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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 September 2013

Let's organise an autumn of action against austerity

We say:

Alec Thraves, Swansea Trades Union Council
NSSN lobby of TUC congress September 2013, photo Paul Mattsson

NSSN lobby of TUC congress September 2013, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

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.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • We must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 11 September 2013:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Let's organise an autumn of action against austerity

NSSN rally calls for mass action to stop the cuts

Disaffiliate from pro-capitalist Labour

Teaching unions prepare for campaign of autumn strikes

TUC congress dominated by questions of joint action and links to Labour Party

Save our NHS!

The government's Alice in Wongaland recovery

Zero faith in Labour on zero-hours

Their homes ... & Ours


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Bolton victory shows we can beat the bedroom tax

Large counter-demo against racist EDL

Merseyside People's Assembly - A lost opportunity


Socialist Students

Reinvigorate the student movement: Protest, occupy, strike for our education


International socialist news and analysis

Chile 1973: The other '9/11'

Obama's drums of war fail to win support for Syria strike


Socialist Party workplace news

Housing workers strike again

Yorkshire Ambulance: The battle against union derecognition

POA members hold meeting outside HMP Leeds

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reviews

Art review: The vanity of small differences

TV review: Failed by the privatising NHS

Book review: Capital - in Manga!


 

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Related links:

Austerity:

triangleSouthampton People's budget Building an alternative to Tory and Labour austerity

triangleThe fight for Hackney's children's centres continues

trianglePeople's Budgets - a socialist answer to cruel cuts

triangleFight for a socialist recovery

triangle"Are you the socialist cabby?"

Union:

triangleNapo ballots for trade dispute, but members need strategy for industrial action

triangleOaks Park school strike ends following forced concessions

triangleNottingham and Mansfield trade unions rally against cuts and for better pay

triangleHigher education disputes

Labour:

triangleWales: The Labour-Plaid Cymru agreement - jam tomorrow, maybe

triangleBuilding a political alternative to Tory and Labour cuts

triangleNewham: Durning Hall - another shameful act of Labour gentrification

Trade union:

triangleAn appeal to trade union members to stand as anti-cuts candidates

triangleWorkers need a pay rise

General strike:

triangleSudan - mass protests and general strike against coup

TUC:

triangleSocialists and the four-day week

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