The 26th March: a great show of strength, so let's use it!

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
28 March 2011

The TUC march on Saturday in London was huge - the official figures aren't even clear about how big it was - they say "between 250,000 and 500,000"! So take your pick!

Demonstrators were still arriving in Hyde Park after most people had already left, long after the speeches were over. They had come overnight from Scotland, from Cornwall, Lancashire, Yorkshire and Wales - from everywhere around the country, by train and by coach, using the long-awaited opportunity to say what they thought about this government, the bosses and the banks.

And despite the fact that the TUC had focused its so-called "March for the Alternative" purely on the public sector cuts, and had left aside private sector workers, many came anyway, under their own steam.

Yes, this big turnout was a reminder that no matter what political spin-doctors might say about the "New Economy", that society only works thanks to the labour of tens of millions of wage workers. And for all the hype surrounding "big finance", and its City, this is just a castle made of cards. The only real wealth is created by the working class, with its hands.

The Con-Dems still dare to provoke us

No sensible person would expect the government or the bosses to concede even an inch as a result of Saturday's display of strength. Of course not.

Why would they? Haven't union leaders been ultra-careful not even to raise the possibility of any organised follow-up? Indeed, they have not even dared to copy the French example of last year, where a next demonstration was called for, week by week!

TUC leader, Brendan Barber did do some speechifying though, saying that this was just the beginning and that "we will fight the government's brutal cuts in our workplaces and our communities". However, the next planned "action" is for Unite the union to display a coffin outside Westminster signifying the death of the NHS!

Quite evidently the government is so confident there will not be any actual resistance against what it is doing, that just 2 days before the 26th March, it announced a budget which was a clear provocation against the working class!

Not only does this budget spell out all the attacks already on the government agenda against welfare for the disabled, elderly and unemployed - that is, the very poorest in society, but it introduces brand new give-aways for big business!

For the rich, there are yet more new ways to avoid tax and ways to boost profits at the expense of public funds. In particular, Osborne has lowered corporation tax and tax on profits hoarded in tax havens even further. The corporation tax reduction alone, amounts to between £3bn and £3.7bn. The rest amounts to many more billions - a direct hand-out to the very wealthiest in society!

So what next?

Obviously, the attitude of this Con-Dem government is not the attitude of a government which fears the working class. Yet if the demonstration last Saturday has shown anything at all, it is that the working class has more than enough strength to threaten the profits of the Con-Dems' masters in the City.

What could the few thousand wealthy parasites who control the economy, thanks to mere pieces of paper, do against the resolve of millions of workers?

Of course, there would have to be a decision made, together, across the different sections of workers to use this strength. But this initiative is never going to come from the TUC leaders - whose "alternative" amounts to lobbying MPs, asking politely to be heard, parading Ed Milliband on rally platforms, and ultimately trying to get the Labour Party elected again, only to implement the same attacks using slightly different words. Unless, of course, union leaders see that discontent has become so explosive, that they feel they need to be seen to do something.

So the initiative is going to have to begin at grass-roots level, amongst us ordinary workers. It may mean that we first have to fight against what effects us directly, whether it be pension cuts or wage cuts or cuts in working conditions. But it also means that we should not wait in order to build up the forces we need, to go onto the offensive, behind common objectives which bind all of the many sections of workers together, in one united force.

Because that is the only way to win, by doing it ourselves, all together.