Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/691/13027
Editorial of the Socialist
Prepare for N30 - strike and demonstrate!
The strike to defend public sector pensions on 30 November (N30) represents the biggest and broadest coordinated industrial action since the 1926 general strike 85 years ago. In terms of numbers of workers involved, up to three million, it is likely to exceed the initial days of that great strike.
But that was in the context of a period of far greater militancy and workers' radicalism. The strike on N30, coming, as it does, after decades of relative industrial 'quiet', in reality a management counter-revolution in both private and public sectors, can transform the consciousness of millions of workers within the unions on strike and the anti-cuts movement generally. The huge potential power of the working class will be demonstrated for the first time in decades.
Crucially this power will also be displayed; firstly to the working class, including those who currently stand outside of the unions, but are being crushed by the Con-Dems' vicious cuts programme and the economic crisis. Every public sector union should be balloting to take part in the strike.
It is also essential that, as with the 30 June coordinated strike, the impact of the N30 strike is publicly displayed in mass demonstrations in cities around the country. This also provides an opportunity for those not on strike, such as the unemployed, students, pensioners etc, to publicly show their support for this action, the next big step in the 'fight of our lives'.
Of course, the meaning of these events will also be imprinted in the collective minds of the bosses and their political representatives, particularly the Con-Dem government.
Therefore, any judgement about what the political and industrial world will look like after the strike day has to be carefully weighed up. Similarly, the precise way in which the strike is followed up has to be estimated and tactics and strategy tested by the changing mood and consciousness.
The Socialist Party calls for an escalation of the action after N30, in the main by continuing to coordinate this on a national basis. This could mean calling a 48-hour strike as the next action or possibly another 24-hour strike.
This doesn't preclude sectional, regional or local action, as a supplement for coordinated strikes.
We do not support, for example, the current attempts of the Unison leadership to prevent local ballots for action against savage cuts on the basis that everything is put aside to build for the 30th.
However, after 30 November, it is likely that right-wing union leaders will argue for local or sectional action rather than to escalate the national coordinated action. This must be opposed by all trade union activists.
A campaign should also be launched to reach out to workers in the private sector to encourage them to coordinate any current disputes.
What is primary is to combat any attempt by the more conservative union leaders to see N30 as the end of the campaign rather than the beginning and look to dissipate the mood of members.
On N30 millions of workers will feel their collective strength for the first time, that must be built on to create a movement powerful enough to bring down the government.
In The Socialist 26 October 2011:
Events on 5 + 6 November
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party feature