General election? surely they mean “general strike”? & The refugees are from our side of the class divide

 General election? surely they mean “general strike”?

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.

 The refugees are from our side of the class divide ; an injury to one is an injury to all!

After the scandal at the Manston migrant holding centre, Prime Minister Sunak was asked by Labour if the asylum system was “broken”?  He answered by boasting that his party in government had got Brexit done and had taken control of the borders “by ending freedom of movement”!  Besides not answering the question, imagine boasting about removing workers’ right to travel and work freely across Europe!?

    Of course none of this government’s actions in respect of Brexit, nor indeed anything else, has had a positive effect on the lives of anyone – let alone the migrant refugees currently being treated “worse than animals” and certainly without a scrap of human compassion at Manston.

     Suella Braverman called the arrival of almost 40,000 migrants in small rafts over the course of the year, an “invasion”: language which was immediately welcomed by Nigel Farage, the far-right politician who used the very same words during the 2015 election, when UKIP polled its highest ever vote share, provoking Cameron’s Brexit referendum.

    Immigration minister, Robert Jenrick, supported Braverman, saying that “‘invasion’ is a way of describing the sheer scale of the challenge".  The politicians say they are only against “illegal” immigration.

    However, today, using a small raft to arrive in Britain is the only way to submit an asylum claim, given the fact that safe routes no longer exist - and neither do application centres abroad.  This is due entirely to the nationalistic, anti-immigrant stance, not only of the British, but also EU governments.  Increasingly, they adapt to the right-wing scapegoating of (mostly) dark-skinned migrants, in the context of an utterly rotten capitalist economy in constant crisis, which has nothing to offer the working class except exploitation down to its very bones, in order to keep itself going.

    In fact 76% of those who arrive here, even under the Home Office’s strict criteria, are judged to have valid asylum claims.  However, due, not just to massive cuts at the Home Office, but the systematic subcontracting of all its functions to private cowboys, it’s got to the point where 96% of people who crossed the Channel last year are still waiting for an initial decision, part of a backlog of 100,000 applications.  With hardly any support nor way of sustaining themselves, many refugees "disappear", including children, to work on the black market or more likely, to be exploited by criminal gangs.

    If the asylum system is broken, it’s a function of the crumbling of the whole capitalist framework.  And if its politicians are stupid, flippant and, moreover, brutal like Braverman, that’s because they are products of this system’s rottenness.  It’s time for change, from bottom to top.