Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/652/10863
We'll resist Cameron's 'hard times'
Build the anti-cuts movement
PRIME MINISTER David Cameron's New Year message told us that 2011 will be a "difficult year". The Con-Dem coalition, he claimed, will take "hard but necessary steps" in the next 12 months. When the 'hard steps' are by workers to the Jobcentre, they will be far more difficult than those being trodden by millionaire, expenses-claiming ministers.
Chancellor George 'all in it together' Osborne, for instance, took his New Year break at an exclusive Swiss ski resort much favoured by Prince Charles. Meanwhile, the capitalist economy he is responsible for toboggans towards catastrophe.
Cameron wants workers to pay for the crisis. The 'difficult year' started with a bang as VAT was hiked up from 17.5% to 20%. This regressive tax hits lower-paid workers and unemployed people particularly badly. Labour claims to be against the rise even though Alistair Darling was considering the same VAT increase.
But Cameron reserves his hardest steps for hundreds of thousands of public sector workers. Up to 80,000 people were warned they could lose their council jobs over Christmas and more will do so over the coming months. Other workers face pay cuts and other attacks such as on pensions. Students and education staff are fighting spiralling fees and job losses. These people don't need Cameron to tell them that times are hard.
Cameron put a positive spin on his cuts, saying: "Together, we can make 2011 the year that Britain gets back on its feet." Don't believe what the Tories or the Fib Dems say about the crisis.
How can the profit-based private sector ever replace all the public-sector jobs that the Con-Dems have put at risk? Small businesses are likely to suffer from the increased poverty in society and big business is only interested in offering a handful of jobs at the lowest possible wages.
The people of Britain do want to "get back on their feet", Mr Cameron. But they can only do that if they start from clear opposition to all your government's cuts and all attacks on services and the people who use them.
Cameron's coalition is very fragile and mass pressure could well break it. The Lib Dems, who were in the lead in many opinion polls before the May elections, would struggle to get a dozen MPs today according to the same polls!
The anger is clearly there. The heroic movement of the students at universities, colleges and schools clearly shows that. So do the many thousands of workers on anti-cuts protests. But anger is not enough, it needs to be organised.
The working class has the potential strength to smash these cruel cuts. The National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) conference on 22 January, aims to launch an all-Britain anti-cuts campaign based around the power of organised workers.
If you're a public sector worker awaiting news of your job, a private sector trade unionist worried about the future, a service user or a member of an anti-cuts movement locally, put this date in your diary now.
If you're a student fighting the destruction of education, if you believe that not one job or service should be cut to pay for a crisis caused by big business, start the fightback by coming to the 22 January conference. Help to make it a bad year for Cameron, for his coalition and for axe-wielding councils!
NSSN anti-cuts conference
Saturday 22 January 2011
11.30am - 3.30pm
South Camden Community School
Charrington Street, London NW1 1RG (by Euston Station)
In The Socialist 5 January 2011:
National Shop Stewards Network
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news and analysis
Socialist Party review