 2001

Main election page Why is the Communist Party standing Summary of the policies for Wales

Manifesto

Index

The EURO and the EU Pensions & benefits Crime Peace & Northern Ireland
Social Partnership & the economy Health, Social Services & Housing Women Devolution
Taxation Transport Trade Union rights Fighting Racism
Dignity & security for all ages Education & Youth Environment A world in crisis

 

People's need before corporate greed

VOTE Communist

Pleidleisiwch o blaid y Comiwnyddion

 

Why is the Communist Party standing?

The Communist Party is standing candidates in this election to show that there is a real alternative to right-wing, pro-big business policies - be they 'new' Labour, 'old' Tory, 'modern' Liberal Democrat or 'nationalist' Plaid Cymru.

'New' Labour has squandered many of the aspirations awakened by its landslide victory in 1997. It has failed to make Britain a better, fairer and more equal society. It has put the interests of the European Union, big business, the City and the very rich before those of working people. Under Tony Blair, the Labour leadership has become a pro-big business and anti-labour movement trend within the Labour Party.

Alienation of Labour's traditional working class supporters could open the way for Tory or Liberal Democrat advance. This must not be allowed to happen. A victory for the Tories would unleash an all-out attack on the British people, while gains for the LibDems would enable Blair to break from the labour movement, form a coalition and step up his pro-big business policies.

The Communist Party supports the re-election of a majority Labour government in order to put mass prerssure upon it.

Within and outside the labour movement, a mighty campaign needs to be built to force the next labour government to put people's needs before corporate greed. In this election, the best contribution that can be made to that campaign is to secure the biggest possible vote for the six Communist candidates standing in Britain.

The Communist Party fights for socialism. We are committed to building an equal, democratic and inclusive society in which people's needs are put before private corporate greed. We campaign for policies which will shift Labour back to championing the interests of its traditional supporters.

The immediate priorities in this election must be to:

"Only a socialist Britain, co-operating with all other peoples of the world in close, friendly, free and equal association, will be able to develop and plan the use of all Britain's material, product ive and scientific resources, that every citizen will be guaranteed security, the right to work and leisure, a steadily rising standard of living, full democratic rights, and equal opportunity to enjoy a full and happy life." from the Aims of the Communist Party.

BRITAIN A SOCIETY DIVIDED

The richest one-tenth of the population own half of all the wealth in Britain, while one half of the people own less than 10 % one. Four million children are still living below the poverty line, while the number of millionaires has more than doubled to 74,000 since 1995. On average, women in full-time work earn only three-quarters of male earnings.

While Britain is losing 2,000 manufacturing jobs a week, British capitalists have hundreds of billions of pounds invested overseas.


 

THE PEOPLE OF BRITAIN SAY 'NO' TO THE EURO

Tony Blair wants Britain to join the Single European Currency. But 70% of people in Britain are against the Euro and so are the peoples of Europe. It would be a further step towards an undemocratic European super-state run for bankers and big business.

It would remove our ability to defend jobs in Britain by setting our own interest and exchange rates. It imposes austerity budgeting and a 'one-size fits all' economic policy across the EU, regardless of the needs of different nations and regions.

Tory opposition to the Euro is based a reactionary outlook they prefer Britain to be allied to, and dominated by, the USA and NATO. Communists want a Britain which is independent and democratic, co-operating with other countries across the world.

THE REAL NATURE OF THE EU

The European Union isn't just the absence of customs controls on wines, spirits and tobacco. It is a supra-national structure furthering the interests of big business corporations whose objective is to grow even bigger and maximise their profits.

That means mergers, takeovers, job losses, wholesale privatisations and attacks on public services and the welfare state. It means wages and conditions being driven down under the impact of sharper competition. British manufacturing can never be saved by EU policies of privatisation, free movement of capital nor a single currency run by the unaccountable European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt. Attempts to put money into saving jobs in Britain often fall foul of the EU's policy of freedom for the capitalist monopolies.

The EU also poses a direct threat to our democracy and to the interests of working people in Britain. Our adhesion to EU treaties is progressively stripping away the powers of the Westminster Parliament especially in terms of its ability to control the economy or intervene in the areas of foreign policy and defence.

There is nothing 'internationalist' about the EU either. In fact it is the opposite, a vehicle for empire, imperialism and oppression.

