Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/872/21502

From The Socialist newspaper, 30 September 2015

Editorial of the Socialist, issue 872

How can we bring down the Tories?

Anti-austerity demo, June 2015, London, photo Paul Mattsson

Anti-austerity demo, June 2015, London, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

On 4 October thousands of people will throng through the streets of Manchester to demonstrate against a vicious government of the rich. As the huge popularity of Jeremy Corbyn's Labour leadership campaign has demonstrated, big numbers of people want an alternative to endless austerity.

The Socialist Party is confident that a massive anti-austerity movement can be built which would be capable of bringing this government down before the planned general election in 2020.

For many, the necessity of mounting a fight on that scale is a matter of life and death. Thousands have died following cruel sanctions and cuts to benefits. A housing crisis is driving working class people out of their homes. The NHS is being pushed towards catastrophe.

The Tories promise 30 billion more austerity cuts on top of the 80 billion already inflicted.

These figures translate into poverty, foodbanks, appalling living conditions, exploitative working conditions and increasing isolation as services are withdrawn.

Meanwhile the rich are literally laughing all the way to the bank. The richest 1,000 families control a total of 547 billion, an amount which has more than doubled since 2009. They now own more than the poorest 40% of British households. Bankers have had the same amount in bonuses as the rest of us have faced in austerity.

Not all-powerful

In order to safeguard this shift of wealth from working class people to the super-rich, the Tories plan to drive through even more savage attacks on trade union rights.

Despite this juggernaut, the Tories are not all-powerful. Only 24% of the electorate voted for Cameron's party - the smallest vote ever of any Tory government.

The 'Corbyn surge' is an indication of the potential to build a massive movement. The enthusiasm for Jeremy Corbyn goes way beyond the thousands who have attended meetings and joined the Labour Party, and even beyond all those who registered to vote for him. Young people at freshers fairs rush up to Socialist Students stalls declaring "I love Jeremy!"

Corbyn for Leader rally in Islington, 10.9.15, photo Paul Mattsson

Corbyn for Leader rally in Islington, 10.9.15, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Building a mass movement requires harnessing all that energy and optimism, and arming it with organisation and ideas. It will involve people in their communities standing together to defend their homes against social cleansing, or marching to save their local library. It will involve young people - students occupying to save courses and young workers organising against poverty pay and zero-hour contracts. It will involve mobilising the swell of human sympathy for refugees.

At the heart of the struggle must be the trade unions. There is a swirling of excitement among a fresh layer of people who have started to go on demonstrations, such as the End Austerity Now demo in June and the Refugees Welcome Here demo in September, and who are enthused by Jeremy Corbyn, but who do not at this stage have a clear idea of working class methods and organisation. Many will not have an understanding of the potential power of the working class organised in trade unions.

2011 struggles

The right-wing trade union leaders bear an enormous responsibility for this. On 26 March 2011 750,000 people marched through London against austerity under the leadership of the Trades Union Congress (TUC). In November 2011 two million took part in a public sector general strike. But this momentum, this testing out of their latent power, was squandered by right-wing union leaders who capitulated to the government and signed off on the struggle over pensions.

Public sector workers striking against pension cuts, 30 November 2011, photo Senan

Public sector workers striking against pension cuts, 30 November 2011, photo Senan   (Click to enlarge)

It is hardly surprising that so many people now enthused and wanting to fight do not automatically think that the trade unions have an important role to play. But building the pressure on the trade union leaders, especially to 'Kill the Bill' (the bill stepping up the anti-trade union laws), is an essential part of creating a mass movement with power enough to bring down the government.

The trade unions organise six million people. They are all part of families and communities. When they act, they can inspire and lead millions more who are currently unorganised. Trade union action can bring society to a standstill - this enormous power can change everything, hitting capitalism where it hurts.

It is essential that we continue to fight for coordinated strike action, as the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) has consistently done since 2010. For example, it was the combined struggle of the NSSN with socialists and fighters in the more militant trade unions, PCS, RMT and POA in particular, that forced the TUC to agree to discuss a general strike in 2012.

