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The lies Racism in Anti cuts

about the Britain movement


debt p8-9 today p12 p6-7

workers power
May 2011 ★ Price £1 / €1.50 Issue 354 Monthly paper of the British section of the League for the Fifth International

Battle
SAVE THE for Libya
rages on

NHS
FIERCE FIGHTING continues
across Libya as the revolutionar-
ies struggle to bring down
Gaddafi’s regime.
Rebel fighters, mostly a hastily
assembled militia of men who only
8 weeks ago were shepherds, engi-
neers and students, are fighting
against Gaddafi’s well armed and
trained mercenary force. The rebel
held city of Misrata has seen fierce
fighting, street by street, house by
house as the fate of Libya is
decided by arms in front of the
worlds media. The rebels are bat-
tling Gadaffi’s snipers who were
trained and armed by the British
up to a year ago, while Grad rock-
ets and banned cluster bombs rain
down indiscriminately on schools
and markets.
Nato’s supposed humanitarian
intervention has done nothing to
protect them. Rebel fighters,
medics and journalists think as
many as a thousand people have
died in the siege of Misrata alone.
But still the revolutionaries
will not be bowed. Even without
Nato help, the rebels are hold-
ing their own. Gadaffi admit-
ted as much when he threatened
to bring in tribal loyalists to
boost army forces. The truth is,
the dictator cannot suppress the
popular revolution.
To understand why Libyans are
so prepared to die for their cause,
listen to how one Benghazi resident
spelt out what the revolution meant
Lansley wants to destroy the NHS – stop him now! for him: “This is total freedom.
Before, somebody was in charge –
John Bowman enterprises” – designed to cover up and condemned his plans. The GP, they will assess your medical really in charge – of everything.
the real intentions of his policy. British Medical Association, whose condition and refer you to the hos- Now we can do whatever we want,
ANDREW LANSLEY’S NHS But despite this campaign of mis- doctors are supposed to be behind pital or service which best suits and it means nobody is in charge
and Social Care Bill is a fraud. It’s information huge numbers of peo- Lansley’s reforms, have proposed your case. Your local Primary Care and we are discovering the mean-
no exaggeration to say that it will ple are seeing through the lies. over 100 amendments to the bill, Trust. looks at county or borough- ing and the borders of freedom.”
destroy the NHS as we know it – Patient groups and service users and called for it to be withdrawn wide medical services to see which The fake “humanitarian” inter-
letting privatisation rip the heart are angry – over a quarter of a mil- at its first-ever emergency con- treatment centres have vacan- vention by the Western powers,
out of our health service. lion people have put their names ference called to discuss the plans. cies, whether you can have care at however, threatens to strangle the
There is no honesty in how it’s to an online petition against these home, or in a community-based revolution. In the first month of the
presented. The Lansley strategy so-called “reforms”. It’s time to kill the bill hospital, and allocate payment to revolution they refused to send
is pernicious. He has bombarded The Royal College of Nursing Does the bill give power to GPs? those services for the care they pro- arms to the rebels. Now military spe-
us with jargon and doublespeak – – not a union known for its radi- No, it puts in place a dangerous vide to you. PCTs are state owned cial forces from Britain, France and
“consortia”, “pathfinding”, “Mon- calism – passed a motion of “no conflict of interest. and funded and are currently Italy have been sent to train the
itor”, “foundation trusts”, “social confidence” in Andrew Lansley Currently, when you go to your …continued on page 2 …continued on page 11
★ ALL OUT TO SAVE THE NHS!
Lansley bill will destroy the NHS – stop him now!
The editorial
SIMON HARDY
…continued from page 1
responsible for 80 per cent of the
costs and maximise their profit.
When the amount of budget control
The real agenda
The reforms are not about improving
Andrew Lansley: Thatcher’s HIGHLIGHTS

Strike against the


health budget.
This won’t be the case by March 2013
if Lansley has his way. PCTs will be
abolished, and their administrative
these private companies will have is
taken into account, this will result in
a huge, almost total privatisation of
healthcare administration and the
patient care, they are to privatise pub-
lic healthcare on an unprecedented
scale to boost private profits. Under
the cover of an economic crisis, the
man who’s out to kill the NHS
responsibility will be taken over by GP healthcare budget. Tories are trying to deliver their his- BORN IN Essex, and son of a class communities, closing down election, which many believed
coalition’s cuts “Consortia”. GP surgeries are being Whilst PCTs are far from perfect, toric goal of breaking up the NHS pathologist, Lansley’s first taste of the mines and launching a war could have been won by Labour.

The debates in the


asked to group together into these they are publicly owned and run and for good. politics came at the university of against the poor. The poverty and For this he received a CBE, a

anti cuts movement


“consortia” which will then have the NHS budget remains under state It turns the idea of state run public Exeter where he won a close battle unemployment caused by that pol- reward for service to “Queen and
THERE HAVE been two events in the last few months which control of the NHS budget and use this control while in their hands. They are services on its head – the taxpayer just to become president of the student icy are still felt in ex-mining towns Country” which Lansley described

pgs 6-7
have shown that we have the power to beat the government. money to purchase these services to a degree accountable to the pub- ends up buying services from semi- guild against a communist candi- across Britain today. as his “proudest moment.”
The first was when the students occupied the Tory HQ at Mill- directly, transferring care administra- lic, having to publish minutes and allow state bodies or private companies. But date, securing support from Tory, Tebbit’s ongoing war against Nowadays, Lansley prefers not
bank. The second was the mass demonstration on March 26. It tion – and crucially responsibility for access to their meetings. Companies it also puts the infrastructure in place Labour, and Lib Dem students. trade unions made him a hero in to dwell on his anti-union
proved that there is a mass movement against cuts here in Britain, the budget – to your doctors. like United Health, the second largest to remove the taxpayer from the equa- After the election of Margaret Lansley’s eyes, and persuaded him Thatcherite past. His official web-
as over half a million people joined the TUC demonstration in When GPs refer a patient, we trust health insurer in the US, operate under tion completely, leaving people to buy Thatcher in 1979, he quickly sided to become a Tory politician. site says, “Coming from a public
a magnificent show of anger and determination to fight. them to recommend the best care for a veil of business secrecy, will be unac- their own health care from insurance with the hard-right of the Con- After 1990 and the anti-Poll Tax service family, he is committing
Our resistance must now step up a gear and move from us, based upon their medical expertise, countable to the public. companies and abolishing free univer- servative Party, joining the Depart- movement, Andrew Lansley to improving the NHS for every-
mass protest, to resistance at every level, in every workplace, and only that – they are committed to sal healthcare provision for good. ment of Trade and Industry as a believed that the Tories should one.” It’s a re-write of history if
in every town and city. We must take these steps, for the sim- our health, not required to balance the NHS hospitals to close There is so much at stake – but the civil servant. have stuck with Thatcher and her ever there was one.
ple reason that what we stand to lose if we don’t fight books or create a profit. Healthcare can be allocated to “any Tories are on the backfoot. They fear In 1984, the year of the great policies – he was against the party Lansley got his political training
today is enormous. That’s what Lansley’s bill would willing provider” under Lansley’s a battle with a mass movement and miners’ strike, Lansley became ousting her in a desperate bid to in the most vicious anti-working
This isn’t just about a single service or a particular attack change. Now GPs won’t just be charged scheme, including private companies. their “consultation” is aimed at divid- Principal Private Secretary to Nor- restore their popularity. He still class government this country has
on jobs and conditions. We are faced with a historic offen- with recommending the best treatment The definition of “willing provider” is ing the opposition. man Tebbit, who was secretary of believes they should have stuck ever seen – and now he is back to

Capitalism – still in
sive on working people: devastating cuts rolling back the wel- for you, they will have to balance their suitably vague to allow any dodgy But if we fight together – workers, state for Trade and Industry. Teb- with the “Iron Lady” to this day. finish off what Thatcher started,

crisis pgs 8-9


fare system to its bare bones, a huge programme of privati- medical opinion against the financial private firm to compete for healthcare patients, everyone – there is no doubt bit was Thatcher’s right-hand man Nevertheless he played a key role indeed what she never achieved: the
sation, including the wholesale marketisation of the NHS. priorities of the consortium and its services. we can win this one. responsible for ruining working in John Major’s victory in the 1992 destruction of the NHS. Lansley: carving up our NHS
Now our movement faces a tremendous challenge. budget. It’s a dangerous concoction – The private companies will attempt
Cameron and Clegg think that workers won’t dare to fight, combining medical opinion with finan- to win contracts by making themselves
Health
but they are taking a tremendous risk. By attacking the whole
public sector at once they are forcing workers and service
users to unite in a mass campaign. By letting the axe fall on
jobs, slashing our pensions, and cutting pay, they are forc-
ing our unions to unite too.
cial priority.
Just think of the kind of decisions
your local GP might make for you
towards the end of the financial year
if cash is running short. With £20 bil-
cheap – using less experienced staff, but
also charging below-cost prices to win
the contracts in the first instance,
causing public NHS services to become
financially unviable, and “go bust”.Then
unions Who wants privatisation?
GIANT MEDICAL and outsourc- £370 million. Owner of Corby Cas- treating stars such as Kate Moss ing £1.5 million to Labour and

The movement is growing


Some say that the unions are weaker today than they were
lion planned in “efficiency” cuts to the
NHS budget by 2014 under the Tories’
plans too, the focus on healthcare will
they can then raise prices, and cut stan-
dards in future years to make large prof-
its, and drive down the quality of care
prepare ing companies are salivating at the
prospect of getting lucrative con-
tracts for NHS healthcare. That’s
tle and its surrounding estates,
Haughey gave the Tories a per-
sonal donation of £50,000 for the
and Amy Winehouse. But over 77
per cent of its profits already come
from the NHS. Last month it
being rewarded with a nomina-
tion to the House of Lords by
Tony Blair – only blocked by
in the 1970s and 80s. But we can build a powerful union move- be lost completely. in the longer term.
to strike why private health bosses donated general election. merged with Craegmoor to boost the ensuing scandal.

