The Socialist 26 October 2011 |
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Capitalism IS crisis - Fight for a socialist alternative
30 June coordinated strike action by the PCS civil service union and NUT, ATL and UCU teaching unions, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
Capitalism IS crisis. These are the words sewn on a huge green banner stretching over the tents outside St Paul's Cathedral in London.
Hundreds of people visit the Occupy LSX (London Stock Exchange) tent city each day to show support and to enable this anti-capitalist protest to continue. The huge anger against the 'banksters' is palpable.
The overwhelmingly positive response they get from visitors is because they touch on that core feeling shared by thousands upon thousands of people - that we are very far from 'all being in this crisis together' as the government says - that the rich are laughing all the way to the bank while we're expected to lose our jobs and our services and our homes and just take it lying down.
The Occupy movement has spread across the world, inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement in the US, the 'indignados' in Spain and the 'enraged' in Greece.
While world leaders quake and quarrel in the face of an economic abyss, an almighty explosion is rumbling beneath their feet. Even more Greek workers joined the latest general strike action, while here in Britain millions of public sector workers prepare for a historic day of strike action on 30 November to protect pensions and fight the cuts.
Meanwhile a band of young people are making their way down the country in the footsteps of the 1936 Jarrow unemployed workers march, demanding jobs and education and fighting for a future.
The railway workers union RMT's brass band at the Youth Fight for Jobs Jarrow March 2011 launch demonstration in Jarrow, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
The Youth Fight for Jobs Jarrow to London march has gathered a humbling amount of support from all the communities it has passed through. Because, like Occupy LSX and Wall Street, it strikes a chord, it taps into that basic feeling that something must be done - and these young people are standing up and doing it.
That is why everyone should come to London on 5 November. The final steps of the Jarrow marchers, before their epic journey is concluded, will be from the Embankment to Trafalgar Square. They will be met by thousands of other young people and older workers, not just to applaud their achievement, but to add their voices to that demand: we want a future!
And 'what kind of future?' is the question on many lips. The Jarrow marchers will go from Trafalgar Square to Socialism 2011 to debate that question. Socialism 2011 is a weekend of discussion and debate about all the essential issues young people, workers, trade unionists and LSX occupiers are wrestling with.
How can we organise to fight back, what strategies are needed, what lessons can we learn from historic events, what can we draw from the revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East?
Most crucially, if capitalism is crisis, what's the alternative - what should we fight for?
The Rally for Socialism on the night of 5 November will be where the real fireworks are: it will hear from fighting leaders from different countries that put the case for a movement to change society, the case for socialism.