Socialist Worker

Shape the revolts to give the Tories a kicking

Issue No. 2544

Protesting against Trumps Muslim ban on Whitehall

Protesting against Trump's Muslim ban on Whitehall (Pic: Socialist Worker)


In the first ten weeks of 2017, more than 400,000 people across Britain have joined demonstrations against US president Donald Trump, racism and attacks on the health service.

These hundreds of thousands have rejected the liberal Guardian newspaper’s worldview that society is unstoppably shifting to the right.

They have shown that they want to resist the Tory assault—and that the likes of Trump and Tory prime minister Theresa May don’t have to get their way.

In the latest sign of this rising anger, over 200,000 people marched to defend the NHS in London last Saturday..

Some of them had joined the Women’s Marches and protested against the Muslim ban, but it was largely new people.

All this year’s protests have shown a sense of urgency—and people were open to the same socialist ideas of wanting a different sort of society.

It showed how deep people’s anger runs.

In many parts of the world, there is a revolt against those at the top of society.

Working class people, sick of being shafted by neoliberalism and austerity, want to hit back at the establishment.

This anger can erupt in many different ways.

It can see thousands bursting onto the streets against Trump’s latest barbarity, protests to defend a local hospital, action against racism or parents organising against school cuts.

Socialists have to fight to shape these revolts.

Automatic

While society is not moving steadily rightwards, there isn’t anything automatic about people drawing left wing conclusions.

The vast majority of last Saturday’s marchers see through the myth that migrants or “health tourism” are to blame for the NHS crisis. But in wider society there is a battle on to turn anger towards the real, Tory, enemy and away from migrants.

Socialists have to take the anti-racist arguments against scapegoating into workplaces and campaigns.

The Stand Up To Racism demonstrations in London, Glasgow and Cardiff on 18 March are crucial.

A demonstration, such as last Saturday’s for the NHS, can also help win the arguments.

When people protest or strike together, there is less space for bigoted ideas that can divide us. People are more open to socialist ideas of working class solidarity.

We need more struggle. Wherever we can, we should use the radical mood to build our workmates’ confidence to strike.

There is a potential for serious working class opposition to the Tories’ attacks and to defeat them.

But to realise that potential we have to take on austerity and our rulers’ racist offensive.

That way we can build a movement that’s strong enough and big enough to give the Tories a kicking.


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