Strike together on
ment in the process of fighting the cuts, through rank and They even have a word for this vicious £750,000 to David Cameron’s 2010 His company, Norbrook prima- its numbers of old peoples’ homes

30th June pg 10
file organisations and anti cuts committees that can link up Private companies policy – “loss leading”: a company pre- election campaign. Now they are rily makes drugs for animals, with and mental healthcare hospitals. Company: Care UK
the struggles across unions and draw in wider support from And really it won’t even be GPs them- pares to make losses in the first few The Royal College of Nursing is hoping their loyalty will be factories on four continents, but The Priory Group expects to CEO: John Nash
everyone who wants to fight the cuts. Strong rank and file selves administering the budget; they years, drives NHS hospitals and serv- considering industrial action for the rewarded with the passing of since 1999 it has been “aggressively do well out of GPs contracting out Nash, former chair of the Ven-
organisation, a powerful and determined industrial struggle are too busy seeing patients 9 to 5. They ices out of business (that’s your local first time in its history over pay. The Health Secretary Andrew Lans- expanding growth opportunities services. “We expect to become the ture Capital Association, and his
culminating in a general strike, and a huge social movement will have to outsource it. They can’t hospital that could be forced to close or British Medical Association called ley’s NHS and Social Care Bill. for new developments in private partner of choice for many of the wife have donated hundreds of
linking the workplace to communities and service users outsource care administration to the “downsize”), then reap the benefits Lansley’s reforms “dangerous.” And healthcare”. new commissioning entities,” a thousands to the Tories over many
can together bring down the government. PCTs, because under Lansley’s bill they thereafter. Unite’s health executive fumed at Company: Norbrook Laboratories spokesman said. years, but sparked particular out-
Today, the Tories are weak – they don’t have the support they won’t exist. Instead GP consortiums Even if NHS hospitals can survive its national meeting, setting the ball CEO: Eddie Haughey aka. Lord Company: The Priory Group Philip Scott gave £20,000 to the rage by donating £21,000 to
had in the 1980s - they are in an unstable coalition, and they will need to spend their budgets pay- cut throat market competition it will rolling for strikes over pensions. Ballyedmond CEO: Philip Scott Tories, and the previous owner, Andrew Lansley’s private office.
fear the power that working people have to stop their plans. ing private healthcare companies like still hit services. They will be forced Workers are furious at the threat Haughey is the richest man in The Priory Group is most Chai Patel was at the centre of the Care U K was qui c kl y a nd
They know the danger of attacking too much at once, United Health to decide where, or if to cut staff and reduce services as com- hanging over our health service – Northern Ireland with a fortune of famous for it’s private re-hab clinic, cash-for-honours scandal, lend- handsomely rewarded with a £53
and they know the NHS will be a key battle ground. That’s you should be treated. petition will create more and more it’s the Lansley regime that is million contract to run health-
why the Tories have started to beat a retreat on some of They will be tasked with saving pressure to cut budgets. The conflict squarely responsible for the moves care in Britain’s prisons in the

New Health Worker Egyptian revolution


the vicious health reforms by suspending the vote on the Bill money, they will be in competition with between providing cheap “competi- towards strikes. Now we must North East.

enters new phase


for “further consultation”. the NHS and public healthcare, and tive” treatment and having experi- demand the unions unite in a mass And the company was doing well
Many unions are now discussing co-ordinating industrial they will allocate care not on the basis enced medical staff and good quality campaign of strikes, protest and out of taxpayers even before this,

Network Launched pg 11
action against the attacks on pensions and both the jour- of need, but on the basis of how to save care will intensify. civil disobedience. making 96 per cent of its money
nalists union and the teachers in the NUT have backed calls through NHS contracts – in partic-
for a one day public sector general strike. That’s a start. It ular walk-in centres and treatment
shows mass industrial action is possible, lifting the confidence
of workers to resist, and getting the ball rolling for further
strikes. But we must have no illusions that one or two days
Join Workers Power Mark Booth ting back on the NHS, but protect-
ing frontline services, there’s no
centres built during Labour’s time
in office. workers power
Monthly paper of the British section of
of strike action will force a retreat from this government. Workers Power isn’t just a magazine. We are an activist organisation that fights and campaigns for socialist politics HEALTH WORKERS have truth in it at all. Company: TLC Group
Readers will find Dave Stockton’s article on the 1926 gen- in the movement day in, day out. All around the world, from Sweden to Sri Lanka, members of our sister sections in formed a new rank and file net- The leadership of the main health- CEO: Dolar Popat the League for the Fifth International
eral strike useful as a lesson in militancy and how the Trade the League for the Fifth International are campaigning for a socialist future. Join us today! work to stop the attacks on the workers’ union, Unison, has let A life-long Tory peer in the Editor: Simon Hardy
Union leaders can sell out these struggles. ❏ I would like to join Workers Power NHS. NHS staff are dedicated to this happen for far too long, but will House of Lords, Popat is a million- Deputy editor: Joy Macready
Debates on strategy in the movement are inevitable – but ❏ Please send more details about Workers Power the services we provide. Many of not launch the kind of fight we need aire and chair of TLC, which owns Domestic editor: John Bowman
we need to be clear now that we have to build a movement ❏ Please subscribe me to Workers Power for the next 12 issues us didn’t get into this for the money against Lansley’s big sell off. many private elderly care homes. Industrial editor: Jeremy Drinkall
to win and that means bringing the government down. The (£13.50) – in the case of nurses certainly not! HealthWorker Networkwillfight He has given the Tories £209,000 Political editor: Richard Brenner
Tories and the Liberals have staked their political lives on Name: We’ve been struggling for years toforceourunionleadershiptotake out of his £42 million fortune, Production editor: Keith Spencer
these reforms, stopping their plans means defeating the entire Address: and years to care for people in the action, and organise to act inde- and gave them an extra £25,000 Staff writer: Marcus Halaby
ruling class agenda. Dave Prentis on Unison said on 26 face of ever more difficult condi- pendently when they don’t. one week after the healthcare Bill Art director: Sean Murray
March, “We should march in our thousands and vote in tions, far higher workloads and less We want healthworkers to unite want as many health workers as was published.
Postcode: Printed by Newsfax International ltd
our millions.” But we can’t wait to simply re-elect a pay.Being on the frontline,we often with everyone who uses the NHS, possible to get involved. TLC has undergone rapid
Email: Tel no: workerspower@btopenworld.com
Labour government to carry out “fairer cuts” in four years take the blame when things go because our interests are the same. expansion in the Republic of Ire-
time after our welfare system has been decimated by the Please send to Workers Power, BCM 7750, London, WC1N 3XX or contact us on 020 7708 4331 visit workerspower.com wrong,but usually it’s not our fault. We’ve produced a bulletin that we You can download it from: land, and has been criticised for +44 (0) 20 7708 4331
Tories. We have to fight to win now. When politicians talk about cut- distribute round the hospitals, and www.healthworkernetwork.co.uk serious understaffing. www.workerspower.com

2 • Workers Power #354 • May 2011 workerspower.com fifthinternational.org Workers Power #354 • May 2011 • 3
★ OUR HISTORY

