Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials - 11 December 2019

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11 December 2019

What will come out of the election this Thursday night?  No-one is certain.  Least of all the professional pollsters, whose predictions have been so notoriously wrong in the past - assuming they aren't deliberately “fiddled”!
    The one thing we know, though, is that our class interests are not represented by any of the parties standing in this election.  So we could not use our ballot paper in any useful way.
    As to the new Parliament, whether it’s “hung” or not, and whichever party is largest, it will still be dominated by the same Brexit obsession which has hijacked the political scene for already far too long.
    Whoever gets into Downing Street, the new government's first move will be to go back to the EU, allegedly to "get Brexit done" - meaning yet more endless horse-trading not just with the EU, but also among MPs themselves.  And the Brexit saga is bound to go on for many more months, if not years, while the problems faced by the working class remain suspended in mid-air.

Taking our cue from across the Channel

None of this is written in stone, however.  And this is precisely what our French brothers and sisters are showing us today.
    Indeed, despite all the nonsense which was previously peddled day after day by the British media about the EU and Brexit, there has been virtually no coverage of the large wave of militant unrest which has been unfolding on the other side of the Channel over the past week.
    Since December 5th, hundreds of thousands of workers have been taking strike action and staging massive street protests across France.  Since that day, the French railway network has been largely paralysed, with less than one train in five running nationally.  Meanwhile, urban transport has been brought to a standstill in most of the country's main towns.
    The spark which triggered this wave of unrest was the publication of a so-called "reform" of the workers' pension system by president Macron's pro-business administration.  The name of the game, of course, is to cut the cost of this system to the state - and to the bosses - under the pretext of "rationalising" it - much like the Tories’ pretext for introducing the system of universal credit, in order to cut benefits over the past years.
    In fact, this is the latest in a long series of attacks by the French state against workers' pensions.  This time, however, the French government seems to have underestimated the anger which has been generated by Macron's ongoing attacks against workers' rights and conditions.
    What's more, while public transport workers were initially the vanguard of the strike wave, other sections have now joined in - including workers from the energy utilities, refineries, hospitals, schools, and some private sector engineering and car factories.

Time to settle accounts!

In many ways, our situation in Britain is similar.  Like the French workers, we are facing many attacks from the bosses and their politicians in government.  Like them, we have been confronted by a drastic deterioration in living and working conditions, a rise in poverty, and a rampant housing crisis.  And like them, we have received far too many blows from the capitalist class, without responding in kind.
    In addition, we've have to endure the past three years of the Brexit saga:  three years, during which government and politicians have systematically tried to divert our attention from the attacks we were facing, using the mirage of a prosperous post-Brexit Britain and blaming all the ills of their austerity-crippled economy on migrant  workers.
    By now, however, most of us have seen through their conjurer’s tricks, their lies, their poisonous xenophobic games and their divisive tactics.  And the time has come for us to say that enough is enough!
    Do we want to carry on living in what has become, over the past decades, the most unequal society among all the rich European countries?
    Indeed, not only are Britain's CEOs the best paid in the whole of Europe, but its 10% richest own 23 times as much as its 10% poorest.  As to Britain's  6 richest billionaires, they own between them as much as the country's 13.2 million poorest!
    Why would any one of us want to condone such obscene parasitism?  Of course we wouldn’t!
    There is logic to this British madness, though.  It is the logic of unhampered private profiteering, which has not been countered by a working class movement which is prepared to fight back for its class interests.
    Just like today's French strikers, it is time for us to show our muscle and to settle our accounts with our own capitalist parasites.  We do have the collective strength to do it.  But we will have to use it!