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Thursday, 29 September 2011

The role the NSSN has played in the struggles so far

The left was seen by many to have taken its time to organise a proper fightback to the cuts and austerity but we can be in no doubt now that the trade unions and the left is here and fighting back. We in the National shops stewards network can feel very proud of the role we have played so far in the struggles against the cuts and privatisation.

The increasingly important role the NSSN is playing in the anti-cuts movement means that the democratic debates which took place at the beginning of the year on whether the NSSN should launch an anti-cuts campaign at all now seem a distant memory.
Events have quickly confirmed that the NSSN was right to do so.

Split from SWP
Nonetheless it is worthwhile briefly commenting on recent developments in the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) because they have so clearly confirmed many of the points made by the Socialist Party in the debate at the beginning of the year.

In the run up to the January NSSN conference the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) was among the most vociferous opponents of an NSSN anti-cuts campaign being launched on the spurious grounds that it would unnecessarily divide the movement to launch another national anti-cuts campaign when Coalition of Resistance (CoR) and Right to Work (RtW) were already in existence.

In the anti-cuts movement there is rightly and inevitably a mood for unity. Nonetheless, as was understood by a large majority of delegates at the NSSN anti-cuts conference, to attempt to use that mood as a reason to oppose the NSSN launching its own anti-cuts campaign was completely disingenuous.

The NSSN has consistently argued for the maximum possible cooperation between the national anti-cuts campaigns. To give just two examples from recent weeks the NSSN invited RtW and CoR to speak on its stages at the TUC demo and has taken part in joint delegations to discuss with the TUC.

However, to merge the three campaigns into one organisation would only be a step forward if the net result was an open, democratic anti-cuts campaign organised around a clear, fighting programme.

So as we move towards the autumn with the high possibility of big mass strikes to come in the public sector we feel that the NSSN has and still is playing a key role in the fight against the cuts. I do feel at present though we do have to keep trying to reach out to other parts of the working class such as the reserve army of workers AKA the unemployed, the disabled, the elderly and women too of course.

On 30 November, two to three million public sector workers will be on strike to defend their pensions. More workers will be out than on the first day of the 1926 general strike.

The NSSN is proud of the role that it's played in paving the way. On 11 September we lobbied the TUC Congress and held a rally under the slogan of a 24-hour public sector general strike. Over 700 shop stewards and trade unionists listened to leading union speakers such as Mark Serwotka of the PCS and Bob Crow of the RMT.

This government of millionaires can be defeated by coordinated strike action. Millions of workers striking together can stop the Con-Dems in their tracks. And if one day is not enough to force a u-turn, we must prepare for a two-day strike as the next stage of the escalating action.

In all the workplace meetings, shop stewards' committees and union branch committees, the message has to be hammered home that workers shouldn't pay the price for the bankers' crisis.

Workers have shown their determination to fight at every opportunity they've been given this year. Over 500,000 marched against the cuts in London on 26 March and over 750,000 civil servants, teachers and lecturers went on strike against the pension attacks on 30 June.

But the first job for 30 November is to win the strike ballots with an overwhelming vote. Meetings have to be organised in every workplace. Where there is more than one union, these could be joint meetings. Members of the PCS, NUT, UCU and ATL unions who were out on 30 June and have live strike mandates should be invited to speak. This can give confidence to the many workers who haven't been on strike before.

These can be supplemented by public meetings and rallies in towns and cities and on estates to draw in other working class people - young people and all those who suffer from and oppose the cuts, including private sector workers who also face job losses and pay and pension cuts.

The NSSN encourages all private sector workers involved in current disputes to consider coordinating their industrial action with the strike on 30 November. As Mark Serwotka said at the NSSN rally on 11 September: "Low-paid workers in the private sector are exploited by shareholders and executives, not by fellow low-paid workers in the public sector."

A victory for public sector workers on pensions, by forcing a retreat or even the downfall of this government, would raise the confidence to fight back.

What you can do:
If your union is balloting, you could organise a workplace meeting, if applicable jointly with other unions. This should form the basis for democratic control of the strike
You could organise a public meeting in your town or city with the unions in dispute or trades council, anti-cuts campaign or NSSN. Explain the need to prepare for further action if necessary
Plan a demonstration in your town or city on the day of the strike
All united - invite private sector workers, young people, unemployed, pensioners, etc to any public meetings, rallies and demonstrations

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In this issue


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Building for 30 November strike

Mass strikes can


Many call for unity at these times but certainly on the industrial front against cuts this is key and teh NSSN i feel is leading the way showing a lead in the struggles against the boss's. With big unions and trade union leaders now backing the network such as Bob Crow and Mark Serwotka two of the more militant trade unin leaders out there are highlighting the role the NSSN has played in putting pressure on the TUC to call for a 24 hour public sector general strike. We feel that we added to the feeling and the pressure by lobbying the TUC on the 11th of september and will happily do so again next year if need be. We will not rest and sit by while our fellow workers in the public and private sector are under attack. We need a organisation like the NSSN to bring together all of the struggles unite under one banner and give support quickly and effectively when needed to workers.

The NSSN is key in the struggle as it gives rank-and-file trade unionists a voice and a network to organise in. To learn off each other and unite our struggles.

I think we can feel proud of our role and i hope the NSSN continues to grow and remain strong, democratic and a fighting organisation for militant trade unionists.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Not just a economic depression

As we inch further and further towards another recession a double dip some may call it or we could say a longer depression it has been found that people taking anti depressents is on the rise quite dramatically. But is this a surprise. With teh demand for more and more out of workers day by day to work longer and longer hours for less and less. If you have a family this is extra demand on you to bring back a good pay packet.

The number of anti-depressants being prescribed to people in Scotland is continuing to increase, according to the latest figures.

Statistics from the Scottish government suggest that more than one in 10 of the population are on the drugs.

In the last financial year a total of 4.6 million anti-depressants were prescribed in Scotland, up more than 350,000 on the previous year.

It is estimated 11.3% of Scots, aged over 15, take the drugs daily.

The rate of growth in the prescribing of anti-depressants increased from an annual growth of 7.6% in 2009/10 to 8.1% in 2010/11.

The continued rise in anti-depressant use comes despite a Scottish government pledge to reduce it.

The SNP had said they aimed to bring the yearly increase down to zero, and then by a further 10% each year.

The figures also showed a variation in the percentage of the population using anti-depressants across Scotland, with 8.3% of people living in Shetland taking the drugs compared with 12.9% in Greater Gl


Although this report states prescribed drug use in Scotland this is also the case right across the country during these tough times people will be driven to more desperate measures to gt by and make ends meet. It is a sign that workers are being worked too hard and are feeling the strain.

SO if we are facing a economic depression in the next few years lets not forget the human capacity to withstand this and the mental damage it can do to people and their families. This will have a big impact as people fear loosing their jobs and homes. This could be devastating for people. But lets not forget that behind this story is also a private drug company making a huge profit out of producing anti depressent drugs for people to take further exploiting people.

This is all very worrying and further signs of capitalism and its harsh realities.

The ruling class let their mask slip revealing who really runs the world

in this eye opening video on you tube
http://t.co/iQzsPYzR

a clip from the BBC news channel yesterday they interview a hedge fund invester to talk on teh global economic crisis. He reveals how the ruling class capitalists really see the world and who really has the power. He stated that there is nothing anyone can do about this oncoming crash and its going to be huge. Far bigger than 2008 and we must get prepared for this as people are going to loose a lot of money.

he went on to say when questioned what can governments do to give confidence to the markets. He replies that is a tough question. Fact is now none of the investers have any confidence in any rescue package and are dreaming of a recession as they see it as a way of making money.

The stark honesty of this guy tells us for the first time how the ruling class elite work and how they see a recession. They do not care about people or the destruction it may cause the social impacts only making money.

The guy goes on to say governments do not rule the world, Goldman sachs do. A very telling point i think as i think he is spot on. The governments do the capitalists dirty work making investing and making money easier. They really have no power at all when it comes to the running of their system.

I think as marxists we have known this for a very long time and have been warning people that this is coming long before others in the media caught on. This next crash is going to eclipse the 2008 banking crash. Whether we can recover or be left in a stagment flat economy with little to no growth for a very long time it remaisn to be seen. But it does bring back the point that all cuts need to be opposed limiting the cuts as some on the left seem to strive for will turn out to be fruitless and make no difference at all. We must oppose all cuts to jobs and services and look to push this system down. The working class when strong and organised is f ar more powerful. Class war is really kicking off and we must be ready for the fight of our lives. We simply cannot loose many are saying.

I'd recomend all to watch t hat you tube video though and just think what it really means and who holds the power. It is not government or the tories as you are told. They are just the puppets of a capitalist system ripping this planet and its people apart for what ? for money dirty filthy money and that is all they care for.

We need a different system a system based on peoples needs over greed and profit. A system of socialism where the wealth is not concentrated among a few but the many.

Join the fight today and resist wherever you can. THis is not just about the tories being incompetent thsi is far more than this now.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Poplar 1921: 'Better to break the law than break the poor'

This excellent article in this weeks socialist highlights just how far real working class socialists will go to defend and stand up for the working class. To defy the law which is deeply unfair to working class people. Deliberatly so some would say designed by the ruling class to oppress us even more. Good working class fighters have had to break unjust laws at times to defend the working class this week's edition of the socialist looks back at the Poplar struggles in the 1920's and what a inspiration their struggles are to us today.

This year marks the 90th anniversary of the struggle of councillors in Poplar, east London, against government cuts. This culminated in their going to prison with the slogan 'better to break the law than to break the poor'.