The EU is a racist 'Fortress Europe' against the peoples of the Third World. The formation of an EU 'rapid-reaction force' is in effect an EU army to defend the interests of European corporations and, in the words of former European Commission president Jacques Delors, to fight the 'resource wars of the 21st century'. It is a threat to peace and a bonanza for the arms manufacturers, and should be opposed.

To argue that the EU can be transformed into an instrument to advance socialism ignores the realities of who controls it and how. The minor concessions offered by the EU to employees could be legislated for and vastly improved upon by the parliaments within Britain.

Communists believe that there must be a clear commitment to Britain's withdrawal from the European Union. This is not a call for withdrawal from the European economy nor from international economic relations in general. On the contrary, it is a call for free and equal relations with all nations around the globe on the basis of peace and internationalism


 

SOCIAL PARTNERSHIP & THE ECONOMY

SOCIAL PARTNERSHIP is the buzzword of the unelected European Commission in Brussels. It's echoed in Britain by 'New' Labour politicians and some trade union leaders. But it's not really a partnership because it's blatantly unequal. And it's hardly social, when one partner (the boss) can dump hundreds of thousands of other partners (the workers) overnight.

It's a wolf in sheep's clothing old-fashioned class collaboration in a modern disguise.

TAKING BACK CONTROL OF THE ECONOMY

Private ownership doesn't work. The capitalist jungle dominated by the giant monopolies cannot provide secure, fulfilling and well-paid jobs. And throwing public money into big business coffers withut a public stake in return wastes the wealth of the British people.

Labour in government has done little to rebuild or defend manufacturing. Their support for big business means that, when redundancies are threatened, all they can offer is a financial package to manage the resultant hardship.

Communists say that the alternative is to face up to the bankers and big corporations and to take back control of the British economy. That means:

 

WHERE WILL THE MONEY COME FROM?

Britain can afford decent public services, higher public sector pay and benefits, lower VAT, the abolition of student tuition fees and a programme of public ownership.

The Communist Party proposes:

A million new jobs could be created by a public sector jobs programme. Much of the cost of this can be met by savings in benefits and by more income from tax and National Insurance contributions. The new jobs themselves would help to expand the economy and increase our national wealth.

 

DIGNITY AND SECURITY FOR ALL AGES

Labour's landslide victory four years ago gave hope to all those millions targeted by the Tories from pensioners, students and single parents to the unemployed, low paid and unprotected workers.

Yet poverty, homelessness and job insecurity are on the increase, welfare and social provisions are on the point of collapse, and the deterioration of local communities is reaching crisis point. Services across the board are under attack and the elderly, sick and disabled are being deprived of necessary facilities and support.

Despite the government's stated concern about 'social exclusion', the needs of wide sections of our society are being ignored. In the poorest areas, two in every five teenagers are not involved in either work or education. The rundown of manufacturing employment is producing generations without hope, and fostering anti-social behaviour.

Public spending cuts mean that vital play areas for the young are being closed. Whole council estates are being run down, threatened with demolition or sold off to developers on the cheap. Neglect of street cleaning and rubbish collection is adding to the disgusting state of the environment.

Communists say life doesn't have to be like this. We propose immediate measures to create jobs, clean up the environment, improve and restore public services, boost spending power and shift wealth back from big business to working people.

That includes:

 

PENSIONS

Today's pensioners helped create the wealth that Gordon Brown has in his war chest. They are entitled to a dignified and comfortable retirement. Yet Labour has refused to reinstate the link between state pensions and earnings.

The Communist Party calls for:

BENEFITS

'New' Labour has cut single parent benefit and intensified the Tory attack on the unemployed and incapacitated. Actual and threatened loss of benefits is forcing people into low-paid short-term jobs or 'New Deal' 'training' schemes of little value.

Communists say:


 

HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES

While Labour has ended the internal market in the National Health Service, it hasn't stopped privatisation.

Major services still face contracting out, and public-private partnerships mean that private financiers will be siphoning off much-needed NHS cash for years to come cash which could be used to provide more doctors, nurses and hospital beds.

Communists call for an end to all health privatisation. We support a completely free properly funded NHS, including free eye tests, prescriptions and dental care.

Communists would run an integrated health and social service, and end the post-code lottery that currently determines the quality and speed of treatment.

HOUSING

Housing costs including those for many home owners are out of control. Rents have reached levels that working people cannot afford. Meanwhile the government is forcing councils to privatise their remaining housing stock. Such transfer has always meant increased rents and loss of security of tenure.

