Socialist Worker

Movement expands horizon of struggle

Issue No. 2231

Whatever happens in parliament this week, the student movement has transformed politics. It has shattered the myth that people are too ground down, or bought off, or apathetic to resist.

It has destroyed all the myths about the strength of the government.

The Lib Dems achieved some sort of record this week when they were poised to vote four different ways on tuition fees—for, against, abstain and to put off the vote entirely!

It has unmasked the fake radicalism of Nick Clegg and Vince Cable. These liars said they’d vote against any fees increase and then, in order to seal a pact with the brutal Tory regime, they promptly ratted on their pledge.

Now the challenge is to broaden the revolt and, crucially, to involve wide swathes of workers in the fightback.

The coalition’s torments will not end this week. They should only be beginning.

There will be more battles over fees and the Education Maintenance Allowance. And, as the escalating protests against the cuts show, other issues will rise to become the focus for the whole movement.

Undo

During this year’s protests in France over pensions, a popular slogan was “What parliament does, the streets can undo”. Here, if the revolt develops, the Tories and Lib Dems can be blown away like the scum they are.

We need a mass movement and links between students and workers.

The groups of people who have launched occupations and staged the “tax dodgers” demonstrations against Vodafone and Topshop bosses (see back page) have been an inspiration.

But we need bigger numbers to win. And we need the social power of workers to guarantee victory.

Already some lecturers, teachers and other workers have taken a clear stand with the students. In the future we need many more to do the same.

In every workplace now we need solidarity with the students, from resolutions to collections—and, best of all, delegations on demonstrations and walkouts.

That will be the most effective preparation for the battles to come over cuts, job losses and other attacks.

What happens in workplaces now can build for a strike by hundreds of thousands of public sector workers over pensions in the new year, and for the TUC demonstration against cuts on 26 March.

Crisis

But we also need more than a single campaign, or even a battle against a single government.

The root of the coalition’s attacks on education is that they want to make workers pay for the bankers’ and bosses’ crisis. But it’s more than that. They are out to reshape society in the interests of big business.

Cameron and Clegg want to rob workers and people on benefits, but they also want more privatisation, more power for the rich, and fewer rights for workers and the poor.

We need a revolt against the whole capitalist system where profits come before people.

In every college, university, school and workplace there are people who back the student revolt, hate racism, support workers fighting back and want a socialist society.

In every school and college and workplace where there has been struggle over the last month there have been individuals or groups who organised. They raised the idea of a fight, learned quickly how to deal with the headteacher, college principal or boss, and won others to resist as well.

They need to get together.

The ruling class has its police and its laws and its corrupt parliament.

Strength

Numbers and our collective strength are what we have in our favour—but turning potential into reality isn’t easy.

It takes political arguments to win out against hesitant union leaders, it takes initiative and vision to give a lead, and it takes patient argument to pull in wider layers.

That’s what a revolutionary socialist political party is about. It is an organised and democratic group of people who discuss, debate and then move into united practice.

Many people, especially young people, are wary of political parties.

They’ve seen the bitter betrayals by Labour and Lib Dem politicians—they know that traditional parliamentary politics is rotten to the core. They see the main parties uniformly defend the rich and the powerful.

But history shows that without organisation, the ideas of the ruling class, or the trade union leaders, win out, and our potential victories are thrown away.

Revolutionary socialists are not prepared to let society go on in the old way, plunging the world into a constant cycle of poverty and bloodshed.

But it takes more than wishes to create a new world.

We face a ruthless and organised enemy and we have to find a way to stop people who will stop at nothing.

If you agree with us about the need for socialism, and want to be part of the struggle, join the Socialist Workers Party.


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Article information

What We Think
Tue 7 Dec 2010, 18:03 GMT
Issue No. 2231
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