Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 3 October 2012

Arts and culture workers need to fight back

"The most unkindest cut"

James Ivens

"This was the most unkindest cut of all." Mark Antony on Brutus's murder of Julius Caesar. Which of the Con-Dems' cuts is most unkindest is not mentioned - in part because Shakespeare died 394 years before the coalition formed.

But if arts and culture workers are to save their industry from assassination, more than stirring rhetoric is required.

Public sector union PCS, representing culture workers, says: "as much as 90% of the cuts threatened have yet to occur."

With private investment in the arts continuing its decade-long decline, how are cultural bodies to survive?

The answer is they aren't. A recent casualty is this year's Manchester Comedy Festival, cancelled outright in August.

Festival creator Don Ward lays the blame squarely at the coalition's door: "With a clean sweep, government cuts have wiped out funding for a lot of festivals." The same is happening to cultural organisations of every stripe. For many it is permanent.

Last year, the Federation of Entertainment Unions (FEU) launched the Lost Arts campaign. "Campaign" may be too strong a word.

Website seeks to be a catalogue of cultural bereavement.

This has its place; but what is the FEU actually doing? Constituent unions published reports and supported motions calling for increased funding and an end to exploitation. But they have yet to match their words with action. And so we suffer on.

It's not just our careers at risk - or our benefits and services, either. With the economy flatlining, and bosses shedding staff and slashing pay, it's our day jobs too.

With vanishing cultural gigs and nothing in between we have one hope. Fight every job loss and every funding cut that businesses and politicians make.

September's annual Trades Union Congress historically voted to support prison officers' union POA's motion calling for "far reaching campaigns including the consideration and practicalities of a general strike".

Last year's enormous N30 strike saw millions of public sector workers walk out over pensions. The action won concessions. Imagine what could have been gained if a second, larger strike had been called.

In July, comedian Stewart Lee slammed what he called "the cultural bankruptcy of late capitalism". If we are to become culturally solvent once more, we need an end to cuts across the board. We need a fully funded arts sector, and support for all its workers.

We must kick out the government and its austerity policies, and start planning our nation's considerable output for the good of all, not the profit of a few.

Arts and culture workers must support the TUC's 20 October demo. We must put pressure on our unions and the TUC to name the date for a general strike, with another threatened after if we don't win our demands. This is the fight of our lives. Stewart Lee is right - let's make capitalism 'late'.

Do you have something to say? Why don't you send the Socialist a letter about what is happening to you in this long recession? What do you think of what this government is doing? Do you think the unions and Labour should be putting up more opposition? Have you got comments on articles in our paper?

Send your news, views and criticism in around 150 words to Socialist Postbag, PO Box 24697, London E11 1YD, or phone 020 8988 8771, email:

The Socialist reserves the right to shorten letters. Don't forget to give your name, address and phone number. Confidentiality will be respected if requested.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 3 October 2012:

Education news & analysis

Tory education policy: 'This is just about making cuts isn't it?'

Building the fightback in the universities

Suspended student union president continues fight for reinstatement

NUT activists prepare for action

Barnfield College, Luton: Kick private profit out of education

Partial victory for international students at London Metropolitan

No to slave labour in universities

International socialist news and analysis

Europe: Class struggle returns with a bang

South Africa: Solidarity with miners

Algerian war of independence 1954-1962

Socialist Party NHS campaigning

Action against Profit From Illness!

South West NHS workers want action against 'pay cartel'

Save Greater Manchester mental healthcare

Cut the Con-Dems - not our NHS!

Socialist Party workplace news

Bin workers calling indefinite strike brought results

Day of Action to save HMRC nurseries

Crossrail flashmob blocks London's Oxford Street

Arts and culture workers need to fight back

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

The fight of all our lives - For a 24-hour general strike

Councillors must resist all Tory cuts

Thousands march for an independent Scotland

March for Jobs in Scotland

Rape is No Joke campaign discussed

Socialist Party news and analysis

Scotland: Lamont throws Labour Party into crisis

Sickened by Labour conference? Build the anti-cuts alternative!

Council tax benefit - new and not improved

Squatting conviction paves way for rise in homelessness

Them & Us


Home   |   The Socialist 3 October 2012   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  

Related links:


triangleBradford protests against kids' service cuts

triangleVictory: Pontllanfraith leisure centre saved

triangleLabour councillors push through savage cuts in Kirklees budget

triangleNorthants council crisis - protesters demand an end to cuts and privatisation

triangleBradford Socialist Party: A strategy to defeat the cuts


triangleProblem gambling soars by 33%

triangleCatchy folk rock with a socialist edge

triangleSchool students' remarkable tribute to workers' Spanish Civil War bravery

triangleArts unions agree joint campaign work


triangleBristol North Socialist Party: 'Bad Art' - socialist struggle in the arts

triangleWelsh update of Chekhov an engrossing tale of 1980s class conflict

triangleSkipton show proves draw of socialist art


triangleNHS - build the fightback

triangleNHS we're ready to fight


triangleLecturers strike around country in defence of pensions

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Lecturers strike around country in defence of pensions



German engineering strike puts shorter week on agenda - but could have won more



Cardiff Refugee Rights gig success



Nottingham hospital black alert


East Midlands

Lively discussion at East Midlands Socialist Party conference


West Midlands

Tremendous determination on show at West Midlands conference



Successful Socialist Party Wales conference sets tone for the year ahead



Bradford protests against kids' service cuts


May Day

May Day, May Day! Celebrate solidarity!



Labour councillors push through savage cuts in Kirklees budget



Save Salford nurseries!



Victory: Pontllanfraith leisure centre saved



Northants council crisis - protesters demand an end to cuts and privatisation



Leicester Uni makes Tory fee tripler David Willetts chancellor - sack Willetts!



Bosses divided - university pension strikes can win!

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

February 2018

January 2018