The government is bringing constant pain to working class people. The number of people in absolute poverty in Britain rose by nearly a million in just one year. Some 300,000 of these were children.
The cost of living is rising while wages fall—making it harder to make ends meet.
We are now in our fourth year of falling real wages, something which hasn’t happened since the 1870s.
The Victorian patricians that make up the government are determined to keep hitting us with cuts. But they are racked with division partly because they don’t know how much they can get away with.
They know that the mood is there to resist them.
Over 3,500 people had registered for the People’s Assembly Against Austerity as Socialist Worker went to press.
The meeting in London this Saturday was set to be an impressive and timely coming together of those who want to see the Tories beaten.
Socialist Workers Party members go into the People’s Assembly as participants who will march with others, build initiatives and want to strengthen local assemblies.
The demonstrations proposed for the autumn can be an important part of resistance to the government. And local People’s Assemblies have already shown that they can be a focus for debating action.
But we can’t ignore the role of union leaders and Labour if we are to make our struggle as strong as it can be.
Labour has spent the past few weeks announcing that it would keep many Tory policies, including spending cuts. Labour leader Ed Miliband has made it clear that workers can’t rely on him.
In any case, the austerity attacks are too painful to be allowed to fester until 2015.
The union leaders have often spoken of resistance—but stopped short of encouraging or organising it.
Workers showed their power with the magnificent strikes on 30 November 2011. Some 26 unions struck together and brought 2.6 million workers into battle.
This could have sparked a movement with the power to bring the Tories to their knees.
Yet union leaders tried to do deals instead of calling the kind of action that could defend workers.
There don’t have to be any cuts to ordinary people’s jobs, pay, pensions or benefits. The money’s there to give us all a decent standard of living.
We urgently need to step up the resistance to stop the Tories’ assault.
If Labour and union leaders call action, that can galvanise the struggle and strengthen the fight. It will take ordinary people organising on the ground to make that happen. But we can build a movement that can smash austerity—and the Tories.