Anda di halaman 1dari 3

TUC National Demonstration

Assemble 11.00am, Victoria Embankment, Central London,

for march and rally at Hyde Park

No cuts... No fees... No sackings... Make the bankers pay!

February 2011

Dougal Wallace
Why we must all march
The TUC demonstration on 26 March must unite workers, students, and anti-cuts campaigners in a
monster show of defiance, as Elly Badcock explains.
On 26 March, hundreds of thousands of ordinary people means a monster demonstration on 26 March is possible. one reason demonstrations matter. Another is that they
will march through the streets of London to proclaim an But no demonstration builds itself. The bigger it is, can give a firm push to vacillating and half-hearted union
alternative to the cuts. We will demand investment, job the greater the surge of confidence and hope it transmits leaders. Only mass pressure from below will stop them
creation, a green transition, and a society that caters for across working-class Britain. The bigger it is, the greater backing down.
the needs of the many, not the profit of the few. the chance it will prove the launch-pad for a wave of pro- A third reason for building 26 March is that the cuts
The student revolt at the end of last year has inspired tests, occupations, and strikes powerful enough to defeat are a national issue. They are being imposed on millions
resistance. But a fight limited to fee increases – or any oth- the regime. That means every activist – in the unions, of people by central government. Numerous and disparate
er single issue – is likely to fail. The Con-Dem Coalition is among students, and in the campaigns – has to go all out local protests are necessary to build the movement and
attacking everyone, and it wants ordinary people bicker- over the next month to build for 26 March. resist specific cuts, but they cannot stop the government-
ing over who gets cut. driven ‘austerity’ programme as a whole. To win, the
The 26 March demonstration has to unite the largest To win, the resistance resistance must be organised, national, and united. It is
possible number of people in defence of the welfare state crucial that, as the anti-cuts movement gathers momen-
and in rejection of the millionaire mantra ‘there is no al- must be organised, tum, it concentrates all its forces in one place, at one time,
ternative’. It must bring together people from all sections to challenge head-on the entire cuts programme.
of society – unionised and non-unionised workers; the national, and united
unemployed and the disabled; racial and religious minori- The Coalition of Resistance
ties; school, FE, and university students; climate activists The Arab world is offering a dramatic illustration of the To help make it happen, we need a national, co-
and anti-cuts campaigners; anyone and everyone who kind of popular power we need in Britain. Mass demon- ordinated campaign to oppose all government spending
opposes the Con-Dem plan to ‘transform’ Britain in the strations and strikes have brought down Ben Ali in Tu- cuts. That is what the Coalition of Resistance aims to be.
interests of the rich. nisia and threaten Mubarak in Egypt. The shock waves Launched in November last year at a 1300-strong found-
are being felt across the region. The relationship between ing conference with the aim of uniting local anti-cuts
Building a mass movement street protests and the confidence of workers to take strike groups in a national framework, CoR’s Week of Resist-
The trade unions still have the potential to organise the action could not be clearer. ance from 14 to 19 February is designed as a stepping-
biggest and the broadest demonstrations, mobilising large stone towards the 26 March demonstration. The planned
sections of society. They have the resources and the net- Demonstrations matter culmination is a day of street stalls and other activity on
works to reach millions of people in a way that activists Radical change will require mass strikes and workplace Saturday 19 February.
working alone cannot. occupations. The working class is the majority of society, The Con-Dem Coalition of millionaires has all of us in
The biggest single student protest at the end of 2010 and, because it is concentrated in the workplaces and cre- its sights. It is aiming at nothing less than the destruction
was that called by the National Union of Students. In re- ates the wealth of society, it has the potential to paralyse of the welfare state and the eventual complete privatisa-
cent times, the NUS has consistently stood to the right the economy, take over the running of society, and bring tion of all our public services. None of us can beat them
of other mainstream unions, last year declaring that ‘stu- down a right-wing government. on our own. We have to build a mass movement of resist-
dents need industrial action like they need a hole in the But to take this kind of action, workers must feel them- ance from below. We are going to need a wave of strikes,
head’. If a call by leaders who say things like that can pro- selves part of a mass movement. They will have the con- occupations, and direct action to make Con-Dem Britain
duce a militant demonstration of 50,000, imagine the po- fidence to strike when they sense they have clear backing ungovernable. The TUC demonstration on 26 March is
tential in a call by the TUC. For all its failings, it represents from large sections of society. Mass demonstrations with the next key stage in the struggle to bring down Cameron
virtually every unionised worker in the country, and this broad and diverse support provide this backing. That is and Clegg.
Library campaign throws