Their ultimately successful battle was a major inspiration for Liverpool council to take on the Tories in the 1980s and shows the way forward today in fighting against the Con-Dem government's attacks. Linking all three periods are profound crises of the capitalist system.

Poplar council's main struggle was to gain a reduction of the rates, the forerunner of the council tax, but they also battled for adequate relief for the poor and a decent minimum wage for council workers.

Poplar has always been a poor area. In the 1920s over a quarter of the borough's men worked in transport, mostly casual dockworkers, yet the docks were vulnerable to trade depressions. Unemployment and poverty rose enormously in the economic bust that followed shortly after World War One.

In 1919, socialists won 39 of the 42 seats on Poplar council and consolidated their hold on the 'Board of Guardians' that administered poor relief. The new councillors were not middle class armchair socialists. They included seven dock workers, seven railwaymen and four labourers.

The capitalist press had a fine time sneering at them as 'unfit to govern', but their first year in office saw impressive achievements. Council housebuilding was inaugurated, the electricity supply developed, the library service expanded. Free milk was provided for expectant mothers and babies and measures were taken to reduce the threat of TB. Poplar paid a minimum wage to council workers well above that elsewhere and introduced equal pay for women.

Poplar levied rates on behalf of London County Council (LCC), the Metropolitan Police and other all-London bodies. It also levied its own rates, including part for the Poplar Board of Guardians. Since the Board of Guardians paid all poor relief in the borough, it was paying out far more, due to the rapid rise in unemployment.

Yet wealthy boroughs like Westminster with few unemployed did not face this problem. In effect, the poorest boroughs were having to pay far more than their share in looking after London's poor.

Campaigns for "equalisation of the rates" in London, to make rich boroughs pay their share, had been going on for decades with no effect on government policy. Poplar faced a choice - to stay within the law and show Labour in power could be "responsible" as Herbert Morrison, Labour mayor of Hackney advocated, or defy the law in order to change it.

Obeying the law would have meant cutting services, pushing rates above what most of the population could pay, or reducing poor relief to a level which would not stop the unemployed and their families starving.

The Poplar councillors wanted to make a protest which 'would force the central authorities to pay attention'. George Lansbury, the Labour group leader, proposed that they should just levy the rate for their own purposes and the Board of Guardians, not for the all-London bodies.

Mass support
This strategy was discussed and agreed at mass meetings of the council trade unions, and in every local area. Backed by this mass support, councillors voted to break the law and did so.

The LCC took a writ out to try to force them to change course. Poplar council then used every avenue to delay the writ, even though they had no chance of a court victory. They were playing for time to build the movement and get other councils to support them.

Finally the LCC took proceedings against them for contempt of court. On 29 July 1921, the councillors and 2,000 supporters marched from the town hall to the High Court, under the now famous slogan, 'better to break the law than to break the poor'.

In prison, the councillors soon made their voices heard. On arrival, Lansbury asked to see the warder's union card. The food was terrible initially, but a campaign led to a big improvement in their conditions.

They also won the right to hold council meetings in Brixton prison, and the women councillors were brought over from Holloway prison specially. Every evening there were demonstrations outside the prison in support of the class-war prisoners.

The government hoped the councillors would compromise. However, Stepney and Bethnal Green councils made moves to follow Poplar. The pressure was such that even Clement Attlee (future Labour prime minister and no radical) then a Stepney councillor, moved the resolution to go down the Poplar road. Poplar also won the TUC's backing.

A formula was eventually accepted that the councillors would apologise for contempt of court, but without agreeing to levy the disputed rates - in other words a crushing victory for the 'law breakers'. A subsequent conference to discuss the issue, organised by the government, accepted nearly all of Poplar's demands.

The rebel Poplar councillors were under no illusions that what they were fighting for was a simple reform. They all saw the ultimate solution for the ending of unemployment in a socialist society.

Today, the present mayor of Tower Hamlets, that includes the Poplar area, invoked the spirit of 'Poplarism' and Lansbury in his election campaign. He then implemented a savage programme of Tory and Liberal cuts (without any resistance) making a mockery of his earlier pronouncements.

If Tower Hamlets followed the Poplar road today, as well as the successful example of the 1980s Liverpool city council struggle, then a campaign could be built that would draw other councils behind it and force the government to retreat.


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London Socialist Party public meeting:
"How do we fight for a better future? Better to break the law than break the poor."
Thursday 29 September 7.30pm.
Room 2.40, Francis Bancroft Building, Queen Mary's university, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS.
Nearest tubes. Mile End, Stepney Green.

Speakers include Tony Mulhearn, Liverpool 47 group of councillors, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party general secretary.

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In this issue


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Building for 30 November strike

We won't pay for

Why this years 75th anniversary of the Jarrow march matters today

Next weekend the weekend of the 1st of October protesters who are working class and many unemployed will be marching to London from Jarrow 75 years after the original Jarrow march. Where in their area where there was 90% unemployment to demand jobs for youth and decent pay. It is with great saddness that todays youth have to go through this and march again due to the lack of jobs and opputunities for young people still exists today in Britain as we sit on the edge of yet another financial crisis set to engulf the world once again.

Youth Fight for Jobs will bring the issue right to the fore by holding a march from Jarrow to London, starting on 1 October and ending on 5 November. We will be holding the protest to demand decent jobs and a free education for young people.

Youth Fight for Jobs National Organiser Paul Callanan says: “Young people now face the worst attacks on our rights and living standards we’ve seen in generations. The government is determined to push through cuts that will limit opportunities for youth even further. They also want to see unemployed youth used as slave labour for big business by putting people on work for dole schemes. With the brutal attacks being made on the right to an education as well, we really feel that every avenue is being closed off for people who want a decent future.

Youth Fight For Jobs 2011
“We will be marching from Jarrow to London in October to show this Con-Dem government that we will not see all the gains made by working class people over the last century blotted out of existence. We want to put the issue of youth unemployment right at the top of the agenda. As well as the march we will be building protests, demonstrations and rallies up and down the country in solidarity with the march, with the aim of linking up student activists, trade unionists, those fighting against the cuts and the unemployed.

“This is the time for young people to say; “we won’t be a lost generation! Fight for jobs and education!”


In today's Jarrow, u­nemployment is 5.7 per cent. Within a few miles are pockets of extreme poverty where a quarter of ­people are out of work. Like the rest of the country, the young are ­worst hit. UK ­unemployment among under-25s is 973,000 - and there's little to inspire hope at ­the nearest job centre.


Minimum wage jobs. Little aboutabout careers or ­apprenticeships. ­ Nothing to nurture young dreams.


Today's Jarrow still recalls the time when Michael McLoughlin - who died in the Seventies - and many like him made their voices heard.


A monument to the ­marchers stands outside ­Morrisons. In the town hall they keep one of the crusade ­banners in a showcase, its blue letters stitched on to white canvas, strung between two red poles.


But the efforts of the original ­marchers were ultimately futile. When they reached London with a 12,000-name petition, the Tory-led National Government refused to meet them.


And Matty Meaughan, 67, a former ­shipbuilder killing time with friends in Jarrow, fears history will be ­repeated for fellow marchers.


He says: 'Look at us, we're old blokes sitting on a bench. The sad thing is when you see youngsters doing the same because they've no jobs to go to.


'I wish them well on their march. It's great to see some fighting spirit. But will they listen to Jarrow this time? It would be a miracle if they did.'



The march this October has also found support from the national media including the Daily Mirror this is excellent news and we need all the publicity we can get for the march. Not just the march but the point it is sending to this con-dem government.

Kevin Maguire, columnist with the Daily Mirror, has praised the organisers of Youth Fight For Jobs the Jarrow March 2011, which is setting off on 1st October and should arrive in London on the 5th November, to raise awareness about soaring unemployment and the Conservative-Liberal complicity in axing jobs, services and opportunities for young workers and students. This follows previous positive coverage in the Sunday Mirror.

Walking in the footsteps of the Jarrow marchersby Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror 21/09/2011
footsteps-of-the-jarrow-marchers-115875-23434822/#ixzz1YcCPqmTS

THE Jarrow Crusade, 75 years old next month, is an inspirational chapter in our country’s history.
In the Great Depression, 200 hungry and desperate jobless men went on a 300-mile walk for work to London. Tories and Liberals on Tyneside and along the route backed the 1936 protest which, unfashionable as it remains to say, was an utter failure. PM Stanley Baldwin refused to see them and ironically it was Hitler who saved the shipbuilding town, war requiring warships.
I wish the best of luck to the plucky young people who, a week on Saturday, begin walking in the footsteps of the Jarrow men. Nearly one in five young people are on the scrapheap. But this trek doesn’t have the support of the Cons. Cameron’s Big Society only has room for the successful and well-to-do.

http://jarrowmarch11.com

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Why i'm gainst the death penalty in any circumstances

We wake up to the sad news that Troy Davies who the whole world had been watching to see if he had been given a stay of execution or not waked up to the sad news he was killed over night.
Troy Davis, 42, who had been on death row since 1991, was executed by lethal injection at the Georgia state prison in Jackson on Wednesday, despite serious doubts surrounding his conviction.

On the same day, Iran publicly hanged a 17-year old boy convicted of killing a popular athlete despite international prohibitions against executing juveniles, while China executed a Pakistani national convicted of drug smuggling even though drug offences do not meet the threshold for “most serious” crimes in international law.

“This is a bleak day for human rights worldwide. By executing these individuals, these countries are moving away from the global trend to abolish the death penalty,” said Guadalupe Marengo, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Americas.

