Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 1994

The day we showed our power to win

This article is over 15 years, 9 months old
28 March 2006: the return of solidarity
Issue 1994
Striking in Liverpool (Pic: Robert Bremner)
Striking in Liverpool (Pic: Robert Bremner)

Up to one and a half million workers struck in Britain. Three million workers, students and young unemployed demonstrated in 150 towns and cities across France.

This was not supposed to happen in Blair’s Britain or in neo-liberal Europe. For years we have been told class politics is dead and that we should all accept the wonders of the free market.

Some of the lowest paid in Britain – school dinner staff, classroom assistants and refuse workers – retook their streets from the Shetland Islands to the Solent.

New Labour, the bosses and the media had no understanding of what was taking place. That was because it was the return of working class politics.

It was the same story when it came to the strikes and protests France.

One BBC correspondent in Paris blamed “agitators” as demonstrators took over the city centre.

What unites the rebellions on both sides of the channel is a rejection of the free market.

Here people asked why we have to work until we drop while bosses retire with a big pension at 60.

In France a majority of people are up in arms over a law making it easier to sack young workers.

On Tuesday we saw the return of solidarity and a demonstration of a power that can win.

We must not let union leaders put it back into cold storage.

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