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Don’t pass up chance to mobilise the fight against the Tory austerity

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Issue 2523
Tory prime minister Theresa May

Tory prime minister Theresa May (Pic: Number 10 / Flickr)

When Tory leader Theresa May moved into Downing Street, the pundits claimed that the Tory splits had been healed.

But Mays “Brexit means Brexit” slogan can’t paper over deep divisions about how to solve the crisis for Britain’s ruling class that erupted in June.

They need to keep the City of London and bosses on side by fighting to stay in the neoliberal Single Market. At the same time the Tories are planning a new crackdown on European Union (EU) migrants’ rights—and many would like to end the free movement of labour altogether.

But the EU won’t allow Britain to have one without the other.

It’s not just Brexit that divides them—opposition to May’s grammar schools plan from senior Tories shows another weak point.

On just these two issues, our side could galvanise mass opposition. The majority of people support EU migrants’ right to remain and oppose May’s plans to bring back segregation in education.

Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election as Labour leader shows that hundreds of thousands have become radicalised. After decades of being told that there is no alternative to the free market, many believe a different sort of society is possible.


To have shadow chancellor John McDonnell openly declare, “We have a vision—it’s called socialism,” is a sign of how politics has shifted leftwards. But our side is not taking advantage of the potential to take on the Tories.

The day Corbyn was elected summed up the problem. As we celebrated Corbyn giving the Labour right a hell of a beating, the British Medical Association called off its planned programme of strikes. When junior doctors previously struck it became a focal point for anger at Tory attacks on the NHS and austerity.

A programme of hard-hitting strikes, backed by mass solidarity, could have beaten hated health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

A victory for the junior doctors would have dealt a severe blow to austerity and given confidence to other workers.

Instead of outrageously supporting Trident nukes and fracking at Labour conference, the union leaders should be heading a fight. We need to cause trouble for the bosses wherever we can—and whenever workers fight we have to mobilise solidarity.

But just relying on a diet of local disputes—however inspirational—is not enough. We need national action.

In addition, fighting racism and defending migrants is a key task for socialists. Only by uniting workers can we build a movement capable of taking on the Tories.

That’s why we need to turn Stand Up To Racism into a mass social movement. We have a real opportunity to build on the mood expressed in the support for Corbyn. We must not let it pass.

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