Tuesday, 26 March 2013
march 26 2011 a look back, TUC vacated struggle for now
2 years ago today we were on the embankment in London lining up to march against the cuts the first major demonstration since the con-dems came to power. There was great noise and expectation that this could be the start of a mass fight back by the unions and the working class as a result. Yet today looking back 2 years on we’re left wondering what was it all for? Hearing big grand speeches from union leader after union leader we need to go further one march is not enough one day strike action is not enough yet barring November the 30th 2011 was a big march up a hill and back again. The TUC disgracefully has still not responded to the consultation on the consideration of a general strike agreed at last year’s TUC congress in September which the NSSN lobbied. I hear today unison one of the biggest public sector unions has the lowest days lost to strike action in its history at this present time one strike and one strike ballot live at present apparently. That for me sums up the trade union leadership absolute capitulation to the cuts a willingness to rush into negotiations before fighting. November the 30th sell out by right wing trade union leaders set our movement back a huge way from a point we were at a weak point anyway before. Thinking back to march 26th 2011 I was full of optimism I’d just joined the socialist party and felt the working class was awakening again to take on this vicious undemocratic government yet we’re in this big lull at the moment waiting and intervening where we can waiting to see which way the class turns . But I can’t help feeling March 26 and the following year was a big disappointment and an opportunity lost. The following year in October of 2012 there was far less on the demonstration a “future that works” was the title not march for the alternative this time and from a demonstration of 500 k plus in 2011 was probably less than half of that who c amen on October the 20th. No doubt disillusioned and disheartened by the continued sell outs of union leaders and a failure to take the struggle on. While labour politicians used both platforms to spout their too far and too fast line rightly miliband got booed on the last demo. No pro cuts MP should be invited from now on in my view it disarms us. We will again be lobbying the TUC with the NSSN this April on the 24th when the general council meets again. We cannot let these bureaucrats off the hook. If it has to be we will go it alone PCS has already shown it is prepared to fight even if no other unions are alongside them. This is far from ideal and PCS must be supported with solidarity and other unions joining the action next time. The Tories are out for unions like the PCS so they need our solidarity and what better way than to get other unions to join the action. Unity is strength in this case. March 26th will live long in the memory for me one of my first big demonstrations and inspirational in some ways yet it could have been so much more. We must remember that going forward learn from our setbacks so we do not make the same mistakes again.