Socialist Workers Party
Over half a million people took to the streets of London on Saturday. They were marching against the Con-Dem [Conservative / Liberal Democrats coalition] government’s cuts. It was one of the biggest protests this country has ever seen.
Every single trade union was represented on the protest and they were joined by anti cuts campaigners, pensioners, students and the unemployed.
No amount of police provocation against peaceful protesters or headlines in papers about violence can obscure that this was a massive working class demonstration. And its power came from numbers and the social power they represent.
It was a determined but angry protest. Millions of workers fear for their jobs and millions more are right to believe that the Tories are out to destroy their communities.
This government, held up by it’s Lib Dem collaborators, knows and cares nothing about the pain it causes, after all the majority of the cabinet are millionaires and two thirds went to private school.
The marchers’ message was clear—not one cut and not one job loss. And they are right: why should workers and the poorest in society pay for a crisis they did not create?
There doesn’t have to be a single cut or job loss.
Greg Philo published an important article in the Guardian newspaper recently. He highlighted the fact that the personal wealth of the richest 10 percent of the population in Britain is £4,000 billion.
A one off tax of 20 percent on the wealth of this group would raise £800 billion and would wipe off Britain’s debt in one fell swoop.
With this in mind it’s crazy that Ed Miliband and New Labour are arguing that some cuts are necessary and that it’s the pace of the cuts that’s the problem. There’s no need to make cuts at all!
Saturday’s demonstration was magnificent, but it alone will not be enough to force Cameron and his cronies to make a U-turn. The Socialist Workers Party believes that if we are going to stop the Tories in their tracks, we will need further mass protests—and more importantly, strikes involving hundreds of thousands of workers.
And we are not alone.
On Saturday the leader of Unite (Britain’s biggest union), Len McCluskey, told those at the rally “This is only the start. We need a plan of resistance including coordinated strike action.”
Again when Mark Serwotka (the general secretary of the PCS) addressed the march he said, “Imagine what a difference it would make if we didn’t only march together but took strike action together.”
It’s time to turn those words into action. Already some unions, including the NUT, PCS and UCU are moving to joint action on pensions at the end of June—this could see 700,000 teachers, civil servants and lecturers on strike together.
That would be a good start, and would put pressure on the government, but we could really finish Cameron if the GMB, Unison and Unite also called their members out. We would see 5 million on strike—that would signal the end of Cameron.
Now we are all back at work, there is no time to waste. Union meetings need to be called as soon as possible and every union section/branch/region needs to be passing motions calling on their unions to call joint strike action now.
Our message is simply that we marched together, now it’s time to strike together.
We marched in our hundreds of thousands… Now it’s time to strike together.