After the 26th March - we need more, even bigger, demonstrations of our strength!

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
4 April 2011

The TUC march on Saturday 26th 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.

Despite the fact that the TUC had focused the march on the public sector cuts, without trying to build up support among private sector workers, many of the latter came anyway, under their own steam.

To reinforce our ranks, tens of thousands of youth - students, young workers, jobless - joined in as well. And right they were, because it is their future which is at stake!

Yes, this was a reminder that no matter what might be said about the wonders of "big finance", this is just a castle made of cards. Society only works thanks to tens of millions of wage workers whose labour is the only real source of wealth.

On 26th March, these workers took to the streets, as a first warning, to give notice to the bosses, the bankers and their politicians, that the working class will not foot the bill for their crisis.

Building on the momentum

Unusually, no minister dared to question the protest's success, nor did the police try to lie about its size. But nor did Cameron respond to this huge expression of discontent by cancelling any of his cost-cutting plans!

Of course, it would have been naive to think that the coalition would yield ground so quickly. They are just gambling on the fact that, having made our point loud and clear in the streets, we will now go back quietly to our homes, leaving them free to cut our jobs, wages, services and conditions.

So the issue now is to prove them wrong, at the earliest possible opportunity, by building on the momentum created on 26th March and staging even bigger shows of our collective strength.

Because, contrary to what all main parties claim, there is no "need" for the working class to pay for the deficit caused by the banks' bailout - no "need" even for workers to agree to "some cuts", as a number of union leaders suggested at the end-of-march rally in Hyde Park. Nor is there a "fairer" austerity, involving sharing the pain between capitalists and workers, as the TUC and Labour party leaders argue.

The only possible "fairness" is to get the capitalists to pay for every penny of the economic and social consequences of their greed! And they sure can do this, thanks to the colossal wealth they have accumulated out of our labour over all those "boom years" of so-called "affluence" - that is, "affluence" for them and their profits, but never for the rest of us!

Our only "alternative" is fighting back

So far, the only objective proposed by TUC leaders has been what they call their "alternative" to the coalition's austerity. But what it amounts to, really, is Labour's own version of austerity.

So much so that Miliband was invited to promote it from the platform in Hyde Park, on 26th March. Never mind that it was Labour which initiated the present wave of attacks against the working class while it was in office! Never mind either that Miliband does not even commit his party to undo the cuts already carried out by the coalition. Never mind, finally, that he did not even dare to be seen joining the march for fear of being mocked by the Con-Dems!

No, if there is an "alternative" for the working class it cannot be to rely on Labour returning to government - and then telling us that cuts "need" to be made anyway, if only to fund yet more handouts to the bosses to boost "economic growth". We've had enough of such hypocritical nonsense!

On the contrary, the working class needs to stop all cuts and regain the ground lost over the past years - by forcing the capitalist class to pay the cost collectively out of its wealth and profits.

But of course, this won't happen unless the capitalists have good reason to fear that if they don't pay up their debt to society, the cost to their profits might be even higher.

So, since TUC leader Brendan Barber says he "will fight the government's brutal cuts in our workplaces and our communities", he should be forced to live up to his words, by being faced with our initiatives on the ground, involving all sections of workers, public and private, wherever it is possible.