General election? surely they mean “general strike”?

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
2 November 2022

This week and next, there are further strikes across the railways.  Rail workers are holding their ground, refusing safety-critical track and signal job cuts.  And like other workers on strike, demanding a pay rise which keeps up with RPI inflation - now 12.3%.  However, after six months of intermittent strike-days, neither the bosses of the publicly-owned Network Rail, nor private Train Operating Companies are agreeing to union demands.  They are digging in their heels...

    And now Royal Mail bosses have taken to the offensive against striking postal workers.  After the Communication Workers’ Union announced an escalation of strike action they threatened a legal injunction. Instead of calling their bluff, the union leadership cancelled 16 days of rolling strikes (one section after another) including two days of all-out action, all sections together.  Now strikes will take place on 24 and 25 November and on 30 November and 1 December.  That is, if these are not also challenged...

    Totally below anybody’s radar - and certainly the radar of most workers - the TUC is having a rally outside parliament this Wednesday, to highlight the cost of living crisis.  Of course, this is a working day on which nobody is actually on strike, so it can only amount to a “day out” for full time union officials and their staff from Union HQs.  Few “ordinary” workers will be available.

    And what are they demanding? This is their message: “...let’s tell our MPs: we DEMAND better - general election NOW...” For sure, the working class - and its unions - definitely need to appear in the forefront of the political scene.  But which one?  The political scene of workers’ own making, or that of the establishment’s kindergarten politicians and their ingratiating media show?  The “general election” the TUC talks about would be part of this establishment show, with its Labour Party “alternative” offering the same pro-capital policies, just with different faces and a different script.

    The irony is that the working class alternative has been on the lips of all the union leaders involved in the current strikes: they all spoke of a “general” strike, but said it was up to this same TUC to organise it.  Well, now it’s clear as day, the TUC will have nothing to do with such a strike.  Never mind that the whole working class going on the offensive - and winning, of course - is the only effective protection against the crisis, indeed, the only way to force the bosses to pay for the recession of their own making, instead of the rest of us.