Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/638/10213

From The Socialist newspaper, 15 September 2010

Decisive action can defeat this government

National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of TUC conference in Manchester 2010, photo Suleyman Civi

National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of TUC conference in Manchester 2010, photo Suleyman Civi   (Click to enlarge)

The very successful lobby of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in Manchester, organised by the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN), points the way forward for the trade union movement in the looming conflict between the organised working class and the brutal Con-Dem government.

In the very commendable demonstration, the meetings and the speeches that took place, the growing anger and demands for action now against cuts which will slash to the bone the welfare state and effectively dismantle it was forcefully expressed.

The Socialist Party consistently stressed that this battle is a "new poll tax". Brendan Barber now agrees, which is a step forward. Unfortunately he has not drawn sufficiently clear or correct conclusions from this epic struggle. He ascribes the defeat of the poll tax to "pressure" exerted on MPs.

This grossly underestimates the colossal organised resistance, set in train by the All-Britain Anti-Poll Tax Federation, under the influence of Militant, now the Socialist Party. This body organised what was till then Britain's biggest demonstrations in history in London and Glasgow. More significantly, it mobilised 18 million people "illegally" not to pay the poll tax.

If it had been left to the official trade union leadership, never mind the cowardly Labour Party leadership of the time - the present multimillionaire 'Lord' Neil Kinnock - the tax would have been pushed through by Thatcher. Over 100 were jailed, 34 of them Militant supporters. A commentator in the Guardian reminded us last week that "a [nameless] Labour MP" was jailed and expelled from the Labour Party for not paying the tax. That MP was the heroic and never to be forgotten Terry Fields, a Militant supporter. Dave Nellist, also a supporter of ours, although not jailed, was thrown out of the Labour Party for similar reasons. But their courage and sacrifice, together with thousands of others, smashed the tax and evicted Thatcher from office.

Let no working man or woman be under any illusions. Osborne and Cameron - with the backing of the overwhelming majority of the bosses - are absolutely determined to ram savage cuts through Parliament. They have already pushed through a law, without proper parliamentary scrutiny, reversing the PCS civil service union's legal victory on redundancy payments in the civil service achieved just before the general election.

Even the capitalist press now agrees with The Socialist that these cuts will be on the scale not seen since the Geddes Report attacks proposed in 1922, which were major contributors leading to the 1926 general strike. Brendan Barber takes one step forward - calls for opposition to cuts - and then two steps back when he ruled out immediate measures of a "general strike character".

National demo

National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of TUC conference in Manchester 2010, photo Suleyman Civi

National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) lobby of TUC conference in Manchester 2010, photo Suleyman Civi   (Click to enlarge)

Conciliation and prevarication, an attempt to convince Cameron to step back, is clearly the preferred option of the right wing of the trade union movement. The 'people' are not ready for action to oppose the cuts, argue those like the right-wing candidate for Unite general secretary Les Bayliss.

The same case could have been used as in relation to the attacks in France. The pension counter-reforms have not been implemented as yet. This however did not prevent the trade unions in France from organising not just a huge demonstration but also an immense one-day general strike, which exceeded the previous one against the cuts.

'Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me'. Name-calling against the coalition will have no effect. Rational argument and the outlining of alternatives will be water off the back of these case-hardened "deficit slashers". Only action, and the most decisive action at that, can force this government to step back.

In the first instance this requires, not in the 'mists' of 2011 but now, a national demonstration. If the 'elephants' of the TUC do not respond to the lobby and the undoubted moods that are maturing in the ranks of the working class then further decisive action from below is necessary.

On 23 October an indoor rally has been organised at the TUC headquarters in Congress House. There should be a march of all trade unionists on that day - led by the NSSN, together with the left-leaning unions like the RMT, the PCS, the FBU, etc - to this rally demanding the immediate organisation of a national demonstration. Failure by the TUC to respond to this pressure must then lead to the NSSN together with the left trade unions calling the demonstration themselves.

The argument that the 'people' are not ready is belied by even the opinion polls themselves. They showed tremendous insecurity - 69% of the population believe their families will suffer from the cuts. A national demonstration will be a huge step forward. But it will not be sufficient in itself to inflict a defeat on this government. A one-day general strike must now be seriously prepared for, beginning with public-sector workers. If it is organised in a proper way this will invoke tremendous support also from private-sector workers.

