Socialism or Barbarism


“This major event will not only rally & unite the Left for the fights ahead: but also show that socialist solutions to the crisis must be at the top of our agenda as we commit to taking the fight to the Tories.”

The Arise Volunteer Team argue it’s time to take the fight to the Tories and popularise socialist solutions to the global crises we face.

Last month the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report confirmed a ‘code red for humanity’ when it comes to tackling the quickly deepening climate catastrophe: with the very future of our planet and humanity being put at stake by decades of negligence from the imperialist governments across the world and the multinational capitalists they protect and do the bidding for.

Like the threat of annihilation of nuclear war, or the disgusting and extreme inequality in who can get vaccinated against the Covid-19 pandemic which is still raging across the globe – the climate crisis shows how Rosa Luxemburg’s famous words about the choice facing the world being “socialism or barbarism” have never been more apt.

Here in Britain, the Boris Johnson-led Conservative government is amongst the most reactionary in the world on these matters, overseeing over 150,000 Covid-deaths during its murderous and calamitous handling of the pandemic, being a major block on vaccine equality on the world stage, and continually failing to bring forward or extend the scale of the urgent action need to tackle the climate catastrophe.

At the same time, it is also starting a new nuclear arms race at incredible cost, whilst claiming it has little option but to plunge millions into poverty by cutting Universal Credit by £20 a week- because keeping the uplift supposedly can’t be afforded!

And we have seen continual Tory scapegoating of the Black Lives Matter movement – as part of a massive assault on our rights – rather than tackling the injustices it has highlighted.

The list of reactionary policies and failures goes on and on..

Within this context, 18 months into the Tories’ disastrous handling of the pandemic, the questions which Keir Starmer and Labour’s leadership need to answer is why the Conservative hold on power looks as strong as ever, and why they have failed to deal serious blows to a government which has presented them so many opportunities. 

The right’s hold on power is remarkable. Despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ‘let the bodies pile high’ comments in the context of 150,000-plus deaths during the pandemic, and despite the spread of COVID cronyism handing millions of pounds of public contracts to Tory MPs’ mates, the Tories have this year made gains in local elections, taken the parliamentary seat of Hartlepool, and remain consistently ahead of Labour in the polls. 

Unions are warning of an unemployment cliff-edge as the furlough scheme comes to an end, and public sector key workers like nurses and teachers face an effective pay freeze despite their heroics during the pandemic. 

As the Conservatives COVID crisis goes unchallenged, Labour’s leadership too has failed to respond robustly to the racism of the so-called Tory ‘culture war’ and shape a narrative on the climate crisis. 

Starmer’s commitment to so-called ‘constructive opposition’ since he was elected in April 2021 has meant the most effective opposition to the Government has come from Marcus Rashford’s defence of free school meals, the England football team’s continued support for ‘taking the knee’, and a new wave of street protests opposing the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill:, with activists often boosting and being in alliance with the efforts of Labour’s left MPs.

Starmer has burnt bridges with trade unions and left activists, including through the apparent dropping of some of the ‘Corbyn-lite’ policy agenda he projected in the leadership campaign. Gone are his commitments to higher income tax on top earners, public ownership, and working shoulder to shoulder with trade unions. Yet he hasn’t announced anything new in terms of policy, other than a barely remembered commitment to a COVID recovery bond. Increasingly, even usually friendly media commentators are stating that Labour has no policies and stands for nothing.  

The hugely ineffective nature of his leadership  is reflected in the growing briefings from anonymous members of the PLP that there is no clear messaging provided by the Leader’s Office, and the recent wholesale clearout of his core team- with recent changes to his Chief-of-Staff, Deputy Chief-of-Staff, Director of Politics and Director and Deputy Director of Communications. 

However, there is no indication yet that he has learnt from the political mistakes of his first few months in office. His appointment of a new core team of individuals associated with Blairism and New Labour are clear evidence that he has retreated from a commitment to unite the party: and is increasingly reliant on one wing.

This evidenced in his approach to the membership, where he has turned his attention (and also the attention of his General Secretary David Evans) to a crackdown on dissenting views in the party. 

Through their own actions, with the removal of Jeremy Corbyn’s PLP whip, an increased clampdown on CLPs’ rights to run their own democratic processes, the suspension of CLP officers and, most recently, the proscription of a number of organisations (with powers to expel those deemed to be supportive of these groups), party membership is in serious decline from its heights under Jeremy Corbyn.

It is in this context, with the urgent need to build mass resistance to the Tories and oppose Starmer’s shift to the right as our clarion calls, that Labour left activists and their allies will gather at the ‘Fight the Tories – for socialism, not barbarism’ rally on 11 September- to discuss how we can most effectively organise against the Tory assault across our communities, and the whole of the labour and progressive movements.

A day before the TUC Congress, and two weeks before Labour Conference, it will bring together leading figures from the trade union movement, Socialist Campaign Group MPs, representatives of the constituency left in Labour, key campaigns such as NHS Workers Say No and We Own It, plus special international guests.

This major event will not only rally and unite the Left for the fights ahead: but also show that socialist solutions to the crisis must be at the top of our agenda as we commit to taking the fight to the Tories.

Be there!

  • The “Fight the Tories – for Socialism Not Barbarism” rally takes place at 2pm online on Saturday September 11. Speakers include John McDonnell, Diane Abbott, MPs Richard Burgon, Jon Trickett; civil liberties champion Shami Chakrabarti; trade unionists Sarah Woolley of BFAWU, Matt Wrack of the FBU, Dave Ward of the CWU, TUC Disabled Workers’ representative Dave Allen and Mick Rix of the GMB; and activists including Young Labour’s Jess Barnard, Cat Hobbs of We Own It and Holly Turner of NHS Workers Say No.
  • Register at:

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