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Editorial: N30 shows that the fight is on

THE MASS strike on N30 has the potential to change the political situation in Britain. It shows that if you want mass numbers then the unions are essential to filling the streets of every city and town with people who want to fight the government’s cuts. The real sense of unity and collective strength in the face of the Tories and Liberals was inspirational, and something that we need a lot more of.

But the strategic question facing us now is how do we keep up the momentum? How do we make sure this is not the end of mass action but only the beginning?

The biggest danger now is of a sell out. The press is full of reports about a possible deal between the union leaders and the government, of its plans to divide the unions and buy some of them off. Already the union leaders are dragging their feet over more action, which might not happen until March. This is no way to win a fight!

The central issue is leadership and control over it. The top union officials, sitting on £100,000 a year salaries, have to be pressured for action by their members. They have to go through all the rigmarole of balloting as laid done by Thatcher’s anti-union laws. But nothing stops the union leaders from making a rotten compromise. That is why the workers facing the cuts across the public sector have to organise to take control over the campaign now.

A great assistance in doing this is to really connect the anticapitalist radicalism, resulting from the occupy movement and the more vibrant local anticuts movement to millions of union members in the workplace?

The government is planning the destruction of our services (health, education, welfare, local government) and our jobs – as well as our pensions. If we don’t get organised from below to take control of the resistance then we will find defeat staring us in the face.

Since this is a struggle not with this or that employer but with the government determined to imposed a decade of savage austerity on us it will take more than single days of action every six months or so to defeat them- even with two million on strike. Experience in France and Greece proves this. We need escalating mass strikes culminating in a general strike the full power of over 6 million workers to bring the government down.

Without such a decisive battle, we will be ground down, defeated section by section, just as Thatcher did to us in the 1980s. We can defeat Cameron and Clegg’s plans but only if we escalate the resistance, take the leadership of it into the hands of the rank and file, and organise around an anticapitalist political strategy.

Where is Labour?
The lack of support from Labour, with only 8 MPs and 30 councillors saying they would back the strikes, shows how weak the left is in the party. When Ed Miliband crossed the picket line on his way into parliament to say he didn’t support the strike, few strikers will have been shocked. After all most of the leaders of our unions, which still pay 80 per cent of Labour’s expenses, don’t even dare demand that he does anything in return for it.

Alas it is no break with tradition that Miliband gained the leadership thanks to union votes and then betrayed them. He keeps bleating that strikes a sign of failure and only justified when negotiations break down. As though this government was in the business of any compromise even minimally advantageous to public sector workers when it plans to sack hundreds of thousands of them as well as steal their pensions.

In fact even negotiations only make any progress when workers show their collective power to resist their employers or the government. That is what a strike is for and it an essential part of our class struggle. So when Miliband consistently opposes them he is showing on which side of this class struggle he, and his party, is fighting.

Join the campaign for a new organisation
As a response to our article in the last paper on a new anticapitalist alternative there a series of meetings being held across the country by activists from across the anticuts movement and various socialist organisations to discuss the way forward. With a whole new generation of fighters being created by today’s struggles we think the left needs to see whether a basis for closer co-operation exists; with a view to building a united organisation that can make a real difference. If you are interested in getting involved then you can contact us through our website or email us anticapitalistalternative [a] gmail.com

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Send news, comments and reports to contact@workerspower.co.uk

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