Communists say affordable housing must be a right for all. We demand:


 

TRANSPORT

Communists are committed to an integrated, publicly-owned and safe transport system covering railways, buses, waterways and roads.

In particular, we oppose the privatisation of air traffic control and the London Underground, and support the return of all rail and bus services to public ownership with Railtrack as first priority.

 

EDUCATION

'New' Labour has continued the Tory attack on the comprehensive system. League tables, 'specialist' status and scarce resources are restoring the old two-tier system through the back door. Meanwhile the teacher shortage is acute, class sizes in secondary schools are still far too large, and colleges and universities have been starved of resources.

Communists oppose all attempts to privatise education, whether through public-private partnerships or contracting out of school management.

We call for:

YOUTH

'New' Labour's National Minimum Wage has continued Tory discrimination against young people.

Most of the placements of young people under the 'New Deal' appear to be in non-union firms, with the 'trainee' being used as a source of cheap labour and then dismissed after six months.

Students in higher education have been forced to pay tuition fees and take out loans to support themselves. Many are working part-time without trade union protection, and are thus at the mercy of unscrupulous employers.

Access to higher education now depends on whether an individual has money. Many students finish their courses with an enormous millstone of debt around their neck.

Communists believe that young people have a right to financial independence, decent jobs and housing. We call for the scrapping of all tuition fees and student loans, and the introduction of full maintenance grants.

Workers aged 16 or over should be entitled to the full National Minimum Wage.

Alongside this, vocational training must be strategically implemented to provide high quality schemes meeting long-term employment needs.

"The major social and economic problems we face today can only be resolved by putting an end to capitalism and establishing socialism. "Decisive advances towards socialism can only be achieved by mobilising the mass of the people in support of an intermediate alternative economic and political strategy which aims at securing full employment, a general improvement in living standards, a wide expansion of democracy and a genuine policy for peace." From the Communist Party programme


 

CRIME

Daily we hear in the media about robberies, sexual assaults and murders. Vandalism is widespread and the drug trade has become endemic in many areas.

This state of affairs is especially worrying to pensioners and those living at home. Some places are so badly lit that women are afraid to go out after dark.

'New' Labour in turn has adopted much of the Tory agenda, that crime can be solved simply by harsher sentences. Meanwhile our prisons are bursting at the seams.

Crime and anti-social behaviour will not be solved overnight. But they can be reduced by providing meaningful jobs, good education and affordable recreation facilities.

Meanwhile, there should be closer liaison between local councils, community groups and the police, adequate lighting in all urban streets and parks, and funds for security measures in pensioners' homes.

 

WOMEN'S RIGHTS

Despite the increase in the number of women MPs in the last parliament, most women have seen precious little change for the better.

The gap between male and female earnings is as wide as ever. Compared to men, women experience a higher level of poverty, lower pay and pensions, worse working conditions, greater levels of violence and abuse, more limited access to employment and education and greater responsibility for raising the next generation.

Part-time working for many women is now a necessity rather than a matter of choice.

The government says that it is 'family friendly', but these phoney values disguise increased exploitation of women in the workplace. 'New' Labour has attacked the rights of single parents, predominantly women, to social benefits and housing.

Communists believe:

 

TRADE UNION RIGHTS

The workplace isn't much fairer now than it was under the Tories. There is no protection for those working in small companies; no employment rights 'from day one'; precious few rights for many part-time employees and no protection for casual and agency workers.

While ballots for trade union recognition can now take place, there are many loopholes which employers can exploit. Even if they are ultimately forced to recognise the union, they are not obliged to negotiate in good faith.

Trade union activists can still be victimised and sacked, and not reinstated even if an industrial tribunal finds the sacking unfair.

We still have the most vicious anti-union laws in Europe imposed by the Tories, but retained by 'New' Labour.

It is these laws which stack the cards against workers. Thus, there is no right to 'stop the job' immediately if working conditions are dangerous.

Employers can announce redundancies and plant closures, but union members are not allowed to respond without the long drawn-out process of a ballot and then seven days notice. During ballots, bosses put enormous pressure on workers, threatening them with reprisals if they vote for action.

The harshest anti-union legislation is the ban on solidarity and 'political' action. Workers are prevented from supporting fellow-members in dispute or from striking against government policy e.g. lack of funding for public services.

