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The left can’t wait for the Tories to fall apart

Black Lives Matter protests in London in 2020 (Guy Smallman)


Amid the crisis of the establishment there is a missing factor—struggle and resistance from below. Given the disarray facing Boris Johnson, his Tory party and the British establishment, this is the perfect time for ordinary people to launch an attack.
 
But, worryingly, this hasn’t happened. No mass movement has taken to the streets to try to force Johnson out. No union leaders have called on workers to seize the time and step up strikes. 
 
And, holding out for senior civil servant Sue Gray’s report into the Downing Street parties or for Tory backbenchers to choose their moment can’t be an option anymore. 
 
The Labour Party is happy to sit back and wait, seeing a lame duck Johnson as a turnoff for voters ahead of the May local elections. 
 
This attitude disarms people and takes away their power to make change. Some forces on the left —leaders of major trade unions or coalition movements—boast of large memberships and the ability to represent big contingents of activists and people.
 
Yet they haven’t called for people to take to the streets or act in the workplaces. Therefore it’s a double crisis— a crisis of those at the top of society but also a crisis of the left resistance and of socialist organisation.
 
Given the scale of the shift that’s needed, it would be easy to despair. But every act of resistance is important. It’s good, for example, to see more workers striking over pay and other issues. But a much larger fightback is needed. Going to a picket and supporting local strikes is crucial.
 
But it doesn’t solve the political problem of a generally low level of struggle and a lack of nationally coordinated workers’ action.
 
In the last few years the most effective movements have come from sources outside the traditional labour and trade union movements. 
 
The Black Lives Matter movement, the school climate strikes, Extinction Rebellion, the rank and file NHS pay protests in 2020 all broke through the sense of inaction.
 
The tearing down of slaver Colston’s statue in Bristol sent a message to millions about the need for resistance. Utilising growing anger doesn’t just mean waiting around for something to possibly be called. It means pushing for a fightback. This is urgent. The present sense of disarray for the Tories won’t inevitably still be there in a month’s time.
 
There is a real risk that Johnson could get away with his lying, cheating and murdering. Alternatively the Tories could try to regroup under a new leader. Millions of ordinary people have had enough of the Tories and their corruption. Now has to be the time for workers, activists and the left to act.

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