Thursday, 20 September 2012

Marching together on Oct 20 but we must then strike together!

Its little over 5 weeks till the TUC’s mass demonstration on October the 20th. I personally feel a little deflated about it all and a sense of we’ve been here before and we have last year on March the 26th. Another march can raise confidence but this time it feels like the TUC is marching us into the ground and turning us away from any industrial action. This should be fought against all of the way. We need mass industrial action now and after the demonstration. The socialist party and the NSSN will be using Oct 20 as a springboard to press for further action this autumn on fighting austerity. Not a week or even a day now goes by without a new announcement on a new cut or attack on the poorest in society. But it doesn’t have to be this way. They can be stopped! On 30 November last year (N30) over two million public sector workers took strike action to defend their pensions. If this had been escalated, a total victory could have been won, probably terminally damaging Cameron's coalition. Since then, groups of workers in the private sector - the construction electricians, the bus drivers for example - have also shown a huge determination to fight back. Scandalously, though, union leaders such as Unison's Dave Prentis broke up that N30 strike alliance. They signed up to the outline of an agreement that still means most workers will pay more and work longer to get a lower pension. N30, however, gave us a glimpse of the trade union movement's power. The NSSN welcomes the demonstration that the TUC is calling against austerity on 20 October. We will do all we can to get a million on the streets of London, Glasgow and Belfast. But we don't think that this alone will be enough to stop this government of the rich. We have lobbied the TUC to call on the unions to follow up this march with a 24-hour general strike of the public and the private sector back on September the 9th in Brighton and will be raising loudly and proudly on the October 20th demonstration for the TUC to name the day now for mass scale co-ordinated strike action. Austerity is a sanitised expression for what is an unremitting class war on our people. The aim is to achieve, on the basis of the cuts and privatisation programme, the biggest transfer of wealth and power in many generations. At its core is a 'race to the bottom' that is ripping the heart out of our communities. It means the driving down of wage levels, massive job cuts, the destruction of the welfare state and the NHS and the public services that provide the basis of a civilised existence for working people. This unprecedented assault can only proceed because of the poisonous political consensus that exists among the major parties - shamefully including Labour - that says there is no alternative to the market and the barbaric proposition that the acquisition of obscene wealth and profit by a tiny unaccountable elite comes before the needs of millions. Those millions are crying out for an alternative. They watch in fear and disgust as one outrage follows another: We now have an opportunity to send out a message of hope - loud and clear - that we intend to harness the full strength of our movement and class to stop the austerity programme in its tracks. The 20 October [TUC demonstration] must be more than another protest march - it must be the platform on which we build coordinated action on the widest possible front across both the public and private sector. Every union here has a legitimate dispute on pay, pensions, jobs, privatisation or a related issue. So, let's hear no nonsense about the difficulties or legalities of organising coordinated action. Let's not fixate about the 'scary words', general strike. Let us rather sit down together and agree a date for joint action and wider campaigning across the trade union movement as soon as practicably possible after 20 October. A 24-hour strike as a start to an effective programme of coordinated industrial action and wider campaigning would irrevocably shift the balance of forces in our favour. How many times must it be said - campaigning works and action gets results. We have recently won thousands of jobs in the civil service by organising action. The attacks are increasing, not abating. Millions are waiting for a lead to fight back. Let's provide that lead. With extracts taken from Articles from issue 733 and 734 of the socialist

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