Socialist Worker

Respect is great-tell people about it

Issue No. 1894

WE WOULD all like to wipe the smile off Tony Blair's face. Last Saturday's demonstration showed that the massive anger over the war on Iraq has not gone away.

Blair may want to shift attention onto domestic issues, but here too he faces the wrath of millions who are sick of privatisation, the crisis in health and education services, and the growing pressures of work. Respect: The Unity Coalition is giving people the chance to punish Blair at the 10 June elections.

The Respect coalition aims to bring together all those opposed to war, imperialism and the neo-liberal agenda and forge a new, dynamic force in British politics. Respect supporters were out in force on London's anti-war march and got an enthusiastic response. But there are many people in towns and cities across Britain who have not yet heard about Respect.

They won't find out much about it from the TV and newspapers. Respect supporters have the urgent task of raising the profile of Respect and spreading the word. There are just ten weeks to go until the election.

So Respect called for mass leafleting of tube and train stations to catch many thousands of commuters in one go on Thursday of this week. If that's done regularly over the remaining weeks it will help make Respect's name familiar to wide groups of people. Respect is also encouraging its supporters to connect with networks of anti-war activists, defend council housing campaigners, opponents of privatisation, and so on.

We can target shopping centres, workplaces and colleges, as well as bus and train stations. Here Respect supporters can hand out leaflets and set up displays. Candidates can meet and greet voters, and get some publicity in the media. George Galloway and Lindsey German, two of Respect's most high profile candidates in London, are keen to spend a whole day in a local area with events booked through the day.

Local Respect supporters should be arranging for them to meet various groups of people including workers, students, pensioners and community groups. Respect campaigners can raise support inside their trade unions by approaching workmates, putting motions to their union branches and inviting Respect candidates to the workplace to give meetings. Respect is a great idea. Let's make sure everyone gets to hear about it.


Strikes can beat Blair's beloved market forces

WORKERS WHO face job cuts, rotten pay, increased workload and longer hours get the same response from New Labour-there is nothing you can do about it. This is 'market forces', we are told. Workers have to be 'flexible'. But two groups of workers have fought back and stunned their bosses.

University lecturers are winning their dispute over pay after taking determined action including a successful national strike. Nursery nurses in Scotland are continuing their all-out indefinite strike for decent pay, and are touring Britain to raise support for their struggle. These mainly women workers are involved in Britain's biggest industrial dispute, which the union leaders should be publicising and making into a cause celebre.

Neither lecturers nor nursery nurses are in traditional industries known for their militancy. They can't directly hit at company profits. And many are on short term contracts. But they are an example to millions of workers across Britain that you can fight back and you can win.

Everyone should rush to organise collections for the nursery nurses to help deliver another victory. And workers across Britain who face the same attacks should follow their lead and take action. Each group that fights back shows Blair that we won't accept the misery of his 'market forces'.


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What We Think
Sat 27 Mar 2004, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1894
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