The Left and Our Fight for Genuine Democratic Control


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This editorial was originally published in the latest edition of Look Left.

“[To] substitute for the choice of masters the appointment of reliable public servants under direct public control, that will mean true democracy – the industrial democracy of the Socialist Republic.”

– James Connolly

Many ask what the Left stands for now. Some say greater equality, others more freedom, a smaller section working class power.

The answer should be a simple one – genuine democratic control.

This is not the false democracy offered by the establishment, of differing versions of essentially the same thing. Democracy must mean people having a genuine say in governing the economic forces that shape society.

This true concept of democracy has been successfully undermined for over 30 years.

But the neo-liberal mask has now slipped with the mantra of consumer choice replaced by the threatening sneer of There Is No Alternative. With the NHS under Tory attack in the North and the southern Government intent on abandoning public services to the tender mercies of profiteering private companies, the right-wing media lie that privatisation means greater efficiency is being exposed. Experience shows privatisation really means the wealthy profiting at the expense of the people.

Whether it is the slickly-presented McKinsey reports or the sight of so-called social democrats implementing the will of the IMF in selling state assets – it is increasingly clear to people that privatisation is an attack on democracy.

There is an alternative. We must start building it today, in our workplaces, schools, colleges and homes. Whether it is giving a resounding No to the EU elite’s Austerity Treaty or combating Tory attacks on the NHS people can begin the long struggle to wrest our society from the profiteers.

Political parties and trade unions must take the lead role in providing a common purpose for the disparate struggles of the people. That purpose must be real democracy – trade unions and progressive organisations should build towards an all-Ireland Day of Democracy where the message will be loudly and clearly given that we will no longer accept this crisis being used by the wealthy as cover to rob the working class.


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