Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/736/15361
The fight of all our lives - For a 24-hour general strike
London meeting against austerity
On 27 September, London Socialist Party and Socialist Students members met to discuss the cuts and austerity which we are currently experiencing.
Young women came who had met socialists on the Slutwalk; public sector workers and trade unionists new to socialist ideas came to the meeting; students came from UEL, Kingston, Roehampton, UCL, Essex - just some of the universities where socialist students have been meeting with great success in the freshers fairs.
We heard from the regional secretary of the RMT about the fight for a 24-hour general strike, and from Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidates about the need to get big numbers of candidates against austerity for the council elections in London in 2014.
The meeting drew inspiration from the miners' struggle in South Africa and the battle of oil workers in Kazakhstan.
We heard about the new Socialist Students campaign Rape is No Joke and the determination of a new generation of young women to fight sexism at the same time as fighting the cuts.
The continuous struggle that capitalism has forced on the 99% of people has made the working class search for alternative solutions and systems. This was reflected in the meeting.
Socialist Party general secretary Peter Taaffe introduced the discussion on plans for the autumn and the important roles of the trade unions and the anti-cuts movement within them.
The TUC demonstration on 20 October will pave the way in uniting the working class to fight the current austerity measures.
It will be a vital part of the campaign for a one-day general strike against the Con-Dems' attacks on the working class.
- For a video of Peter Taaffe's speech, see:
On my way to the London meeting on 27 September I caught an insight into the anger of students.
Initially, the young people sitting opposite me on the tube train engaged in normal, everyday life gossip, but suddenly and spontaneously, the topic changed and they began discussing the march against austerity on 20 October.
My red socialist ears were burning and I interjected, asking them if they were marching. They emphatically said they were.
They were students and, although not suffering as a result of the latest fee hikes personally, they were angry at the government for raising the cost of tuition for those starting this year and the burden that is being placed on young people starting university.
One told me that her Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) was cut a few years back. She explained her anger at the government for removing it and how it has impacted on her life. We then began to discuss the desperate job situation, especially for young people.
This is just a small insight into the anger being felt by working class people in Britain.
Richard Shattock, Hatfield Socialist Party
Model resolution for a 24-hour general strike
For trade union and anti-cuts organisations. When this is passed, please tell the Socialist: firstname.lastname@example.org
This [body] welcomes the overwhelming vote at this year's TUC Congress in support of the POA motion. It called for the unions to take "coordinated action where possible with far-reaching campaigns including the consideration and practicalities of a general strike."
We are alarmed that a relentless barrage of even more austerity cuts is coming down the line, and will continue into the foreseeable future.
Millions of workers, young people, the sick and disabled people face a lifetime of severe hardship through cuts to pay, conditions, benefits and services - the horrendous situation facing people in Greece could be our future if we don't stop the Con-Dem attacks.
We believe austerity cuts must be stopped, and that the labour movement has the potential to force a massive U-turn from this Coalition government of the rich, if our trade unions were to organise action decisively together.
We urge all members, friends and families to come to the TUC demo on 20 October. Let's campaign so this day is seen as the beginning of a new stage of action.
We urge all unions participating in the demo to follow up with a further coordinated 24-hour national strike of both public and private sector workers, making direct calls to youth and students, the unemployed, and community campaigns to join in.
We, therefore, agree that this branch will organise a local/regional meeting to discuss how to progress these ideas put forward by the PCS and POA at the TUC.
We also call on the national executive of our union to call on the TUC general council to urgently meet to name the date for the biggest possible coordinated strike.
- For material backing a 24-hour strike, including petitions and leaflets, please see the National Shop Stewards Network website:
Support the Socialist
The Socialist has a record of reporting on workers' struggles across England and Wales and internationally.
We now see it as vital that we reflect the mood that exists for the TUC to act urgently on the general strike motion.
We have published many articles by leading trade unionists - Socialist Party members and not. We welcome debate and discussion about this crucial step - can your branch contribute?
The model motion, letter and petition from the National Shop Stewards Network can be used to build this campaign.
We have increased our page count in the run-up to the 20 October TUC demo to accommodate this important material.
Can your branch take out a subscription for five or more copies? See www.socialistparty.org.uk/txt/255.pdf
Can you pay for a greeting/ ad from your branch or a group of your members?
This will help us with the additional costs of expanding the paper and make sure that these reports and articles reach the widest possible trade union readership.
Please send reports, updates, comment pieces and letters to:
- 1926 General Strike: Workers Taste Power, by Peter Taaffe £7.50
- France 1968: Month of Revolution. Lessons of the general strike, by Clare Doyle £7.50
- The General Strike (pamphlet). Includes three articles by Leon Trotsky £1
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In The Socialist 3 October 2012:
Education news & analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party NHS campaigning
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party news and analysis