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Resistance gives hope of break from Tory ‘normal’

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Issue 2757
At a Black Lives Matter protest in London
At a Black Lives Matter protest in London (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Everyone wants to get back to normal. But what does that mean? For most people it means being able to go about daily life without restrictions and without fear of picking up and passing on the virus.

For the Tories it means restoring the system of exploitation so bosses and landlords can keep grabbing money.

Back to normal means ending the eviction ban that helped to protect tenants who were unable to pay rent during the pandemic.

Back to normal means opening up jobcentres for face to face interviews so vulnerable benefits claimants can be sanctioned if they can’t attend.

And back to normal also means pressing on with the decades-long assault on people’s jobs, wages and living standards.

It feels like a very long time ago when, at the start of the pandemic, there was much talk of how things could never go back to normal.

Amid the dread and anxiety, there was also a sense that society would have to fundamentally change in order to cope.

End to the eviction ban will mean more misery
End to the eviction ban will mean more misery
  Read More

For a start, the state had to intervene in the economy in a way that ran against the very basic principles of what the Tories thought governments should do.

They shut down most businesses and subsidised wages, when for decades Tory and Labour governments wanted to interfere as little as possible with profits and pay.


Not only that, the pandemic raised even more fundamental questions about how society should run.

For instance, shortages in supermarkets meant it was possible to raise concrete arguments about how food is produced and distributed. Trade union leaders also argued that things couldn’t go back to normal.

They saw a future where union leaders had a seat at the table with bosses and governments.

Rather than lead a fight for a different kind of society, they held back and instead cooperated with bosses and the Tories to save jobs.

Meanwhile, those Tories and bosses got on with getting society back to how they ran it before.

Instead, the resistance came from outside the unions.


Three hugely significant movements have exploded onto the streets since the pandemic began—Black Lives Matter, Kill the Bill, and now solidarity with Palestine.

There have also been fightbacks led by students against unfair exam grades, and by NHS workers over pay.

Those movements want an end to the “normal” of racism, police violence, war and the inequalities of class society.

They have to be built on, and their spirit of revolt taken up in the trade unions.

We need that resistance so we don’t go back to normal Tory rule.

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