Socialist Worker

Workers’ struggle, not parliament is the key

Issue No. 2774

Strikes and workers action like at Weetabix in Northamptonshire is the route for change

Strikes and workers' action like at Weetabix in Northamptonshire is the route for change (Pic: Twitter/ Unite East Midlands)


The Tories’ brutal attacks on working class people are accelerating. With the Universal Credit £20 uplift due to be snatched away soon, hundreds of thousands will be plunged into poverty.

Gas prices, fuel shortages and empty shelves are the crises our rulers create, which ordinary people are forced to pay for.

Some 1.6 million people still on the furlough scheme.Many face unemployment, being forced into lower paying jobs and insecurity in the next month.

The pensions “triple lock” will be set aside for a year.

At the Tory party conference this weekend, all manner of poshos and billionaires will guffaw at their political opponents.

They’ll stuff their faces with expensive food and pat themselves on the back for a job well done in the year of Covid.

Meanwhile, the poor will be left to suffer in hunger and cold.

Alternative 

What’s the alternative? It’s certainly not the Labour Party and Sir Keir Starmer.

As he showed this week, Starmer’s Labour has no interest in taking real action to make working class people’s lives better, or being an effective opposition to the Tories.

Instead the Labour right are pushing to drive out as much as the left as possible.

Rather than confront the bosses, bankers, generals and spy chiefs they want to demonstrate they will preserve the establishment’s system.

The answer begins with class struggle.

We need more of what we saw in the Black Lives Matter movement, the school climate strikes, Extinction Rebellion and the revolts in many parts of the world.

These change minds and give people confidence in a way that no parliamentary manoeuvre can do.

Strikes and protests force bosses and politicians toact. They also bring working people together to see the world in a different way.

Workers’ ideas—changing through struggle
Workers’ ideas—changing through struggle
  Read More

Some on Labour’s left will accept the need for resistance outside parliament.

But it’s posed as the way to drive Labour back to the left, and so struggle becomes just another form of internal pressure.

That’s a dead end. It means movements are funnelled into and swallowed up into mainstream parties that ultimately lead nowhere.

The school climate strikes and the Cop26 protests matter because they build a movement, not because they can help a motion at conference.

Strikes matter because they strengthen workers’ organisation and can beat bosses, not because they help change a manifesto.

Resistance from below has to discipline electoral activity, not the other way round.

At the same time as these types of fightback there needs to be a clear argument for revolutionary socialist politics and organisation.

Join the People’s Assembly demonstration at the Tory Party conference this Sunday 3 October. Assemble 12 noon, Oxford Road, near Whitworth Park, Manchester M14 4PW. For events on 2-5 October go to thepeoplesassembly.org.uk

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