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Turn the radical mood into a mass movement against Tory austerity

This article is over 7 years, 6 months old
Issue 2516
Union mobilisations and mass hard-hitting strikes can give the Tories a kicking

Union mobilisations and mass hard-hitting strikes can give the Tories a kicking (Pic: Guy Smallman)

One thing the surge in support for Jeremy Corbyn shows is that working class people are seething with anger against politicians and the bosses.

Those at the top of society have pushed austerity and neoliberalism to enrich themselves—and tried to direct ordinary people’s anger against migrants and the poorest.

But now hundreds of thousands are also looking towards socialist ideas as an alternative. This leftward shift among a substantial minority has fused around Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign.

And the Labour right are trying every bureaucratic trick in the book to halt this left insurgency within the party they’ve controlled for so long.

But in elections to the party’s national executive committee (NEC) on Monday, the six left candidates won all the seats that represent constituency parties.

Earlier that day the High Court overturned the NEC’s ban on new members voting in the leadership election.

These were important blows to the right, but we have to turn this radical mood into mass movement on the streets and in workplaces.

That’s where our real power lies, not in the High Court or the Labour Party NEC.


Strikes are at a low level overall. But high profile and disruptive strikes at Southern rail and on offshore oil rigs show the power workers have—when they use it.

And the long dispute on buses in Weymouth shows that workers can be prepared to mount a sustained campaign.

Strikes hit the Tories and bosses where it hurts. We need more of them.

When working class people fight back together, socialist and anti-racist arguments can get a bigger hearing in society.

Such a working class movement can pull society to the left. It’s the only thing that can really defend Corbyn. But more importantly, it has the power to win real change from below.

Corbyn has begun to articulate a left wing alternative to austerity, most recently pledging to tax the rich to fund public sector pay rises.

That’s a clear and welcome break from New Labour’s subservience to the rich.

But millions of households are already being “stretched to breaking point”, as a new survey into spiralling housing costs by charity Shelter found this week.

Theresa May may pose as a “moderate”. But she remains committed to the same agenda that has made working class people’s lives so much harder.

We can’t afford to wait for a Labour government.

Let’s fight back now—starting with the People’s Assembly demonstration at the Tory party conference on Sunday 2 October in Birmingham. And let’s give the other side a kicking.

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