Lessons of
May 1926: when workers
anti-strike paper The British This applied equally to the left
Gazette. The TUC’s daily paper, leaders as it did to the right. There
The British Worker, reached a cir- was, they thought, no alternative
culation of one million by the
end of the strike.
but – in the words of TUC secre-
tary Walter Citrine – to “hand our-
the Anglo
Mass pickets were organised to selves over body and soul to Bald-
Russian
stopped the country stop strike breaking at strategic
workplaces and on the roads to the
docks where the OMS, police or
the army had taken over.
In the Fife coalfield, in Scotland,
the trades council formed a work-
win.”
There was, of course, no deal
that Baldwin would recognise and
he repeated his refusal to negotiate
until the general strike was called off.
On 12 May, only nine days into the
Committee
THE ANGLO Russian Trade Union
Dave Stockton many constitutional liberties. In ers’ defence corps. A member of strike, the TUC leaders Pugh, Committee was formed at a
October 1925, a police raid resulted the Fife council of action wrote: Thomas and Bevin delivered their conference in London in April
AT A TIME when we are facing in the arrest of 12 of the top lead- “The organisation worked like unconditional surrender to the Cab- 1925, on the initiative of the
a major offensive on workers’ gains ers of the Communist Party (CP) clockwork. Everything was inet. Council of the Soviet Trade
and the union movement, the 85th and their sentencing to between stopped – even the railway lines Lord Birkenhead, one of the Unions with the official support of
anniversary of the 1926 general six and nine months in prison. were picketed... After police Tory hard liners, remarked that the the British TUC. Prominent on the
strike is a good opportunity to The lack of action from the TUC charges on mass pickets, the TUC envoys surrender was “so General Council at this time were
review its lessons for us today. General Council was the more out- defence corps, which 150 workers humiliating that some instinctive the lefts, Alfred Purcell of the
It’s not just an example of the rageous in that it contained a size- had joined at the outset, was reor- breeding made one unwilling even Furniture Workers, Alonzo Swales
power of mass workers’ action, but able left wing. The miners’ leader, ganised. Numbers rose to 700, of to look at them.” of the Engineers and George
also shows the critical impor- A J Cook, together with TUC pres- whom 400 marched in military for- The TUC lefts stayed silent. Hicks of the Building Trade
tance of leadership, and the neces- ident George Hicks and builders’ mation through the town to pro- Even A. J. Cook, general secretary Workers prevent a tram driven by a scab from moving in London Workers.
sity to build up an alternative rank and engineers’ leaders A.A. Pur- tect the picket. The police did not of the miners, refused to go over The Committee’s aims were to
and file controlled centre of power cell and Alonso Swales enjoyed the interfere again.” the heads of the TUC and call for today. But the negative lessons are strategic defeat of the working reunite the Amsterdam-based
to the official structures of the support of many workers as they Throughout the country the continuation of the action from just as important. class. International Federation of Trade
trade union leaderships, whether argued a militant line. But most of strike was gaining strength. In con- below. Yet the workers themselves The government recognised its The conclusion that the union Unions and the Moscow Based
right or left. these lefts were, as Leon Trotsky trast the union leaders were des- showed no signs of wanting to political character, its character as leaders drew was “never again”. Red International of Labour
Here we look back at the hero- commented, radical in words perate to find a way out. General retreat. On the day after it was a class struggle, indeed as civil war, But a general strike is not simply Unions, to wage a struggle against
ism of the strikers and their lead- rather than deeds. and Municipal Workers Union called off 100,000 more workers and it organised accordingly. War- a tactical option to be used or not the preparations of the major
ers’ betrayal. It was left to the rank and file, leader, Charles Dukes expressed came out on strike. ships were even sent to the Clyde according to taste but something world powers for a war with the
On 30 June 1925, the owners of organised in the Communist-led their fears: “Every day the strike Thomas and Bevin soon found and the Mersey. Civil rights were that was forced by the actions of Soviet Union, and to struggle
Britain’s coal industry abruptly ter- Minority Movement, to prepare proceeded, the control and the that the railway companies would suspended, communists arrested the ruling class. against the ongoing capitalist
minated all existing wage agree- from below. On the eve of the gen- authority was passing out of the not take back strikers without cuts and the middle classes mobilised. offensive against the working
ments with the 900,000 strong Min- eral strike, the Minority Movement hands of responsible executives in wages and victimisation of mil- But the general strike was Leadership class.
ers Federation of Great Britain was able to hold a conference of into the hands of men who had itants. They were forced to sanction defeated not because the forces of The main lessons of 1926 is that it These were all entirely correct
(MFGB) and unilaterally cut their delegates from 547 union bodies, no authority, no control.” A revo- national strikes to protest their the state were stronger than the shows how a general strike can cer- positions – indeed, developing
pay. The response of the union and representing 957,000 workers. lutionary situation was develop- members. Angry demonstrations working class, nor because the rank tainly be necessary for victory these kinds of links, the international
its recently elected militant sec- At this conference and through- The miners’ leader, A J Cook, speaking during the 1926 general strike ing. The strike did not just call into denounced the TUC’s sell out. The and file gave in, but because the when faced with a decisive offen- solidarity they involved, were crucial
retary Arthur James Cook was the out the general strike, the Commu- question the survival of the gov- Merseyside Council of Action tried union leaders were faced with a sive on the working class, but that to protect the Soviet Union and to
slogan: “Not a penny off the pay, nist Party correctly called for the Nor was there any warning that the like Ernest Bevin of the Transport Despite the weakness of the lead- ernment; it called into question the to continue the strike but the Com- choice: the survival of capitalism it won’t in itself be sufficient. foster revolutionary developments
not a minute on the day”. setting up of local councils of action left leaders would not fight a and General Workers Union, dom- ership the response from the ranks survival of the system. munist Party and the Minority or the fight for workers’ power. Taking hold of the opportunity outside its borders. But in its
The Trades Union Congress – to organise and politically lead the betrayal by the right wing. inated the TUC’s negotiating com- was immediate, solid and over- Movement (despite the heroism of If the TUC had not surrendered such a mass strike presents, how- development the Committee
which over the preceding year or strike. It also fought for workers’ Trotsky had outlined an alterna- mittee. In an attempt to avert the whelming. Yet even now the TUC Betrayal their militants at local level) did not or been able to enforce its sur- ever, requires firm and unflinch- increasingly resembled a non-
so had moved to the left – defence of picket lines and strik- tive to this disastrous policy and crisis the union lefts effectively did not call out all workers but a What was urgently needed was for try to organise a break from the sur- render, then a fully revolutionary ing leadership along with demo- aggression pact between two
announced that it would call soli- ers against the expected violence warned in advance that the left ceded leadership to these two, dis- first wave of some 1.5 – 1.75 million the Communist Party to actively render of the TUC and the con- situation would have emerged. It cratic control of the movement bureaucracies: the one that was
darity strike action. Unprepared from fascists, upper class scab- leaders would vacillate and betray. patching Thomas on his famous trip workers: railwaymen, transport push this development towards its tinuation of the strike. After sev- was the duty of the Communist from below. slowly ensnaring the Soviet Union,
for a general strike, the Conser- herders and the state. But with a campaign against “Trot- to Downing Street to “beg and workers and dockers, printers, natural conclusion – the formation eral days of tumult and confusion Party to prepare and mobilise for Building up rank and file organ- and the British TUC’s hold on the
vative government of Prime Min- But while these policies were skyism” in full swing, his warnings plead” for a compromise. The sup- iron and steel workers. To coordi- of a revolutionary workers’ gov- workers bitterly returned to work. this with all its strength. isation, that firmly controls the working class.
ister Stanley Baldwin retreated. It correct, the fatal weakness of the were either suppressed or con- port for a general strike was tied nate the strikes at local level the ernment. This would have entailed In the end the miners were left to The Communist Party, existed to movement – taking it out of the The Committee lent a militant
announced a nine-month govern- CP’s policy lay in its attitude to the strued as “sabotage” because they to the miners’ acceptance that the TUC called for councils of action preparing the workers for seizing fight alone till October. Starvation provide an alternative strategy to hands of the bureaucratic “super- prestige to these leaders in the
ment subsidy to miners’ wages and union leaders. It did not warn undermined the ARC. TUC would negotiate for them – a to be formed. power and smashing the obstacles and TUC enforced isolation led the union bureaucrats and at the structure” Trotsky condemned as eyes of a leftward moving trade
a Royal Commission to discuss the workers of the unreliability of This all meant that the CP found fatal error. Thomas feared that a that stood in their way – namely to a terrible defeat for them which critical moment to rally an alterna- the dead hand on the revolution union rank and file. They also
future of the industry. The MFGB the lefts as it did warn of the treach- itself tied to the left wing of the general strike could lead to revo- Workers’ power the police, the OMS and the army. it took decades to recover from. tive leadership for the struggle, and putting it in the hands of the hovered around the fringes of the
was pressing for all the pits to be ery of the main right wingers like bureaucracy precisely at the lution – the last thing the reformists In the absence of a printed press But the Communist Party failed The Communist Party too failed treated the dispute as a trade union workers – is crucial to victory. We Minority Movement and the
nationalised. Jimmy Thomas of the rail workers. moment when it needed to lead the wanted. He even stated openly;“the and the BBC’s total support for the to challenge the hold Hicks and to learn from the defeat. Indeed rather than a political conflict, sub- can march with them when they Communist Party praised them
The workers’ movement called The leadership of the Commu- Minority Movement in offering an state must win on an issue like this...” government, local strike bulletins Purcell had over the most Stalin’s faction rushed to cover it ordinating itself and the Minority fight but must be ready to continue lavishly in its publications.
this victory “Red Friday”. It nist Party of the Soviet Union and independent fighting policy that But the miners were already fac- mushroomed. The councils gath- advanced workers. And as the up. They criticised the right wing of Movement to the left leaders who the struggle and oust them when Yet in 1926 they played no role
demonstrated the power of work- the Communist International could win the strike. ing a lock out by the mine owners ered delegates from every type of strike continued, these lefts ran for the labour movement and even duly subordinated themselves to they betray. in opposing the right wing
ers’ solidarity. But instead of using under Joseph Stalin and Nicolai when the printers at the Daily Mail workers’ organisation. Some of cover behind the coat tails of Bevin chided the left-wing allies but at the the right. To no one’s surprise the Britain’s General Strike is also betrayal. If in its immediate
the breathing space to prepare for Bukharin, in pursuit of their pol- Employers’ offensive refused to typeset an editorial “For them became real centres of and Thomas. They negotiated a same time they maintained their right surrendered to Baldwin and a magnificent example of the rev- aftermath the Soviet trade unions
the inevitable counterattack the icy of building socialism in one In March 1926 the Tories went onto King and Country” which declared: embryonic working class control, deal with Lord Samuel, the chair alliance with the TUC strikebreak- the Tories. olutionary power of the working had broken off its relations with
union leaders did nothing. The gov- country, had abandoned the prac- the offensive. The Royal Commis- “A general strike is not an indus- like the “soviets” which had taken of the Royal Commission, behind ers in the Anglo-Russian Commit- Trotsky accurately summed up class. the TUC in the ARC this would
ernment and employers at once tice of international revolution in sion proposed scrapping subsidies trial dispute. It is a revolutionary power in Russia in 1917. the backs of the miners’ leaders. It tee. They fiercely attacked Trotsky the situation: “The entire present It shows that in a critical con- have had a powerful impact in the
began preparations. favour of seeking allies in the to the coal industry, a measure that move which can only succeed by The most effective of them required the miners to accept both for his criticisms and the demand ‘superstructure’ of the British juncture, like the one that devel- British trade unions.
The country was divided into 10 reformist parties and trade unions would immediately result in mas- destroying the government and organised themselves into separate wage cuts and a lengthening of the that the Russian trade unions working class in all its shades oped in 1926, the contradictions Instead it was not till September
districts, each under a “Special of the imperialist countries. In sive wage cuts and job losses. If it subverting the rights and liberties “Commissariats”. They distributed working day. should publicly break with the trai- and groups without exception is inherent in the capitalist system 1927 that the General Council
Commissioner”. The Tories Britain this took the form of the went ahead it could pave the way of the people.” food and organised workers trans- When the MFGB refused, the tors in full view of the working class. an apparatus for putting a brake are stretched to breaking point, itself broke up the Anglo-Russian
strengthened the army and police, “Anglo Russian Committee” to similar cuts in other industries. The government at once broke port, issuing permits to move food, TUC leaders set out to call off on the revolution.” and at this moment greater tasks Unity Committee in support of
creating a Civil Constabulary (ARC) – an alliance struck A J Cook, Herbert Smith and the off negotiations, saying there would supplies, etc. They organised work- the strike on the basis of what they Lessons The defeat of the general strike are posed – unless the workers Baldwin’s breaking off of
reserve made up of ex-soldiers. between the Russian and British MFGB leadership rejected the pro- be no further talks unless the threat ers’ defence units to protect sup- thought was their deal. It required The positive experience of the gen- and the miners was a massive set go forward to seize power, then diplomatic relations with the
They set up the Organisation for trade union leaders. posals and declared themselves of a general strike was uncondi- plies and to stop police and the only a High Court judge to declare eral strike – the impressive solidar- back for the British workers. Thou- they can be thrown backwards into USSR. Thus even the pretext of
Maintenance of Supplies (OMS) – Before and during the general ready to strike. The TUC once again tionally called off. middle class and university student that a general strike was not a ity and high morale of the strikers, sands of militants were victimised defeat and demoralisation. Next “defending the USSR” was shown
a strike-breaking organisation to strike the CP’s slogan – “All Power pledged to support the miners. The lock out and the pressure OMS strikebreakers attacking trades dispute, thus opening unions the self-organisation of working and wages slashed. General strikes time an opportunity like this pres- to be an empty sham.
run the rail and road supply sys- to the General Council” – disarmed But open right-wingers on the from below effectively forced pickets. They produced trade union up to prosecution by employers, to class communities, the fighting were outlawed. The unions lost ents itself, communists must learn
tem. A State of Emergency would and confused the militants, leaving General Council, like Jimmy the trembling TUC leaders to call bulletins and papers to counter the knock what wind remained in the democracy of the councils and of millions of members as the whole the lessons of 1926 and seize it with
be declared, which suspended them unprepared for the sell out. Thomas and leaders more in centre, the general strike. propaganda of Winston Churchill’s union leaders’ sails out of them. action – can and should inspire us movement retreated after this both hands.

