Editorial: Leaders, get lost!
Countless column inches and seemingly endless hours of news reports have been given over to the leadership crisis the Labour Party is currently engulfed in. Speaking up for Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Home Secretary Charles Clark said Blair would stand down when he was good and ready to do so and he accused Chancellor Gordon Brown of “absolutely stupid” behaviour in challenging Blair, commenting that Brown needed first to prove his fitness to lead.
Fitness to lead? Now there’s a thing. It assumes leaders have some special qualification acquired over years of study and self-sacrifice when the only real qualification is the ability to hoodwink others into thinking you possess knowledge and qualities they do not. Unlike other professions – doctors, surgeons, architects, physicists – whose skills come via many years of hard slog – politicians require none whatsoever. The only requisite credentials needed when standing for election are that you are over 21 years of age, not insane and with no recent prison record.
Despite this, many workers think we cannot function without leaders. This is a fallacy and one perpetuated by the ruling class to help them maintain their control over our lives. Indeed, so prevalent is this philosophy, that from the cradle to the grave we are taught to mistrust our own intelligence and to feel somewhat inadequate, to look up to our ‘betters and superiors’ (schools, church, politicians, parents etc) for their expert guidance and to accept without question the plans they draw up for our future.
It is assumed by many that leaders run the world. Well, we think it is we, the workers, who run the world. Politicians might make government policy, which becomes law, but it is we who build and work the hospitals and schools. It is we who build the bridges, roads and railways, ports and airports; all the products that humans need to survive. It is we who produce everything from a pin to an oil-rig and provide humanity with all the services it requires – we the working class! We don’t depend on leaders for these skills or for their guidance. They have no monopoly on our knowledge and intelligence or on the inventions we dream up to enhance the quality of life. If all the worlds’ leaders died tomorrow, few would really miss them and society would function just as before.
The concept of leadership has emerged with class society and will end when we abolish class society, when we abolish the profit system and all that goes with it. The master class have been allowed to lead because of their control over the means of living and by virtue of their control of the education system and their monopoly of the media and other information processes.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The greatest weapons we posses are our class unity, our intelligence, and our ability to question the status quo and to imagine a world fashioned in our own interests. Leaders perceive all of this to be a threat and so will do anything to keep us in a state of oblivion, dejection and dependency. Our apathy is the victory they celebrate each day. Our unwillingness to unite as a globally exploited majority and to confront them on the battlefield of ideas is the subject of their champagne toasts.
Remember this as the battle for leadership of the Labour Party hots up.