JUNE 24TH, 2017
Mobilise on the streets
Call a general strike
Bring the DUP/Tory government down
By International Socialist League – UK
A snap election by the Tory government produced a ‘shock’ election result of a ‘hung’ parliament because anger against nine years of austerity pushed people to use their votes against the Tories.
Teresa May had wanted to use an increased majority to have a commanding position over Brexit but also to be able to impose deeper austerity and attacks on immigrants. And her haughty manner alienated many.
But suddenly the search for an alternative against austerity emerged in earnest as the main election question amongst students, young people, Blacks and immigrants and many low paid workers. They saw the Labour Manifesto and supported it, while Jeremy Corbyn had a charisma that many liked. The result showed a new movement was beginning.
May won 42.4 percent of the vote, the Tories’ highest share since 1983 and an increase of 5.5 points since 2015. Labour’s 40 per cent was the party’s highest since 2001 and an increase of 10 points since 2015 (30.4 percent) – its largest rise since 1945.
One poll suggested 50 per cent of voters aged 35 to 44 opted for Labour, with only 30 percent of people in this age group voting Conservative. Many polls showed more semi-skilled and unskilled manual occupations, unemployed people voted Labour than Tories.
Bristol University academic Paula Surridge thinks that diversity, not young people, was more important in driving higher turnout in constituencies. This seems to be born out in discussions with Muslims and ethnic minorities who say vast numbers of them voted for Labour.
Hate crime (for example attacks on disabled people, and racial and homophobic incidents) is increasing and the largest increase are racial attacks. Many immigrants and Muslims have experienced racial discrimination. Austerity is one of the policies that attacks equality for all and drives oppression.
The UKIP vote collapsed and part went to the Tories, but part went to Labour because they both support Brexit.
Labour gained seats in a general election for the first time since 1997. The turnout of 68.7 percent was the highest for 25 years.
The anti-austerity Labour vote was a class vote: Labour was 4 points ahead amongst those working part time and 6 points ahead amongst those working full time.
However, 31.3 percent did not vote. Who were they? The working class youth are very skeptical of parliament. YouGov says, 57% of voters aged 18 to 19 voted, which means 43 percent of the youngest voters did not vote for anyone.
When the International Socialist League campaigned for a No Austerity candidate (in the local elections in Stockport) we came across two working class youth who, when they saw us, started singing the hit song “liar, liar she’s a liar” meaning Teresa May, when we agreed with them they started singing “liar, liar they’re all liars.” A poll of two youth proves nothing, but we think it is reflective of something much wider in the working class.
The terror attacks and racism
The ISL unequivocally condemns the acts of terror against civilians in London and Manchester during the election and the terror attack on Muslims and their Mosque.
The attacks did not have a great impact on the result of the action. Many thought the right would be strengthened but the anti-austerity feeling for Labour increased day-by-day.
The number of hate crimes recorded by regional police forces rose by up to 100 percent in the months following the Brexit vote. Since then the attacks have increased some of them fatal. Islamophobic attacks in Manchester surge by 500 percent after the Arena attack.
Terror attacks do not advance the struggle against oppression and imperialist control, they encourage it. Teresa May said during the elections that to fight terrorism they will remove human rights.
Terror and racism are used to divide the working class.
Union leaders hold back struggle
The number of working days lost due to labour disputes in 2016 was the eighth lowest annual total since records began in 1891. This figure does not include unofficial strikes. The two regions which had the highest number of strikes was the North East and London.
In 2016 the fall in trade union membership was the biggest on record. The trade union leaders hide behind the anti-trade union laws and then blame the membership for not fighting. The TUC thinks there are less than 1 million zero hour contracts, but there are many forms of casual Labour. It was reported by the Guardian (15 November 2016), that “more than one in five workers, some 7.1 million people, now face precarious employment conditions that mean they could lose their work suddenly.” We need to get rid of all unwanted casual work not just zero hour contracts.
The union bureaucracy holds back struggles, and they agree with austerity by doing nothing against it. Many sections of the working class are very skeptical on any improvement coming from the Labour because Labour and Unions are always linked in their mind.
A number of unofficial strikes in 2016 and 2017 amongst manual workers (in the new unions) and in the CWU (Communications Workers Union) were successful. Unofficial actions are returning (and these are not part of the official strike figures) and all such actions must be supported.
Build a workers’ and socialist alternative
There is massive support for the Labour Party from left and revolutionary groups such as the Socialist Party, Socialist Workers Party, Left Unity and the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition.
The Socialist Party says it “…fully supports Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-austerity stance.” They support it to such an extent they did not stand against Labour in the elections. And in meetings, SP leaders call Labour’s Manifesto Socialist or on the road to socialism. Left Unity calls what happened in the elections a Corbyn Revolution and will not stand in an election while Corbyn is in the leadership. The Socialist Workers Party also refused to stand in the elections as if the Labour’s Manifesto was enough to end capitalism.
These positions are a capitulation to the Labour Party and do not prepare the working class to deal directed with capitalism such as the multinationals and the banks. How can any anti-austerity programme that does not want to nationalise all the big financial institutions deal with the great problems facing the working class and the oppressed.
With the Tories (very weakly) in power, none of the promises by Corbyn can be enacted. It means that the struggle has to take to the streets and must go much further than the Labour Manifesto.
Independent actions started within days of the election for example against the removal of bus services and a protest four days after the general election in many cities organized by women’s groups took against a possible DUP/Tory government. They have called a national demonstration on 24 June, there was another London demonstration on 21 June. Labour has called a Tories Out demonstration for 1 July.
The International Socialist League says support all the actions against the DUP and Tories, and build independent actions and organisations against the government, austerity and all their attacks on jobs, services, and our rights.
Councils are facing yet another round of severe cuts to its budget by the Tory Government in 2017. In all cases, Labour councilors have voted for cuts to local services and to cut fire and transport services and have voted for Driver Only Operations on trains.
If Labour or Jeremy Corbyn want to be consistently anti-austerity they must demand of all Labour representatives such as Labour council leaders and councilors that they oppose and fight all cuts in council services, fire services, and transport.
The unions and communities must demand not another cut, not another austerity measure to be supported by any Labour Party member.
Austerity and Cuts kill
The world has seen the burning Grenfell Tower. However, the residents of Grenfell Tower said their multiple concerns were “brushed away” for a long time by the council’s tenant management organisation.
Only last November, the Grenfell Action Group warned of “dangerous living conditions” and said: “It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO.” Guardian.
It is a Tory controlled council, but the burning tower represents what austerity threatens to do on a much larger scale.
There has to be a return to public controlled council housing. Create or strengthen tenant committees in all UK neighbourhoods to control rents, safety, social conditions. These demands must be supported by all unions. It is clearly a matter of life or death.
Corbyn must issue an instruction to all Labour councils and councillors: No more cuts make a needs budget for the working class and people in the communities, expand council services and jobs, such as re-building the fire services.
Down with the DUP/Tory Government
Support demonstrations against the DUP/Tory government and austerity. We agree with the demand Tories Out, but it is not enough. Corbyn should not only call 1 July but call for permanent mobilization against May and the government.
There is widespread anger against the Teresa May and the youth, unskilled workers, women and many others want action to bring the Government down. May leads a government of crisis.
All unions must now start calling for UK strike action against the DUP and Tories, against austerity and all cuts. The working class needs to mobilise on the streets organize a general strike.
Support and organise anti-government and anti-austerity mass mobilisations
Defend all immigrants
For tenant control of rents, safety, and social conditions
Labour stop implementing austerity
For a general strike to bring the government down and all austerity plans
For workers control of all big companies and banks