4 • Workers Power #354 • May 2011 workerspower.com fifthinternational.org Workers Power #354 • May 2011 • 5
★ ANTI-CUTS MOVEMENT

How can we unite the anti-cuts movement?


With a number of trade unions lining up to strike
together against the coalition government’s
attacks, there is a burning need to unite all
is important that any anti-cuts
campaign does bring in local and
national trade union leaders, and
their members, to build the strongest
UK Uncut: direct action
existing anti-cuts campaigns into an all-Britain
anti-cuts federation, writes Joy Macready
anti-cuts coalition. But socialists must
be free to criticise union leaders and
officials when they duck the fight or
hold back action.
spreads against the cuts
THE MASS strikes on the horizon nationwide, and become an organ- The National Shop Stewards Net-
are a major opportunity to strike a ising centre for the struggle against work suffered a split when the
decisive blow against the Tories, the government.Yet today we are Socialist Party forced through a
and can mark a turning point in the faced with several competing motion to form a new national anti-
fight against cuts. national anti-cuts campaigns. How cuts campaign at their conference
They present an opportunity to the can we unite them? last year, in opposition to all the
just short of 200 anti-cuts groups that existing anti-cuts campaigns. This
have been set up in every locality, National campaigns caused all non- Socialist Party mem-
from Aberdeen Against Austerity to Out of the three main national anti- bers to vote against and leave the
the Cornwall Anti-cuts Alliance, to cuts campaigns, two of them are campaign.
combine the direct action and com- strongly associated with Socialist
munity-based protests that many Party and Socialist Workers Party: Unity
groups have successfully held, with the National Shop Stewards Net- When different political groups,
industrial action too. work, and the Right to Work cam- trade unions and activists can
Local anti-cuts groups can help paign respectively. The other major work together in anti-cuts cam-
to coordinate the actions of differ- campaign is the Coalition of Resist- paigns at the local level, there is
ent sections of workers, by building ance. All these campaigns have their simply no principled reason why
cross-union networks of activists, strengths, and also their weaknesses. it can’t be done nationally – it’s
and linking them with the local The Right to Work Campaign only a question of will.
community. is perhaps the most radical of the All political disagreements in
By doing this, striking workers campaigns, and calls for a general Socialist youth group Revolution on the TUC’s March for the Alternative protest the movement need to debated
have the confidence that local com- strike to bring down the Tories. It tion of Resistance (set up in the first paign. The danger with the so-called spreading a strong “stop the cuts” organisations in the country to out openly within a united anti-
munities and service users are on is dominated and run by the SWP, instance by Counterfire and its sup- “pact”, is that it doesn’t take us any message on the TUC demonstra- come together and for a delegate cuts federation. We need to put
their side, while local communities and because of this has never really porters within the Stop the War closer to this, but does mean that tion, and bringing on board differ- based federation. the goals of the movement first,
have the most powerful weapon of managed to bring in forces outside Coalition, but later joined by a num- the SWP, on the one hand, can con- ent forces are certainly big strengths. The National Shop Stewards Net- not the short term organisational
protest– strike action – backing up of the party and its existing periph- ber of other left groups, campaigns, tinue to build their own campaign, But it has not yet developed a per- work has links to many industrial advantages this or that campaign. UK Uncut targets BHS over unpaid taxes
their campaigns. ery. When the potential to estab- and the Unite union), led the two and on the other hand means that spective for drawing in and becom- workers, shop-stewards and trade Regionally, local anti-cuts groups Jo Cassidy – the problem is it that it sits in the of falling into the trap of drawing
If we can do this locally, and lish a broader alliance presented campaigns to sign a “non-aggres- the leadership of the Coalition of ing an organising centre for the local union activists. But under the stew- are already starting to coordinate pockets of big business. a line between the ‘good’ corpora-
many anti-cuts groups are, then why itself, in the form of the Coalition sion pact” so they would avoid Resistance isn’t challenged by the anti-cuts groups, or assertively push- ardship of the Socialist Party it has their actions. To do this nationally, THE UK UNCUT occupation of The action on 26 March was met tions who pay their taxes and the
not nationally? of Resistance appeal, the SWP held clashing meetings and holding more radical positions of Right to ing for the unity we need in the been sectarian towards the other bringing in all the national campaigns luxury goods department store Fort- with heavy police repression, with ‘bad’ ones. This was seen at the high
The answer is that we can – and back, arguing that the focus should events too close together. Work / SWP in the context of a movement. national anti-cuts campaigns, refus- too, is the way to unite everyone to num and Mason during the March over a hundred activists arrested on point of its actions, when a group of
we must – by building an all-Britain be on existing campaigns, “such as Of course, there was nothing national, united movement. At the COR conference we will ing to unite with them and has an beat the Tories – in a campaign that for the Alternative mass demonstra- trumped up charges of ‘aggravated activists called an action in praise
anti-cuts federation that can link Right to Work”. wrong with this in principle, if it was Coalition of Resistance’s growing be arguing for an open meeting for uncritical relationship with mid- has total freedom of debate and tion was part of series of stunts trespass’. It shows that the state of John Lewis, publishing a mani-
up and coordinate our actions The competition with the Coali- a step towards a fully united cam- profile in the anti-movement, all the anti cuts committees and dle-ranking trade union officials. It discussion, but unity in action. and protests the direct action net- fears civil disobedience. festo which argued that co-opera-
work have organised over the past But UK Uncut faces a challenge tive-based capitalism was the way
months. Over 100 protestors staged if it is to have a lasting impact on to go. Although there was a back-