“Countries that retain the death penalty very often defend their position by claiming that their use of the death penalty is consistent with international human rights law. Their actions yesterday blatantly contradict these claims,” she said.

Amnesty International activists have campaigned extensively against the death penalty. In recent days, nearly one million signatures on Troy Davis’ behalf have been delivered to authorities in Georgia to urge them to commute his death sentence: vigils and events have been held in approximately 300 locations around the world.

Troy Davis was sentenced to death in 1991 for the murder of police officer Mark Allen Macphail in Savannah, Georgia. The case against him primarily rested on witness testimony.

Since his 1991 trial, seven of key nine witnesses recanted or changed their testimony, some alleging police coercion.

Iranian teenager Alireza Molla-Soltani was hanged Wednesday morning in front of a large crowd in the city of Karaj.

He was sentenced to death last month for stabbing Ruhollah Dadashi, a popular athlete during a driving dispute on 17 July. The 17-year old said he panicked and stabbed Ruhollah Dadashi in self-defence after the athlete attacked him in the dark, according to local media reports.

Zahid Husain Shah, who was arrested in 2008 for drug smuggling, was executed in China by lethal injection on Wednesday.

On the same day, Lawrence Brewer was also executed in Huntsville, Texas. He was sentenced to death for his role in the killing of James Byrd, Jr. in June 1998.


I wanted to voice my disgust at this kind of action still going on in the world today. wWhatever the crime i never feel that killing someone is justice. So many doubts lay over this treatment i do not believe a country that still uses the death penalty is a fit and civilised society and i include America in this group of countries sadly.

The fact that the wittness's had doubts and wre not sure should have been enoug hto stop this execution but no they went ahead anyway. I do not believe that killing someone is ever right whether the offender did or not an eye for a eye makes us just as bad as them in my view and i'm totally against this form of punishment.

If they are guilty i'd rather see the person jailed for the rest of their life rather than cutting short their life which they may yet be proven to be innocent. I just dont think its right in the 21st century to still be carrying out such acts of brutality .

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

who are the striking workers on november 30th going to vote for next year ?

Who are the strikers going to vote for in the May 2012 elections?
Next May sees local government elections across the country as well as elections for the Greater London Assembly and London Mayor. We need to start preparing our campaigns now. Raise the issue with your local anti-cuts campaign and local trade union branches. Do they want to support an anti-cuts candidate?
In London, initial discussions have taken place between union representatives in the RMT and FBU at a regional level and it has been agreed to seek support from other trade unionists to stand anti-cuts candidates for the GLA.

TUSC networking in the South East is underway
Brighton TUSC has recently won over socialist greens to join them:http://bit.ly/mn4I9R. Dave Hill from Brighton recently spoke at Lewes TUSC to make connections there. If you are setting up a local TUSC then let us know and we will advertise it in the bulletin tuscbulletin@yahoo.co.uk – it will encourage others in your region to do the same.

Get writing to the local press – it is quick and free publicity for TUSC

This is very important i feel as if we can gain some national publicity we can really start to broaden out our message and appeal to more. I feel that having struggles with big strikes will help raise the ideas fora new workers party With Ed Miliband and his Labour party looking to move further away from the trade unions and ordinary working people by weakening the democratic structures of his labour party even more.

The question will come back again next year who do workers vote for if labour do seemingly do not represent us ?

Well there is an alternative its TUSC, Trade union and socialist coalition. standing against all cuts, to all jobs and services saying no to privatisation.

you can find out more at our site here
www.tusc.org.uk

The need for a new workers party has more traction more than ever the conditions are right but the contiousness still isnt quite there. The main thing is ordinary people get to know they have a voice if they wish to use it. If they wish to stand for TUSC or get involved in our campaigns we'd be happy to involve anyone.

As long as you oppose all cuts to all jobs and services and stand with ordinary working people and not look to make a quick career driven financial gain we'd be happy for you to help us fight for workers.


National meeting of TUSC Independent Socialist Network – can you make it?

The ISN is for all socialists and trade union members who are not members of existing left groups (eg SP, SWP etc) who want to build a new socialist party to represent the working class and who want to build TUSC as part of that process. The first national meeting of the TUSC Independent Socialist Network will take place on Saturday October 29 in central London – it will start at 12 noon and finish at 5.30. The venue and agenda will be carried in the next bulletin. There will be a registration fee to pay for the venue. If you want to attend or would like more information e-mail wsmcmahon@yahoo.co.uk




So Next year 2012 looks to be a even bigger year than 2011 where alot has happened. But after the 24 hour public sector general strike on 30th november workers will be wondering who can we vote for. We have to get the message out there that there is a party for them and trade unionists. TUSC will stand shoulder to shoulder with all striking workers and lend support wherever we can.

Their fight is our fight.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Britain today where is contiousness at present

As we gear up for a autumn and winter that is set to hold much battles with the boss's and this government who dont seem to be wanting to back down on any of their savage cuts programme i thought i'd examine where current contiousness lays in the working class and labour movement as a whole, in this country.

As Leon Trotsky observed and stated in his writings on Britain which you can read for yourselves i have found very interesting and pretty accurate to todays situation.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/britain/v3/ch02a.htm


For an analysis of a situation from a revolutionary point of view, it is necessary to distinguish between the economic and social premises of a revolutionary situation and the revolutionary situation itself.

2. The economic and social premises for a revolutionary situation begin, generally speaking, at that moment when the productive forces of the country are going not up but down, that is diminishing; when the specific weight of a capitalist country on the world markets is systematically reduced and when the incomes of the classes are likewise systematically reduced; when unemployment becomes not a conjunctural event of fluctuation but a permanent social evil with a tendency to growth. All the foregoing characterize the situation in Britain completely and we can affirm that the economic and social premises for a revolutionary situation exist there in this form and are always becoming more and more acute. But we must not forget that the expression, revolutionary situation, is a political term, not alone sociological. This explanation includes the subjective factor, and the subjective factor is not only the question of the party of the proletariat. It is a question of the consciousness of the whole class, foremost, of course, of the proletariat and the party.

The revolutionary situation, however, begins only from the moment that the economic and social premises of a revolution produce a break in the consciousness of society and its different classes. What must be produced in this way for creating a revolutionary situation? (a) In every situation which we must analyse, it is necessary to distinguish three classes of society; the capitalists, the middle class (or petty bourgeoisie) and the proletariat. Those changes in the consciousness of these classes in order to characterize a revolutionary situation are very different for every one of these classes. (b) That the economic situation is very acute, the British proletariat know very well, far better than all theoreticians. But the revolutionary situation begins only at the moment when the proletariat begins to search for a way out, not on the basis of the old society but along the path of a revolutionary insurrection against the existing order. This is the most important subjective condition for a revolutionary situation. The acuteness of the revolutionary feelings of the masses is one of the most important measures for the ripeness of the revolutionary situation. (c) But a revolutionary situation is one which must, in the next period permit the proletariat to become the ruling power of society, that depends in Britain, less than in any other country, but also there to a degree, on the political thoughts and feelings of the middle class; the revolutionary situation would be characterized by the loss of confidence of the middle class in all the traditional parties (including the Labour Party, which is reformist), and its turn of hope to a radical, revolutionary change in the society (and not a counter-revolutionary change, viz., a fascist change). (d) Both the changes in the consciousness of the proletariat and the middle class correspond to the change in the consciousness of the ruling class which sees that it has not the means to save its system, loses confidence in itself, decomposes and splits into factions and cliques.

It cannot be foreseen or indicated mathematically at what point in these processes the revolutionary situation is totally ripe. The revolutionary party can only establish that fact by its struggles, by the growth of its forces, through its influence on the masses, on the peasants and the petty-bourgeoisie of the towns, etc., and by the weakening of the resistance of the ruling class.


I would say after all that that we find ourselves in a period of very low contiousness in the workers of today. Many are taken in by reality television and trashy newspapers like the Sun unfortunatly. I do sense a growing awakening in parts of the class though with a sharp uprise in protests and a want to fight back against the savage austerity measures being pushed through today.

But i would say at present this is largely unorganised and quite factional with groups thinking they can go it alone much like UK uncut who do a good job of highlighting tax evasion but such movements need to put the interests of the class first and not look to do the class's job for them. A united struggle must be our next viewpoint.

In terms of the Labour party which i would say the unorganised working class still largely cling to is still a factor today i would say. Only when the mass of workers become fully disenfranchised by this party of reformists and blairites mixed in with a few tories and form their own new workers party we may start getting somewhere.

Tommorrow night i am attending a socialsit party open public meeting in Stevenage on " why we need a new workers party". This for me is really key to uniting our daily struggles uniting all the anti cuts campaigns and giving them a political voice and a direction on a political scale to bring it all together not just for electoral gains but to counter act the arguements which the tories, labour and lib dems are pushing that there is no alternative.

I do still think there is much much more work for revolutionaries in this country but as events unfold as Trotsky rightly pointed out contiousness can change very quickly and rapidly in one way or another. We as the revolutionary party must be there looking to be that guiding light and becon for workers to look for to unite our struggles.

We do not have all the answers and cannot fully carry out a revolution but our role is to agitate , organise workers and influence the class by raising socialist transitional ideas that workers can relate to to push the struggles forward. When the whole of the working class moves forward it is extremely powerful but as yet we are still largely unorganised i would say. I think we are starting to see the shoots of something resembling a large scale fightback with the emergence of public sector workers going on strike this autumn in november. To unite around that struggle and to link trade unions to ordinary workers employed or not will be key to winning and raising contiousness.

