Against Cameron's "class war", onto the streets on 20th October!

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15 October 2012

Cameron let the cat out the bag last week in Birmingham. Responding to Milliband's attempt to out-Tory the Tories, he retorted from the platform: "We don't preach about one nation but practise class war. Of course, to accuse Labour of practising "class war" is absurd, to say the least, but after all, this was Tory party conference!

But then Cameron followed Osborne in outlining precisely that: their plans for "class war" against the working majority of the population.

Sure, much of this is political posturing designed to please the Tories' right-wing electorate. But Cameron, his government, and its City masters, are clearly preparing yet more attacks to get us to pay for their crisis. And it's high time they were met with the fight back they deserve.

Fancy paper against our rights? no way!

Among Osborne's keynote announcements was another plan to cut even deeper into the welfare budget - this time targeting the under-25s and their right to housing benefit. As if young workers, whose housing benefit is already restricted, don't also face the highest rate of unemployment!

How are they meant to find a roof? By squatting one of the huge number of empty buildings? Well no, because the ConDems made squatting into a criminal offence. They're determined to protect the parasitism of landlords who'd rather leave houses empty than rent them out at an affordable price. And since they have no plans to build social housing, they're just paving the way for a massive rise in homelessness among the youth!

Osborne's other brainwave was a reincarnation of the "no-fault dismissal" plan that the ConDems shelved last month. This would allow companies to impose so-called "employee-owner" contracts on new hires - requiring workers to waive their rights against unfair dismissal and to agree to reduced rights regarding maternity leave, flexible working and training. In return they would be given shares worth between £2,000 and £50,000.

Osborne says this will provide a springboard for "job creation" by employers who would no longer be "prevented" from hiring by the fear of having to face industrial tribunal claims. But what would workers, (this seems to especially target women!), gain? A few thousand pounds in shares, with strings designed to ensure that they cannot be sold early? And what good would £2,000 be, assuming the shares retain their initial value, for those who are sacked without any other compensation?

No, politicians and their business masters may be starry eyed about share-schemes, but workers aren't! We have no use for that sort of fool's gold, only for solid cash, decent conditions and the employment rights we are entitled to against the greed of the bosses!

Our voice must be heard

Despite Osborne's pathetic attempts at pretending that his party represents "hard-working Britain"' rather than the rich, their attacks on welfare and hand-outs from the state to the rich and the banks say it all.

But in this respect, what is there to choose between the main parties? It was Labour which launched Cameron's "class war" first, by helping the bosses to casualise labour and then by turning the screw on the working class after the crisis broke out. Ed Balls' insistence that Labour won't reverse the ConDems' cuts, speaks for itself as to the future policy of a Labour government.

Obviously, ballot papers will not help us to fight back in this war, let alone regain the ground lost. Only our collective strength will, provided we use it without falling for the illusions peddled by those who claim to speak on our behalf.

The TUC, for instance, has at last called another national protest on October 20th, 11 whole months after the success of last year's November 30th mobilisation. This, after a year in which, in many industries, union leaders have been signing up to all sorts of cuts behind workers' backs.

The TUC slogan for this day of protest is not "let the capitalists pay for their crisis", as it should be, but "for a future that works" - a way of saying that we should wait until Labour returns into office!

But why wait for another austerity drive under Labour wrapping paper? What is needed today is a general mobilisation of our ranks - a rising wave of strikes and protests strong enough to stop the attacks of the capitalist class and tilt the balance of forces in our favour.

We cannot expect the TUC to organise such a mobilisation. But we can use October 20th to say loud and clear that this is what we need and what we want. The more of us who turn up on the day, with our own slogans and placards, the better we will be able to prepare for the necessary fightback.