Dougal Wallace
the book at Con-Dem cuts
Dan Poulton reports on one of the front-line services facing
cuts and fighting back.
The Con-Dem attacks on education and working class communities. They despise us
on libraries are of a kind. They do not and know that they are adding cultural to
want ordinary people to think about economic deprivation.’
the world around them and to try and He reports that people have been
change it. They do not need workers queueing up in the street to sign
who think critically. So libraries are petitions, and read-ins have been
expendable. staged to illustrate that education
Hundreds of libraries across the country belongs to ordinary people – not
are threatened with closure. New Labour just the rich. A major national
floated planned library closures; the campaign against library cuts
ConDems have picked up the baton and are is a serious possibility. Just weeks after
running with it. writer and campaigner Alan Gibbons put
Doncaster, a working class area still out a call for a day of action in defence
reeling from Thatcherism and pit closures, of libraries on 5 February 2011, at least
is one of the places where the cuts will hit 80 events were organised up and down
deepest: there are plans to shut down over the country. Protests have already taken
half its libraries. Severe library cuts are also place in Newport, Milton Keynes,
tabled for Brent, Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Taunton, Oxford, and elsewhere.
Leeds, Lewisham, Oxfordshire, and many On the day of action, hundreds of
other places; nowhere, it seems, will people demonstrated, held read-ins, and
altogether escape the Con-Dem hatchet. occupied libraries to resist the Con-
The government whines that library Dem cuts. Billy Bragg made the link
use is falling anyway, and claims that eager between civil liberties and public access
volunteers are available to staff any that are to information and learning. Acclaimed
really needed. But in the Age of Austerity author Phillip Pullman criticised what he
only a small minority will have the time described as the ‘market fundamentalism’ to
and money to work for free. which the Con-Dems subscribe, and New