To fully explain why we are to be going on strike and why its the right thing to do will be key too i feel. With up to 3 million public sector workers on strike possibly affecting many this strike is likely to have a larger impact than 30th June and more members of the public will be affected. For us it is key we get our ideas out there that this is nessesary and to support the strikes and not be taken in by government/media properganda of nuisance and divide and rule. Lets not give in to crude tactics like that.



In my view contiousness is growing all be it slowly but i think i can sense the start of something bubbling away as small as it might be at present workers are starting to sit up and take note of our ideas.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Youth must join pensions struggle

Strike together as in France 2010
Article first published in issue no.685 of the socialist by
Jack Poole, Brighton University Socialist Students


The government and their friends in the media will always try, as they did in June, to spread division between workers and service users during strike action. It is important to cut across these lies with solidarity action and unity between young people and workers on strike.

Three quarters of a million teachers and civil servants took coordinated strike action in June against the government's decimation of public sector pension schemes.

This unity between students, young people and workers was shown last year in France, in the struggle against the pension reforms. With the Con-Dem coalition likely to face more strike action over pensions this autumn, it is important to analyse and draw lessons from struggles such as this.

Last October, President Sarkozy's plans to raise the retirement age saw a furious and enormous reaction from the French working class, with massive strikes and demonstrations - at the height of the movement, 3.5 million people demonstrated across the country.

A crucial turning point for the dispute was when young people and students began to take part in the struggle in a large and organised way. Ignoring the lies of Sarkozy's supporters and the right wing media who tried to re-assure young people that pension reform did not concern them, student strikes in solidarity with the workers helped shut hundreds of schools.

The idea that raising the retirement age does not affect young people is a downright lie used to divide the movement. For example, with one million young people unemployed in Britain, it is madness for the government to be forcing older workers to work for longer while these young people waste their talents on the dole queue.

Sarkozy revealed a lot when he was quoted as saying about the strikes, "school and college students...must be watched closely like milk on a stove."

Politicians like Sarkozy and Cameron are right to be frightened of a mass movement of youth and workers opposing their austerity measures! Such a movement would stand a real chance of stopping them and their cuts in their tracks.

Young people and students on their own do not carry the social weight to defeat governments, even weak ones such as the coalition in Britain. However, as last year's student movement in Britain showed, the energy and anger of a movement of young people can give confidence and inspire others in society to fight back. Three months after the last major student demonstration, half a million trade unionists marched through the streets of London.

Combined with the organised working class, which holds the power to make society grind to a halt, this kind of action would stand firmly in the way of the brutal austerity cuts of governments across Europe and beyond.

If more workers take coordinated strike action to defend their pensions, young people and students need to unite with them. We should take our solidarity to the picket lines but also organise walkouts at our schools, colleges and universities and join the protests and demonstrations taking place. Any blow against this government is a step towards a decent future for young people.


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November 30th is the date, lets build on June 30th

Today as the end of the TUC congress draws to a close we see the news that a potential 14 unions are set to take industrial action this winter in one of the biggest walk outs since the 20's some have said. This is very welcome news after the NSSN called on the TUC to push for a 24 hour public sector general strike. I think the NSSN and its supporters of militant trade unionists can feel especially proud that this seems to have found a impact and bigger unions with more members potentially millions will be balloting members on industrial action over public sector pensions reforms.

Four unions - Unison, Unite, the GMB and the Fire Brigades' Union - are already balloting over co-ordinated industrial action.

Mr Barber said 10 other unions were also looking to hold a vote on strikes.

He promised 30 November would bring "the biggest trade union mobilisation for a generation".

'Fight of our lives'

Unions and the government have been in talks over pension contribution rises since the beginning of the year, with ministers saying the change - scheduled for next April - is needed to make schemes sustainable in the face of an ageing population.

On Wednesday, the TUC voted unanimously in favour of action against the move as its annual conference

Mr Barber told the BBC it could be the first of several such days, saying: "If there's no progress, then potentially we will see very widespread industrial action across the public services."

He added: "We are absolutely committed to justice for the millions of workers we represent."

Events will "range from strike action, where ballot mandates have been secured from members and unions judge that appropriate, through to lunchtime meetings, rallies and joint events with community groups and service users", Mr Barber said.

Union leaders will hold another meeting at the end of September to co-ordinate their actions.

Proposing a motion backing mass strikes to the TUC conference, Unison leader Dave Prentis revealed he was giving 9,000 employers formal notice that his union's 1.1 million members would be balloted.

He added: "It's the fight of our lives. I know it's an over-used cliché, but make no mistake, this is it."

The GMB's Brian Strutton said: "We're not talking about a day out and a bit of a protest. We're talking about something that's long and hard and dirty as well, because this is going to require days of action running through the winter, through into next year, following the government's legislative programme rig


As a socialist and a trade unionist this is very welcome news from some of the more moderate trade union leaders like Dave Prentice and co. But we welcome this move and hope this leads to further action with many yes votes being won in ballots across teh country.
The biggest signal workers can send to this government is that many support the action and this is not just about public vs private as private sector workers are under attack too. Union leaders must be willing to branch out to private sector workers to co-ordinate any disputes they have around this date too i would say. To build bridges between public and private sector workers will create a mass wall of solidarity in working Britain.

June 30th where we saw 750 thousand public sector workers ouout of work on strike was great and much welcome but this next period of action looks to be much much bigger. We could see all firefighters not working that day, No schools in the state sector open, passport offices closed ports and imigration posts closed. Mass walk outs will have a huge impact and this government has not got a clue what it is up against. the trade union movement.

When the trade unions which are sleeping gaints wake up and move they have such power the government can be brought to its knees.

And that comrades is waht is needed to push this government back on its austerity programme. Although these strikes will be about public sector pensions and reforms to them it is in no doubt these strikes will be based around a broader message opposing all cuts to workers and the working class. We will not pay for this crisis that is not of any of our making. The capitalists want to make the working class pay for the mistakes of their wreckless risk taking system which has failed them. The system which cannot provide us all with secure jobs, decent pay and affordable decent homes is not a system we wish to see continue.

I will be supporting all striking workers on 30th November and i hope you all will too. As Dave prentice said and we're glad he has joined this fight that this is the fight of our lives. We must win we cannot afford to loose this one.

United we stand divided we fall. Stand up for working people stand side by side we can defeat this weak government and push back these cuts that are being thrown down on us from a great height.

Monday, 12 September 2011

We need a programme of action to fightback

This excellent article has just been posted on the socialist party's website. The article by Peter Taaffe the socialist party's general secretary highlights many of the struggles and dangerous we face today.

Never before has it been more necessary for the trade unions and the labour movement to combat the deadening pessimism and hopelessness which pervades the capitalist media.
In a situation marked by searing economic crisis and its attendant suffering, commentators wail that 'nothing can be done'.
This can only be challenged by outlining and fighting for a positive, realistic programme which can hold out the hope of rescuing working people from the abyss of mass unemployment and poverty which the capitalist system threatens.
Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party general secretary, writes.
Every working man and woman, young and old, in Britain could and should have a job, with a decent living wage.

They should enjoy life in accommodation within which a healthy lifestyle is possible, with the occasional holiday thrown in, and a health service catering not for the rich few but for the many.

They would also need well-built and funded schools for their children, free from the 'feral' Free School and academy privateers.

They would want to live in an environmentally sustainable world with cheap transport and a modern infrastructure.

To also want a decent pension after a lifetime of work and, in the case of many workers, of toil is not a lot.

'You are asking for the moon, in fact you live on another planet,' reply our critics. In the vanguard of these opponents will, no doubt, be David Cameron and George Osborne as well as Tory collaborator Nick Clegg in the present millionaires' and bosses' coalition government. 'All we can do is remorselessly cut living standards in virtually all spheres, if we are to get out of this crisis.'

Under extreme pressure, president Obama in the US has announced another 'stimulus package'. But this, amounting to $450 billion, half the value of the stimulus package of 2008-9, is too little, too late. The economy is expected to continue to stagnate and unemployment to increase.

No 'plan B'
Chancellor Osborne is not even prepared to follow Obama, declining pressure for a 'Plan B'. The Tories' endlessly repeated mantra is, like their mentor Margaret Thatcher, 'There Is No Alternative'.

For the Con-Dems TINA is alive and kicking. But there is an alternative and history demonstrates this.

Take housing. In an economic landscape similar to today, a crash house-building programme was launched in the 1930s which brought together unemployed labour and 'fallow' capital supplied by increased government expenditure.

In the 1930s the number of new dwellings built each year averaged over 300,000, half a million in 1935.

In 2010 only 95,000 properties were built. There is a crying need for a massively expanded house-building and renovation programme today.

Housing conditions
Heartbreaking stories of how thousands live in Victorian conditions, some in disgraceful ramshackle sheds, appear almost daily in the press.

Rising homelessness, affecting now, according to the Guardian, the middle class, and skyrocketing rents accompany the slashing of housing benefit for already economically besieged tenants.

In its wake comes the horrible spectre of the bullying landlord, typified in the 1960s by the figure of Rachman.

Down with the prevailing gloom and pessimism - deliberately fostered by those at the top - that nothing can be done! This mood can be reinforced by accounts of the tragic impact of cuts on workers.

For instance, the Daily Mirror reported in August: "A mum who lost her job in government cuts hanged herself, an inquest heard.

Linda Knott, 46, was 'devastated' after being told the community centre where she worked as a supervisor for 16 years in Little Hulton, Greater Manchester, was closing. Husband Frank yesterday told Bolton's coroner she was 'worried'. Verdict: suicide."