The problem of autonomism


the cuts and achieves little – smash- racy and collective principles of a mass sit-in and entertained them- the resistance movement. There is lash against this perspective in the
ing a window doesn’t do any damage working. In addition, by organising selves playing music and games. a limit as to how far actions can go network, it shows there is still a
to capitalism, but it can undermine in anonymous groups they are par- The network has organised a if they just name and shame the tax- debate to be had.
our cause in the eyes of many work- ticularly vulnerable to infiltration by string of high profile flashmobs and dodgers – we need to develop a cri- Another difficulty UK Uncut
ing people. the police. occupations targeting tax-avoiding tique of capitalism and a clearer ant- faces is that currently it operates as
Direct action is crucial to win – but Nearly all autonomists will support mega corporations such as Topshop icapitalist message by exposing how a loose network, mainly mobilising
Luke Cooper ety, autonomists will tend to agree one another in society. It’s particu- reality, part of who we are, our ideas, putting aside our own feelings and it needs to be orientated to build- workers’ strikes. But the principles and Vodafone. They have turned tax-dodging is part and parcel of through Twitter and the social
with Marcuse’s basic point: radical larly associated with the rise of capi- identity and social class, is formed out passions in favour of a collective ing a mass movement, through around which these are organised are banks and shops into hospitals, this system, and how we need to media.
“SOCIALIST SOLIDARITY is forms of solidarity take as their philo- talist market economies and liberal of the world in which we live and our interest. The flipside of Marcuse’s strikes, civil disobedience and occu- very different. When workers decide libraries and theatres with Sam overthrow the system, not just curb In many ways this has been its
autonomy”, wrote the French radi- sophical starting point the idea of the accounts of how political institutions relationships with other people. position is that it risks embracing pation. to take action they vote as a major- West, Josie Long and Mark Thomas its excesses. strength, allowing it to mobilise
cal Herbert Marcuse, “self-determi- autonomous individual who wants to should work and function. We are what Marx called ‘social ‘egoism’, where the goal of liberation Fetishising the ‘autonomy’ of the ity, then the minority respects the performing. groups of people quickly in towns
nation begins at home – and that is be free from the shackles of capital- Individualism was a tidy solution beings’; we can only exist in a soci- is that we just do as we please regard- individual can often stand in the way decision which is enforced through The actions have been remark- Anticapitalism and cities across the country. But
with every I and the We whom I ist oppression. to the problem of legitimacy that cap- ety with others, so there’s no such less of others. of this. picket lines. ably successful, taken up by numer- Although many activists in UK if UK Uncut is to send out a more
chooses.” It sounds compelling – aren’t we italism had: it got round the knotty thing as an individual who isn’t Autonomists organise in affinity This undermines individual auton- ous groups up and down the coun- Uncut consider themselves anticap- concrete political message, it will
This is one of the founding prin- all individuals? Don’t we all have a issue of class divisions between rich already part of society. Some of these Individualism in politics groups, with each individual group omy, but instead it promotes the col- try, and has a struck a chord with italist, its arguments have been more needs to have a debate on its aims,
ciples of autonomism – a set of ideas right to live as we choose and isn’t and poor by promoting the idea that relationships we have are oppressive Autonomists stole the headlines on free to choose what action is or is not lective social power of the working class. ordinary working class people. limited in scope. The positive side is goals and methods – just like any
that has become increasingly popu- the fundamental problem with cap- we are all individuals. and exploitative, but where we have 26 March when the ‘Black Bloc’ car- acceptable, but then the wider group And it’s this collective power we have It is little wonder: their message that this has opened up the actions campaigning organisation does.
lar among young people and students italism that it denies us our freedom? Autonomists will nearly always common interests we can unite in ried out direct actions on the fringes will still defend the actions from any together that can be truly liberating. that big-business should pay their to a range of new people, who We certainly need militant direct
drawn to the resistance movement Yet, though it sounds convincing, reject capitalist, liberal individualism solidarity. of the big TUC march. Many auton- repression that ensues. The problem We want to build a system where tax has resonated with working peo- haven’t yet come to the conclusion action in the fight against the cuts,
against austerity. once we think this idea through, we and point out capitalism doesn’t actu- Which is why it’s not as simple as omists groups favour direct action in with this is that there is no collective there is no contradiction between the ple at a time of massive public sec- we need to get rid of the whole and now we need to link it to the
Autonomism is an enormously can uncover serious problems with it ally make us free as individuals at all just “choosing our We” as Marcuse small, affinity group networks, over way of deciding – through mass dem- free development of the individual tor cuts. It exposes the hypocrisy of system. mass workers movement.
‘broad church’ – it encompasses an – problems that are as practical as – we are subject to whole number suggests. larger acts of collective power, and ocratic voting and accountable struc- and of all humanity – what Marx a government invoking the lan- The negative side, however, is that Imagine how effective it will be
array of different anarchisms, from they are philosophical. of compulsions. We unite with our brothers and sis- some promote property damage as a tures of authority – what action the called communism. But collective – guage of austerity while letting cor- after the first wave of actions, we on 30 June if actvists occupy the
more Marxist-influenced ideas It is a relatively recent development But there are reasons for thinking ters in a common battle against tactic. group should take. not autonomous – forms of organ- porations get away with tax-avoid- need a political discussion as to head quarters of companies which
through to less explicitly ideologi- in human history that the idea of the idea of the individual as a sepa- racism, social oppression and This often leaves them isolated We can see how then the philo- ising and methods of struggle will be ance on an eye-watering scale. where to go next. are proposing job cuts and a clearer
cal forms of political activism. the individual has come to domi- rate entity to the rest of society is exploitation because we have a from the mass movement of workers sophical focus on individual auton- essential if we are to realise this There is no shortage of wealth in Without a clearer anticapitalist perspective to fight against the gov-
But despite this tremendous vari- nate thinking about how we relate to the bedrock of regressive politics. In shared interest. That can often mean that we need on our side to defeat omy can badly undermine democ- future. the UK to pay for public services message, UK Uncut is in danger ernment cuts and reform agenda.

6 • Workers Power #354 • May 2011 workerspower.com fifthinternational.org Workers Power #354 • May 2011 • 7
★ THE DEBT CRISIS

Fact and fiction: the politics


He says “Our debt is not high by in time in advance, that stay out until
historical standards, and it is not high the regimes fall like in Egypt.
by international standards.” The Every victory in the battle against
implication is that this means there the cuts will without doubt meet a
is no risk that bond markets would frenzied response from the interna-

