The discussion on the need for a new party of the working class is in progress in many sections of the labour movement.

Whether the struggle involves students, social movements that have previously been unorganised, or the trade unions, they all collide with the Labour leadership, the TUC leadership and other union leaderships.

These clashes are coming because the government is continuing to slash public services and jobs. It is continually seeking ways to attack the working class.

Attacks on the disabled, unemployed, immigrants, women and youth are fundamentally removing any safety nets that had been gained by years of struggle.

At the same time the Labour party is offering no opposition to austerity attacks; in Labour councils they are the ones who are destroying services that provide basic and essential needs, such as Sure Start centres for under-fives and their parents.

The government is also removing the funding ring fence from Sure Start programmes and other services which end up being cut or closed.

Most Labour councillors and Labour MPs publicly blame the government, however the previous Labour government laid the foundation for these attacks.

Labour began using ATOS 14 years ago, a company who have been given a £400 million contract by this government to conduct “fit to work” assessments which leads to the removal of support to many sick and disabled people.

Labour also developed the Academy school programme that has now pushed more than 50 per cent of secondary schools out of local authority control; and continue to push the PFI programme for hospitals, schools and housing.

Ed Miliband has made it clear he supports, and will continue, austerity measures if the Labour party win the next election in 2015.

Furthermore he measures if the Labour party win the next election in 2015. Furthermore he has expressed his opposition to any strike action and in July he called the police to investigate the Unite union over recruitment of Labour Party members in Falkirk. This led to the central office taking over the Falkirk Labour Party, and the imposition of a Miliband supporter.

Some union leaders hold on to Labour

Len McCluskey, leader of Unite, said he broadly supported reforms proposed by Miliband in response to the Falkirk selection row, arguing that the current system in which union members who paid the political levy automatically provided the party with funds was “not working”. Guardian, 17 July.

It is not working because opposition to Labour is growing. “…I can no longer defend putting one million of my members as affiliates to the Labour party when our own internal polling demonstrates that a large chunk of that one million vote for other parties.” Quoted from above Guardian article.

In fact McCluskey and Paul Kenny, the GMB general secretary, have warned that less than 10 per cent of its political levypayers will wish to affiliate to Labour. However this is not a policy to create a new party, it is just a way of trying to put pressure on Miliband to change Labour’s support for cuts.

What McCluskey does not address is the question that is continually being raised amongst many sections of the working class, in particular those involved in anti-cuts campaigns, that is “why support and therefore, why fund the Labour Party?”

Many are shocked to find that Unite are funding 1000 councillors and many Labour MPs, as do Unison and GMB. About 98 per cent of them grab the money and then apply the Tory policies of cut and slash to services and benefits. Unite has given £8.4 million to the Labour party since Miliband was elected. This is workers’ money and could be used to fund a new workers’ party.

Labour a party of cuts and capitalism

Labour of course has always refused to undo the attacks that came out of the Thatcher years; they merely refined the attacks and never repealed any anti-trade union laws. Any policy change that was made, such as using the PFI privatization scheme, was to strengthen them for the benefit of big business and to lay the basis for new attacks.

In another move to push the party further to the right Miliband plans to run primaries (ideas borrowed from the US) for the Labour candidate for London mayor. He has suggested permitting anyone registered as a party supporter up to the day of the London selection contest to vote, including non-members.

Miliband wants to end the influence of the trade unions, by removing the union block vote. This is why many on the left and many workers continued to give their support. In that sense this is an historic turning point. For the Labour leadership the aim is ensure the maintenance of the Con-Dem austerity onslaught.

Despite this, the leadership of the biggest unions continue to support Miliband, like McCluskey, who has adopted a subservient position saying, “Unite is not looking to bankrupt the party and we will continue to support the Labour party in any way we can without becoming a problem.”

A party for the working class

Left Unity have announced the aim to form a new party, 9000 people have signed Ken Loach’s petition calling for a new party and many groups are being set up throughout the country.

For a new party to build a successful struggle against the government it must be a party of the working class. Labour (and the union bureaucracies) after November 2011, stopped the public pensions strike movement.

Labour have historically attacked sections of the class with their support for imperialist wars, the ‘war on terror’ and immigration controls. And has always been based on representing the most privileged sectors of the working class.

We need a party that demands no government or council cuts. An alternative policy must defend and extend public services, and remove and end all big business and privatization schemes.

A new party must represent all workers both the organised and unorganised and fight to unify all struggles in national actions, including general strikes.

Trade unions will have to support the development of a class struggle party if they want to fight for a socialist alternative, they will have to stop funding Labour, not just for economic reasons, but to help fund a new and a genuine workers party.

All the possibilities that exist from the growing movements in the working class, from the unions and the anti-cuts organisations, and bedroom tax and disabled peoples’ struggles.

Unite the political and class struggles

“The laws against secondary picketing and the laws against union organization in the work place were political class acts against the organised workers in many ways, far worse than the Taff Vale judgment (1901) and the attacks on workers’ organisations which stimulated the desire for political representation at the beginning of the century.

We have been pushed back over 100 years on the question of political representation. We are witnessing a Labour leadership who aim for a US style of politics, where greed and parasitism is even more pronounced than in the UK.

Who politically represents and really fights for the unemployed, poor and homeless? Who politically represents and fights for the old, the sick and disabled? Who represents and politically fights for the young?

A real workers party will have to show its class nature by mobilising and fighting against big business, government and union bureaucracies, and for workers democracy and internationalism.

A new party has to raise the old slogan of an injury to one is an injury to all, which means the fight for all workers’ rights and against all oppression anywhere in the world including women’s oppression, the fight for migrant rights and the defence of LGBT.

Any genuine movement of the class must be supported anywhere in the world with decisions being made in the hands of the rank and file, not in the hands of leaders.

In a year that is seeing an ending to the universal provision of health and education services it has become blindingly clear that there is an immediate and urgent need for a party that will and can represent the interests and needs of the working class. It is now unpostponable.