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Prepare General Strike to bring down Coalition

Tory Chancellor Osborne’s collection of savage spending cuts and dramatic tax changes is intended to engineer a massive transfer of wealth to shareholders, whilst condemning millions to a life of grinding poverty on reduced benefits or on the dole. Claiming that “we are all in this together” is simply a lie.

It follows the £6 billion cuts announced in the days following the election. It comes in the wake of the scrapping of 12 major capital investment projects approved by New Labour in the dying days of its period of rule. And on top of cuts made by the outgoing New Labour government in higher education.

Much worse is to come. In the public sector, reducing the budget deficit will leave most departments – apart from health and international aid – facing a 25% reduction and the certainty of huge job losses. No advanced economy has ever made such drastic spending cuts in state budgets.

Pay for public sector workers will be frozen, initially for two years. As entire services are threatened with the axe, Cameron and Co. will be ratcheting up their caring, sharing approach. They will cynically encourage redundant workers to form co-operatives of volunteers to take them on with a pittance of a contract to cover expenses.

But for the private sector, the plan is quite different. Here the overarching idea is to make Britain an attractive place to do business, boosting profits by reducing corporation tax. Each year for four years the tax rate companies pay on the profits they fail to hide abroad will be reduced by 1%, bringing the headline rate down to 24% – amongst the lowest of all the developed countries.

With some of its measures, the Coalition is trying to disarm some of its potential critics with the appearance of concern for the poorest. As part-payment for the Liberal Democrats’ participation, the income tax allowance lower limit will be raised, exempting 880,000 of the lowest earners from paying tax. But this will be more than offset by the increase to 20% in VAT from next January. With housing benefit capped and child benefit frozen, it will hit the poorest hardest.

Further assaults on living standards are already planned. In a calculated move towards a national government the Con-Lib coalition is to be extended to include former New Labour’s work and pensions secretary John Hutton who will prepare the ground for an assault on state and public sector pensions. And then, in October, Osborne will announce his review of public spending which will detail the cuts to be made, department by department.

The Coalition has embarked on a high risk, “kill or cure” programme based on figures for growth that are already under challenge and that are not possible in the context of the global crisis of capitalism. Eurozone economies are diving deeper into recession, while many German and French banks are reckoned to have solvency problems. They hold piles of Greek and Spanish government debt now worth far less than it was bought for.

This is not a government of strength but one thrown together in an emergency and which has no mandate for the unparalleled cuts it is making. The general election was a fraud because none of the major parties would come clean on what was being planned. So the electorate has every right to fight the Coalition.

Protest campaigns are already underway around the country. Trade unionists, pensioners and community groups are meeting to plan their actions to protect jobs and services. They should begin to create People’s Assemblies to co-ordinate their struggles and to plan for political and economic alternatives to a capitalist system now in profound economic and political crisis.

Unions who are opposed to the cuts will have to step up to the plate in the absence of any resistance from the Trades Union Congress. Brendan Barber, the TUC general secretary, could only say the budget was “economically dangerous and socially divisive”. He offered no challenge to the Coalition or its unacceptable budget whatsoever.

Bob Crow, general secretary of the rail union RMT, was more forthright, declaring: “There is no question that there will be widespread industrial and community resistance to the cuts agenda and RMT will be in the front line wherever people are making a stand.” This is good as far as it goes.

The RMT is part of an alliance called the Trade Union Coordinating Group, along with firefighters, civil servants, university and college teachers and other sections. The TUCG should start a campaign within the TUC to make preparations for an indefinite General Strike against the Coalition government, which is assuming the role of a dictatorship over the working population.

Resistance is not enough. The aim must be to bring down the Coalition and create a revolutionary government in its place. This is the road we have to take to prevent a social catastrophe far worse than that of the 1930s.

A World to Win
23 June 2010

Your Say

Tim says:

The call for people's assemblies and indeed the core of the argument of this site doesn't answer the basic question. "If you want change then why did you not put up candidates in the general election and seek the democratic mandate of the electorate?" The unavoidable answer is that they would not have voted for what you propose. Unless you offered the people an option at the general election then there is no mandate to oppose the coalition they elected in the way you propose - ie by seeking to rest power from the government by simply creating an alternative to supplant it. By all means argue your case that capitalism is on it's last legs and should go - maybe it is - but don't pretend to be champions of the majority when you are unwilling to stand up and be counted in the democratic process - however imperfect.

Jonathan says:

He found his way to the site, so lets respond. If in this he is ignoring, or anyone is, the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, the equally significant falling rate of productivity, which clashes with the incredible increase in technological advance, then on all level he only rants. He is named for Bakunin: let us link to Marx, and why not, I’m a Marxist. [The Conflict with Bakunin] , and as a Marxist I consider the argument as to the state dealt with.