The TUC itself has pointed out that most areas of Britain will not receive gains in private-sector jobs to compensate for those lost from the public sector for at least 14 years! In the case of the North East it will take 24 years for the losses to be made up! The very future of big sections of the working class, particularly in Scotland, in the North and in Wales - with young people severely affected - is at stake.

The coalition is hiding behind the anti-union laws installed by Thatcher which were untouched by Blair and Brown when in power. But these will be nullified in a mass industrial uprising to defeat these cuts.

A 24-hour general strike either in the public or the private sector, almost habitually resorted to in other European countries, is 'illegal' here. But coordinated ballots for action on a similar day must be prepared for. Even then, as the experiences of the BA workers and others have shown, the bosses can still hobble us through legal injunctions preventing effective strike action.

No serious trade unionist would lightly jeopardise the resources of the trade unions through 'illegal' actions. But the threat of these cuts are so serious that the full might of the trade unions - if necessary by breaking unjust laws - must be mobilised. If one union, group of trade unions, a worker or group of workers, are then dragged before the courts then a 24-hour general strike should be called.

In 1972 this forced the Tory Heath government to release jailed workers. The NSSN, in organising the lobby of the TUC, is in the tradition of organised resistance from below of the past, like the Liaison Committee for the Defence of Trade Unions in the 1970s and the Broad Left Organising Committee (BLOC) of the 1980s. This seeks not to replace the official trade unions but acts as a lever to force them into action at the base of the unions. Decisive action organised from below and above by the unions can defeat this government.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 15 September 2010:

Join the fight against cuts


Socialist Party editorial

Decisive action can defeat this government


TUC congress

TUC backs youth jobs demo

TUC told to name the day

TUC: Build for action against cuts


Socialist Party youth and students

Stop the 'slippery slope' to two-tier education

How will the Browne Review into university funding affect you?

Student strikes can win results


Feature: Socialist Party women

Women and the struggle against oppression


Socialist Party news and analysis

Royal Mail: Con-Demned to history?

Privatisation's giant wrecking ball

Fight the jobs cuts massacre

Middlesborough local union-led public services alliance set up

Fast news

General strike in France

Osborne targets the needy

Labour councillors challenged in Hastings

Shropshire: showing socialist alternative gets results


Socialist Party workplace news

London Underground: Action biting against job cuts

UCU executive pulls out of strike ballot

Fight for jobs at GSK

Workplace news in brief


Anti-cuts campaign

Mood of defiance in Huddersfield

Hull park rangers protest

How do we vote to stop the cuts?

Nottinghamshire: Campaign saves vital service

Lobbies warn councils of workers' action


Socialism 2010

Socialism 2010: How can we save the environment?


International socialist news and analysis

All-India general strike: Eyewitness report from Chennai

Fighting oppression in Kazakhstan


Socialist Party review

The Third Man


 

Home   |   The Socialist 15 September 2010   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

TUC:

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleTories torn - bin them now

triangleCWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangleLondon: TUC lobby & rally; and London march

Unions:

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

triangleTories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Black workers and the British trade unions

Cuts:

triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

triangleNo cuts - hands off King George A&E!

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

Tax:

triangleThem & Us

triangleProblem gambling soars by 33%

Trade unions:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

Strike:

triangleArriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

Poll tax:

triangleCan you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

NSSN:

triangleBirmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

National Shop Stewards Network:

triangleFood processing workers vote for action against miserly bosses

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

19/10/17

Refugees

Hundreds of torture victims wrongly detained

18/10/17

Brexit

Tories torn - bin them now

18/10/17

What we saw

What we saw

18/10/17

Food

Obesity epidemic: end food market anarchy

18/10/17

NHS

Tories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!

18/10/17

Debt

Young people being strangled by debts

13/10/17

Labour

The end of the Tories?

11/10/17

Tories

Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

11/10/17

Black history

The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity

11/10/17

Housing

Housing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

11/10/17

Universal Credit

Major attacks 'Universal Credit', half a million more face poverty

11/10/17

Them & Us

Them & Us

11/10/17

NHS

NHS meltdown - fight the Tory cuts

11/10/17

IMF

IMF helps cause inequality it slams

4/10/17

NHS

Tories wreck our NHS

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2