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From The Socialist newspaper, 30 March 2006

Call for NHS demo gets support

THE NHS is plummeting towards a two-tier system with very basic care for all and good care for those who can pay.

Against the backdrop of this, the Keep Our NHS Public campaign held their conference on 25 March.

When Socialist Party member Lois Austin spoke she called for the conference to set a date for a demonstration to unite the campaigns against attacks on the NHS.

Originally there was only one resolution to be voted on, a simple pledge to carry on fighting, developing local campaigns and lobbying our MPs. Then an amendment was moved from the floor calling on the campaign to get the TUC to organise such a demonstration. The mood of the conference was shown when the amendment was overwhelmingly carried.

There were trade union speakers as well as various GPs and MPs. Vague pledges to fight back were made by trade unions UNISON and Amicus as well as by former health secretary Frank Dobson MP.

But they put forward no strategy that would make use of the potential mass organised strength that could be gathered behind this campaign. The NHS crisis has been called Labour's poll tax but the anger that working-class people feel about the government's policies must be organised to be effective.

Other speakers recognised the need for something more. GP Ron Singer - President of the Medical Practitioners' Union - said how there is a need for action: "I believe, in the form of strike action and demonstrations".

The national demonstration must now be campaigned for urgently. If the TUC drag their feet then Keep Our NHS Public should urge the health unions to join with them to call it.

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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 government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • 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.
  • When the health crisis subsides, 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 30 March 2006:


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Stop the NHS jobs massacre

New Labour's NHS lies

Call for NHS demo gets support

Huddersfield trust votes for cuts - but campaign gets stronger

Save jobs and beds at the Royal Free


Pensions

Britain - Over one million strike for pension rights...

'Time for a new working-class party'


International socialist news and analysis

France - millions march for job security

USA: Millions march for immigrant workers' rights

Ukraine's 'orange revolution' goes pear-shaped

Will ETA's strategy lead to Basque national rights?


Socialist Party review

Paradise Now

Gordon's global gurus


Socialist Party campaigns

Why socialists oppose state funding of political parties

Local council services are still worth fighting for

Council elections: Great response in Lewisham

Stoke UNISON prepares for action against cuts

Strong support for minimum wage demand

Lambeth College students launch campaign against cuts

Save chemistry - sack the vice-chancellor!


 

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