NSSN lobby of the TUC 2012, photo Arti

NSSN lobby of the TUC 2012, photo Arti   (Click to enlarge)

This momentum must not be betrayed like before. But now, after five years of breath-taking austerity with worse to come, and with political revolt expressed through Corbyn's campaign, it will be much harder for the leaders to backtrack. A big protest at parliament when the third reading of the Trade Union Bill takes place on 2 November is the next step. This must be followed up by generalised action if any union is threatened.

Council resistance?

A key battleground in the coming months will be local government, which, already reeling after a 37% funding cut, faces cuts of a further 20 billion. Scandalously, Labour councils up and down the country have spent the last five years crying crocodile tears as they passed on devastating Tory cuts, claiming that they had no choice. They are now preparing more savage budgets on top of those already forced through.

But as the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC - see pages 12 and 13) conference last weekend made clear, Corbyn's victory now means there is no excuse left. The Observer distorted our position when it said "some left wing groups are calling for Labour to refuse to set budgets". As TUSC chair Dave Nellist explained in reply:

"In the last couple of years we have worked with councillors in Southampton, Hull and Leicester to present legally-compliant no-cuts budgets to their councils. Based on the use of reserves and borrowing powers, those budgets were designed to buy time for councils to organise a broad public campaign for the restoration of their funding."

We think that potentially very many more councillors could now be emboldened to make this stand. Such a revolt could spearhead a national fightback. But where councillors insist on cuts, TUSC is ready to electorally challenge.

Waltham Forest TUSC supporters campaigning for rent control, photo Waltham Forest TUSC

Waltham Forest TUSC supporters campaigning for rent control, photo Waltham Forest TUSC   (Click to enlarge)

The Socialist Party will do all we can to reach out to all those people joining Labour, to help them fight the war being waged against Corbyn by the majority of the parliamentary Labour Party, councillors and party machine. It is necessary to demand the restoration of democracy in the party and the mandatory re-selection of MPs.

Out of this fluid process is the makings of a new working class political voice, whether that be from the Labour Party if the pro-austerity, pro-market right wing are defeated, or in a new formation outside.

It is urgent that all the Corbynistas, the trade unions that supported Corbyn, and the thousands of socialists and fighters outside the Labour Party, are brought together now to organise that fight.

Programme

An essential element to building that movement and alternative to the Tories is a political programme - Corbyn's programme and beyond. The utter inability of capitalism to provide a decent life for the majority, and instead to force the working class to pay for a crisis we did not cause, is leading to a searching for something better. The experience of Syriza in power in Greece, however, shows that it is not enough to declare an anti-austerity position, without the programme to see it through.

Austerity is not an accident, it is the policy of crisis-ridden capitalism, a system based on the profits of the few extracted through the exploitation of the majority. To combat it, it is necessary to challenge the system head-on: democratically nationalise the banks and the top companies in order to plan the use of that vast wealth for the benefit of the billions, not the billionaires.

People will test ideas and test again, but will come to realise that they need anti-austerity in deeds as well as words, that they need independent working class organisation, and a socialist alternative.

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


In The Socialist 30 September 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

TUSC: Central in the battle for a working class anti-austerity voice

Socialism is back!

Free school meals cut as poor children go hungry

Pollution cheat Volkswagen kills thousands for profit

Gouging boss demands price hike for life-saving drug

Gravy-train Labour MP claims expenses to rent house next door

Tower block residents defend homes

Them & Us


Socialist Party features

How can we bring down the Tories?

Lessons from the past: Liverpool City Council 1983-87

Give us the resources to defeat the Tories

Subscribe to a paper by workers, for workers


International socialist news and analysis

EU ministers squabble while refugees drown

Hungary's xenophobic right-wing government

USA: Socialists breaking 'political stagnation'

Kazakhstan: workers solidarity action


Workplace news and analysis

Junior doctors fight government attacks

Nominate Roger Bannister for Unison general secretary

Hypocritical attacks on tube control room strike

Review: Kill the Bill

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Anger and protest against fire service cuts in Leicestershire

Come to Socialism 2015


 

Home   |   The Socialist 30 September 2015   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Tories:

triangleJavid's departure foreshadows deeper Tory divisions

triangleCuts and climate change cause floods

triangleKeep the pressure on to save Royal Glam A&E

triangleThe rich fund the Tories and Blairites, so help fund the working-class fightback

triangleWill the North get investment and transport infrastructure?