A more suitable verdict was that this poor working woman was driven to kill herself by the cold cruelty of this government and capitalist society.

This is just one manifestation of the corroding despair which this system, including those who profit from and defend it, generates.

But we must loudly re-assert that so long as working people are prepared to struggle for jobs, homes and a better life and to organise for this, then massive change is possible. And the mood is there.

Angry unemployed workers recently invaded a US congressional committee carrying placards that read: "America wants to work - good jobs now".

The mood of the unemployed in Britain is no less determined. This is being harnessed by the magnificent Youth Fight for Jobs and its march from Jarrow to London (see page 5). Similar action mobilising millions must be organised by the trade unions.

But it must be on a programme of action, with one of the centrepieces the demand for a massive extension of useful government expenditure.

According to the Centre for Economic and Business Research, "a house building boom" could generate "200,000 new jobs". This would help to soak up the massive unemployment among building workers.

The same effect would flow from the introduction of a 35-hour week without loss of pay. But the capitalist class and its representatives will no doubt respond to this: 'This is preposterous, it would cost too much, it failed when implemented in France.

Moreover, workers prefer to work longer hours and some even want less holidays in order to strengthen their firms, the source of their employment.'

Share out the work
Far from 'failing' in France the 35-hour week created, according to the French 'Socialist' Party, 400,000 extra jobs between 2000 and 2006.

Even the employers' federation put the number of increased jobs at 200,000. In the current situation of chronic and mass unemployment, such a measure is vital.

The shorter working week was emasculated in France because of the ceaseless campaign of the employers and the complete failure of the trade union leaders to resist it.

The bosses were successful in their campaign also because of the botched way it was introduced, which sometimes meant that workers faced longer shifts and a longer working day without overtime pay. We should learn from this and ensure that the same mistake is not repeated.

And why, according to the bosses, is it 'necessary', with much more technically and technologically proficient industry, for work to become more intensified and longer? In the 1970s, the future was projected by the likes of Jack Jones, then leader of the transport workers union (now part of Unite), as meaning that workers would only need to be employed for 19 hours a week.

Participation
Not least of the factors which make a shorter working week necessary is the time that this will allow for working people to participate in control and hopefully management of factories and workplaces, as well as society as a whole.

In this current crisis, the capitalists have demonstrated their complete incapacity and have forfeited any claim to be what Karl Marx called the "trustees" of society.

Instead, the workplace is now often a neoliberal hell with longer hours, bullying management, etc. Despite the annual average working time being 263 less hours than the UK average productivity is greater in Germany.

The reason for this is that German capitalists maintain the manufacturing sector and have ploughed more of the surplus extracted from the labour of the working class back into industry.

The parasitic British capitalists went down the road of 'financialisation', relying for growth on the backs of 'services'.

When this blew up in their face, they presented us with the bill. This has added to the downward economic spiral of Britain

The ruinous expense of massive overwork here has been underlined by the New Economics Foundation. "Since 1981 two-adult households have added six hours - nearly a whole working day - to their combined weekly workload." And yet at the same time, millions cannot find a job.

Capitalism is passing through its greatest crisis in 60 years - some say in 100 years. According to 'experts', this is not a passing phase, an economic 'typhoon' that will soon pass over.

On the contrary, the governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, said that Britain is passing through "seven lean years" of which we are in the middle.

He was challenged by Max Hastings in the Financial Times who reported a conversation with a banker which concluded that this 'leanness' could last ten times that!

In other words, they have absolutely no hope of even a ray of economic sunshine, let alone a dramatic improvement in the already parlous state of the economy and society, and particularly in the fate of working people.

Capitalist waste
We say to the capitalists: Your system, it is now clear, has enormously wasted the treasure and resources of society.

Huge resources criminally lie idle for one reason and one reason only - it does not allow you to maintain and boost your profits.

In fact, in one year, 2008, you destroyed $50 trillion in wealth in assets, according to even your own institution the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This is probably enough to wipe out most of world unemployment.

We say: If you are saying that you and your system have drained to its last drop the cup of historical progress - and not being able to provide a job, home and adequate income to all signifies this - make way for those and a system which can!

According to Mervyn King, the British economy is working at 10% below the level it was before this crisis in 2007.

The loss in wealth since 2008 alone comes approximately to £200 billion, even if there had been no growth since then.

The cost of a hospital bed per day is £400. £200 billion would pay for 500 million hospital bed days.

If the full potential of the economy was used then the £81 billion in cuts which Osborne is implementing would not be considered.

Young people suffer
What stands in the way of a programme of massive expansion in building hospitals and schools is a system that is based upon production for profit and not social need.

Moreover, it is chronically failing the majority of the population. Capitalism is today wreaking terrible havoc.

Unemployment increases remorselessly, bearing down especially on the young. Savage cuts in wages and income are relentlessly pursued by the boss class, adding to the wage repression of the last two decades.

So desperate is the need to get a foot on the 'job ladder' that the aspiring young become literally wage slaves - working for nothing under the fancy label of 'interns'.

And then, when they have completed their 'training', which often amounts to stacking shelves in supermarkets, there is no sign of the promised 'full-time job' at the end.

With almost a million NEETS (not in employment, education or training), many young people work for £2.25 an hour - not even half of the legal national minimum wage.

And when those young people, discouraged or locked out of higher education and universities, seek an alternative in an apprenticeship they are rebuffed: "It is easier to get into Oxford University than to become a BT apprentice." [The Guardian]

Dangers
In this desperate social situation and with no consistent lead coming from the top of the trade unions, there is a real danger of a generalised mood of despair gripping working people.

Some could lapse into indifference and succumb to the capitalist mantra of 'there is no alternative' to cuts, both in social services and state jobs, and to the living standards of working people.

Others could be seduced by the false arguments of the far right which will divide the forces of working people in the face of the enemy.

Therefore it is vital that a fighting economic and social alternative, which is already there in outline, is clearly formulated and discussed at all levels of the trade union and labour movement, and working class communities, among the youth.

That alternative must have at its core the simple but correct ideas expressed in many working class demonstrations, not just in Britain but internationally: "We will not pay for this crisis which is not of our making."

The searing, rising inequality and a consequent increase in poverty means that millions of people are squeezed in a vice between diminished incomes on one side and rising prices and rents literally going through the roof on the other.

Twenty or more hospitals will close as the mass privatisation of the NHS, resulting from the Tory Health Secretary Lansley's bill, is railroaded through the House of Commons.

'Free schools' means 'freedom' for the establishment of religious and ethnic-based schools, formerly private schools as well and the end of any semblance of democratic control; even army-type schools are suggested with military discipline for our children.

This is set to roll back education by 100 years. In the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century the labour movement campaigned in the teeth of opposition from the possessing classes and their parties to establish state education.

This is set to be crushed by the privatisation juggernaut of education minister Gove unless he and his coalition gang are defeated.

Flatlining economies
Flatlining British and world economies are met with a mere shrug of the shoulders by Osborne, the man allegedly responsible for the economy.

This leads us to the conclusion that this system is in a blind alley and can offer no way forward. This is why the Socialist Party argues the case for a democratic socialist society.

But the mass of working people have not yet arrived at this conclusion. Their outlook has largely been shaped by the situation following the collapse of the planned economy in Eastern Europe and Russia.

Although dominated by a greedy, totalitarian bureaucratic elite, nevertheless a glimpse of what was possible economically and, to some extent, socially if workers' democracy had been implemented was seen.

The seeming collapse of 'socialism' - in reality a bureaucratic caricature of real democratic socialism - presented the capitalists with a field day to extol the virtues of their system.

They were echoed by the leaders of the workers' parties and, to some extent, the right-wing trade union leaders.

But boasts that capitalism was the only conceivable engine for the generation of adequate resources to take society forward, now lie in ruins in the economic wasteland which confronts us.

The severity of the crisis has also partly stunned the mass of working class people who are hoping against hope - despite the evidence around them - that the sunny economic uplands may once more return.

Programme
However, these hopes are being systematically undermined and growing opposition is manifest throughout the world.

But this needs to be harnessed to a clear alternative programme which links the ongoing daily struggle for jobs, homes and education, etc, with the idea of the transformation of society in a socialist direction.

We have tried to show here that this can be achieved through a series of what we call 'transitional' demands which all workers can embrace. They are 'transitional' in the sense that they can lead from the present situation and the present political outlook

of working class people to the idea of societal change, which we believe is socialism. But this does not mean that we are putting forward a programme which is 'unrealisable'. The realisation or otherwise of the demands in this programme depends upon struggle.

Even in the most desperate economic circumstances, through mass struggle, the capitalists can be compelled to give a lot more than they believe they can 'afford'.

For instance, they gave the eight-hour day and an increase in wages to the French workers in the occupied factories in 1936.

It is true that they then sought to take this back later, through inflation for instance, and were to some extent successful.

But this does not imply that it was wrong to struggle for the eight-hour day which was achieved. It just means that all gains will not be secured so long as capitalism itself continues.

A similar conclusion is drawn from all the demands we outlined in our programme; here are a few examples of some of the most important ones.

It is vital that a thoroughgoing discussion is initiated in the labour movement for a combative programme of action which will repulse and defeat the current bosses' and government offensive against all aspects of the lives and conditions of working class people.

The Socialist would welcome contributions to this debate. Email: editors@socialistparty.org.uk

Saturday, 10 September 2011

All out in the autumn for a 24 hour public sector general strike

After 30th june when 750,000 trade unionists and working people downed tools and took strike action which was at the time some of the biggest we've seen for years if not decades many wondered if this was it. Well no the trade union movement never to be out done is looking ahead now to the autumn and more action if the government does not back down on public sector pension reforms. This is seemingly increasingly likely it would seem. The government consisting of many millionaires in the cabinet have no idea how ordinary public sector workers live and how their pittiful pension pots will help or hinder them in later life.

