Socialist Worker

How can we win?

Issue No. 2163

The occupation of the Vestas factory should be an inspiration to all of us under attack in the recession.

But it should also be more than that.

The solidarity already shown by other workers to the occupation is impressive. But there needs to be much, much more. Every workplace and campaign group needs to raise a collection and build support.

The occupation has shown that, whatever empty words ministers may spout about jobs, the government will back the bosses—and the courts and police will do their dirty work.

That is why we need mass protests and solidarity to force the government to nationalise the factory. It is why we need to build the protests at the Labour Party conference on 27 September (see page 4).

The fact that a group of previously un-unionised workers have stood up to their bosses and are now defying the courts shows the potential for ordinary people to fight back.

That bravery stands in stark opposition to that of the leaders of the unions, who often use the threat of legal action as an excuse to call off a ballot or a strike.

If people at the sharp end of the recession are prepared to stand up and fight to save their jobs, why won’t the union leaders organise serious resistance?

Too many union leaders seem to be paralysed by the crisis or worse.

There have been plenty of warm words but no strategy to resist, little encouragement of strikes and occupations.

The potential and necessity for resistance is clear, but it is vital that trade unionists organise independently of the officials in order to counter and offset their conservativism.

That means building up networks of rank and file workers that can put pressure on union officials and build support from other workers.

There also has to be an organised presence of revolutionary socialists arguing for the kind of militant action that can win results.

There is clearly a mood to fight among different groups of workers.

Last Friday, for example, a group of workers occupied a children’s secure unit in south London after they were told that it was closing and they would lose their jobs.

Socialists have to get stuck into building solidarity and encouraging every fight—and using those struggles to increase the confidence to fight throughout the working class as a whole.

The reason is simple. This isn’t just about inspiration—this is about our side winning.

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