You can feel the anger breaking in Britain. It’s most obvious on the student protests and in the occupations of universities.
Everyone needs to be organising now—today—to help that movement win.
Everyone has to plan now to raise the level of the revolt on the day that parliament votes on fees.
But you also feel the rage on the militant demonstration outside Lewisham town hall in south east London on Monday.
Enraged protesters stormed the council chamber in opposition to huge cuts (see page 5).
A sign of the growing pressure from the grassroots for action is the welcome call from Len McCluskey, the new general secretary of the Unite union, for branches to make links with anti-cuts groups.
He also wants an “alliance of resistance”.
McCluskey wants to make sure the TUC’s 26 March demonstration “rocks the establishment and makes them step back”. We are at an important moment. The coalition is seeking to ram through its attacks at a breakneck pace, and the response to this is equally accelerating.
At the same stage in Margaret Thatcher’s government opposition on the streets was at a much lower level.
But we can’t bask in the glow from the students. We need to spread resistance everywhere.
The moves towards coordinated strikes next year can clear the path towards a general strike against the government.
Socialists should redouble our calls for this.
Everywhere, union leaders’ words against the cuts need to be turned into militant action.
A jobs massacre is underway in the councils. Where are the calls for action from the unions?
We will need to push from below to get action. That means arguing for a fight and for rank and file organisation in the workplaces.
And it also means strengthening local anti-cuts groups.
A report from Sheffield about the launch of an anti-cuts campaign—which was supported by ten union branches, the Greens, Labour Party branches and the Right to Work group—gives a sense of what’s possible:
“Day X protests created an electric atmosphere as people packed into a meeting to launch a broad-based and city-wide anti-cuts campaign.
“Some people could not get into the meeting, while others had to sit on the floor.
“It agreed on a fightback uniting anti-cuts campaigns around local government, the civil service, health, education, housing and disabled people.”
We need such unity and determination everywhere.
This is not a time for pessimism or foot-dragging. It is a time to seize the initiatitive and push the movement forwards.