So this autumn i am hoping we get as many unions out as we possibly can. Not just the ones that are more militanta nd are not affiliated to labour. We need them all out. All those linked to the public sector, to show this government that the public sector will not just roll over and have its belly tickled.

The news in the last week is that the PCS, teh public sector communications union one of the most forthcoming in recent times and with many socialist party activists working hard inside it have been at the fore in calling fora one day general strike for the public sector to strike fear into this weak weak tory government.

But now we hear on top of 30th June which was big and successful in itself the likes of the Prospect union, FDA and now the NASUWT union are pledging to join the PCS, NUT, ATL in joint co-ordinated industrial action come the autumn.

WE still hope Unite, Unison and GMB , FBu and the RMT the other big unions join with the others in bringing Britain to a stand still in the public sector for one day in the autumn.

Many sceptics say oh well what will this achieve ?

But although it is a while ago now 30th June achieved much it had the government defeated on its pathetic arguements that public sector pensions were affordable and were actually going to fall in cost over the years according to their own Lord Hutton of Labour who they commissioned to do the report on public sector pensions. Although much has happened since June 30th the government on that day were well and truely beaten with many more workers than the government had predicted coming out on strike action in defence of their pensions and winning the day. We in the socialist party recognise 24 hour strikes are not enough to bring this government down but as Le the great Leon Trotsky pointed out in his transitional program the working class must be taken with us at all times.

So as Trotskyists we area lways looking to gauge the current contiousness of workers at a given time. We feel that contiousness is still very low and we are practically starting from scratch with many workers. This is ok but we will need to work vey hard and get our ideas out there into the movement very quickly and effectively indeed. A 24 hour public sector general strike will be a huge jump forward especially for some unions who havent taken mass scale industrial action for some time if at all will be a big leap forward in contiousness we feel.

The actions of June 30th will give those unions who have took action then much confidence to step up action and boost confidence amongst members to maybe bring out more next time. When workers returned to work after June 30th many would have talked about June 30th as a big success and why do yuo not join us next time out there on the picket lines ? many will feel they can now having seen their peers doing so and leading the way. If no picket was arranged they will have wittnessed others in more contious areas have them and contiousness will spread and grow from last time. We are getting there with the leap forward June 30th had just think how big this next step could be.

We could really have the government on the back foot if millions come out in the autumn.

It will be interesting how Ed "the scab" Miliband handles this future strikes if his own affiliated unions do decide to come out and support other unions in solidarity where will he stand. Will he stand with his own unions who elected him as labour leader or stick to his " prosperous capitalist" mentality of condemning strikes before neogotiations have finnished and we shoudl all get back around the table.

Something tells me he may act differently when his own unions are acting and taking action as those were the ones who helped elect him. Failiure to back these unions will be suicide for Mr Miliband i feel. Hopefully this is the end of him and the start of a take back of labour by the workers. Hopefully i say in jest as i dont see this myself i feel he will continue his path in denial of workers and his move that the labour party can run capitalism better and fairer than the tories. We will see Ed's desctruction of the Labour party deepen if he does not back future strikes by affiliated trade unions. More calls will be made to ask what does he stand for and why doesnt he stand for us many workers will ask.

And uwe will say in the socialist party he is toeing the capitailist big business power hungry careerist line the new labour party have taken now ever since Tony Blair.

The only way forward now for working people is to form our own new workers party based on the traditions of fighting trade unions and socialism with fairness and revolutionary feelings at its base. To eventually over throw this rotten capitalist system which does far more harm than good for many workers which cannot be allowed to continue.

The next wave of strikes must start putting forward demands from the working class as a whole. That although this strike is about pensions we are here by demanding a end to all austerity and all cuts. That a change of course is needed or else. We will not just stop at pensions the ruling class is coming for all we have gained over decades of working class struggles.

WE must act now or never. This is a fight we must win. If we dont fight we will not be forgiven by future generations who will have to live with our actions or inacctions.

So i invite you all to come to this sundays lobby of the TUC called by the NSSN the national shops stewards network . THe evening before the TUC congress conference next week this sunday 11 september at 1.30 pm all meet at friends meeting house in Euston where Bob Crow and Mark serwotka general secteries of RMT and PCS respectively will be speaking before we march on the TUC conference to present a petition for the TUC to back calls for a 24 hour public sector general strike and start the preparations for this in the autumn.

We cannot wait and stand by and wait for a labour government jobs, pay and conditions are disappearing under our feet we must act now before its too late.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Deeva's Corner: If Not Now Then When?

Deeva's Corner: If Not Now Then When?: I finished work early today with the intention of coming home and working on my speech for the TUC on monday, but found myself uninspired. ...

What future does the NHS have ?

Tonight saw what could possibly have been the end of the NHS as we know it.

The health bill cleared its Commons stages on Wednesday, despite criticism from some Lib Dems as well as Labour.

It was approved by MPs by 65 votes, and will now go to the House of Lords where it is expected to face further opposition.

Earlier this year, the government was forced to "pause" the bill while ministers re-consulted on the proposals via a listening exercise called the NHS Future Forum.

A number of changes were subsequently made to the legislation.



But this has been widely met with anger and bitterness from many in the public who feel this was never given to them to vote on at the last general election last year. Many feel agrieved and angry at David Cameron who promised no more NHS shake ups under his government he has quite clearly broken this promie as has Nick Clegg and his Lib dems by towing the line with this. This was not in the coalition agreement and as so is deeply unfair to the public who had no say in this.

I attended a protest myself at a local hospital which is due to be knocked down and rebuilt with minor facilities but no A and E or anything like waht it is right now. I was joined by a fair few protesters but what strok me was the general lack of fight in people to save the NHS and put up a fight to keep it in public hands. Many people i speak too seem angry at this health bill being voted through but seemed like in a daze before hand and a sense of inevatability about it all like they were resigned to it going already.

This was not helped by the unions including Unison and the TUC supporting campaigns to save the NHS with a candle lit vigils. If there is anything so depressing and resigned as that i've yet to see one. What kind of protest is that ? its almost as bad as ex NUS leader Aaron Porter last year over the student tuitian fees. Quite pathetic really so far from our unions which i do still hold great faith in. But todays passing of the bill reminded me how sluggish and slow we've all been in defending the NHS and all that it stands for.

But what does the future hold for our beloved NHS you may ask.

well if you have ever been abroad to America and had to pay for treatment before you got seen by a doctor that is very similar to what they intend to do here in Britain.

The tories plans to open the NHS up to outside providers including private companies to provide a cheaper service will mean hospital closures, staff redundancies and a completely different organisation from waht we know today.

There will be no obligation on the government to provide health care free at the point of use any longer. Now this bill is passed they can roll full steam ahead in destroying which is argueably one of our greatest achievements as the working class. Winning a health care system that was free to all who needed it was won over years of working class struggles and determination to see we all were able to gain decent treatment in health care.

I just worry for this country with the young being hammered from pillar to post with trebling of tuitain fees, abolishing of the EMA grant and a dire lack of jobs for the young and now the certain destruction of our NHS. I just am wondering when the trade union movement and the labour movement is going to get up off its knees and start fighting back. It has got to be sooner rather than later for all our sakes.

The NSSN will be lobbying the TUC t his sunday at 1.30 at the TUC's annual congress in London to urge them to call a public sector general strike. This is needed more than ever and the role of the TUC in co-ordinating this should be key. We can only try and drag them into action much like we had to to call a national demonstration last year which eventually they called being dragged kicking and screaming by the most militant trade unionists out there. I fear the same will have to be done again to get anywhere with these soft moderates who are happy to isolate action and put off any action and wait for a labour government . Well i'm afraid that will just not do this time. We cannot wait for a labour government we need action now. Real working class united fightback. The unions still have the power if they choose to use it. We must force them to use it from below if they wont from the top.

Monday, 5 September 2011

10 years on from 9/11, how the world changed for workers

This week sees the 10th year since the terrible disaster that was the 9/11 terrorits attacks in the United States. Where sadly 3000 maybe more we will never know for sure sadly lost their lives.

As marxists we do not condone individual terroism for our ends. We are against it in every way. Leon trotsky wrote many a good piece on marxists views on terrorism and how we oppose it based on its anti working class sentiment.

But the world changed that day no one can deny that fact. Even as socialists this posed interesting questions at the time. We of course opposed the attacks yet also opposed the imperialist attacks that followed in Afghanistan and Iraq as the "war or terror".


The bloody terrorist outrages of 11 September 2001 in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington were one of the defining moments in recent history. The deaths of thousands of people allowed capitalist reaction – led by George W Bush and the now discredited British prime minister of the time, Tony Blair – the excuse to initiate a new era of terrible imperialist war and foster the poisonous fumes of ethnic division and racism, directed particularly against those of the Islamic faith. This resulted in a colossal number of deaths and destruction which inflicted further untold misery and suffering on millions of working people and the poor, particularly in the neo-colonial world.

The Socialist Party, at the time and since, unequivocally condemned al-Qa’ida, which was behind these attacks, describing its methods as those “of small groups employing mass terrorism”. At the same time, we gave not a shadow of support to Bush or Blair and the cacophony of the capitalist media calling for a worldwide ‘war against terrorism’. In reality, they used 9/11 to justify state terror against defenceless and innocent people throughout the world, symbolised by the torture chambers of Guantánamo Bay and the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

However, this political standpoint was not shared even by some socialist groups, who were equivocal and refused to condemn these attacks. This was a profoundly mistaken approach which risked alienating a majority of working-class people who were repelled by the carnage in New York and Washington. Moreover, this opened up the possibility of driving them into the arms of Bush and Blair in the war preparations for invading Afghanistan and later Iraq.




