Boris Johnson
International Europe

Britain: Boris Out! Corbyn In!

This article was originally published in Socialist Appeal by the British section of the IMT.

Yesterday, Boris Johnson took his place in 10 Downing Street as the latest Prime Minister of Britain. His premiership will be characterized by deep crises and intense class struggles.

Johnson has the reactionary ranks of the Tory Party to thank for his new position. Two-thirds of this 160,000-strong rabble voted for Boris to succeed the hapless Theresa May as Conservative Party leader—and thus as PM also. And recent surveys show that this “hang-em, flog-em” brigade has only one thing on their mind: Brexit—an aim that they will stop at nothing to achieve.

It is to this bigoted base of his party that Johnson is now appealing, with his pledge to lead Britain out of the European Union on 31st October. This has sent big business into a hysterical panic, with the prospect of a train-crash, no-deal Brexit looming large.

Hence the endless attempts by the establishment to tame Boris and promote the more “sensible” figures in the Conservative Party. But the “sensible” people are no longer in charge. The jesters have taken over the court—as will soon become evident when Johnson appoints his Cabinet of frenzied Brexiteers.

Not just a clown

Boris Johnson, however, is no mere clown. His reactionary, racist agenda is clear both from his whole political career, and from the company he keeps. See, for example, the congratulatory messages from none other than Donald Trump, responding to the announcement of Boris’s Tory leadership victory.

Socialist Appeal Cover Issue 311Boris Johnson is no mere clown. His reactionary, racist agenda is clear from his whole political career. / Image: Socialist Appeal

Johnson and Trump are birds of a feather when it comes to warmongering, tax cuts for the super-rich, and attacks on workers and migrants. Despite promises to “unite the country,” there is no doubt that Boris’s program will be a wholly divisive one, with the new PM, the bosses and bankers, and the bigots and xenophobes on one side; and the working class, the youth, and the poor and oppressed on the other.

Boris’s win is of great worry to the ruling class. It signifies their loss of control over the Tory Party—the historic defenders of the interests of capitalism. But now their primary political representative is a man who responded to the concerns of big business about Brexit by saying: “f*ck business.”

Prime Minister Corbyn

What really strikes fear into the hearts of the capitalists, however, is not the sight of Prime Minister Johnson, but the possibility of seeing Prime Minister Corbyn in the not-too-distant future.

Hence, on the one side, their desire to avoid a general election; and, on the other, the endless anti-semitism smear campaign being conducted by the Blairites—the agents of big business inside the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Unfortunately for the ruling class, it is not they who call the shots anymore. Faced with paralysis in Parliament, Boris may well find himself forced to call a snap election in an attempt to break the deadlock.

CorbyntoPower Image Socialist AppealThe one thing that terrifies the establishment more than Johnson and his no-deal Brexiteers is the idea of a Corbyn government. / Image: Socialist Appeal

Meanwhile, so hated is the new Tory leader by his own Europhile colleagues, that these Remainer renegades are even considering pulling the plug on this government and supporting a vote of no confidence. Then all hell would really break loose.

The Labour right-wingers, meanwhile, can slander and sabotage Corbyn all they like. But their own position inside the party is extremely fragile; many of these careerist gangsters are facing the threat of deselection through the “trigger ballot” process that is taking place over the coming weeks.

Grassroots Labour members must seize this opportunity to kick out the Blairites. If we do not rid ourselves of this Trojan Horse now, then—come the signal from the establishment—they will launch a desperate attack to thwart Labour’s chances in the next general election; or, worse, to bring a Corbyn government down once in power.

Tories out! Corbyn in!

Back to Boris: we cannot allow Britain’s latest Tory Prime Minister to have one minute’s rest. Already, thousands have taken to the streets in London to echo Johnson’s own words back at him: f*ck Boris.

Today, thousands more will gather outside Parliament in a Labour-organized rally to demand a general election. This is the correct demand. But the vital question is: how? How do we bring about a general election?

As outlined above, a general election will not be kindly granted by Boris and the Tories. For starters, like many of his fellow Conservative MPs, Johnson is terrified of losing his own seat in the House of Commons.

Not one day more Tories out Image Socialist AppealLabour must mobilize activists and voters around a bold socialist program and the promise of a socialist Labour government / Image: Socialist Appeal

The Uxbridge & South Ruislip MP has a precarious 5,000 majority in his constituency—one which local Labour activists have in sight, as seen by the enthusiastic “Unseat Boris” campaign day last weekend. It is entirely possible, therefore, that Johnson could become the first sitting Prime Minister to be booted out of Parliament altogether.

The energy and mobilization seen in Uxbridge must now be replicated across the country. Labour must not just plead for a general election, but force one by organizing a mass campaign of rallies, demonstrations, and door-knocking in towns and cities all over Britain.

The trade unions should throw their weight behind such a campaign, organizing waves of coordinated strike action amongst their members—many of whom are already engaged in a fight against the Tory government over pay, pensions, and public services.

On this basis, with mass mobilization and action across the labor movement, Boris’s brittle, unstable, and vulnerable government would not last two weeks.

The possibility of removing Boris Johnson, however, is not enough to create a mass movement by itself. In order to galvanize workers and youth en masse, Labour must also offer a clear, positive alternative to Tory austerity and attacks. This means mobilizing activists and voters around a bold socialist program and the promise of a socialist Labour government.

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