The 140,000 protesters who joined the TUC's October 20th marches in London, Glasgow and Belfast, went back home with the sense that, collectively, they would be holding a very powerful lever in their hands if they were to seriously fight back together, against the bosses' and their government's attacks.
Not only was every section of the working class represented on these marches, both from the public and private sector, but all marchers had the same demands - a job and a living wage for all, no public sector cuts and for the capitalists to foot the bill for their crisis.
Of course, the TUC's "official slogan" was "For a future that works, rather than, "make the bosses pay!". Not that we wouldn't want a future that works. Sure we would. But who among us really thinks that the next election - bringing in a Labour government, maybe - will give us such a "working" future? That did not happen last time round, nor even the time before that!
But for the trade union leaders, there is no alternative, but to look to the Labour Party. So, as far as they are concerned, the working class must accept its lot! And maybe they even brought Ed Miliband onto the platform at Hyde Park so that workers could boo him a bit! And get it off their chests!
Miliband's speech to the City
Miliband really did deserve to be booed. How many times has he said that he "believes" cuts are necessary? He did it again on Saturday: "I have said that whoever was in government now would have to make some cuts... I do not promise easy times. But I do promise a different and fairer approach". "Fairer"? Coming from a party which bailed out the bankers with tens of billions of public money and, in order to plug the black hole it had created, which launched the austerity drive against the working class that the ConDems have subsequently continued? Yes, that is what the working class has to wait for, and then vote for, in 3 years time, apparently!
Then again, Miliband probably reckoned that this was a good chance for him to address the City of London, because, while he can take the trade union vote for granted, he is not so sure of the votes of the bankers!
Never mind that the real power in society lies, not with the people who take and spend the wealth produced by others, and do nothing, but by the working class whose useful work creates all the wealth in the first place.
And society has more than enough wealth to cater for the needs of all, instead of pushing the poorest into worse poverty and forcing all workers into a race to the bottom, in terms of wages and conditions.
But this wealth, which has been accumulated over the past decades thanks to workers' labour, is in the hands of a tiny minority of rich companies and capitalists - who have been both the cause and the beneficiaries of the present crisis. They must be made to pay for the chaos they've created!
The future depends on our struggles
This is the only "future that works" for the working class - a future in which those who live a fat, parasitic life out of workers' sweat, pay their debts to society in general and to the working class in particular. And if the working class really used its collective strength to fight back, there is no limit to what it would be able to impose on these capitalist parasites.
But preparing for such a fight back was not even on the agenda of the few union leaders who did talk about "coordinated strikes" or about a "general strike". They all stopped short of making concrete proposals that the marchers might have taken back to their workplaces and acted upon.
How and when would these strikes be taking place; who would they involve; how would they have to be prepared? They didn't say. As if a successful fight can ever be built up without formulating clear aims a well thought-out plan to achieve them!
But since the union leaders have no intention of coming up with such a plan, it will have to come from somewhere else. There is nothing stopping workers from building on the sense of strength which comes out of occasions like October 20th, when we come together collectively, ignoring sectional and industrial barriers, and join ranks behind common objectives.
This is where the only "future that works" for the working class lies - in breaking the artificial barriers which split its ranks and joining forces in a common struggle, in the workplaces and in the streets, behind demands which can really address the problems that it is facing today, like: ? nationalise and centralise without compensation today's delinquent banking system; ? make all job cuts illegal; ? share out all available and necessary work between all the many available hands; ? stop the cuts in socially useful public services immediately; and ? organise a large-scale programme of social home-building... That's the kind of programme we can easily come up with!