Historically, Marxism has always opposed terroristic methods. In Russia, Marxism was compelled from the outset to oppose these methods in the struggle against the tsar’s brutal, dictatorial regime. Marxists counterposed the mass struggles of the working class which, by linking up with the peasants, particularly the poor rural masses, was the only force that could lead a successful struggle against tsarism. Not the assassination of even the most repressive government ministers but mass action, the general strike, a mass uprising to overthrow dictatorial regimes, could lay the basis for lasting success.

Leon Trotsky compared terrorism to capitalist liberalism, but with bombs. This seems strange to us today. It is inconceivable, for instance, that Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats in Britain and deputy prime minister, would be associated with terroristic methods! But Trotsky’s idea remains valid. Liberals believe that the removal of this or that minister or even a government can introduce fundamental change. The terrorist has the same approach but with violent methods. The replacement of a minister or government is insufficient to bring about real social change. Would the removal of the present government in Britain, for instance, and the coming to power of Ed Miliband and his New Labour party fundamentally change the situation? Merely to pose the question is to answer it. Because a Miliband government would be rooted within the framework of capitalism there would be no dramatic change, particularly in the social conditions of the mass of the people.

Al-Qa’ida, however, was an entirely different kind of terrorist outfit. Despite the attempts of some left groups to prettify the image of Islamic terrorists, al-Qa’ida was rooted in the doctrines of Wahhabism, a medieval version of Sunni Islam and the dominant creed of the theocratic regime of Saudi Arabia. In the past, terrorist groups which based themselves, at least in theory, on furthering the social interests of the masses, engaged in the assassination of particular reactionary figures, governments, etc. The origins of al-Qa’ida, with its messianic non-class opposition to the ‘infidel’ and the ‘great Satan’, the US, meant that it was indiscriminate in employing mass terror. Not only did it attack the US and its allies, it also struck down innocent workers and the poor. This was evident on 9/11 but also in its other terrorist acts before and since.




Embracing mass struggle

In the magnificent revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa, beginning with Tunisia then Egypt, al-Qa’ida was of little or no consequence. As we predicted – against many left-wing groups, like the Socialist Workers Party in Britain, which adapted to organisations based upon right-wing political Islam and exaggerated their importance – youth and workers rejected the failed terrorist model and embraced the methods of mass struggle. Mass occupations of the public squares, strikes and demonstrations were the political weapons for the Tunisian and Egyptian masses to overthrow Ben Ali and Mubarak.

True, the trigger for the Tunisian revolution was the self-immolation of the street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi. But this individual act had nothing in common with the methods of indiscriminate mass terror of suicide bombers that marks out al-Qa’ida. Moreover, the conditions for revolution would have had to be prepared by the whole preceding period for an accidental trigger to set in motion a mass movement in Tunisia and Egypt, a feature of all real revolutions.

Where religion still retains a certain base and an attraction to the masses, particularly in the neo-colonial world, it partly arises from the conditions of dictatorship or in the underdeveloped economic character of some countries with a large agricultural population. In the Stalinist dictatorship in Poland before 1989, it was Catholicism through the churches which provided the means of organising resistance on the part of Polish workers. Therefore, the rising had a pronounced religious colouration. This did not lead them, however, to draw pro-capitalist conclusions, in the first instance, from their opposition to Stalinism. In 1980-81, the Solidarity movement, with mass committees and participation, represented at bottom the movement for political revolution to replace the undemocratic Stalinist state structures. At the same time, it sought to retain the elements of a planned economy, nationalisation, etc. In the Iranian revolution of 1979, we witnessed a form of ‘radical Islam’ which appealed to the working class and poor for a time. It cannot be excluded that such phenomena can rise again in the neo-colonial world.

In Egypt, initially, the masses were able to concentrate their forces in opposition to the Mubarak regime around the mosques and, to some extent, the underground independent trade unions. But the Muslim Brotherhood was the only organisation which was allowed to function in a semi-political fashion, and also as a charitable, social self-help organisation. Naturally, therefore, for some sections these are the organisations to which they first turned in the aftermath of the overthrow of the Egyptian dictatorship. While Islamist groups and parties exist in Tunisia they do not have, it seems, the same roots as in Egypt at this stage. Post-Gadaffi Libya, on the other hand, could see a fracturing of the country and the growth of Islamist groups. But it is not clear that this will be the dominant trend. In Egypt, despite the recent sizeable mobilisation of Islamists in Tahrir Square, they are by no means guaranteed to win an absolute majority even in the hastily organised early elections which would favour them. Moreover, it is not certain that the Muslim Brotherhood will remain a cohesive, unified force. There are splits, partly reflecting divisions of a class character. There is talk of at least four different political parties being formed from the Brotherhood.

At the same time, the forces opposed to right-wing political Islam, secularists as well as socialists, are finding an echo among newly politically aroused sections of the working class in Egypt, Tunisia and throughout the region. Even in Yemen, which is “widely assumed to have bought into the al-Qa’ida franchise” (The Guardian), the February uprising led to the creation of revolutionary committees where discussion raged about non-sectarian strategies for change. Everywhere in the Middle East and North Africa the initial impulse in the revolutions was for a non-sectarian approach with a clear direction towards class conclusions on the part of the masses. In the unspeakable social conditions in Yemen, a country of seven million people where one third of the population is deemed to be ‘food insecure’ and 10% are malnourished, it will take more than religion to satisfy the demands of the masses.

Liberated from the yoke of dictatorship, they have poured onto the political arena and, as the example of Egypt shows, will be not silenced by the edicts of the discredited military elite. They will push on to advance their demands for drastically improved living conditions, democratic rights, trade union organisation, etc. The vital ingredient which is missing to guarantee success in the struggle is the existence of mass organisations, of powerful trade unions and independent working-class parties. But the convulsive movements experienced and even greater ones to come will be great teachers of the masses that only through their own independent banner will they be able to conquer a position where they can begin to realise their aspirations for jobs, shelter and tolerable living standards.


Sunday, 4 September 2011

Why liberals havent delivered real change

This excellent article from socialist alternative the US part of the CWI teh Committe for workers international crossed my path earlier and deserves sharing here i thought.

By Brandon Madsen

In the era of austerity, many wish for a return to the golden age of American liberal capitalism. But it’s not coming back. Here’s why - and what we can do about it.

In the current age of unprecedented attacks on working people – tax cuts for the rich, budget cuts and layoffs for the rest of us – many long for a return to a different time.


There is nostalgia for the economic boom years following World War II, for instance, when soaring corporate profits were accompanied by a rise in real wages, at least for some workers. It is a longing for a time when it was theoretically possible to work hard and pay your way through college without being buried under a mountain of debt.


These major gains are usually considered – erroneously – to be a natural byproduct of ascendant American capitalism, handed down by good-natured liberal figures in government. In Europe, however, even further gains were able to be extracted by building mass trade-union-based social democratic parties, despite a less favorable economic situation.


Contrary to messages presented in the mass media, liberalism wasn’t actually the force responsible for this supposed golden age of progressive development in U.S. society; it was the reflection of a ruling class that was willing to compromise with working-class movements because it could afford to do so – to bend the capitalist system so it didn’t break.


Most of the reforms won in this era would not have been considered for a moment by the ruling class, much less implemented, without the massive labor struggles of the 1930s and ‘40s and the civil rights movement of the 1960s.


In a recent New York Times op-ed, Cornel West points out how today even the Democratic Party is unwilling to make these types of concessions: “The age of Obama has fallen tragically short of fulfilling King’s prophetic legacy. Instead of articulating a radical democratic vision and fighting for homeowners, workers and poor people in the form of mortgage relief, jobs and investment in education, infrastructure and housing, the administration gave us bailouts for banks, record profits for Wall Street and giant budget cuts on the backs of the vulnerable,” (“Dr. King Weeps From His Grave,” 8/25/11).


This didn’t start with Obama, though; it has been a bipartisan process taking place over decades. Democratic President Carter cut from social programs to expand the military, foreshadowing the Republican Reagan. Then it was a Democrat, Clinton, who ended the federal welfare program and twice unleashed U.S. military force on the Balkans. Now, the veil of capitalist liberalism has been ripped away, leaving only the open class warfare which has always lain just beneath the surface.


In Cornel West’s words: “The recent budget deal is only the latest phase of a 30-year, top-down, one-sided war against the poor and working people in the name of a morally bankrupt policy of deregulating markets, lowering taxes and cutting spending for those already socially neglected and economically abandoned. Our two main political parties, each beholden to big money, offer merely alternative versions of oligarchic rule.”


The Death of Liberalism


Chris Hedges, in his recent book The Death of the Liberal Class, calls out this weakening and all-but-disappearance of liberalism as a key trend in ruling-class circles.


He argues: “In a traditional democracy, the liberal class functions as a safety valve. It makes piecemeal and incremental reform possible. It offers hope for change and proposes gradual steps toward greater equality. It endows the state and the mechanisms of power with virtue. It also serves as an attack dog that discredits radical social movements, making the liberal class a useful component within the power elite.”


Hedges goes on to condemn the institutions that previously played this role – namely the Democratic Party, churches, union leaderships, the media, and academia – for purging radicals from their midst, backing the unbridled corporate assault on living standards, and thereby paving the way for a “permanent underclass” to be maintained in American society.


