Socialist Worker

Tories won't stop until we put up a fight

Issue No. 2423

 Austerity is now permanent, according to the Tories at their annual conference. Chancellor George Osborne rallied the faithful around a new and vicious assault on welfare benefits. 

The Tories want to claim their austerity policies created an economic recovery. But they also want to say that working class people have to suffer yet more cuts.

These attacks are not about bringing down the deficit. They’re about crushing the lives of ordinary working class people. 

They will not stop unless we put up a fight.

However confident the Tories try to sound they are not in a strong position.  Many of their own voters have yet to feel any benefit from the recovery they’re are trumpeting. They face a wave of defections to Ukip. 

Solid opposition from the left could force them into retreat.

Around a million public sector workers are set to strike against Tory pay cuts in the week leading up to the TUC march against austerity on 18 October (see page 20).

This includes the Royal College of Midwives, which has never struck in its 133 years of existence. 

Many of those who will strike have suffered years of pay freezes and harsher working conditions. Yet they are demonised by the Tory press—as if wanting a pay rise and a pension is too much to ask.

If the strikes are going to have an impact they need to be as big and powerful as possible. 

Union leaders should be on the road fighting for every member to take part, to build picket lines and to join with other strikers across the three days of action.

Every union member needs material that explains why it’s right to strike and goes through the arguments workers face about walking out.

Experience shows that unions recruit new members when they fight.

Workers want their action to make a difference, not simply to be an expression of protest. 

But just two weeks before the action local government activists have had to fight to make sure the strikes are not called off.

If sunion leaders are wobbling, it does not help build confidence among workers that the leadership is serious about building a fight that can win.

There has to be a strategy to of pulling together networks of rank and file militants in every workplace and locality.

These can help put greater pressure from below on union leaders to fight and potentially lead independent action if they won’t. 

Labour has already vowed it will stick to the Tories’ spending plans, which are more about cutting than spending. 

So the only way we can win an alternative to never ending austerity is to get organised and build a fightback.


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