Austerity:

triangleStreatham attack: Johnson's bill can't stop terror

triangleLeicester Socialist Party: Fighting austerity & anti-trade union laws

triangleLondon: Stop council cuts - Budget Day protest & meeting

triangleSocialist Party calls anti-austerity protest on Budget Day

Union:

triangleWorkers call on Interserve bosses to recognise union

triangleTrade unions - new decade, new challenges

triangleForeign Office workers' strike

Labour:

trianglePreparing for the post-Corbyn era

triangleUnite union executive council elections

Working class:

triangleLabour Party and trans rights

Unions:

triangleGrenfell watch: Unions challenge 'mockery of justice'

Trade unions:

triangleBuilding Tamil Solidarity with youth and the unions

Cuts:

triangleCaerphilly Socialist Party: Campaigning against the cuts & for women's rights

Government:

triangleJohnson emits huge quantities of hot air!

Trade union:

triangleLondon NSSN meeting: Fight the anti-trade union laws, support the strikes!

Socialist:

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: The monarchy - not just a harmless relic

Labour Party:

triangleUnite union nominates Long-Bailey and Burgon

Strike:

triangleEast London anti-academy strikes escalate

Jeremy Corbyn:

triangleReverse Unison's undemocratic nomination of Blairite Starmer

TUSC:

triangleThe Socialist inbox

TUC:

triangleNational Shop Stewards Network TUC rally

Young people:

triangleYoung people who voted for Corbyn's manifesto will now ask... How can we win those ideas?

NSSN:

triangleSupport Clive Walder

General strike:

triangleHackney Socialist Party: A general strike - What, how, why and when?

NHS:

triangleNHS debt so high it can't be repaid - so don't pay it!

Manchester:

triangleManchester & Salford Socialist Party: What does the general election result mean for 2020?

National Shop Stewards Network:

triangleSupport Clive Walder

Parliament:

triangleDefend the right to strike! RMT and NSSN lobby parliament

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition:

triangleNew twist in Derby TUSC election agent case

Southampton:

triangleSouthampton Socialist Party: General Election 2019 rally

MPs:

triangleTony Blair launches manifesto to sabotage a Corbyn government

Local government:

triangleUnite regional committee votes to support anti-cuts Enfield councillor

Democracy:

triangleRecord dissatisfaction with democracy: capitalism's dead end

Dave Nellist:

triangle40 years on: Mandatory reselection more vital for Labour than ever

Election:

triangleLabour leadership contest and public ownership

General election:

triangleWhat next after the general election, for PCS and the left

Hull:

triangleSocial workers lobby Hull City Council

Leicester:

triangleSocialist sellers

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

21/2/20

Socialism

Preparing for the post-Corbyn era

19/2/20

Poll tax

Couldn't pay, wouldn't pay, didn't pay: the battle to defeat the poll tax

19/2/20

Environment

Cuts and climate change cause floods

19/2/20

Tories

Javid's departure foreshadows deeper Tory divisions

19/2/20

Trans

Labour Party and trans rights

12/2/20

Terrorism

Streatham attack: Johnson's bill can't stop terror

12/2/20

Cuts

How to resist Tory attacks on local communities

12/2/20

Trade unions

Trade unions - new decade, new challenges

12/2/20

London

Council houses - not private property developers

12/2/20

Councillors

Cuts councillors are the real problem

12/2/20

NHS

NHS debt so high it can't be repaid - so don't pay it!

12/2/20

NHS

Unnecessary surgery scandal shows need for democratic control of NHS

12/2/20

NHS

NHS: Fight for full funding!

12/2/20

What We Heard

What We Heard

12/2/20

Them & Us

Them & Us

triangleMore News and socialist analysis 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

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

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

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999