While all of this is true, the book fails to seek out or describe the profound shifts in global economics over the last three decades that are the underlying reasons for the shift toward an all-out corporate assault on society.


The truth is that the post-war liberalism of relatively stable long-term reforms is dead for good.


While tiny reforms may be won here and there through a traditional liberal approach, this method is extremely limited in its potential. Small, short-term gains today will either be reversed tomorrow or offset by much larger attacks in other areas – or both.


This does not mean that fighting for reforms is a waste of time. On the contrary, the point is that they must be fought for and won; they will not simply be given by the ruling class. Major reforms attempting to tackle the fundamental problems facing society will only occur as the byproduct of mass struggles that seriously challenge the wealth of the ruling elite or threaten the capitalist system.


Mass campaigning for reforms in the here and now can provide significant immediate improvements in the lives of oppressed and working people. Moreover, these struggles play an important role in building powerful movements and a growing base of activists that can challenge the system on a more fundamental level.


But for these reforms to be secured in a stable, long-lasting fashion requires breaking with the declining, crisis-ridden system of capitalism. Otherwise, capitalist logic will kick in and begin rolling back reforms in an attempt to boost corporate profitability.


The Origins of Liberalism


Because liberalism has many working definitions in the U.S., it’s important to take a moment to define what’s being discussed here. Liberalism, in its modern U.S. sense, is the idea that positive reforms for regular working people and the oppressed can be achieved gradually through the official channels of capitalist democracy. This idea received the greatest boost and most complete political expression during the postwar boom.


The aftermath of World War II had prepared the ground for American capitalism to ascend to unchallenged dominance for a whole historical period. The destruction of Europe and Japan’s industrial bases in the war left an economic vacuum that American corporations were eager and well-positioned to fill. The era that followed was one of unbridled American supremacy on the world economic stage, with the U.S. facing no meaningful competition outside of the Soviet Union.


At the same time, U.S. society was being rocked by huge labor and civil rights struggles from the mid 1930s to the late 1960s. These struggles grew to a scale that was seriously threatening to ruling-class interests, leading big business to seek ways of taking the wind out of the sails of the movement by strategic accommodation to a limited portion of the movements’ demands.


In this context, a section of the capitalist class concluded that reforms that would give at least a certain section of white male workers a halfway decent standard of living were not only permissible, but even necessary in maintaining a stable capitalist order. This was one way the ruling class tried to prevent workers from seeing the need for independent mass action or the ideas of socialism.


This was the historical and material underpinning that allowed liberalism to work its way into ruling-class institutions. Though the Democrats have never been a working-class party, in this era they were able to be pressured by their base into granting concessions to workers, and the necessity of doing so found ideological expression at all levels of the party.


Still, nothing was granted out of the goodness of the Democrats’ hearts. Social Security, the right to a union, unemployment insurance: all were won by massive, militant labor struggles in the 1930s. Civil rights were won by African Americans as a result of the tidal wave of protest and revolt in the 1950s and 1960s.


The role of the Democrats was not to support or lead these struggles, but to co-opt and absorb the force of the rising labor and civil rights movements, channeling them into a path relatively harmless to the capitalists.


They were able to do this skillfully enough that the movements in the U.S. – unlike in most of the industrialized world – never reached the stage of establishing an independent, mass working-class party. To accomplish this, a section of the ruling class agreed that, when pushed from below, it was necessary to grant enough concessions from above to keep the unions within the toils of the two-party system.


As Henry Ford II, speaking to his fellow capitalists, argued: “We must support the Democrats so we can continue to live like Republicans.”


The Failure of Liberalism


Today these kinds of concessions are no longer possible. Increased international competition has weakened U.S. capitalism’s relative position in the world economy. The U.S. has gone from being the world’s biggest creditor nation after the war to the world’s biggest debtor nation today.


With China and other economies able to out-produce, at a cheaper cost, many products the U.S. used to be able to make and sell on the world market, U.S. corporations are no longer achieving profitability primarily by investment in production and services – that is, in the real economy. Instead, U.S. corporations seek profitability by upward redistribution of wealth through financial speculation, cutting social spending, externalizing costs, downsizing their labor force, cutting wages, and reducing their tax burden. The ruling class has also used military interventions abroad to try to project geopolitical dominance, even as U.S. economic dominance continues to be undermined.


Together with the social promises left over from the previous postwar boom era, this is what has driven the massive expansion of the national debt. The U.S. ruling elite would have loved to reduce the working class to third-world conditions while maintaining a bloated military budget and low taxes on the rich, but they didn’t think they could pull it off without provoking a mass resistance that would revive the fighting traditions of the U.S. working class. This was something they were not willing to risk as long as they were still making a killing on the world market, so an incredible level of debt was their solution in the meantime.


However, this is not a state of affairs that can be sustained forever, and now there are sections of the ruling class that feel now is the time to settle accounts - especially given this recent era of unprecedentedly low class struggle in America, which makes them feel like they can get away with it.


The current economic crisis is the main fuel driving this process, putting pressure on the ruling class to act now, and it is also the main piece of cover the capitalist politicians use to justify themselves, with claims of the need for “shared sacrifice” and “fiscal discipline.”


This is the origin of the recent, seemingly out-of-nowhere bipartisan consensus on the need to make cuts to previously untouchable supports of the social safety net, like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Disagreements mainly focus on the depth and pace of the cuts and on whether to provide political cover and the illusion of shared burden with nominal tax increases on the wealthy. The traditional liberal position is nowhere to be found.


In general, today the dividing line between “liberal” and “conservative” is blurred into obscurity, if it can still be considered to be present at all. Politicians like Obama who identify as liberal have a program of low taxes on the rich, budget cuts and austerity. In some cases, they will advocate for a more gradual acceleration of the attacks on workers’ living standards, but that’s the limit of their opposition.


On social issues such as abortion and LGBT rights, there still remains a distinction between the two parties. However, the domination of the Democratic Party by big business interests means that these issues tend to be addressed in the form of partial, ineffectual, top-down and temporary reforms that the ruling class can later point to as evidence that such social programs and reforms don’t work. This stands in sharp contrast to the empowering mass struggles that won civil rights in the first place.


The Socialist Alternative


Most liberal political theorists today rightly complain about deregulation, outsourcing, corporate tax loopholes and the rest, but they have a shallow analysis that leads them to a position of simply imploring the ruling class to change rather than understanding why they are incapable of doing so. They fail to recognize that capitalism was only able to provide the reforms it did in an era when U.S. economic dominance was completely assured.


Now, liberalism and the path of gradual reform are a dead end. Real gains for workers will require a fundamental break from the logic of the capitalists and their political system. As long as profit is king, workers will stay exploited. The only way capitalists will give meaningful concessions in this era is under the pressure of mass movements and revolts.


Working-class people need to organize independently for their own interests. This not only means building mass protests in the streets against the savage austerity measures and organizing democratically run unions in workplaces; it also means giving political expression to the needs and aspirations of workers through a party that represents working-class interests.


A new party of this sort could link up with and express the demands of labor and other social movements for immigrants’ rights, to protect the environment, for an end to war, and so on.


Though far and away the most important task in the U.S. right now is for working people to get organized and create a party that can be their own political voice, it will also be important to figure out what that party stands for.


Taxing the rich and corporations, single-payer health care, jobs programs, slashing the military budget, boosting education funding – many liberals share these demands. But they have the illusion that these are things which will be achieved within the framework of capitalism. This is an illusion that must be broken.


The only way to gather the money to implement and fully fund these types of social programs would be through massive taxes on the wealthy, and especially on the big corporations. But under capitalism, big business and the banks could simply threaten to take their capital investments and production to countries with lower tax burdens.


To prevent this it would be necessary to seize control of corporate and financial assets, to place them under democratic control and management by workers and the broader public.


In a word, it would require socialism. Democratic control and public ownership of the decisive sections of the economy would allow society to wield its immense resources, through planning, in the interests of human needs instead of corporate profitability. This may seem like a utopian dream, yet on a practical level it would be quite feasible to run society this way.


Corporations that are larger than entire nations manage to plan out their production, distribution, pricing and so on just fine. Supermarkets and other large stores use loyalty cards to track individuals’ purchases and plan for the future accordingly. Online shopping allows for automation and centralization in tracking purchase orders from around the world.


Basic economic functioning under capitalism already requires mass coordination according to a worked-out plan; it’s just that most have no say in that plan. Planning already takes place, but it’s fragmented, incomplete, undemocratic, and in the interests of increasing the wealth of a tiny, rich minority.


The resources exist to allow everyone to live a comfortable, fulfilling existence. Through a democratically planned economy it would be possible to massively increase the standard of living, provide food, housing, education, health care, transportation, child care, internet access, and a secure job to everyone, all while reducing the length of the working week to allow more time for participation in political and social life as well as personal development and leisure.


By retooling the economy around environmentally sound technology such as solar power, focusing on recycling and renewal of resources, and mobilizing the scientific community on tackling global warming, human needs could be met in a way that also protects the planet. A socialist world is not only possible; fundamentally, it is the only way forward out of the current capitalist crisis.


Of course, it will not be the capitalists or their politicians that will bring about this state of affairs, which would eliminate their privileged position on top of society. It will have to be achieved by the working class and the oppressed themselves, which is another reason it is crucial to have a mass party that genuinely represents the interests of workers and young people.


We have to begin to get organized right now, both to fight the immediate attacks and to build our forces so we can mount a serious challenge to the profit-driven capitalist system as a whole.