The Arab revolution

Doncaster-based Counterfire activist Cross library was occupied into the night.
John Westmoreland has described the Students did not hesitate to occupy
projected library cuts as a ‘declaration their universities in response to crippling
of war’, saying, ‘It’s the most sickening fee hikes. Nor should we hesitate to
thought to see Cameron and Clegg, organise read-ins, protests, petitions, and
millionaire public schoolboys and Oxford direct action in defence of our libraries,
The revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt are the biggest popular movements in the Arab world in decades. They graduates with plenty of access to books
and computers, cutting off opportunities to
the communities they serve, and the
workers whose livelihoods are at stake.
could change the face of the Middle East, argues Peter Stäuber, and they can be a model of resistance
for the rest of the world.
The spirit of revolution sweeps through
the Arab world. What we have been wit-
was alerted last year, when the website
Wikileaks published thousands of secret
corporations, and Zionist Israel.
Until now, the US has been a staunch
spread. The wider it goes, the harder it gets
for the US, the Zionists, and the Arab dic-
Can we bring down the Con-Dem Coalition?
nessing in Tunisia and Egypt are not US diplomatic cables. ally of Mubarak. While banging on about tators to reverse the tide. Already, there are
military coups, but popular uprisings The way the pro-Mubarak forces have ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’, it is the mass demonstrations in Yemen and Jordan
against dictatorial regimes. Events are responded to the protests – with savage vi- US that has funded and armed the Egyp- against their pro-Western governments. But the case of Lib-Dem voters is far more extreme: strength, but weakness. It is the policy of a political and
still unfolding, but it is already clear that olence – has further alienated the Egyptian tian regime’s half-million-strong military. Most Arab regimes are like those in Tu-
With the biggest cuts since the their votes were cast for a left-of-centre programme of business elite threatened by financial meltdown and cut-
this series of mass demonstrations rep- people from the regime. As one protester The fall of Mubarak would be the greatest nisia and Egypt – authoritarian, corrupt, 1920s now unrolling, the very moderate reform. Participation in the Con-Dem Coa- throat competition.
resents the biggest upheaval in the Arab said, ‘The psychological barrier between us setback for Washington since the toppling undemocratic, and presiding over socie- lition has involved the wholesale abandonment of Lib- Otherwise, it is impossible to explain their decision
world in decades. and our president has been broken by tear- of the Shah of Iran in 1979. No wonder ties afflicted with high unemployment, not survival of the postwar welfare Dem commitments, including, of course, the flagship to launch a full-scale frontal assault on the entire post-
In Tunisia, the protesters succeeded gas. The government created this uprising, they are scaremongering about an ‘Islamic’ least among graduates, high living costs, state is at stake. Just how weak pledge to oppose tuition-fee rises and to work for their
eventual abolition.
war welfare settlement. Thatcher in the 1980s, in a much
stronger economic, political, and ideological position,
in forcing President Ben Ali from power. and now they will face the consequences.’ takeover. But in fact, something far more and a ‘social wage’ eroded by decades of
After a month of peaceful demonstration, radical, and certainly far more desirable, is neoliberalism and IMF-backed cuts. is the government, and what It is for this reason that the parliamentary fault-line chose a drip-drip-drip approach, pushing through one
starting in December, they finally over- Power and wealth are possible. runs through the middle of the Lib-Dem Party. How- privatisation at a time, taking on one group of workers
threw a 23-year-old dictatorship. But the
will it take to stop them? Neil ever eager the party’s millionaire politicians may be to at a time, avoiding advancing on several fronts at once
linked. Egypt needs both
gains so far are limited. The interim gov- Democratic and social revolution Faulkner analyses the balance of get their legs under the cabinet table, they need to re- and triggering generalised resistance.
ernment formed in mid-January still in- democracy and social The way this revolution unfolds in tain their parliamentary seats. Since they garner votes When she became overconfident and abandoned this
cludes several members of the ruling party, the immediate future is likely to forces in Britain today. by appearing to be other than what they are, they risk policy, she was brought down. The poll tax was an at-
transformation. electoral meltdown when exposed in office as liars and tempt to shift the burden of local taxation from the top
and protesters continue to demand a full be crucial. In order to achieve
break with the old regime. The revolution Revolution and counter-revolution full and lasting democracy, not Just before Christmas, deep splits were seen inside the careerists. Once recent poll showed a drop from 21% at 20% (the rich and the middle class) to the bottom 80%
is not over. Mubarak tried to ease the pressure on him only must power be taken from Con-Dem Coalition government. Business Secretary the time of the general election to 8% today. (the working class broadly defined). It provoked mass
Nasser Nouri

