|Written by International Socialist League|
|Thursday, 30 June 2011 18:56|
|The co-ordinated strike action on 30 June by civil servants over pensions, jobs and pay and teachers and lecturers over pensions is an important step in the fight against the coalition government’s onslaught on all public services.
The government’s attack portraying the public sector as ‘bloated and privileged” is recognised for what it is, part of the widening attack on all workers that is why there is popular support for the strikes. Other trade unionists are against crossing any picket line. This means fighting the union leaderships not on strike to join the movement against the coalition cuts. Dave Prentice, the Unison leader, recently claimed that union action comparable the general strike of 1926 was now needed; reflecting anger against plans to double or treble pension contributions.
While big business wants to enrich itself and has its sights set on schools, the NHS and council services, the government wants the working class to pay for the crisis through sackings, deteriorating conditions, cuts in services and wholesale privatisation.
The current plan to take even more profit from the railways is one example showing that these cuts will have no end. Every serious study shows that running public services under private control costs more because of its continued demand for state subsidies and its intent to make profit.
These attacks are against the working class who face a serious drop in living standards and cuts in the public services they need. So June 30 must be the beginning of the struggle, continuing the fight started by the students and the 26 March demonstration that can widen to all workers and continue into the summer and autumn. The demands made at union conferences for the TUC to call a general strike has to be built on and preparations must be made to strengthen the rank and file movements in workplaces and link them with the anti-cuts movements that are emerging in working class communities and with the students.
We need a national and unified struggle that is democratically controlled by the mass movement – it is the only way to stop the destruction of services and the Welfare State as it has been known for over 60 years.
The US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned that if Greek workers do not accept ‘sacrifices’ then the global financial system will be threatened with another 2008 crash. This is despite an estimated $11,000 trillion dollars being pledged by Western governments to support the banks! Relative to GDP, the scale of the aid package was even larger in the UK than the US. This clearly illustrates that the state is the central pillar for the banking system and that the banks and big business exercise total control over the main governments of the world. National debt as in Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain is created by capitalism in an international interlocked system.
The Arab revolution came out of the same crisis where the impact of serious unemployment and rising inflation became unbearable.
The world crisis will develop sharply in Britain because it is one of the world’s financial centres; and the crisis in Greece has the potential of destabilising the British economy.
The 30th June Strike
The strike follows the two day general strike in Greece where the government has agreed even greater austerity cuts than in Britain. Greek workers are facing a nightmare of drastic wage cuts and massive privatisations and have reacted furiously to the plans. The European Union and the IMF plan for Greece is a warning to British and other European workers – that is where we are headed unless capitalism is stopped.
What’s happening in Britain is not just down to a vicious Tory government. The big questions are also being decided in the European Union, the IMF and the World Bank. It is an international onslaught by capitalism across the world.
However they are ideologically driven to inflict a severe defeat on the working class by attacks on public services and the public sector unions. They are driven because of the deep national and international crises of capitalism and their need to change the relationships between the classes established after the Second World War. Save the banks and the rich, make the workers pay is their watchword.
The great lesson of the post-war period must be at the centre of our fight
Then, the welfare system came out of the great struggles of the working class at the end of the Second World War and capitalism had to adjust. However those great gains stopped short of dealing directly with capitalism and today we are seeing the result of that.
We support all the immediate struggles and the need to develop a leadership in the unions and the communities that is equal to the task we face. If we fail our public services will disappear forever. A mass movement in Britain must develop as a unified national movement that can replace capitalism by socialism, with the working class in control of industry, public services and the banks – a movement that will build links across Europe to become a mass movement of all European workers.
Work, health, education and a decent life for all – public not private.
Nationalise the banks without compensation.
Down with the Europe of Capital.
For a Workers and Peoples Europe.
For a Socialist United States of Europe.