Communists call for the repeal of all anti-trade union laws as the only way to ensure decent pay, a safe workplace and the full development of both workers' rights and democratic rights in general.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

The stability of our planet's life support system is under threat from ozone depletion, the greenhouse effect, deforestation and toxic and radioactive wastes. Pollution and unregulated dumping pose unacceptable long-term health hazards.

Communists demand controls on transnational corporations, which have ravaged the resources and environment of the earth in their drive for super-profits. We call for greater emphasis on energy conservation, renewable energy resources and cheap, accessible and efficient public transport.

Existing nuclear power and waste incineration plants should be phased out, and we should move towards a system of production in which waste products are eliminated, recycled or reduced to an absolute minimum.

 

PEACE

Britain should adopt an independent foreign policy based on peaceful co-existence and the rights of all nations to self-determination. We should withdraw from NATO, close all US bases on British soil and oppose US plans for the new 'Star Wars' missile system, which would trigger a new arms race.

Trident should be scrapped, and arms spending cut by half. The savings should be spent on health, education, job creation and a properly resourced arms conversion programme.

Britain should unilaterally renounce nuclear and depleted uranium weapons, and end the immoral arms trade with repressive regimes such as Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. British troops should be withdrawn from Sierra Leone and the Balkans. The bombing of Iraq must cease and sanctions must be lifted.

NORTHERN IRELAND

The Communist Party supports a united independent Ireland, and welcomed the Good Friday agreement as the way forward for peace and the end of centuries of national oppression in Ireland by the British state.

We are deeply concerned that delaying tactics by both the Unionists and the British government have stalled the peace process. We demand that the British government immediately becomes an active persuader for the peace which the vast majority of the people in Ireland, north and south, desire and deserve.

 

DEVOLUTION MUST BE MADE TO WORK FOR THE PEOPLE

The establishment of the Scottish Parliament, Welsh National Assembly and Greater London Authority marked a key step forward in bringing democracy closer to the people. Now this democracy must be made to work and extended. Mass pressure from trades unions and communities will be needed to counteract the centralist big business agenda of 'New' Labour.

The Welsh National Assembly must be given full parliamentary status. Both it and the Scottish Parliament should be enabled to fund the development of industry on the basis of full tax-raising powers. They must have the political will to use that power to attack poverty and unemployment, develop the public sector and turn the balance against big business.

Comparable powers must be given to the Greater London Authority and to elected Regional Councils in England, making them accountable for services currently controlled by non-elected quangos, such as regional economic development, health and further education.

Local municipal and county councils must regain full control of their budgets, and be responsive to social need and accountable to local communities. The 'New' Labour agenda of elected mayors and cabinet-style decision making will concentrate power at the top and squeeze any remaining democracy from local government. Councils should instead be elected by proportional representation using the single transferable vote system.

  

FIGHTING RACISM

Racism is a scar on the face of Britain, encouraged by much of the big business tabloid press and sections of the Tory Party. Racism means that black and ethnic minority people have fewer opportunities in jobs, housing, health care and education. In our inner cities, racist attacks are a daily reality, fanned by harsh economic conditions and media portrayals of black youth.

Racism divides workers and allows the capitalist class greater opportunity to exploit. The devaluation of black people's lives allows the ruling class the freedom to bomb Third World countries like Iraq with the idea that the people there don't matter because they aren't white.

Demonising refugees and asylum seekers represents only the latest example of media-inspired racism. 'New' Labour politicians have not only failed to challenge it they have contributed to it by stigmatising asylum seekers as 'bogus'.

Instead of welcoming refugees and asylum seekers, and assisting them to rebuild their lives, the state locks them up or forces them to live below the poverty line.

Every person should be entitled to equal treatment, regardless of their race, culture, religion or national origin. We call for immediate measures to root out racism institutional or otherwise

 

A WORLD IN CRISIS

The 'New World Order' since the end of social ism in the Soviet Union has been a disaster.

In the west, big business corporations pile up huge profits, slash jobs and pollute the environment. The welfare state is under attack. Insecurity and crisis threaten people's living standards everywhere.

Throughout the Third World, United States and British imperialism carve up countries that defy the policies of the big transnationals.

In the former Socialist countries, a hundred million people have lost their jobs, wages, pensions and social services thanks to the 'free market'. Tens of millions vote Communist to try and regain their quality of life.

The capitalist system, based on exploitation and conflict, has no solution to the global economic and environment crisis. But it finds the cash for a new arms race aimed at socialist China, People's Korea and Cuba.

 

Summary for Wales

Am lais coch o blaid ...

 

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