by dismissing his government and appoint- the regime, but wealth must be Vince Cable bragged to two undercover journalists that What brought the crisis to the surface just before resistance from below, with up to seven million refusing
Egypt in revolt ing his intelligence chief as vice president. taken from the rich and the cor- he could bring down the government if he chose. Hot Christmas was the student revolt. This acted as a prism to pay, and hundreds of thousands on the streets.
Inspired by the success of the Tunisian This failed to satisfy the protesters. He porations that dominate Egyp- on the heels of this revelation came a series of other re- of the democratic deficit. Everyone has a vague sense
movement, Egyptians also took to the then announced he would not stand for re- tian society. Power and wealth are ports of off-message outbursts by Lib-Dem ministers. that politicians are self-interested and hypocritical. But Demonstrations, strikes, and direct action
streets at the end of January. Day after day, election in the autumn. This, too, was not linked. Mubarak and his cronies, Perhaps the most forthright was that of Scottish Sec- the student revolt focused intense attention on one of During 1972, mass strikes smashed a Tory government’s
thousands of people marched through the enough. So he then unleashed his thugs on encouraged by their Western al- retary Michael Moore, who declared that raising stu- the biggest betrayals of recent times. programme of wage cuts and union busting. Two years
streets of Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, and oth- the demonstrators. lies, have adopted neoliberal ‘free dent tuition-fees was ‘the biggest, ugliest, most horrific But if 50,000 on the streets and a few broken windows later, the Tories lost the general election. In 1989, mass
er cities. The ruling party headquarters was The regime’s supporters – the rich, the market’ policies wholesale. The thing in all this … a car crash, a train wreck’. can provoke a minor governmental crisis, what might direct action defeated the poll tax, and the following
burnt down and thousands defied curfews powerful, and the corrupt – want a breath- gap between rich and poor has What brought on this rash of political angst? It cer- the impact be of 500,000 later this year? Just how vulner- year Thatcher was given the push by her own party. In
to battle riot police and state security. ing-space to engineer a fake ‘transition’ widened massively. Grotesque tainly was not pressure from the New Labour ‘opposi- able is the Con-Dem Coalition? April 2003, between a million and two million people
As in Tunisia, where the protest move- that changes nothing except a handful of wealth at the top of society con- tion’. Ed Miliband – whose slogan seems to be ‘vote La- demonstrated against Blair’s war on Iraq. The decision
ment is led by students and workers, the faces at the top. The Egyptian people need trasts with unemployment and bour for slightly slower cuts’ – is the proverbial dog that A weak and vicious government to go ahead in the face of such opposition was a narrow
uprising in Egypt is supported by large sec- thoroughgoing democracy and complete poverty for tens of millions at does not bark. The vicious right-wing character of the regime should one, and Blair never recovered from the political infamy
tions of society. For too long – 30 years – social transformation. This is the vital issue the bottom. Something more fundamental lies behind the tension not be mistaken for strength. British capitalism is in he incurred as a warmonger.
the people have suffered under the regime now at stake. Egypt needs both democracy inside the government than ‘opposition’ in a Parliament long-term decline, faces growing competitive pressure, The British working-class movement has a long his-
of President Hosni Mubarak, who has been Because Egypt plays such an impor- and social transformation, and whose democratic substance has been hollowed out by and is heavily distorted by reliance on finance, property, tory of resistance and a record of major victories over re-
clinging on to power through sheer force tant role in the region – with 85 million the possibility exists that as work- A Tunisian identikit neoliberal politics. The fact is that the elector- and speculation. The worst global economic crisis since actionary governments. If we build an inclusive, united,
and terror. inhabitants, it is the biggest country in ers and students push forwards protester ate voted left-of-centre in May 2010, but got a hard- the 1930s confronts Britain’s rulers with greater chal- mass campaign against the cuts, and if we stoke a wave
calls for the right government. Even Tory voters did not endorse the lenges than most. of militant demonstrations, mass strikes, and wide-
The people’s grievances are similar in the Arab world – a successful revolution the struggle for political free-
both countries: unemployment is high, could reshape the whole of the Middle dom, their revolt will grow over biggest package of cuts since the 1920s. In contrast to The British ruling class has become so dependent on spread civil disobedience, we can defeat the Con-Dem
of the RCD,
corruption endemic, and freedom of East. It could bring democracy to a region into a wider struggle for popular Ben Ali’s old Thatcher, who famously declared that there is no such bank profits that it is prepared to take the political risks Coalition.
speech severely restricted. Especially in which has suffered under dictatorship and power, workers’ control, and radical party, from the thing as society, Cameron bangs on about ‘the big soci- inherent in selling off the welfare state in order to pro- The TUC demonstration on 26 March is the next key