behind the deficit debate


downgrade British sovereign debt tional financiers who will threaten to
in the way they have Eurozone bankrupt whole nations if they do not
economies or have threatened to do make the workers pay for the crisis.
to the USA. That is why the logic of the mass anti-
But looking at the facts we can cuts movement leads directly towards
see how weak this argument is. generalised working class action and
Are the cuts about ideology or necessity? Many on the left have argued they have more to do with Tory politics than raw economic Today the Office of National Statis- a struggle for political power. It’s why
necessity, a case put forcefully by journalist and blogger Johann Hari. Richard Brenner puts forward an alternative perspective tics reports that at the end of militant opposition to cuts takes on
December 2010 UK government anticapitalist logic – one that we need
THE STATE debt crisis went global a real driver of cuts, that it is just debt was £1.1 trillion, equivalent to to raise into mass consciousness by
this month. Stock markets dived and an excuse: “The real reason why 76.1 per cent of GDP. The OECD linking our struggles to the fight for
capitalists dumped their dollars after David Cameron is imposing these forecasts the UK’s debt to GDP an alternative system.
rating agency Standard and Poor’s massive cuts has nothing to do ratio will reach 95 per cent by 2012. The Tories claim the deficit was
(S&P) warned that the USA’s credit with the national debt or the deficit. HSBC predicts that it will hit 94.1 caused by the working class – too
rating might need to be downgraded. It is because he regards himself as, per cent this year. much spending on our health, our
On 18 April S&P, one of the main in his words, ‘the child of Thatcher’, Certainly Greece is way beyond welfare, our education. Left-wing
organisations for assessing the and he wants to pursue her agenda that level, with its debt at 155.8 per reformists and the more militant
credit-worthiness of states, said harder and faster than she ever cent of GDP this year and predicted union leaders increasingly claim, less
“Because the US has, relative to its dreamed.” to rise to 165.1 per cent in 2012. Finance ministers agree bailout fund to rescue any member of Eurozone from default eloquently than Johann Hari but
[top rated] peers, what we consider Of course a lot of this is spot on So is Ireland: 110.4 per cent this with the same basic arguments, that
to be very large budget deficits and every socialist would agree with year and 125 per cent the next. Investors breathed a momentary sigh At the moment its capacity to lend ket vigilantes onto Belgium and Italy? the deficit is just an excuse and has
and rising government indebtedness, it. But at the root of Hari’s argument (Both estimates from the Econo- of relief in mid-April when the Span- is limited to €250 billion, but the It can’t be ruled out, especially when no real bearing on the cuts.
and the path to addressing these is is a serious mistake – one that sug- mist Intelligence Unit) ish government succeeded in sell- Eurozone states have agreed to we remember that Belgium’s state Both these ideas are false. The
not clear to us, we have revised our gests the crisis is only being caused So is Hari right in making a posi- ing €3.4 billion in long term bonds. extend that to €440 billion, in case debt is more than 100 per cent of GDP, deficit was caused by the great finan-
outlook on the long-term rating to by wrong government policies, and tive comparison with the Eurozone? But this episode revealed just how Spain needs a bailout. and Italy’s is around 120 per cent. cial crisis and the downturn that fol-
negative from stable”. that the debt crisis isn’t a real prob- Sadly not. Bailed out Portugal’s nervous the financiers are about So could it cope? The Econo- This would bust out the EFSF and lowed it. As rates of profit fell in
Roughly translated, S&P is say- lem, let alone one that has arisen deficit last year was 81.3 per cent of Spain. A few days before the sale mist Intelligence Unit’s “main risk leave the EU staring death in the 2007-08, the banks stopped lend-
ing the banks and rich investors who because of the whole way the capi- GDP. And Spain, next in the firing Spanish economy minister Elena Sal- scenario”, which it claims has a prob- face. Germany and France could risk ing and destroyed huge swathes of
lend money to the US government talist system works. line for the bond market attack and gado, had had to make an appeal for ability of 25 per cent, says that if cranking up support for bailouts capital. They had to be bailed out to
can no longer be 100 per cent sure While socialists agree the Tories next on the list for a potential bailout, calm when an earlier bond sale got Spain asks for a bailout for its fund- even higher, but they are already the tune of trillions from state
they will get it back... unless Obama are using the deficit to make the has a debt to GDP ratio of 69.6 per into trouble. A continuing fall in ing needs for 2011-13 (estimated at deeply unpopular at home. And with money. Then the downturn bit as
makes massive cuts. International resistance: Portuguese workers march against government austerity package sharpest cuts they can for ideologi- cent this year, well below the UK. house prices and rising declarations €470 billion), the EFSF could cover the nationalist True Finns party companies scaled back, sacking mil-
This followed a similar message cal reasons – they hate the welfare So it is no good pretending the of bad loans by Spanish banks it, so long as it could draw on exist- doing so well in the recent Finnish lions around the world. State rev-
on the 1 April from Bill Gross, Man- claimed Britain could be down- ing austerity packages have been default and if so what would it state – we also believe that this ide- problem doesn’t exist or that a dif- spooked bond markets. ing available IMF funding taking its election on a “we shouldn’t pay for enues from tax plummeted just as
aging Director of Pimco, one of graded if their plan to eliminate the imposed. mean? And how can we answer ology is driven by the real demands ferent type of government could capacity up to €525. Greece and Portugal” ticket, it is the cost of unemployment and other
the biggest investment firms in the deficit in four years didn’t get Now everyone is asking if Spain the Tories and Lib Dems’ big lie that of the capitalist profit system. We make British capitalism work with- Can the Eurozone survive? So, at a stretch it could be done. doubtful governments could main- benefits skyrocketed. The capitalist
world. To fund public spending, gov- through. And last month Lib Dem will be next to need a bailout. And the deficit makes cuts inevitable? think the debt and deficit crisis is real. out cuts. It is true that British debt The Economist Intelligence Unit, in But that assumes a Spanish tain the fragile constellations of class crisis caused the deficit and it is real
ernments around the world issue Vince Cable told the bosses’ Finan- rumours are spreading on the finan- If we’re right, then an Ed Miliband is longer dated than Ireland’s and its report State of the Union: Can bailout would have no impact on the forces needed to drive another mega and the bosses want you and me to
bonds paying fixed rates of inter- cial Times that “The budget deficit cial markets that Greece can’t meet The biggest lie? government would immediately give Greece’s, but the bond markets are the Euro Zone Survive its Debt Cri- banks in Germany, France and Italy. bailout through. pay for it.
est to investors -as one of the biggest ... means that, in a world of financial its obligations under its existing In a brilliant short essay on his in to huge pressure from the bond not only concerned about immedi- sis, raises concerns that “Spain faces, Suffice it to say, it would.
buyers and sellers of US bonds, markets nervous about sovereign bailout and will have to have its load blog, Independent journalist and UK markets and start carrying out the ate repayment. If the bond markets above all, a liquidity risk [cash flow German banks’ exposure to Span- Historic crisis of the system Anticapitalism
Pimco is a key lender to the USA. debt problems, the government runs lightened (by ‘restructuring’ its Uncut campaigner Johann Hari same cuts as the Tories. And if a rad- can target the USA, they can cer- problems] in the next five years as ish government debt is vast: €29.4 bil- Avoiding this scenario assumes sev- So let’s take the argument back into
So US policymakers were shaken the gauntlet of a confidence crisis debt). The bankers and bondhold- denounced the Tories’ deficit claims ical government tried to abandon the tainly target Britain. it tries to reduce its deficit against lion, more than their exposure to eral things. The Spanish government the heart of the resistance every-
when Gross announced that if he unless we plough ahead with our ers are worried that they will be as the biggest lie in British politics: cuts programme and spend as Hari Similarly Britain’s deficit of 10.2 a background of extremely high Greek debt and more than twice their will have to impose another round where – the crisis of state debt arose
were in front of a Congressional deficit-reduction commitment.” asked to ‘take a haircut’, which is “Here’s the lie. We are in a debt suggests, we think the bosses would per cent of GDP in 2010 contrasts unemployment, a medium sized exposure to Portuguese and Irish debt of austerity and make it stick. The because the bosses used the state to
hearing he would say: The deficit - with fears of a state their revealingly blasé term for being crisis. Our national debt is danger- launch an investment strike, cut off with 9.7 per cent in Greece, 34.2 per property crash and a risky banking put together. Italian banks are also European banks will have to hold socialise the losses of the employers
“I sit before you as a representa- defaulting on its debt - is now the told that they will not get all their ously and historically high. We are funds and attack the British currency. cent in Ireland, 7.3 per cent in Por- system.” exposed. And French banks would firm. The economic recovery will and the bankers. The debt is unsus-
tive of a $1.2 trillion money man- number one worry for capitalists and money back at the expected rate being threatened by the international Unlike Hari, who quotes leading tugal and 9.2 per cent in Spain. None of this is to predict that Spain really make a loss. They have €19.8 have to switch up a gear and after tainable and shows that the capital-
ager, historically bond oriented, that the number one justification for cuts. of interest. bond markets. The way out is to erad- economist Paul Krugman to claim that Therefore our programme of necessarily will need a bailout, let billion in Greek debt, 6.6 billion in extremely painful cuts allow Greece ist system doesn’t work.
has been selling [US bonds] because The very people who caused this A leaked email from huge US icate our deficit rapidly. Only that the so-called “bond market vigilantes” action against the cuts needs to alone default. But the possibility is Irish debt and 16.1 billion of Por- and Portugal to start growing their Even if the bosses struggle through
they have little value within the con- crisis are now demanding that work- bank Citigroup on 20 April said: will restore “confidence”, and there- are “invisible” and “don’t exist”, we include not only calls to clampdown real enough to be being debated in tuguese debt already...but a massive way out of debt. the next two years without a coun-
text of a $75 trillion total debt bur- ing class people pay. The deficit sits “The last few days the talks over fore economic growth. Every step of think they are real, part of this rot- on tax evaders, not just calls for more financial and government circles. All €46 billion is held in Spanish debt. And above all, Germany – the try going bankrupt and defaulting,
den. Unless entitlements [benefits] at the heart of the economic crisis [Greek] restructuring/rescheduling this program is false, and endan- ten system, have huge power and mas- spending on jobs and services, but a this stiffens the resolve of the Euro- As the EIU points out this could economic motor of the EU – will the next financial crisis will leave gov-
are substantially reformed, I am con- and of the bosses’ austerity offen- have intensified, despite the ongoing gers you.” sively influence economic policy. call to renounce the debt and bust pean capitalists to clamp down hard have a severe impact, with banks have to continue its strong recov- ernments unable to raise the funds
fident that this country will default sive on working class people and our denials by [Greek] foreign officials. Puncturing the Tory refrain that the That’s why socialists think to have the bondholders. on spending and on the working class. across the Euro area “exposed to ery, which is based on massive for another round of bailouts. An
on its debt...” living standards. If a credit event [banker talk for deficit was caused by Labour some- a chance of sustained redistribu- If Cameron says he wants to elim- Could the EU – and in particu- securities that in the worst case face expansion of its exports to China, even deeper breakdown of the sys-
Of course as a mega-rich capital- And of course the USA and default - RB] takes place it is cru- how spending too much on hospi- tion of wealth and planned exten- inate the deficit and the debt in four lar its strongest powers Germany, a value destroying restructuring.” whose soaraway growth cannot last tem could result; creating enormous
ist Gross’s solution is as predictable Britain are far from being the worst cial to see what the terms would be tals and schools, Hari points out that sion of services we’d need to con- years, and Miliband says he’ll halve France and Britain – afford to If these banks needed bailing forever and whose economy is at competitive pressures on the major
as it is barbaric: “Without attack- affected. It is in Europe and in par- as a haircut would have a much dif- Britain’s debt was relatively low when fiscate the funds of these huge it in two years, our answer is to abol- bailout Spain? The answer is prob- out, that would increase pressure danger of overheating, raising the global powers and threatening the
ing entitlements - Medicare, Medi- ticular the Eurozone that the crisis ferent outcome vs an extension of the crisis began. He correctly argues financial institutions and investors, ish it overnight: by seizing the prof- ably yes: but only just. The bigger on state funding still further, causing prospects of a crisis of its own integrity of the world currency and
caid and Social Security - we are of state debt has been sharpest. maturities” In other words the that cuts will dampen spending and impose state control of foreign its of the banks and telling the bond- question is whether the EU could bond market lenders to look very over the years to come. trading systems.
smelling $1 trillion deficits as far as And it is Europe that poses the bankers might actually lose some reduce the speed of economic recov- exchanges, renounce (“default”) on holders and the Bill Gross’s of this handle the potential knock-on closely at the finances of other, appar- The outcome depends on the class Denying the existence of the
the nose can sniff.” biggest risk of the crisis deepening money, not just have to wait longer ery, and calls for investment to be the debt altogether, and spread world that we won’t pay them back effects. ently more stable states. struggle. Re-establishing a stable deficit and the power of bond mar-
Sound familiar? So it should. In and spreading. The British capital- for it to be paid. grown not sliced back. that as fast as possible from one a single penny. The EU’s current emergency And it is very clear that, as the EIU equilibrium of capitalist expansion kets will dull the ability of the resist-
the UK the bankers, investors and ists are all too keen to point to To avoid this Greece, Ireland, Por- In a classic example of Keynesian country to another. There might be a few people in credit mechanism for bailouts goes report puts it, the current EFSF plus can only be done over the ruins of ance to target the system itself. We
money-men have spent the last two Europe, supposedly as a warning of tugal and Spain, countries which are economics, he says: “debt isn’t the Greece, Portugal and Ireland that by the ungainly name of the Euro- IMF funding would “not be enough the jobs, services and benefits of the need to point out the reality and the
years pointing to the deficit and call- what would happen unless they get already suffering terrible cuts and mas- problem. Debt is part of the cure. “My deficit’s bigger than would follow suit if we did. pean Financial Stability Facility. It is for Spain plus any other potentially working class of Europe. We can insanity of this system so we can pre-
ing for vicious cuts in health, educa- away with the cuts. sive unemployment - more than one The facts suggest need to spend yours” The risk the bosses are worried about a special fund that borrows money vulnerable country, such as Belgium resist and can break the cuts and pare an international movement
tion, benefits, jobs and services to Only a few weeks back Portugal in every five Spanish people is out of more, not less, to get the economy One of Johann Hari’s strongest argu- is that the ‘contagion’ of sovereign in commercial credit markets, (which has funding needs of around bring down the austerity govern- to overthrow it.
solve it. joined Ireland and Greece as the work - are being asked to take yet back to life – and pay back the ments is that the scale of Britain’s debt crises spreads further across the backed by loan guarantees from the €140 billion during 2011-13) and cer- ments if we follow the path of the
They used just the same type of third Eurozone state to need a mas- another round of austerity and cuts. debt in the good times, when we will deficit is nothing like as big as the Eurozone and starts to hit coun- strongest EU powers, and then lends tainly not Italy (€820 billion).” French and Greek workers and Read Johann Hari’s blog post ‘The
scaremongering too. sive bailout to avoid bankruptcy. As So why is the deficit so high in be able to afford it.” Eurozone states that are facing tries not in the periphery of the EU – not gives – the money to EU mem- Would a Spanish bailout turn the exceed their efforts by launching Biggest Lie in British Politics’
Just before the election the Tories a condition of the bailout, eye-water- some countries? Will countries He concludes that the deficit isn’t bailout and the threat of default. but at its highly developed core. ber states that get into trouble. attention of the “invisible” bond mar- indefinite general strikes not limited tinyurl.com/6739eto

