Socialist Worker

Unity is essential in the battle against cuts

by Paul Brandon, chair of the Right to Work campaign
Issue No. 2229

A peace process is slowly under way on the left. United by a common enemy—the Tories and the Lib Dems—a comradely spirit is breaking out.

The Right to Work campaign has called for a forum on the 5 December to forge common ground between the various groups, national and local, who have responded to the Tory-Lib Dem coalition with resistance.

We face a massive assault on the very idea of the welfare state and public services. Our energies cannot afford to be divided. We must acknowledge our differences but also find unity in what we cherish as a labour movement.

This is not to say all is rosy in the left’s garden. There remain genuine differences in philosophy and approach. Yet we are faced with a situation where in some towns and cities there are separate demonstrations and meetings against the cuts within days of each other.

The stakes are too high for there not to be agreement on how to work together.

In recent weeks Right to Work has agreed a working protocol with the Coalition of Resistance as a sign of our commitment to this process.

Right to Work has been around for 18 months and we are proud of our role in standing alongside those who are prepared to fight back and not pay the price for a financial crisis they haven’t created.

We have held successful conferences, organised a national demonstration outside the Tory Party conference and been part of edgy protests like the Vodafone shop shutdowns.

Like other groups, we will keep our identity and continue to build and grow. We are holding a national conference on building the resistance on Saturday 12 February in central London.

Yet we are aware there are other organisations like the Coalition of Resistance, the People’s Charter and the National Shop Stewards Network that have significant support.

Our forum on 5 December is designed to initiate an organic process where we can come together and learn from one another, pool our knowledge and develop coordination.

Much of this is to do with the process of working together. But I’m hopeful in the future there can develop a unified radical philosophy that acts as a real alternative to the Tory-Lib Dem vision of the world. It should be part of creating nothing short of a new social movement.

We must build for a massive show of strength at the TUC demonstration on 26 March. Millions need to take to the streets. The students in this country recently followed the lead of their compatriots in France and Greece—it’s now the turn of workers to do the same.

Go to www.righttowork.org.uk

The Coalition of Resistance conference is on Saturday 27 November at the Camden Centre, 27 Bidborough St, London WC1H 9AU 10am-5pm. Go to www.coalitionofresistance.org.uk


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