Egypt, protesters are demanding an end to imperialism for too long. That would be a social reform. transitional ety’; however vacuous, it is not hard-right rhetoric. vide the state finance to underwrite the City. This is not stage on that road.
police brutality, to which the wider world massive blow to the power of the US, the oil The revolution also needs to government.
What is Counterfire Counterfire lectures
and what does it do? These will be held at the Marchmont Community
Centre, 62 Marchmont Street, London, WC1N 1AB
(nearest tube: Russell Square).
Counterfire is an organisation a system based on democracy, attempt to divide us. We must Everyone welcome. Plenty of time for questions,
of revolutionary socialists. equality, planning, and human stand together in solidarity. contributions, and discussion.
We work in the trade unions, need. We must reject all forms of Lectures start at 6.30pm on Thursday as follows:
student movement, and protest prejudice based on race, religion,
campaigns to link together Change from below gender, age, disability, or sexual
different struggles, push them Real change has to be fought for orientation. We must unite 24 February
forwards, and build resistance through action from below. We all working people in a single Climate crisis: capitalism and environmental
to the system. cannot rely on either politicians struggle against the rich and catastrophe
Counterfire members have or bureaucrats to change things powerful. And we must build Speaker: Elaine Graham-Leigh
played a key role in the Coalition for us. We have to build broad, links between working people
of Resistance, Stop the War, and democratic organisations of here in Britain and those fighting
the student revolt. mass resistance among workers, back around the world. 10 March
students, and the poor. We have China rising: understanding the shifting global
A world system in crisis to use the weapons of class A revolutionary organisation economy
World capitalism today faces an struggle – demonstrations, To do these things effectively, Speaker: James Meadway
intractable crisis. The financial strikes, occupations, and other we need an organisation of
crash is tipping Europe into direct action – to make real gains. revolutionary socialist activists
depression and the Third World The power of the banks, the committed to building and 24 March
into starvation. The militarisation corporations, and the state are shaping mass organisations of Gramsci and us: building socialist hegemony today
of relations between states is ranged against us. To make struggle like the trade unions, Speaker: Peter Thomas
a clear and present danger to permanent gains and bring about the anti-war movement, and the
world peace. Uncontrolled global radical social transformation, Coalition of Resistance.
7 April
warming threatens climate revolution will be necessary, in Counterfire is such an
catastrophe. which the repressive state, with organisation. Our aim is to How history works: a Marxist approach to
These threats to the lives and its police, prisons, and armed build local groups rooted understanding the past
wellbeing of the great majority of forces, is replaced with a new in workplaces, colleges, and Speaker: Neil Faulkner
humanity are rooted in a system order based on mass democratic communities across Britain.
geared to production for profit assemblies. The historical stakes have
20 April
and the enrichment of the few. never been higher. We have a
Instead of the chaos, exploitation, United mass resistance world to win. We have a world we Understanding the shape of modern revolutions
and violence of competitive To prevent effective resistance, must win. Counterfire is at the Speaker: Feyzi Ismail
capital accumulation, we need our rulers and their media heart of the resistance. Join us.

Contacting us
To contact Counterfire, phone or text Sam on 07872 481769, or Jo on 07730 612105, or email either on
We have activists and local groups in many colleges and towns, including Belfast, Bristol, Doncaster, Kings Lynn, Liverpool,
London East, London North, London South, London West, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Pontefract,
St Albans, Scunthorpe, and York.

Counterfire publications
Strategy and Capitalism and Class Eleven Reasons to
Tactics: how the Consciousness: the Resist the Con-Dem
left can organise to ideas of Georg Lukács Cuts
transform society By Chris Nineham By Neil Faulkner
By John Rees

These publications are available from

I would like to join Counterfire

Name:................................................................................................................ I would like to donate to Counterfire by monthly standing order

Tel:...................................................................................................................... Please pay Co-operative Bank, PO Box 20, Skelmersdale, WN8 6WT,

Email:................................................................................................................. sort code 089299, account number 65331196, the sum of the value indicated above.

Amount Amount in words

Date for first payment and every month thereafter
Bank name
Bank address
Do you have any skills you would like to use for Counterfire (e.g. writing,
design, photography, organising)?..................................................................
Account holder(s) name
Account number Sort Code

Signed Date
Counterfire, c/o 69a Lakeside Road, London, N13 4PS.