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March 26th:Where do we go from here? (complete version)

Open Discussion | 26.03.2011 09:59 | Analysis | Social Struggles | Workers' Movements

Open Discussion leaflet for today's demo. Please feel free to comment or pass it on.

Where do we go from here?

The public sector is being destroyed. Services, jobs, pay, conditions and pensions are all being targeted. Most people believe this is necessary as there is supposedly ‘no money’. However in fact this is not true. The actual agenda in making the cuts is to enable the Government’s “private sector-led recovery”. Taking over the public sector is one of the most lucrative areas for the multinationals to make maximum profits. This is because their losses are underwritten by the taxpayer, while their profits are their own. Evidence of this is everywhere once you start to look. It is not possible for this process to happen if there is a healthy and thriving public sector. The cuts and reforms are to facilitate the privatisation of the entire state sector including the entire health service and education. This is the actual agenda which explains the way in which privatisation is being driven through even when it is more expensive than the original services. Privatisation does not produce cheaper services. The massive public bailouts prove this. For example, the public are subsidising the low interest rate of student loans to such a level that the cost of doing so is actually more expensive than providing universal free higher education. The same is true for the public subsidies to academy and free schools.
The destruction of the public sector and its privatisation has already been agreed upon, bringing Britain in line with the stated positions of the IMF and the World Bank. After all our successive governments have been imposing such privatisation agendas on other countries to open their markets to the multinationals, sometimes with force of arms. It is hardly surprising that they should have made international agreements to do the same here. This is what is behind the total support all three parties give to the cuts and privatisation agenda. Labour’s only ‘opposition’ to all this is over the speed of implementation, as you will see in today’s speeches. Many of the current cuts were indeed planned by labour when in power. Labour, out of power, has already shown their lack of opposition by voting through the cuts in local government.

Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ volunteers are no solution either. Once services have been cut and volunteers fail to maintain them the multinationals are waiting to scoop up anything left that may be lucrative. Volunteering to provide cut services is just a stepping stone to destruction of public services followed by privatisation.

Workers cannot get any joy by lining up behind the Labour party and this is the first ugly truth we need to face.

For the workers in Britain the role of the TUC is another tragedy. Top union leaders have not been prepared to oppose the cuts and privatisation agenda as the budgets were signed at local council meetings across the country earlier this month. Neither have they, to date, organised the workers in major strikes in opposition to cuts, austerity measures or privatisation. This is even though thousands of workers are losing their jobs. A strike in support of the students earlier this year would have been very powerful. Even this demonstration, timed as it is to take place after local and national budgets have been signed, is simply an event to ‘let off steam’. Both the TUC leaders and the Labour party would like to see everyone’s anger channelled into a re-election campaign for Labour who can then step in to implement the cuts in the next political crisis. The Labour party have had their chance and have shown themselves to be neither an opposition nor an alternative.

The excuse given for the cuts, and it is one that most people seem to accept, is that the country’s deficit has to be paid off and there is no money to spare. However money is easily found for the wars on Libya, Afghanistan, and Iraq which are war crimes being committed in our name. The latest resolution on Libya is in violation of the United Nation’s Charter. The massive bailouts given to the financial institutions; debt interest payments, the massive charges on PFI hospitals and the constant subsidies to private corporations and multinationals also show that plenty of money is available.

So given the fact that Labour is no opposition or alternative, and that TUC leaders are only interested in supporting Labour, what real alternatives do we have? This is a hard issue for workers to deal with because of the long history of reliance on the trade union organisations which past generations built with much sacrifice. The idea that we now have to rebuild our basic organisational structures, and build new ones to defend our interests, is very difficult for many people to accept. The truth is however, that it is up to us alone to get organised, to work closely with our workmates at work to defend jobs and conditions, to organise our communities independently to defend vital services. It is up to us to support our local public sector workers and use our joint creativity to fight the agenda of privatisation and war that successive governments have committed to. It is by working seriously and collectively while supporting each other that we will start to build sorely needed alternatives.
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Display the following 4 comments

  1. Direct democracy-by-the-people — iniref
  2. pfi — long time looking for work
  3. INIREF — @
  4. As you like it — iniref