Socialist Worker

Strikes can smash the Tories

Issue No. 2271

Can we really beat the Tories? That question is being asked in workplaces, union meetings and streets up and down the country.

Millions of working class people hate the government and are determined to block its plans to rip out the heart of the welfare state. But we face a critical debate about how to do this.

The Tories want to impose brutal attacks on us. But they are nowhere near as strong as they would like to be.

David Cameron is no Margaret Thatcher. He couldn’t even win an election outright—which is why he is in a coalition. This alone exposes his weakness.

These Tories have never experienced militant working class struggle. They are Bullingdon posh boys who cannot imagine the workers they have such contempt for ever standing up to them.

But they should be afraid—very afraid. The calls for mass strikes on 30 November signal a hardening mood across the working class.

Alas, that hardening mood doesn’t seem to have reached the Labour leadership. They think strikes are a “trap” set by the government.

This is back to front logic. Strikes are the strongest weapon workers have to challenge and derail this government’s cuts programme. The impact of three million workers striking together will be immense.

Of course the 30 November strike alone will not be enough to stop the government. We will need to escalate further and bring even greater forces into the battle. But it will be a vital stepping stone to the kind of action we need.

Imagine the impact if millions more said they would come out—and then decided to stay out until they won their demands.

The work that millions do every day is vital for society to function. Without working class labour, nothing would made and no service would be delivered.

Society can still function when politicians are off on long holidays, or if the bosses don’t turn up for work. Hospitals can still treat the sick, teachers teach the young and trains still travel. But if we stop work, they cannot take our place.

That is why this fight is not just about pensions, cuts or unemployment. It is about what sort of society we want to live in.

Do we want to live in a world that puts the interests of the rich and powerful over the needs of the majority? Or one that values the lives and labour of the overwhelming majority of ordinary people? If you know which you would prefer, then it’s time to join the battle.

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Tue 27 Sep 2011, 19:00 BST
Issue No. 2271
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