But as there are many reasons why this form of consciousness still exists, even why it rants so provocatively, and with the political crises entered into by a system in decay the ‘totality’ of destruction, the suicide of the personal self is as Bakunin, as a Young Hegelian, well knew, a sense of alienation of the extreme type that shoots across the bows of a call for a general strike. So the questions raised in my mind to this comment is not so much to him (or her, though a her would have at least chosen Emma Goldman) as to all those with this sense of social, personal, and therefore political alienation who haven’t discovered Bakunin to give rant in such a cynical way to.

This crises, world wide, follows an economic pattern laid out in detail by Marxists, including Marx and since Marx analysing the developing forms, and its essence, and also how this is reflected in the minds of billions in a personal, social, artistic, philosophical, as well as an organisational way.

Sacco & Vanzetti
Ben Shahn created this poster to protest the execution of
Bartolomeo Vanzetti and Nicolo Sacco
who were electrocuted in 1927.

From Marx earliest works he joined the issues - Economic & Philosophical Manuscripts, and the life work he did, Camden or not (and he should watch out personally, the anarchist Sacco & Vanzette will haunt him: their speech talks not only of ‘talking at street corners’ but immediately adds ‘to scorning men’. Just because he throws in a comments on ‘trust funds’ & lentils changes nothing.)

The pamphlet: Value, Price and Profit, as with his earlier Wage Labour & Capital he arms the proletariat, and does so at immense personal loss. But let us press on. There are few places left this economic system can hide, with these kind of Democratic credentials, and the reason is to do with the economic model, once vibrant, now moribund in a Global sense. Productivity can not be retrieved with Profit based systems, not for the straight forward reason of their taking this slice of the total product but because of the WHOLE organisation of Capitalism. Competition and overproduction is a part of the makeup, built in destruction of commodities to force a ‘consumer’ (one of the alienated facets of our being we can be well rid of) to return to ‘the market’ – an aspect of civil society which will wither – but still an aspect of our species alienation, as with money, replacement of products because of the uneven speed of scientific development and that sciences even as far away as DNA research is privatised for profit and companies like Monsanto steal unregistered family strains, to ‘sell’ them back to the farmers, take legal action to stop criticism, oh yea, and drive for profits in the immediacy regardless of ecological damage.

Capital, Volume III where he has: “Since the mass of the employed living labour is continually on the decline as compared to the mass of materialised labour set in motion by it, i.e., to the productively consumed means of production, it follows that the portion of living labour, unpaid and congealed in surplus-value, must also be continually on the decrease compared to the amount of value represented by the invested total capital. Since the ratio of the mass of surplus-value to the value of the invested total capital forms the rate of profit, this rate must constantly fall.” Demonstrates what the world working class, indeed all classes, and groups (including those in Equity, maybe he would leave them defenceless in front of Murdoch, or their equivalent in Italy in front of Berlusconi) is confronted with especially in this period where uneven development is qualitavly being overcome by Globalisation. One of the distinctions of this Globalisation is that it has driven a wedge through society, incredibly noticeable by the very front bench of this ConLib coalition. No ‘front men’ these. All ‘useful’ layers in society are being wielded together with common interest. Spain, even with its Anarchist traditions, is realising this as we watch. So let’s watch & and let’s do the same.

Tory realist says:

In response to 'happy conservative' below, the Tories have a history of welcoming 'foaming mouthed lunatics', haven't they?

There was Thatcher, there was Sherman, then there was that FCS regional chair who became a serial murderer... Beggs was the name... then there were all the others...

Good track record, what what? Tip of the iceberg, what what?

"Comrade Michael Bakunin" says:

Yeah, but, no but, yeah but.... Like the state is a force for good right? Like coercion, taxation and health and education controlled by the elite and an authoritarian state is good is it?

Like the TUC will do anything?

Or those rich, middle class, socialist intellectuals? You know the types: talk the talk of revolution, hand out a few pamphlets in Camden at a weekend but actually live off a private trust fund whilst eating lentils.

Like, ya know, members of that radical vanguard of the working class: Equity!!!

I say, over frow da state. Scrap the NHS and the oppressive state education system. Return all public space to the turn pike trusts and get rid of the state police force. After all, the Guardian Angels and Group 4 could'nt do any worse than the tax funded nationalised forces of oppression that we jokingly call the Police.

Or, do you mean in your call for a revolutionary government that we - yawn a Conservative yawn - defend the established order of the NHS, the BBC, yawn, Compreeehensiv education, and the like...

Revolution my backside.

You lot are all wind and no knickers. Biggest Tory statists out.

Happy conservative says:

This reads like a rant from an episode of citizen Smith. A revolutionary government would be a social catastrophe. Foaming mouthed lunatics have never been welcome in the UK.

Mrs Williams says:

I will join the campaign with my fellow Trade Unionists, more importantly, its time for the workers in Great Britain to object to this planned life of hardship and misery to come

Errol says:

I also support. It is time to launch a fightback by preparing for a general strike in order to get rid of the Coalition Government of CONDEM. I am a trade unionist as a member of BECTU and Equity.

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