8 • Workers Power #354 • May 2011 workerspower.com fifthinternational.org Workers Power #354 • May 2011 • 9
★ STRIKE ACTION ★ INTERNATIONAL
industrial overview from imperialism in the dock
JEREMY DRINKALL
PCS: Time to move Egypt: the struggle for MARCUS HALABY
beyond one day strikes freedom continues
All out for Rebecca Allen,
PCS shop steward
Jeremy Drinkall & Marcus
Halaby
Syrians can bring
down Assad regime
30 june!
THE FIGHT against the cuts is tak- use their union mandating meetings
THE PUBLIC and Commercial
Services Union has played a lead-
ing role in calling for the co-ordi-
nated public sector strike on 30
June.
Its conference will vote on 18 May
THE REVOLUTION in Egypt
has entered a new phase.
New independent trade unions
are recruiting tens of thousands
and demanding an end to starva-
tion wages and sweatshop condi-
ing a big step forward on 30 June, in the next few weeks to insist con- to ballot 250,000 members in the tions. The popular movement is
with a string of unions now pledg- ference names the 30 June date. All civil service for action alongside forming local and national com-
ing to shut the country down in a trade unionists can use this oppor- teachers. mittees to demand the fulfilment
mass public sector strike. tunity to demand their national lead- If all public sector unions bal- of the democratic promises made
The PCS, UCU and NUT have ers join the rebellion – and that their loted, then millions of workers when Hosni Mubarak fell.
been planning action for a while own branches, sectors and regions could strike as one to stop the Yet the “reformist” government
now, and the Unite union national call strikes anyway. Coalition Government from tak- of Essam Sharaf wants to ban Popular Committees launching first conference in Tahrir Square, 22 April
health committee has voted in Secondly, why should we strike for ing their axe to our jobs, pay and strikes and demonstrations and
favour of coordinating action too. only one day? Does anyone imagine pensions. restrict the right to form political mer Commander of the Presi- the basis of proposals for the con-
In a separate development, jour- that Cameron and Clegg will back Across the board we are facing parties. dential Guard – has assumed stitution, social justice, action prior
nalists at the NUJ’s annual delegate down after one day? For the past 25 billions in cuts, an increase in the The Egyptian people – with the Mubarak’s powers. Egypt’s emer- to the election, and setting up a
meeting voted overwhelmingly that years, British unions have got into the pension age, a pay freeze, cuts working class and urban poor in gency law of 1958 remains in place. national council to “give voice to
the TUC should coordinate a 24- habit of taking one, two, or at most to redundancy pay, workplace the front – may have succeeded The State Security Investiga- the people’s aspirations and coor- SYRIAN security forces shot dead country where one-third of the
hour public sector general strike. It five-day strikes. Right wingers are closures and thousands of job Under Blair and Brown, PCS be the next step – it’s where the in overthrowing Mubarak, but tions Service – Egypt’s secret dinate with the Supreme Council over 80 protesters on 22 April. population belongs to an ethnic or
looks possible too that strike-shy quick to point to the miners’ defeat losses. The government is attack- held a series of one-day strikes and real power of the unions lies. their revolution did not go all the police – has formally been dis- of the Armed Forces”. They killed another 12 the next religious minority – would hand
unions like the Association of Teach- as the reason why. ing us all at once; to defeat them won very little, even at a time of Rank and file union activists and way and seize power. It may have banded, only to be resurrected This follows a successful national day, as the democracy movement victory to the regime on a plate.
ers and Lecturers, the NASUWT But the miners did not lose we need to stand together and high investment in the public sec- reps must demand that we are paralyzed the army as an instru- in a new guise. meeting of the Popular Commit- attempted to bury its dead. Presi- In Homs, Syria’s third-largest
teachers’ union, even the Royal Col- because they went on all out indef- fight back. tor. The Tories want to break apart balloted for effective action that ment of repression but it did not The 40,000-strong independent tees for the Defence of the Revo- dent Bashar al-Assad has opened city, the government even made
lege of Nursing could join that list. inite strike. They only lost because Co-ordinated strike action is a our services and are determined to can stop the cuts, not just one- break the power of its command- teachers’ union is demanding a 7 lution in April. PCDR leaders a river of blood between his regime claims of an “armed Salafist
This shows that increasing num- other unions failed to deliver soli- great start, but if we’re going to win achieve this in their five-year term day strikes. ers over the rank and file. per cent pay rise, reduction of class Khaled Abdel Shaheed told El and the people. [Islamist] insurrection” when pro-
bers of union members, and even darity, bring their own claims for- then we have to go beyond the in power. They are openly dis- One motion to PCS conference, The movement that made the sizes from 90 to 40 and 33,000 new Ahram: “Our ultimate aim is for The Arab revolution, though testers occupied the central Clock
some leaders, are ready for more ward and strike alongside them! established PCS strategy of one- cussing strike-breaking and new A3, calls on the TUC to organise a revolution must continue to chal- schools. Union leader Abdel Hafiz there to be social monitoring in the slow to spread to Syria, has now Square. However, the protesters
than just marching in the streets at They lost in short because there was day strikes. Public sector one-day anti-union laws. All the more rea- general strike. We should join the lenge and veto the regime’s deci- said teachers wanted to “gain con- coming period for all branches of proved democracy campaigners asked certain tribal sheikhs to
weekends. If 26 March had the look not a general strike. And the cost general strikes in France and son for us to start fighting now. NUJ and NUT in supporting this sions. Above socialists all must agi- trol of their work”, adding that the government and all institutions are as willing as their cousins in leave the sit-in, when it became
and feel of a European style union was the decimation of whole indus- Greece failed to stop cuts and pen- Half a million people marched call. But this is the last thing the tate for a revolutionary party to many wanted to form new, secu- as a guarantee of the revolution’s Tunisia, Egypt, Libya or Bahrain clear that they did not support
demo, with flags, balloons and tries and the communities that sion reform there. We need to walk through London on 26 March, TUC leaders want. So we need to complete the democratic revolu- lar workers’ parties. consummation.” to sacrifice their lives for the over- their demands. Later, they
vuvuzelas, could Britain be gearing depended on them, the halving in out together and stay out together demonstrating the power of the organise across the unions to tion and overthrow the capitalist Every trade unionist felt a boost Absolutely right. But the devel- throw of dictatorship. chanted: “We are not Muslim
up for European-style days of action size of the unions. Are we pre- – until we win. unions. Mass strike action has to deliver one ourselves. system and break imperialist dom- when the regime was forced to opment of dual power –between The movement began with small Brotherhood or Salafis – our only
and even a general strike? pared to let the Tories do this to ination of the country. detain yellow ETUF union leader, mass organs of the revolution, protests in support of the Egyptian demand is freedom.”
the public sector? Hussein Megawer, for organis- workers councils, a popular militia and Libyan people and against the The revolution has won victo-
Roadblocks ahead
Certainly a massive day of action on
30 June could be a springboard for
this. But we should also be aware of
Of course just calling on the TUC
leaders for coordinated public sec-
tor action or even a general strike
will not bring either about. We will
Teachers taking Counter-revolution
Apart from a few changes at the
top, Mubarak’s resignation has
resolved none of the causes for the
ing the “battle of the Camels”, one
of the bloodiest assaults on the
revolutionaries in Tahrir Square.
– is itself only a step towards the
real solution: the power of the
workers and peasants of Egypt.
Such an outcome requires the for-
police brutality with which these
were treated. But the regime’s
arrest of children for daubing anti-
regime graffiti in the poor south-
ries: forcing the government to
grant citizenship to 200,000 Kurds
in the north-east and to rescind the
1963 emergency law, which banned

