What we think
Voices of the unheard
THE OFFICIAL election campaign may be tedious, but two events last week cast a light on the real problems facing people in Britain. Some 50,000 postal workers went on an unofficial, illegal strike-fighting bosses’ attempts to screw more work out of them.
Hundreds of Asian people in Oldham took to the streets to defend their community against racists coming into their area. These events gave us a flash of the harsh reality of life in Blair’s Britain, a reality that politicians and press ignore. There are record levels of poverty and deprivation.
In areas like Oldham manufacturing industry has been decimated and there are pools of high unemployment where people are left to rot. The police force remains racist from top to bottom, as police chiefs and the government wilfully ignore the Macpherson report into Stephen Lawrence’s murder. We have threadbare services, a crumbling NHS, and face the terrifying prospect of big business getting its hands on even more of our public services.
Yet all the main parties want more of the pro big business, pro-privatisation policies which have increased inequality, poverty and racism. We do not have to accept that.
The post strike shows that we can stand up, fight and win. Those workers didn’t listen to the advice of their union leaders who told them not to strike. Instead they defied the law, spread the strike and by doing so won a marvellous victory. That example can be followed by other workers facing attacks
And next week, on Thursday 7 June, everyone has a chance to send a message to Tony Blair. He wants the election to give him a mandate for privatisation on a previously unheard of scale.
Every vote for the Socialist Alliance and the Scottish Socialist Party is a vote against Blair’s plan to hand public services to the fat cats. We urge all our readers to throw themselves into the socialist campaign over the next few days to help ensure the biggest possible socialist vote in the election.
We need public fury from TUC
AN AMAZING meeting took place of the executive of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) last week. The meeting, which included the leaders of all the major trade unions in Britain, was in uproar about New Labour’s plans for the privatisation of public services.
Reports spoke of union leaders’ “alarm” at the extent of Blair’s commitment to bringing private managers into the NHS. “They said they feared the proposals went much further than they had been told by the Labour leadership before the election,” reported the Guardian. Union leaders should be shouting their anger from the rooftops instead of being “privately furious” at Blair.
They still pour millions of pounds of union members’ money into funding the Labour Party. TGWU leader Bill Morris repeated his call on Tuesday of this week for a vote for Labour.
Union leaders should be organising strikes and protests across the country to stop the fat cats taking over our hospitals, schools and other services. Their continued silence gives Blair a green light to decimate our jobs and services.
That means it is up to rank and file workers to follow the postal workers’ example and take matters into their own hands.
THE NEXT Socialist Worker will be printed on Sunday 3 June. It will be the last campaigning issue before the election.
All reports for that paper must be in by 12 noon on Saturday 2 June.
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