The thing about the cuts is they’re not simply a response to a ‘crisis’, the solution to which is a return to capitalism as ‘normal’. The normal looked much the same, with privatisations, pay freezes, workfare, casualisation… Thus we need to reject the idea these cuts are simply ‘ideological Tory cuts’, which is something put about to imply the solution is a rational, Labour government. Rather, the cuts are opportunist. As Peter Mandelson said a month before the elections: “we should not waste the crisis”.
The ruling class narrative is re-casting their long-term agenda of attacking the working class as a necessary response to the crisis. What has changed is the speed with which these attacks are being made against us. There is continuity but acceleration: the attacks on the working class happening under the guise of cuts are therefore very similar to the attacks that happened before the crisis, only with renewed vigour that ministers have compared to Mao’s cultural revolution.
In response, the Solidarity Federation has raised the strategy of making the country ungovernable. This means wild demonstrations and occupations, strikes and breakaway marches, disobedience and direct action. Much of this has already been happening, with Town Halls invaded and occupied and demonstrations breaking out of kettles to roam free. But we need much more if we’re to reverse austerity in Britain and beyond.
The current situation also highlights a more long term problem of the lack of independent workers organisation. It’s all very well calling for strikes, but so long as the TUC maintains its grip on the workers movement these are likely to be one-day set pieces at best, lost before they even begin. Without organisations of our own, anarchist and other militant workers are limited to propaganda work on the industrial front – the front which can perhaps inflict the most economic damage and thus make austerity measures cost more than they’re supposed to save.
For this reason, the Solidarity Federation has also been making renewed efforts towards a completely different kind of workers movement. A whole generation of workers raised since Thatcher lack experience of industrial struggle, so we’ve developed a workplace organiser training program. Learning from the successes in the UK and abroad, it aims to give workers the tools to take direct action on the job, whether they’re in a union or not. We’re also developing the capacity to support workers with trouble at work or with their landlords, using direct action methods. We’re networking industrially, initially to produce targeted propaganda but hopefully to co-ordinate direct action in the future.
In the meantime, we’ll see you on the streets. But the class struggle, intensified under austerity, is here for the long haul. So must we be!
For enquiries about the workplace organiser training, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Solidarity Federation (SolFed) consists of locals which support the formation of future revolutionary unions and are centres for working class struggle on a local level. Our activities are based on direct action – action by workers ourselves, not through intermediaries like politicians or union officials – our decisions are made through participation of the membership. We welcome all working people who agree with our aims and principles.
Article originally appeared in Freedom #7206
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