Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/632/9930
Mass action can stop cuts
No apology. No concern. No regret. Sitting comfortably and calmly in his Newsnight chair Michael Gove, education minister, had no qualms about claiming that cuts to frontline services are "unavoidable".
Questioned about a council's predictions that the number of young people who do not receive any qualifications at all will increase, Gove merely blamed the previous government and reiterated that these cuts are "unavoidable".
So now we have a situation where young people, leaving university with tens of thousands of pounds of debt, cannot get a decent job.
A recent report shows that there are almost 70 applicants for every one graduate vacancy. And yet this government plans to punish the unemployed by cutting their housing benefit by 10% after a year on the dole.
This Con-Dem government has no reservations when it comes to wielding the axe. Their vision seems to be one where everyone is left to fend for themselves. Young people's right to a decent future? Slashed. Decent working conditions? In ribbons. Support for the vulnerable, the elderly, the ill? Hacked to bits. The right to a home, to health, to education? Destroyed. But Gove and his government are wrong. This is a crisis of capitalism. We did not cause it and we will not pay for it. This situation is not 'unavoidable'. Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT transport union issued a call to arms at his union's recent conference.
He called for a "sustained campaign of generalised strikes across both the public and private sectors and community direct action to defend public services."
The government is preparing to force through a tough new cap on civil service redundancy payments to make sackings cheap.
Before the general election the PCS civil servants' union organised national strike action to defeat a similar measure under Labour and eventually won in the courts.
That fight must be revived. Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS, has called for "joint union action and campaigning in communities" to stop the cuts.
Bob Crow continued: "The trade unions can only fight these attacks from the front foot. We have a government of millionaire public school boys who are determined to rule by fear - fear of losing your job, fear of losing your home and fear of losing your benefits and the public services that you rely on.
"RMT says don't fear them, fight them. Our trade union has a slogan: 'never on our knees' and we want those words to ring out on the Millionaires' Row of Clegg and Cameron. They started this fight with the working class and we are up for it."
The Socialist Party urges all trade unionists to take up this rallying call. In particular, we support the call by the PCS and others for the TUC to organise, as soon as possible, a mass national demonstration against the attacks of the Con-Dem government as an urgent first step.
Properly built for, such a demonstration would express the opposition of hundreds of thousands of people to the attacks we face.
It could also build confidence in struggle and prepare the way for a 24-hour public sector strike. Working class people must prepare ourselves for the fight of our lives.
In The Socialist 7 July 2010:
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party feature
Youth fight for jobs
International socialist news and analysis
Interview with Brian Caton
Socialist Party LGBT
Socialist Party events
Socialist Party reviews