Britain: Only Labour can stop Johnson’s coup

, by STOWE Andy

John McDonnell is absolutely right to say that Johnson’s suspension of Parliament is a “very British coup”, writes Andy Stowe. A government of hard right ideologues is shutting down the very thing they argued should be sovereign.

This is a serious challenge to the the entire British labour movement and takes the situation to a new level. It is an almost insurrectionary measure by a government which wants no opposition to get in its way. Trump and Putin must admire the boldness of it.

Labour is key to stopping this move and preventing a no-deal Brexit on October 31st. Fortunately, whilst the Corbyn leadership has equivocated on taking a clear pro-remain position for a long time this changed yesterday when Corbyn took the leadership of the anti-Brexit campaign by calling a meeting of the leaders of the opposition parties to discuss the Parliamentary tactics for the coming weeks.

Whether this was a factor in Johnson’s decision today we will never know. But it does put Labour in a strong position to lead the struggle at all levels against a hard right project that is out to destroy jobs and hand chunks of the NHS to US corporations. Whilst Labour might feel that it has to make some nod to petitioning Elizabeth Windsor, this is class struggle and it must be opposed by class struggle methods – i.e. inside and outside Parliament and on the streets and in the workplaces. If Johnson win this we will be in deep trouble.

On one side stand Farage, Rees-Mogg and Johnson heading an alliance of the heirs of Enoch Powell, devotees of Ayn Rand, English nationalists and the DUP. On the other, as we saw at all the anti-Brexit demonstrations, migrant workers, progressives and internationalists. These are the supporters of free movement for half a billion and the opponents of climate change.

The biggest demonstrations of recent years have been those opposing Brexit. Virtually everyone with any grasp of British politics knows it is the big fault line and that stopping Brexit is the slogan which will get hundreds of thousands on the streets in England, Scotland and Wales. It now falls to Labour to get its hundreds of thousands of members to organise huge protests and demonstrations.

Johnson’s coup is an opportunity for Labour. The resistance to the Tory Brexit is also an inextricable part of the election campaign which has now started. A radical programme for government and stopping Brexit with mass action is how we stop the coup.

Andy Stowe

Join the nationwide wave of protests on Saturday 31 August