Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/779/17380
Let's organise an autumn of action against austerity
- Call a 24-hour general strike
- New mass workers' party needed
Alec Thraves, Swansea Trades Union Council
In the last 12 months the destruction of the NHS, the proposed privatisation of Royal Mail, the disappearance of vital council services in whole swathes of the country, together with the scandals of blacklisting and zero-hour contracts, have contributed to a seething anger which is reflected even in the most conservative of union conferences, the Trades Union Congress.
There was jubilation at last year's TUC, when the motion from the Prison Officers' Association calling on the General Council to investigate the practicalities of a general strike was overwhelmingly carried.
However, the General Council has since done zilch to turn this into action. Almost as soon as the motion was passed, the more right-wing trade union leaders began to pour scorn on the idea.
This includes Unison general secretary Dave Prentis. But even this trade union tortoise has now publicly demanded coordinated strikes against low pay!
Bank of England board member Prentis hasn't suddenly become a socialist fighter. He is obviously feeling the pressure from his members - public sector workers who've suffered a four-year pay freeze and seen hundreds of thousands of their workmates lose their jobs.
The obvious support for the idea of a 24-hour general strike was reflected at the packed National Shop Stewards Network rally at the start of this year's TUC.
The defeat for the Tory warmongers over intervention in Syria has shown up the weakness of the millionaires' coalition. There is a growing feeling now that united industrial action could inflict a bloody defeat on them.
If there was any sort of opposition from Labour then this coalition wouldn't limp through to 2015. But Labour has revealed more than ever which class it serves.
The obviously false charges against Unite in Falkirk have been used by the Labour hierarchy as a pretext to remove the residual influence of the trade unions within the party.
Ed Miliband, arrogantly brushing aside the leaders of the trade union movement, says they are proceeding with the special conference for this purpose.
But the party hierarchy has been forced to admit, as were the police to whom they handed the accusations, there was no wrongdoing by Unite! There couldn't be a clearer signal of Labour's pride in slapping down the organised working class to appease its big business friends.
All remaining Labour-supporting unions should boycott Miliband's conference and instead use the occasion to begin working with other trade unionists, like the RMT and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) to create a new, mass working class party where trade unionists and socialist policies are welcomed with open arms and not treated with contempt.
In The Socialist 11 September 2013:
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