Wednesday, 9 January 2013
Silence from the TUC demand action now!
You’d be forgiven for thinking the TUC never passed a motion at its conference last September motion 5 which committed the TUC to investigating the practicalities of a general strike. Yet we are in January now and so far the silence has been deafening from the TUC. We’ve lobbied them again with the NSSN and others in December yet the new general secretary of the TUC Francis o’grady who the media have spent time talking her up as this new female firebrand has not even mentioned the motion 5 and building for a general strike. What is their game? Well the TUC and the higher level bureaucracy in most trade unions bar a few honourable exceptions are largely drawn from a middle class petty bourgeois background where quite often they are on very lavish salaries and have done very little in the way of struggle, organising on the ground or anything that would get their hands dirty. It’s a disgrace that these are our so called leaders in the labour movement. But for me if these lot will not act and would rather wait for a labour gov which may or may not happen thousands of jobs will be lost, services will be decimated and the welfare state and NHS is being eroded under our nose. So I’d like to think if the TUC wont act and it looks increasingly likely that they wont that those unions willing to fight get together and name a day for co-ordinated strike action. All unions have issues they could ballot members on right now be that pay, privatisation, job cuts, working hours, conditions, pensions you name it could be one of many. It’s the co-ordination that is key finding an issue to co-ordinate ballots on should not be a problem it’s agreeing with other unions to go out on the same day. I think personally that day has got to be named sooner rather than later. We also need to use the general secretary election in Unite to put pressure on the union to be involved in any co-ordinated strike action taking place. Unite – Britain’s biggest trade union should not be pulling its punch’s now this shit is for real and real action and leadership is required. It is possible that the current crisis could be drawn out, similar to the depression in the 19th century from 1873 to 1896. But there is no "final crisis of capitalism". Capitalism can always find a way out, through the destruction of living standards, and ultimately by curtailing and possibly destroying the democratic rights and organisations of the working class. In this way, an unstable equilibrium can be established for a time. But as sure as night follows day, a new economic crisis will be prepared, as the history of capitalism itself has shown. So with the support of the NSSN and the socialist party trade unions and trade union members should be confident and bold in putting pressure on their unions to name the day and step up the action in the battle over austerity. We’ve only seen an estimated 20% of cuts and this feels bad enough how bad can things get? A low-wage economy alongside a mass and stagnant pool of unemployed, to be used as a weapon against those fortunate to have a low-paid job, is the future that is mapped out by the strategists of capitalism for the working class. At the same time, a reduced standard of living for the great majority of the population is all that is offered. Already, Britain has slipped down two places to sixth in the European league table of living standards. But this is just the beginning with Cameron and King promising more of the same with their predictions that 'austerity' will last for at least another decade. The TUC has been great in compiling research on the cuts and their affects this is all a little too little too late though but welcome all the same. The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has published research which shows government and media attacks on 'scroungers' are based on lies. On average members of the public think 41% of the welfare budget goes to the unemployed. This 'fact' is used to justify attacking the unemployed as scroungers. In fact the figure is 3%. And, with huge job cuts, any of the "hard-working taxpayers" of today could be denounced as the "work-shy scroungers" of tomorrow. Alongside the massive tax dodging of firms like Vodafone and Starbucks, the amount of benefit fraud is even more miniscule. The public has been led to believe it is 27% of the welfare budget. The figure is actually less than 1%. Compared to the legal and illegal expenses claims of MPs most benefit fraud is tiny. All this has not stopped the Tories of Westminster City Council from floating the idea of cutting benefit for people they deem too fat. And next week people they deem too thin or too tall no doubt. People in work are being asked to approve attacks on the unemployed because they 'get too much money'. However, one of the questions in the TUC survey was about the benefits entitlement of an unemployed couple with two children aged six and ten. The imagined figure was £147 a week, when £111 is the real figure they would be entitled to. But the amount that those surveyed thought the couple would actually need to live on be £202 a week (excluding housing costs). The old adage would seem to be true. Figures can't lie but liars can figure. The Daily Express contained headlines "a new ice age", "a cure for cancer" and "the economy is booming" in the same month. Why on earth believe it when they tell you 80% of benefit claimants are frauds? The TUC has done a good job in commissioning this research. Now what are they doing about that general strike they promised?