A key part of setting Britain on the road to socialism is the promotion of an Alternative Economic and Political Strategy. Its starting point must be to identify the objective basis for building a broad alliance across a wide range of movements that would open the road to socialism. This can only be opposition to the policies of state-monopoly capitalism in Britain.
Key elements of the alternative strategy will give direction to all those fighting against right-wing policies and the capitalist monopolies, adding to their confidence and combativeness as realisable advances are won.
Building a sustainable, productive economy
- Invest massively in public services.
- End all forms of privatisation.
- Impose controls on the movement of capital.
- Direct public and private sector investment into manufacturing and productive industry.
- Outlaw mass redundancies in viable enterprises.
- Take strategic enterprises threatened by closure into democratic public ownership.
- Expand sustainable agricultural production.
- End subsidies to big landowners and agri-business.
- Regulate and limit advertising, financial and property services, transferring their socially useful functions to public bodies.
- End hostile buy-outs based on debt and asset-stripping.
- Halt speculation in commodities, securities and derivatives.
- Regulate British TNCs overseas to ensure compliance with the highest labour and environmental standards.
- Seek major new trade and technology agreements with developing countries.
- Cancel Third World public debt to British financial TNCs.
- Guarantee jobs, study places or apprenticeships for all young people.
- Reinstate full employment as a central policy of state.
For social justice and culture
- Increase state pensions, benefits and the national minimum wage substantially, linking them to rising earnings or prices and ending all discrimination against women and young workers.
- Introduce compulsory equal pay audits across the private and public sectors as the prelude to trade union and legal action to achieve equal pay for work of equal value in all workplaces.
- Reduce the age of voluntary retirement for all, with no loss of pension entitlements.
- Enforce stronger legislation against all forms of discrimination on grounds of gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, etc.
- Provide free nursery places for all children, funded by the public and private sectors.
- Undertake a massive drive to build more council houses, especially in inner-city and rural communities, and to appropriate long-term empty properties for socially useful purposes.
- Maintain rural schools, post offices and other facilities, while limiting the spread of holiday homes.
- Ensure free domestic fuel, public transport and publicly provided sheltered accommodation and residential care for the elderly.
- Provide a comprehensive network of refuges for victims of domestic violence.
- Decriminalise drug addiction and combat self-destructive and anti-social behaviour through much greater investment in youth services and facilities, which provide stimulating and constructive alternatives.
Funding the Left-Wing Programme
- Increase tax rates on higher rates of income.
- Levy an annual wealth tax on the richest section of the population.
- Impose a ‘Robin Hood’ tax on City financial transactions.
- Increase the rate of corporation tax on the profits of large companies.
- Place a windfall tax on monopoly profits in specific industries as necessary.
- Close all tax havens under British jurisdiction.
- Implement deep cuts in VAT on essential goods and services.
- Replace the council tax by local income, wealth, land and property taxes based clearly on the ability to pay.
- Renegotiate and where appropriate cancel Private Finance Initiative contracts in order to eliminate excessive corporate profiteering.
- Cut British military spending and end all state subsidies for armaments exports.
- Control movements of capital in and out of Britain.
Extending and deepening democracy
- Restore the democratic and civil liberties abolished or eroded by Conservative and Labour governments since 1979, especially those relating to rights of assembly and demonstration and to detention without charge.
- Repeal the anti-trade union laws.
- Institute full and equal rights at work from day one of a job.
- Remove all direct and indirect racist discrimination from Britain’s asylum, immigration and nationality laws and close the internment centres for asylum seekers.
- Abolish the House of Lords.
- Disestablish the Church of England as the official state church.
- Introduce a system of proportional representation, namely the Single Transferable Vote in multi-member constituencies, to ensure that Britain’s parliaments and assemblies more closely represent the preferences of the electors.
- Make MPs subject to a by-election upon petition by the electors.
- Submit corporate political donations to a ballot of the employers and employees in each enterprise.
- Restore powers and resources to local government in such areas as business taxation, council housing, management of schools and public transport.
- Set the age of adulthood – including the right to vote – at 16.
- Recover powers of the Westminster parliament from the EU.
- Introduce a right of reply in the mass media, take the media out of monopoly ownership and control and end the use of injunctions and libel laws by the wealthy and powerful to limit media freedoms.