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Councillor Joe Anderson is no ally of the working class

February 18, 2011

Joe Anderson, the leader of Liverpool City Council, is trying to paint himself as some kind of anti-cuts rebel. On 29th January he joined an anti-cuts march in Liverpool, not long after he wrote to David Cameron to withdraw Liverpool from the Big Society, and now he is asking people to march against the cuts this Sunday.

This is nothing more than cheap political opportunism, and it should be rejected.

He tells us that the council is “bracing itself” for the cuts. He “warns” us that compulsory redundancies in the council will come. He is “incensed” by Liberal Democrats accusing him of having a “politically motivated” approach to job cuts.

But, for all the talk, he and his council are the ones who will be wielding the axe in Liverpool, and who have already promised that 1,500 jobs will go, and who has made the decision to rob people of their livelihoods whilst their own pay and pensions are entirely secure.

Anderson claims that cuts aren’t “what I’m about,” but in the same breath states that “we’re not deficit deniers.” He accepts the arguments put forward by the government that cuts are needed, and all claims to oppose what is happening amounts to crocodile tears.

That is why, on the anti-cuts march in Liverpool last Saturday, he faced chants and heckles, and several protesters confronted him about what he was doing. People are beginning to see through the lie that Labour are in any way a party of the “left” or of the working class.

despite his gestures, Anderson and other Labour politicians on local councils are greasing the wheels so that the government’s attacks filter smoothly down to a local level. But when both Ed Miliband and Ed Balls accept the need for public spending cuts, who would be foolish enough to think otherwise?

party politics does not serve the interests of the working class, either in this fight or more broadly. This struggle does not hinge upon arguments but upon the balance of class power, and we will only see those in power yield when we can shift that balance through direct action.

Those who claim to represent us are nothing but a dead weight. We must continue to call out and cast off parasites such as Anderson, in favour of militant working class self-organisation.
  1. Ray McHale permalink
    February 20, 2011 2:46 am

    Joe Anderson is no better or worse than most Labour Group leaders. He belongs to a party which has no vision or programme for defeating the Coalition, so it is hard to expect more of him. But we in the trade unions and on the Left (and in my case in the LP) have to ask what have we done to prepare for this situation – to try to agree a programme or an approach for the Labour Party and for Labour Councils that would enable them to defeat the Coalition cuts, working with the trade unions. Lets face it the trade unions have not put forward a clear programme – or if they have they have not taken it int0 the Party with a view of gertting it implemented. When Militant was in the Party it was the back-bone of the Council leadership, and despite much hasher threats to individual Councillors, was able to lead a fight against cuts. Few but Lambeth followed, and the trade unions were quick to bail out and attack the Council when things got really tough. Now people like the Socialist Party – instead of being there leading the fight as Councillors – stand outside, harping on about how bad the Labour Party is. Partly it is so bad because Socialists have walked away (very few were expelled) and handed the Party to the rightwing. Now safe from a position of being able not to influence the LP they can call councillors for not giving a lead. Well this seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Would it not be better that we were on the same side as the Labour Party leaders in Liverpool – who were elected to run the city again last year for the first time since the 80s – by working people finally feed up with the Liberals.

  2. Durruti36 permalink
    February 21, 2011 1:07 am

    Ray, you’re just repeating the same old mediocre message the Labour left has been parroting for years. You miss the point that we (as anarcho-syndicalists) believe in working-class emancipation and a classless, stateless society based on direct democracy and self-management. You seem to believe that some kind of state socialism imposed from above via parliamentary legislation is the best we can hope for, and all we need to do is pack the LP out with more socialists to achieve it. We totally reject the idea that we need career politicians and bureaucrats to ‘lead’ us. The reason our class has historically suffered such massive defeats is because it tends to surrender control of its struggles to collaborationist wankers like Joe Anderson and Brendan Barber. We’ve learnt the lessons of history, and its time the Labour left did as well.

    Anyway, I’d rather be a cynical anarchist than a naive socialist any day. All the best 🙂


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