action over pensions


some pitfalls that still lie in the path. have to build it from below. A strong revolution. Revolutionary conference mation of a revolutionary party, ern province of Daraa and its lethal demonstrations and severely lim-
First, we’ve been promised coor- movement from the rank and file An unelected junta – the A coalition of youth groups and based on the socialist groups, the response to local demands for their ited freedom of speech.
dinated strikes for two years now – in our unions, action by local anti- Supreme Council of the Armed political organisations is holding new trade unions and the most far- release ensured the spread of the While promising reforms, how-
the NUT in particular has been talk- cuts groups and public service users, Forces – headed by Field Marshal a conference in May with the sighted and determined activists of movement across Syria. ever, the Ba’ath regime contin-
ing about joint strikes against the could really put the pressure on Rachel Brookes At their recent national confer- Presently in terms of national Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, a for- aim of revolutionary unity on the popular movement. Hoping to exploit people’s fears ues to kill unarmed protesters,
demolition of public service work- our leaders, building inter-union sol- ence, the National Union of Teach- action, pensions is now the cutting of communal conflict between while fabricating stories about
ers’ pensions since October 2010. The idarity to continue the fight until vic- THIS YEAR’S NUT conference ers discussed a motion condemning edge of working class resistance, it Syria’s different religions and sects, “armed gangs” terrorising neigh-
NUT has yet to commit to a date,
while the PCS would only start their
ballot on 23 May if their confer-
ence passes the motion on the 18th.
tory. People worry about the anti-
union laws but if we all come out
together then we can break them
through collective action.
passed important resolutions calling
for co-ordinated strikes over pen-
sions and backed calls for a one day
public sector general strike. Teachers
the government’s entire economic
and political strategy.
“The rush to cut public spending
is motivated by long-standing Tory
has the potential to unite the edu-
cation sector in a Britain-wide strike.
The Association of Teachers and Lec-
tures (ATL) are mandated to ballot
Battle for Libya rages on presenting itself as the only
defender of national unity, the
Ba’ath Party regime has tried to
paint the protests as sectarian.
bourhoods.
In reality, everyone knows that
the only “armed gangs” in Syria
belong to the regime – in the form
The NUJ is not even preparing a True, our European sisters and will now join with hundreds of thou- support for privatisation and profi- for strikes, and the NASUWT looks …continued from page 1 drawn from the old regime. As they should make it clear to the Euro- Indeed, the Egyptian Muslim of shadowy militias and security
ballot, simply calling on a TUC that brothers have up to now been ahead sands of other public sector workers teering rather than any real con- as if it could follow the same path. anti-Gadaffi forces. The US has get bogged down, they will increas- pean and US multinationals that Brotherhood’s Yusuf al-Qaradawi forces. Rumours have even circu-
has already declared itself against of us in the resistance to austerity. on strike on 30 June in defence of cern for the efficiency or quality of One motion stated that the union sent its unmanned Predator ingly sacrifice Libyans in their they will not sell their country or has linked “regime change” to lated that soldiers in Homs have
such a move. Meanwhile the bigger The Greeks and the French nearly their pensions. public services.” should “organise coordinated ballots drones, notorious for slaughtering bid for control of the revolution. support its occupation by Nato. Sunni sectarian hostility to the cooperated with civilians in look-
unions – GMB, the majority of Unite, won their battles but failed to link Teachers are now no longer able to They also discussed launching a for discontinuous action should that wedding parties in Pakistan, to It is crucial that socialists fight to Although the self-appointed Shi’a Alawi minority, of which ing for gunmen, resembling the
and Unison – remain silent. Dave up their days of action and put the retire at 60, and the Tories are look- political and industrial campaign prove necessary”, and that it will patrol the no-fly zone. end the no fly zone and get Nato’s Transitional National Council is Assad is a member. So far, how- way in which the Egyptian army’s
Prentis even told last month’s Uni- question to their governments point- ing at upping the age from 65 to 67. against city academies and free “organise national and local demon- The revolutionaries need to military advisers out of the coun- adopting an openly pro-imperial- ever, this has had little effect in lower ranks began to fraternise
son NEC that the union could not bal- blank: “Either you back down and They are being asked to increase their schools, that are not motivated by strations, rallies and public meetings beware: the West is cynically abus- try. If the West really wanted to help ist position, this does not reflect the splitting the protests. with protesters in Tahrir Square.
lot before 2012 – before he was forced pack your bags – or we will run the pensions contributions by an extra “raising standards” but are aimed at in conjunction with other unions ing the desperately unequal strug- the rebels establish democracy then aspirations of many of the young The pro-democracy movement While the army may not have
to recant by angry members. country ourselves.” £45 per month, but this won’t go any- “privatising and deregulating state and pensioners organisations.” gle to secure their total submission it would arm them with no condi- fighters. They must fight to replace embraces all Syria’s communi- split yet, this is a sign of growing
So it will be up to rank and file Only an all-out general strike can where near the pension pot. education.” The big chance to beat the govern- to its interests: control over the oil tions. It has not done so. Libyan rev- it with an anti-imperialist one, ties, including the Alawi minor- mass sympathy for the move-
union members to press for the 30 pose the question that way. Which is But with Education Minister In response they aim to “encour- ment is if the education unions not and stem the flow of migrants into olutionaries should call on volun- based on the workers and the ity. Whatever resentments may ment – which can only continue to
June date and not let it slip. Journal- why every activist should use this new Michael Gove’s enormous expansion age and support NUT members to only unite with all other public sec- Europe. Nato has intervened not teers from Egypt and Tunisia – youth, which can defeat Gadaffi, exist against Alawis on account infect the state’s repressive insti-
ists should call on their leaders not opportunity to get as many workers of city academies, free schools, and take strike action, where possible with tor unions under attack, but prepare at all to replace Gadaffi with a especially those with military skills reject the West’s interventions, and of the regime’s corruption and tutions, as the people become more
to wait for the TUC but call an NUJ- as possible on strike on 30 June – and cuts, this is just the tip of the iceberg other unions, against proposals to con- for the sustained strike action that regime based on mass popular – to fight alongside them. At the link up with the revolutions across favouritism, the protesters under- united and insistent in their
wide ballot now. Civil servants should agitate for a Hot July as well! – and teachers are furious. vert to academy status.” can bring the Tories down. democracy, but on “reliable” forces same time Libyan revolutionaries the Arab world. stand that sectarian slogans – in a demands.

10 • Workers Power #354 • May 2011 workerspower.com fifthinternational.org Workers Power #354 • May 2011 • 11
workers power
Fight racism - defend migrants
Jeremy Drinkall to education, ingraining poverty in
their communities and criminalis-
PRIME MINISTER David ing their youth, they ensure there
Cameron has again whipped up is a stagnant pool of hungry labour,
racist fears about immigration, ready to do the jobs at the rates that
calling for “good immigration, others would not.
not mass immigration” and Racism is the ideology that both
claiming he will stop “hundreds “justifies” this inherently unjust
of thousands” coming to Britain. relationship, and attempts to bind
In a speech to the Tory Party some workers to “their” bosses.
faithful, but broadcast far and wide, This can take the form of sup-
Cameron said “significant numbers port for imperialist wars in
of new people, not able to speak Afghanistan and now Libya. It is
the same language, not really want- similar to the poision of national
ing to integrate, have created a kind chauvinism, like the “British Jobs
of discomfort and disjointedness for British Workers” strikes in 2009
in some neighbourhoods”. that aimed at taking away jobs
Cameron as Prime Minister, from migrant workers.
defending a capitalist system which So it is excellent that Lambeth
sees growing inequality in Britain Unison and the Save Our Services
between rich and poor, must surely anticuts group joined the demo in
take a lot of the blame for any sense support of justice for Smiley Cul-
of discomfort and disjointedness ture last month. Racism and the
that people feel - not immigrants. oppression of black and Asian com-
But in times of economic crisis
and social decline racism is a
tried and tested method of divide
and rule. Using emotive language
which is designed to whip up prej-
Thousands march munities is on the rise. The bosses
know that, in times of job losses,
service cuts and wage restraint,
racism is a useful to keep us divided.
Cameron himself made this clear
udice and appeal to the headline
writers in the Murdoch press,
Cameron and the Tories prefer to
deflect attention away from the
bankers and the rich and towards
for Smiley Culture
“DIRTY BABYLON!” snarled the According to the police, on 15 not one officer convicted. As
in the most telling part of his Tory
conference speech: “The real issue
is this: migrants are filling gaps in the
labour market left wide open by a
welfare system that for years has paid
some of the poorest people in crowd in time to the reggae March officers inexplicably one protester put it, “Smiley British people not to work… Put
our society. beat. It was a line from a 1980s allowed Smiley, a reggae star just happens to be the most simply, we will never control immi-
It is racist scaremongering pure Smiley Culture hit: “Cockney from the 1980s, to go on his own well-known man to have died in gration properly unless we tackle
and simple. Cameron uses vague say Ol’ Bill, we say Dirty into his kitchen to “make a cup police custody.” welfare dependency.”
generalisations that cannot be chal- Babylon”. How appropriate. of tea” – even though he was That’s why so many other This is as clear as one, two, three.
lenged. He refers to one horrific The death of Smiley Culture under arrest at the time. The campaigners for victims of the First whip up fears over their way
court case about Asian pimps to in police custody is yet police initially claimed that police were out for Smiley: of life being threatened by immi-
make an unrelated point about another suspicious death at Smiley had stabbed himself Kingsley Burrell Brown, Sean grants; second blame ethnic
“young British girls” being preyed the hand of the Met. Little through the heart with a knife so Rigg, Habib “Paps” Ullah and minorities for the inadequacies
upon. These are the same argu- wonder it has angered the big that it clean came out of him more. The march called for of schools, housing and hospitals,
ments that the BNP used in West black community across south the other side. justice for all those who have cut to the bone by the cuts pro-
Yorkshire to win support. London. Over two thousand Smiley’s family and friends died or suffered at the hands of gramme; and third say, “We’ll get
The speech chimed with other turned out on 16 April in the know the singer’s death fits a the police – black or white, tough on black and Asian workers,
recent comments he has made, largest black-led pattern: 400 dead in police Smiley Culture or Ian if you’ll work for peanuts in hell-
condemning multiculturalism for demonstration in years. custody over the last decade, Tomlinson. ish conditions.”
“encouraging different cultures to It’s a con. And there’s only one
live separate lives, weakening our Thatcher claimed white people the same. Two-fifths of people from to their death. Three Iranians, group, one class of people who are
collective identity” and calling for were being “swamped by people ethnic minorities live in low-income encouraged by Britain to rise up benefiting: the bosses and the
an “active, muscular liberalism” with a different culture”. Both households, twice the rate for White against the regime in 2009, are now bankers who caused this crisis in
to combat Muslim extremists. That replaced fact with fiction. people, a figure that rises to 50 on hunger strike, their lips sown the first place.
he made this jibe on the day the The reality is that Black and eth- per cent for black Africans and two- up, fearful of being sent back to Immigration is presented as
fascist thugs of the English nic minority people are systemati- thirds for Asian Muslims. Black their torturers. the problem in Britain today but
Defence League were marching cally discriminated against in Britain. youth unemployment officially the real problem is capitalism
in Luton attempting to carry out Black Caribbean boys are three stands at 50 per cent, though Lee Roots of racism and the growing gap between
another pogrom against the local times more likely to be excluded Jasper of Black Activists Rising The root of this racial oppression rich and poor. Working class immi-
Asian community speaks volumes from school than white boys. Against Cuts reckons the true fig- has nothing to do with a “clash of grants need to be welcomed into
about where Cameron’s “muscu- Almost a third of all stop and ure could be as high as 70 per cent. cultures” or a refusal by immigrants the workforce and labour move-
lar” allegiances lie. searches are instigated against eth- Yet the percentage of the British to “fit in”. It has everything to do ment. Racism needs to be exposed,
nic minorities – over a half, when population who are ethnic minori- with the needs of British capitalism. confronted and defeated, wherever
Fact and fiction police are looking for knives and ties is less than 10 per cent. The bosses need a differentiated it raises its ugly head – through
This is the old Tory Party. In the guns. Young black adults are four Meanwhile Britain continues to labour market, where it is justifi- demonstrations, strikes and self-
1960s Enoch Powell warned of times more likely to be in prison terrorise, impoverish and detain able to pay some workers less than defense. Only this way can we unite
“rivers of blood” caused by immi- than white youths. asylum seekers. Many are a living wage. By excluding black the whole working class in the
gration. In the 1970s Margaret In the job market, the pattern is deported to hostile regimes, some and Asian people from equal access struggle for genuine socialism.

12 • Workers Power #354 • May 2011 workerspower.com